Chapter 22 – Kahoo 香風

下面有中文。日本語は下記。

This past two weeks were tough. By now, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen and heard so much about the US Presidential Election that you are getting sick. I have never seen the country so divided – there are hate crimes all over the country, protests in metropolitan downtowns, mournings, fear and hate over social media, etc. To be honest, as a minority living here, I am just as scared and concerned as anybody, but I firmly believe it’s time to move on. United States is a democracy. The American people have made their choice, and we should respect that. For the non-Trump supporters, it is in timeslike this that we should stand up, work harder and make sure the next four years are going to be better. After all, the government can only do so much, and your life is what you make it.

 

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Chapter 21 – Mensho Tokyo

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Humor is difficult to translate over cultural and language barriers. Some cultures have black humors, some have sarcasms, while some others have talk shows and standup comedies. I have known this growing up, but it still hits me from time to time. Even when I make the same exact jokes, some people respond cheerfully with more humor, while others from a different culture may just get flat out furious. I find it an interesting yet frustrating phenomenon, but even to this day I still haven’t figured out how to react when people get ticked off by half-hearted jokes with no ill intentions.

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Chatper 20 – Udon Mugizo 麺処 麦蔵

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Welcome to the Ramen Vagabond, Chapter 20! Hooray! Who would have thought I would make it this far without giving up? For the Westerner readers out there, do you know I write about different things in Chinese and Japanese below? Of course I do talk about ramen with equal passion, but for the one paragraph on my personal update, I tend to just write whatever comes to mind when I think in that language. It’s funny how we behave a little differently when we talk in different languages. I am sure those of you multilinguals out there can relate. For those who only speak English, I really suggest picking up a second language because you won’t be able to see the world in different colors unless you understand different cultures, which starts from understanding different languages.

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Chapter 19 – Yamadaya 山田屋

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So, I’ve been thinking about life a lot. Even more so since my parents left. Life is pretty short, and time passes without you noticing. If we can only live 80 years in a lifetime, assuming you don’t run into any accident, then why are so many people living for tomorrow and not today? I am actually guilty of this myself too. I always think, “okay, I will move back to Asia in three to five years”, or “I will start my company when I have enough experience”. But I came to realize if you don’t do now what you want to do in the future, then you’d never do it. Don’t get me wrong- planning and waiting for the timing are critical, but what is even more important is to set strict timelines and start making your future the present.

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Chapter 18 – Myzen 美善

I’ve been introducing all the good ramens, so thought I’d mix it up a little by introducing a not-so-good one. Ha! Before I do that though, I want to say I have really become seriously homesick since my mom left on Saturday. This past entire week, I was pondering what happiness in life. Should I stay in the US or should I move back to Asia? Should I start another company or expand the restaurant? Should I work so hard towards financial freedom in my 20s and give up my time and “freedom” to travel the world or should I postpone the dream and be with family more? My friends said I’m just going through a quarter life crisis, when really, I am just thinking about how to balance living in the present against getting financially free in the future.

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Chapter 17 – Ramen Izakaya Yu-Gen 遊玄

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I sent my mom to the airport late yesterday. On the way, mom was being mom, repeating the same things over and over for countless times, and I was just rolling my eyes, playing along as if I was really listening. She did say one thing that echoes hard with my personal philosophy, however – “Life is short, so live today like it’s your last, and enjoy every single moment.” I often dream about becoming financially free in less than five years. And I think these two-three weeks away from work have once again solidified how much I hate working the 9-5 (or 7-4 in my case). I hate while I am weak and recovering at home, I still need to report to my managers. I hate how I am going to the doctor’s appointment, worrying about the little dwindling sick days I have left. I hate how now I used up all my sick days (5 days a year) and had to use my paid vacations. F*ck all that sh*t, seriously. I want to be in control of my own life, and decide where and when I want to work. But at the same time, mom’s always right. While I work to expand my restaurant business and personal finance, I also need to take things slow and learn to enjoy the present.

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Chapter 16 – Menya Inshou 麵屋印象

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Hey guys. Apologies for having kept you waiting. Last Wednesday, I had the biggest surgery in my life by far – an orthognathic surgery to correct my underbite. The operation was a success, and I can say now that I have recovered well (even still far from 100%) after only a week and a half. Having said that, however, until this past Thursday, I actually still had two metal tubes stuck in my nose to stabilize the cut below the base of the nose and the upper jaw, and could barely breathe. If you had asked me how I felt four days ago, I’d have told you I feel like shit because I was waking up every 30 minutes in my sleep, and could only breathe heavily through my mouth. Anyway, fast forward to now, I dropped down from 168lbs to below 156 now, which is a surprising side effect, I guess? The doc said liquid diet will continue for another five weeks, so hopefully I don’t drop below 150 and become a week ass pu**y.

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Chapter 15 – Shalala

For the entire week, I was reading “Pour Your Heart Into It” by Howard Schultz, the current CEO of Starbucks. I wanted to pick his brain on how to build a successful business, especially in the retail/restaurant industry now that I co-own a creperie. Before picking up the book, I was dreaming about how we can open Lily‘s one store after another, and gradually expand it to other parts of California, other states and eventually even to Asia. But now, I realized how naive I’d been and how much of a far-fetched goal that is…well, at least for now. The book talks about how Howard Schultz, turned his poor upbringing around, became the first university graduate and eventually made Starbucks a global phenomenon. Undoubtedly, a lot of these biographies or autobiographies often lengendize the protagonist and make their stories seem like overnight successes. However, one thing is for certain – that is his extraordinary passion and pride in Starbucks and her coffees.

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Chapter 14 – Himawari

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It’s been more than two weeks since the last post. I’m sure most of you have guessed – it’s because I’ve been incredibly busy with Lily’s again. So much has happened since we opened two months ago that it almost feels like a year has passed. First up, we swapped the ancient old register that contains weird, google-translate-like English with a more modern iPad application, Square. Second, our witty chef Mr.E and our sexy-ass store manager Mr. A caught two staff members stealing cash, and we had to let them go. Third, we redesigned the old menu (Shout out to a very dear friend in my tribe, Ms. P, for the help) and will have it go live starting tomorrow.  Now add all that with our normal day jobs, all three of us have been working 65+ hours per week, extremely sleep-deprived and desperately in need of some vacation.

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