Snapshot: Irene and Man Yung

IMG_1454 milonga

Every week in 2010 we will shine the light on a Moleskine user across the globe, this week's snapshot is on Irene and Man Yung. If you want to be featured in upcoming weeks, please email us! 

Name:  Irene and Man Yung

Age: 37 (Irene) and “Ancient” (Man Yung)

Current City: Toronto, Canada

Job: –  By Day: Lawyer (Irene) and Retired (Man Yung) 

–  By Night: Argentine Tango dancers, writers and bloggers

Website: (blog);  (our YouTube video channel with our tango videos)


1) What is your current Moleskine notebook?


I’ve been using notebooks of all kinds for journaling, lecture notes and record-keeping since I was 10.  I picked up a classic large ruled black hardcover Moleskine last year for my creative writing class.  I loved it!  I have been using Moleskines exclusively ever since.   I’ve got several Moleskines on the go:

Large ruled black hardcover notebook (to copy down tango lyrics, to write down bits of conversations and dreams, and for notes on grammar and vocabulary lists in Spanish –you have to learn the language in order to understand the dance)

Burgundy large ruled Volant (for the addresses, phone numbers and birthdays of our friends and teachers in Buenos Aires, Argentina – all tango dancers)

Blue large ruled Volant (for scribbling down ideas and topic lists for our blog)

A4 ruled Folio (for taking notes and recording stuff from my legal research at work)

Small plain black hardcover notebook (for jotting down appointments, lists of books I want to read, the dates and times that milongas [that’s the Spanish word for tango dance parties] are being held, the names of tangos that are being played at the milongas etc.)

Man Yung:

Irene has been raving about Moleskine notebooks and she just bought me a classic large ruled Moleskine. My notebook habit is even deeper than hers and she knows that I will fill it up in no time with observations, quotations I’ve come across in books I’ve been reading, my personal book reviews and lists of books I have read – even recipes for Chinese herbal soups!

I'’ve been using notebooks all my life – from the hardcover black ones with red binding that you can get everywhere in Hong Kong (I was born there and lived there before coming to Canada in 1988), to no-name ones they sell at big box stationers here in Toronto, to luxury ones that we bought in Paris together.  I read and experience life with a pen and notebook in hand.  My favourites were the ones we got in Paris – until I got the Moleskine.  I took one look at the notebook and knew that it was a classic, something I want to use every day, keep forever and refer to again and again.  A Moleskine has a glorious, understated elegance and utility that will never go out of style.  You can go anywhere with a Moleskine.

2) How do you use your notebook?

Tango is a never-ending quest for pleasure, serenity, and above all, connection – between the two dancers in the embrace, between the dancers and the music, and between the dancers with all the other dancers around them in the milonga and all around the world.  It’s a shared experience that’s also very deep and personal.  Sometimes we can even disappear when we dance – such is the intensity of the unity we can feel with the music and our partners.  We use our notebooks and our blog to write about our experience of Tango – the fleeting impressions, the absurdities, the excruciating minutiae.   It’s a record, but also a passionate analysis:  What is Tango?  Sometimes we don’t know until we write it – the nebulous “Is” takes shape as we write it down.

We find that what we write reflects what we are as a couple – in marriage and in dance.  We collaborate.  We converse.  We’re in this together.  And reading back on what we have written, we often laugh!

In addition, since we started to dance the Tango seven years ago, there’s so much going on in our lives that we need to write things down just to keep organized.  We love our fancy electronic gadgets but nothing beats a pen and a good notebook for efficiency.

3) What's the next place you plan to take your notebook to?

To the milonga.  And to Buenos Aires, Argentina, of course!  We are preparing for our fifth trip to Buenos Aires, the centre of the Tango universe.  We are planning to conduct some interviews with Milongueros and Milongueras (the dancers with decades of experience who frequent the Milonga) and tango teachers and performers known throughout the world for their exquisite dancing and knowledge of the Tango, like Martha Anton and Manolo “El Gallego” Salvador,  Alberto Dassieu and Paulina Spinosa, Adela Galeazzi, and Osvaldo and Coca Cartery (who are the 2004 World Champions of Tango Salon, the tango style that is danced in the milonga rather than on stage).  You bet we will be asking questions and writing down answers – Moleskine in hand!

Moleskines are indispensable for organizing and keeping record of everything that happens to us on our trips to Buenos Aires.  And they’re so stylish, portable and discreet, you can use them wherever you go to make notes without alarming all the dancers around you and jolting them out of their “Tango Trances”.

4) What do you want to tell the world?

People have this impression that Tango is all sex and sizzle, stiletto high heels and fishnet stockings.   Some of it is – but far more of it is not.  The experience of Tango goes much deeper in that.  Dance Tango, and you will discover that Tango is Life.  You can’t help but approach Tango with everything you are – and Tango gives back more than you could ever imagine.  Tango is indescribable wonder and a transcendental state. You will never feel so loved by another until you dance.

5) Where will you and your notebook be in 5 years?

Still dancing and writing about Tango, we hope!  But seriously, there’s a 20+ year age difference between us – so we’ve never envisaged anything one year, two years, or five years ahead in all our years together.  Every day is precious for us and we ask for nothing more than to continue to experience life together, hand in hand and in Tango’s embrace.  That’s why is so important for us to record all our experiences the old fashioned way – notebook and handwriting.  We can open our notebooks anytime and relive what we wrote, no conversion required.  Where will all the information that we stored on floppy disks, emails, Photo CD’s, VCD’s, hard drives and virtual drives be five years down the road?  One thing for sure – our Moleskines will not become obsolete!


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