What’s Lost, What’s Just Waiting: Finding an Alternate China in Sichuan

  You walk in on the Terracotta Army, and it’s hard not to feel like you’re discovering something. Despite the tourists shuffling in with you. Despite the air hanger base it’s contained in. Despite already seeing this thousands of times, in Nat Geo, in NYTs, History Channel—the world’s biggest pottery celebrity. Because there’s a presence … More What’s Lost, What’s Just Waiting: Finding an Alternate China in Sichuan

China on China’s Terms: Okay, time for some clarity (My China P2)

The train pulls out from Beijing, and the dread’s ballooning. A sunset on the valley of half-finished apartment blocks, cranes and craters, overnight vertical mansions that may never get lived in. Phones keep shooting off around me like fireworks. Squeezed between two ladies yelling over me. It’s a strange combination of being unmoored–cast adrift–and being … More China on China’s Terms: Okay, time for some clarity (My China P2)

Heavy History and Strange Present: The Beijing One (My China P. 1)

On the last day, I visit his mausoleum. He’d been staring at me this whole time, that portrait hung from the gates of the Forbidden City. I knew it was there, but seeing it in person gave me a kind-of reverse Mona Lisa: it’s so much bigger than I imagined. His watery eyes, that somber … More Heavy History and Strange Present: The Beijing One (My China P. 1)

Clockbreaking: Saying Goodbye to the 9-5 and Getting Going

Yesterday, I said goodbye to my parents and start my travelling. I’ve got my house on my back. When people ask me where I’m going the best I can do is give a nervous chuckle and a “we’ll see.” I’m starting to live off the clock, and it’s a weird feeling indeed. It’s been three … More Clockbreaking: Saying Goodbye to the 9-5 and Getting Going

Man on the tracks: The trains we ride and stories we tell on them in Japan

Japan has the best trains in the world. In terms of number, accessibility, promptness and speed, no other county lets you get around as fast or as far. On the most remote peninsula where there’s only rocks and herons, you’ll catch an old passenger train cranking past. In Tokyo different train lines stack on top … More Man on the tracks: The trains we ride and stories we tell on them in Japan

Contract Ripping: The Stages of not signing a second year in the JET Programme

Well, it’s the big move-on-out week here in Tottori. It’s been a surprisingly painless affair, considering how, just last year, moving out of Vancouver led to a panic attack-cum-heat stroke that left me curled up on the road in my suit. It’s very easy this time around, owing in many ways to the fact that … More Contract Ripping: The Stages of not signing a second year in the JET Programme

Losing Bangkok 2: The Beach, the Come-down, the Reconciliation

So here I was, the boat out to the island, thinking I was finally free from Bangkok. In the end, I never got away from the city. Because the whole time I’d been there, Bangkok had been taking things from me. On the first day, it took my eyes. I’ve always been so good at … More Losing Bangkok 2: The Beach, the Come-down, the Reconciliation