Archive for February, 2013

So the weekly photo challenge was Kiss. At first I was like what am I going to do for this, in the end I decided there was nothing I really had that fit this criteria. I did not have any images of couples kissing or even close to that.

A former colleague who has recently had a baby had the the idea of dressing her New born son up in a kiss T-shirt and paint his face. then we both decided that was probably going a little to far so we decided not to bother.

So I was on the verge of having nothing to post when I decided to see what I could get if I had a look around me. In the end I found the following image of a girl kissing an apple whilst showing off to her friend.

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Anyway tomorrow I am off to Macau, hopefully I will be able to get some good pictures.

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So the Weekly photo challenge is Home.

For most people home is the place they grew up in, this is a bit of an issue for me as growing up I never really spent more than about 3 years in one area. I suppose you could say that my schools years from the age of 11 to 18 gave me some stability as I was at boarding school in Buxton Derbyshire. But my parents were still moving around. I loved growing up and seeing all these new places and cultures.  I also believe that it help shape the person that I am today for better or worse.  I know at times I can be very independent to the point of not always listening to other people, but I also feel like I can make new acquaintances  very quickly ( I will talk to anyone.)

So what does home mean to me? Do I talk about my family that are based in the UK? Of course I would they are part of who I am and I speak to them often on the phone ( the wonders of Skype.) What about the city I live in now? Yes of course I love Hong Kong. I have probably spent longer in Hong Kong than anywhere else in my life. And I still do not want to leave, not bad for a person that used to itch to leave after 2 years of being anywhere. Why do I stay? because Hong Kong changes so quickly and is so Dynamic that it is never the same. What about my British heritage? I love being British but I would not want to live there. But I do miss parts of it. But Hong Kong allows me to get around that with the fact that it is a former British Colony and so has a lot of features that are British.

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So what did I decide to share in the end for the photo challenge? something that encapsulates all of these? not really I went for something much more literal, I decided to show you some pictures of the estate that I live in. Like most people in Hong Kong I live in an estate that has a lot of people and a lot facilities. There are 10 towers each with 43 floors and 8 apartments on each floor. There is a pool, gym, four lane bowling alley, climbing wall, massive shopping complex underneath and a big public podium area on the fifth floor to name a few features.

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This is the podium at night with the water feature in the middle. Lit by decorations for Chinese New Year.

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Looking up at four of the towers. You can see the light pollution that Hong Kong has from all of the lights, it is almost impossible to see stars at night.

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My apartment is on the 42nd floor, six down from the top. And this is the view that I get from my Balcony. You can see the building on the right which is fairly new and is over 60 floors high. I used to be able to see Lion Rock from my Balcony until they built that.

Anyway until next time have a great Year of the Snake and Gung Hei Fat Choy.

 

 

So the Weekly Photo challenge is Unique.

For me unique means a lot of things, something that stands out, a unique person, a unique culture etc. Of all the places I have been the most unique has got to be Japan for a variety of reasons. A lot of Asian countries have their own little quirks, but Japan has more than any other I have been to. I love it for the history, the culture, the wacky things and just the sheer beauty of the place.So I thought I would share a few photos from the trip I made last year.

I initially was going to go to Japan in Easter 2011 and had my tickets and train pass booked. I was going to go to Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima all by bullet train with stays in all of them for at least 4 days. I had planned out what I was going to do with the help of a parent of one of our Japanese students. Then of course disaster struck the Japanese people in the form of a massive earthquake and I was warned not to go to Japan by the same parents that had helped me to plan my Journey. I was gutted, I really wanted to go it was No. 1 on my places to visit when I arrived in Hong Kong, and here I was 5 years in and still I had not made it there. I even considered going anyway but then common sense prevailed, I got my money back for my flight and for my train pass.

Roll forward a year to Easter 2012 and I was determined to go visit Japan, I did not have as long off and so I could not do the same Itinerary, i did not have as many days. So that plan went out the window and I went for 8 days to Tokyo instead. I got lucky on the way out I got bumped by Cathay Pacific up to Business class, a good way to start the trip.

So I arrived and I just loved the feel of the place. The way they do stuff is so regimented in some ways but so beautiful. they admire beauty. The image below is of barrels of rice wine and I just find the artwork on it fascinating.

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One of the quirkiest thing I saw in Akihabara, which is a computer district of Tokyo where all the gamers hang out is the maid cafes. They have great big advertisements on the sides of buildings and girls on the street, or balconies trying to get people to go in.

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I must admit I went in to one and it was really bizarre. you get lots of women going in along with the gamers and quite a few famous people. I sat where the back street boys sat when they went to the one I was in.( they had a video looping of them going there on a few TV’s along with a plaque on the table.) Anyway I ordered a cake and a coke and when they bring it to you they have to do Maid magic to make it taste better. It is a weird thing they say with the heart symbols in their hands.

Anyway the cake I got looks  like this. SAM_0754

Another quirky thing I saw was the Cat House in a department store near Shinjuku. Basically people do not have much space in their houses but they like pets. So what they do is they pay some money and they go to a place that has lots of cats in an area roaming around and sleeping etc., and you get to feed them and pet them. It sounds weird but in a way it makes sense to me, you get all the best bits and none of the hassle, cleaning up the litter tray for example. SAM_0762

I could not leave without sharing some of the beautiful blossoms and plants I saw. Cherry Blossom season is important to the people of Japan, they have watches and prediction like we do for the weather about when the blossom will happen. They even have a festival for it called Hanami which literally translates as viewing flowers. Below are two girls in traditional dress walking under the blossoms that have just freshly opened in one of the big parks. I was lucky to see this as it was on my last full day and it was supposed to happen the day after I flew out when I initially arrived.Luckily I had a couple of warmer day to speed it all up.

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People turn up in their thousands to see the blossoms and will actually party as family groups or as a work group. SAM_0976

Here you can see the tarpaulins laid out ready for them to arrive with the food. Basically some people turn up, stake out an area and then wait for their friends. Or as I understand it in some cases junior work colleagues who wait for their bosses.

The final Image I am going to share is not of a cherry blossom but another kind of flower that I really like the look of. it looks almost fake like a carved soap flower.

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So there you have my unique photo challenge. Japan a unique place in so many ways.

I know that it is a long post with quite a few pictures but I really feel like there is so much more I would love to share of my trip to Japan. I am definitely going to return.

Jamie.

So the Weekly Photo Challenge is love. I was not really sure how to progress with this one and my father I just noticed has taken the idea that I had earlier on in the week which was about do animals feel love.

I am going to share the images anyway and get back on to it next week.

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The first image is the old Rhino couple at Berlin Zoo, or that is what they look like to me.

The second image is from Jakarta Zoo. it is a mother and child.

The third Image is from a rehabilitation centre for Elephants in Chiang Mai Thailand. They love their daily bathe apparently.

The final image is two cats from Tokyo. They are enjoy the Cherry Blossom party and have even got dressed up for the occasion.

I know it is a short post this week but College work and also having to sort out some work related issues have hit me for six this week.

Jamie