Keong Saik Road in Singapore

23 May 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Jacklee/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Jacklee/cc-by-sa-4.0

Keong Saik Road is a one-way road located in Chinatown within the Outram Planning Area in Singapore. The road links New Bridge Road to Neil Road, and is intersected by Kreta Ayer Road. Keong Saik Road was named in 1926 after the Malacca-born Chinese businessman, Tan Keong Saik, in remembrance to his contribution to the Chinese community.   read more…

Yiwu in Central Zhejiang Province

16 May 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  8 minutes

Park on the river © Cherubby/cc-by-sa-3.0

Park on the river © Cherubby/cc-by-sa-3.0

Yiwu is a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Jinhua in Central Zhejiang Province, East China. As of the 2020 census, the city had 1,859,390 inhabitants and its built-up (or metro) area, joined with that of the neighboring Dongyang, was home to 2,947,340 inhabitants. The city is famous for its light industry commodity trade and vibrant market and as a regional tourist destination.   read more…

East Turkestan or Xinjiang and the Uyghurs in China

11 March 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  25 minutes

Xinjiang Internment Camps map © US  National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Xinjiang Internment Camps map © US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Xinjiang, officially the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (East Turkestan) and formerly romanized as Sinkiang, is a landlocked autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), located in the northwest of the country close to Central Asia. Being the largest province-level division of China and the 8th-largest country subdivision in the world, Xinjiang spans over 1.6 million square kilometres (620,000 sq mi) and has about 25 million inhabitants. Xinjiang borders the countries of Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The rugged Karakoram, Kunlun and Tian Shan mountain ranges occupy much of Xinjiang’s borders, as well as its western and southern regions. The Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract regions, both administered by China, are claimed by India. Xinjiang also borders the Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai. The most well-known route of the historic Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its northwestern border. It is home to a number of ethnic groups, including the Turkic Uyghur, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, the Han, Tibetans, Hui, Chinese Tajiks (Pamiris), Mongols, Russians and Sibe. There are more than a dozen autonomous prefectures and counties for minorities in Xinjiang. Older English-language reference works often refer to the area as Chinese Turkestan, East Turkestan and East Turkistan. Xinjiang is divided into the Dzungarian Basin in the north and the Tarim Basin in the south by a mountain range, and only about 9.7% of Xinjiang’s land area is fit for human habitation. Capital und largest city by far is Ürümqi.   read more…

Takayama in Japan

26 February 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  8 minutes

Presentation of floats during Sannō Matsuri © Chme82/cc-by-sa-4.0

Presentation of floats during Sannō Matsuri © Chme82/cc-by-sa-4.0

Takayama is a city located in Gifu, Japan. As of 1 January 2019, the city had an estimated population of 88,473 in 35,644 households, and a population density of 41 persons per km2. The total area of the city was 2,177.61 square kilometres (840.78 sq mi) making it the largest city by area in Japan. The high altitude and separation from other areas of Japan kept the area fairly isolated, allowing Takayama to develop its own culture over about a 300-year period. The city is popularly known as Hida-Takayama in reference to the old Hida Province to differentiate it from other places named Takayama. The name ‘Takayama’ means ‘tall mountain’. Takayama is located in northern Gifu Prefecture, in the heart of the Japan Alps. Mount Hotakadake is the highest point in the city at 3,190 metres (10,470 ft). The city has the largest geographic area of any municipality in Japan. The economy of Takayama is strongly based on tours, agriculture and woodworking.   read more…

Theme Week Tokyo – Ginza

29 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  12 minutes

Wako store © Kakidai/cc-by-sa-4.0

Wako store © Kakidai/cc-by-sa-4.0

Ginza is a district of Chūō, Tokyo, located south of Yaesu and Kyōbashi, west of Tsukiji, east of Yūrakuchō and Uchisaiwaichō, and north of Shinbashi. It is a popular upscale shopping area of Tokyo, with numerous internationally renowned department stores, boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses located in its vicinity. It is considered to be one of the most expensive, elegant, and luxurious city districts in the world. Ginza was a part of the old Kyobashi ward of Tokyo City, which, together with Nihonbashi and Kanda, formed the core of Shitamachi,> the original downtown center of Edo (Tokyo). Each Saturday and Sunday, from 12:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., the main street through Ginza is closed off to road traffic, allowing people to walk freely. This is called Hokōsha Tengoku or Hokoten for short, literally meaning “pedestrian heaven”. There are some people who do street performance such as magic and playing instruments. As a famous photo spot, some cats sleep on signs, where people can put their own cats onto these signs. The location where cats are is different depending on the date.   read more…

Theme Week Tokyo – Sensō-ji temple

28 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  9 minutes

© jreysp/cc-by-sa-4.0

© jreysp/cc-by-sa-4.0

Sensō-ji (Kinryū-zan Sensō-ji) is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan. It is Tokyo’s oldest temple, and one of its most significant. Formerly associated with the Tendai sect of Buddhism, it became independent after World War II. Adjacent to the temple is a five-story pagoda, the Asakusa Shinto shrine, as well as many shops with traditional goods in the Nakamise-dōri. The Sensoji Kannon temple is dedicated to Kannon Bosatsu, the Bodhisattva of compassion, and is the most widely visited spiritual site in the world with over 30 million visitors annually. The temple has a titanium tiled roof that maintains the historic image but is stronger and lighter.   read more…

Theme Week Tokyo – National Museum

27 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  9 minutes

The Hyokeikan © Kakidai/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Hyokeikan © Kakidai/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Tokyo National Museum or TNM is an art museum in Ueno Park in the Taitō ward of Tokyo, Japan. It is one of the four museums operated by the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage, is considered the oldest national museum in Japan, is the largest art museum in Japan, and is one of the largest art museums in the world. The museum collects, preserves, and displays a comprehensive collection of artwork and cultural objects from Asia, with a focus on ancient and medieval Japanese art and Asian art along the Silk Road.   read more…

Theme Week Tokyo – Imperial Palace

26 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks Reading Time:  12 minutes

Suwa-no-chaya Tea House © flickr.com - Rob Young/cc-by-2.0

Suwa-no-chaya Tea House © flickr.com – Rob Young/cc-by-2.0

The Tokyo Imperial Palace (Kōkyo, literally “Imperial Residence”) is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in the Chiyoda district of the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo and contains several buildings including the main palace (Kyūden), some residences of the Imperial Family, an archive, museums and administrative offices. It is built on the site of the old Edo Castle. The total area including the gardens is 1.15 square kilometres (0.44 sq mi). During the height of the 1980s Japanese property bubble, the palace grounds were valued by some to be more than the value of all of the real estate in the state of California.   read more…

Theme Week Tokyo – Tokyo Tower

25 January 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  8 minutes

© flickr.com - Melv_L - MACASR/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – Melv_L – MACASR/cc-by-sa-2.0

The Tokyo Tower (officially called “Japan Radio Tower”) is a communications and observation tower in the Shiba-koen district of Minato, Tokyo, Japan, built in 1958. At 332.9 meters (1,092 ft), it is the second-tallest structure in Japan. The structure is an Eiffel Tower-inspired lattice tower that is painted white and international orange to comply with air safety regulations. Since its completion in 1958, Tokyo Tower has become a prominent landmark in the city, and frequently appears in media set in Tokyo.   read more…

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