Archive for October, 2010

[Quick Update] gokatayama.com gets a New Look

I decided to change the theme for gokatayama.com. Hope you all like it!

Upcoming trip: to Ordos in Inner Mongolia for Halloween Weekend. There’s a so called modern ghost town there so it should be perfect for my first Halloween experience in China. Whats the hot costume this year in the states anyways?

Make sure you check out my photography page as well as my music page with my monthly mixes.


[Photos] Top 5 Photos from Seoul

I finally got around to posting my favorite shots from my Seoul trip from back in September. It was a nice get away from Beijing. The city reminded me mostly of Tokyo for its efficiency in transportation and access to many things that I was blocked from in Beijing, like internet and western food. Since I took 1,000 photos all together from this seven-day trip, choosing 5 photos was  a tough task. I tried to choose a photo from different genres. But as efficient and smooth Seoul was, I really missed Beijing for what it is. The more I travel outside of Beijing, the more thankful I am for what I have in Beijing. Seoul was delicious and it was interesting to see North Korea with my own eyes from the DMZ. Here are the top 5 photos. Enjoy!

Picture #1: I could not help but to take a photo of this little girl at Gyong Buk Gong Palace. Her facial expression shows how she was annoyed by her mother taking a picture of her over and over. This week was during Chuseok, the national holiday in Seoul and you could see many people dressed up in traditional Korean outfits. What distinguishes Japan and Korea in traditional wear was the bright colors that could be seen in Korea. During Chuseok, aka Korean thanksgiving, people go home to their hometown so some of the restaurants and shops in Seoul were closed.

Picture #2: I had a romantic afternoon with three of my guy friends where we witnessed where couples "lock" their love at Seoul tower. We took a cable car up the hill and we saw the sunset. This shot was taken from Seoul Tower and although I can't read Korean, I'm guessing it says something similar along the lines of "You are my destiny" or "We will be together forever" or something like that. But nonetheless it was a great place to overlook the entire city of Seoul.

Picture #3: By now I hope you have realized that I am a big fan of blue sky's in my photography. This one came out well because of the great contrast. This photo was taken at the Korean War Memorial, which is a must go if you are in Seoul. Seoul Tower is on the top right corner of this photo as well.

Picture #4: Also taken at Gyong Buk Gong Palace. During Chuseok, you could see many events going on around the city. Kids were painting masks and you just gotta love the creativity and the colors.

Picture #5: This was taken at a park right by City Hall in Seoul. The architecture of the traditional style buildings are quite similar to the ones in Beijing or Tokyo but I just like this photo because its chill and that was my goal for this trip. I just wanted to chill and relax and that's exactly what I did in Seoul.

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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 gokatayama.com.


[Shanghai Photos] m50

Shanghai is known for its rather artsy feel and one example of that is the art district called m50. M50 gets its name from Moganshan Road 50. What I feel is most interesting about this region is the walk to the actual gallery. There are tons of graffiti art that can be found along the way. Artists from around the world leave their mark drawing their own graffiti art.

 

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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 gokatayama.com.


[Shanghai Restaurant Review] Extraordinary venues to impress in Shanghai #2

Back again for Venue #2 and this could conclude the “Extraordinary Venues to Impress in Shanghai” Series. The second venue is in Pudong and its the skybar within the Ritz Carlton. Located on the 58th floor, Flair was a great place to check out the city of Shanghai turn from day to night. The sunset was gorgeous. Check out the photos I managed to come out with.

I’m so ready for the weekend, I’ll be busy teaching English at migrant schools and catching the Boys Noize concert on Saturday. I’ll be back with more photos from Seoul, which I have meaning to post for ages.

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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 gokatayama.com.


