a late evening, darkened streets, closing restaurants.
from our hostel (J-Hoppers Osaka) window, we watched the sushi restaurant where we had our dinner switch off its signboard and lights.
our first night in Osaka, and we have already met the friendliest sushi chef, who presented us a plate of torched salmon sushi with "service". "no pay money," he said. then he grinned to himself as he watched us enjoy our meal.
"This view is outside my kitchen window in Webster, Texas. I use my laptop on the table there and get to see all sort of wildlife. Birds include a redtale hawk, mockingbirds, cardinals, bluejays & others. Squirrels, cats and possums also pass by. One of these days I am going to get some yellow paint & put some sunflowers on my neighbor's shed."
(janette, whose window view i would LOVE to see, touch, smell and feel with my own eyes)
Japan is not all about technology, neon billboards and fugu. We arrived at Kansai Airport, a tad disappointed that it was raining, but excited nonetheless. from our train, i spied a man and his umbrella, walking against the wind and the rain.
oh, i'm sorry for the lapse in updates again, i was too busy revelling in the fact that i'm no longer an undergraduate. now, am chatting online with the BFG erik who's studying for his exams in Newcastle and randomly browsing through some photos.
this is from the window of Castle Keep which i visited with derek, another exchange student at Newcastle. i remember we did this during our last week in Newcastle, when we were zigzag-ing in all directions to places we thought we would visit during our time there but never did.
"singaporeans in shanghai winter. estated by the snow. looking at the white streets from a 24-storey-high apartment. this is the city we are going to be for the next one year. excited about the different environment and anticipating the differences we can make in this city."
"This is a picture taken from my apartment near campus. The palm trees, UC Riverside bell tower and of course the famous "C" mountain that everyone must hike up to. A overcast winter day with a tad of sunshine - totally surreal. =))"
"Singapore's Central Business District in the cool late evening, through the frame of two coconut trees at Kallang Riverside Park. On an occasion which can no longer exist. The Ephemeral and the Eternal, concurrently, yet one never knows which is which."
"Prelude to a heartwarming Thankgiving Dinner at 83 year old Eileen's: Sunset at King's Street East, Kingston, Ontario. Captured by Auntie Candy. I loved this little university town pretending to be a city. This is one reason it should stop pretending."
(jw, he who very kindly waited for a hobbling me to our exams today)
"On the LAST DAY OF MY EXAMS (!!!!) in NUS, to celebrate, I went driving around Singapore. I came across Sacred Heart Church (built in 1910) in Dhoby Ghaut and saw this sight. It was Jesus holding six lightsabres. "Jesus, I am your Father!" it screamed to me. So, I took a photo."
(david, he who came in a shirt and tie for his final examination)
i'm sorry for the lack of updates, but it's been a crazy week - essays, exams, and two sprained toes to top it off.
on a Sunday afternoon, overlooking the Southeast Asian Institute of Studies. i'd rather be out than stuck indoors studying. though of course, i'm studying for my last exams as an undergraduate! oh, and my sausage toes probably would not take me far.
"this picture is from waaaaay back in December 2004, when I was in Timor Leste. This one was taken in a house that was still being built, which was a nice change from the abandoned ruins near our living quarters that were covered in scorch marks and roofless, with soldier helmets scattered around. we arrived just after the turbulent period, and it was a trip that changed my life. apologies about the quality- it was a vintage digital camera and my ISO was sky high."
"the view from my window on a good fine day" (debbie)
"my good friend, Debbie, a fellow Perthling has been introduced to your wonderful site by meee! And she would like to pass you this photo taken from her window from her house back home (the REAL home) in Kembangan." (ellies)
(in a a chain - debbie sent an email to ellies who forwarded it to theviewoutsideyourwindow)
jw has included his captions within his picture. but just let me say this, we often proof-read his essays and would either get lost in 1. his maze of long sentences, or 2. his incredibly long and explanatory footnotes.
so when i was in my third year as a History major, i took a class which talked about the issues and relationship between memory, heritage and history. our Italian prof, in his wonderful accent, introduced the heritage of Rome to the class, clicking through the powerpoint slides.
that class went past in a daze. i never really understood anything and scored a miserable grade. perhaps the Italian accent, reading John Ruskin's Stones of Venice (which i later wrote a paper on while on Exchange), more than made up for it.
but i visited the Pantheon last summer. the tiny "window" at the top of the dome, the light streaming in at a different angle each time we looked up, tourists and travellers alike laying on the ground to capture the beauty of this "window".
i ran into the prof after i returned from exchange, i said "oh i get what you were saying in class now!" he exclaimed "finally!"
