Who am I?

~{R6:#Oh~}<- This is my name written in Chinese (Mainland Simplified Version, reads Ye4 Hai3 Xiang2). Look for photos of me in my picture album page.

I grew up in Bejing, China. My parents taught at Peking University. (Beijing and Peking are different translations of the same name) I came to the US at the age of 16. I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area initially for graduate school, then stayed here ever since. The San Francisco Bay Area, including the Silicon Valley, is one of the most vibrant innovation centers of the world. Its major advantages are: a short history without much social baggage, a beautiful mediterranean climate and bountiful natural resources, cosmopolitan influences, well educated people who drive innovation and progressiveness, and last but not the least, being in the United States which has been for the last century the most free and productive society in the world.

Hobbies, diversions

  • Adventure sports: hiking, mountain climbing, cross-country skiing, white-water rafting, etc. I am drawn to the mountain wilderness for the peace, rejuvenation, scenic views, adventure, and physical challenge. It's great for physical and mental fitness. I do not favor motorized recreation because it's wasteful of fossil fuel resources and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Physical fitness: Since 1999 I have been learning capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that also blends dance, percussion music, and chorus. For years I did weight training, ice and roller-skating, biking, and swimming. I am a soccer (called "football" outside USA) fan especially during the quadrennial FIFA World Cup.
  • Nature study: Studying geology, botany, and wild life adds fun to hiking trips. Since moving into my townhouse in spring 1999 I have planted a california native plants garden. Native plants gardening with organic methods conserves water resources, nurtures native wildlife, is great for the environment.
  • Food: I enjoy cooking healthy food and trying out exotic cuisines. California is blessed with abundant seasonal fresh fruits and fresh seafoods. Bay Area's many international grocers and restaurants are another blessing.
  • Geography: Geography is my favorite subject. One favorite past time in middle/high school was playing war strategy games using pen and paper. I am still good at free-hand map drawing. Recently I have started playing the famous world domination war strategy game "Risk" with friends on a revised game board I made myself. My favorite electronic game is SimCity.
  • History, science, and philosophy: I love reading history books and compare the history of different civilizations. Evolution of human knowledge and aesthetics, as well as economics and logistics has a large and under-appreciated effect on history, and on current political events of the world.
  • World travel: besides English and Chinese (Mandarin), I have varying levels of ability in French, Portuguese, and Japanese languages. Making friends in far away places (with the help of the internet), and appreciating other cultures are my passion. My travel blogs, travel photos, and interactive map of places I've traveled to, with tagged photos.
  • Home improvement: In the last few years I've taken an interest in interior design, garden design, and displaying art objects. My personal style seems to combine artistic elements of many traditions, especially French country/Mediterranean, East Asian, and Islamic/Moorish.

Fort Jia-Yu on Great Wall of China

China links

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