Sense of Place

"Cloud" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 37mm, f/9, 1/1250 sec, ISO100
“Cloud” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going? Today’s blog post will be a bit of a ramble, but hey, it’s my blog, so here goes.

I’ve been lucky so far that I have been able to travel for vacation, and also on rare occasion for work, and I now recognize certain distinct affinities I have for different places. For instance, when I traveled to Japan for the first time, I immediately felt like Japan was somewhere I wanted to live. So much so that I gave myself a deadline of 6 months before I moved there.

On the other hand, when I returned from trips to Morocco and Spain, I didn’t have that feeling at all. It was really fun to visit those places and experience a bit of the culture, but I never felt a deep connection. I’m sure it has to do with being Asian in a non-Asian country, although I haven’t thought too deeply about it yet. 🤔

The same can be said of my trips to Stockholm. I’ve visited twice and although I loved it there, felt safe and free, I was simply just a visitor. The thought of having a life there never crossed my mind. Nevermind the complications of having kids and a family… but even if I were single, I don’t think Europe would be on my list of places to live.

And how about my hometown of Torrance? I love visiting family there and am happy I grew up in Southern California, but I have no desire to live there. It’s just not interesting to me… and speaking about the USA, I’ve lived in Texas for almost 20 years now. Honestly, living in Austin never even occurred to me as a possibility before we moved here. It’s a wonderful place, and the people are so friendly and warm. But no, I have no real affection for, nor interest in, Texas and the moment we have the freedom to leave, I’ll be the first one on the plane. 😆

But back to places that I feel a real affinity for. Obviously, there’s Japan. Whenever I visit, I feel right at home, even though I can only understand maybe 25% of conversations. But I love it there. When I lived there I never considered leaving. It’s somewhere I want to live again. (My dream hasn’t died, haha)

Interestingly, I felt a similar feeling towards China when I visited there last month. After returning home, I felt that same blue feeling (could it be like homesickness?) that I felt after returning from Japan after my first visit there. That’s how I know I feel a real connection to a place – after returning, I have that melancholy feeling. It’s like I am living in a dream. 😌

Anyways, that’s pretty much what’s on my mind these past few days. Thinking about a connection to a sense of place I suppose. Although I live in Texas, I feel like it’s a temporary situation… just waiting to move on really. Someday. 🛫

I hope you had a nice day, and thanks for reading!

またね~

Day in Shanghai

"Sunrise" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/1500 sec, ISO50
“Sunrise” Shanghai, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I woke up early to go on a short run to The Bund, hoping to catch a nice sunrise, and I was pleasantly surprised to find some amazing weather. Well, maybe it’s always like this, but I’m just happy there were some cool clouds and no rain. 😀 Other early-morning bonuses included seeing some Tai chi and kite-flying. Both were very cool!

"Morning Taichi" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/270 sec, ISO50
“Morning Taichi” Shanghai, 2018

"Kite Beauty" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.64mm, f/2, 1/1000 sec, ISO50
“Kite Beauty” Shanghai, 2018

Our official morning excursion was to the Yuyuan Garden, which includes beautiful pavilions, shaded grottos, and incredible architectural details. I recommend getting there early to beat the crowds! Plus the morning light will be best for photos.

"Shanghai Tower" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/550 sec, ISO200
“Shanghai Tower” Shanghai, 2018
"Framed" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.2, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“Framed” Shanghai, 2018

Adjacent to the garden is Old Shanghai, which is filled with souvenir shops and food vendors. I bought a couple gifts there but didn’t find anything really cool for myself. Still, it was fun to check out all the things for sale!

"Fried Goodies" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/170 sec, ISO200
“Fried Goodies” Shanghai, 2018
"Potato" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/125 sec, ISO1600
“Potato” Shanghai, 2018

The afternoon activity was a trip to Shanghai Museum, which features four floors of Chinese treasures, but my favorite exhibit was the collection of ink paintings and scrolls. They were beautiful! Also of note are the various costumes of the different ethnicities of China. They were so interesting and varied… well worth taking a look.

"Painting" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/80 sec, ISO6400
“Painting” Shanghai, 2018
"Clothes" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO2500
“Clothes” Shanghai, 2018

Before dinner, we had a couple free hours so I went in search of some shoes that I had seen earlier in Beijing. Luckily, we found a local shoe store just a few minutes away from the hotel, and I was able to try these on before buying them for $20. I thought they were really cool!

