23 December 2013
These are the many wats we visited in SE Asia.
Cambodia is home to some of the most famous temples in history such as Angkor Wat. Most of the temples have a Hindu (Indian) design style, and Angkor Wat was originally built as a Hindu temple. The temples in Cambodia are completely made out of different types of stone, usually limestone, and there is no gold or wood parts to be found. Cambodian temples did not really focus on huge statues of Buddha inside the wats, the beauty of the temples focused on the intricate carvings along the walls.
Wall Carvings at Angkor Wat:
Other Cambodian Temples:
Lao wats were extremely different from Khmer wats. They were not made out of limestone, and most had immense amounts of gold/gold leaf covering the temple. Lao wats look very similar to each other in style and features. The wats were big rooms featuring statues of Buddha painted over with gold leaf. The outside had two columns supporting a big gold roof structure, which is really hard to describe so you will see in the pictures. They were ornately decorated everywhere. (The following pictures include photos from a wat with mostly mosaics, most wats didn’t have those.)
16 November 2013
Lao was a very different country than Japan. Japan is so organized compared to Lao, it was quite an adjustment. Lao is also a really poor country, and not developed to the degree of the US or Japan. I didn’t like Lao, which wasn’t that great because we were there for a whole month. It was dirty and very hot.
Luang Prabang was filled with tourists, and you couldn’t walk anywhere without a tuk tuk driver yelling at you. The Lao people were just like anyone else, some nice, some rude. The Nam Khan river and the Mekong was where people dump their sewage and trash.
The bugs in Lao were huge. The moths and butterflies were the size of my fist, and the crickets were gigantic. There are ants everywhere as well, big red ants, or the smallest black ants. They were everywhere, even in the hotel rooms. Sometimes it was hard to sleep because I could feel them crawling on me.
But Lao is a beautiful country. The waterfalls there were a cloudy turquoise blue, not as clear or as dark as pool water. Nong Khiaw was surrounded by amazing limestone cliffs. And then there are all the temples. I think some of the temples were a little over the top. How much gold can you use?
It was a good experience even though I didn’t enjoy it.
28 October 2013
These are the animals I’ve met along the way.
4 October 2013
Monochrome Tones Photo Series…Captured & Edited by Julia
4 October 2013
I didn’t like it when we went to the museum in Hiroshima. I felt guilty being there, with all the old people who had probably experienced the bomb. I didn’t know how much the bomb effected Hiroshima until we went there. I had to walk past whole exhibits because of the horrible pictures and models of people after the bomb hit. Why are we still testing nuclear weapons if this is what they do? The U.S alone has 8,000 bombs. A nuclear war could easily wipe out the entire world. Why are we still testing bombs? All of the nuclear weapons in the world equate to more than 20,000. None of them are needed. I don’t think President Truman knew what he was doing. He killed so many people and orphaned so many children. Some who survived have terrible deformities. Others wish they had died in the bomb, it was that bad. Some people think the warheads help obtain an uneasy peace. So many countries have them now, that if a country was to bomb another country, the country that was bombed would just fire back, meaning more destruction and possibly a full out nuclear war. It is true that the bombs do actually help world peace in a way, but if countries like America and Russia were to start a nuclear war, it is completely possible the war would wipe out the world. The mayor of Hiroshima writes every year to the president of the states since around 1947, telling him to stop testing bombs. The U.S is still testing bombs, even though we have too much already. If a country attacks the U.S, we do need to defend ourselves in some way but a nuclear weapon is too much destruction and loss.
