Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Asian Adventures

Gasp! It can't be true...but it is, I am actually posting in my long-abandoned blog. A few months ago now I took a trip to China with 17 fellow students from my graduate program at NYU, followed by a short visit to Tokyo as a personal stop with my trip roommate Carolyn (if we were going to fly to the other side of the world, it only made sense to at least see one other country along the way!). 

What I expected was complete cultural immersion into the mysterious ancient far-east culture, stretches of rice paddies dotted with farmer rice hats, and temples galore. What I got was complete shock at how trends in urbanization, growing population, and a need to house and accommodate for a 1.3 billion person and growing population actually looks on the ground. Giant tall cranes perforated the grey sky, the future product of which was a scene made familiar upon the first day of our arrival- rows of identical housing units all lined upright like soldiers at attention. A pervasively hazy horizon that had been the subject of much media attention stood before me. People sprawled everywhere! We were able to see the grandiose skylines of Shanghai, the average day of a factory assembly line worker in action in quiet yet bustling manufacturing towns, the ubiquitous groups of Taichi'ers assembled in parks in the evenings, shops, temples, older men gathered in random street corners hovering over card games, the well documented beauty of the Great Wall of China, the dismal conditions of the squatter toilets, the nightlife in Beijing, and maybe the occasional rice hat. 

Tokyo was a rich, colorful, technologically advanced, anime haven replete with a kind and curious culture with the most pristine hospitality skills I have ever witnessed. Simply opening a map in a subway station elicited thorough instructions on how to get where we were going. My most prized souvenir? A long bleach-blonde wig from one of the many extravagant costume stores in Tokyo's famous Harajuku district. 

Shanghai View from Hotel

Factory Line 
Street Life in Shanghai
Street Life in Shanghai
Woman and stroller in Rose Garden in Shanghai
Cyclists in Shanghai
Temple in Mongolia 
Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China
Historic Housing Area in Shanghai


Gaming Arcade in Tokyo (yes, those are all adults)
Shopping in Tokyo
Garden- Tokyo

 Amusement Park
 Mt. Fuji View from Hanoke
Shinjuku Shopping Area 
Harajuku District