In the spring of 2018 I had the good fortune to visit Japan with a group of students from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Led by Japanese students who came to Luskin to study, we had a whirlwind week visiting government officers, cultural landmarks, and other sites. Here are some of my favorite photos from the week (including a couple images from a long layover in Hong Kong).
I try to stay on top of my photos, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. At the beginning of October, I was invited to a dinner held as part of Identità Golose, a week of events at NYC Italian food mecca Eataly. Chefs Massimo Bottura, Andrea Migliaccio, Moreno Cedroni, and Ugo Alciati prepared four courses for guests, each highlighting a different aspect of Italian cooking. Camera in hand, I headed to the Flatiron District to check out the scene. Big thanks to Eataly for bringing me out to this great event and letting me try some fantastic food and drinks.
Massimo Bottura plating pasta
Moreno Cedroni prepping for his course
Working the pass
In the summer of 2012, I spent two weeks traveling through Vietnam with a group of Indiana University telecom students. The focus of the trip was filmmaking, but I tried to write as much as I could. I recently polished up an excerpt to use as a writing sample and liked it enough to share.
It’s just past 6am, and I’m enjoying my first morning in Hanoi. I’ve already been up for four hours filming a night market and it’s time for breakfast. I head back to the heart of the city and come across a small collection of chairs along the side of a busy road, where an older woman sits with several pots and thermoses of tea and coffee. Sipping strong green tea and looking out at Hoan Kiem Lake, I try to take in everything I’ve experienced in my first few hours in the city.
As I finish the tea and begin to walk back to my hotel, I remember hearing about a small market nearby. I veer off to search for it and come across another woman with another roadside collection of chairs. She’s selling pho, one of my favorite dishes in the world, and I decide to stop. Taking a seat on a plastic chair maybe eight inches off the ground, I order a bowl and prepare to eat.
This is a Flushing-bound 7 train. Your next stop is… Beijing.
I don’t need to tell you about Manhattan’s Chinatown. You’ve been there, or you’ve seen it in films or on television. New York’s oldest Chinese enclave is an amazing place. From the open-air fish markets to the cavernous dim sum palaces, it’s unlike anyplace else on the island. But from the high rents to the throngs of tourists, you never forget you’re in Manhattan.
Ride the train an hour from Canal Street and everything changes.
Getting off the 7 train at the end of the line puts you right on Main Street in Flushing, Queens. On a Wednesday afternoon, the area was bustling. People hurried between shops and restaurants, vendors handed out fliers, and cars and buses jockeyed for room on the street. Save for scattered English signage, it would be easy to believe the train out of Manhattan took you to a different country rather than a different borough.