Life in Taiwan

Camphor: From Totoro to Taiwan

Does anyone else remember the name of the giant tree that Totoro likes to sleep in? For some reason, this detail has stuck with me to this day-- "camphor". And that's probably the last time I encountered this word in English. In Chinese however, you'll encounter the word for camphor 樟腦 in everyday life. It pops… Continue reading Camphor: From Totoro to Taiwan

How I Learn Languages

Ask a Native Speaker: How do you feel when Chinese-Learners Speak to you in Chinese?

Since coming to Yale, many Chinese-learners have tried to speak Chinese to me, and it always made me feel awkward. For me, language is a means to an end, so if we're both most fluent in English, why not just speak in it? (Longer piece on my personal feelings here). I started to wonder if… Continue reading Ask a Native Speaker: How do you feel when Chinese-Learners Speak to you in Chinese?

Life · Life in Korea

“So you WEREN’T interested in Korean Culture?”

The conversation usually starts with them asking me why I wanted to come to Korea or how I got started learning Korean. Unlike most people who study Korean, I wasn’t drawn in by Korean pop culture. I was interested in exploring a new country, and the best option happened to be Korea.   So far,… Continue reading “So you WEREN’T interested in Korean Culture?”

Life in Korea

How I Made $30 Eating Tofu (and musings on the future of the bean curd)

Today, I taste-tested various tofu samples for Pulmuone 풀무원 (pronounced "poor-moo-won"), apparently the largest manufacturer of tofu products in the world.  It was such a delectable experience that when the nice food scientist asked if she could contact us regarding future "tests," my friend and I immediately said yes. We had six sets of samples in… Continue reading How I Made $30 Eating Tofu (and musings on the future of the bean curd)