August 22nd - Wabi Sabi (侘寂)

Ancient River Village ~ 朱家角 

In three days I did so much that I am exhausted today. So, I finally have an opportunity to write.

Thursday, we went to the ancient river village of Zhu Jia Jiao. It was a trip where I thought I would be exploring a new area, seeing new sights, but it turned out that I had been there before with my parents (just like Qi Bao). It was still fun to see again as we explored more of the place than before and I got to get my own 葫芦! It was a fun trip, it did take up most of the day since Zhu Jia Jiao is just on the edge of Shanghai.

Really long noodles

More Food ~ 很多的好吃的 

During these three days a plethora of food was eaten. We had some Numbing Oil Noodles while in Zhu Jia Jiao, had cold beef noodles on Friday afternoon, delicious Nanjing Style Food on Saturday, and lots of street food in between these big meals. I find it interesting how you can get a feel for another culture just by the food that they eat. The flavors of the different regions, the way they make and present dishes, and many other smaller details just give you a "taste" of the culture. You'd think I'd get tired of noodles and dumplings after so long (and I thought so too) but there are so many flavors and ways to make these same meals that its hard to get tired of it. It tastes like a new, different meal each time!

"Cold Beef Noodles with Peppers"

Before we left I did learn something about where our Kung Fu School is located; its in the "food desert of China". Very minimalist food with little variety. I'm not sure if he's referring to Jiangsu Province or just our little countryside, village area that we are in. Either way, learning this just before going to Shanghai makes me appreciate the food even more... even if its sometimes a little expensive.

Nanjing Style Restaurant ~ 南京大排档

Friday was a lazy day for me. I slept in, cleaned, showered, and headed out late in the afternoon to meet my classmates for a little bit before having to get some money from the bank. I'm not sure if its because I slept in late or maybe because my Shanghai journey is coming to an end but I didn't want to go back to the apartment. I wanted to walk around Shanghai at night like I used to, see the towers all lit up, the small alleyways closing shop, and the scooters rushing home.

Because of this small feeling of wanderlust, we walked around Lujiazui then to Nanjing Road and ending our wandering at Jingan Sculpture Park as the Metro was getting ready to close. I managed to get some pictures of the sights I enjoyed so much but to be their in person is another feeling all together. Not sure why but roaming the streets of any city always makes me think of "Under the Bridge".

"Lujiazui (陆家嘴) at night"

Roaming Shanghai ~ 上海景色

Only two days before I'm back at the school training, stretching, running, and sweating. A lot of sweating. I'm not sure what these two days will bring, whether good or bad. Which brings me to the title of this post: Wabi Sabi.

Lujiazui Ring, a place of tourism and malls.

I've just heard of this Japanese philosophy about the acceptance of uncertainty and imperfection. 

"Wabi (侘び) describes loneliness, not the negative feeling of isolation from others, but rather a pleasant feeling of being alone in nature, away from society. If wabi were a person, he’d be living a humble life in a mountain shack nestled deep in the mountains, free from the binds of daily life. Sabi (寂び) means to be weathered, but in an elegant, rustic fashion." -Michael Driver

Based on what I've studied before about Daoism, Buddhism, Christianity, Stoics and more; I really like the basic idea behind the philosophy. Embracing what is uncertain and not worrying about what you cannot control. These are concepts that I try to keep within my life as it makes easier. We can still make plans and pursue goals but if one encounters an obstacle or something changes; then you shouldn't be discouraged. Instead, embrace the uncertainty that came up.

A good example from my current journey is the Coronavirus. Who in the world could've predicted that? Right as I arrived in China it started to "bubble up" and its almost magical that I was the last student (until Emmanuel) to arrive at the school. Now that I look back, so many obstacles were in not just my way, but all of the students' way and yet here we are now. Relaxing in Shanghai after many hard months of training.

The other part of Wabi Sabi is the acceptance of imperfections. Normally, I would disagree with this idea but my classmates have shown me a more "open view" to this idea. We've been injured, had health issues, and many more problems. Each of us has our little imperfection or weakness and yet each of us finds a way to train each and everyday, improving ourselves bit by bit. Accepting your imperfections isn't just giving in. It's finding ways to work around it while improving yourself as a whole. That's what my classmates have taught me. That's what the Cripple Crew is good at.

Hope you all are having a great weekend!

(Although, very few look at this)

If you're in Shanghai, Try Charlie's Burgers


  1. Well, its been a bit since i have left an update. I am no longer at produce processors. I believe i have the felling of Wabi Sabi. I have been doing a lot of automotive work for people on the side. working on getting my own food truck together so i can make a business that way. Right now it is just a gutted out RV, but soon i will have my own food truck to go around WI and make good food based around fresh locally sourced cheese.
    I feel like leaving the potato plant was the best thing that has happened for me in a while living free and still working enough to make decent money to pay my bills and work on future goals without the 3rd shift burnout.


    1. Hey Sam!

      Glad to see you're still checking up on this. That sounds like a lot of change... a lot of good change. I'm glad to hear that you're working towards something you want to do. If you get your food truck made I'd like to come see it one day.

      Keep living free Sam,



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