Posts Tagged ‘East Asia’

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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Tomorrow I will leave Japan for an exciting odyssey that will lead me straight to the borders of the Asian continent; to places full of exotic animals and even more exotic people, where every day could be my last one… Ok, that might now sound a little bit too dramatic. To be honest my biggest fear is probably that either me or my luggage will get lost somewhere, but that’s about it.

Right now I am just happy that finally, after endless hours of preparation, in which I had to coordinate the places I want to go, the friends I can stay with and the Airlines I have to take (which was actually the biggest struggle), I am ready to go. Instead of packing all my stuff, I actually had enough time to make this super fancy Hallo-Kitty Animation about all the countries I am going to go. As you can see there are actually not that many, but I thought it is better to stay a bit longer at each place rather than rushing through it.

I will start with Bangkok, where I will meet up with my parents. Apparently Japan is too far away from Germany, which is why my parents refused to visit me in Tokyo. But for whatever reason Thailand is just about right for them, so they decided to go there for holidays. And since I am the best son in the world I gave up on reasoning with them and decided to see my parents at least for a couple of days in Thailand.

After this I will go to Taiwan. Here I will spend 10 days discovering the small Island and hopefully also Taipei’s night-life together with some of my Taiwanese friends. From Taiwan I will head to Korea where I spend my time in Jeonju and Seoul with some Korean friends from my University. Finally I will hopefully (you never know) make it to Macau and Hong Kong where I stay with some of my former workmates.

I charged my Ipod with new music and got tour guides and a couple of books for the journey. I feel ready and can’t wait to leave tomorrow. Within this month I will be unable to update my Blog since I will be rather busy ‘Conquering East Asia’ and writing tons of post cards. However as soon as I am back you can be sure that I will upload many new pictures and write many new articles about everything I saw and experienced. So please be patient and cross fingers that I will come back in one piece. (If you should get really really bored you can check out some of my old articles, I am sure you will find something interesting there…)