Here’s the anti-paywall link to my review of the book When Books Went to War.

It’s a USA-centric book. That probably explains why it’s only available in the United States (since I included it in an international giveaway, I looked into the option of buying books in the winner’s country… ha ha, too few copies of this book exist outside the USA for that to work). For those of you who aren’t part of U.S. society, I don’t know whether that’s a plus or minus.

Though I didn’t time this for Memorial Day, it’s a fitting piece for Memorial Day weekend.

How people print, distribute, and read books during an event as extreme as a world war reveals much about books in any context.

Again, here’s an anti-paywall link.

My New Email Newsletter About Binge-Reading Reviews


Every week, I read all the reviews of a book on Amazon and analyze them. I expected to only do it for about a dozen books. By down, I’ve done this for dozens of books. I’m addicted.

To my shock, other people are interested in what I say in my analysis. So far, I’ve been sharing these analyses only in a limited way. Maybe more people are interested?

This is a great excuse to start a newsletter. Anyone with an email address who is interested can now get my digests by subscribing here.

If nobody is interested, I’ll still get practice running an email newsletter. These review binges intrigue me so much I’ll keep doing them even if nobody reads the digests.

Since this email newsletter is brand new, I still have some issues to work through. Also, because it doesn’t have a consistent track record yet, confirmation messages are likely to end up in the spam folder. If you sign up and don’t see a confirmation in your inbox, check spam.


Caught by Alaska Politics, Part 3

A picture I took during my brief stop in Hoonah, Alaska

Continued from Part 2

I was in Hoonah, a town in Southeast Alaska, for less than a hour, but that was enough time to see a notice on a bulletin board about creating a ‘Hoonah Borough’. The notice said that the state government has cut a lot of funding to Hoonah, and in order to keep government services operating in Hoonah, they needed new revenues. They were trying to create a Hoonah Borough so they could tax activities which occur in the region around Hoonah. Apparently a lot of people oppose creating a Hoonah Borough because they fear the borough government would impose a property tax, but the notice explains that the town of Hoonah already has the power to impose a property tax, and that the articles of incorporation for Hoonah Borough would have a clause saying that a property tax could only be imposed if a majority of voters vote ‘yes’ to a property tax in an election.

I think this is an illustrative example of how Alaska politics work.

Alaska, unlike other states, does not have county governments (or parish governments, like Louisiana). Instead, a region can create a ‘borough’ which acts like a county government. For example, Fairbanks is in Fairbanks North Star Borough. However, being in a borough is optional. Many parts of Alaska are not in any borough. Sometimes, the sum of all parts of Alaska which are not governed by any borough government is referred to as the ‘Unorganized Borough’. A settlement which is not in a borough can still incorporate as a city, for example, Unalaska is an incorporated city which can impose city taxes and city ordinances, yet is outside the jurisdiction of any borough government. For now, Hoonah is also a city government outside of a borough.

According to the Alaskans I talked to, the main reason some towns choose to be outside of any borough is to avoid paying the taxes necessary to support a borough government. Continue reading

This Blog’s 3rd Anniversary!

This blog has been running for exactly three years, and by now I’ve published over 200 posts. YEEHAAAAAAAA!

I had delayed starting a blog for so long because I wasn’t sure if I could maintain one in the long-haul. Apparently, I can.

As I did in my first anniversary post, I would like to point out the importance of the 500 word limit to this blog. The 500 word limit makes me write in a more concise manner than I would otherwise, and makes me throw out a lot of nonsense during editing. Finally, writing 500 words a week is not so difficult, which means I can keep this blog updated on a regular basis even when I have a lot of things going on in my life. I am much looser about the 500 word limit than I was during the first year of this blog, but I still try not to go too much over 500 words.

Speaking of things going on in my life, at the beginning of 2014, I wasn’t sure if I could keep this blog updated. I knew I was going to spend most of 2014 travelling, and that sometimes I wouldn’t have internet access. I wrote the Beidawushan Series in a rush so that I wouldn’t have to worry about writing for this blog for a few months, and I figured I could write additional posts when I can and somehow have at least one post a week. Furthermore, I kept a supply of older drafts which I could edit quickly and post if I wasn’t able to write anything new for a particular week.

