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  • My Trip to the DMZ South Korea (part II)

    Posted on May 28th, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    There were four known Infiltration Tunnels in the DMZ and not sure how many more haven’t been found yet; according to intelligence analysis it is believed that North Korea began digging the tunnels after Kim Il-sung (North Korea’s President) issued the September 25 Combat Readiness Order in 1971. In this order, he stressed the need to dig tunnels under the Read the rest of this entry »

  • My Trip to the DMZ South Korea (part I)

    Posted on May 28th, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    Recently North Korea has threatened military actions against U.S. and South Korea, and the sights of soldiers marching in the DMZ are aired on major news channels yesterday. This brought back the memory of my trip to the DMZ South Korea couple years ago.

    It was June, right after Computex in Taipei, Taiwan. I decided to pay Seoul a visit after seeing it so many times in Korean TV dramas. A friend of mine arranged my staying at the InterContinental in Kangnam area, and I was able to wonder around the city by the metro system efficiently, thanks to the very easy to understand metro map and color coded routes. I did not have any specific plan for that trip, except visiting the DMZ, the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

    For the first couple days I had cruised the city and visited palace, museums, shops, night markets… on my own and love the freedom of seeing a safe and modern city at my own pace. However, I asked the concierge at hotel to  recommend an English speaking guide for me, because I wanted to learn about this DMZ. The concierge not only found me a tour guide for me, but later that day they also asked me if other tourists at the same hotel may join me and share the expenses. So I ended up having the pleasure to spend whole day with a marketing exec from AMD, an American woman with her adopted daughter who would turn 18 that summer and this mom-and-daughter duo were visiting the girl’s birth parent (Koreans), plus a pilot and co-pilot from Air France.

    DMZ is a strip of land between North and South Korea and works as a “buffer zone” between two countries. The DMZ cuts the Korean Peninsula roughly in half, crossing the 38th parallel on an angle. The 38th parallel north was the original boundary between the US-occupied and Soviet-occupied areas of Korea at the end of World War II. After my trip, I read War Trash by Ha Jin and learned that Chinese POWs (prisoner of war) from Taiwan and China were also there for many years.

    Since it’s outside of the capital Seoul we could not take metro, instead we were on a bus ride for about an hour. The ride was pleasant because I got to see the different part of Seoul other than the upscale Kangnam or the very hip Mingdong districts, and the trees lined highways were very clean and beautiful – a nice late spring day in Korea. But once we got closer to the DMZ, I found the landscape quickly changes to boring barbed wire and fences dotted with military outposts.

    DMZ is the world’s most heavily militarized area where hundreds of thousands of troops are stationed on the southern side, mostly South Koreans, but there are also some 28,000 U.S. troops supporting them. The soldiers all looked very stern and serious, even a bit hostile in their uniforms, especially the Koreans. Soon I found something very interesting and Hollywood-like though, some American soldiers were wearing sunglasses while the South Koreans not :-p

    After a brief introduction upon arriving the DMZ, we were grouped at an observation platform, a second floor balcony area, which is the nearest point to North Korea from South Korea. We were told (or instructed) absolutely no pictures taking and absolutely no gesture communication with the North – this is a military area after all. We whined and complained about the no picture taking parts and were immediately hushed to keep quiet. I was able to see the North Korea soldiers standing on the opposite through observing binoculars, and they looked just like the South Koreans (amused)!

    Part II of this post

  • Investing in Myself 1, 2, 3

    Posted on May 21st, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    Last night I got an email from a friend of mine asking me to join a Line Dance class with her; in her email she simply stated “seriously need to exercise and lose some weight, but need a companion to do it together.” Clear enough! I replied, Read the rest of this entry »

  • Taipei on the Run

    Posted on May 12th, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    The annual ING Bay to Breakers is coming up this weekend, and no way that I am going to miss this San Francisco signature event. To run 12K with a pack of fun participants in creative and flambount costumes, flying tortilla, and some not so beautiful nude runners, makes it one of its kind event. I actually Read the rest of this entry »

  • Ganbade! Japanese Runners in the Honolulu Marathon

    Posted on May 8th, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    I ran the 26.2 miles Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 10, 2006, and it was such a remarkable event for me. Couple reasons contribute to that, for one, I was a Team in Training mentor for a group of very special and wonderful girls; for 20 weeks we trained to complete this marathon together, and it’s their first full marathon. I was fundraising for two events that season, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon and the Honolulu Marathon; I have exceeded the fundraising minimum for both events, thanks to all the sponsors and supporters. The course was beautiful and weather was nice, firework at 5:00am was just spectacular. The first glimpse of Hawaiian sunrise when I made it to the top of Diamond Head was also unforgettable. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Good Till the Last Drop – My Relationship with Coffee

    Posted on May 7th, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    Last weekend I was staying at a friend’s place who doesn’t drink coffee, so the first day  was getting  really  edgy without my morning coffee. I had to drive to a nearby Starbucks in my wrinkled T shirt and crazy hair to get my healthy dosage of caffeine, aah!! The aroma of coffee ignites my day and brings me back to life!

    I first contact with coffee came when I was 9 or so; people would give gift baskets to my father Read the rest of this entry »

  • Episode of Color Yellow – My Personal Experience with Discrimination

    Posted on May 6th, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    On Tue, April 9, Texas State Rep. Betty Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should change their names because they’re too difficult to pronounce.

    “Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • A Work of Art — The Amazing Little Dumplings from Ding Tai Fung!

    Posted on May 5th, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    I posted about how to reheat frozen steamed buns yesterday, and that topic sure got noticed and sparked interest, however the interest was in the “buns” – people wanted to know where they can get Ding Tai Fung steamed buns in Bay Area. Well, sorry to break your heart but Ding Tai Fung has only one location in U.S. and it’s in Arcadia, CA.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • How to Reheat Steamed Bun

    Posted on May 4th, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    I was down in L.A. over the weekend and of course I went to my favorite restaurant in Sol Cal – Ding Tai Fung in Arcadia. If you like little steamed dumplings (xiao long bao), this place simply is the best of the best. After the meal, I bought some frozen buns and 8 treasure rice/sticky rice dessert to enjoy at home this week.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Soulmate, Solemate

    Posted on May 3rd, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    When I drove/moved back to San Jose at the end of March, I could only stuff so many boxes in my trunk and back seat.  Therefore I was forced to leave many personal belongings down in L.A. with a friend, and the toughest left behind struggles was my shoes. But once I got back to San Jose, I found I literally have no space for any of my stuffs Read the rest of this entry »