Archive for the 'Dins' Category

Unpacking continues…

Saturday, September 16th, 2006

There’re so many boxes left to open…

Given how many things we lost in the horrendous scramble to pack up the room in June, I’m now calling it “The Great Move-Out Disaster of 2006”.  We lost bathroom accessories, our futon, our new bike, my Madagascan tea… and more.  Tragic.

In other news, I’ve finally started sorting out my pictures, and I’ve put up the best 200 or so on Flickr.  So go see the pictures from Dins World Tour 2006

Singing at Sentosa (7 Aug 2006)

Saturday, September 16th, 2006


Singing at Sentosa (7 Aug 2006)

Originally uploaded by J Y.

It has been years since I’d last seen the Musical Fountain on Sentosa, so when we first arrived I was initially taken aback by how grand and beautiful the setting was for the Dins’ performance.

From left: Steve, Jon C, Rowan, Colby, Jon W, Evan, Adam, Sam, Ricardo, Jeff, me, Alan

Din Bodybuilding…?! (12 Jun 2006)

Saturday, September 16th, 2006
 


Din Bodybuilding…?! (12 Jun 2006)
Originally uploaded by J Y.

An international bodybuilding competition was being held in the same arts/performance complex where we were singing in Dublin. Naturally we took the opportunity to fool around on the stage.

From left: Evan, Adam, Sam, Ricardo, Rowan, Jon, Jeff, Steve, me

Roman Holiday (8 Jul 2006)

Saturday, September 16th, 2006


Roman Holiday (8 Jul 2006)

Originally uploaded by J Y.

We spent a day lounging by the pool at a summer villa outside of Rome that belonged to Marco, our host and president of the Harvard Club of Rome.

From left: Marco, Jeff, me, Donatella (Marco’s mother)

One, two… Go!

Monday, September 4th, 2006

Whew!  Almost done with the summer.  It’s now down to the last couple of days in Singapore, and boy is there a considerable bunch of stuff to get done.  Most of it’s accomplished, or near-accomplished, at least.  The furs are being stitched, the bags are partly packed, the lenses and recordings have been ordered, the dinners have been scheduled.

There are a couple of things that have gone undone, of course.  I read just four of the dozen books I lugged from school, I didn’t get to type up my FW 06/07 (and FW 07/08) style reviews and I never got to peruse The Student Body (not that this is a significant regret, from what I can tell).  Oh well.

Bangkok was both relaxing and enjoyable.  The pre-flight massage I got in the airport was wonderful.  The hotel was familiar and comfortable.  The shopping was good, as always.  The food, however… meh.  It was alright, but I wasn’t inspired by anything other than the rhume I had that last night.

Just two more days.  I’m looking forward to driving to school from NYC.

And I promise pictures!  Eventually!! 🙂

I left my heart….

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

That’s all folks – the Harvard Din & Tonics World Tour 2006 is officially over. In less than three hours I will be headed to the airport for my second trans-Pacific flight in four days. Which means another day in transit, a day lost to the time-difference and a day lost to jetlag. Nonetheless I’m excited to be home again soon.

Tonight I’ve come away with an overwhelming sense of closure and completion, 11 weeks after we first left Boston at the start of tour. We’ve all come a long way since then: as a group, as individuals, and certainly for me, as an individual within the group. As many people will attest, tour has done wonders for my standing within the group and with the other Dins. Given that I’d never really had time to hang out or get to know these guys really well during the past year (or two years, even), it’s such a joy for me now to look around at what truly are my best friends in the world and know that I have never felt so loved, accepted, appreciated and connected with any other group of people at Harvard. No doubt about it. This is everything I ever dreamed of way back in the day six years ago when I dreamed of having a group of college buddies and dreamed of being a Din. It’s been everything I’d ever dreamed of and hoped for and then so much more.

Jeff made me cry, which really surprised and moved me. I will miss him so much as he moves away to begin his vetenarian training.

I’m so happy for Sam, who got to have the same wonderful homecoming experience here in San Francisco that I had in Singapore.

Jon said some really lovely things, and that meant a lot to me, to feel like we’ve moved past and beyond our relationship before tour.

I’m not going to mention everyone by name, but I’m thinking fondly of you guys, all of you. Tonight I said just about all of what I wanted to say to each of you, so you should all know how special you are to me. I love you all so, so much!