"Feiyue Shoes" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO1250
“Feiyue Shoes” Shanghai, 2018

Oh, we also spotted a CoCo Curry house:

"CoCo Curry" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“CoCo Curry” Shanghai, 2018

The last item on the agenda for the day was a Chinese Acrobat show, which was pretty good! I didn’t take any photos since they weren’t allowed, but that’s ok. I’ll just keep those memories stored in my head. 🤣

"Old and New" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/1400 sec, ISO200
“Old and New” Shanghai, 2018
"Thirst Quencher" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Thirst Quencher” Shanghai, 2018
"Sunrise" Shanghai, 2018
Photo info: Motorola Moto G (4), 3.6400001049042mm, f/0, 1/inf sec, ISO0
“Sunrise” Shanghai, 2018

I hope you had a great day!

またね~

Texas Summer Sunset

"Majestic Cloud" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/340 sec, ISO200
“Majestic Cloud” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

This is what the sky looked like this evening near our home. Towards the east was a majestic cloud lit up by the setting sun, while in the west, the clouds were backlit by that same sun. It was beautiful.

"Fiery Sky" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/340 sec, ISO200
“Fiery Sky” Cedar Park, 2018

I still think clouds are the most amazing things in the universe. The sky can be truly awesome at times.

I hope you had a nice Wednesday!

またね~

Texas Storms

"Storm Clouds" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: SONY NEX-6, 16mm, f/22, 1/60 sec, ISO100
“Storm Clouds” Cedar Park, 2018

Texas can have some crazy weather! Growing up in Southern California, we never had huge fluctuations in temperature or lots of rain, especially living near the coast. But here in Texas, it can sometimes get a little crazy, with intense thunderstorms, hail, and flash flooding. Today, we got a couple of short downpours at our house, but nothing extreme. Whew! It did look pretty cool though, as you can see from the photo I took on the way home.

This evening I started on a new sketch. It’s going to be something inspired by Lady Snowblood, and is kind of similar to a painting I did when I was in art school. But I’ll be doing this not in acrylics or oils but with pencil and then digitally. I’m not good at figure drawing so it will take some time, and by looking at reference photos. But I was inspired not only by the movie but also by some illustration books I was browsing through at the Kinokuniya the other day. Such neat art!

I hope you had a nice Monday!

またね~

NYC Cruise and a Broadway Show

"Lower Manhattan" New York City, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/2400 sec, ISO400
“Lower Manhattan” New York City, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today was a relatively light activity day, but we still had some great highlights to share. But first, we visited Harlem Shake again, this time for breakfast. I couldn’t resist getting a cheeseburger (breakfast of champions) but Bay ordered a yummy breakfast combo. After that, it was a subway ride downtown to catch a boat cruise.

"Breakfast" Harlem, New York City, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO200
“Breakfast” Harlem, New York City, 2018

We were originally planning on taking the 1-hour “Lady Liberty” boat tour, but opted to go for the 2+ hour “Sights of New York City” tour from Circle Line Cruises which goes around Manhattan island. The weather was iffy, with storm clouds and rain in the forecast, but we got lucky and there was only one downpour, which we spotted 2 minutes ahead of us so we dipped to the inner part of the observation deck. 🚢

"Best of NYC Boat Tour" New York City, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/850 sec, ISO400
“Best of NYC Boat Tour” New York City, 2018

The tour was filled with a ton of interesting information, including the airline water-landing on the Hudson, explanations of the different docks and buildings all along the shores of Manhattan, New Jersey, Long Island, etc. The views were amazing from the water… it looked like the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan shot straight out of the water. Very cool. It was also pretty awesome to see the Statue of Liberty. 🗽 I felt a bit of patriotism stirring deep inside me… especially thinking of my own family’s immigration history and the current political climate, which is uncertain and upsetting.

"Statue of Liberty" New York Harbor, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/1600 sec, ISO200
“Statue of Liberty” New York Harbor, 2018

After the tour (from which I received a little sunburn), we walked to Times Square and had a look around and did a little window shopping and people-watching.

"Signage" Times Square, New York City, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/90 sec, ISO400
“Signage” Times Square, New York City, 2018

We ate dinner at Cielo at the Mayfair which was literally right next to our other “event” of the day: The Book of Mormon musical at the Eugene O’Neill Theater. This was the first time for both Bay and I too see a musical, and to see it on Broadway was amazing. The Book of Mormon was hilarious and fun 🤣… and the ticket prices weren’t too expensive since it is an older show. Highly recommended! 👍

"Broadway Show" New York City, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/6.4, 1/13 sec, ISO800
“Broadway Show” New York City, 2018

After the show, we made our way to the subway station and back to our Airbnb in Harlem. Tomorrow will be another long day (driving up to Ithaca!) so it’s time for some rest. 😴

おやすみ!



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