Postcards
Postcards: Huashan, a sacred Taoist mountain

Postcards: Huashan, a sacred Taoist mountain

It was foggy and drizzly when I walked towards the bus stop in Xi’an that morning, but I didn’t care. I was going to climb that damn mountain. Accompanied by a quiet Belgian guy from my hostel, I held a flimsy umbrella over my head and ate steaming buns filled with mystery meat that I’d bought...
Postcards: a couple in Kyoto

Postcards: a couple in Kyoto

This scene from Kyoto last year reminded me of a Haruki Murakami novel, and I suddenly felt elated thinking about Murakami’s somber prose that flow so beautifully across each page. I thought of Norwegian Wood, where he establishes such rich relationships between characters that you feel like you’re physically there listening to their conversations. I imagined...
Postcards: Seoul's beach train

Postcards: Seoul’s beach train

April 1, 2012 It was 5 AM. Bleary-eyed, exhausted and still drunk, I placed one foot into the subway car at Hongdae station and paused. I quickly retracted my foot from the train, like a cat after accidentally placing its paw in a puddle of water on the bathroom floor. I thought that the floor...
Postcards: Hiking in Shaxi

Postcards: Hiking in Shaxi

August 11, 2011 Shaxi, pronounced sha-shi if you are reading it in English, was once a bustling village during the Tang Dynasty, where traders passed through to exchange tea and horses. Now Shaxi is eerily quiet, save small groups of tourists who pass through the deteriorating Sideng Market Square, named one of the 100 most endangered...
Postcards: the Chinese calligrapher

Postcards: the Chinese calligrapher

August 24, 2011 On a bright summer morning in Beijing, the calligrapher skillfully ran his brush along the smooth, gray stone of the Summer Palace’s pavilion, making curvaceous strokes with lines as beautiful as the ancient, upturned rooftops in the distance. Each character was written quickly and boldly with water for ink, appearing for an...
Postcards: a lack of anonymity in northeast Seoul

Postcards: a lack of anonymity in northeast Seoul

Around 8:35 each morning, I cross the busy street facing the back gate of my school, and I see the same man. He’s tall and thin, with wispy black hair and narrow eyes. In the fall he often wears a lightweight black jacket, unzipped, and in the spring, button-up, plaid shirts. I’ve seen him almost...
Postcards: The Great Wall of China

Postcards: The Great Wall of China

August 19, 2011 It’s hot. A middle-aged Mongolian woman sits with a cooler full of plastic water bottles on the crumbling edge of one of the lookout towers on the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall. She wears long pants, a long-sleeved shirt with a pink t-shirt on top, and holds a floppy hat in...

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