I recently screened a film, After Life, by one of my favorite directors, Hirokazu Koreeda. The question the film asks of its recently dearly departed characters (as per its title, it is about the afterlife) is this:

If you had to choose one memory to carry with you for eternity…


Note: Back in October 2019 — you know, those sweet days of Before Time — I did something that I of course took for granted. I stumbled upon an interesting tidbit of information, I got in my car, and I explored the said tidbit in person. Without hand sanitizers, social…


Photo Illustration: Save As / Medium; Source: Getty Images

How a racial taunt is like an echo, calling back the moments of racial trauma that you’ve tried to forget

I’m walking out of Kronborg Castle, my mind overrun with what I just saw and heard for the last two hours: six hundred years of Danish history topped by a heart-pounding climb up the tower, 145 steps leading to a magnificent view of Helsingør to the west and the hazy…


How playing a violent video game brought me peace

If you’d rather listen to this essay, you can do so here:

This may sound strange, but I enjoy the idea of playing video games more than actually playing them. It’s been this way since the beginning, when I saw a coin-operated Ms. Pac-Man in the arcade of my…


The last time I drove my eighty-year-old mother to her neighborhood Costco was February 27, 2020. There it is, in my Quicken ledger, $221.16, of which $109.99 was my mom’s purchases.

She stood by a pallet load of red seedless grapes, sliding the clear rectangular containers around, as if trying…


It’s ten to ten, Monday morning. I’m upstairs in my home office, staring at the monitor when my phone vibrates, a text.

I rise from my chair and ask myself — why am I not down there already? What’s wrong with me?

I walk down the hallway and reach the…

Sung J. Woo

Novelist (Skin Deep, Love Love, Everything Asian), essayist (New York Times, Vox), occasional traveler. www.sungjwoo.com

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