A personal blog on gaming, travel and fiction. The author lives half in China and half in the US.
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I first read Honolulu several years ago, and this is the novel that sparked my interest in Hawaii. Before I read it, my mental picture of Hawaii was hulu, surfing, mainland American honeymooners, and the last Hawaiian queen (also through reading), I didn’t … Continue reading → The post Honolulu, Novel and Reality appeared first on Simpson's...
I first read Honolulu several years ago, and this is the novel that sparked my interest in Hawaii. Before I read it, my mental picture of Hawaii was hulu, surfing, mainland American honeymooners, and the last Hawaiian queen (also through reading), I didn’t realize quite the influence of Japanese, Korean and Chinese immigrants on Hawaiian life. This got me reading a lot more about Hawaii… which eventually led me to spend a month working on Oahu.
Jin, nicknamed Regret in a family that prefers sons, leaves her village in Korea and makes her way to Hawaii with a group of other picture brides. They’ve been promised to Korean men, but that’s just about the only thing that’s true about their husbands-to-be. Jin dreams of prosperity and romance in Honolulu, but her husband isn’t exactly a prince. She also dreams of earning enough money to rescue Blossom, a little girl promised as a small wife to Jin’s brother, and bring her to Hawaii. Although Jin has years of hardships and challenges in her new home, the story is ultimately uplifting and filled with the ohana spirit. Her Korean picture-bride girlfriends, Hawaiian Joe and Esther, and their complicated family, Jin’s second husband and children (spoiler alert!), and even her Japanese neighbors are all part of her ohana by the end of the novel.
I loved the mix of exotic, beautiful Hawaiian landscape and Jin’s personal adventures. Sure, Oahu a land of sunshine and bright flowers, but for a lot of the book, Jin is working in the pineapple-canning factory or sugar cane fields, not chilling at Waikiki. Since I was working pretty long hours myself on Oahu, I found myself thinking about this novel a lot. Being a worker in a place where everyone’s on vacation is a strange feeling. I mean, I had time to vacation afterwards, and that’s how I funded my trip, and I’m lucky to get to do that, but it’s a strange feeling to be working in a holiday destination.
Later, when I was done with classes, I went to stay in Waianae. When I was taking the bus from Waianae, I saw the old train tracks running between the bus route and the ocean, and I realized I was on Jin’s path. The bookish traveler’s dream. (There’s no train on Oahu, which blows my mind. There once was needed infrastructure! The tracks are still there! But you can’t take a train! You have to sit in traffic next to the train tracks!)
When I read, I bookmarked basically every place where Jin went to eat that was still around. I would have gone to try malasadas, masubis, and Hawaiian fusion meals anyway, but it was extra fun to do it after reading about them.
For my last week in Oahu, I booked a room in a hale in Waianae. When I mentioned this, several coteachers in Kaneohe warned me about Waianae, suggested I cancel and stay somewhere else, and told me to keep my … Continue reading → The post Waianae Dreams appeared first on Simpson's...
For my last week in Oahu, I booked a room in a hale in Waianae. When I mentioned this, several coteachers in Kaneohe warned me about Waianae, suggested I cancel and stay somewhere else, and told me to keep my car locked and my eyes on my wallet all the time. Joke’s on them, I don’t have a car!
But actually, Waianae is my dream vacation neighborhood. The lava coastline is so beautiful it kind of hurts. In the mornings, I’d go drink a coffee and read on the rocks, and I’d only see a few grandpas out fishing, and maybe a dog-walker, peacefully enjoying the beach.
There are tasty plate lunches, Chinese and “Chinese” meals, diner food, and beachy seafood all for under $10. But put a fork in your bag, because most of this deliciousness is sold at counters or stands, where everything is disposable. Prices for food and coffee were literally a third of what they were in Honolulu and Waikiki, and no one seemed to be in a hurry here, so I often found myself chatting instead of getting hustled out to turn the table.
And Waianae’s on the bus line to Honolulu for all the other touristing I wanted to do! To me, Waianae is like Bed-Stuy or Jersey City or whatever, only with stunning natural beauty. Just a regular working-class neighborhood, plus endless rainbows, epic mountains and wild hibiscus flowers all around.
About a week into my Hawaii trip, I was feeling a little underwhelmed with Oahu. I guess I wasn’t expecting the levels of beach trash and homelessness, and I thought it was particularly jarring right next to the boutiques and … Continue reading → The post In Honolulu: Foster Botanical Gardens appeared first on Simpson's...
About a week into my Hawaii trip, I was feeling a little underwhelmed with Oahu. I guess I wasn’t expecting the levels of beach trash and homelessness, and I thought it was particularly jarring right next to the boutiques and resorts of Waikiki. Also, my work turned out to be 7ish hours of English instruction, plus an additional 60 or so hours of child-wrangling. I wasn’t having a bad time on Oahu, it was just kind of underwhelming.
So on my first day off, I took the bus down to Chinatown and walked up to Foster Botanical Gardens. Honolulu Chinatown is pretty great, too, all my familiar sights and smells, with the gorgeous weather and natural beautiful of the island. The botanical gardens are right beside the temple of Kwan Yin. I didn’t spend too much time there, because it’s an active temple, and there were worshippers praying and lighting incense.
You guys, this part is how I imagined Hawaii. Tropical flowers and strange trees, arranged with quiet benches and meandering walks. Entering felt sort of like Central Park, when you walk a little bit in and the traffic sounds fade.
The flowers, you guys, are just a riot of colors. One of the reasons I can’t bear New England winters is the lack of color. Every winter, I force hyacinths indoors to get some color, and every spring I’m newly delighted by the return of warmth and color. It’s just grey for so long in Massachusetts, without color to break it up. Meanwhile, in Hawaii, in January, the frangipani trees drop their bright blooms at the perfect stage to pick them up, and tuck them into your hair. That’s the everyday frangipani trees, next to the sidewalk, not even the special ones in the gardens.
