In the spring of 2018 I had the good fortune to visit Japan with a group of students from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Led by Japanese students who came to Luskin to study, we had a whirlwind week visiting government officers, cultural landmarks, and other sites. Here are some of my favorite photos from the week (including a couple images from a long layover in Hong Kong).
It’s been another long break. After moving out to California, school started and life got busy again. New Year’s Day is putting me in the mood to create, so let’s get back into things. I don’t have a lot to say about Angkor Wat. It’s big, hot, and as impressive as people say it is. If you can visit someday I’d recommend it, but try to get to Phnom Penh too. If you’re going to enjoy the wonder of Angkor Wat, you owe it to the country to educate yourself on the horrors of the Khmer Rouge.
After we left Saigon, we had one last stop before moving into Cambodia: The Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta is a huge network of waterways and islands that makes up the agricultural center of Vietnam. Much of the country’s produce is grown in the area surrounding the river.
The Delta can also be a huge tourist trap. Every guesthouse and travel agency in Saigon offers dirt-cheap tours of the region – you’re bused up to the river, walk around an island, get pushed to buy tacky souvenirs, and can make it back to Saigon with plenty of time to get drunk on beer street.
In the summer of 2012, I spent two weeks traveling through Vietnam with a group of Indiana University telecom students. The focus of the trip was filmmaking, but I tried to write as much as I could. I recently polished up an excerpt to use as a writing sample and liked it enough to share.
It’s just past 6am, and I’m enjoying my first morning in Hanoi. I’ve already been up for four hours filming a night market and it’s time for breakfast. I head back to the heart of the city and come across a small collection of chairs along the side of a busy road, where an older woman sits with several pots and thermoses of tea and coffee. Sipping strong green tea and looking out at Hoan Kiem Lake, I try to take in everything I’ve experienced in my first few hours in the city.
As I finish the tea and begin to walk back to my hotel, I remember hearing about a small market nearby. I veer off to search for it and come across another woman with another roadside collection of chairs. She’s selling pho, one of my favorite dishes in the world, and I decide to stop. Taking a seat on a plastic chair maybe eight inches off the ground, I order a bowl and prepare to eat.
This is a Flushing-bound 7 train. Your next stop is… Beijing.
I don’t need to tell you about Manhattan’s Chinatown. You’ve been there, or you’ve seen it in films or on television. New York’s oldest Chinese enclave is an amazing place. From the open-air fish markets to the cavernous dim sum palaces, it’s unlike anyplace else on the island. But from the high rents to the throngs of tourists, you never forget you’re in Manhattan.
Ride the train an hour from Canal Street and everything changes.
Getting off the 7 train at the end of the line puts you right on Main Street in Flushing, Queens. On a Wednesday afternoon, the area was bustling. People hurried between shops and restaurants, vendors handed out fliers, and cars and buses jockeyed for room on the street. Save for scattered English signage, it would be easy to believe the train out of Manhattan took you to a different country rather than a different borough.
Way back at the end of June I took a trip to Brooklyn to visit my sister and some friends. I had my X100s on my shoulder the whole trip and made plenty of images, but life got in the way and I never published any. I just downloaded a demo of Silver Efex Pro, and decided to use that as an excuse to reedit and share a few of my favorite images.