[Shanghai Restaurant Review] Extraordinary venues to impress in Shanghai #1

On my last day in Shanghai last week my friend took me to a couple of venues with one of the most breathtaking views of Shanghai. Now, I’ve been commenting a lot about Shanghai these days but don’t get me wrong. I’m a Beijinger at the moment and Beijing has a lot of astonishing views as well. One of places in Shanghai we went to is:

New Heights Shanghai: Located at Three on the Bund, this superb location from the 8th floor allows for one of the best views of the bund. I really recommend the lunch set menu for 118RMB which comes with an appetizer, main course and a drink of your choice. The outside patio area is a really nice to spend the afternoon, of course when the weather is good. I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here.

Picture #1: The View from the table. Good food, good view what more can you expect from an afternoon meal.

Picture #2: Compared to seeing the Bund from below, it gives off another feel to see it from up top. During Guo Qing Jie, the street from Nanjing East Road to the Bund was filled with tens and thousands of tourists from around China and the globe so it was cool to get away from that.

Picture #3: View to the North. You can see another fabulous restaurant, M on the Bund in the building right across.

Picture #4: View to the South. You can see the newly built apartments in Pudong.

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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 gokatayama.com.


[Restaurant Review] Megaburger, What a Real Man Eats

Without further introductions, just take a look at the size of this 5pound megaburger from the Butcher’s Steakhouse in Beijing. Are you ready to take on China’s largest burger?

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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 gokatayama.com.


[Shanghai Photos] Shanghai World Expo, Better City Better Life

So I’ve been meaning to put up these photos from the World Expo, but to be honest, I’m sure that by now we’ve all seen or skimmed through  pictures of what each of the Pavillion looks like. It’d be boring if I just posted pictures of the pavilions so instead I’ll just post pictures of what I thought the Expo represented to me with my thoughts. As I have said earlier, Shanghai had changed a a lot in the last year and a half since I last studied there. Most of the changes were made due to the Expo and the image that the city along with what China wanted to portray to te foreign tourists and Chinese people from outside of Shanghai. The makeup of the audience when I was there was heavily Chinese. I say 90% Chinese 10% foreigners. It was to a point where I felt relieved to hear some English. I didn’t bother to line up for 5-8 or whatever hours it took to see some of the popular pavilions so I decided to head in to the ones with the shortest wait. Those pavilions were the following:

UN Pavilion, Pavilion for international organizations, and small pavilions that only had pictures hanging on the walls and a message from the head of the government.

I encountered an interesting situation when I tried to enter the Japanese pavilion. The line was already a 4 hour wait so I rushed to the side to see if there was anyone that spoke Japanese. It was the day when the Chinese boat captain was released from Japan and returned to China. It was interesting to see how yet so many people in line wanting to see the Japanese pavilion as Diplomatic tensions still took place. Soon enough, I found out that the Japanese student Ambassadors were wearing something like this so it wasn’t too hard to spot them. I asked if I could enter without waiting in line and the girl, who looked exhausted yelling and telling Chinese visitors to remain calm and not to push people in line, told me that would be possible. So as I was about to enter I could feel hundreds of Chinese people in line stearing at me with rage. The very next moment a Chinese guard came up to me and told me to wait in line. His explanation was that it wasn’t fair to the people who have been waiting. At that point I looked over to the girl who said yes to me and she told me that I should follow what the security guard told me. It was an interesting situation to be in nonetheless of the political situation during that week between Japan and China.

To me, what was most interesting was how there were so many student volunteers within and outside the Expo. Everytime I would ask a security guard a question in English, they would always point me to a student volunteer who would speak decent English or a third or fourth language added on to that.

Overall, I didn’t have the greatest time of my life at the Expo but I could generally see how the Chinese people were full of excitement to explore and see different cultures. You can’t feel or understand what the country is all about by just going to the pavilion but its a great way to see all the different pavilions coming together and making this great event. I was just exhausted after 3 hours of walking. The Expo is HUGE! I think if you can get through 5-8 pavilions you’re in good shape. My personal favorite was the UN pavilion since I didn’t have to wait and I actually got to talk to UN officials about their job and what they wanted to portray at the Expo.

