At The Ryokan

A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn, featuring sparse rooms with tatami mats, a hot bath communal onsen and elaborate heritage meals. It’s all about relaxation, from the baths, the natural setting, to the quiet atmosphere.

Many Ryokans are now a mash up of the old traditions with a modern, high-rise hotel. The Ryokan signatures are there, only now in a big, modern building.

These images were taken at a Ryokan on Gosho lake, near Morioka.

Visiting Cheah Kongsi In Penang, Malaysia

Cheah Kongsi is a Chinese clan house in Penang, Malaysia. It looks like a Chinese temple but it’s a fraternal organization, started in the mid 1800’s to assist the waves of Chinese immigrants arriving in Malaysia for work on the docks, in the tin mines, wherever hard labor was needed.

The young men were frequently alone, didn’t speak the language and had no ability to establish themselves in a foreign land. Cheah Kongsi provided all of the necessities, from housing, healthcare to social opportunities that would lead to marriage and a family. Today, workers no longer immigrate from China. The Kongsi is transitioning to education and geriatric support for families already part of the community.

Here is a set of images depicting current members and details of the clan house.

Building The Unnatural World In Kuala Lumpur

There's an interesting style to construction sites in Kuala Lumpur. Sure, the tools, noise and dust are the same as you'll find around the world. It's how they fence in their sites. For some reason, developers go to an extra effort to encircle their projects in fencing that's covered with pristine scenes of beautiful nature. It's a weird choice, paying homage to a world that was never at the location (northern woods in a tropical location) and most certainly never will be once their skyscraper is completed.

Enjoy the fantasy.