akujunkan: (Default)
...or, Homeland Security sure is a piece of work. )

And in gratitude for the above, I decided to do for my country. )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
...kicked off with a full week of me working at Kinji until 10 or 10:30 each night. Which was not exactly fun, but necessary nonetheless, because pretty much every yen I earned I dumped right back into Japan's tanking economy this weekend at USJ and Summer Sonic.

USJ was...Read more... )

Summer Sonic wasRead more... )
akujunkan: (Default)
...I find myself in Seoul.

Say what you want about the evils of globalisation (which are indeed myriad); this aspect of it rocks.

I'm also kinda going through a weird process which may(?) be culture shock. I've spent almost my entire adult life (and 20% of my life for that matter) in Japan, so moving back this fall...was no different than moving into a new apartment. Seriously, I arrived at Kankuu, hopped on the shuttle to Kyoto and continued living my life. In fact, there might have been less adjustment involved than there was with moving back to the States. Moreover, I've been listening to Japanese as if it were English and reading it as if it were English.

Which is why Seoul is kinda freaking me out, because it's so close to Japan, but just slightly off. I also read sign Korean as if it were Japanese/English, which makes the moments when I run into something I just don't understand all the more jarring. As are the conversations overheard on the subway, which I tune out in the same manner I tune out languages I understand...until I don't understand something. In other words, my listening experience goes something like this:

"Made me wait for 30 minutes at Gwanghwamun xxxxxxxxxxx made it to Starbucks xxxxxx my sister said xxxxx and xxxxxx it xxxxxx it xxxxxx to xxxxxxx won't be until tomorrow.


Which is also actually pretty cool, considering how little time I actually spend listening to Korean.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (TWIB)
...checking my mail while I wait for my flight to Seoul, and what pops up on my news screen but word that North Korea is potentially preparing to detonate another nuke.

Guys, please don't blow me up. The airfare and wedding presents were expensive, and I shouldn't be missing this much school and work as it is.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
I made my flight reservations for Korea last Friday. As cell phone usage is (thankfully) not permitted in the uni computer labs or research rooms, I was unable to check travel info while talking to the travel agent.

AnywayRead more... )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
The 27th started in Hong Kong and ended in Jakarta. Read more... )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
Today's Picture(s) from Day Three of the Hong Kong leg are: Read more... )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
Today's Pictures from Day Two of the Hong Kong leg are: Read more... )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
Wow, that has to have been one of the worst trips I have ever been on, which was unfortunate because I quite like Hong Kong and Indonesia is a lovely country. The company, however, was rotten.

Luckily, [livejournal.com profile] demeter918 was waiting for me at the eki when I got back home, and we're going to hang out in the East Capital next week.

At any rate, I'm back home safely and will hopefully start posting photos and the like within the next day or two.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
To any of you who might have suggestions.

To make a long story short, I had to buy a second camera during my trip through Cambodia. It was a Fuji FinePix A600, replacing a Fuji Finepix F450. Not knowing any better, I used my Fuji XD memory card in both.

This apparently messed with the memory card, with the result that I can only access about an eight of the pictures I took during the trip. They're there on the card; icons show up when I plug it into my USB reader, but I can't copy, open, or view them.

These pictures included, among other things, the imperial tombs at Hue, the ruins at My Son and Ta Prohm, and (sweet baby Jesus just thinking about this makes me want to take a header off of the roof) sunrise at Angkor Wat.

Anyone dealt with anything like this before? Know how I can get my pictures back? Or failing that, who I can talk to to help me?

助けてくれ~ょ

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
To commemorate my last day in the country. ::clickity:: )

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
It's official, my love affair with this country is complete and everlasting.

Good morning, Laos. )

Then to Vientaine. I arrived in time to snag a room at a the guesthouse I wanted while simultaneously avoiding a government airport scam (I'd learned my lesson in Luang Prabang). Serendipitously, the taxi driver I hailed is good friends with the guesthouse proprietor, so I snagged a discount ride back to the airport tomorrow.

I had enough time to visit two former Wats this afternoon. The first was the lovely Haw Pra Keuw, which houses more fascinating architecture and Butsuzou than I have time to recount. Lonely Planet says it sucks, once again proving that Lonely Planet often sucks.

Afterwards I visited Wat Sisaket. )

On the importance of proper dress and demeanour, 21st century style. )

I'm already planning my next visit.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
Which is my favorite Southeast Asian country, hands down.

I slept in until two pm (whoops), and then decided to head out to see some temples. A novice monk came to talk to me at the first one I visited, which was on a mountainside near the city. He had really good English, which was amazing, because he'd apparently never left the city, let alone studied abroad.

Cooler yet, it turned out he was studying Japanese, so I spent the next three hours giving him a Japanese lesson in the pagoda on top of this mountain, with a nice view of the Mekong river below us. I mean, seriously, does life get much better than that?

Then I headed back down the mountain in time to visit Vat Xieng Thong, which used to be the royal temple when Luang Prabang was still the capital city of the Kingdom of Laos. Its grounds were amazing and included this awesome statue of a reclining Buddha and the funerary boat of the former kings.

