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University of Washington Travel Magazine

Issue 2

Winter 2017


contents 2 6 14 16 22 30 36 42

Might and Moonlight

Nola Peshkin

Above the Timberline

Multiple Authors

Surfing in Washington

Liliana Rasmussen

Masada Through Stone We Listen Pay and Leave Ukiyo Laos

cover photo by Joseph Wu photo above: Jack Zaw

Kiley Beck Juan Borreguero Mac Hubbard Daniel Darmawan Sira Horradarn

VOYAGE @voyageuw fb.com/voyageuw voyageuw.com


letter from the editor-in-chief While I’ve grown to love “Voyage” as our name, I was originally fond of another: “Resfeber.” Resfeber (Origin-Swedish., n): The restless race of the traveler’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together; a ‘travel fever’ that can manifest as an illness. Resfeber was the surge of excitement and uncertainty I felt this past summer while boarding a sleeper train headed for Northern Vietnam; it is the urge to hop on a plane somewhere – anywhere – after rewatching “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” for the fifth time; and it will be the restlessness accompanying me up until spring break, when I’ll happily road-trip away from my responsibilities into the sunset. Alas, as much as I wanted to embrace the subtle beauty of “Resfeber,” struggling to pronounce my own magazine’s name was a slight problem. After a friend’s suggestion, “Voyage” was born.

also realized the importance of creating a community of travelers, photographers, and writers who are as passionate and crazy as we are. From our first photo meet-up to our gallery party at Parnassus, we’re so glad to finally meet, face-to-face, those of you supporting us online. And we thank you. From tripling our photo competition entries, to hashtag-ing #voyageuw over 1,500 times on Instagram, you inspire us to keep doing our best. This issue, you not only told us tales of places less travelled, but also realistically depicted what it means to travel. From the bus stations of Central Europe to the smoky back-alley bars of Japan, we chose the stories that gave us travel fever from beginning to end. Watch out! You’ll catch it next. Bon voyage,

Since last spring, the Voyage community has outgrown our team of 16 and extended past the meeting room to include students across campus. While the magazine remains our largest undertaking, we’ve

the voyage team

Jayna Milan, Editor-in-Chief

JAYNA MILAN

DANIEL GREEN

SHANNON GU

DANIEL KIM

STEVEN LEONTI

VIVIAN CHOU

JOSEPHINE LE

ASHLEY LIM

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15to climb a mountain 15 decide Before most people 04 they train: long, hard hikes, stairs, bricks in their backpacks, cardio most days, strength training, whatever. I, on the other hand, spent the two months before my summit of Washington’s Mount Baker on a remote island Pa rk in the San Juans, at sea level, walking maybe 03 two miles a day. And if we’re being honest, there were moments I literally “sorely” regretted Cr eek everything. 22 22 4800

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the real world. Staff are placed on trips based on past experience and confidence in the terrain. Although I had never mountaineered, my basic National Outdoor Leadership School snow training and snowfield trekking experience placed me on the Mount Baker summit attempt with two other staff and one professional mountain guide.

put on crampons was the first time I had ever put on crampons, and even that alone was a humbling realization. When in unknown territory, confidence, poise, and positivity are what make real leaders – and deferring all technical questions to the real mountain guide. “Fake it till you make it” was just not an option in that setting.

After a grueling hike up to base camp Days two and three rolled through with carrying a ridiculous amount of weight basic snow school, giving us all the skills and gaining a ridiculous amount of we needed for our summit attempt. We altitude in a short mileage, we set up tents went to sleep on day three around 6 p.m. in the rain and fog, barely able to see 15 with alarms set for midnight, planning feet in front of us. It’s to start our summit situations like these “‘Fake it till you make it’ around 1:30 a.m. when the leadership was just not an option.” of a camp counselor is There’s something most valuable. While, really magical about yes, good decision-making and concern being in the mountains in the pitch black. for safety are of the utmost importance, Growing up skiing every weekend with emotional support and unending my family from December until March enthusiasm were what I really got paid to fostered an addiction for the endless do this summer. The first time my kids stars and the crisp mountain air at night.

Moonlight reflecting off the snow and giving everything an ethereal aura was what I lived for, and something that made the crack of midnight wake-up to begin our summit attempt on day four easy. My grandpa always used to tell us he never went to church because, ‘I’m closest to God in the mountains.’ Maybe he was referring, in a literal sense, to the thousands of feet of elevation closer to the heavens, or maybe he was referring to the feeling of being out there caught between tiny and infinite in a grand paradox. I think we all felt the buzz of excitement as we geared up and got ready, knowing the next time we would see our tents we would have done something truly impressive and life-changing in between. Not only were the stars on our trip bright, we started climbing the night of the peak of the Perseus Meteor Shower, creating a spectacular celestial light show, instilling hope and inspiring childlike wonder. We began ascending, headlamps on,

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0 was00doing everything in my power Summit 9600 to be a role model of everything Crater the guide taught us, but I was as much 19 an amateur as the kids, and every Sherman 10 Peak step was a reminder. Every time my9800 000 r timing was off or I missed a step, I e i ac Gl was torn between feelings of, “Am I going to die?!” and “Ugh I’m sure they 9400 00 92 all saw that” (they usually didn’t). As physically challenging as it was, it was almost mentally more so. Not only because I was fiercely and maternally protective of my campers’ experiences, reek lives, and morale, but also Cbecause I was definitely a little more than terrified at some points.

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The last hour and a half dealt us a blow that left everyone except26 the guide 3800 panting, sweating, and complaining of sore windpipes. The Roman Wall, the final ascent before the summit, was steep, treacherous, and tested every 48°45'00" one of our physical and emotional 591 3237 27 abilities. I actually began26 to wonder, “Is 27121°45'00" it bad if I cry? I’m the staff here, I can’t HIGHWAYS AND ROADS 4308 cry!” I’m really certain that keeping 5 nterstate............................................. Highway.............................................. composure then was the hardest thing 101 Road, Unspecified............................... U.S. ..................................................... I’ve ever done. Complain once as a Road, Paved........................................ 79 role model and that makes it okay for tate.................................................... MT BAKER Road, Gravel....................................... 6 the group to complain. Some campers Road, Dirt........................................... ounty................................................. 60 5 4WD confessed to me that they didn’t Unimproved, 4 wheel drive................ WILDERNESS National Forest, suitable S S 60 Trail..................................................... or passenger cars...................... 105 know if it was worth it, that they were Gate; Barrier....................................... Fallsmiserable and o 1 National Forest, suitable for hot, and although only 0 Check with local Forest Service unit for current igh clearance vehicles......................... 5 34 three years separated me35 from them, travel conditions and restrictions National Forest Trail............................ 384 34 27

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“Dwarfed by distance, Washington’s crown jewel stood up in front of a water color canvas, exploding in oranges and pinks and purples behind it.” any of us had ever had. The campers practiced their Tarzan yells from 10,800 feet, letting out exhaustion and exhilaration in one breath. As other groups trickled to the top, we ate Snickers and talked about the milliondollar 360-degree view. I’ve never been one to want children, but in that moment I felt the most motherly urge to gather them all up and hug them. I had struggled to the top along with them, and I was overwhelmed with empathy. I had lost all sense of my own pain, only wanting to ease theirs and tell them that I was amazed by not just what they accomplished, but the poise with which they had done so. Teenagers are too often stereotyped as being irresponsible and chronic complainers, but give them the chance to conquer mountains, and they will.

