Genius doesn’t happen on decaf

An Ethiopian legend speaks of a magic bean that was discovered by goats. After eating berries from a certain tree, the goats seemed to have a renewed sense of life and had difficulty falling asleep. When their caretaker reported this to the head of their local monastery, a curious monk experimented with the berries himself. He turned them into a drink.

With the last sip, the holy man understood what the goats felt. He had energy, focus, inspiration, and mental clarity — it was as if the dark and smokey water had momentarily blessed him with genius.

Word of this…


The history behind Robert Frost’s most misunderstood poem.

“Two roads diverge in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

For many reasons, we have immortalized these lines into our collective consciousness. They’ve been studied in schools, used in commercials, and etched into buildings probably because they sound selfishly sexy.

When most people read these lines, they picture a maverick. They surmise that the poem glorifies individualism and celebrates the authenticity of an unconventional life. It’s so easy to buy this interpretation given the poem’s hypnotic rhythm and impactful last lines.

Unfortunately, this reading is quite different…


A reading of Dr. Seuss’s “Yertle the Turtle” with a bit of history in mind

The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, and The Lorax are among the many children’s books authored by the wise and quirky Dr. Seuss. His books not only entertain but impart valuable lessons on empathy, tolerance, and kindness. He wanted to make the world a more accepting place, having lived through the horrors of World War II.

Most people don’t know that Dr. Seuss hated Hitler and the Nazi party with passion. After his vacation in Europe in 1936, he felt called to fight the fascism he witnessed on his trip — fueled even more by his German ancestry. …


From 2002 to 2018, more than a dozen people have lost their lives to the “My Way Killings” phenomenon

In 2018, a 61-year-old man was killed by his neighbor at a birthday party in Zamboanga Del Norte, Philippines. The karaoke-drinking session turned into a fistfight when Jose Bosmion, a senior citizen, grabbed the microphone from Rolando Caneso when he was about to sing Frank Sinatra’s song entitled “My Way.”

Other guests around were able to separate the two, but this only gave time for Caneso to grab a knife and stab Bosmion in the chest. The latter was declared dead on arrival by doctors.

Eerily, this isn’t the first time someone was killed to Sinatra’s tune. Dubbed by journalists…


The philosopher argues that death is either one of two things

The executioner handed him a cup of poison brewed from hemlock. Socrates, accepting a fate that Athenian authorities forced upon him, drank every last sip. Afterward, he walked around the room while his friends agonized over the coming of death. They could not accept Socrates’s acceptance of the end.

A few weeks earlier, he had been convicted for the crimes of “failing to recognize Athenian deities” and “corrupting the minds of the youth.” During the course of his trial, he gifted the world this dictum:

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

In his final moments, Plato said that Socrates…


Who would’ve ever known that they’d later achieve historical notoriety?

Most people are familiar with the broad strokes of history. They probably know about Hitler’s holocaust and Mao Ze Dong’s violent cultural revolution. These events are too spectacular to miss.

What most people overlook are the personal histories behind the characters of these events. How was Mussolini like in his youth? What was Stalin like as a young man? With their notoriety etched into our collective memory, it’s easy to forget that they, too, experienced the springtime of life.

Even Hitler was once an innocent infant.

With all this in mind, I decided to make a quick collection of photos…


She later attempts to escape.

The true names of victims have been redacted in keeping with Korean policies on privacy.

Sunny Kim and Daniel Ri were on their way home from a motel at 3 in the morning on September 8, 1994. Their Hyundai Grandeur, a vehicle associated with wealth, was suddenly blocked by two speeding cars from their front and back. Later identified as members of the murderous “Chijon Family” gang, six men came out of those vehicles and walked towards the couple.

They pulled Daniel out and stabbed him in the abdomen. The wounded man was subsequently beaten. …


Kafka’s last days were miserable. It shows in his writing. That’s why it works.

Dearest Max,

My last request: Everything I leave behind me (in my bookcase, linen-cupboard, and my desk both at home and in the office, or anywhere else where anything may have got to and meets your eye), in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others’), sketches, and so on, to be burned unread.

In 1924, the illustrious Czech writer Franz Kafka wrote this to his friend before he passed away. …


A brief look at the history of Taiwan and China’s tenuous relationship

“It is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people and in their basic interests to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realise China’s complete reunification… Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history.

Those words were said by Xi Jinping, the current head of state for the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It was addressed to Tsai Ing-wen, the current head of state for the Republic of China (ROC).

We more commonly refer to the latter as Taiwan, but for decades, both the PRC…


These eruptions show that flowing lava and falling rocks aren’t the only ways a volcano can kill you

In January of last year, a volcano near my city erupted. It was too far to mandate an evacuation, but it was close enough for my community to feel its effects.

Taal Volcano covered my car in ash. It covered the roads in ash. It covered the roof and the windows of my house in ash.

Government officials that night declared that the air outside was too dirty for normal life to continue. It was so bad that my law school called off classes for a week. This was the first time in my life that I felt directly affected…

Ben Kageyama

Truth is stranger than fiction. I write about both. || benkageyamawrites@gmail.com

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