January 5, 2023
Shin Okubo, the most international part of Tokyo
At 30 percent non-Japanese residents, Shin Okubo is perhaps the most international neighbourhood of Tokyo. I come here whenever I want to pretend to be Korean or Nepalese or Vietnamese.
December 30, 2022
Sona, a new hiding place in Vientiane
Late at night, I was looking for a respite from the cold. I found Sona on the Lan Xang avenue just about 150 meters from my stay.
December 20, 2022
The land of million elephants
In school I used to learn about Lao as the land of a million elephants (Lan Xang: Million Elephants). Now I know Lao as the place with the fastest train in South East Asia.
November 30, 2022
Rainy night in Yangon
I found some photos of an early water resistant phone test, I think it was iPhone 8 from 2018. I miss Burma and the rains. During this season the buildings turn green with moss.
November 12, 2022
Mentos with lunch
We get mentos with our bun dau mam tom.
The culprit is the mam tom, the pungent shrimp sauce. Some people, including many Vietnamese, don’t like the smell. It can be divisive, like Nato in Japan or the Durian in Singapore. Hence the mentos for when you get back to civilisation.
Notice also the 1980s design of the shop, appealing to nostalgia. Now I miss Hanoi. Let’s go there soon.
November 10, 2022
Deep in the alley
Inside an alley in Saigon, Hoa showed me a hidden vegetarian place.
The nice thing about inner alleys is that most neighbours house doors are open. This lets us eavesdrop on their lives. We try to imagine their backstories.
This is 68/11 Le Van Sy. If you don’t find it at first, keep walking deep into the alley. Something wonderful is always found.