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5


Above the Timberline

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir There’s something about a perfect snow-capped mountain peak that begs to be climbed. Maybe it’s the thrill of going somewhere untouched and uninhabited, or the joy of standing, for a moment, on top of the world. For some, it brings them closer to God; for others, it takes them further from civilization. Whether it’s the Sierra Nevada or the Cascades, mountains have a special ability to capture the imagination in a way that few other landmarks can. They’re at the heart of the Pacific Northwest, and remain a perpetual reminder of our presence in nature. Anyone who’s walked by Drumheller Fountain on a clear day knows the striking presence of Mount Rainier. Our city’s unique location makes it a perfect gateway to the outdoors, not something to be taken for granted. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to appreciate the raw beauty of a mountain like Mount Hood or Mount Baker, and you don’t have to be a professional climber to hike up one either. Many incredible peaks lie within only a few hours’ drive from campus and take even less time to summit, such as Mount Si or Mount Pilchuck. On any given day you’re just four wheels and a couple of friends away from an unforgettable adventure. I hope these three stories inspire you to go find your own voyage, wherever it takes you. I hope they remind you that while getting outdoors is easier said than done, it’s also infinitely better experienced in person than read about in a magazine. And if you do nothing else this year, I hope you do yourself a favor and go climb a mountain. Daniel Kim Photo Editor

7


White Gold on Eldorado Peak By Ian Culhane 2.

The whiteout had returned. Clouds had been hovering near our camp for hours, occasionally rising high enough to reveal a brief glimpse of the valley before sinking back down and swallowing our tents again. Disappointed, we zipped the tent door shut and resumed our game of chess. It was going to be a long weekend. Two weeks earlier, my friend Chad had pitched the idea of a climbing trip on Memorial Day weekend to commemorate the end of the academic year. After much deliberation, our group – Erik, Robert, Chad, Guy, and myself – decided to attempt Eldorado Peak, a spectacular glaciated mountain deep within North Cascades National Park. But after over 24 hours of sitting in a haze of clouds and our own boredom, we began questioning whether we’d get any views at all. We later found out that it wasn’t the presence of the clouds that was problematic; it was our position relative to them. 1.

8


1. Sunrise illuminates the aptly named Inspiration Glacier at 5:15 a.m. After hours of trudging through the cold and dark, it was exhilarating to finally feel the warmth of the sun’s rays. Just three hours earlier we’d been below the cloud deck, completely oblivious to what lay above. 2. Blue sky gives a glimpse of hope in an otherwise uneventful day. The number of footprints around our tents is a testament to just how restless we have become. By evening the weather had improved significantly and we decided to set our alarm clocks for a bright and early 2:30 a.m.

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Rattlesnake Ridge By Joseph Wu

1. We emerged from the dense tree cover to the end of the trail, where a group of hikers had just arrived. Rattlesnake is always well populated. 2. The ridge overlooks Rattlesnake Lake, which is especially gorgeous in November. 3. Dogs make any hike more fun, and this guy was ecstatic to be out on the trail.

Barely 30 minutes outside of Seattle, just south of North Bend, lies Rattlesnake Ridge, a breezy, refreshing hike that leads up from the glistening Rattlesnake Lake. With a roundtrip trail distance of just four miles and an elevation gain of 1160 feet, it’s the perfect year-round trail for those looking to get a breath of fresh air and some beautiful views. The ridge attracts hundreds of photographers looking to capture a classic slice of Pacific Northwest scenery.

4. The sun dips behind the distant mountains from the top of the ridge. On a clear day you can see for miles across the beautiful mountain skyline.

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Vesper Ledge By Lucas Boland Hike up tiring switchbacks, set up camp at a lake, climb a peak, descend. Repeat steps three and four the next morning. This is a routine that’s become all too familiar to me and my recurring adventure buddy, Soren. We arrived at the Vesper Peak trailhead, chosen for its four mile length, at 3:30 p.m. – plenty of time to book it up the mountain. And book it we did, arriving at Vesper Lake with enough time to take a brief snack break and continue on to the summit. With burning thighs and calves, we stepped onto the very top of the mountain and took in the view: sunset bathed Cascades in warm, life-giving light. We watched the sun creep down towards the western horizon as Mount Baker and Mount Rainier soaked up the evening’s red glow. It was one hour of bliss, one so sweet that we had to summit again the following morning to get the view once more. It’s hard to say which time was better, but the one thing I can say for sure is that sore legs, pre-dawn alarms, and a thumping heart are always worth it once you’ve reached the mountaintop. 12

3.

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1. Mount Rainier is seen here glowing in the first light of 3. After the previous night’s successful summit of Vesper morning. The layers of the Cascades in the foreground made it Peak, we couldn’t resist summiting a second time the following impossible to turn my eyes away. morning. We set our alarms for 4:30, slowly rolled out of bed, and cruised up in the dark to make it up before sunrise. When 2. The beautiful light of the golden hour gave way to deep the sun did rise, we were treated to yet another beautiful golden pink and red colors as I took in the view of the Cascades to hour, with the sun blazing over the eastern horizon. Soren can the north. Copper Lake sat happily below, nestled into just one be seen here making the ascent up the last bit of the ridgeline of the many photogenic Washington valleys. The view from to the summit. To the right is a cliff with a drop-off of a couple Vesper Peak provides the perfect angle to take in the endless thousand feet. Watch your step! layers of the mountainous landscape.

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Hobuck, WA

154 miles ~4 hr 40 min Most mellow environment and beginner wave in WA Long drive There are cabins to rent to stay the night. It’s a sheltered beach, so the waves never get very big.

Tips

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La Push, WA

149 miles ~4 hr 15 min

C p

Sweet view Long drive A cool camping spot. A little juicier wave than Westport. Beautiful place to visit whether or not you're surfing.

If you’re a beginner, start with small waves (≤ 3ft), as rip currents in WA can easily take you by surprise. Surfing beyond your ability is a recipe for disaster, as there usually aren’t any lifeguards around. Be sure to also do research on surf and line-up etiquette before jumping in. Most people who learn to surf in WA are adults who haven’t grown up around surf culture, so surf etiquette is often a problem.

D b 5 i g c t w


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Westport, WA

134 miles ~3 hr 25 min

Shorter drive, holds a bigger swell

Crowded (esp. summer), lots of paddling if waves are bigger

Created with help from Jeff Luebbe, surfer & potter Insta: @jeffspots

Liliana Rasmussen

During summer, you’ll be fine in a 4/3 full suit, but from Nov-May, you’ll need booties and a 5/4 hooded wetsuit (5 mm in the chest, 4 mm in the arms and legs). While many people wear gloves, paddling can be harder. If it’s super cold, I wear mittens. Surf Ballard is where I go to buy or rent all my surfing equipment: wetsuits, booties, and surfboards.

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Paul Matheson

Mellow wave, as long as it’s not too big. Good for beginners. Stay at least 70 yards south of the jetty.


