Personal · Singapore · Travel Tales · Traveling with a Kid · Two Cents

An open letter to my one-year-old, on the occasion of his first trip abroad

My dearest M, I’d been looking forward to our trip to Singapore for about a year. I’d pictured nineteen-month-old you seeing up close all those animals you’d only seen in your picture books — the elephants, giraffes, lions. I’d wanted to see you gleefully running around in open spaces, which is quite rare in our… Continue reading An open letter to my one-year-old, on the occasion of his first trip abroad

Japan · Travel Tales

Visiting Mt. Yoshino and its endless cherry trees

In Yoshino By the mountains, the flowering Cherry blossoms: Simply for snow I did mistake them! Ki no Tomonori, from the Kokin Wakashū (c. 905) Of course I use “endless” in hyperbole, but looking at Mt. Yoshino from certain viewpoints would give you the impression that the crowds of cherry trees go on and on, down the other… Continue reading Visiting Mt. Yoshino and its endless cherry trees

South Korea · Travel Tales

We (unintentionally) gatecrashed a wedding in Unhyeongung

On our fourth day in Seoul, we slept for as long as we could and took our time with breakfast. Our goal was to visit nearby areas — the Jongmyo Shrine, Unhyeongung, the War Memorial, and whichever other place struck our (read: my) fancy. Unhyeongung used to be where the crown prince Gojong stayed before… Continue reading We (unintentionally) gatecrashed a wedding in Unhyeongung

South Korea · Travel Tales

Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung (Hint: Visit the Secret Garden!)

Changdeokgung, built in the 1400s, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Like Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung was also burnt down during the 1592 Japanese invasion — not by the Japanese, but by citizens angry at their king for abandoning them — but it was the first palace to be rebuilt, in 1610. The royal court was thus moved here. Now,… Continue reading Changdeokgung and Changgyeonggung (Hint: Visit the Secret Garden!)

South Korea · Travel Tales

What does the Garden of Morning Calm look like in the afternoon?

  Here’s how we described the Garden of Morning Calm upon seeing it: “This is a place our mothers would love.” We loved it too, of course, but in seeing all the flora, we also felt somewhat nostalgic for home. This pair of city-dwellers appreciated, once again, our moms’ green thumbs and other varied and… Continue reading What does the Garden of Morning Calm look like in the afternoon?