With the scent of incense drifting across from the temple of Kwan Yin next door, my walk in these gardens was the absolute dream of a tropical island.
I read The Islands At The End of The World on the plane to Honolulu, along with Big Little Lies. I’d been reading a lot about Hawaii before my trip, and I’m always interested in post-apocalyptic stories, so I enjoyed … Continue reading → The post Leaving for Hawaii: The Islands At The End Of The World appeared first on Simpson's...
I read The Islands At The End of The World on the plane to Honolulu, along with Big Little Lies. I’d been reading a lot about Hawaii before my trip, and I’m always interested in post-apocalyptic stories, so I enjoyed this story about surviving on Oahu after electronics mysteriously fail worldwide. Teenage Leilani and her dad are on Oahu for Leilani’s experimental epilepsy treatment when communications and electricity start to fail, and in the new world that opens, they have to use their wits to survive and make it back home to Leilani’s mom, grandfather, and little brother. It’s a solid adventure story, with believable post-civilization social factions and a supernatural twist. (It’s also the first post-apocalyptic story I’ve read in which a girl loots a razor to shave her legs, and, honestly, I get it. I’d be looting cosmetics and plucking my eyebrows in the post-civilization world.)
But I have to say that I didn’t fully get this novel until I was in Hawaii, and had been here a couple weeks. A lot of the story relies on an understanding of Hawaii and Hawaiian life, on the simultaneous nearness and incredible distance of the islands, and one the constant contrast of old and new lives. I thought of this book when friends noticed the wild chickens running around, and joked that Hawaiians could catch and pick a dinner if they wanted. I thought of this book when I saw the gorgeous beaches and plastic trash.
The whole thing really shows the exploitation of Hawaii for (foreign) tourism, from the weird lack of ferries between islands (which still completely blows my mind — how is there no commuter line or tourist cruise between the islands???) to the conflict between locals and visitors, Hawaiians and haoles, wealthy and struggling, all just under the surface on these beautiful islands.
The post Leaving for Hawaii: The Islands At The End Of The World appeared first on Simpson's Paradox.
Dear Megan, Congratulations! If you are receiving this email your degree was conferred by Lindenwood University on December 30th, 2018. To recognize this, you will receive one free issued-to-student official transcript to the address listed above. Your transcript will feature … Continue reading → The post Done or Whatever appeared first on Simpson's...
Congratulations! If you are receiving this email your degree was conferred by Lindenwood University on December 30th, 2018. To recognize this, you will receive one free issued-to-student official transcript to the address listed above. Your transcript will feature your recently conferred degree and can serve as verification of your completed program.
In the meantime, I will be placing an order for your diploma through Herff Jones on 1/16/19. Once Herff Jones receives the order, your diploma will arrive in 5-8 weeks. Please review your name as it appears in this email. That is how it will look on your diploma. In addition, if the address listed above is incorrect, you must respond to this email with your updated address before I place the order on 1/16/19. You will be responsible for a reprint fee if your diploma is delivered to the wrong address. Thank you, congratulations again, and best wishes for all of your future endeavors!
There is nothing I could write that sums up my feelings about my grad school experience as well as this mailmerge email telling me I get one free transcript to prove I went to grad school. Also, my diploma will come at some point in the future, and the university is definitely not responsible for knowing my name or anything. (Unless I miss a student loan payment, then they’ll be able to find me just fine.)
Molten Heart has the same optimism, risk, friendships and danger that I love in the TV season (and that sucked me into the Ninth Doctor, too). Continue reading → The post Lucky Thirteen appeared first on Simpson's Paradox.
I knew I was going to like it because, you know, friends going on space adventures, but honestly whenever I saw some fanboy moaning about too many ladies having too much screentime, or why science fiction “suddenly” turned political, I knew it was going to be extra good.
A few years ago, I used to fall asleep watching old Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, and drift off thinking about the space friends. If you’re ever in a toxic workplace, the fantasy of common goals, competent coworkers, time for hobbies and friends is pretty good. Even when everything’s fine, I just really like space, adventures and optimism.
Anyway, I like the newest Doctor Who TV show so much that Harold got me some of the Thirteenth Doctor comics, BUT it’s the stupid serial format with cliffhangers and weeks between them, which is not at all how I like to read comics. I think I’m going to wait for the trade, instead, so I can bingeread my comics like an adult.
I bought one of the spinoff novels, Molten Heart. It reads like a longer ep, with more internal monologue, especially from Yaz. There’s more space for character growth, too. Or, in certain cases, some spot-on character stagnancy, like when Ryan just switches to past tense for Ash’s missing dad, because he’s Ryan and he has gigantic father issues. The characters are so good that I hear their dialogue in the actors’ voices — also can we talk about how this season’s companions are actually very good at taking direction and not needing rescue every 10 minutes? Yes.
The author is a creative writing prof at Anglia Ruskin, which makes me want to immediately go sign up for a creative writing PhD (Wait, didn’t I just finish my MFA about 5 minutes ago? Didn’t I just drag myself to the academic finish line?) so I can learn how to do that, too.
Molten Heart has the same optimism, risk, friendships and danger that I love in the TV season (and that sucked me into the Ninth Doctor, too). I’m really enjoying the complete lack of Daleks, Cybermen or the Master this season. Classic Who is fine, but I feel like all of those classic enemies has been taken just about as far as those storylines can go. I don’t want to find just one more final Dalek, again. Molten Heart has a new enemy, which can be read as an allegory for climate change denial, but also works as another beautiful, dangerous planet, in need of the Doctor and friends. So good, you guys.
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