East China Sea Islands…

Was walking home today after reading some of the China-Japan news and passed by the local Ito Yokado store. The store is usually jam-packed with affluent Chinese buyers buying imported milk and other food products. Not today. This time there was a big sign saying the store was closed until tomorrow. The big Ito Yokado sign on the roof was covered by large pieces of tarp, there were security guards stationed outside each entrance, and huge Chinese flags were flying upfront. I wanted to take a picture but it was too dark.

I continued walking and managed to notice this sign in a local storefront window.

The irony in the fact that the store sells Japanese-inspired designer clothing was lost on the shop clerks inside. Notee the effort put in to make the sign multicolored and multilingual — stylish….

Re-train China’s Olympians as First Responders

I was working from home today. Around 5pm I got on my bike to ride into the city, only to discover a flat tire. Walked outside to have it fixed and saw five or six people standing around the entrance next to mine. They were looking at a young woman lying on the ground, badly injured and almost naked.

Her arms were covered in abrasions, and she had a two-inch gash along the left side of her head. Her face was swollen and looked to have some yellowish bruises. Her lips were too red, as if from blood rather than lipstick.

She rolled slowly back and forth on the pavement, but she said nothing and her eyes were closed. Clearly out of it, though, as her dress or nightie was tangled into a small ball around her chest, leaving her covered only by a bra and stockings. Continue reading “Re-train China’s Olympians as First Responders”

North Gate-Gate

The neighborhood I live in was pretty remote before the Line 5 subway was built. Since my building was finished in 2006 or 2007 and the subway line opened in September 2007, it’s safe to say that the building was built in response to the newly available subway. All of which makes it puzzling why the north gate is closed.

Here’s my building:

When I moved in, both the north and east gates were open and in use. At night the north gate was often kept almost closed, so that only pedestrians could fit through and cars had to go through the east gate. Fair enough. But after a couple of years, the north gate was locked shut without warning. I asked the wuye about it and was told that there wasn’t enough money to keep a guard posted there.

Let’s do some math. Continue reading “North Gate-Gate”

Thank You, China Mobile, for Belatedly Notifying Me of Osama Bin Laden’s Death

This SMS came in at 2:59pm on Monday, May 2:

新闻早晚报快讯:美国总统奥巴马1日表示,美军方当天对巴基斯坦一所建筑发动袭击, 打死了“基地”组织领导本·拉丹,并对其尸体进行了确认。新华社

News Alert: On May 1st, United States President Obama said that earlier in the day U.S. military forces had attacked a building in Pakistan, killing Al Qaeda leader bin Laden and confirming the identity of his corpse. Xinhua News Agency

Continue reading “Thank You, China Mobile, for Belatedly Notifying Me of Osama Bin Laden’s Death”

Wuhan Update, December 2010

Arrived at Hankou train station this morning. The plaza and roads in front of the station are a mess, though the new facade, designed to look like old European buildings in the concession area, is an improvement over the old Social Realist look.

Spent at least half an hour in the taxi from the train station to Jianghan Lu, by far the longest that trip has ever taken. Total cost: 21 RMB. Continue reading “Wuhan Update, December 2010”

A Real Chinese Fire Drill

I witnessed my first authentic Chinese fire drill when riding out of my apartment complex this morning. The basic form was the same as I have seen back home: A white Volkswagen Jetta was stopped in the intersection where the street meets the side road of the Third Ring Road. The driver got out, followed by the front seat passenger and then a back seat passenger. Each of them walked around the car and re-entered in a different seat. The car then drove away.

But just like the “Chinese food” in America that bears little resemblance to the wide range of fare available here, a real Chinese drill is a far more nuanced and complex performance in its homeland: Continue reading “A Real Chinese Fire Drill”