(s, marvelling at the anonymous architect's ingenuity)
"i saw this while looking through my photos in my computer. it is a picture of moon jellyfish and it was taken through a "window" dividing the surface world from the "sea". it was taken about 3-4 years ago, and a whole wave of nostalgia enveloped me as i thought about how good the old days were. but that's how life is, right? the past seems liquid to us, shifting, and moving slowly like a jellyfish and the present is always in the surface world, where we take pictures of the past in our minds."
i remember we stood in the queue for close to two hours in the summer heat to get into the Vatican Museum. this picture was taken from an open window, with the audio guide hanging around my neck.
i remember how we squeezed through the crowds to finally get to the Sistine Chapel where the guards yelled "no peek-tures, no peek-tures!" and people jostled with each other for the limited seats. how we stood in awe, craning our necks, staring at Michelangelo's Genesis painting.
yes, i loved Rome. and Florence. and Venice. and Milan. the food, the people, "prego, prego!" i'm certain we'll return, to explore the other parts of Italy, to taste the food of Sicily (if i dare), and to meet more friendly and perhaps not-so-friendly Italians.
(s, having completed yet another essay and browsing albums)
we visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, when we were in Krakow, Poland last summer. the despair, the desperation of the extermination camp, what they thought when they looked out through the minuscule windows, i can hardly imagine.
we first studied about the horrors of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in school, the massive numbers - which were both shocking yet numbing. visiting Berlin was an eye-opener, Sachsenhausen concentration camp a somber experience. Oscar was a little reluctant to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, because we had left Sachsenhausen, a work camp, instead of an extermination camp, extremely depressed. needless to say, Auschwitz-Birkenau was jarring - the exhibits of hair, clothing, boots emotive and disturbing. to sit in one of the dark bunks, little light streaming in through the windows, frightfully eerie.
as students of history, we debate about coming to terms with the past, with history. and i have often wondered, how does one come to terms with the history of the Holocaust? needless to say, how concentration camps are exhibited have come under academic discussion and even criticism - for being too dramatic, too emotive, or even political in its purpose. at the end of the day, i suppose, as depressing as a visit to these concentration camps might be, a conscious effort to forget would be even scarier.
we were stuck in two traffic jams, i was really frustrated with the rush hour traffic, we were supposed to meet our friends for drinks and were hopelessly late. when we were almost reaching our destination, we saw this from the bus.
a soon to be married couple creating new (photographic) memories.
"this photo was taken in 2004, on board a plane for singapore after a 3-week expedition trip in cambodia. the search for this photo amongst many others taken during the trip reminded me of the wonderful times i had during those days; the simplicity of life, the adorable kids and friendships forged."
"this was taken on the flight from Lhasa to Beijing, in June 2007, when jh and I went to Tibet. Our trip had several breathtaking moments, some literally, because idiots like us like to do jumping shots 5000m above sea level. But this was one of those moments, like when you turn into an alley and suddenly it's a different world. I think we were passing over the Himalayan mountain range, so maybe one of those mountains is Everest. [I was skeptical about this when I checked the map, but my smartass boyfriend tells me planes don't travel in straight lines so it IS possible.]"
(xh, the one i never knew would do jumping shots 5000m about sea level)
(and i'm sorry for the slowdown in updates, was caught in the thesis-web. but i have kissed my shining thesis goodbye, at least for now.)
after a day of running around like a headless chicken, gaping in astonishment at the sudden downpour, stranded with five copies of my thesis screaming to be bound, returning to my room only after the sun has set - i was ready to surrender to the forces above which all seemed to work entirely against me today.
and then oscar said, "hey, look."
so what if we're both swamped, epiphanies are, after all, still waiting to be discovered.
"I didn't have to spend a penny to get myself atop tall buildings to catch this. I'm really glad there are hills in this city where you can climb 24-7, FOC! 101 is the tallest building in Taipei City, and it lights up 7 colours of the rainbow, one colour each day, in order. Make a guess, which day this was :)"
"The first snow that I ever saw in my life was through a window of my dormitory in Elon University, North Carolina.
When shouts of "it's snowing!" first rang down the hallway, I didn't believe it. But soon the snow had gathered on the shrubs and ground outside and I whipped out my camera to snap some pictures of the scene. It was surreal looking at the flakes of ice falling on the window sill and melting instantaneously."
"Usually all I see are grey clouds, grey sky, even grey rain. I trudge to school surrounded by greyness for 15 minutes every morning. The sun doesn't shine. It drizzles just enough to irritate you but not enough for you to need an umbrella. At 4pm, I walk out of class and bump into things on account of it being so dark. But this sight more than made up for the 2 months worth of visual bleakness. My roommates and I stared in wonder at the snow, then I went for a Rolling Stones concert and returned, trudging in ankle-deep snow. The next day, we went out to play. I made a snow T-rex, got gastritis an hour later, and my roommate slipped and fell on some ice, spilling hot soup all over himself. Welcome to winter in Vancouver."
(david, the sexy shorts boy of the NUS history honours cohort)