Shanghai Expo 2010 [3]

As we heard that there is less queuing at night, we dashed to go see the Expo once again one workday night as we happened to get out on time.

We were lucky to see the Japan Corporate Pavilion after merely 20 minutes in the line.  It was the best pavilion I’ve seen so far too!  It was a pity one of their largest attractions “the world’s number one toilet” closed showing at night.

LF Shanghai Expo 2010

LF Shanghai Expo 2010

LF Shanghai Expo 2010

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处暑 chushu

Shanghai has been unbearably hot this summer. The temperature has been over 35’c for the past three weeks with high humidity in this city of concrete and steel piped high risers.

The Japanese Consulate of Shanghai dispatched an emergency notification email reminding people to be careful for heat stroke (FYI 中暑 zhongshu in Chinese) when going to see the Expo. I thought such “emergency emails” would report more serious and urgent incidents like a war breakout…

Still it proves how unusually hot it is in Shanghai this year.

Shanghai Navi reports with photos.

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Shanghai Expo 2010 [2]

A 80er (80后) made an impressive home movie titled “Expo Kiss Gate (世博接吻门)” with his girl friend. They visited the expo, kissed in front of 148 pavilions (!) and made an MV. It’s also a nice introduction of the different pavilions.

His profile reads:
I, a 85er (85后), have no own car, no own home, not handsome, not eloquent, no background, but have a girlfriend. Now I might not be able to afford a diamond ring or to take her to a vacation overseas. I can only take her to see the Expo, but 10 years from now, I’ll promise to take you to the journey around the world!

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Back in Hangzhou

Hangzhou (杭州) is a special place for me where I made my decision to come to China. I first visited there last year during the Golden Week while I was still working in Japan.

Hangzhou is a historical resort city developed around Xihu (西湖, the West Lake) known for beautiful scenery. The rapid train will take you there in around two hours from Shanghai.

LF 201007 Hangzhou

LF 201007 Hangzhou

LF 201007 Hangzhou

With the booming economy and rising tourism market, Hangzhou is packed tourists in the week ends. When I got there in the afternoon, Sudi (苏堤) was filled with screaming tour guides followed by crowds of colorful caps: red, yellow, orange… (The Chinese tourists, especially ones from the countryside, like to wear matching caps en masse.)

… which is totally ok for me. I didn’t really come to “tour” and do not have to participate in push and squeeze war with them at every entry points.

I came to see the sun rise on the West Lake.

I rode the rental bicycle to Sudi the following morning at 4:30am and found the exact bench I sat last year. The munks in Jingci Temple (净慈寺) had just started the morning chanting. In the view towards the right lies the small hill with the Leifeng Tower (雷峰塔) and far behind towards the left is the Hangzhou downtown. The color of the sky turns from dark sky blue, to vague gray, to glossy purple, and is reflected in the tranquil lake water. As the silhouette of the sun slowly appears, a warm orange sun ray strikes in the air and diffuses into the purple background.

Although now the air had the smell of summer, this was the very scenery that encouraged me to the decision to come to China last spring. The changing colors of the West Lake sky reminded me how precious every moment is and amazed me how mesmerizing a place could be. I decided that I should be in a place I want to be, not just anywhere I happened to be, while life is too precious to spare.

After one year I made it to come to Shanghai, and it has been another half year living here. I feel that much of what I see and hear has already become part of the everyday life. For this reason, I revisited Hangzhou at the very spot I saw the sun rise to look back on where I started and confirm my original intensions.

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Shanghai Expo 2010 [1]

I did go see the Expo, but it was not my intension to go twice in a week. What happened is that I first accompanied my parents who visited me over the weekend, and three days later, I went with my colleagues on a company-arranged field trip.

Just a brief summary of my impression:
– Crowded, crowded, crowded!
(Who said the entrants are far less than expected? The place is full of people!)
– I was so silly to line up for 3 hours to see the German pavilion in the hot weather.
(Any pavilion is no worth than 30 min of queuing to my personal opinion.)
– The design of the pavilions look great! It’s nice to hang out and enjoy the night view.

There are less people at weekday nights. Tier 2 popular pavilions (i.e. Spain, Italy, France, etc.) could be entered with 30min-1 hr queuing. I would visit again with the evening ticket with my tripod.

…but not too soon. I had enough for now.

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Black Oolong Tea

Suntory’s bottled black oolong tea is one of the most successful products in recent Japanese beverage market.  Now they are tapping in to the Chinese market, but what makes it interesting is, with a different marketing strategy.

In Japan, their main target seems to be middle aged men with metabolic syndrome problems.

Here in China, they target fashion conscious young women in 20-30s.  Take a look at the TV commercial they’ve been showing everyday.  I even see them on public bus TV monitors.

See the video posted on youku.com HERE.

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We do work overtime

I have been basically stuck in the office for the past several weeks, since it is the peak period for our industry. It will be over in another few weeks. Before coming here, I had the impression that Chinese people never worked overtime. My absence in the past month speaks for itself that this was merely my misperception.

You can generally see people working till midnight and some even past it. There was a Saturday I had to come to office, and I found several people working for other projects.

We cannot generalize China especially looking only at the situation in Shanghai. Moreover, I work in the industry most infamous with OT, maybe apart from i-banking. However, we can still say that there are Chinese people who do work overtime. No less than Japanese or the guys on Wall-street.

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