Before starting this blog, I want to share some points about my hometown – Saigon, also known as Ho Chi Minh City. Although it was officially renamed after the Vietnam War in 1975, most of us still call it Saigon because it’s shorter, more casual, and sounds familiar. Saigon is the largest city in southern Vietnam and is often compared to Hanoi, the capital and largest city in the North. We, the people of Saigon, like to joke that while Hanoi is Vietnam’s political and cultural capital, Saigon is the capital of everything else that matters: food, fun, and economics. Like other major cities in developing countries, it’s crowded, bustling, vibrant, and undeniably complex.



Last week, for personal reasons, I made a short visit to Vietnam after being away for a few years. This time, my feelings were very different – muddled and uncertain. Time had clearly played its part. I realized I have been absent from my hometown long enough to miss its changes and lose some of my memories about it.

In those moments of nostalgia and confusion, I decided to re-read my favorite book about Saigon, “Chuyện Nhỏ Sài Gòn” (Little Stories of Saigon)- my favorite book about the city. This collection of short stories captures the warmth and complexity of urban life in Saigon. And I found this passage:

“We cannot choose our family, hometown, or the circumstances of our lives. Yet, we can choose how we remember them – with love. We can choose to remember our parents as old, contrary, and sometimes harsh people or as the only people on this planet who always loved, cared, and were willing to sacrifice for us unconditionally. About Saigon, you can remember it as a bustling, dusty place full of traffic jams and societal issues like robbery, fraud, and drugs…or you can choose to remember Saigon as a city that nurtures over 10 million souls, a place of loyalty, generosity. You can choose your memories, right? Why not choose the beautiful ones?”

It’s true. Everything around us – the people, the events – will eventually fade into memories.  Over time, unintentionally we may forget many of them.  Saigon is changing and so am I. So, before my memories of Saigon fade away, I will choose to cherish and hold onto the beautiful memories. That way, someday when nostalgia recalls them, even when I’m far away, my heart will still be warmed.








故郷を離れていた期間が長かったため、故郷の変化を見逃し、故郷に関する記憶の一部を失っていたことに気づきました。 懐かしさと混乱の瞬間に、サイゴンに関するお気に入りの本、「サイゴンの小さな物語」を読み直すことにしました。サイゴンに関する私のお気に入りの本です。この短編小説集は、サイゴンの都会生活の温かさと複雑さを捉えています。そして、次の一節を見つけました。





確かに、私たちの周りのすべて – 人々、出来事 – は最終的に記憶になります。時間が経つと、多くのものを無意識に忘れてしまうかもしれません。サイゴンは変化し、私も変化しています。ですから、美しい思い出を大切にし、持ち続けることを選ぼうと思っています。そうすれば、いつか思い出したとき、遠く離れていても、心を温め、日々を明るくしてくれるでしょう。