Monday, August 31, 2009

going down the only road i've ever known

the last time I woke up, I was in Ilsan, South Korea, at a co-worker's apartment;
the time before that, I was in the south of Beijing, at Paco's apartment.

As this morning dawns, I arise at my parents' house in Delaware; and, tonight, I'll be laying my head to rest at my new apartment in New Haven.

After 77 days in South Korea - 55 days of work - and 7 days' vacation in China, it's time to go back to school.

what will this year be called?

Friday, August 21, 2009


For the past work week, I've had a steady tension building, a bubbling froth in the pit of my stomach that sends my mind into a joyfully-wound knot. I'm a kid on Christmas Eve.

There's a saying among certain circles of society, memorialized in The Wire as such: "There are only two days you serve in prison: the day you go in, and the day you get out."

My bags are packed: one lies in a co-worker's apartment, awaiting my return to Seoul eight days hence, and another, half-empty, lies open next to my door. My passport, wallet, and ticket information sit, stacked neatly, on my desk. I've long since stripped my bed of its accoutrements, tucked away in the former piece of luggage, and I lie on the comforter provided, alongside the mattress, by my company.

Reflexive soul-searching will seize its own kairos; for now, I'm just chilling out.

I can't remember the last time I felt this roiling anticipation: probably last summer, preparing to leave for China. Of course, this time, there's an additional tool thrown into the machinery: the palpable, albeit slim, chance of China's vigilance in public health abruptly shutting down my hopes of a leisurely week.

And before that? The strongest association which I can provide is from my youth: the hour before arriving at a beloved summer camp, driving our way out of Delaware, stopping in Philadelphia for lunch, approaching on the winding Pennsylvania foothills. Me barbaric with a pent-up boil of preparation, banging on the ceiling of our old Volvo sedan, ecstatic. So.

In approximately 8.5 hours, I fly out to Beijing; God willing, I'll make it through customs with no hold-up and emerge on the other side of my 7 days off before returning to the States. I've heard that China has started blocking blogspot; if so, communication may be infrequent. So, for now

I lay me down to sleep

Monday, August 17, 2009

Visions of Seoul II

Signs that the end is near:

During my work hours, I have begun to refer to myself - and request that my students follow suit - by an ever-lengthening series of esoteric pseudonyms, of increasing complexity.

At first, it started by requesting that my students refer to me as "J-dogg"; after which, it was followed by "the J-dizzle". Today, I called myself "Big Teacher J".

Extrapolating, by Friday, I will have assumed an entirely new alter ego.

Additionally, I have begun referring to myself in the third person. I.e. "You know the J-dogg don't play like that." "Yall now flying with the big J-dizzle, a/k/a Big Teacher J."

Edit (7:28 PM): I thought of another one this afternoon.

They can also call me "The J Train".

Edit (Friday, August 21): Plan succeeded admirably. Students have taken to calling me J-dogg. One student even wrote it in his essay.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

BUSTOUT Summer 2009 Line 2

my homeboys in 北京 stay cooking up the flyest gear I've ever seen. After the recent launch of BUSTOUT Girl, they are back at it with a full line of tees and some new rock-inspired corduroy pants.

On a personal note: these days, I've been seeing my personal taste in fashion mature a little bit: I'm more likely to head towards a nearby Uniqlo or wear something from Staple Design, A.P.C., or Band of Outsiders if I want to get fresh. But if I'm in the mood to wear something a little looser and more streetwise, more and more my staples - apart from the occasional piece of early-2000s BAPE - are all coming from the BUSTOUT collection.

God willing, I'll be kicking it in Beijing in about a week, and picking up every piece of the following... and more...

Summer 2009 drop 2: Tees

Summer 2009 drop 2: pants

Summer 2009 drop 2: caps

Modelled by part-time Jay Chou impersonator and full-
time store staff JACKAL.


for the ladies down with the movement.

BUSTOUT: Street We Are... international?

these happy golden days

As I lazed about my Korean apartment, preparing for the final week of my summer employment, I realized, abruptly, that I yet have, stewing at the bottom of my to-do list, forgotten in the piles of half-written blog posts and abortively discursive discourse, the last few weeks' worth of pictures from the Spring semester.



Wherein Emily Chen and I ramble around New Haven.



The sun glared down on us so reprovingly that neither
of us could muster the indecency to gaze back,

Yale's famed Peabody Museum - home base and patron
institution of seminal paleontologist O.C. Marsh - is one
of the few major sights around New Haven to which I
had never previously addressed myself. Finding
ourselves nearby, Emily and I had a look in.






This one was for Ray.


SBTG Dunk SB Lows.