Well, it worked out. I tended to comment on my travels this year since that is what was on my mind. And because I had to manage the timing of the posts to ensure that there would be at least one post per week, I sometimes ended up posting something months after it was written (I think the funniest example is the post about cherry blossoms, which was published way out of season). These ‘travel-themed’ posts include:

A Trip to Japan
Takarazuka for the Women (note: I include the Takarazuka posts because they were inspired by my physical visits to Takarazuka in Japan)
Takarazuka: Passionate, Yet Non-Sexual
An Observation about Ryukyu Culture
National Parks in Hokkaido Photo Week: Rishiri-Fuji, Rebun Island, Akan, Kushiro Wetlands, Shikotsu-Toya, Shiretoko, and Daisetsuzan
Why Do So Few Foreign Tourists in Japan Visit the Countryside?
Takarazuka’s Women-Presenting-as-Men Jolts Me When…
Island Fever (note: since I wrote that post, I’ve been to a few more islands)
A Second Trip to Japan
Why Cherry Blossoms Are Such a Big Deal in Japan

As you can see, these posts are all about Japan. If you want to know about my travels in South Korea, you should visit my new blog dedicated to my travel experiences in South Korea, S.K. in S.K.

Another theme this year is I discussed veganism and the ethics of eating much more than before. I think this is also because of my travels. When I was living in Taoyuan, I basically only went to vegetarian restaurants, and the people I associated with either never saw me eating, or knew I was strict vegetarian/vegan (it is much easier to convey the concept of ‘strict vegetarian’ than ‘vegan’ in Mandarin) and it didn’t need to be discussed that often. When I was constantly moving on to new places, and had to make my inquiries about ingredients over and over again, and kept on encountering people who found out I was vegan and were curious, I had to be a lot more conscious about it than I was in Taiwan, and thus I was more inspired to write about it.

The veganism/ethics of eating posts:

Taking Responsibility for What You Eat
Language Learning on a Restricted Diet, or Why Chinese Menus Don’t Seem Too Hard
Making Veganism about “Health” Is a Distraction from the Ethics
Being Vegan Does Not Mean I Am an Animal-Lover
Buying Dairy Products from the United States Funds Sexual Assault

This will be my first year blogging in the United States, living with my parents (I think it is very unlikely that I will move out of my parents’ home this year). How will that affect this blog? We’ll see.

And finally, a very big thank you to all of my readers! I try to avoid paying too much attention to this blog’s stats, but knowing that people are interested in my writing does encourage me to write more.


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I had been thinking about starting a blog for years. However, I never had ‘enough time’ to maintain a proper blog. Finally, I realized that I will never have ‘enough time’ to blog, so if I am going to blog, I have to do it now, when I don’t have ‘enough time’.

I think, on a deep level, I always knew I was asexual. Yet, on a surface, intellectual level, I identified as heterosexual. I knew that my experiences were very different from the experiences of other heterosexuals (such as that whole being-sexually-attracted-to-other-people thing) but I was okay with that.

When I heard of asexuality for the first time at the age of 18, I considered it. Then I dismissed the idea that I was asexual because, at the time, I thought that if you displayed anything feature associated with sexuality, you were not asexual.

Some time later, though, I discovered asexual blogs. And as I read about other asexuals’ experiences, I realized that my own experiences had a lot more in common with their stories than the stories of my heterosexual peers. That is when I first started identifying as asexual.

I plan to blog about various topics here, and I suspect that in the long run less than 50% of the posts will directly pertain to asexuality. However, since I found asexual blogs so helpful, I decided it is time to return the favor, and perhaps people might find my other experiences and thoughts helpful, or at least interesting.

I eventually settled on the title ‘The Notes Which Do Not Fit’ because I have many thoughts which I wish to express, both about asexuality and other topics, but for which I do not feel I have a forum in which I can express them. Thus, this place will be the home of my ‘notes’ which do not ‘fit’ elsewhere.