As the saying goes, the best camera is the one that’s with you, and most of the time that’s my iPhone. Below are some shots I’ve taken over the past year of Tokyo’s seductive lights, proving my magpie instincts are very much still alive. Read more
Walk through any park at the weekend in China and you’re more than likely to find groups of people flying wonderfully decorated kites high in the sky. This isn’t a pastime just for kids though, and as I found out in Shanghai a few weeks ago, aficionados of the sport have taken it a step further… Read more
If you were asked to move house twice and start a new job during the course of one month you’d probably think it was a madness, but that’s exactly what I’ve done over what was among the four busiest weeks of my life. Now that it’s almost over I can begin to settle down and reflect on a fairly busy beginning to 2011. Read more
Another day, another night market in Taipei, this time Ximending in the Wanhua District where the lights shine bright and every other person was riding a bike! In comparison to Shida and Shilin night markets Ximending had a more modern feeling and definitely seemed to be catering to a younger crowd. Read more
Last night the streets of Shenzhen were filled with the sight, sound, and unmistakable aroma of millions of fireworks being set off by people across the city as China saw in the Year of the Tiger with a bang. As with many activities here, the more noise, the more luck it’s supposed to bring. Shortly before midnight I took to the streets with my camera to capture the action (while trying to avoid getting my head blown off): Read more
Walking along the streets of Seoul can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, such is the visual noise generated by a million neon signs all screaming for your attention. Combined with the massive hordes of crowds at certain hours and it can be quite a disorienting, if not an exciting experience all the same.
There’s something about neon lights which never cease to allure my eyes and from my travels I’ve found three main places where they shine brightest in Seoul: Gangnam, Sincheon (above) and Myeongdong (below). Cheonggyecheon stream is also beautifully lit up at night but with a more relaxed romantic atmosphere.
Myeongdong is mainly full of trendy clothes shops for young people while Sincheon is more focused on bars and restaurants (and dodgy looking motels). Gangnam is a business area lined with shining office buildings (and cool Media Poles). If you only have time to visit one, go to Myeongdong – it’s by far the most interesting and a fascinating area to people watch (if you know any other good spots please leave a comment).
UNIQLO (from Japan) seem to have new stores appearing all over the place – one just opened near me in Coastal City and for a foreign label they’re quite reasonably priced. The shot above was taken outside the COEX mall in Jamsil.
In some parts of Seoul the mayor is apparently trying to clean up the streets by curbing the lights and baring roadside vendors. Urban gentrification is something I abhor; the sights and smells are what give an area its nature and by removing them you remove the very heart of their existence.
If the lights get a bit much for you there still exist a few sanctuaries of calm and tranquility within the megalopolis. Bongeun-sa temple exists in sort of temporal warp between ancient and modern Korea, nestling between countless high-rise offices and shops. It’s amazing its managed to survive the onslaught of construction and is the perfect oasis to take a moment to relax and reflect on a warm evening.
Whist sitting here listening to the chanting of the monks I thought back over previous trips to Korea – it was my fourth time in South Korea and whilst I doubt I’ll be returning again for a while my memories are the best souvenir with my blog a visual reminder of the great experiences and wonderful places visited. A strangely fitting ending to the best episode yet.
10pm in the Futian district of Shenzhen taken from the roof of a 33 story apartment block which a guard kindly let me climb out onto (in China there are no “health and safety” laws… that people follow anyway). They came out surprisingly well considering they were taken by a shaky hand without a tripod.
There is something magical about the night in such densely packed cities where man has built upwards towards the heavens. Thousands of lights twinkle against the skyline as if indicating their inhabitants very existence within the controlled chaos of urban dwelling in China.
As if arteries in some enormous autonomous monster even the roads and highways take on a life of their own at night ferrying the lifeblood of the city from A to B in a never ending continuum. All we need is for the cars to take to the skies and we’d be living in Blade Runner…
Considering the film was set in 2019 it’s not all that far off from what could be reality very soon but something tells me we need to solve the energy/environmental/financial crisis before we can all own flying cars!