Monday, December 29, 2008

my favorite shot in 2008

After scanning through some more than 14 rolls of film I took this year, this particular image came through as my favorite shot of the year.

Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Tokyo, Japan. Kodak Tri-X 400.

family portraits

Here are some portraits of my family. Mom enjoying supper near where we used to live on her 31st wedding anniversary. Brother playing Chinese chess with my dad, with my niece in the background.

Bunga Raya, Malacca. Kodak Pan X 125.

Home, Malacca. Kodak Pan X 125.

Home, Malacca. Kodak Pan X 125.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

fourteenth roll

I developed my 14th roll of black and white film in my kitchen sink last night. It was one of three rolls of film I shot when I went back home last week. It is always good to be home, being able to spend time with my family, eat some local goodies, and catch up with friends and relatives. I apologize for not being able to meet up with some friends and relatives. There is never enough time to do all the things I want to do on trips like this.

A familiar view from a place I visit each time I go back.

Might post some family portraits here from the trip next time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

fourteen days in India

I was lucky to visit India for the first time last month for 2 weeks. And I was lucky to be back in Tokyo with everything still intact. Here is the story behind it.

After arriving in the Delhi airport from another city in the evening
of the 13th day of my stay in India, I was told that a few explosions had just happened in the city. A few hours later I found out that the entire city was on high alert thanks to 5 carefully planned explosions that happened in several crowded areas in Delhi that very evening. Great.
The best part was that I actually went to one of the bomb sites a week ago. Speaking of luck, or cause & effect, or guardian angel, or whatever one calls that thing that saves your ass.

Explosions aside, my India trip was no doubt fascinating and definitely eye-opening. People were very friendly and welcoming. And there are lots of them. I mean lots of them. Lots of people everywhere, in the middle of no where, and anywhere in between, regardless of where the hour hand is pointing on your watch. One could not help but wonder, why would there be so many people walking here, at this hour?! Who are these people, where did they come from, and where are they heading? Simply fascinating.

Having read Thomas L. Friedman's book, "The World is Flat", I had the impression that India is really the up-and-coming super country after China, in terms of growth, supported by her vast army of hardworking and intelligent IT engineers, entrepreneurs, etc.

After being there myself, I have mixed feelings now. Yes, you can't argue against the "hardworking and intelligent IT engineers" part, but there is still a long way to go for India to join the big boys in the "developing country" category, in my humble opinion.

Right now, to me, India is still largely underdeveloped. The potential is absolutely there, crying out loud to be fully discovered and exploited. But fundamental issues need to be addresssed first. Just to name a few, there is poverty, safety and security, public transportation, and public hygiene.

Easier said than done, as India is a vast country, covering roughly 1.2 million square miles of land, it will take a huge amount of effort to address those problems. Factor in the recent economic crisis, now, the Indian government truly has a herculean task at hand.

Now that China/Beijing has set the standard, until India is able to pull off a similar major international event like the Beijing Olympics 2008 in style, this fascinating country will be scrutinized and compared to her big sister more than ever before.

PS: I am not an expert at all these, but this is just how I feel after my visit.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

3rd day of August

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Originally uploaded by jhtham.

Some interesting signs in Taiwan III.

to run business

to run business
Originally uploaded by jhtham.

Some interesting signs in Taiwan II.

drink tea

drink tea
Originally uploaded by jhtham.

Some interesting signs in Taiwan.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Originally uploaded by jhtham.

First summer festival that I went to this year.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Kanazawa Trip in May

I should have posted this one before the pics from my Taiwan trip but I was procrastinating. So here is the link for some of the pics I took during my three day Kanazawa trip back in May. Kanazawa is a great little beautiful city. The highlight of the trip was actually the visit to the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in the city, where they were having the Ron Mueck exhibition. He made some really incredible "ultimate realism" styled sculptures. Here is a short video that I found online. I think I will go to Kanazawa again in the winter.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

First (Business) Trip to Taiwan

Friendly people.