‫מצדה‬

MASADA

By Kiley Beck Illustrated by Kyler Martin

As we drove past groves of palm trees and camel-spotted sand dunes, I couldn’t help but think how different this was from March in Minnesota. Back home, where I’d been just a few days ago, everything was wet and sloshy and some gross color between white, gray, and brown. So, needless to say, the vivid colors of the Mediterranean landscapes were a bit of a change for me. Big green hills rolled on endlessly in the background as farms and small houses lay closer to the highway. “What’s over there?” I asked my uncle, pointing toward the far-off hills that lay beyond the river. “Jordan,” he responded, without even peeling his gaze from the road ahead. This was my first time back in Israel

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since I was three years old. It was the first time I actually remember, so seeing all these places and meeting all these distant relatives who hadn’t seen me since I was that little really felt like the first time. My grandma grew up here and it was where my mom was born, so they thought I should see the land that held so much of my family’s heritage. I was eager to explore the landmarks and history that made this place one of the most storied and hallowed locations in the world, that made it so unique and so special to millions of people.

The sandstone mountains, dappled with small scrubby bushes and low desert trees, melted into immense sand drifts that built back up into craggy cliff sides and dusty plateaus, stretching on and on for miles. We drove on, my mom, uncle, grandma, and I, for some time until I noticed one plateau in particular. Something about it – its grandeur, its formation, its sheer immensity – made it so unbelievably distinct. I didn’t even need to be told. This was Masada.


Before coming to Israel and planning As we crawled out of the aging van, this trip, I didn’t know of Masada’s slamming its rusting doors shut, the dry, significance. I remember while planning, Middle Eastern desert heat crashed into my mom explained to me that Masada, me with shocking force. It was the kind which actually means “fortress” in of heat that made waves swirl around in Hebrew, was the place of refuge for the the air. I looked up at the behemoth of Jews when they were besieged by the a monument in front of me; it looked Romans almost two even bigger as I stood at its thousand years ago. I base. But, it was only then “They turned this became fascinated. They that I truly realized the turned this beautiful, trek I had ahead of me: a beautiful, isolated, isolated, intimidating, winding staircase that intimidating, and entirely single and entirely natural wound from the base of the geographic feature into natural geographic plateau all the way to the their home and haven. feature into their home top. The upward hike would They constructed a be quite the contrast from and haven.” citadel upon a plateau anything I had experienced in the middle of the in the flat prairie land that is desert in order to Minnesota. protect their families – the everyday men, women, and children. All the while, the Shuffling by returning hikers, tourists, Roman soldiers slowly advanced, drawing and devoted adventurers, we began our in upon and encircling their precious ascent up the packed-sand stairway. asylum. I was determined to make it with as

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few stops as possible, despite the heavy afternoon sun weighing down on my chest and shoulders, but my body’s need for water had other plans. Halfway up the cliff side, I stopped to drink in my surroundings. The stairs snaked down below us, as tawny desert cliffs stretched as far as I could make out, except for one particularly clear spot of blue in the distance: the Dead Sea. We made the last few steps to the top by mid-afternoon, the bright sunlight exposing Masada’s sublimity. Weathered bricks and sand walkways emanated authenticity; I could imagine what it would have looked like back then. Strong

“The stairs snaked down below us, as tawny desert cliffs stretched as far as I could make out, except for one particularly clear spot of blue in the distance: the Dead Sea.” border walls surrounded the city and its wonders, its amphitheaters and homes. I roved through long, narrow brick storerooms, the walls only half-intact and crumbling. Entire rooms stood with faded murals in earthy reds and greens. Vibrant, intricate tile mosaics remained on the floors, creating patterns of waves and flowers in bold blues and yellows and bright whites. Strong arches stood proud despite two thousand years of weathering and erosion. But then I noticed something that made me pause, that ceased my awe and wonderment. I noticed the collapsed stone walls around the base down below. They were the encampments of Roman soldiers coming to extinguish Masada and its inhabitants. We made our way around to the opposite

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side of the plateau, where again I gazed down in dismay. A long ramp led directly from the base to the top, to their home. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to live out every day as the Roman soldiers built a ramp to destroy it all, to take everything away. I stood on that earth and imagined the choice they made, imagined the heartbreak and sadness in the goodbyes, imagined the tears shed out of love and pain as they lived their last day. But I also imagined the pride, the courage, and the ferocity in the hearts of these men and women as they chose to die by their own hands rather than at the mercy of the Roman soldiers; I was overcome by a feeling of respect, by a feeling of pride in the fact that I have heritage here. As the sun began to set and the desert began to cool, we hiked our way down the fortress, descending in its shadow. We drove away as the sky turned purple toward that clear spot of blue in the distance. After what seemed like a few short minutes, we put on our water shoes and waded into the Dead Sea, our skin soaking up the salt. The water was clearer than I’d ever seen. Smooth, crystalline puffs of salt formations grew over the rocks on the bottom of the sea, giving them the appearance of clouds. The soft, gentle water lapped at my calves, bringing with it a sense of calm and contentment and a deep appreciation for the beauty of this country despite everything it’s been through.

Kiley Beck

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credits on page 34


Through Stone We Listen By Juan Borreguero

In Northwestern Spain there is a mountainous land whose cliffs whisper sweet nothings to the ocean. Through high and low tides, the sea reciprocates in titanic, foamy caresses older than time. The merciless Atlantic, nourishing mother and plundering barbarian, plants in all living beings a respect for its tempests that is essential for survival. Like in the British Isles, archaic currents of energy flow through the earth of Galicia. In the Isles these currents formed lines in the landscape and were given godly explanations, inspiring the construction of ritual dolmens and henges. Through these telluric currents, the land itself speaks. Perhaps these lines guided the travels of Breogán, king of what was then Gallaecia. Legend has it, he set sail to a marvelous green island he saw to found the Celtic nation of Ireland. Following the telluric currents and the words of the granite, Saint James the Apostle made his way from Judea to Galicia to preach, and in the land he remained. Centuries later, a hermit saw strange lights coming from the ground, which turned out to be the saint’s grave. On this hallowed ground, Galicians built his shrine, on top of a “field of stars,” or campo de estrelas. Later his cathedral would be erected, the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which today attracts pilgrims through the same telluric lines, pilgrims from all over the world who cross the mountains, rivers, and valleys of this land.


Even the Vikings, hauled to shore by fierce Atlantic tempests, looted towns in the northwestern Costa da Morte. The same relentless storms that delivered the Vikings caused the countless shipwrecks that earned the coast its name, “Death Shore.” The weather and the wrecks have always continued to bring grief to a country that lives off the sea. Ruined harvests, plagues of smallpox, lootings, robberies along the Way of Saint James, and the harsh geography of the land and sea led the common folk to become incredibly superstitious. Often the solace of the Church or the idea of God could not quell the fear of death, drawing many to more obscure, alternative practices. This is where the meigas, witches, come in. They were midwives, healers,

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herb experts, the occasional pagans who, through their wisdom of nature, pioneered medicine and were perpetually marked as witches by the Spanish Inquisition. Despite their prosecution, to this day, there’s a lady with an arcane gift in each deep-country village who the inhabitants turn to. In galego, the native language closely related to Portuguese, these matriarchs share bits of knowledge from their predecessors. My family on my mother’s side hails from Galicia. This meant that my sister and I, every Christmas, every summer, would leave the outskirts of the metropolitan, polluted capital and drive through the vast Castilla to arrive at the inlet of Vigo. There, my grandparents’ fifty year old house sat a mere five-minute walk from

the sea in the port town of Canido. Depending on the season, the port town displays a different face. Sparkly with frost in the winter, the town’s small coves are enlarged through the emptiness to deserted, long stretches of white sand constantly stroked by the tremendous winter storms. On the stark opposite end, Canido looks golden-lit and suntanned in the summer, packed with families visiting their hometown. The families, who set up camp densely with little distance between groups, shrink the beaches back to the small-town coves they are. On that beach, my sister and I would hunt little crabs and shrimp with our nets and keep them in our water buckets, or build sand tunnels and cities.


