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Difference between revisions of "East Asia"

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*[[China]] — the slowly awakening giant of East Asia. Huge cultural treasures among the rising skyline.
 
*[[China]] — the slowly awakening giant of East Asia. Huge cultural treasures among the rising skyline.
 
*[[Hong Kong]] — China's former British colony - a shoppers paradise. Famous for its harbor view.
 
*[[Hong Kong]] — China's former British colony - a shoppers paradise. Famous for its harbor view.
*[[Macau]] — the Las Vegas of Asia
+
*[[Macau]] — a former Portugese colony  with liberal gambling laws.
 
*[[Taiwan]] — an island of lush mountains, skyscrapers and gentle tai-chi.   
 
*[[Taiwan]] — an island of lush mountains, skyscrapers and gentle tai-chi.   
*[[Japan]] — the home of ninjas, Hello Kitty, and titanic electronics companies
+
*[[Japan]] — Possibly Asia's most advanced country and home of Hello Kitty, multinationals and Zen temples.
 
*[[Mongolia]] — a nomadic land of vast spaces
 
*[[Mongolia]] — a nomadic land of vast spaces
*[[North Korea]] — Orwell's worst nightmares come true.
+
*[[North Korea]] — the poor partner on the Korea Penisular - tourism not allowed.
*[[South Korea]] — the undiscovered destination of East Asia
+
*[[South Korea]] — one of the four little dragons, a dynamic economy to match its dramatic scenery.
  
 
==Understand==
 
==Understand==

Revision as of 20:14, 24 December 2005

Chinese characters at a king's former palace, Seoul, South Korea

East Asia is a cultural and geographic region of Asia.

Contents

Countries

  • China — the slowly awakening giant of East Asia. Huge cultural treasures among the rising skyline.
  • Hong Kong — China's former British colony - a shoppers paradise. Famous for its harbor view.
  • Macau — a former Portugese colony with liberal gambling laws.
  • Taiwan — an island of lush mountains, skyscrapers and gentle tai-chi.
  • Japan — Possibly Asia's most advanced country and home of Hello Kitty, multinationals and Zen temples.
  • Mongolia — a nomadic land of vast spaces
  • North Korea — the poor partner on the Korea Penisular - tourism not allowed.
  • South Korea — one of the four little dragons, a dynamic economy to match its dramatic scenery.

Understand

Tibetan Buddhism transmitted from China to Mount Koya, Japan

East Asia is what used to be known in the West as The Orient, a mysterious land inhabited by a race of inscrutable tea-sipping Orientals. Behind the caricature, though, is a uniting factor in the form of Chinese influence: China, as by far the largest and, historically, the most technologically and societally advanced culture in the region, has given its writing system (Chinese characters), religion (Mahayana Buddhism) and philosophy (Confucianism) to all the countries in East Asia.

However, underneath these superficial similarities lie a vast range of differences. The geography alone covers the gamut, from the arid steppes of Mongolia to the vast deserts of northwestern China, the lush rice paddies of south central China and the beaches of the subtropical islands of Okinawa. The upheaval of the past centuries has also led the countries of the region along strikingly different paths, with the hypermodern skyscrapers and consumerist culture of Japan having little if anything in common with the Stalinist austerity of North Korea.

Talk

East Asia's major languages are not mutually intelligible. Written Chinese characters can be puzzled out by Japanese and Koreans as well, although even these have wide differences from country to country — the characters 手紙, "letter" to the Japanese, would mean "toilet paper" in China! In all, English remains a traveller's most useful language overall, although for longer stays in any East Asian country picking up at least some of the local language is essential.

Get in

By plane

The main international gateways to East Asia are Tokyo (Japan), Hong Kong (China) and Seoul (South Korea). If arriving from Europe, transiting via Bangkok and Singapore in South-East Asia may prove cheaper than a direct flight.

Get around

See

Itineraries

Do

Eat

Rice is an East Asian staple, although in much of northern China and Mongolia wheat predominates.

Drink

Tea is the quintessential East Asian drink. Generally, green (unfermented) varieties are preferred over Western-style black tea, but the varieties available cover the entire color and taste spectrum.

Stay safe

External links

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