Posts Tagged ‘Asia’

bme.eu.comNo Matter if you hate it or love it, you cannot escape McDonald’s in Japan. No other country in the world, except the US of course, has as many ‘Red and Yellow’ Restaurants as Japan. In fact it has nearly as many as Canada, Germany and the UK (Number 3, 4 and 5) together.

Egal ob man es liebt oder hasst man kommt in Japan um McDonald’s nicht herum. Kein anderes Land der Welt, natürlich mit Ausnahme von den USA, hat mehr „Rot-Gelbe“ Restaurants als Japan. Genauer genommen hat es fast genauso viele wie Kanada, Deutschland und Groβbritannien (Number 3,4 und 5) zusammen.

Oomiya-sation

My Home Station

Whenever I arrive at my train-station after work, in a relatively small Japanese city, I have the choice of not one or two but five McDonald’s in the radius of 200 meter. All nicely positioned around the exits so that you definitely have no excuse not to get a Burger for Dinner, or Lunch, or Breakfast. And then when I go to Tokyo on the weekends…OH BOY.  Everywhere, popping out of every corner, in every shopping centre, in every Metro-station like mushrooms in a forest.

Jedes Mal wenn ich an meinem Bahnhof nach der Arbeit, in einer doch recht kleinen japanischen Stadt ankomme, habe ich die Auswahl zwischen nicht nur ein oder zwei, sonder fünf verschiedenen McDonald’s im Radius von 200 Metern. Alle sind super um die Ausgänge positioniert, sodass ich auch ja keine Ausrede finden kann nicht einen Burger zum Abendbrot oder zum Mittag oder zum Frühstück zu essen.  Falls ich dann mal am Wochenende nach Tokio fahre…ALTER SCHWEDE. Überall, an jeder Ecke, in jedem Shopping-Center in jeder Bahnstation, kommen sie wie Pilze herausgeschossen. (more…)

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East Asia is a very spiritual region. No matter where you go you can always find a little temple, an antique shrine or an interesting church. All the different religions often peacefully coexist along side each other, creating a whole new way of thinking and believing. In Japan people tend to say “Japanese are born as Shintos, marry as Christians and die as Buddhist!” I believe that exactly this kind of thinking, where people are free to choose from a variety of ideas, rather than following ‘the one and only path’ can help us to become better humans. This article however is not about Religion but about the most stunning Temples and Churches in East Asia. I am pretty sure, that everybody, no matter if religious or not can appreciate the beauty of these amazing buildings.

Ostasien ist eine sehr spirituelle Region. Egal wo man hingeht, überall findet man kleine Tempel, antike Schreine und interessante Kirchen. All diese unterschiedlichen Religionen existieren meist friedlich neben einander, was einen völlig neuen Weg des Denkens und des Glaubens kreiert. In Japan neigt man zum Beispiel zu sagen: “Japaner werden als Shintoisten geboren, heiraten als Christen und sterben als Buddhisten!” Ich glaube, dass genau diese Denkensweise, in der Menschen von einer Vielzahl an Ideen frei wählen können, anstatt  nur dem ‘einen richtigen Weg’ zu folgen, uns helfen kann bessere Menschen zu werden. Der Artikel ist jedoch nicht über Religion sondern über die atemberaubensten Tempel und Kirchen in Ostasien. Ich bin mir ganz sicher, dass Jeder, egal ob nun religiös oder auch nicht, die Schönheit dieser bewundernswerten Gebäude zu würdigen weiß. 

Thailand: Country of a million golden Buddha

In Thailand Buddha is everywere! And not just one or two but a whole army of lying, sitting, standing, sleeping, eating and meditating Buddhas. No matter what form, size or position Buddha got them all.

In Thailand ist Buddah überall. Und nicht nur ein oder zwei, sondern eine ganze Armee von liegenden, sitzenden, stehenden, schalfenden, essenden und meditierenden Buddhas. Egal in welcher Form, Größe oder Position, Buddha hat sie alle!

Colourful Taiwan

Taiwan is an explosion of the senses. So many colours, so many incense and so many people. Here the religion is truly alive!

Taiwan ist eine Explosion der Sinne. So viele Farben, so viele Räucherstäbchen und so vieleMenschen. Hier ist die Religion wahrlich am Leben.