After that I wandered into another temple next door in time to catch the monks doing their evening chants.

And now I'm off to pay and head out onto the street in order to attempt a photo of the two monks who just walked in here to use the Internet.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
Let me start by saying that a certain widely popular travel guide franchise desperately needs to update its Laos title. Given their description, I'd expected net connectivity here to consist of someone on a rotary telephone dictating zeros and ones to me, yet here I am on broadband connection that's faster than the ones I used in Thailand. For shame, Lonely Planet!

Yesterday was truly surreal. Went to sleep at about two o'clock to the sounds of the roosters crowing in the powerlines (yes, they can apparently get up there. Who knew?) after a futile attempt to figure out whether or not the airport would be open tomorrow.

Ironically, it was the foreign population of Bangkok who knew about the coup first, given the fact that we all tend to be up at midnight. My driver to the airport (who I'd hired the day before), was pretty stunned--he hadn't found out till he'd woken up and got out onto the streets.

Which were pretty much deserted--pretty unnerving when you're used to the insane round the clock bustle of Bangkok. Had a really charming conversation with him about how to say 'coup' in English, and the meaning of the word. (He thought, for instance, that d'etat was some sort of abbreviation of demonstration, and wanted to know what the "etat" meant.)

Of course, had to drive right past--or rather, around--all the avenues blocked off by soldiers and tanks. The soldiers actually looked quite festive (disregarding the automatic weapons), as they were decked out in jasmine garlands and yellow ribbons and carnations (the colors of the Thai royalty).

"Take pictures, take pictures!" gleeful Mr. Driver kept urging me; I however, felt that photographing tanks from the back of a taxi during the early stages of a coup might not be such a great idea. I did get a quick shot of a couple of grunts standing on a street corner, though.

Seeing that that tack had failed, Mr. Driver then rolled down the window so that I could shake hands with the soldiers. I chickend out and settled for waving.

Anyway, that was the fun bit. The not so fun bit was the part that every bank and business was (understandably) closed, which meant that I could neither eat breakfast nor exchange money.

Am a bit worried about the fact that the military dude apparently heading the coup says that democracy won't be established for a year, as I've got some more time in Bangkok before flying to Korea. Who knows? I may just end up stranded in Laos with it's vastly superior Internet connections.

That will be all.

Update #2

Sep. 20th, 2006 01:39 am
akujunkan: (Default)
There seem to be plenty of taxis on the street, which bodes well for my being able to get out tomorrow morning.

But seriously, guys. I'm staying about a fifteen minute walk from the buildings that are currently surrounded by the military. The riot police I saw in the TIB were probably in the process of occupying the government centers while I was in there, which is probably why no one wanted to give me a city map. >.<;;; Even saw a couple of those nifty loudspeaker trucks. No tanks though.

Good lord.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
That's French for HOLY FUCK! )

I attempted to call the U.S. Embassy and ask for advice, and was put on hold for so long that my money ran out. I then decided to head to ye olde Internet cafe to see what the Embassy website has to say about the situation. Which is...nothing, although they've got several useless links to the shit bush has spewn from his mouth recently. Way to lose at life, embassy.

Thus I find myself refreshing the NYTimes homepage and reading what the Japanese news media has to say about the situation over the shoulder of the woman next to me.

All I can say is, I better get out of here tomorrow, because I don't have enough money to buy another $1,100 ticket back home.

That will be all.

PS: I should have known something was up when I stopped into the Tourist Information Bureau this evening and found it full of police in full riot gear. Unfortunately, I've spent too much time in South Korea.

Laos Ho!

Sep. 19th, 2006 04:09 am
akujunkan: (Default)
So it's been decided. I am indeed going to Laos. I fly out tomorrow morning for three days in Luang Prabang, after which I head up to Vientaine for two. From there back to Bangkok, and then another day in South Korea because I have heaploads of won in my possession, and I love the country that much. Am much excited about the Laotian excursion, which brings my total number of visited countries up to fifteen, if you don't count the ten hour layover I had in Amsterdam.

So this is probably the last you'll hear of me until my repatriation into the States, as Laos does not have the most up-to-date Internet in the world.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
So here I am in Bangkok, which is like a playground for foreign tourists. I am so not joking, and I am so in love with this city. Alas, even the most state-of-the-art Internet cafes are incapable of handling USB 2.0, which means I cannot upload any of my fabulous Angkor Wat pictures. Seriously, I cannot wait to let you guys see them.

In other news, I have about 70% convinced myself to postpone my return to the states in order to travel to Laos for a week; Bangkok is one of about five airports with direct flights to the country, and it sounds relatively free of tourists and just an all-around wonderful place. We'll see how much money I can manage to cough up to fund the trip.

Anyway, I will be coming back at some point, at which time I'll have the time (and money) to go through and catch up on all the flist posts I've missed.

That will be all.
akujunkan: (Default)
Occurred in Ha Noi city on the 28th, during our visit to Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. (PS: One Dead Guy down, three to go!) Seriously, Coolest moment of my LIFE. )

I mean, how fucking cool is that?

That will be all.

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