One last note that I have to talk about is the Expo Passport. For every pavilion, there is  a special stamp that you can get on your Expo Passport. Now, I don’t know how cool stamps are these days but the Expo stamps were somewhat of a status where I witnessed people fighting over stamps and even taking off without looking at the pavilion right after they got the stamp, which was sad, but the people who had to stamp everyone also has a tough task of staying awake.

Here are some of the photos I came out with.

Picture #1: Guards holding back visitors outside the Japan Pavilion. Most people go on to other pavilions after hearing that the wait is4 hour wait but some had multiple day passes so that they could see all the pavilions. The guards have a long day as well as the workers and student ambassadors at the Expo.

Picture #2: Inside Cambodia Pavilion. Pavilion visitors await anxiously to get there Expo Passports stamped.

Picture #3: At the UN Pavilion. Most visitors didn't have time to stop by and look at the 8 Millinium Development Goals that the UN has set up.

Picture #4: A lady sits and rests amongst the other visitors walking by her. Many people carried around their own chairs already prepared for the long wait.

Picture #5: China Pavilion. Great weather.

Picture #6: Chinese flags were everywhere in Shanghai that week for Guo Qing Jie.

Picture #7: Expo student volunteers did a great job helping people with directions and tips on which pavilions to check 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 gokatayama.com.


[Photos] Streets of Shanghai

Before I start talking about this group of photos I chose to post, the air in Beijing today was amazing the AQI dropped from high 400s to about double digits today which was really nice. The rain came from no where yesterday. I enjoyed some really good steak yesterday for a monthly Charity event(I will be posting more about this later).
But for today’s post I wanted to post some street pics from Shanghai. During the Expo, or should I say after 2 years since I left Shanghai, this city has changed a lot. Compared to Beijing most roads are nicely built and it was very comfortable to live. One can easily feel that Shanghai was the doors to the west during the Expo. All the street food vendors were gone and my beloved Nanjingxilu Street Food Street was also taken down. Some of the largest pirated DVD shop streets were gone as well. To top it all, the air quality in Shanghai was really good. Most people tell me that this is due to the fact that Shanghai has been burning Australian high quality coal instead of the ones from Shangxi province, which makes a large difference in a city this big. Ill be putting up Expo photos, tomorrow.

Picture #1: I wanted to focus on the design of the tiles for this shot. It was taken in Times Square in Shanghai by People's Square. This is where are the big spenders come to shop and so you can see a lot of fashionable people. This was a cloudy day but I think I got my message through this shot.

Picture #2: Walking west from Times Square towards Xintiandi area you'll see Shanghai's newest Apple store. It's hard to believe that there's only a handful of Apple Stores in China. i also wanted my attention to go towards the Police officer navigating the busy intersection as cars pass by.

Picture #3: Taken at the Expo Village in Pudong. The workers and student ambassadors from all over the world were given nice housing during the Expo. I think shanghai Architecture and the designs inputed into the modern apartments are really interesting. This was a photo that I had to take.

Picture #4: Is much lively as it was taken at People's Park. During national holiday, there was a lot of people in the park just chilling, playing games, or even parents looking to match up their sons and daughters with potential candidates. It was interesting to see elders ride the swings as well.

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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 gokatayama.com.


[Photos] My hand and Pudong

These are some random shots I took of my hand and the Shanghai World Financial Building (aka the Bottle Opener) and JinMao Tower in the background. Great weather made this photo interesting. As far as Beijing weather goes, I don’t think it could be any worse than today. It’s polluted and I bet that if you are wearing a brand new white shirt today in this weather, your shirt will be black by the time you get home. More pictures from Shanghai to come including World Expo stories and Photos from around the city.

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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 gokatayama.com.


[Quick Update] You can check out my photography on Chinadaily!

I was supposed to put up the rest of my photos from Shanghai last night but I didn’t realize how I tired I was until I found myself sleeping on my desk at around 10pm.  But as a quick update, China Daily has finally put up my photos from Beijing! You can check it out by simply clicking here.

I wonder when the pollution is going to go away..