Oh, hi. Is that you again? Great! It’s because of people like you, generally anyone but me, but specifically Reema over at her quality photography blog Camera Lore, that I’ve been presented with a Liebster Award. Dhanyavad for the honor!
Though, what is the meaning of all this??? You see, lieb is roughly translated as nice, dear or agreeable, and -ster refers to what someone enjoys/is engaged in doing. So, you mean to tell me that the old website Friendster was for people who liked friends? What’s going on there? What about dumpsters? The Brits thought about this unusual association and thus, call dumpsters skips… oh, so you’d prefer to only hear about what the award is? No problem.
One of the requirements is that said bloggingster should have no more than 200 followers, which might sound slightly degrading, however it’s a gracious acknowledgement meant to kindle a greater interest amongst fellow bloggers. Evidently there’s a market for everything, including garlic-scented soap.
Furthermore, you get to know more about the awardee, in this case, me. Let’s have a glance at what’s to be fulfilled:
- Mention 11 facts about Jonathan (me)
- Respond to the 11 questions Reema provided
- Wow, 11 has never been this popular. Anyway, I’ll then have to tag 11 bloggers with <200 followers and hurl 11 questions in their general direction
- Inform those 11 of the good news
- Tagging back is verboten
- Most importantly, don’t click here
Who Am I?, Part Two
壹) My very first passport stamp was from the New York-Quebec border, in 1990. My most recent passport stamp is from two weeks ago at Ottawa’s (Ontario, Canada) airport,
貳) I am conversant in Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and Indonesian, and can read (but only slightly understand) Russian and Korean. Why the push for being a linguist? To be fluent in a restaurant setting! A “Professional Orderer.”
叁) Moreover, I take notes in Chinese, for my usual handwriting is not quite as neat as what you’re reading now.
肆) Perhaps my most humbling weekend living abroad was when I decided to slog through a flood to Jakarta’s primary airport from my apartment. Usually that trip would take 45 minutes, but on that day, it took 8 hours. The next day, I was told I couldn’t leave the country without a re-entry permit. Finally, I had to wait 9 hours before I could go back to my apartment. Capek deh! (enough already!)
伍) People sometimes either don’t believe me when I say I’m from the US, or they get disappointed when I don’t speak their language. For example, I was walking around Jakarta when an Australian journalist stopped me because he thought I was an Iranian asylum seeker. If I never had to say anything, I’d do very well in Turkey. A Chinese woman in Shenyang asked me for bus directions. A few Cambodians even though I was Japanese (what??). Must be the black hair…
陸) I was an extra in a Hong Kong movie. I had to wear fatigues and walk in a v-formation. I’ll give you the Chinese title: 絕色武器; the English one is um, embarrassing.
柒) I participated in the New York State Geography Bee twice. If only I had known what the chief exports of Zaire (it was Zaire at the time) were…
捌) While on a day trip at summer camp, I earned about two dollars for my spontaneous rendition of a Phil Collins song at a little league baseball game in Scranton, Pennsylvania (USA). I think I was 9 at the time, and the people in the restaurant probably felt bad for me. Two observations: A) Great chaperones, clearly. 2) I didn’t like baseball then and I don’t like it now.
玖) On the first day I drove to high school, I “scraped” off all of the paint on one side of a teacher’s car. Not only was my car virtually unscathed, but the teacher, who was agape in the other car the whole time, didn’t press charges.
拾) I have lived in eight cities in five countries for at least three months. Am I willing to relocate again? Yes.
拾壹) Through the generosity of strangers (before I started BuildingMyBento), I have dined in sushi restaurants in Japan and Kuwait, homes in Pakistan and Ireland and a hotel in Sri Lanka, among other places. Wouldn’t it be nice to have local connections before traveling somewhere? That could be another benefit to connecting with other bloggers.
Ah, now we’ve reached the Q&A session
Q1. What is that one moment that defined you?
A1. I might not be sure yet, but living with a Japanese family in Kanazawa, Japan in July 2000 was the catalyst for my intrigue in East Asia. If you’ll take a look at my categories and tags, East/Southeast Asia take up quite a lot of space…
Q2. The best thing someone has ever said to you.
A2. Also, not too certain about this one. Though, considering that food plays another important role in shaping who I am, “order whatever you want” was rather bold.
Q3. If you weren’t doing what you you’re doing currently, what would see yourself as?
A3. Something involved in urban planning, particularly concerning transportation. And/or something regarding journalism for a non-US based media outlet.
Q4. The best place you’ve traveled to, and the best memory associated to it. (Also, answers the question ‘A favorite place you’ve been to and now wish you lived there’)
A4. I’ll cheat here and say that for the Southern Hemisphere, Jakarta is my favorite, but Tokyo is still the only place I like riding a bike. The food, the unusual architecture, the decibels, the trains- it’s a city where imaginations cannot help but have their own imaginations.
Q5. How did you deal with your first heart break?
Q5. Two different times might count. The earlier one, I didn’t care too much. The latter, I ate a lot of peanut butter and chocolate (it was in the same jar).
Q6. What is the worst piece of advice you’ve given someone?
A6. “Yeah, it’s still open.”
Q7. If you could choose your name, what would you call yourself?
A7. No need to change it, however I’d like to add an epithet. Jonathan the Famished might do.
Q8. Have you ever done something stupid, and absolutely loved it? Temme about it.
A8. Fact #伍, for starters.
Q9. What is the worst Youtube video of yours, that became a viral sensation among your friends?
A9. This doesn’t exist yet.
Q10. Have you ever considered shaving your head, just for kicks? Would you?
A10. No, but others have (considered shaving my head).
Q11. Favorite way to waste time?A11. Is it a waste, though? Wandering around supermarkets? It could be. But I am Jonathan the Famished!
Who else gets to share the fung? (I’m not sure how many followers they all have)
1^ Jen at Expat Lingo, a Washingtonian (USA) living in the Hong Kong less traveled
2^ Adrianna and Spenser from Spendrianna Goes to China, as they are currently teaching with the same Shenzhen program that I taught with years ago
3^ Lois at Live to Eat, Eat to Learn, for the clean layout and appealing photos of food in India and Spain
4^ Elaine, of elaine is eating; gnawing her way around England, the states and Shanghai. Also, there’s a category called “snacking weird…”
5^ Foodiepelago, if you’re decidedly not looking for a quick read on Indonesian food
6^ Arthur’s blog tiredoframen, providing us with an in-depth look at moving to Japan, and tea
7^ On the flip side, there’s No Ramen, No Life, regarding an expat dad’s take on eating it all in Tokyo
8^ Naresh’s Dream Lenz, which might make me want to say hello to a tree more than once a year
9^ David’s Igneous Bomb. He’s a Canadian bud from my Jakarta teaching days, rather taken with Indonesia, and isn’t afraid of a Pelni or six
10^ Iksa’s Inilah Aku, a pleasant stroll through Indonesian life (in Indonesian only)
11^ This space will have to wait…
Thanks again for the award, and we’ll return shortly to the usual misadventures!