Tag Archives: asia

Bali Odds and Ends

This is the last of what I took in Bali. These are from the limited time I had there, mostly around Nusa Dua. If you venture away from the beach resorts, there is much to see in terms of daily life and culture. I realize much more can be seen elsewhere on the island – I’ll just have to return someday!

Above: a woman prepares offerings for local Hindu statues.

 

Above: detail of completed offerings.

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Uluwatu: Cliffsides in Southern Bali

Uluwatu, located along the cliffsides of southern Bali, Indonesia, is famous for a Hindu temple which is set upon a dramatic backdrop of cliffs.

 

 

 

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Prambanan, Indonesia

Not far from Borobudur is Prambanan, a similarly dated temple complex. Originally, it consisted of 240 temple structures, of which only a few remain. The largest and most important of these is devoted to the Hindu god Shiva, and roughly translates as the “Realm of Shiva.”

Architecturally, I was struck by how similar it is to Angkor Wat, which makes sense as both are Hindu temples. Like Borobudur, it also includes many bas reliefs of significant lore. Most important is probably the Ramayana, a great Hindu epic telling of a king’s daughter who is captured and rescued.

 

 

   

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Spiritual and Financial Landmarks

These shots are from Kuala Lumpur, an incredibly diverse city I didn’t give nearly enough time to explore during a brief visit last week. I mainly visited the Petronas Twin Towers, the Batu Caves, and made a brief stop on the subway at Jamek Mosque, as a street of Indian restaurants (including the Betel Leaf) were just around the corner. I was really impressed at the diversity and “human capital” of the city and really need to return to see more of the country.

Above: The famous Petronas Twin Towers from the ground. We didn’t visit the observation deck but could see the scale of these from below.

Above: Masjid Jamek, which sits at its own metro stop in a main part of the city. Closed to non-Muslims on Fridays (the day we were exploring the city), it can still be seen from the nearby subway station.

 

Above left: the “touristy” part of the Masjid India Bazaar, a covered market mostly full of t-shirts and bags. Right: Hijabs for sale at the market.

Above: Street scene near Masjid India.

Above: Train station for Batu Caves.

 

Above left: Hindu altar at Batu Caves. Right: Statue at Batu Caves.

 

Above: a monkey at Batu Caves finishes bits of a coconut. It’s best to stay away from these adorable monsters while walking up the stairs. Don’t bring food with you up the stairs and watch your personal belongings. Very similar to the monkeys at Uluwatu, Bali (I’ll post on them later) and Songboling, Taiwan.

Above: A 42 meter/140 foot tall statue of Hindu deity Murugan stands at the entrance of the stairs leading up to the Batu Caves.

 

Above left: Another angle of the Murugan statue. Right: A 15 meter / 50 foot tall statue of Hanuman, a deity in the form of a monkey.

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24 Hours in Beijing

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything here, but I’ll hopefully be getting the camera out again as I’m back in Taiwan. I recently went through Beijing and was “stuck” with a 24-hour layover. This allowed my wife and I to explore some of the city through the subway. We only spent a few hours really exploring as we were a bit jet lagged after a 13-hour flight. Shots below.

Above: Tienanmen, translated as the “Gate of Heavenly Peace,” the iconic red central building at the heart of Tienanmen Square.

The Imperial Ancestral Temple in the Forbidden City (above and below).

Above: Tiananmen Square from across the street near the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Visible is the “Monument to the People’s Heroes,” (foreground) and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.

Above and below: more street scenes around a large market/shopping district. Near Donghuamen and Wanfujing.

  

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In Korea: Streets, Markets, and Daily Life (Korea Post 3)

Minus the snow, many of these aren’t too different than my normal Taiwan photography. All are situated in the varying districts of Seoul.

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Single Shot: Minimalist Lanterns

Not my normal style, but something I came across while working on my processing of old RAW shots. This is from April, 2011 during the pilgrimage of Chinese deity Mazu, goddess of the sea. Here are more images. 

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Sights of Okinawa’s Streets and People – Okinawa Post 5

Whenever I travel, I find it important to get an idea of what daily life is like in that place. Taiwan, Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and now Okinawa have given me this experience and it’s ALWAYS different.

Most of these were taken in and around Naha, the financial, social, and economic capital of Okinawa. While I certainly noticed fewer old buildings, there were plenty of cultural gems found only in Japan and in some cases, only in Okinawa.

Heiwa-Dori, the famed shopping street, during the midday. Multiple streets actually intersect in this area, and it is under cover in the style of a Japanese “shopping arcade.”

As with the rest of Asia, you’ll find traditional food everywhere. Okinawa soba, varied types of tofu, sashimi, tempura – it’s pretty limitless – and delicious.

 

Above left: a pachinko parlour named “Monaco.” Above right: this Burger King requires you to take off your shoes upon entrance. Something I’ve never seen, even in Taiwan.

The Naha monorail is a great way to get around the city. Though they only have one line, it covers the important parts of the city – like the airport.

 

Above left: I’m not sure if this place is actually popular with servicemen/women, but I liked the sign. Much of Naha is off-limits to service personnel. Above right: another restaurant. Like Taiwan, it was hard to decide where to eat.

Above: a representative of the Japanese Communist Party (yes, you read that correctly!) announces an upcoming protest. Notice the MV-22 Osprey silhouette - the Japanese are protesting its use by US Marines due to safety issues. I think the restrictions on the aircraft should pass soon, but it was a pretty noticeable symbol.

Vending machines after the rain. I loved the rain in Okinawa – it was always just enough to cool things off and never stormed all day. Vending machines are everywhere.

Ice cream shop, Heiwa-Dori.

A vending machine-controlled restaurant. You order, it prints a ticket, and you get your food. Not a bad idea.

The monorail conductor.

A fortune teller waiting for business in a Naha alleyway.

Orion beer lanterns. Orion beer is a malty beer brewed on the island itself. Similar to most other Asian style lagers.

Old and new on a Naha street.

More old and new. This intrigues me about Asia and I see it all the time in Taiwan, yet never tire of it.

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Single Shot: Welcoming the Ghosts

I’ll take a break from posting a recent series from my last trip to Okinawa to show off something I saw last weekend at the Hsinchu City God Temple. This is part of a ceremony allowing and welcoming spirits to roam sort of “finish business” from the earthly realms. During this month, spirits are appeased and/or kept away from homes through incense and offerings and spirit money, or ghost money, is burned as an offering. I have some more shots from last year here.

As school is about to start, this is a bit of a culture shock to many foreigners entering Taiwan for the first time. It’s hard to believe this is the start of my third year on the island!

 

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Okinawa’s Shuri Castle (首里城) – Okinawa Post 1

Shuri-jo, or 首里城, is a castle located in southern Okinawa which I visited last week while on a trip to the Japanese island. The structure itself is rebuilt, having been used as a Japanese military headquarters during the 1945 battle and subsequently destroyed during the fighting. It dates back to the 14th century, during which it was part of not Japan, but the Ryukyu Kingdom. The Ryukyu culture, which is similar in many ways to Japan through language and culture, played a central role in trade in the region. It was, however, taken over and annexed by the 19th century as Okinawa became Okinawa Prefecture.

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