Tag Archives: asian

In Korea: Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁) (Korea Post 2)

Moving to a different part of Korean history, Gyeongbokgung Palace is a major historical site and tourist attraction dating originally to 1395, but rebuilt as recently as the 1990′s due to war and its symbol for Korean pride even in the midst of Japanese occupation.

Part of a visit is a changing of the guard to the palace gates, where costumed soldiers march in to the area. This gave a perfect beginning to the visit.

Above: this symbol, seen on a ceremonial drum, is a variant on the Taegeuk, or 태극, an ancient symbol which appears on the national Korean flag in a two-color form. The example above is three-colored, so its known as the “삼색의 태극,” or “Samsaeg-ui Taeguek.” Yellow represents humanity, while red and blue refer to heaven and earth.

   

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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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Old and New, Taipei 101

This shot was taken at the Taipei 101 observation deck while my family visited last weekend.  We are currently in Kaohsiung still and I’m glad to be able to spend time in the southern parts of Taiwan for a change.

I liked this mix of old and new – this monk and nun were visiting the top of the second-tallest building in the world, and I thought it showed good contrast to the many facets of Taiwan.  I feel like I’ve certainly been seeing this this past week, as I’ve been dragging my family members through futuristic city districts which sit next to traditional markets.

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Practicing with Panoramas

Hiking in Miaoli a few weeks ago was a great experience.  As I mentioned before (click here for the post), it was full of beautiful mountain temples and clean air.  A very idyllic place.

This panorama was taken with around 18 or so shots and processed with my newly acquired Photoshop CS5.  Click on it for a Flickr link and to see it in its full-sized version, though I’ll warn you that it’s actually TOO big for my taste.  I’ll keep this in mind next time and maybe practice by taking these shots in portrait mode next time… in order to get more sky.

I shot this at f/9 with a shutter speed of 1/320 at 18mm.  In order to keep it consistent, I locked the exposure for every shot.  This is a key thing to do when trying to create panoramas.

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