Reflections

[Photos] Perspectives from 2010

Here are some stuff that I didn’t get to post in 2010. In 2010 I was able to see bits of Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and distinct locations within China.

Photo taken at Lama Temple in Beijing, China

Photo taken at Tian Tan Buddha in Hong Kong on a misty day.

Photo taken at Seoul Tower at Sunset in Seoul, South Korea.(Click on photo to see more photos from Seoul)

Photo taken at the China Pavilion of the Shanghai Expo.(Click on photo to see more photos from the Shanghai Expo).

Photo taken at Ordos, Inner Mongolia. (Click on photo to see my photo essays from 2010).

Photo taken at Summer Palace in Beijing.

 

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[Reflection] China in Japan

I’ve been home for about a day in Japan but one thing that keeps coming up in my mind is how much the media here in Japan is covering China. It could be anything from news to pop culture but I’m surprised to see so many special shows dedicated to explore China and how China is going through transformation day by day. This is something that I didn’t experience a year ago. Major news papers in Japan have sections specifically dedicated to Chinese culture and historic places. More updates to come soon.


[Reflections] From Beijing to Paradise: Weekend Getaway in Guam

2 weeks ago, I had the opportunity to escape the nasty weather in Beijing and fly south to the heavenly island of Guam. From Beijing I flew to Tokyo, which was nice since I got to experience home for about 7 hours, and then off to Guam. Both flights were about 3 hours each. Only a 3 hour flight from Tokyo, no wonder so many Japanese tourists come to this island. They can say that they went to America and it’s only 3 hours away. But clean air, blue sky, crystal clear oceans and taco bell. What more can I ask? It was so refreshing to be just laying on the beach and not worrying about some man on a bike or car going full speed as I cross the street in Beijing. I went deep-sea fishing for two days and was fortunate enough to catch some tuna and wahoo, which were instantly cut up for sashimi on the boat.
But at the same time it got me thinking. On an island so far away from everything, unlike Beijing where there’s always something happening whether it’s political or business related, Guam was too laid back and the local people seemed to be just really chill enjoying life on the island. I mean there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that but it’s been a while since I felt that there’s no feeling of threat at all. This must be the fate of every island country, including Japan. I feel like in East Asia, Japanese people feel the least threat on a day to day basis even though there’s so much tension in our very neighbor. I felt like if I stayed in Guam for  any longer than 3 days I would get so disconnected with the outside world and have no idea what is going on. I never thought that I would say this but, I missed Beijing a lot. I’d rather eat delicious sashimi right off the boat rather than breathe in the pollution but Beijing is where I want and need to be right now. There’s so much going on in every level of the system here. I’ve been in Beijing for almost 6 months now but I don’t regret anything that I’ve done or seen in the past couple months. Beijing, you have been awesome. A lot of people ask me what’s in it for me in Beijing? But China to me is where currently modernity meets ancient tradition and the rich meet the poor. It’s simply diverse and I want to know more about what’s really going on here with my own eyes. People say that China’s development will continue and will one day become more like the west. But living here makes me and other local expatriots feel the opposite, in that China will not become more like the west and the west could possibly become more like China instead. That’s another topic I will be exploring more of in the future. But nonetheless, I did manage to take some photos on this lovely island of Guam please take a look below.

At Tumon Bay, one of the most Japanesey beaches on the entire island.

Guam is only about 30miles from north to south. Traffic seems to be pretty congested during the rush hours.

Palm trees and sunset invites you warmly to the beach.

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Reflections] Touring 3 Countries in 12 hours.

What a day. I woke up this morning in the sunny beaches of Guam and checked out of my hotel and headed for the airport. As the plane took off for my second country of the day, Japan, I could see the beautiful ocean surrounding the island of Guam. 3 hours later I arrived to Japan where I was faced with a tough decision to either stay in the Narita Inetrnational Airport for 8 hours before my connecting flight to Beijing or to head out of the airport for a couple of hours. As you may know, Narita International Airport is NOT located in Tokyo. In fact, it’s located in another prefecture: Chiba. A lot of people think that a short lay over in Narita Airport is enough time to check out downtown Tokyo but it takes at least a 2 hours roundtrip from the airport to the heart of Tokyo. The largest city surrounding the airport is Narita city  but again, there’s really not too much to do in this city. But since Narita International Airport Terminal 1 has even fewer options and things to do I decided to head out.
I’ve been in China for the last 6 months and so this was the first time back in Japan since I left. I noticed that there are much more Chinese tourists now in Japan than before. It’s always interesting to observe Japanese people and Chinese tourists visiting Japan interact with one another. The Japanese shopkeepers don’t speak English nor Chinese and the old Chinese man will continue to force his way through his thick Chinese accent. In short, the Japanese vendor tells him to write down which number he wants  but this message does not go through. They spend about 3 minutes just staring at each other and the old Chinese man is getting a bit annoyed and impatient. For the first time in his life no one understands him. I think these kinds of interactions are important no matter what for the future of these two neighboring states. The more Chinese people and Japanese people interact the better for the understanding. Today, I spent a total of 4 hours in Japan just observing these interactions and by the end of it I saw that both sides usually try to help each other to accomplish what they want. I headed back to Narita International Airport and hopped on a plane back to Beijing where pollution welcomed me back home. I still can’t believe I was on an island this morning watching the sunrise by the palm trees on th beach.

Two Lover's Point in Guam.

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.


[Reflections] Beijing, Where Amazing Happens.

Some nights out are just so random and random shit just happens. Just like in the NBA “Where Amazing Happens”. So apparently last night at a Club Called China Doll, where they just had their grand Re-opening party last Friday, a bunch of NBA players were chilling in Beijing. From my memory I remember engaging in conversation with Steve Nash and Baron Davis. I think I saw some other players but I was too fed up with Steve Nash. Really nice guy. I don’t know why but we talked about his high school days cuz I heard he was as talented in soccer as he was in basketball. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see these guys and have conversation like I had last night back in the states. Apparently they were here for the Yao Ming Foundation and they are having a charity game tonite somewhere in Beijing. The players didn’t even know where they were playing tonite. What a random night.

(Image from Li-Ning)


[Reflections] 9 days in Beijing, 356 days to go

I apologize for the lack of posts after arriving to Beijing. I was busy getting an apartment(which I will explain more later on) and setting everything up. I now have, internet, TV, warm water and air conditioning! The first thing I want to say about Beijing so far is that its really HOT. It’s been constantly 100 degrees fareignheight on a daily basis. Compared to the month I spent after graduation in Japan, the last 9 days in Beijing have been quite interesting. Even though I’ve been to China numerous times including studying abroad and working here, I still have so much to learn about the culture in China. Also, one thing I know for sure is that my usage of Mandarin Chinese is in full cycle and people in Beijing seem to understand my English/Japanese heavily accented Mandarin better than in Shanghai. My work which  started last Thursday is located in the Manhattan of Beijing called “Guomao”. The famous CCTV tower is about a 5minute walk away. If you haven’t yet seen what the Chinese Central Television Building looks like you’re definitely missing out. If you remember, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel right next to the CCTV tower burned down last year due to the fire caused by firecrackers. Fortunately, the dutch designed 800 million USD tower was unharmed. This picture I took 3 days ago was the first sunny day in Beijing with an actual blue sky. Survived 9 days 356 more days to go…

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at gokatayama.com.