My grandmother, on her winter walks, would purposely avoid gazing at the shore, as it always made her feel empty to see the beach so barren. Over the years, as we grew older and the port town grew smaller, my parents decided it was time to show us more of our homeland. That land, whose name I had only associated with my grandma’s flowery garden, had seen Celts, Vikings, saints, and witches. Years later my sister and I were old enough to explore, and we armed ourselves with disposable cameras and sketchbooks. And like that, accompanied by my best friend, we set out to revisit the places we had taken for granted as children. On cloudy days, instead of the beach, my mother used to take us on walks to Canido’s port, where we would climb and

walk along the breakwater. From there we would play games and gaze at the sea that had turned grey. I remember asking my mother endless questions. She once told me about a Galician legend: when God stopped to rest during Creation, he leaned back and placed his hand on the coast of Galicia, spilling thousands of beautiful things, and leaving the indents of his fingers as the five rías that make up the western coast of Galicia. The Vigo Ría, like a couple of others, is crowned by an archipelago, the Cíes, two islands standing on the horizon of an open Atlantic that long ago was thought to mark the end of all land. It’s become customary for me and my sister Clara to watch the sunset on the eve of a trip to Cíes. Since we were old

enough to do so alone, we would walk to the docks and face west, perched atop the breakwater in Canido. From there, the only thing between us and the three mountains way off in the horizon were the deep dark waters of the ría. The sky would often be lined by the ominous clouds characteristic of the area, and our visit became a sort of offering, a prayer to the Atlantic for good weather. This last year, life’s circumstances had us making our offering from the fort in the city of Vigo, rather than Canido. In the 16th century, due to British and Turkish pirate attacks, a fort was built in the high center of Vigo, the Castle of Saint Sebastian. From there the city defenders had a panoramic view of the whole ría, particularly of Cíes, where

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the pirates would often settle to plan their sieges. And so there we sat, like city guards, on the battered walls between watchtowers. But alas, we couldn’t see Cíes. A pink, golden fog was rolling into the ría, completely covering the water, and stroking the coastal lowlands. Only mountaintops, high rises, cargo cranes, stuck up like rocks and reeds above the surface of a billowy fog. With the fog hiding most modern landmarks, we almost expected to see the masts of Pirate Drake’s fleet emerge from the mist, ready to face the Spanish Armada. Fortunately, the fog cleared off during the night, and bright blue sea and skies greeted us the next day, along with the cries of seagulls. Reaching Cíes is leaving behind the busy streets and waters of the port of Vigo, the largest fishing port in the world. It is to enter an Atlantic paradise where, if you don’t look back to the heavily urbanized slopes of the ría, you’ll see what the Celts disembarked upon. A landscape of white and turquoise beaches welcomed them, with pine trees and yellow lichen-covered granite, a landscape owned by the seagulls. On the islands we met my best friend Paula, and we hiked our way to the lighthouse on the very top of the island, where human paths met their ends, where only the birds could continue, gliding down along the cliff drop, to the white crests of the feral waves. Parallel to the Vigo Ría, runs the Pontevedra Ría, at the east end of which sits the provincial capital of Pontevedra. In contrast to Vigo’s extensive municipal area and generally haphazard architecture, Pontevedra always feels like a small town. After a short fifteenminute train ride, we’d met Paula who awaited us with her own film camera and sketchbook. We made our way into the old town, where Gothic ruins coexist with Baroque and Romanesque churches, as well as modern bridges and French Eclectic buildings. The squares conserve their ancient names. On the pavement of the streets leading to Praza da Ferrería the verses to a traditional Galician poem are

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scattered: “Pontevedra é boa vila”; “Pontevedra is a kind city.” Following the arch-flanked street, the poem continues: “Dá de beber a quen pasa”; “She gives drink to whomever walks by.” Finally, the street ends in the beautiful praza, where the gardens of the Saint Francis Convent preface the long, cracked staircase leading to the cloister, worn concave by the feet of countless monks. The city of Pontevedra sits on the Portuguese route of the Saint James Way. This makes the city and its chapel of A Peregrina a mandatory stop for the pilgrims coming from southern Galicia and Portugal. Like Vigo, this is a city of the sea. Pontevedra’s Guild of Seafarers commissioned the construction of a Gothic church, the Basilica of Santa Maria. Lucky for us, we gained access to the roof for a very small donation. A dizzyingly long spiral staircase later, we were sketching behind the belfry on the clay tile rooftop, from where the ría opened all the way to the Atlantic. Facing the other

direction, the city extended for what seemed like only a few miles, and then gave way to rolling hills covered by forests of the foreign eucalyptus. Introduced to Galicia in the 19th century, the Australian tree has since been consuming with its acid roots the soil that was meant for pine trees and carballos. Caught up in the intricate array of the rooftops, the crenellations of the basilica, or Snapchat-ing everything around us, we completely forgot we were right next to a bell tower, which made its presence clear with all three of its massive bells. It wasn’t until the second jolt of this sort that we realized we had spent nearly two hours in the same place, and decided to wander somewhere else. We slipped through the alleys behind the basilica, made our way down by the abandoned houses that we’d never been allowed to approach as children, through the narrow streets past the Sanctuary of Apparitions, where the Virgin Mary showed herself to a nun. There

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is something about the raw ambience that never leaves the city, its ever-bustling pubs, and the locals that continue to live in the Old Town. Perhaps it’s the complete lack of cars within the historical district. Perhaps it was inhabited by old meigas. Whichever it is, Pontevedra, the “Ancient Bridge,” honors its name, sitting in a temporal dichotomy where the streets of a modern city lead to an archaic place. Santiago de Compostela was the only stop we made where the Atlantic didn’t meet land. Capital of the region of Galicia, its cathedral is the well-known final stop of the Saint James Way, and the square it sits on, the Praza do Obradoiro, has seen the tears of many pilgrims, who often kneel and celebrate upon their arrival. In ancient times, pilgrims would fill the cathedral with the stink of road travelers, which made necessary the use of the botafumeiro, a massive incense burner that swings from end to end of the cathedral, filling the nave with clouds of purifying smoke. Santiago’s old town grew surrounding the great cobblestone square of Obradoiro, in narrow streets framed by arcades designed to protect pedestrians from the all-too-common Galician rain. Small