At lunch with a friend, he mentioned his work on
the Commencement Issue of the YDN; seeing that I
had effectively skipped half of my own
Commencement Week festivities, I never had the
chance to peruse the 2008 edition. The archives of
the YDN, however, are voluminous, and easily
called-upon when a YDN staffer is at hand.

Thanks D!

Congratulations Nancy (and Max)!


K and Mo were hanging out, so, you know.

Like a kangaroo.

My Tiffany Dunk SB Lows matched K's... t-shirt
apron hybrid?

Forlorn, waiting for Ben, in a cape we scavenged.

The guys and gals (and me).

Ms. Bryan dropped by Esther's room for a minute.

Then we all played: tag and hide and go seek, on Old
Campus, in the dark, crashing into rows of neatly-
arranged chairs; ultimate frisbee on Cross Campus.


I was in Erin, Mieka, and Lillian's room
catching up with Erin and hanging out.

This insect was HUGE.

At the time, I described it as a dragon-moth,
or perhaps a raptor hybrid. I still stick to my


Steve was in town, and wanted to get a haircut; Ray and
I tagged along, and Ray followed suit.


Chinese barbers ftw.


Dinner with a group of the charming men and women of
Living Water (and friend).

D.Tam looking fly





Graduation 2009!

As I waited for the ceremonies to start, I ran into not
one, but two of my former suitemates: Charlie and
Rhasaan had shown up to join the proceedings for the

Sandi and I linked up for a large amount of the day's

EGO86 tag, Davenport courtyard, New Haven, CT.
I hadn't even remembered this was there...

Mr. Nicholas Pierson.

Mr. Wilbur Hu

Ms. Mieka Sanderson

Mr. Lucas Kwong.

Ms. Joshu I Sky

The family Sky.

For the past few years, after each of the individual
Residential College ceremonies wrap up, a group of
graduates, alumni, and friends gather together at the
Women's Table, on the Rose Walk, for a final send-off.

Ms. Anne Lucinda Lee.

Mr. Eric Klein and Mr. Kyle Gong.

Mr. Jaeyoung Yang and Mr. Joseph Oh.


The day after graduation, I headed into NYC to spend
the day variously catching up with friends, having my
Korean work visa interview, and so on.

A few of the guys from the Navigators ministry at
UMass-Amherst also needed to do a visa run for their
upcoming summer missions trip to the Philippines, so
they drove into town, parked at my apartment, and
we headed out in a large mass (transit).

Mr. Joel Lee.

The scene on the train.

Tags in Manhattan.

After a quick processing time through the Korean
consulate, Emily Chen - who was also in town,
awaiting her late afternoon flight out to the West
Coast - and I met up in midtown Manhattan.

Tom Sachs' Hello Kitty installation.

Proceeding to Grand Central, we met up with Lucas

Then headed over to Yup's place. man, Yup has some amazing
clothes, and one of the best wardrobe solutions I've ever seen: if you
lack closet space, just make your entire wall your closet.

I want his room some day.


Lucas and me: "?"
Emily: "AGGGH"

The three of us then motivated our way back to Grand
Central, where Yup joined us to escort Emily onto the
airport shuttle bus.



Last time I'll be seeing this girl for a couple years.

After seeing Emily and Yup off to the airport, Luke and I found
ourselves in a not-uncommon state when we're together: hungry.

We called Steve up and found that he had just finished work; so, we
decided to all head over to Koreatown and grab a fresh Korean
meal, to celebrate my heading to Korea and eating plenty of Korean
food this summer.

My homeboys.

Bibimbap... yo they did it good there.

Best of all, Ms. Taryn Nakamura had just completed
the first day of her summer internship; calling her up,
we discovered that her job site (with the Asian-
American Writers' Workshop) was literally across the
street from the restaurant at which we were located.


Banchan, with the mad taste.

Afterward, pinkberry.

Lucas, despairing of ever having his name spelled correctly at a fast
food location.
(label reads: LUCS)

Parting ways, Lucas headed up to Columbia, Taryn to
her summer sublet, and Stephen and myself to his
place in the pj's.

After kicking it with Stephen for a while, I got a text
from the UMass boys that said they were with our
boy Landon (of the NYU navigators), and headed
uptown for the night. I made haste and hit the
subway system, meeting up with them on a shady
platform around midnight. By 12:30, we were safely
ensconced in Harlem House.


Look carefully.


I try.

Got the ill flavors (Soho, NYC)

Homeboy Dallas got me linked up via twitter with his girl sooey, a
fellow young, fly, trend-setting 2nd-Generation Asian-American
intellect. Knowing that we were both in the area, I hollered at
homegirl to connect, politic, ditto.

Note Sooey has the lime nail polish...

...matching her AM95 retro's in the OG colorway.

Sister got it made.