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Forget everything you thought you knew about cities.  London, New York, Rome; that are all cities of the past, dwarfed by the new rising Mega cities of East Asia. No matter if you take the busy streets of Bangkok, the flashy lights of Macau, the hive like apartments of Seoul, the fast lane lifestyle of Hong Kong, the always-open-for-business shops of Taiwan or simply the monstrous size of Tokyo; nothing can really compare to it. Just spending one day in one of these metropolises make one realise that “Western” cultures and in particular the infrastructure of “Western” cities are falling years and sometimes even decades behind. It seems that East Asia justifiably deserves the label “developing region”, since here is actually still development happening, while Europe has fallen into a deep deep sleep of stagnation and status-quo.  In order to understand my point of view I want to share my experience and my pictures, which I have gained especially during a one month East-Asian trip, where I visited Bangkok, Taipei, Seoul, Macau and Hong Kong. If you want to have a deeper insight into Tokyo please check out some of my older articles in particular the one about its Skyline.

Bangkok

It’s an chaotic city. With motorbikes, mopeds, scooters, cars and rickshaws driving like crazy down the street, you better run for your life if you want to cross the street.  Beside of beautiful golden Temples (see more in my next article) the city architecture is mainly dominated by flat, fragile buildings. The few Skyscraper that exist are mainly luxury apartments or luxury hotel next to the river, which is another of the main transportation routes. Often are shady neighbourhoods right next to such high, modern buildings, which gives the city an interesting heterogeneous charm.  Because of the lack of neon signs the city is not as shiny as its East Asian neighbours at night, however Bangkok is the best place to see some of the most stunning Sunsets.

Taipei

I have to admit: from all the places in East Asia I have been so far, I fall in love the most with Taipei. The whole infrastructure is very similar to Tokyo. Similar buildings, a similar Metro-system (but much smaller) and even similar shops and shopping centres. What impressed me the most however where the people (see more in my article about East-Asian people) and the price. Compared to Tokyo I get the same standard of living, sometimes even better for a much smaller price.  Transportation, food and social activities are often more than half the price of Tokyo and furthermore you can find a perfect mix of Japanese and Chinese Culture here.  Especially worth mentioning are the notorious long open night markets and the impressive Taipei 101 (it has apparently 101 floors) both symbols of the city.

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I made it: One month of travelling in 4 different countries in Asia  (Thailand, Taiwan, Korea and China) lies behind me. It was probably the most fascinating and interesting journey that I have ever done. I experienced so much and took so many pictures that I could easily write for a whole month about all the extraordinary places and people I have seen. And to be honest that is also exactly what I am going to do! Instead of writing for each country one specific article I thought I could rather write many different country comparisons, which will concentrate on one particular topic.

Ich habe es geschafft: Ein Monat des Reisens in vier verschiedenen asiatischen Ländern (Thailand, Taiwan, Korea und China) liegt nun hinter mir. Es war wahrscheinlich die faszinierendste und interessanteste Reise, die ich jemals unternommen habe. Ich habe so viel erlebt und habe so viele Fotos geschossen, dass ich für einen ganzen Monat über all die außergewöhnlichen Orte und Menschen, die ich gesehen habe, schreiben könnte. Und um ehrlich zu sein, das ist auch genau das, was ich machen werde! Anstatt jedoch über jedes Land einen einzelnen Bericht zu schreiben, dachte ich mir es wäre besser verschiedenen Ländervergleiche zu schreiben, die sich auf ein bestimmtes Thema spezialisieren.

My main topics will be:

  1. Cities and Skylines – where I will compare the main character of the Cities (Bangkok, Taipei, Seoul, Macau and Hongkong)
  2. People and Stereotypes – probably one of the most interesting part since I met many very unusual people
  3. Temples and Churches – which will illustrate the the variety and beauty of Asian’s religious places
  4. Food and Drinks –  no Asian report would be complete without an overview of the regional cuisine

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by Yu-Hsuan Chang and Jan Tzschichhold

The South-China Sea has been an area of conflict for many decades but in 2010 has once again become the centre of attention for a variety of Asian countries. The end of the Cold War highlighted the conflict over natural resources. Besides overlapping claims of China and Vietnam over the Paracel island chain, which also involves Taiwan as the representation of the “Republic of China”, there have been  various claims over the Spartly archipelago which are also partly claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. The huge interest in mostly uninhabited islands, atolls and sandbanks cannot simply be explained by the territory’s fisheries and related historical claims, but is attributed to the belief that South-China Sea is enormously rich in hydrocarbon as a source of energy. In order to find a solution for this many sided conflict and to preserve the freedom of navigation in the sea, the United States declared in July 2010 that the South-China Sea represents an American “national interest”. While some argue that the involvement of the US might worsen or escalate the whole conflict in the South-China Sea, others argue that America’s involvement can finally create an opportunity for a constructive conflict resolution. (more…)