On Storytelling

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

― Philip Pullman

A colleague today — all at once a mentee, mentor, and equal — said something in passing today.

“You know what we need? We need to have a story; we don’t have one right now,” she said, lamenting our organization’s ongoing battle to effectively pass on both triumphs and hard-learnt lessons to future generations of our leaders. Her statement wasn’t untrue. It also wasn’t anything mindblowingly special with or without context — it wasn’t a novel idea, and surely many other organizations of all kinds have struggled to understand, internalize, and brand their narrative.

It struck me, however, like a bolt of lightning (as most things I agree with but forget tend to do to me upon remembering).

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of walruses and carpenters; a non-coherent personal reflection on 2016

Photo from Alice-in-Wonderland.net

Something I try — but very often fail — to do during year-end holidays is to reflect on my Gregorian calendar year and write resolutions for the upcoming one. I last published a reflection for 2015, but failed (for whatever reason) to create goals for 2016. Continue Reading…

Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations; A Reflection on JASC 68

You’d think that after a year of trials and triumphs, I’d have grown up from the whole using-cheesy-nerdy-quotes-as-blogpost-titles, but no. Apparently the longest group project of my life was unable to change at least that about me.

At any rate, last year I wrote an overly long (the length is for me and my memories, not your judgment thanks very much) reflection on my experience as a delegate of the 67th Japan-America Student Conference. You can find it here, but the long short of it is that I had a profound blast and ended up as one of the 8 American delegates tasked with running (from soup to nuts!!) the 68th conference in August 2016.

This is my account of the 68th conference.

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tasting 2015 twice


So I have this blog, right, and when I so craftily titled it, I found the name “Tasting Life Twice,” which comes from French-Cuban literatus Anais Nin in the quote as follows:

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

It’s a beautiful, romantic concept — perfect for the blog of a conceptual romantic. Perfect for someone who still thinks studying abroad is about scurrying after professors in robes at architecturally aged institutions with notebook in hand, not a frat boy’s international clubbing dream. Perfect for someone who excitedly signs up for everything that can be signed up for because they believe in the mission or some vague idea of mentorship, leadership, and servitude — not someone who decidedly utilizes the word “no” both to others and to themselves.

Perfect — in an imperfect world.

With respect to the above, I find it oddly fitting — dare I say even romantic — that my annual resolution check-in blog post be titled in reflection of the blog’s original intentions. Perhaps the better word is “ironic,” not romantic, seeing as the number of times I blogged in 2015 can be counted on one hand.

Still, there is some merit in sitting back and analyzing the past 12 months as I prepare for another year of who-knows-what. This is my 2015 reflection. Continue Reading…

The ‘Cult of Busy’ and its Consequences

In my social circles, I am notoriously known for being “busy,” overbooked, and largely unavailable. This is not a bragging point — this is fact — and I’m not proud of it at all.

There is one point I’d like to address in what will be one of the most poorly organized blog posts I will ever write: the ‘Cult of Busy.” I know I can’t play the victim card —  I am the author of my own destiny and I made poor choices.

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