Tag Archives: Asia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea (East or Japan?)


For this week’s challenge, a few shots on our way to and from Fukuoka, Japan via the waters of this sea that shall not be named.

Names are a hot topic here…

… except mine I think. ;-P

boarding pass

Leaving Pusan


leaving Pusan

Leaving Fukuoka

view from the ferry

Photos taken in August 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways (Tin Hau Temple, Hong Kong)


Look up. Mind your breath. The incense smoke is thick. Now light a spiral stick for the Tin Hau Temple goddess of the sea. Look forward. Bow three times.

A challenge about perspective taking, Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways, with the fine folk at The Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour


On Sunday, I saw my dear friend, Soon-Seon, get married. Her smile radiated throughout the whole event: from the pre-ceremony picture taking, to the buffet hall walk through in her hanbok.

Soon-Seon's day

I remember thinking her smile could be the subject of this week’s photo challenge, but then on the way back home this happened.

Rainbow view from the MugungHwa train

rainbow beyond the lotus fields

if there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, that apartment complex is pretty lucky.

the stormy backdrop makes a wonderful contrast for the sunlit apartment buildings

the golden hour begins on the Yeongcheon tracks

sun setting in the rice fields


This was perhaps one of the best lead ups to a sunset that I’ve ever experienced. There definitely a lot of gold on this day. :)

Related articles

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves of Hong Kong and Macau


A few urban curves from Hong Kong and Macau for this week’s photo challenge. Also see my first entry to the curves challenge, Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves on the Streets of Macau.


Curves of Hong Kong

Architectural curves of Macau

Lisbon Casino

Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination in Seoul


One perspective on how a “Seoul” illuminates.

- submitted to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

Please click on a picture to see a slideshow.

My 7 Day Meditation Retreat at MuSangSa


The Saturday I arrived at MuSangSa (Kyeryongsan International Zen Center), marked the last week of Kyol Che (Tight Dharma). This meant I was going to be spending my time with people who had been silent for up to 3 months: silent and unplugged from all things tech. My adventures into the “don’t know” mind began. Here is a basic run down of our daily schedule:

Mornings started off at 3:25am with 108 bows in Meditation Hall (see pictures below), followed by Kido chanting at 4am at the Buddha Hall. We then would walk back down to the Meditation Hall to start sitting meditation at 4:40am until 6am, when we would head to Dinning Hall for our formal breakfast. Then it’s time for working meditation until 7:40am. We break until 9am, where we meet in silence for 2 hours of meditation. Remember, except for the chanting, this is all done in silence. Then it’s a formal lunch. Then break. Then meditation from 1:30 until 4:30. Then a silent informal dinner. Break. Our final chanting of the day begins at 6pm. Once this is over, we return to meditate until 9pm in the Meditation Hall. Lights are out at 9:20pm.

We do it again the next day.

The regiment, the order, the silence, and the community has a fascinating impact on ones thoughts. For once, I got a glimpse into what real clarity might be like.

What did I learn or at least glean from this time? Scroll to the end of the photo gallery to find out.

Learnings to hold on to

- The fact that we think that we think we make decisions is a huge delusion. – Won San Sunim

- We take audio and visual silence for granted. It’s amazing how much one word or one image can trigger the ego.

- DanJeon (Tantien) breathing techniques helped keep me focused when meditation got hard.

- Zen sticks are necessary for rigorous meditation. I couldn’t have done without those courteous wake up calls.

- Zen Masters are pretty darn cool to talk to in Kong-an interviews or simply over tea.

- “Decide and do.” – Bo Haeng Sunim

- “Have a ‘don’t know’ mind” – Seung Sahn Haeng Won Sunim

- 41.5 hours of meditation in 7 days taught me that I need to meditate a whole lot more.

A Single Word for Autumn in Korea


Dan-poong (단풍).

This single Korean word describes the period of time when leaves change color in autumn. In English you have to describe this event within a phrase (“the colors of the leaves this fall are spectacular!”), but in Korean all you have to utter is “dan-poong is spectacular!”. I love this about the Korean language. Complex events or experiences are often described within one word. (See jeong & han)

Dan-poong is a wondrous phenomenon of nature and deserves to be in this week’s photo challenge: wonder.