Archive for July, 2010

[Air Quality] Beijing Air Quality Index

Just checked the Air Quality Index in Beijing cuz it just looks terrible outside. I can’t see more than 200meters away from my office. The lucky number today was 294.. that’s 6 away from 300, which makes us enter the hazardous stage. In the Hazardous stage, Healthy people will experience reduced endurance in activities. There may be strong irritations and symptoms and may trigger other illnesses. Elders and the sick should remain indoors and avoid exercise. Healthy individuals should avoid out-door activities. I was kidding yesterday that we might in fact hit 300 today but I had no idea this would really happen.

(Info from AQI)

[Air Quality] It’s Official, China’s Air Quality is getting worse

The Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report does a pretty good job reporting on current events in China but today’s headlines was something that I just had to blog about. Yes, we all know that China’s air isn’t the best in the world but it’s now a fact according to this article, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection acknowledged last month that China’s air pollution levels rose in the first quarter of 2010 for the first time since 2007. Also even better news came out, “The first half of 2010 had the worst air quality since 2005.” I’m starting to think that using a mask might be a necesity.  But to understand how bad the air over here I think it’s better to quantify what exactly I’m talking about. My friend introduced me to the “US Embassy’s Air Particle Index”. Measured from 0-300:

0-50 Good
51-100 Moderate (Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion)
101-150 Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion)
151-200 Unhealthy (People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion)
201-300 Very Unhealthy (People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid all physical activity outdoors. Everyone else should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion)

So the lucky number in Beijing today is 233. Oh wait a minute, it just jumped up to 239.
The US government has their own twitter feed that is updated daily with Beijing air quality index.
Yup, China’s goint through alot right now, the worst  flood in decades and another heat wave with this pollution problem, China’s got a handful.

But trust me, China is trying.
It’ll be interesting to see if we can hit the big 300 mark by the end of this week. Not.

[Music] mp3 of the week

This is my first music update on this site. This is a  track off from A-Trak’s recent mixtape, ‘Dirty South Dance 2’. I have to say this is a must listen to album if you’re a big fan of dirty south hip hop and electro sounds. Do!Do!Do! is a really dope track from Carte Blanche and Chicago’s very own KID SISTER! You can download the entire mixtape or listen to it here. For more music downloads, check out my ‘Downloads‘ page as well. Happy Sunday.

Carte Blanche – Do! Do! Do! (Feat. Kid Sister)

[Reflections] Beijing, Where Amazing Happens.

Some nights out are just so random and random shit just happens. Just like in the NBA “Where Amazing Happens”. So apparently last night at a Club Called China Doll, where they just had their grand Re-opening party last Friday, a bunch of NBA players were chilling in Beijing. From my memory I remember engaging in conversation with Steve Nash and Baron Davis. I think I saw some other players but I was too fed up with Steve Nash. Really nice guy. I don’t know why but we talked about his high school days cuz I heard he was as talented in soccer as he was in basketball. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to see these guys and have conversation like I had last night back in the states. Apparently they were here for the Yao Ming Foundation and they are having a charity game tonite somewhere in Beijing. The players didn’t even know where they were playing tonite. What a random night.

(Image from Li-Ning)

[Photo] Soho Shangdu

For those of you who are wondering, my office is located in the Central Business District in Beijing. My building is called “SOHO Shanghdu”(Its the funky looking building to the right on the picture above). Seems like Mr. Soho has been busy creating his Soho Land in Beijing. Throughout Beijing you can see so many of his buildings Chaowai Soho, Soho Sanlitun, Soho Guanghua… Etc. But the interesting thing is that most of these buildings are empty. I have no idea how the building sustains it self.

But the office itself is conveniently located as my transit is about 20mins from my apartment and I can find everything I need in this neighborhood. My colleagues and I managed to find a nice little 杭州小吃”Hangzhou Small Eats” Restaurant where they have mean noodles(10rmb) and dumplings(5rmb). Its delicious and cheap, perfect combo. I managed to also find 4-5 Japanese restaurants in the building too. Also did I mention that I had lunch at a North Korean BBQ restaurant?

One thing that interests me the most is that, Chinese workers don’t really wear suits or even an dress shirt for work. I understand that its hot as hell but work is work. The larger firms out here have a dress code but I guess most Chinese firms have casual attire.

Today was a good day, my dad visited Beijing for work and we had dinner together. He’s been to Beijing on multiple occasions but he had never taken the Beijing Subway until today. I forced him to experience the Line 1 Rush Hour. In Japan, the JR Yamanote Line in Tokyo is famous for the train station workers to push people into the subways during the rush hour but Beijing subway is even worse than Japan.

Also found a great TED talk video on how everything in the world today is becoming global but media. Its quite interesting and you should check it out.

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

[Quick Update] Check out my Photography Page!

I’ll be adding more content throughout this week.

Click here to view my photography page.

Sunny day in Beijing!

[Reflections] 9 days in Beijing, 356 days to go

I apologize for the lack of posts after arriving to Beijing. I was busy getting an apartment(which I will explain more later on) and setting everything up. I now have, internet, TV, warm water and air conditioning! The first thing I want to say about Beijing so far is that its really HOT. It’s been constantly 100 degrees fareignheight on a daily basis. Compared to the month I spent after graduation in Japan, the last 9 days in Beijing have been quite interesting. Even though I’ve been to China numerous times including studying abroad and working here, I still have so much to learn about the culture in China. Also, one thing I know for sure is that my usage of Mandarin Chinese is in full cycle and people in Beijing seem to understand my English/Japanese heavily accented Mandarin better than in Shanghai. My work which  started last Thursday is located in the Manhattan of Beijing called “Guomao”. The famous CCTV tower is about a 5minute walk away. If you haven’t yet seen what the Chinese Central Television Building looks like you’re definitely missing out. If you remember, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel right next to the CCTV tower burned down last year due to the fire caused by firecrackers. Fortunately, the dutch designed 800 million USD tower was unharmed. This picture I took 3 days ago was the first sunny day in Beijing with an actual blue sky. Survived 9 days 356 more days to go…

Creative Commons Licence
Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at