Tag: Culture

Child’s Play, short movie about living with HIV in Cambodia

Written by on February 9, 2010 in Video with 1 Comment

Last September I went to Cambodia with a group of Japanese volunteers, and during our time at Wat Opot I made this short movie. All the actors are kids, mostly orphaned by AIDS (having lost one or both parents).

It’s a movie about friendship and living with HIV. There is a worldwide fear of HIV, but that fear is intensified in cultures with relatively little formal education or medical awareness. When Cambodians were dying by the thousands of AIDS, their own families cast them out, hospitals wouldn’t receive them, and even crematoriums were afraid to burn their bodies for fear that workers might be infected by the smoke.

That was three years ago. Not surprisingly, people living with HIV are still stigmatized in Cambodia.

About 20 percent of the kids at Wat Opot are living with HIV. They have worked hard with the surrounding community to dispel their fears. All the kids at Wat Opot attend the nearby public schools, and they interact freely with kids in the community. That isn’t to say all the fears and stigmas have gone away, but the situation is much better than before. The director wrote the short story that this movie is based …

Continue Reading

Clock carvers

Written by on October 14, 2009 in Photo Posts, Photos and Stories in Progress with 0 Comments

Clock Carvers

Today I submitted some photos for photo contest hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand (here). After all the work I did to re-work them, I wanted to post them here. Here’s one that I entered as an individual feature photo. I was walking through Phnom Penh returning to my hotel when I saw a small factory, so I veered in. They were very friendly, and I’d love to go back some day and learn some of the workers’ stories. Most of them wandered in looking for work, or came at the invitation of a friend, and just started carving. If they could do it, they got hired.  There’s no training program, but I assume they work very slowly for the first few weeks or months.

Continue Reading

Japanese sports day picture gallery

Written by on October 4, 2009 in My Family Photos, Photo Posts with 1 Comment


Here are a few photos to give you the feel of being at a children’s sports day at a school in Japan. Well, they can’t really capture all the feelings of parents watching the events which range from pride and wonder to boredom and pain. I felt all of these today. When only Reia was participating we were always waiting and waiting for her next event. Today it seemed like our kids were constantly coming up next. They were all very proud of their dances, and Maika was selected for the relay (one of just a few girls in her grade). Mari is actually faster than Maika, but they were on different teams — and Mari happened to be on the team with most of the fastest 1st grade girls.

I haven’t posted any photos of my kids, because I like these shots better. Mostly I shot video of my kids with a scattering of photos in between events.

The highlights of sports days are often the running events. Even though they aren’t supposed to be very competitive, at least not in elementary school, it still works out that way. They also have fun relays, dances, and the older …

Continue Reading

Hip-hop dancing in Japan, video

Written by on August 28, 2009 in Photo Posts, Video with 0 Comments

Japanese hip-hop dancers competing

I was wandering in Yoyogi Park, near Harajuku Station, last weekend and heard the sound of hip-hop music emanating from a crowd across the street.  Crossing over I found a thousand or more people participating in a hip-hop festival called “BBoy Park.” Groups were performing on the main stage, rappers were facing off under a small, packed pavilion, graffiti artists were creating pieces on plywood boards set up for the day, and hundreds of high schoolers were having a hip-hop dancing competition.

The video is in HD. If you like it, please vote 5 stars.

Continue Reading