It was so great to be able to spend time today with Uncle Kwong, Aunt Jenny, Malcolm and Forrest today, and so exciting to see them at the concert last night, right in the first row! *waves* Hi guys!! Thanks for coming! I’ll see you all again soon in Cambridge and/or Singapore!

And Lu-en! It was really lovely of you to drive for an hour from Stanford through rush-hour traffic to meet me in the city. It meant a lot for me to be able to chat with you and catch up on what you’re doing and hear about the life you’ve made for yourself here in California. Thank you also for the impromptu grad-school advising – I’m definitely going to start getting my act together… soon! 🙂 I can only hope it is not another two years before I see you again… Keep in touch!

Down-time

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Sydney is such a gorgeous city, I almost feel guilty that I’ve done nothing touristy, nor have I really ventured out of the house on my own.  I’ve been put on my own at a lovely homestay, successful American expatriates (Wharton and HBS grads) who left on vacation the day after I arrived, leaving me with the run of their tastefully devorated home, their aging golden retriever, Trooper, and their almost-six daughter, Eloise.  I’ve been getting on great with Claire, the English nanny/PA at my homestay, and I’m perfectly content to laze around reading my book and watching FTV on the plasma-screen in the den.  In many ways it’s been like being on retreat by myself at a spa – I’ve been up before 8am each day, I’ve been to the gym twice with Claire and despite the *huge* Australian servings at restaurants I’ve been eating fairly moderately and healthily.  Fairly.

It’s surreal how much happens in the world when you’re travelling for over two months and fall out of the loop with the news, your friends and family.  In that time Indonesia has had an earthquake, a tsunami, a volcano eruption, and the world’s worst human death toll from bird flu.  Bombs went off in Mumbai.  A massive terrorist plot was revealed at Heathrow.  America experienced her hottest months and days on record (and suffered a spate of power outages).  Lebanon and Israel went to war, and reached a fragile UN-brokered ceasefire.

And then there are all the personal developments closer to home.  Someone’s changed jobs, others have graduated or begun new courses, new couples have been formed or are coalescing.

All while I wasn’t looking, or paying attention.

I *am* excited to be starting school again soon.  If only I could scrape together the time to get a whole bunch of different things done…  the stuff for Amy, the stuff for Rebecca.  Looks like the work is all cut out to be done.  Guess I should get a move on…

PS:  Bali was beautiful, Jakarta managed to turn into a Jon-style Choshi City for me, and Singapore was everything I hoped it would be, and more.  I couldn’t have asked for more.  Thank you, God!  (And Mother, and Janine!)

For this is where I know I’m home….. !!!

Sunday, August 6th, 2006

I’m home!  Actually, truly, physically home!!  It’s a wonderful feeling, and so far the rest of the group really likes the city too, which makes me all warm and fuzzy inside 😀

I know have a Singapore hp number: 8132 8422, so call me 🙂

Come see me sing with the Dins at the Esplanade Recital Studio on 8 Aug at either 7pm or 9pm – tickets are available through Sistic at: http://www.sistic.com.sg/cms/events/index.html?content=392

More updates when I’m not rushing around leading the group etc. etc.

I still *love* tour.

Another travel day, another all-nighter

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Ok, we’re leaving Kyoto today, in about 90 minutes.  It’s past 5.30am right now, and I’ve recently gotten back from a lovely night out in Kyoto (my only night out in this city, in fact).  Some other Dins met some lovely American/Japanese-American girls at the hot springs they visited today, and these girls in turn took us out on the town and we had a marvellous time clubbing the night away.

As usual, there is really too much to say, and I also need to go pack, shower and potentially take a half hour nap before we leave our very nice hotel here (the Takaragaike Prince Hotel), which somehow has surprisingly few facilities – in particular, no pool, gym or fitness facilities of any kind.  So I will instead leave a bunch of impressions I’ve been meaning to share:

– I love how the Japanese taxicab drivers all have neat, livery-style uniforms, and also that they can open the cab door with the touch of a botton (that even controls how far the door swings open).

– I’ve noticed that the Japanese all use full-sized (ie not compact/collapsible) umbrellas, which are often very fancy, and that every store will have an umbrella rack outside the door.

– I love how the Japanese can often be spotted wearing hats.  Yay headgear!

