Nara, Buddhism, Suburbanity

Yesterday I went to Nara, site of numerous Buddhist and Shinto temples, but in particular to see one called Todai-Ji which I’d read about two weeks ago in a book on Mahayana Buddhism. Housed inside the largest wooden building in the world is a statue of Vairocana, the cosmic Buddha. I like the original theoretical […]

Japanese Entertainments

There are amazing gambling alleys near here (Minami area of Osaka) with countless ball bearings which get shovelled into machines that bounce them round and spit them out again at their own whim. In the morning there were queues outside, the addicts reading comics waiting for it to open so they can get their fix. […]

Osaka, Japan

Wow! I’m in a slightly different sort of internet cafe, and not just because it is ten times more expensive than in China. It’s called Kinko’s and is more of a 24 hour business services centre, with photocopiers, binders and large volume printers. The computer I’m on is a Mac, which makes a nice change […]

Japan and SARS

I’ve finally given up, and bought a plane ticket to Japan. I’m flying from Kunming to Osaka on Wednesday. Some reasons for this action motivated by fear: The Chinese government is protesting too much about how safe China is from SARS. I object to this propaganda, when it is not based on sound detail of […]

Outskirts of Kunming

On the first Friday afternoon I was in Kunming, I finished my last class and looked out the window at the alluring mountains on the edge of town. So I hopped on an appropriate looking bus, and went to the end of the line to see what was there. As you get further out of […]

Kunming Local Tourists

While I’ve been in Kunming, I’ve been doing a bit of touristing at the weekends. The great thing is that most of the other people visiting attractions are Chinese. Unlike in SE Asia, the Chinese are both wealthy enough and keen enough to be domestic tourists. And, well, they don’t quite do it the same […]

Chinese Language School

The Chinese class that I’ve been attending has an interesting diversity of people. Nearly everyone is here for six months or a year. People are mostly Thai and South Korean, with a few Westerners, one Vietnamese and one (I think) Japanese. Many of those from Thailand and Korea are young university students, often majoring in […]

Various SARS links

I finally found some more useful SARS information from the UK government other than the FCO’s China travel advice. Two places to go are Department of Health emerging travel advice and Public Health Laboratory Service (they handily protects the population from infection). These sources are all reassuringly calm, basically saying travel anywhere, but watch for […]

汉字 (Chinese Characters)

I love Chinese characters. They’re great fun, so much more interesting than rather dull alphabets. I know at first they seem like a really stupid idea – surely it is better to have a phonetic representation in writing, rather than arbitary and innumerable pictures? One way to look at it is that they are at […]

Disinformation on SARS

To go completely against my non-linking byline, and to fuel the misinformation fire, here’s some stuff about SARS. Here’s an article in a Japanese newspaper, describing how irresponsible the Chinese government has been in their handling of the case. This certainly fits with my suspicions the other day based on how WHO is having to […]