And tasty food.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

SONY building in Ginza Tokyo

Here is where I am currently being trained. It has been quite an interesting and fun experience to talk to customers from all over the world.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

a few more from the very compact pancake lens



Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I developed my first roll of black and white film yesterday at home by myself. Not bad for a first trial though I did screw up two frames but luckily they weren't any important shots.

Here is the stainless still developing tank. This shot was taken at the last stage, when the film was being rinsed with running water.

And here is one of the 24 shots from the roll of film.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

new address

Taken with my new Olympus pancake lens.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

桜 @ 新子安

I have moved to a new place about three weeks ago because I moved to a different department doing something entirely different now. This is a shot taken on the way from my new apartment to my train station. The sakura season in Tokyo is at its very final stage this weekend.
Kodak Portra 400VC, Olympus mju-II

Friday, March 07, 2008


Originally uploaded by jhtham.

I figure you would never have guessed what those really are so I will just tell you. They are two grains of rice!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

world heritage travel story

Prologue: Thank you so much Mr. cab driver!

I was very fortunate to be able to visit three World Heritage sites
during my 11-day winter break that ended on Jan 7th 2008. The first
one that I went to was the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome. It might be
caused by the light but steady rain, the atmosphere was somewhat
"heavy" yet "spacious", which allowed one to think deeply
about the historical event in human history right in front of the
actual dome itself. Across the river from the dome was the Memorial
Park. I also visited the A-bomb museum that is located in the park and
I strongly recommend whoever that is visiting the Hiroshima Atomic
Bomb Dome to ALSO visit the museum as it is very informative and will
definitely add a lot more value to one's visit.

That same evening, I set foot on another World Heritage site, the
Miyajima Shrine in Hiroshima. The Miyajima Shrine is one of the "three
scenic spots" in Japan. The icon of this particular shrine is its
"Torii" (the gate-like structure found in a Japanese shrine) that is
partly immersed in water.

After spending only about 30 hours total in Hiroshima, I started
traveling to my next destination: Kagoshima, by bullet train. Although
it was my forth time to Kagoshima, it was actually my first time there
by train, so it was quite a different experience altogether. Also, as
it was the beginning of the New Year break, everyone was returning to
their hometown, making the passenger-to-available seat ratio a
whopping 1.5 (meaning there was a lot of people standing in the

The journey to the third World Heritage site that I visited, Yakushima
of Kagoshima, is a long story. Initially, the plan was to go to
Yakushima by hovercraft on 12/31 morning, spend new year's eve in
Yakushima (Yakushima is still part of the Kagoshima Prefecture but it
is an island away from the mainland), and return to Kagoshima City on
1/2. However, due to the sudden change in weather (temperature drop,
strong wind, tall waves), all hovercraft service leaving for Yakushima
from Kagoshima City was canceled. As the three of us (two of my
Kagoshima friends and myself) were about to give up and go for
breakfast, one kind-hearted cab driver was telling us that we could
actually take the ferry that goes to Tanegashima (Tanegashima is an
island between Kagoshima City and Yakushima), and then go to our final
destination Yakushima from Tanegashima. It made perfect sense to us so
on we went, on a four hour ferry ride to Tanegashima. As the light of
hope began to dawn on us after safely arriving at Tanegashima, mother
nature decided to deny us once more. Weather started to get even
worse, and not too long after, we found out that all hovercraft
service from Tanegashima to Yakushima for the day was canceled,
despite its short distance of travel. Decision had to be made to
either spend a night in Tanegashima and hope for good weather the next
day, or go back to Kagoshima City, spend a night, then take a more
secured way of travel by flying to Yakushima by plane the next day.
From what we had learnt that day, we opted for the latter. What a
memorable day.

Epilogue: At the end, we made it to Yakushima the next day by air (on
a conditional flight, meaning there is no guarantee that you get to
land at your destination, phew!). Yakushima is known for its very rich
nature, especially its giant Japanese cedar. We managed to do a couple
of hikes into the forest and saw some amazing trees that age up to
several thousand years old and counting.