For the nearly 20 years in which I traveled to Asia on a regular basis, 1985 to 2004, I kept a yellow pad on which I wrote short descriptions of my experiences, hoping one day to knit them into a book. Sometimes only a word or two will trigger me to put out 500 to 1000 words or more. Until now, it was just oral history – or stored in ROM somewhere in my brain.

These days I seem to have plenty of time on my hands, and I need to do other stuff besides urban gardening. Writing is like cooking Chinese food: Once you know the basic ingredients, you get them all together, cut them into small pieces, and queue them up so they’re all on hand when you need them. Cooking doesn’t take much time. Preparation takes time. And cleanup.

So at the end of each story I post here, I will attempt to tantalize you with a tag-line from my old wrinkled yellow-pad, because twenty minutes later, I know you’re going to want to come back for more. If I lost you in that analogy somewhere, oops.

I haven’t really got a policy on names. In cases where it’s important to the story, I’m likely to use a character’s real name, unless they’re especially litigious or I’m accusing them of criminal behavior or moral turpitude, or anything else someone might want to sue me for.

My travel included Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and The Philippines. I’ve been to Hong Kong more times than anywhere else, but I’ve been to more cities in China than all the others.

A historical note: I consider Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mainland China, to be separate and distinct entities for a number of reasons. First, they were all run by different entities during the time I traveled there; and second, you have to give Taiwan credit for creating and maintaining a Free China — they deserve to be acknowledged. In any case, don’t get hung up on it for political reasons. I’ll talk politics here, not you.

Finally, as far as the name of this blog, please be patient; I’ll be posting that story soon.

Zai jian!