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alley shortcuts connect these streets, creating narrow white hallways where more than three people would have a hard time walking abreast. Eventually, these passages pour into the next square like a river into the ocean. Following the meanderings of one of these, we ended up in a recondite, minuscule square where southern Spain made a small cameo. Before my sister and I left Spain to live abroad, every year we would take a trip to southern Spain, swapping northern, cold Celts with the warm-spirited descendants of the Moors, leaving mountains and eucalyptus forests and arriving at incandescent fields of olive trees. Suddenly, as we turned the corner from the whitewashed alley, we came into a courtyard, where, among the bright white walls reminiscent of Andalusian villages, one of those ancient olive trees dominated the space. Continuing through the alleys, we found ourselves on a street that seemed to be entirely made of stone. From façade to façade, the granite seemed continuous, breaking for the occasional small window, until on our left, an arch opened, letting through the modest bustle of an outdoor café and revealing lush vegetation and rays of sun on grapevines. Without

hesitating we entered the small walled garden, and without thinking twice we sat under the grapevines and ordered some coffee. In that small oasis, granite and concrete yielded to grass and bright red balsam flowers, just like in my grandmother’s garden. The grapevines had welcomed us under their cover. The air smelled of fresh cut grass and coffee grounds. We sat in a corner, by a low wall that faced the street below, leaving a steep cliff of mossy rock far, far beneath us. Under the shade of the grapevines we had a green sanctuary above the cobblestones. Meigas say that there are two reasons why cathedrals, cliffs, and old bridges have bewitching properties. One is that they are made of our most ancient connection to the Earth: stone. The land speaks, and through stone we listen. The other reason lies in the purpose of these landmarks. They are links. Like portals, they link Heaven and Earth, land and sea, this side and the other side. There is something magical about Galicia. Perhaps this is it.

Juan Borreguero


MAKE YOUR HUSKY EXPERIENCE GLOBAL

UW STUDY ABROAD UW.EDU/STUDYABROAD


Pa y

&

L eav e By Mac Hubbard Illustrated by Ben Celsi

You’ll be disappointed by any city you ever go to if you judge it by its bus station. Several months of bouncing around, and I’d had my fair share of bad first impressions. Now, out of a travel partner, I was starting to develop a little distaste for the cloud of gray-brown-black that had gathered on the bottom of my travel bag from many hours on the cold cement of bus stations. When I finally heard the bus driver yelling at me, I was overcome by a shudder deep in my stomach that told me I was lost. Strange, because for the most part, I’d gotten used to the fear that comes with waking up while you’re on the move – that gripping notion that you don’t belong wherever you are because you can’t recall what brought you there, or even where “there” is. This seemed a

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bit more urgent. My eyelids flitted open and I stared at him blankly. After two weeks in the Balkans I was accustomed to the stony foreheads and the ugly pale yellow shirts of the regional long distance bus drivers. This wasn’t the first time I’d been yelled at in extreme frustration for my inability to understand basic procedure, although this time it became apparent that I was being an actual burden. A quick look around informed me that I was the only other person still on the bus, so I grabbed my dirty yellow backpack and relieved the driver of myself so he could be on his way, off on another long route to a lot of places I’ve never heard of and one far off in the distance that I probably had.

They are hauntingly obvious to me now, but the small, yet decidedly ominous mountains cradling Sarajevo and the river running through the valley weren’t the first thing that struck me, because I was determined to find a bathroom. I power-waddled to the central building that was almost entirely empty and found what I was looking for. The door was open and I hurried in, only to hear a call come from the other end of the corridor. A rough woman in uniform came over to hold her hand out in front of me. I forgot how much money I gave her but it immediately became clear that it was too much. The room was caught between disrepair and filth, unable to make up its mind about which it wanted to be. I don’t think I ended up even using it, but I can say for certain that I was not


satisfied when I walked out. With the June sun beating down on me at the waiting platform, my pack felt heavy, my back was sweating ceaselessly, and I became very conscious of the fact that I was by myself. Normally I would keep my eyes open for the characters that hopped on the trams in Central Europe to see what kind of people were on the move. More often than not, this is where you got a look at the portraits you came to see – most museums are overrated. Watching fights or hunched over vampires on the graveyard route gives you all the benefit of foreign film without the subtitles. On this one however, I wasn’t sure whether the scruffy old man rambling to himself loudly and drinking a midday beer in the back was strange or sad. I wasn’t meant to end up in Bosnia. My being there was an accident to some extent. When I was dreaming up my trip after being accepted to a study abroad program based in Prague, the plan was to ship off after school finished and live out some kind of bohemian-vagabond pilgrimage fantasy where I’d get enlightened on croissants and cabernet and walk around like I was posing for Boticelli. The plan was to flip a coin to the accordion player scoring my morning stroll to the bakery. The plan was to ride my bike through a field of tulips with a color no one had even come up with a name for yet. The plan was to fall madly in love with a dark-haired señorita and run off with her to the dusty hills where we’d escape the heat by leaning up against an orange tree after stealing grapes from the vineyard. The plan was to walk into the Vatican only to have my wrist grabbed by the pope who says, “Ah! You’re here! Come, let me show you all of the beautiful secrets we keep in this place.”

That plan dissolved when I learned about the visa restrictions. Staying in the Schengen Area until my flight out of Brussels in July could get me into big trouble with whoever was in charge. You get 90 days in the Schengen, and I was pushing that limit. The overriding determinant for my grand old adventure on my own, then, was that I had to bide my time anywhere other than Western Europe for the better part of a month. So Croatia sounded good and so did Bosnia, and I got to work on sketching up some new hallucinations about June. Looking around the center of Sarajevo, I felt like I’d just been served my favorite dessert after a good meal that left me too full. I started walking because nothing else came to mind. Exhausted from the cruel heat on the other side of the country and the long bus ride taking me away from it, I didn’t make it far before I needed to sit. I settled on a café in the park next to the bridge where Franz Ferdinand was shot. Now I find it funny, me just pulling up a chair with a view of that speck on the globe without so much as having to say “excuse me” to get a good look. That little big bang from a hundred years ago that started its own little war had birthed the world that followed it, giving rise to new understandings of the depths and heights we could plunge into and ascend at the same time. It was the point of origin that molded the landscape of everything I’ve ever known, not just about maps and countries, politics and wars, but also of where I fit into all of it. All that enormity still making ripples in the pond next to me and here I was drinking a dirt cheap cup of espresso that tasted like dirt, unable to concentrate on my book because of the loud, fuzzy radio station and the raised voices of some middle

aged men making exceedingly friendly gestures toward the very young barista. I’d been having mixed feelings about the book anyway once I became aware it was a vampire novel. So I set it down and took inventory. I was almost out of money, I was out of friends, and pretty much out of energy. Tobacco though. I had tobacco. I don’t smoke cigarettes. That is, I mean I’m not a smoker by any standard, back home at least. Yet on a muggy day in Sarajevo I found myself cross-legged on a stone ledge by the river fumbling around with a poorly rolled little paper stick. It was pitifully flimsy and could hardly stand up to the flame of the cheap lighter I got back in Croatia.

