Japanese ghost story

27 04 2017

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Scenes from the Kaikidan Ekotoba, a nineteenth century Japanese scroll illustrating 33 kinds of monsters said to inhabit the wilds of Kyushu and Korea.

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BKK ruins

19 04 2017

 

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With swathes of central Bangkok facing the wrecking ball, its a good time to discover the urbex photography of Dax Ward, who has documented the ruins of Bangkok’s ghost skyscrapers, train and aeroplane graveyards and sites like this abandoned Cape Crusader-themed nightclub on Pattaya’s ‘Soi Batman’.

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See more at daxward.com.





Bangkok werewolf

8 04 2017

The new Thai celebrity trend – pet werewolves.

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At The Instagram Pier

19 03 2017

A friend was leaving town this weekend, and hosted her “adieu Hong Kong” bash at the ‘Instagram Pier’, a cargo loading bay that has become a de facto public park in cramped Hong Kong. Located along the Kennedy Town waterfront, it was known for many years as a gathering spot for Hokkien-speaking seniors to play mahjong and listen to Chinese opera ( there was some there this weekend) as well as a premium spot for thrill-seekers to watch typhoon waves during the Summer storms. Recently, it has been adopted by hipsters and those seeking the perfect Hong Kong harbour sunset pic (hence the name).

Arriving on a cold and drizzly Saturday night, we walked past vast piles of bamboo poles, ready to be hauled across town for construction projects, by the lines of bobbing tugboats in the dark sea and into the shelter afforded by a little cargo hut. People were walking dogs with neon-glowing collars, cruising past on bikes or skateboards, someone was flying a drone. A woman in a red dress was doing a photo-shoot and some girls were shooting a semi-professional-looking music video while a large group of young Japanese lay on tatami mats, having a picnic.

The highlight though was an impromptu serenade by a string quartet, playing atop a grafittied cargo crate. They popped up, played beautifully and then melted away again into the night…

 





New sensation

18 02 2017

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Thailand led the world in embracing internet-sensation-du-jour, the headbanging “trash dove” – now more sinisterly co-opted by white nationalists online.





The Essex Serpent

8 01 2017

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The “Essex Serpent” by Sarah Parry has been my holiday reading. It is based on a 1669 pamphlet entitled “Strange news out of Essex” which told the story of a dragon-like creature terrorising the swamps of the then-rural English county, now located on the outskirts of greater London. Intriguingly, Parry has picked up this real-life inspiration and re-imagined a story set two hundred years later. In the Victorian era, where Charles Darwin’s ideas are being hotly debated and British high society society has become fascinated by strange specimens streaming in from all over the empire, an upper-class London moves to Essex and hears rumblings of the serpent, said to have arisen in the Essex “Blackwater.”





Green ghosts

30 10 2016

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Shrouded in ivy and fog, abandoned houses stand on the island of Shengshan, an overnight trip from Shanghai. I had wanted to go and see the ghost villages on the island, deserted by the fishermen who once lived there and now throng to work in the cities, but with limited transport options (and Chinese) I decided against it.