Tokyo- City of the Future

Location: Tokyo, Japan

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Let me just begin by saying: Japan is more than an interesting place. It is like nowhere else in the world, not exclusively because it was at the forefront of technological innovation for several years, but also because it is one of few places to become successful without embracing all of the tenants of Western culture. Japan is extremely insular. Even its largest city, Tokyo, after having been rebuilt after World War II, managed to retain some of these specifically Japanese elements.

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Siem Reap- The Spiritual Place

Location: Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia

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Siem Reap greets you with an assembly line visa service. There’s a line of ten or eleven functionaries. Each of them has a rubber stamp, signature, and necessary paperwork. For just $35, your passport can progress down the line, and you gain entrance to a country that only 20 years ago was life threateningly dangerous to visit. It’s quite the different story today.

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Kampuchea

Location: Angkor Wat, Kingdom of Cambodia

Even though it’s been a few months, our memory of Cambodia has yet to fade. The other young people we met at the hostel were kind, generous with their time, and great to talk to. They were some of the first people we spoke to in English after leaving China, and our eagerness to make friends showed. But our experience there wasn’t just about cheap beer, swimming pools, and markets.

Cambodia is home to the Angkor temple complex, an astounding relic known the world over. One can easily spend a week going from ruin to ruin and seeing the testament to human engineering and spirituality. People make pilgrimages to the place for good reason, especially Angkor Wat.

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2 Weeks Notice

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So, here’s the part when I tell you all that we only have a month left of living in China! Now, don’t worry. For all you loyal readers we have an epic tour of Southeast Asia starting mid-July, and we plan on documenting our travels right here on the blog. K also has a series of video projects in the works, and we both want to do a retrospective about all the things we’ve learned during our time as expats.

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China 101: City Speak

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Chinese. Living here, we’re steeped in it daily. We’ve delved into some of the differences in previous posts, and even tried to teach you some words. But now, I’m going to drop some linguistics on you.

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Nearly 80% of the world’s population speaks 1% of existent languages (see National Geographic’s project here). That’s a huge disparity. China, though it seems to be one massive Eastern hegemon sometimes, is actually made up of an incalculable number of subgroups that are riffs on the same theme. What is known globally as the Chinese language–Mandarin (普通话, Pǔtōnghuà)–is one distinct coloration of what it means to be a Chinese speaker.

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