Law, Public Service & Cherry Blossoms: Final Thoughts on D.C.

Brandon Wong

Posted by Matsui Washington Fellow Brandon Wong.

Well, here we are. It’s now April 2015, the final month that I’m in our nation’s capital. Rather than recount everything that has happened to me in the past few weeks since my last post, I’d like to reflect on my time here and things that I’ve learned. But first, an obligatory aside about the cherry blossoms.

For the folks at home, Washington, D.C. isn’t just known for scandal, polarization, and drivers that honk their horns as if it were a necessary bodily function. One of the more positive aspects of D.C. is the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. If you’re really interested, you can learn more here. In a nutshell: our friend and ally Japan gave us a gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees over one hundred years ago to celebrate our relationship. Every year around this time (for only about two weeks at that!), the trees bare their beautiful pink blossoms and mark the arrival of springtime. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to D.C. annually to take part in the festivities and take selfies with the cherry blossom trees. I’m only half joking about that last part. Fun fact: picking the blossoms of the tree is illegal, so don’t even think about it!

Cherry Blossom Trees by the waterfront. If you squint, you’ll see thousands of tourists.

Cherry Blossom Trees by the waterfront. If you squint, you’ll see thousands of tourists.

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Fifty Shades of DC

Summer Dong BlogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Summer Dong

The prolonged winter in DC is over. This past week, the temperature has consistently been around 60F. And the once chilly and aloof DC starts to strike people with its cuteness by offering thousands of cherry blossoms and magnolias. Yesterday, when I went to work in the morning, these cuties were greeting me in front of UCDC Center:

cherry blossoms

Taken in front of Department of the Treasury

Taken in front of Department of the Treasury

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New Adventures, Familiar Faces

Brandon Wong

Posted by Matsui Washington Fellow Brandon Wong.

I last left off with my plans for attending CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Maryland. Boy, was that fun! Out of the 4 days it was around (Wednesday-Saturday), I was present for 3 of them. On Thursday, I got to meet my favorite Senator and presidential hopeful, Rand Paul. Senator Paul holds a special place in my heart because I think he’s trying to take the Republican Party in a slightly different direction, which is what needs to happen if the Grand Old Party ever wants to take back the White House. On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a reception hosted by James O’Keefe, the conservative film documentarian. For those unfamiliar with Mr. O’Keefe, he is the young man that ventured across the U.S.-Mexico border dressed as Osama bin Laden to bring greater attention to the security of the border. Finally, I spent Saturday volunteering for RAND PAC (Senator Paul’s Political Action Committee) and acquainting myself with some of the exhibitions. One booth was hosting an organization called Right on Crime, a part of the Texas Public Policy Institute that seeks to formulate policies that address the growing problem of criminal justice from a conservative perspective. I’m incredibly interested in the conservative reform movement, so it was great to hear from some of the folks who are out on the front lines getting their voices (and policies) heard by politicians. Overall, I’m happy I was able to attend; CPAC was an excellent experience for a young conservative like myself! Continue reading