musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

From Mandalay to Japan


She’s in the air as I write this, flying from Mandalay to Tokyo with a layover in Seoul, South Korea. Yes, Khin Nwe Lwin, the brilliant young woman from 90th Street in Mandalay is off to study at a university in Japan. To say this is big news for Khin Nwe Lwin and her family would be an understatement. This is a life-changing opportunity.


I’m sure that her father, U Nyunt Tin, is extremely proud of her, as are her mother and siblings, plus her cousins and friends, most of them living within a stone’s throw of U Tin Chit’s teashop on 90th Street. And hey, I’m proud of her too. Khin Nwe Lwin is an amazing young woman and I feel privileged to count her as a friend. I hope that her experience in Japan will be both enjoyable and beneficial.


Earlier this year she won a scholarship to attend the graduate school of Natural Science and Technology at Okayama University, where she will be a doctoral student for the next three years. But it’s been a nerve-wracking past few months, as Khin Nwe Lwin had to travel to Nay Pyi Daw and apply for a passport, and then wait patiently to get that passport and then the all-important travel visa. Last week she finally got all the necessary documents and was good to go! I got a note from her a few hours ago, saying that she was at Incheon Airport in Seoul, waiting for her next flight to Tokyo.


This is the stuff that dreams are made of. Congratulations and best of luck to Khin Nwe Lwin!



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