Thanksgiving Comfort Food

I have gotten pretty used to non-traditional Thanksgiving dinners. Since 2005, I have made it to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving with my family precisely once, and four of those years away have been in China, where turkey and stuffing can be hard to come by. Like The Atlantic’s Matt Schiavenza, I have turned to a ChineseContinue reading “Thanksgiving Comfort Food”

LA Review of Books: The UC System Is Failing Its Graduate Students

What I didn’t completely understand when I accepted UC Irvine’s offer of admission almost six years ago was that I wasn’t just enrolling in a school; I was marrying a university system. And the UC system, I have learned, is one of the most dysfunctional families imaginable. The latest episode to stir up graduate studentContinue reading LA Review of Books: The UC System Is Failing Its Graduate Students”

Bookshelf: Around India in 80 Trains

When I served as a chaperone for a group of UC Irvine students on a three-week tour of India in 2010, our in-country guide clearly had no intention of letting us step foot on an Indian train. Though trains running between Delhi and Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, cover the journey in onlyContinue reading “Bookshelf: Around India in 80 Trains

The Invasion of the GIANT ANTS

I have seen a lot of bugs since moving to Shanghai, but never have I seen ants this big. Or this colorful. The giant ants comprise a small sculpture exhibit located outside a mall on West Nanjing Road (just west of the intersection with Huashan Road, if you’re in Shanghai and want to check themContinue reading “The Invasion of the GIANT ANTS”

Halloween in the ’Hai

Family and friends often ask me how Western holidays are celebrated in China. Christmas decorations are very popular here now, particularly in luxury malls, and young couples have embraced Valentine’s Day wholeheartedly. But Halloween hasn’t really caught on yet. One of the things that surprised me when I was in Hong Kong was seeing howContinue reading “Halloween in the ’Hai”

LA Review of Books: Hong Kong, Beyond the Neon Lights

I deliberately didn’t write much here about what I did during my Hong Kong trip in the middle of October, because I knew I wanted to save that material for my next LA Review of Books China Blog post. That’s now online, so here’s the story of my experiences walking two heritage trails in theContinue reading LA Review of Books: Hong Kong, Beyond the Neon Lights”