Archive for December, 2010

[Photo] Bank of China Building in Hong Kong

This photo was taken earlier this year when I was in Hong Kong at night. The reflection of the building across from the Bank of China building can be seen.

 

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[Beijing Lifestyle] Christmas in Beijing

As you can see from the photo below, Christmas in China is not quite as Christmas as it is back in the states. I think it’s just Asia in general but even in Tokyo, I never quite feel  like it’s Christmas. The interesting part is that most people celebrate Christmas not to commemorate the birth of Jesus but more so to just ‘celebrate’ since “western” people do it and that’s the cool thing to do. Last time I checked, Christianity in Japan makes up a mere 1% of the total population. But since Japan absorbs almost anything from Valentines Day to this celebration of Christmas, it just seems to me to be a marketing scheme for department stores and cake shops to make more money. Also, you can’t forget that KFC is also the place to be for Christmas. Also in China, KFC is a popular destination for Christmas. But nonetheless, its not quite the Christmas feeling you would get back in the states or in Europe. Check out a photo from Beijing and another one from Japan.

Photo taken at 'The Place' in Central Business District, Beijing. This is by far the most Chritmas-like location in Beijing that I have found. Eventually, there were ice carved sculptures but still is lacking.

Photo taken at Fukuyama city in Japan. You can see the Japanese style 'Torii' which is a traditional Japanese gate used mostly in Shinto Shrines all over Japan. You can see a little bit of Christmas decorations but again very minimal.

 

 


[Reflection] China in Japan

I’ve been home for about a day in Japan but one thing that keeps coming up in my mind is how much the media here in Japan is covering China. It could be anything from news to pop culture but I’m surprised to see so many special shows dedicated to explore China and how China is going through transformation day by day. This is something that I didn’t experience a year ago. Major news papers in Japan have sections specifically dedicated to Chinese culture and historic places. More updates to come soon.


[Photo] Tokyo Sky Tree

The new symbol of Japan is about to be completed in the heart of Tokyo’s Asakusa “shitamachi” area. Standing at 634 meters, the Tokyo sky tree will be the highest TV tower in Japan. Before, the Tokyo Tower was the symbol of the city standing at 333meters but with rapid economic development and high sky risers being built in Tokyo over the last 4o years, the old Tokyo tower had problems sending and receiving TV signals.

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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] Going back to Japan for the Holidays

I’ll be back in Japan for the holidays bringing you the freshest photos from around Japan! Happy Holidays everyone. Goodbye Beijing for 10 days and hello Japan.


[Reflections] From Beijing to Paradise: Weekend Getaway in Guam

2 weeks ago, I had the opportunity to escape the nasty weather in Beijing and fly south to the heavenly island of Guam. From Beijing I flew to Tokyo, which was nice since I got to experience home for about 7 hours, and then off to Guam. Both flights were about 3 hours each. Only a 3 hour flight from Tokyo, no wonder so many Japanese tourists come to this island. They can say that they went to America and it’s only 3 hours away. But clean air, blue sky, crystal clear oceans and taco bell. What more can I ask? It was so refreshing to be just laying on the beach and not worrying about some man on a bike or car going full speed as I cross the street in Beijing. I went deep-sea fishing for two days and was fortunate enough to catch some tuna and wahoo, which were instantly cut up for sashimi on the boat.
But at the same time it got me thinking. On an island so far away from everything, unlike Beijing where there’s always something happening whether it’s political or business related, Guam was too laid back and the local people seemed to be just really chill enjoying life on the island. I mean there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that but it’s been a while since I felt that there’s no feeling of threat at all. This must be the fate of every island country, including Japan. I feel like in East Asia, Japanese people feel the least threat on a day to day basis even though there’s so much tension in our very neighbor. I felt like if I stayed in Guam for  any longer than 3 days I would get so disconnected with the outside world and have no idea what is going on. I never thought that I would say this but, I missed Beijing a lot. I’d rather eat delicious sashimi right off the boat rather than breathe in the pollution but Beijing is where I want and need to be right now. There’s so much going on in every level of the system here. I’ve been in Beijing for almost 6 months now but I don’t regret anything that I’ve done or seen in the past couple months. Beijing, you have been awesome. A lot of people ask me what’s in it for me in Beijing? But China to me is where currently modernity meets ancient tradition and the rich meet the poor. It’s simply diverse and I want to know more about what’s really going on here with my own eyes. People say that China’s development will continue and will one day become more like the west. But living here makes me and other local expatriots feel the opposite, in that China will not become more like the west and the west could possibly become more like China instead. That’s another topic I will be exploring more of in the future. But nonetheless, I did manage to take some photos on this lovely island of Guam please take a look below.

