Welcome to my new blog / travel log / journal which I have written / created to reveal my experiences, encounters, insights, and ideas as I embark on what is intended to be a two-year stay in the capital city of the world's newest oldest country, China. Last spring, I was offered a two-year appointment to the faculty of the International Department at the Beijing National Day School in Beijing, China. So many friends and family members upon hearing the news, asked if I would write a blog of my experiences. They may, after reading, regret their request for I am not known for my 120-character tweets and texts. So, if you tire of reading meticulous accountings of my day to day experiences, then skip on. I intend to season my journal entries among posts on other topics of interest to those who have not yet been blessed with such an opportunity as this, to explore a vast new emerging nation right at the moment of its explosion of sights, sounds, buildings, culture, and ideas – dare I say its 21st century renaissance.

I have decided to call the blog, "Call of the Dragon" for many significant reasons. First and foremost is that the dragon is central to Chinese culture. Since I first studied the politics and culture of Japan which fueled my interest and passion for Asia, and then I visited Hong Kong and Shenzhen in 1999, I have had a calling to live in China and see what makes the nation tick. My first real voyage here in 2000, which, incidentally was the year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac, only intensified my feelings and longings because I learned something very important. With all due respect to my high school history teachers, it was clear to me that pretty much everything I knew about Asia was either wrong or just not right. I began to question everything I ever learned, and the zest to travel and find out for myself ignited full on. I took another trip to China in 2001, with practically the same results. So, ironically enough, here we are again in the year of the Dragon. So, it just fits.

Yet, finally, there is another very significant and person reason for the name of the blog. You see, at heart, I am a philosopher scientist. Is there such a thing? Carl Sagan, in my opinion, was a philosopher scientist. He believed it was important to understand as much science as possible in all of the areas (biology, chemistry, physics, astrophysics, genetics, etc.) so that we might better be able to formulate our opinions and inform our philosophies that then guide our principles and our ethics. In one of his last books, if not his last, Professor Sagan worried that a growing trend in America to abandon science in place of inexplicable faith-based explanations were beginning to weaken our nation's cutting edge position in science. The book was called A Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. An early chapter involves a thought experiment of the kind for which he was most famous wherein he utilizes the idea of an invisible dragon being responsible for things happening in a garage which a child cannot explain. For me now, this story and that invisible dragon serve as a grand metaphor for my experiences ahead as I venture forth to China in search of answers and clarity. I am a philosopher scientist, and I believe that the blending balance between the mystical forces of the ancient times and the modern discoveries are ultimately the key to unlocking the greatest mysteries of time. I believe that by empowering Chinese students to travel abroad and study in the west and by creating pathways for Asian philosophy, culture, and ideals to filter back to the west, we can ultimately reach new and more powerful understandings of our universe that sit right in front of our face but which we either cannot see or do not believe are there and which we allow our mindsets to keep invisible.

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