Super Sushi Ramen Express

As you very well know, I am busy preparing for my trip to Japan. Tricia and I are in the final stages of itemizing each and every place we would be visiting. We’ve talked about the sights, the sounds, and most definitely the food we would be sampling. Like any good foodie and traveler, I’ve taken the liberty of doing my research beyond the usual Lonely Planet guidebook or food blogs, I’ve added a book as well to help me out.  Continue reading →

Dear Leader

When I picked up Escape from Camp 14 and Nothing to Envy last year, I began my education on the life and times of unknown people living in North Korea who escaped to South Korea. Their lives were intriguing, better than the documentaries I watched before. These two books were personal accounts of people from all walks of North Korean society. A political prisoner, a poor family, an affluent family, and many more in-between, these people had stories to tell of a country that is enigmatic and at the same time terrifying. Last Christmas, my sister gave me another book to my growing collection, Dear Leader by Jang Jin Sung, this time the life and times of a former North Korean intelligence agent.  Continue reading →

2016 Year in Review: Books

This was a huge year for books, after many years of sitting comfortably in the fiction section of my favorite bookstores, I slowly ventured into the non-fiction aisle. Yes! I have finally graduated from my non-fiction slump. In fact I was able to pick up quite a lot this year, still mostly about history but there were a few surprises here and there along the way. From good books to the bad, I round up all the books I’ve read, some reviewed, and some still being read for this year. In the second part of my three part year in review series, let’s take a look back some of the best books I’ve read this 2016.

*Tap on the links for each article Continue reading →

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

I have always been fascinated by North Korea, from the time I watched Diego Buñuel of Don’t Tell my Mother: North Korea on National Geographic, to reading Pyongyang by Guy De Lisle and Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden, the mysteriousness of the world’s rogue state has fascinated me.  Continue reading →

Democracy

Every other year I am given the chance to teach world history or governments. Each time starting of with the same script of dissecting the concept of nations, states, and governments. Eventually we would touch on democracy, being the most predominant form of government today. Like my previous script, I’d end up with the age old dissection of the word to its Greek origin. From there we’d lift off into the functions of a democratic government. In the five years I’ve been teaching, I have yet to really explore the history behind the formation of democracy and its beginnings in the Greek city-state of Athens.

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Eating Vietnam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table

Motorcycles buzzing, car horns blaring, karaoke music playing in the background, the smell of a dog in the hot and humid air and the endless chatter coming from both diners and a noontime show. These are all the makings of a traditional carinderia in Manila, it might have the same sights and sounds sometimes not but more or less the ubiquitous eatery brings Filipino and a little bit of this and that cuisine down to the street level. Street food is truly a window to a country’s world, accessible and enjoyed by everyone.  Continue reading →

Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight

When 2012 came the whole world lost the NASA space shuttle, retired and sent off to different parts of the US to join museum pieces. The space shuttle along with the Apollo shuttles are one of the most iconic pieces of 20th century human ingenuity, innovation, technical and scientific prowess. Iconic machines that have shuttled man to the unearthly reaches of space, landed on another celestial body, and expanded our knowledge of the unknown universe. But when the space shuttle is retired, exploration of space continues but for Margaret Lazarus Dean its end means something else. In her new book she tackles the question of what it all means and tries to make sense of the loss of America’s foremost space program.

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