The Email Signature

I’ll be the first to admit that I placed a premium on my own email signature, likely more so than anybody else who happened to see mine. And when I trace its importance, I recognize that it stemmed from a mixture of jealousy, panic, and the greater chicanery of productivity. I did a lot, yes, but I also made it seem like I did a lot, and now that my affiliations are about to change, I’m trying to critically reflect on how something as throwaway as an email signature participates in these quiet regimes of competitiveness. 

“But the cake is already baked! I can’t make it gluten-free now!” —Reflecting on Open Educational Principles in Grad School

I had a steep learning curve when I started my doctorate. Back then, it wasn’t just a case of imposter syndrome. It was a lack of theoretical training. So I did what any desperate student does in course-based panic: I Googled, Wikipedia-ed, and YouTubed my way through other people’s content until I had an “ish” understanding of these theorists and their ideas. 

My biggest mistake? Not sharing my learning with others, especially since my experience is not unique.

3.11 + 10y = Fukushima revisited

In 2013, I spoke with families and farmers trying to navigate a post-Fukushima food system. In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the nuclear disaster and the mess thereafter, I’m sharing their stories that I’d compiled into an unpublished academic paper.

Woven Into Each Other

Japanese kioke (lit. trans. wood oke) barrels are unique in that they are held together by bamboo hoops called taga. No glue, no nails. Just meters of bamboo that are intricately cut, angled, and woven to make sure that everything seamlessly maintains a circular shape. Over centuries of practicing, woven bamboo became the answer to the practical problem of creating salt-based seasonings in a humid climate. With metal, rust would creep into the fermented products. So how are these practices maintained today?

Sky’s Yours Today

Since I was a child, I found immense calm from listening to radio chatter of air traffic controllers. Fast forward to today, and I still find it to be calming. I’ve been using it as ambient noise for timed writing sessions while I write my dissertation. While under COVID-lockdown, I hear something unsuspecting…

The New Responsible

In the midst of a physical distancing, how do we negotiate our own isolation circles with others’ circles? How do you tell your roommate that you don’t feel comfortable with them bringing their partner/lover into your shared home during COVID quarantine? These are unprecedented times of wanting to be the most responsible at a time when each of us holds different understandings about what that responsibility looks like. Hand-washing and smaller social circles are no longer enough; those are non-negotiable at this point.

3.11 nine years later

On March 11, 2001 the eastern seaboard of Japan was hit with a triple whammy of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. Its ill-effects still linger today. Nine years later, I reflect on the sewing cooperative of Minami Sanriku who remain resilient.

Academia x Bourdain

Chefs and academics act as communicators. Both are content-producers, influencers, and experts of a particular field who transform things into digestible, meaningful forms. And, from my view, there are uncanny parallels between kitchens and universities: they cordon people off by specialization and organize themselves according to hierarchies of power.