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All the rolling materials I’d bought after a night of sitting at a table in a small village up in the mountains with some other backpackers. My friend and I probably wouldn’t have stayed so long, or had a reason to join them in the first place, if we’d declined their offers to come smoke. The conversation would have outlasted the scarce amount of wine we’d brought, but the cigarettes kept coming. So we kept sitting while our gathering attracted all kinds of scraggly diplomats and we stayed until the hostel receptionist told us to go to bed or go to the (only) bar in town. We opted for the bar and stayed as long as we could withstand the penetrating stares of the old men trying to drink their Karlovačko in peace. Eventually, we understood the glass we dropped and shattered as our cue to leave and slipped out the door, narrowly avoiding the advances and yells of a particularly agitated local, who one of our new Croatian friends convinced to leave us alone – by saying what, I don’t know. It’s not unreasonable to think that if we hadn’t been smoking with him, he might not have helped us. Then again, if we hadn’t been gathered around the ash tray then we might not have been there to get into trouble. Now I was left with a big bag of tobacco I didn’t want, and it didn’t feel like I was around anyone who’d want any part of it either. I like to be alone, but dragging my feet through what felt like a ghost

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town made me realize there’s a difference between separating yourself from people and really being on your own. You feel it a lot more when you don’t have a choice in the matter. I’d be willing to bet I wasn’t the first person to touch down in a city full of people and feel like there was no one there. But I’d also put a bet on the fact that taking the cigarette out of my

mouth would have given me a better chance to say hello. So what it came down to was that I needed some kind of filler, and these ended up being my little distractions. I found myself smoking a lot of these uniformly bad cigarettes for the three days I was in Sarajevo. For the most part I was sleepwalking through the city. Wandering and stopping became the stuff my day was made of. My loose schedule consisted of stopping at cafes to sip espresso outside – or a cappuccino if I felt like staying longer – occasionally writing up a sad postcard to someone back home.

I would head to Leuven several days later, ready to spend my last days in Europe going out swinging. Consequently – and either too late or at just the right time (it’s always hard to tell, isn’t it?) – it was there I would learn that you’ll always have friends if you’re willing to let go of your cigarettes and beer. Together, we all pounded on tables late into the night and they sang their songs while I bought the next round. These things aren’t that important after all. Usually what matters is what happens between sips and drags. Things were starting to lose their taste though. In Bosnia they know how to cook meat, but if your palette craves a variety of seasonings, sauces, vegetables, spices, or any other non-meat flavors, then you’re in the wrong country. Eventually I came to look forward to getting a mouthful of onions along with cevapcici; chopped, raw onions being the only other thing it came with. I found a sort of refuge in döner kebap that helped keep me afloat, reminding me of an inspiration that seemed to be on its last legs one week from leaving Europe. Hailing from somewhat ambiguous origins, döner has spread across most of Europe as the go-to delicious cheap food. It never had any real ties to wherever I was eating it, but it was always there, so evocative of late nights in smoky bars and hearing your voice echo down cobblestone streets and into the baroque


flourishes overhead, a warm pile of meat and flat bread in your lap while you sit on a curb and laugh with friends both new and newer in the dark beyond the heat lamps. These nights weren’t so far back in the past, but still I craved them. Food can comfort you that way. So the day before I was to leave Bosnia and catch a flight from Zagreb to Brussels, I treated myself to a ceremonial meal of döner. The last few days had really worn down on me – the mugginess was oppressive, and the hikes up the city’s slopes to get a look at the minarets and bombed out buildings from the genocide left me panting and unfocused on what I was looking at. This had quickly changed though as the languid, overcast

summer sky was darkening quickly to a deep, menacing shade of gray. As I was finishing up my meal and polishing off the last of my fries a near-biblical thunderstorm erupted while I sat at the counter looking out into the main alley cutting through the marketplace. I was the only person in the restaurant besides the two women at the register, so I didn’t feel any sense of being elbowed out of there. For five minutes I sat and watched the storm rain down until the fluorescent light bulbs and neon signage flickered off with that sudden burst of light that bulbs die off with. All the lamps down the alley seemed to disappear into the rain. I laid my head down on my folded arms and watched from my window, glad that there was nothing else to do even if I’d wanted there to be. Eventually the lightning came and the thunder crashed with such violence that it rattled the buildings. But it was no burst of energy. It went on and on until finally I looked over at the two women and just shrugged and smiled at them. I knew they couldn’t speak English and they just smiled big at me and shrugged with their palms facing the sky. My soft grin held while I turned back to the window. The storm wasn’t

going anywhere, that much was clear to all of us. I ordered another döner while the meat was still warm and took my time with it. Every once in a while we’d all look back at each other and smile softly. After traveling for so long, I learned not to force romanticism into places where it has no business. I’m not going to pretend that we were all thinking the same thing, because I really don’t think we were. And I say that because I saw something in those two women that told me what I needed to see and there’s no way they could’ve been thinking the same thing. After all, they were on one side of the counter and I was on the other. Based on where I was sitting right then and there, I wasn’t in a position to be making judgments and assessments. I don’t know how long my tray sat there empty but the storm raged all night, and at some point in the middle of it, I passed by my only two friends in that city, waved goodbye, and went out into the rain in my flip-flops and my t-shirt.

Mac Hubbard

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N ATURE Collage Credits (pg. 20-21) Case Tanaka Daniel Kim Ben Nussbaum Yirong Ding An Huynh Stuart Danford Marta Sierra Donnoven Nguyen Murtaza Bikanerwala Bryan Nakata Joederick Lata Sam Atkinson Ben Brinkman Hunter Gabriel Joseph Wu Stanley Yuristian

PEOPLE

This quarter’s photo competition was generously sponsored by BlackRapid, a Seattle-based premier accessory brand. Its gear is designed to improve the speed, comfort, and efficiency of consumer and professional photographers. blackrapid.com Thanks to our sponsors BlackRapid and Wells Fargo for sponsoring our event!

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F A L L

PHOTO COMPETITION W I N N E R S NATU R E Joseph Wu

PEOPL E Chris Collison

URBA N Nick Magill

“I’ve always dreamt of taking a­­train through the mountains and my dream came true last spring break when I travelled to Alaska with my friends. The train was driving at least 100 miles per hour and I had to put my head outside of the cabin so many times to capture those beautiful moments. It was freezing but was so worth it!”

“Following a long five-hour climb to the summit of Mt. Hood overnight, the panoramic mix of stars, mountains, and sunrise on the morning of July 4th makes for an unforgettable experience.”

“A Soviet-era Lada drives past the Kamyanets-Podilsky Fortress in Western Ukraine. In this quiet corner of Ukraine, there is little evidence of the war that continues in the country’s eastern Donbas region.”

URBAN

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UK YO 憂 き 世

written and illustrated by

DA N I E L DA R M AWA N noun 1. 2.

(SUPERFICIAL) Floating world.

(METAPHYSICAL) Sorrowful or transitory world.


本音, 建前. If you walk along the concrete bank of the Hori River in central Nagoya and continue left after a couple of blocks, you’ll find a small wooden corner store named the Kanou Cigar Club. No larger than a small shipping container, the corner store has served generations of poets, businessmen, and travelers in relative secrecy for over sixty years.

YA

The stereo system at Kanou constantly called me back after work, inviting me to stop and crack open a cold beer amidst the smooth croon of a Miles Davis trumpet solo. The clear sound of the Bose speakers presented such a contrast to the rustic appeal of the corner store, cutting through the cigar smoke and flowing out the store’s open front onto the asphalt, towards the busy restaurant across the street.

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This was the Japan that I had returned to at six o’clock in the evening for six weeks. It was a city of tucked-away tattoo shops and Pachinko parlors hidden between the ubiquitous Lawson bodegas and towering Takashimaya department stores that dominated Nagoya’s surface life.

