Exploring the Japanese Night

BEPPU, JAPAN - DECEMBER 02:  Japanese geisha p...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I love to travel, especially to points in Asia.  I have a mental list of places in Asia that I intend to visit somehow, sometime in my life.  Japan and points within is high on that list.

One of my favorite parts of the web is being able to enjoy the work of others as they chronicle what their lands look like.  It’s almost like opening the window and seeing the reality of another land just outside your window.  While this sounds cheesy; for this I am quite grateful for the web.

A site that illustrates this very well is located here.  This site almost pulls me right in to Japan and makes me feel as though I’m standing there on some windy ledge looking around at the various points of interest at dusk.  I love it.  I could spend hours on sites like this.

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Jin and Sun as Figures of Tragedy

I feel like I can always count on episodes of Lost that are centered on Jin and Sun to bring tears to my eyes. There’s a subtle, consistent thread that exists about these two; they are figures of traditional tragedy, especially tonight.

Okie, that’s all I’ll say plot-wise, because I know some of you may have DVR’d it. I’ll try to express this without giving it away.

The story of Jin and Sun has an inherent overtone of tragedy. Sun’s secrets have always made the story quite tense and Jin’s undying devotion to his wife just makes it all the worse. It’s sad to see them struggle with their lives and relationship.

In many ways I feel like this couple is also an homage to Asian cinema. I have yet to run across a truly happy Asian film. Most Asian cinema is just really, really damn sad. If you want a feeling of complete despair, I challenge you to check out Farewell, My Concubine or Raise the Red Lantern (MGM World Films). Don’t get me wrong, this is good, hard stuff, but it’s really tragic.

I didn’t really understand them to be an homage to Asian cinema until I pointed out tonight that every Jin/Sun story in Lost is quite tragic, leading up to what will surely be quite a tragic end to their plot thread. My wife simply smiled and summed it up, “They’re Asian.”

Wink wink, nod… yes, they’re Asian, and it’s entertainment, so by design, I expect their story to have a terribly tragic ending I’m sure. I’ll applaud all the way to the Kleenex box.

Anxiously awaiting next January

Because 01/18/08 can’t come soon enough…Tonight’s bachelor movie was straight out of Korea. It’s a mutant monster movie by the name of The Host.It started off promising – with a really fun attack scene on the banks of the Han River in Seoul. Plenty of mayhem and crowd panic scenes. Obviously most of the budget was spent on that sequence because the remaining 1 hour and 40 minutes of the film didn’t do much for me. It tries to be a drama/horror/comedy but ends up failing almost all of those. Instead, it runs around with no set goal, except maybe to paint the U.S. as a bioterrorist. I can hardly wait for the U.S. remake. Thank goodness that’s not what J.J. Abrams is cooking up… I’m very much looking forward to that one.

Interview with Ang Lee – CNN.com

Interview with Ang Lee – CNN.com

Here’s an interesting interview with one of my favorite directors. There’s not a lot of new information in there, but you at least get a sense of his character.

Asians still keep the cool stuff

A mall in Beijing has installed a technological wonder. It’s basically the ceiling of a covered walkway. The difference is that the walkway is covered with 5 LCD screens working together to provide a video experience unlike anything you’ll ever see. Currently, it’s running animations that simulate an aquarium. In this video, it’s as though you’re a scuba diver caught in a flock of sharks, looking up into the glowing heavens.

This screen apparently cost USD 32 million.

Dammit, why do the Asians keep all the cool stuff for themselves?

Crazy Japanese line up for 1.5 hours to get fat on American doughnuts.

PChome個人新聞台-唐蔬宋廚米麒麟

Incredible!

Flickrfy » Blog Archive » Shanghai Nights

Flickrfy » Blog Archive » Shanghai Nights

Absolutely gorgeous. I hope that one day I can visit there.

Asian Albums moved

Please note that the Asia Albums site URL has changed. If you’re getting RSS from there, please check your links.

You can get to the new album here.

History continues to be erased in Taiwan

Taipei Times – archives
National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall

President Chen Sui Bian continues his assault on Taiwan’s history as Chaing Kai Shek Memorial Hall is renamed to the National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall.

Not only does it dishonor the history (those who forget history are doomed to repeat it) – I’d imagine the new name will further the flames with mainland China since it contains the word “Democracy.” Maybe not – I often find myself misunderstanding much of this issue, as many Americans do.

Taiwan loses historical site

Today my sister-in-law called us to say hi as usual. She spoke to her sister for a while, then my wife turned to me and informed me that Chaing Kai Shek’s summer home on Yang Ming Mountain was burned to the ground last night.

Taiwan’s president Chen Shui Bian has been engaged in a campaign to erase an important piece of Taiwan’s history from modern day life. I do not dare to try to educate anyone on any of this, except to say that Chaing Kai Shek is pretty much the founder of the Taiwan we have today. I find it odd that the president chooses to ignore his importance by erasing his name from monuments, buildings and anything else that carries his name. They have talked about removing the wall from CKS Memorial Hall as well.

The next move… CKS’ Summer House on Yang Ming Mountain burns down in what is a suspected arson.

It makes you wonder. At one time, I thought Chen Shui Bian was doing well for Taiwan – now I think just the opposite. It’s not just this incident that makes me wonder – it was also the attempted assassination during his re-election campaign (the bullet just grazed him at practically point blank range) when he was losing in the polls and other things that make one wonder.

In memoriam, I have reposted some of the pictures of the CKS Summer House when we visited last October. The pictures are reposted here, in my Asian Albums site.

This a terrible loss for my favorite tropical island.

Statue of Chaing Kai Shek