All posts filed under: East

Destruction and Rebirth of Gyeongbokgung

Palaces… always built on a monumental scale, at auspicious sites, and embellished with rich ornamentation. Unlike great temples, churches or mosques which were commissioned to mark great rulers’ authority over their subjects (unsurprisingly, religion has been used to rule people for thousands of years), palaces […]

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The House of Korean Treasures

Many people travel across the world to see ancient ruins dating back to hundreds, even thousands of years ago to marvel at the ingenuity of masons, sculptors and artisans who lived long before our time. Museums, however, despite housing some of the best and most […]

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Eating Well in Kyoto

Carefully I clamped the round pressed sushi with my chopsticks, trying to figure out the correct way to eat these larger-than-normal rolls of rice and fish. The real struggle though was not about how to eat it properly, but rather how to do everything in […]

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First Time in Seoul

It was supposed to be an easy trip. Back in November last year when my perennial travel buddy, James, and I were planning a short escape from Jakarta in April, we were sorting through places that neither of us had ever been to and would […]

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A Pilgrimage to Purity

Remember the dream I took you into not long ago? Remember that bright vermilion color amid the lush green foliage? Remember Inari and the foxes? That was just the beginning of a journey to a magical realm I’m about to show you. No, I’m not […]

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A Vermilion Dream

Imagine being in a lush forest where two parallel paths are laid before your eyes. The one on the right has seemingly endless rows of torii (a type of gate usually found at Shinto shrines in Japan), and so does the left one, although peeking […]

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Kyoto’s Pavilions of Beauty

At midday in Kyoto James and I were enjoying a quirky Japanese TV show – a miscellany of over-excited hosts, cartoonish animation, and video game-ish sound – sitting cross-legged on the comfortable tatami mat inside our hotel room. At the same time on our laptops […]

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Kyoto: A Prologue

In the final weeks toward the first ever use of an atomic bomb in warfare, a list of Japanese cities was compiled by the US military and scientists as potential targets to bring down the Asian superpower. Each city was carefully selected based on the […]

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Kurashiki: A Glimpse of Pre-War Japan

Anyone who has explored big cities in Japan might notice the endless rows of incongruous concrete buildings dominating their skylines. Despite the elegance and restrained beauty the Japanese are famous for, I wondered why they built those ugly boxes of uninspiring edifices. Japan’s ambition to […]

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The Invincible White Heron

In Ancient Egypt, the heron was believed to be the creator of light, while the double-headed heron symbolized prosperity. Halfway across the world in Ancient China, the bird was regarded as a symbol of strength, purity, patience and long life. However in Japan, an egret […]

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