A Year of Change: Making Big and Difficult Life Decisions

A Year of Change: Making Big and Difficult Life Decisions

One of my greatest faults is my inability to make quick decisions, even about minor issues. I am so indecisive that I will see-saw back and forth for mundane decisions such as what to wear for the day or what meal I should select at dinner. So when I’m faced with the task of making a big and difficult life decision — such as relocating or pursuing a new career — I am usually paralyzed with anxiety.

This year was filled to the brim with life-altering choices that I saw as junctions in the big road we call life. read more

Escaping the Summer Crowds in North Cascades National Park

Escaping the Summer Crowds in North Cascades National Park

After a truly devastating year of loss and isolation, I was dying to go on a vacation and get away from it all. However, with a new job and little PTO under my belt, I was stuck taking time off during the most dreadful holiday weekend of the summer: Fourth of July. I knew the Utah, Wyoming and California National Parks were going to be oozing with humanity, and fighting for parking spots and waiting in long hiking lines sounded like my worst kind of vacation.

A quick google search soon had me scoping out North Cascades National Park in Washington state — one of America’s least visited National Parks with “only” 120,000 visitors per year (for comparison, Yellowstone gets 650,000 annual visitors). Turquoise lakes, majestic mountains, lush forests AND no tourists? This made North Cascades an easy sell to my husband and two close friends. Within minutes, we had plane tickets booked for a summer adventure that was (crossing fingers) relatively empty. read more

Asian Parenting vs. Western Parenting

Asian Parenting vs. Western Parenting

I was on the phone with my friend Coriander, a social worker in Pittsburgh.  We grew up together in the deserts of Utah in a coal mining village.  Growing up in a remote desert location makes for some unique experiences, but even more so when you throw my mom — a refugee from Vietnam — into the mix.  

Coriander has fond memories of my mom bringing plates of fruit and cups of tea to us during our middle school playdates, but he also remembers the constant frustration and fighting that would play out in front of him as my mom and I struggled to communicate with each other through an invisible, but powerful cultural barrier.  read more

Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho: A Perfect Summer Roadtrip

Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho: A Perfect Summer Roadtrip

The Sawtooth National Forest near the Sun River Valley in Idaho is a perfect summer getaway for those who live on the West Coast. Why go to Sawtooth National Forest, you may ask? Not only does it lack the massive crowds that most other national parks have, but it also offers equally stunning hikes and activities.

Skip to the four day itinerary at the bottom if you want to go straight to the logistics!

Never heard of the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho? Me either.

My friend in Utah and I were looking for a nice halfway vacation in between Portland and Salt Lake City. When I opened google maps and scanned the geography, I saw that the Sawtooth National Forest was right smack dab between Oregon and Utah. read more

The Constant Exhaustion of Being a Minority

The Constant Exhaustion of Being a Minority

I recently listened to a podcast where a New York Times journalist interviewed employees at Conde Nast about corporate culture at a company famous for being predominantly white and upper class. The journalist focused on one employee in particular: a black woman who served as the personal assistant to one of the chief directors. The personal assistant said she was treated well, her opinions were heard, and she was given the utmost respect from her boss and colleagues.

Yet in the end, after a year and to the shock of her colleagues and boss, she resigned. read more

Top 5 Most Livable Cities in the World (Ruby Ronin’s Pick)

Top 5 Most Livable Cities in the World (Ruby Ronin’s Pick)

Whenever I travel to a new city, I explore the sights and take in the sounds with a lingering question in the back of my mind: could I live here?

When I was younger, cities like New York and Shanghai appealed to me for their sheer number of job opportunities, excitement, and cultural amenities. As I start to get older and think about what I truly want in a city, I tend to choose easy-going over exhilarating. In other words, I ask myself: Could I raise a family here?

Ranked below are my top five most favorite cities that I would easily relocate to if given the chance. I selected and ranked these cities according to six criteria: safety, convenience, culture, stability, comfort, and cost. read more

5 Reasons Japanese Companies Are Not All Bad

5 Reasons Japanese Companies Are Not All Bad

The view from my previous company’s Tokyo office

Working for a Japanese company actually has many unseen benefits compared to an American company. Despite what I wrote in my previous blog post, it’s definitely not all bad. While there are still many drawbacks to being employed at Japanese companies, I think it’s worth looking at the silver lining.

For the first time in my 10 year career, I am starting a job that has absolutely zero involvement with Japan. I will not work with Japanese clients, I will not have Japanese colleagues, and I am most definitely not working for a Japanese company. read more

My World is Flipping Upside Down

My World is Flipping Upside Down

When I first moved back to Portland after my horrendous year in Dallas, I was angry and flippant. Once again I was moving to a random US city for my husband’s job, and to top it all off we purchased a house that would ultimately lock us to an unknown place I had never lived in. When we signed the papers to purchase the house, I had to repeatedly ask my husband that the house would not make Portland permanent for us. That we could sell it. He said yes. With hands shaking, I signed the papers to the house located in a city I knew nothing about. I was scared. I was nervous. I was confused. read more

The secret to long life for the overworked Japanese? A hot bath

The secret to long life for the overworked Japanese? A hot bath

It’s ironic that one of the most overworked populations in the world is also the country with the longest average lifespan.

Japan has one of the most grueling work ethics in the world, where the average employee is expected to put in more than 80 hours of overtime per month. In prior posts I wrote about a Japanese colleague who worked himself sick to the point where he came into the office with an IV drip; while another Japanese colleague sat at his desk to the point of unconsciousness, only to wake up in the ER and demand his work laptop from the hospital bed. From these examples, it is easy to see how the word ‘karoshi,’ or death from overwork, came to be part of the everyday Japanese lexicon. read more

The Badass Female Asian Bosses Who Inspired Me to Succeed

The Badass Female Asian Bosses Who Inspired Me to Succeed

Until my recent job, I have had unimaginable good luck when it comes to having a great boss. My prior bosses weren’t just amazing — they were all female, Asian, and extremely badass. Working so closely with such amazing role models on a daily basis not only inspired me to succeed, but also made me realize what good leadership truly looks like.

Takada-San: The Ad Executive

I remember when I first met Takada-san during my interview.  She had a black suit on and a stone-faced expression.  She questioned all of my credentials.  She was hesitant and suspicious of this foreigner from left-field being offered a high paying position at a Japanese company. As I faced her at the interview table, I could feel her ice cold stare diving head first into my soul. read more