– I *love*love*love* Japanese supermarkets, which are filled with nothing but cool Japanese products and foodstuffs.  Kawaii!! 🙂

– I’m amused by how much aural stimulation occurs here – almost everything talks to you (bus stops, toilets, vending machines) and prattles on constantly.  This also includes any kind of service/hospitality-related transaction; for instance a cashier ringing you up will give an uninterrupted running commentary which I can only guess (since I don’t speak Japanese) goes something like: “Good morning, I see you are buying a bag of chips.  Let me scan that and tell you the price, which is 200 yen.  As you hand me two hundred yen in cash let me put the chips in a carrier for you, together with your receipt. Thank you very much for your purchase, have a nice day and please shop again with us soon.  Goodbye!”

– I’m very impressed with the French restaurant in the hotel, which has served us our (free!) dinners at place settings of Noritake bone china, Christofle silverware and Schott Zweisel stemware.  Very classy.

Kyoto dreaming…

Monday, July 17th, 2006

Sorry for the hiatus in blog posts…  For the past couple of weeks practically every free moment I have has been spent trying to arrange details for the Dins’ stop in Singapore from Aug 5-8.  It’s going to be an exciting, performance-packed stop, I think.

The Dins will perform two concerts at the Esplanade Recital Studio on 8 Aug 2006 (Tuesday) at 7pm and 9pm.  Tickets will go on sale via Sistic on 26 July, and are quite limited, so be sure to book early!  One night only!!  🙂

Anyway, greetings from Kyoto, Japan, the 13th stop on the Dins World Tour 2006.  I’ve only been here about 12 hours, but already I absolutely *love* Japan.  The culture of such exacting manners and neatness, technology-fuelled efficiency and convenience, as well as a passion for high-quality fashion all appeal strongly to my sensibilities.

Incidentally, in Prague I managed to get my lugagge replaced with very little hassle, curtesy of Lufthansa.  I brought in my ruined suitcase to an authorised repair shop, the woman there looked at it and then gave me a brand new Samsonite bag that was approximately the same as my original (though a touch smaller).  Problem solved.  Praise God!

I liked Prague a lot.  Such a charming, romantic city.  And such beautiful people and postcards too.

We just arrived today in Kyoto from Shanghai, China.  I’d never been to Shanghai before, and boy was that an eye-opener.  The city was truly a marvel of frenzied construction and booming prosperity.  Yet everything seemed so incredibly cheap to our Zurich-jaded wallets (where a small bottle of water was 4 CHF, about 3 USD).  A fair number in the group caught the men’s fashion bug (I’m so proud! :)) and were ecstatic over the pretty fine tailoring that was available for so little…  I had two shirts made just to try it out, and they both turned out really well.  Especially considering that they cost less than US$9 each.  I also went to the tailor Uncle Soon Lee recommended (also named “Jason”, which was confusing), and ordered a piped jacket (in the style of a boating-jacket).  I have to say that I was quite impressed overall at the quality of the work (although I had to push a little, which is normal, to get exactly what I wanted, finicky details and all).  And the price was unbeatable, truly.  In all, the other Dins who went to the same tailor on my recommendation bought something like 2 overcoats, 4 sportscoats and 6 suits made.  It was fun to watch other Dins be excited about shopping, for once 🙂

A big special thank you to Uncle Soon Lee who fed me (and other Dins) well and pointed the way to good, cheap shopping and tailoring.  Thank you!

It was also a hugely happy revelation to myself that I can actually speak Mandarin quite decently, at least enough to communicate fairly efficiently, and to even write stuff down.  Looks like those years and years of slogging over Chinese (which was really the only subject I recall always studying for) have actually resulted in a useful skill.  Yay!!

Have I mentioned that the Europe-leg of the tour has piqued (for the first time, ever) my interest in learning German?  I’m actually quite excited at the prospect.

Again, I’m currently blogging both here and also on the Dins’ World Tour 2006 blog which can be accessed online at http://dins06.blogspot.com  Go check out the handful of pictures I’ve posted there, which are also on my regular Flickr photostream.

Alright, time to venture out into Kyoto in search of contact lens solution…  at 12.30am.  In the rain.  (Life is so hard!)

PS:  I’ll explain the “Life is so hard” Din-game some other time