The Asianing [Tokyo, Seoul, Jeju, Shanghai, Beijing - July 2011] by a zugunruhe

This is the first of two videos covering the same trip to East Asia. The Asianing focuses on My time with Mai in Tokyo, Seoul, and Jeju as well as my time in Shanghai and Beijing before flying into Pyongyang.


The Trip

This portion of the trip was a build up to visiting North Korea in early August.

At the time, Japan was still feeling the effects of the tsunami that hit in March. Mai and I stayed in the Shibuya area the first few nights and it was apparent there, as well as throughout the city, that there were energy restrictions put in place to make up for the lack of electric capacity after the Fukushima plant was taken offline. 

In Seoul, we couchsurfed with Alejandro and spent much time with him and his lovely girlfriend, Kristy. They introduced us to the wonderful world of South Korean professional baseball. A land where every team is owned by a corporation and every player has his own theme song for when he walks to the plate. A surprising number were just Lady Gaga songs with personalized chants in Korean. 

While walking around the Nanjing Road area in Shanghai, I was continuously asked if I wanted to buy various drugs or if I wanted to follow someone to a room to take my pick of women. These people were incredibly annoying. They would spot a tourist (usually a young white guy), walk up to them quickly, and whisper directly into their ear the wares they were peddling. This happened constantly and I ignored them as much as I could. There was one guy that I had to physically push away multiple times. Every time I pushed him away, he would offer something harder.

"Hashish? you want hashish?"
"Cocaine? You want cocaine?"
"Heroin? You want heroin?"

The ladies selling themselves used a different tactic. While they flirted with me, I would just keep walking. One yelled after me "You ugly! Why you so ugly?

I remember writing in the journal I kept at the time something to the effect of "I'm in a country where I don't speak the language and I push away the few people who voluntarily speak English to me when they only want to offer me sex and drugs. What have I become?" 



Since this is a harder hitting Parts and Labor song, I focused on highlighting some of the more fantastic transitions in the song with emphasis on the drums and bass lines.

1:30 - The view of Seongsan-ri with the change in percussion


:42 - Han River at sunset when the main riff returns. The serene flow of the clip adds a nice juxtaposition to the frantic song.


2:04 - A bullet train passing by so close that it rocked my train.


The Video

The video above is a retouched and recut version of the original. When I first made this video, I was still fairly new to editing and didn't understand as much as I do now. My shooting strategy at the time was a combination of "lolwut" and "I hope this works."

Everything came together rather quickly as I managed to put together this video and the next within a week or so of arriving back in Austin. Like I stated in the moments section, I used this song because it hit quick and often and I wanted a series of clips that kept up. There are obviously some low points, like the footage of our plane landing in Seoul, that space of time could have been better utilized. Moving forward I started valuing clips that were more unique to the places I visited, trying to show things that could only be seen where I was. This was a learning experience to realize that.


The Music

Chiners [Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai - March 2011] by a zugunruhe

The first video I made was for a business studies trip to China. Over the course of ten days in March of 2011, a small group from Austin attended lectures in Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai covering the local culture and economy.  

As we were flying into Beijing, the Fukushima disaster in Northern Japan had just begun. The tsunami that struck the region had occurred while we were flying over the north pole and we arrived at our hotel to the news. As we attended lectures in Peking University, we encountered a lot of students who were very concerned about the people in Northern Japan and were organizing various aid packages. As naive as it sounds now, this really solidified the fact that people are people everywhere for me.


Noteable Moments:

1:20 - Our advisor falling asleep synced to the bridge

1:32 - Randy watching four topless gentlemen leaving the bathroom together

Our advisor falling asleep at a Peking Opera performance

Randy observing the local scenery


Since this was my first video in this format, there are a lot of errors in the syncing as well as everything moving rather quickly. This was also before I discovered the wonders of stabilization and the effect it can have on the view-ability of these videos. While this is a rough video, I really like how a lot of shots turned out. The "1-2-3-4!" of the four topless gentlemen leaving the bathroom in single file while Randy just watches is an edit that I'll never forget. It remains one of my favorite moments in all of my videos.