名 古 屋

NA

Thick, pungent smoke snaked around the dimly lit bar between Soviet-red packets of rolling tobacco and a cornucopia of cigars and cigarillos lining its gnarled wooden shelves. The slow-moving haze competed for space among the hundreds of brands of cigars, cigarettes, and various smoking accoutrements adorning the ancient walls of the Kanou Cigar Club, still gleaming in unopened plastic like the shimmering scales of a calico fish. This was the side of Japan that foreigners hardly saw, worlds away from the flashing neon lights of Akihabara or the hot springs of Hokkaido. It was a home away from home to hundreds of thousands of salarymen of all shapes and ages, dressed in the same rumpled pinstripe suits and folded white sleeves as they lounged at the back of the cigar club, pressed Maduro cigar in one hand and a glass of Suntory single-malt whiskey resting on the table in the other.

Hidden amongst the field of tobacco products, the sound would often lure me back into the shop when I had finished a tabehoudai (all-you-can-eat-and-drink) dinner with my Japanese colleagues. We would walk into the restaurant as sober, worn-out professionals coming Miniature rock garden at Ryouan-Ji rock gardens – Northwest Kyoto. Photo: Qeisan Kendy, @crazyfobazn

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憂 き 世

off a nine-hour shift, and exit shoulder to shoulder as comrades, once the language barriers and walls of social etiquette were dissolved in a few liters of beer. No matter how wild or ridiculous our conversations got, some topics about Japanese society continued to elude me as a foreigner. It wasn’t as if people were actively trying to hide anything; they just assumed I wouldn’t understand. Regardless of the number of bottles I shared or bows I traded with people at work, I could never seem to shed the connotations that came with the position of “foreign intern.” Life outside the factory, however, was almost the polar opposite. The convenience store clerk would spit routine, rapid-fire phrases at me upon noticing my almond eyes and tan skin, assuming I was Japanese, only to express a flash of disappointment when I attempted to ask him for extra yakitori sauce on my chicken skewers in broken response. I felt like an alien embedded in a racially homogenous society, hidden by my superficial appearance as another white-collared, blackhaired worker amongst the tens of thousands of other white dress shirts tucked into black pants riding the subway every morning.

Stone Buddha sitting outside of Ryouan-Ji rock gardens – Northwest Kyoto. Photo: Qeisan Kendy, @crazyfobazn

As a goateed Elizabethan playwright once said, “All the world’s a stage / And all the men and women merely players.” While in many Western countries self-expression is valued above all else, the pressure to

“To act contrary to the stiflingly polite social norm is to stand sideways in the office elevator when everyone else is facing the door.” conform to the status quo in Japan’s collectivist society is strongly encouraged, and can often feel overwhelming. To act contrary to the stiflingly polite social norm is to stand sideways in the office elevator when everyone else is facing the door.

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I recall a conversation with Kris, a fellow Indonesian colleague who had lived in Oita for a number of years, about the Japanese concept of honne (本音) and tatemae (建前). As we walked home along the concrete bank of the Hori River in our factory uniforms, he explained the duality between the two phrases. The former is an inside face which one reserves for close friends and family, while the latter is a socially presentable façade for the public. Tatemae, as Kris explained, is a cultural practice encouraged as a moral cornerstone of Japan’s harmonious vision of a conformist utopia. It is the lacquered kabuki mask worn over the straining face of the white-collar worker beneath, every time he takes the 7 a.m. train to work.


The longer I worked in Japan, the more I realized that honne and tatemae extended far beyond the realm of everyday manners. The image of a composed exterior hiding a rougher and more organic self was reflected in the architecture of the city and its shopping streets. On the edges of Osu, Nagoya’s largest open-air shopping arcade, blocky project buildings stood side-by-side inches away from each other as if cut from the same mold and plopped on the asphalt in neat grids. Bright neon signboards jutted out of their pastel-painted walls to announce the businesses fighting for space inside. Restaurant on the first floor, tattoo studio on the second, maid café on the third; they were all personalized insides of a copy-pasted concrete cube. The cigar club was at the basement of one of those cookie cutter buildings, built in the midst of Japan’s postwar boom in 1953. As I sat by the bar at Kanou, the grizzled bartender slid me a beer past a pile of ashtrays waiting to be emptied. How many years had he worked behind the counter? How many salarymen had he served who came to the cigar club seeking refuge from

“You’ll keep coming back; the odds are at least 20:1 for a spin.” the dreary existence of lifetime employment? The office worker sitting next to me hunched over to light his Dutch Masters cigarillo, and in the dim lighting it seemed as if the smoking skeleton in Van Gogh’s Kop van een skelet met brandende sigaret had come alive, dressed in flesh and an off-white linen shirt. Walking through Nagoya past 6 p.m. is a tour into the industrial underbelly of Japan. The veneer separating the presentable and the personal fades away with the setting sun, replaced by the yellow glow of tungsten

street lamps flanking the city’s canals. As night descended on the city, the Pachinko parlors lent color to the pastel palette of Osu and Sakae at a price. Gambling dens full of slot machines disguised as neon-pink arcades, like cash-raking monsters in maid’s clothing, dotted Nagoya’s cityscape like cute little smallpox boils. Legions of broke or unemployed Japanese citizens frequented those slots, hoping to luck their way out of debt. “Don’t go in there,” my boss warned me when I asked what the seemingly innocuous establishments were. “You’ll keep coming back; the odds are at least 20:1 for a spin.” What he didn’t tell me, of course, was that the parlors were often run by yakuza controlling that particular neighborhood. Talking about the underworld in public is taboo for the Japanese, and a mere mention of the word yakuza is enough to garner a few looks from pedestrians on the street. Unlike what Hollywood B-movies would lead one to believe, the Japanese mafia nowadays rarely flaunt their characteristic bodysuit of tattoos in public or self-amputate their digits as punishment for botched jobs. Despite this shift towards the inconspicuous, public bathhouses still ban entry to anyone with tattoos or missing fingers for fear of scaring away regular customers. Underneath the neon tint of the red-light district, the presence of the yakuza around Japan’s nightlife scene remains palpable. Large, bald, burly Japanese men in suits still stand politely in front of schoolgirl-themed bordellos, their knuckles ready to catch the jaws of anyone stupid enough to attempt a skeet-and-dash. It was only after a few rounds of beer one night that Kris

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laid bare the facts for me about the “water industry,” a colloquialism for the legal prostitution industry in Japan, and the world of illegal Yamikin moneylenders, yakuza, and Pachinko parlors. A university friend of his in Oita had run into debt playing in the Pachinko parlors and now owed a significant amount of money to a bank.

“Had his parents not bailed him out he would have went to a Yamikin, and they lend at astronomical interest rates. If he didn’t pay the Yamikin on time, then, well…,” Kris shrugged. It was as if I constantly found myself at a junction between the light and the dark sides of Nagoya as I plunged further into the misty doldrums of salaryman society. The fog would clear at 5:45 p.m. in the evening as the office chime sounded, marking the end of the factory workday until the same chime would ring again at precisely 9 a.m. the next day. It was in the hours and weekends between these chimes that I lived, disappearing into Nagoya’s subterranean railway system and rematerializing as far away as the sleepy beach town of Utsumi or the Ise Grand Shrine, 50 miles away from the crowded city center. The world’s largest subway station in terms of square footage, Nagoya Station was my teleportation hub to the strangest corners of the city and beyond. The kind of bizarre phenomena one finds in Japan are an entirely different breed of octopus than those that one finds drunkenly on a bottle of Kraken rum in Seattle. There were guys dressed in nothing but black, duct tape gimp suits smiling for pictures with children

