Page 3 of Jason Lupei Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Vietnam August 2nd 2010

Mom, You would NOT believe where I went today!!! A Workability job sight in Vietnam!! People with disabilities (due to Agent Orange) were artistically creating lacquer vases and wall-hangings. It kinda bordered on a sweatshop, but by Vietnam standards, seemed much more worker-centered...Well, I saw them taking breaks at least. I wanted to buy something (with you in mind) from these special hands, but I didn't bring my credit card. You're in my thoughts daily, but embedded within my way of being even more. XO Jason... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City July 31st 2010

7/29/10 to 8/1/10--Saigon Fasten your seatbelts...It's gonna be a bumpy ride!! Welcome to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). Saigon is like Los Angeles exploded and then got rid of traffic rules. It is a pretty intense place to visit after a relaxing stay on a Japanese island. That being said, I had a great time in the foreign chaos. My first full day I visited the Mekong Delta, a water-world of rivers, canals, boats and floating villages in the rice production hub of Vietnam. I wanted to see the way of life of the Viet farmers and meet people affected by the Vietnam War (referred to in Vietnam as the American war). My first stop was one of two lacquer factories I visited that employ people with war-related disabilities. These workers had birth defects due to ... read more
Lacquer Making factory
Canoeing up the Mekong Delta
Climbing up from a Cu Ci tunnel

Asia » Japan July 29th 2010

(Author's note: I was so thrilled to be greeted with 11 messages to my blogs, it is is hard to see the screen through the tears in my eyes. It means so much that you are reading my journey. It is difficult to respond with the way this program works, but I am connecting with each one of your messages, thank you. You really are all a part of it. I love you. This blog is a little on the lighter side. xo). As I sit on an airplane heading towards Vietnam, I thought I'd take a moment to share some tidbits about Japan that aren't in the travel guides. The People The Japanese people are super nice. The moment I would pull out a map, a passerby would stop and offer assistance, even if they ... read more
The Girlfriend...
Control Panel
Wearing my Toilet slippers

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Miyajima July 29th 2010

Dear Mom, Miyajima... What an AMAZING place! You would love the quaint little town set against the Japanese bay and mountain greenery (a lot like the Monterey that you loved). I saw a nic-nac that reminded me of one you used to have--a wooden, round-headed Japanese girl. I almost bought it. My hotel is phenomenal. You'd like sitting on the wooden veranda in your yukata robe , but not the seafood feast. Wish you were here. I really wish you were here. Love, Jason... read more

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Miyajima July 28th 2010

MiyaJima (7/27/10 to 7/28/10) I could have stayed much longer in Hiroshima: the weather was cooler, the area was small and easy to navigate and the nightlife was fun (I'll write about that later!) But Miyajima was calling. When I planned this trip, I wanted to take one day to quietly process, relax and unwind (a little pampering was on the menu too). So I booked a night at the Iwaso Ryokan on Miyajima Island near Hiroshima. My experience at the Ryokan and on the island itself was a treasure I will forever value. Miyajima is a must-add for any Japanese itinerary. I rank it up there with Cinque-Terra as one of my favorite spots in the world. I took a ferry from Hiroshima to Miyajima and arrived before my room was ready, so I decided ... read more
Me and Torii Gate
The mountain Tram
View from the Tram

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima July 27th 2010

Hiroshima (7/25/10 to 7/27/10) Hiroshima has risen out of the ashes of war and destruction to become a beacon of peace for the rest of the world. The entire city stands united in their mission to abolish nuclear weapons and embrace peace amongst nations. While other nations stock-pile an arsenal of fear and threats, Japan has turned their experience of fear into a pilgrimage. I respect that. I spent almost three days at what is known as Peace Memorial Park. The park is dotted with memorials and a museum related to the atomic bombing. The park itself is located at the epicenter of where the bomb was dropped. Of the memorials, I was most moved by the Children's Memorial. It was inspired by Sadako Sasaki, a bomb survivor who developed Leukemia when she was 11. Sadako ... read more
Memorial for those who died
Charred school uniform
Ringing the Bell of Peace

Asia » Japan » Hiroshima » Hiroshima July 25th 2010

I am sitting on a park bench looking at what is now known as the A-bomb Dome. Up until August 6, 1945, it was the Industrial Promotion Hall of Hiroshima. All of that changed when it became one of the few structures left standing in the epicenter of the first atomic bomb dropped on a city. Everyone inside the building disintegrated when the A-bomb exploded almost directly above it. The structure remains standing as a memorial to that event. The building itself has a five-story concrete cylinder center with brick and concrete wings squaring off around it. A metal dome, like a skeleton of half the earth with just the lines of lattitude and longitude remaining, stands on top, and a twisted spiral staircase creeps up the side. There were many windows, but they are now ... read more
The broken fountain
The sky through the windowless windows
A view from the other side

Asia » Japan » Kyoto July 23rd 2010

7/22 to 7/25 Kyoto In Kyoto, culture dwells in the nooks of the cobblestone alleys and seaps from the wood slats of the teahouses in Gion. The sliding of each paper door is like her whisper and the accompanying scent of incense, her breath. She is elusive like the Geisha, yet her heart beats everywhere. This place is ancient and magical. I can't seem to capture her beauty with a camera lens. Kyoto was one of the few cities in Japan untouched by World War II; therefore much of the culture and originality remains. We have been exploring Kyoto by taking busses or subways to the older areas (Higashiyama/Gion), and then venturing out on foot. These neighborhoods make me feel like I am tucked in the pages of the book, Memoirs of a Geisha. My favorite ... read more
Kiyomizu Dera complex
The Deer in  Nara

Asia » Japan » Tokyo July 22nd 2010

7/20/10 to 7/22/10 Tokyo is noisy. Visual noise, electric noise, and earfuls of loud, synthetic audial annihilation. It is a city where every square inch of space is used for advertising, while cell phones and intercoms blare music, beeps, commercials and announcements. I like the sounds of thousands of wooden shoes and high-heels on the city pavements and escalators, however these rhythmical beats always seem to be interrupted by one woman in the crowd who uses her cell phone like a megaphone and has the laugh and nasally pitch of a ten-year-old who inhaled too much helium. With Temperatures close to 100 degrees and humidity exceeding 60%, the noise and heat have made sight-seeing in Tokyo quite tiring--but fun and exciting nonetheless. Thankfully, the subway and train systems are easy to manage, clean and well air-conditioned. ... read more
Tsukiji fish market
An outdoor market

Asia July 22nd 2010

I remember a few years back when I would turn on the news and listen to reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. "Four soldiers killed in a roadside bombing, bringing the total number of U.S. casualties to 2,300." My mind would wander to the casualty rates of other wars in our history and I would think to myself, "Twenty-three hundred... that's not so bad." I was unaware of my own densensitization. And then my mom died. I learned how one lost life can have a greater impact than I ever realized. Those four soldiers had four families--four set of parents--four lovers--four futures... I had had many students, recruited from their high school economics class, sign their life away to fight in the Middle East. I have seen these same students return confused, changed, broken, or most recently, cold ... read more

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