The almighty hall pass. Giving you permission to roam the halls.

Was it a paper slip in your school days? For me, it was a big wooden slab with the…


What if your life was a book?

What would the chapters titles be?

More importantly, what will the acknowledgements section in the end look like?

Who are the ones that…


お世話になりました。
(Pronounced oh-say-wah-nee-na-ree-ma-she-ta.)

It an expression most learn in their first semester of Japanese class. Though there is no direct translation to capture all the meanings and sentiments it embodies, it is an expression of gratitude for taking care of us. We use it to say thank you for taking care of us.

One would say it to a teacher when the semester ends.
One would say it to colleagues when one leaves a job.
One would say it to their homestay family when it’s time to head home.

But what Japanese classes won’t teach you is that it doesn’t…


The chocolate was melted. Sitting in a bowl. Waiting to be transformed into something decadent. But its destiny takes a turn.

In the very next moment, the apprentice makes a mistake. He accidentally spills warm fresh cream into the chocolate.

The chef explodes and yells, “Quel ganache!” (What fool!)

Except, the chef and apprentice discover the combo of chocolate and fresh cream results in a smooth, delicious, and decadent cream, which would become the staple cream for chocolate truffles and chocolate desserts. This intense chocolatey cream would come to be known as… ganache.

The cream that we enjoy around the world was a result of a foolish act.

This origin story shows us there are various outcomes for a foolish act. We all have a box of foolish acts. Like chocolates, we never know what we’re going to get.

What’s your own favorite foolish act so far?


My microwave has a lot of buttons for specific types of food.

Popcorn.
Potato.
Pizza.
Veggies.
Beverage.
Snacks.

I’ve never used any of them.

So often when we build something…


A boy playing ball with his puppy on the beach.

With a camera in your hand, how will you frame the picture?

Frame it around the boy, the picture is…


The Chinese character, human, is made up of two strokes. Here it is.

Two lines leaning into each other. Reminding us being human means to be supported by others…


In Japanese, there is a beautiful phrase:

Ichigo-ichie ( 一期一会)

It literally means “one life, one-time encounter.”

Originating from tea ceremonies in Japan, it is the idea that when people come together for a shared experience, this experience is the utmost rare opportunity of one’s lifetime. It must be presumed that it will happen only once. And, therefore, we should take care and cherish that moment dearly.

But the expression does not end with just people. It also applies to places. To experiences. Because a moment where we’re in is one that will never happen again.

Lastly, ichigo-ichie applies to…


Don’t fly too high. You might get burned by the sun.
Don’t fly too low. You might fall into the ocean.
Stay in the middle.
That’s the lesson Icarus left us…


In Japanese, the word for fireworks is “hanabi.” It is made of two Japanese characters: flower and fire.

In Japan, summer is the season of fireworks festivals. Colorful and illuminating…

Justin Lee

A curious strategist in the Land of the Rising Sun.

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