Update: I've written up more detailed posts about the trip: Beijing Day 1, 2, 3, 4-5, Shanghai, and Tokyo.
I haven't posted for a few weeks because I've been on a trip to China and Japan. I got back today but I'm still on Tokyo time and pretty tired and jetlagged. I'll write up some much more detailed posts later, but in the meantime here are a few pretty pictures to look at:
The omnipresent portrait of Mao
The Forbidden City is no longer forbidden under the communists. I wish I could say that this is just a bad picture, but it really looked this bad (or worse) around Beijing due to the pollution.
The "bird's nest" Olympic stadium - again the pollution is so bad that you can see it even in the stadium.
The Great Wall of China is up in the hills, so it's a little bit clearer.
One morning in Shanghai was actually very clear and we were able to snap this nice pic of the modern skyline.
The buildings on the opposite side of the river are all left over from British colonialism, which creates a strange juxtaposition.
In Tokyo the Imperial Palace is still off-limits, but you can sort of peek in.
Nighttime in Tokyo is a sea of neon light.
Japanese toilets take a little getting used to. This one in our hotel was a simple model that only had two water jets and a pressure control (no aim control, heated seats or blow-dryer).
Netbooks in Japan are even smaller and crazier than in the US - this one has a touch screen, swivels into a Tablet PC, has an antenna for watching TV, a GPS, and a dual-core processor.