At Tumon Bay, one of the most Japanesey beaches on the entire island.

Guam is only about 30miles from north to south. Traffic seems to be pretty congested during the rush hours.

Palm trees and sunset invites you warmly to the beach.

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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] Wuyuanqiao, the far North East Corner of Beijing

Way past Sanyuanqiao and Wangjing, to the north east is Wuyuaniqao. Not too many people get to come out this far, well, since there’s nothing out here but a bunch of migrant worker communities, repair shops and factories. But I used to walk around here a lot when I was teaching English at the migrant school on weekends. In the early mornings at 7am theres already a lot of movement in this area as workers and shopkeepers get busy making breakfast food. You can get here easily by taking the .4rmb(7 US cents) buses from either Lianmaqiao or even from Guomao and get off at Dongxindian.

In front of a cleaner are pool tables and locals enjoy a game of pool as they await customers

A man prepares a giant crape for breakfast. 2 rmb(30 US cents) per crape.

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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.


[Music] Theophilus London “Flying Overseas Video”

Just watch this music video from Theophilus London. This guy is just genius. Hopefully he makes it out to the far east real soon.


[Photo] Global Retail Brands Rush into China

The largest Uniqlo, a Japanese retail giant, store is not located in Japan but is located in Beijing, China. As one of the most popular meet up places for a night out in Sanlitun Bar District in Beijing, this Uniqlo store covers  4 floors of colorful and wallet friendly trendy clothes. Uniqlo is one of the biggest retail competitors here in China from Japan. You hear alot these days about Chinese apparel brands coming to America but foreign brands are also busy rushing into the Chinese market to outsell their other global competitors. Gap is opening 4 stores encluding a flagship store in Shanghai. Since 2006, Zara has set up 34 stores in China, H&M with 27 stores, and Japan’s Uniqlo with 64stores around China. These are the main competitors here in China trying to eat up market shares of China’s largest retail brand giant Metersbonwe with 2,863 flagship stores(as of 2009) all around China which includes their luxury bland, ME&CITY targeting mid-twenty to thirty Chinese white collars. As a China brand, Metersbonwe combines the designs of top foreign designers and understanding of the Chinese consumer’s needs and taste in clothing. Metersbonwe has used branding techniques such as using rather popular US/European actors and models like Orlando Bloom and Wentworth Miller of “Prison Break”. Even for Li-Ning and other domestic sports brands in China are reaching for high profile athletes from the NBA and Olympic medalists like Yelena Isinbaeva, whom were Chinese favorites during the Beijing Olympics. What’s interesting to me is that more and more people in China, especially in the tier-1 to 2 cities, are buying Uniqlo saying that it’s cheap and not too expensive just like how Japanese consumers would put it. Uniqlo stores in China have much more clothing with the colors in yellow and red localizing to Chinese consumers tastes. With Uniqlo’s Heat Technology products lined up right by the entrance of the store to outlive Beijing’s cold and long winter, Uniqlo plans to expand more in China as Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Uniqlo, wants to open at least 1,000 more stores in China over the next 10 years.

The Uniqlo Store in Sanlitun Beijing is an icon of Sanlitun Village and the Beijing Nightlife bar street, making it a popular meeting point.

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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.


[Photo] Skyscraper Window Cleaners in China

If you walk around the central business district in Beijing you are surrounded by the jungle of towers where most of them have just been built in the last ten years or so and the number of skyscrapers is still growing in China. If you look at the numbers of skyscrapers in the world, tier 1 cities in China dominates the top 20 having Hong Kong(#1), Shanghai(#5), Guangzhou (#10), Beijing(#18) and Shengzhen(#20). With so many high risers, there needs to workers to manually clean the windows from the exterior. Walking around Beijing and in tier 1 cities in China I am always amazed at how these cleaning workers are hanging from a single string of rope with no safety ropes quickly cleaning the windows. I doubt there is any statistics on how many accidents there have been but here is a photo of a man cleaning the windows at Beijing south railway station.

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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.