Japan fries pretty much everything. In Setagaya, there was a whole restaurant dedicated to fried food. We went there two times, and both times they hardly had anything left for us to pick through, because so many people had already dropped by to get their fried food. I ended up getting a fried prawn (bad), a fried crab, (ok), and what I thought was fried chicken. It was a potato. The Japanese have a specific name for fried food that has vegetables, seafood, or mashed potato in it. They call it ‘korroke’. Some other crazy Japanese fried food is deep fried eggplant, deep fried mushrooms and other vegetables. But the weirdest thing is deep fried soup. Its supposed to be really good, but it makes me sick thinking about it. When you think of Japanese food, you would think sushi and noodles, right? But honestly I’ve seen more fried food than noodles and sushi. The weird thing is, nobody is overweight in Japan. I think I’ve seen one obese person since we’ve been here. So if everyone eats as much fried food as stores and restaurants suggest, how come everyone is so skinny? 8.13.13 If I had to choose one country I’m most excited about I would pick Japan. Not Southeast Asia because it is too hot! Not anywhere in South America because I don’t know anything about it, and not Germany because I forgot about it when I wrote this. Ok, really I chose Japan because of all the cool things there, from cat cafes to bamboo forests! So I wrote down six of the cool things, did some research, and then put this together. Tokyo is something I’m looking forward to, and luckily its the first place we are going! The neon signs at night will be cool, and I bet there will be cosplayers around. Tokyo is like a huge shopping district, so it will be fun to look at shops, even if we aren’t buying anything. There are bad things though, like small spaces, crowds, and noise, but we can adjust. Really a lot like New York. And I’ve never been to New York. So yeah.
In the neighborhoods of Shibuya and Harajuku teenagers hang out dressed in crazy stuff like cow costumes! Everything from tattered gothic dresses to Pikachu costumes! It will be fun to take pictures of all these teenagers. There are about 40 cat cafes in Tokyo. Cat cafes are really cool because you eat with the cats! So if you love cats you can play with them (or rabbits. Or goats.) while you drink your morning coffee. The cats are treated really well, they have toys and sometimes have menu items named after them. The reason that there are so many cat cafes in Tokyo is mainly because house availability in Tokyo is pretty much all apartments, and in most apartments pets aren’t allowed. So cat cafes are the alternative. They also help raise animal awareness. The bamboo forest in Kyoto will be really cool because all you can see is bamboo. Huge stalks of bamboo everywhere. Bamboo can grow up to one hundred feet tall! It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. It’s really pretty. The Imperial Palace is where the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, lives. It has lots of building including the main palace, the homes of the imperial family (yeah they don’t live in the main palace. I know. Japan is weird.), an archive, and a museum. The place is huge. I heard it is 1.32 square miles. It also has lots of gardens. In Togakushi there is a Ninja Theme Park where you can do things like ninja water walking, slalom, and knife throwing. Which is not a good idea. Because…Sean. It sounds really awesome, and on the drive up you go through the Japanese Alps. And apparently they have soba noodles there. Actually, soba noodles were invented there. I have no idea what soba noodles are, but it sounds like pasta so I have a feeling I will like them. So those were the six reasons why I’m most excited to go to Japan. Luckily it’s the first place we are going! Even though right now its a hundred degrees there. Cat cafes will be super fun, and of course there’s the Ninja Theme Park. Can’t forget that. Thanks for reading, bye! 12.13.12 This is just crazy. Absolutely crazy. In Japan, there are some straaaaaangeee clothes. Really, everyone is dressed like bunnies, or wearing coats with multiple sleeves, baggy clothing, gothic wear, or really peppy tiny pink dresses, and even blood-covered (fake, of course) smocks! In other words, Halloween has come. Every single day. And I was worried I wouldn’t experience it!
P.S. If you’re A, L, S, S, M (you know who you are!), or Grandma or memere, hi! If you’re an awesome person who I don’t know, hello to you too! 12.12.12 I’m not really sure how I feel about this “trip of a lifetime” as mom puts it. I definitely don’t want to miss 6th grade and it’s going to be hard not seeing my friends or Mickey (amazing dog) for eight months. It’s gonna take a billion trillion hours to get to just Japan! Where will Christmas be? Cambodia? Do Cambodians even celebrate Christmas? And I shouldn’t expect Halloween, either. But, it will be exciting to learn about all the countries, experience different cultures, ride elephants (yep!), and, most of all, go diving and see all the exotic fishies! So, as you can probably tell, I’m completely torn. I suppose I’ll see once we leave, although I hope we don’t get killed by a tsunami in Japan!!!