“It was in the hours and weekends between these chimes that I lived, disappearing into Nagoya’s subterranean railway system and rematerializing as far away as the sleepy beach town of Utsumi or the Ise Grand Shrine, fifty miles away from the crowded city center.” at food festivals. I might have even found someone who resembled the 40 year old senior accountant I’d bowed to in the morning browsing through the vast hentai section of a local anime store after dark. Standing in front the Osu Kannon temple are the Nio protectors Agyō and Ungyō. Representative of cosmic birth and death, their fearsome expressions ward the temple from evil spirits and demons. Photo: Daniel Darmawan

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I quickly found that social and sexual norms in Japan had long deviated from the Western world. Due to its status as the first East Asian country to industrialize, Japan’s labyrinthine code of ethics is staunchly based off of Shinto and Buddhist values instead of the morally repressive Abrahamic standards imposed on the rest


of the English-speaking world. It was an alternate reality I found peace in; a modern society entirely removed from the constricting dichotomy of liberal and conservative moralism that permeates even the deepest levels of American history. Things got even stranger once I began to look into the grayer areas of society. In search of a tattoo studio doing traditional Japanese tebori hand tattooing, I spent a sweaty hour in the torrid summer heat scouring Osu only to find an empty room full of neatly packed boxes and a couple of deserted parking spots still marked “8-Ball Tattoo Studio.” A quick search on Reddit’s forums revealed that police had raided the studio just weeks earlier as part of the Japanese government’s initiative to ban tattoos for a better international image. I ended the night nursing a beer at Kanou, seeking refuge in the earthy smell of a half-century worth of smoke seeped into the wooden counter of the bar. I’m finishing this article on my flight back to Seattle from my hometown of Jakarta, and in a matter of minutes I will land at Tokyo’s Narita airport for transit. Memories of Japan are still fresh in my mind, clearer than the foggy nights out at the Onsen or my bleary-eyed mornings at the factory office. What truly stands out in my mind’s eye among the images of the Osu Kannon shrine and the miniature Godzillas towering over Shinjuku, is the black and white stencil of a geisha slinging a submachine gun over her shoulder, a grinning Hannya mask and beat up rucksack on her back where her sash should have been. Dressed in a kimono and nonchalantly blowing a bubble from her lips, she was the perfect personification of contemporary Japan, a country where the image of tradition remains at the forefront of society, with the trappings of modern culture casually strapped to her back. She was honne and tatemae incarnate, a goddess of mercy for the housewife slot machine junkies and disheveled salarymen of the floating world.

Daniel Darmawan

憂 き 世 41


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Left: After a long day of traveling from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng, we woke up to this majestic view from our tiny guesthouse. With the city concealed in haze below the grand mountain range, this scene will always remind me of “The Lord of the Rings.”

Laos. Landlocked between Thailand, Vietnam, and four other Southeast Asian nations, Laos has been affected by change from the outside world at a slower pace than its neighbors. From offering alms to monks in the early morning to rafting for 16 kilometers along the Mekong River to exploring caves after digging into streetside pho and baguettes, I’ve come to realize that Laos’ charm offers something that its neighbors do not. Take Vientiane, the capital, where the remnants of colonialism blend with daily Laotian culture. In the same afternoon, you can walk from the Triumphal Arch, a war monument dedicated to those who fought during the independence from France, to a handful of sacred Buddhist temples. On the other hand, Luang Phra Bang, a World Heritage Site, is where a more peaceful and slower pace of life exists. One can discover temples hidden in every other alleyway and stroll among robe-clad monks through the streets in the morning mist. On the opposite side of the spectrum was Vang Vieng, a tourist haven that featured all kinds of entertainment. Here one could discover a bar on every other street and find drunk people strolling about past midnight. Regardless, Vang Vieng has its own beauty; you just have to go out and find it. With karst hills surrounding it, this city was our last stop.

terrified of the dusk that was quickly approaching. As the sun dipped lower, our visibility continued to fade. In that moment my eyes, hands, and legs worked together in harmony to hurry up to the top of the trail. Unexpected moments like these are the most exciting to look back on and share, especially with close friends. Despite how close I was to giving up, I felt safe knowing that my friends had my back and would lend me a hand if I needed it. It was a beautiful sunset. In seven days we were able to travel to three different cities in Laos, visit a dozen temples, and explore three different caves. All of this was without internet. It gave me a chance to escape from civilization and reconnect with friends and nature, and experience new cultures. So if you have the chance to visit Southeast Asia, visit Thailand and all the other famous nations, but don’t forget to include Laos!

Sira Horradarn

At the base of Pha Ngern viewpoint, the highest vantage point in Vang Vieng, a lone sign read “20-min hike to the peak.” It was already 4 p.m. but we decided to go on, taking assurance from the trusting sign. The truth is that it took me and my friends almost two hours to reach the peak. Mind you, this path was not suited for a beginner like me. Imagine climbing up a 60-degree rock face with no fences, ropes or anything to hold you from falling back. A small vine separated me from a 300-foot dead drop. “How the hell could this be a 20-minute hike?” one of my friends shouted out. Almost an hour in, we were tired and

1 1. Farmers leave late in the evening after a long day out in the rice fields. This was shot from the Pha Ngern vantage point at sunset where the sun reflects off the water flooding into the wheat field, casting silhouettes.

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2. After a long, exhausting day adventuring in Vang Vieng, I walked by this pond that was a little ways off from the town center, away from all the noises and chaos of pubs, bars, and restaurants. It was the last night that I would stay in Vang Vieng. The sky was perfect and the wind whipped past as I stood there to give myself a break after such an active day.

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3. Buddha statues inside Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang. Built in the 15th century, Wat Xieng Thong is considered one of the most important monasteries in the country, celebrating Laotian religion, royalty, and traditional art.

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4. Monks stride down city streets during their morning ritual where devotees wait to offer them alms. This Buddhist tradition is called Tak Bard Kao Neaw and occurs every day at dawn in Luang Prabang, as well as other Southeast Asian cities.

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5 5. Tourists search for street food along Talad Sao alley for dinner. Despite its name “Morning Market,� this bustling site stays open late into the night. This food stall is well-known throughout town for its vegetarian buffet where you can enjoy a huge plate for a mere $2.

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6 6. While out biking in Vang Vieng, I had to take refuge from the pouring rain under a villager’s house where these happy children kept me company.

7. A tourist peacefully reads a book in a small hut on top of the Khao Ngern vantage point, which took my friend and I two hours to climb.

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8. The turquoise blue water of Kwang Si Falls, just outside Luang Prabang, draws many tourists every day. In order to capture one photo that wasn’t shaky, I fired the shutter almost 200 times, hoping that there would be one lucky shot. It worked!

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9. Living right on the riverside, Luang Prabang’s residents still use traditional boats as their main means of transportation. Here, there are no malls, no supermarkets, and no bars. Even if only for a few days, this simpler, more laid-back pace allowed me to experience a different lifestyle and served as an escape from the distractions of urban life.

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VOYAGE Seattle, WA Winter 2017 voyageuw.com

VOYAGE UW - Fall 2016 - Issue 2  

VOYAGE is a new student-led interdisciplinary magazine at the University of Washington - Seattle that highlights student exploration in the...

VOYAGE UW - Fall 2016 - Issue 2  

VOYAGE is a new student-led interdisciplinary magazine at the University of Washington - Seattle that highlights student exploration in the...

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