Author Archive

Hurricane Sandy: The Day After in Dumbo, Brooklyn

After seeing images of massive floods in New York City go around on the web, especially the one with Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park completely surrounded by water, I woke up this morning to snap some photos around the Zone A area in Dumbo, Brooklyn. I hope everyone is safe and for the rapid recovery of the MTA and power.

Image

As of this morning, the Manhattan Bridge was closed off (now it’s open and back and running, yet not many cars can be seen).

Image

Plymouth Street and Main Street intersection.

Image

Remaining floods from the night before.

Image

“Cupcakes”

Image

“The Aftermath”

Park Closed No Entry – Relieved to see the Carousel still there this morning.

Image

Minor floods in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Image

You can see how high the water was at its highest from the night before.

Image

More damage.

Image

At the East River Ferry dock. Quiet morning, mostly spectators walking around with cameras like me and dog owners talking their dogs for a walk.

Image

ImageImage


Hurricane Sandy: New York Goes Dark

Here’s a view from Dumbo, Brooklyn. You can clearly tell that the buildings in the foreground of the photo are all dark.

Image

Taken at 11:00pm Eastern Time.

ImageIt’s rare to see absolutely no traffic on the Manhattan Bridge.


Image

Day of Rememberence 9/11

Day of Rememberence 9/11

Date: September 11, 2012


Japan’s Most Beautiful Villages: Shirakawago

As the title suggests, there should be some beautiful picture of this beautiful village in central Japan in this post: so here it is. Located in the mountainous regions of Gifu Prefecture near Takayama city is the beautiful city of Shirakawago. It’s so beautiful that it’s even listed in one of the 39 Japan’s most beautiful villages alliance(only in Japanese). This post has been long overdue and I apologize for the lack of posting but as my last post suggests, that young people are heading out to Tokyo and the larger cities for better opportunities I still feel that there is so much more that the country side in Japan has to offer. This committee that decides the “beautiful villages” has a nice guideline on how it decides which villages should be on the list. Just because the villages “looks” beautiful doesn’t cut it. For example, the village of Iitate over in Fukushima was chosen for its “madei way” of life which incorporates a self-sufficient life style not relying on technology nor nuclear power(the irony as this village was affected by the recent crisis). But the way people interact and appreciate each other’s presence within the community was also seen as a big part to these guidelines. If you ever get a chance to break away from Tokyo I would highly  recommend hitting up one of the many beautiful villages in Japan.

At the entrance of Ogi Village.

Ogi village. Rice fields and the light green color covers the entire vicinity.

Shirakawago is worldly known for its gasho-zukuri minka homes.

Title: Untitled

The narrow road leads you back into the village.

The water is as clear as you can get. You can see all sorts of fish and animals along the water route.

View of Shirakawago from the top of the observatory.

Shirakawago awaits you.


The Misconception of “Tokyo = Japan”

This topic has been on my mind for quite some time especially after living abroad and hearing from my non-Japanese friends talk about their travel experiences in Japan. Especially after the 3.11 crisis, one of the first reactions I noticed was the foreign concern over whether or not Tokyo was affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Second impression was people saying “Oh Tokyo is not affected, phew then everything is cool”. I agree, Tokyo is the capital city; center for Japan’s politics, economy, culture and society and if Tokyo was hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami, the effect on Japan and the entire globe would have been detrimental(hence the nuclear reactors were strategically tucked away in a local environment but we can talk more on this later). But from my experience abroad, besides a small number of Chinese people who have come to  love the flower gardens in Hokkaido, most people will definitely start off in Tokyo and maybe visit Kyoto to see the “ Real Japanese culture” if they have time. I think it’s right to say that most people can’t name another prefecture other than Tokyo or Osaka. From this concept  it is not a mistake for foreigners to think that Tokyo is what Japan is all about. But from this 3.11 crisis and the effect of the Tohoku region to the rest of Japan has taught us that a much more balanced country with resources spread across the entire country is desperately in need.  But domestically speaking, why is everyone moving to Tokyo? This summer I have spent much of my time traveling around the local scenes around Japan and I can clearly see that not only the birth rate in Japan is in decline but it’s even more severe in the regions outside of Tokyo. “The youths have all left and found a new living in Tokyo and Osaka” said one of the shop keepers in Miyazaki prefecture.

This trend of human resources, information technology centering in Tokyo has stopped the development of other areas in Japan. When in times of crisis I can’t stop but to think of how the US has New York as its financial center and Washington DC as the center for politics; China has Shanghai and Beijing … you get my point. But this nuance of “If I go to Tokyo, I can make something/prove something for myself” ideology still exists today especially within the youth. It’s also interesting to note that the flexible and easy passage to Tokyo, making it possible for anyone in Japan to relocate to Tokyo. For a comparison with China, it’s not that easy for a Chinese person living in a third tier city to move into Beijing just because there’s more opportunities in Beijing. You need to have enough money saved up to get by in Beijing. Either way, this crisis has taught us many lessons and this idea of centralizing everything into Tokyo needs to stop now and regional government bodies need to step up. Is another round of Tokyo re-bidding to host the 2020 summer olympics really necessary? I’d prefer seeing Hiroshima and Nagasaki co-host it more than anything. Surprisingly enough I run into people who are surprised that the city or Hiroshima still even exists today…

I don’t know the GDP break up of Korea off the top of my head but Seoul as the financial center and capital could be similar to Japan as its proximity to the North Korean border(DMZ) has always been a concern to many of the Korean specialists that I have come into contact with.

Around Shibuya Station in Tokyo in the afternoon with busy traffic

A platform at JR Shibuya Station

The JR Subway Map at Shibuya Station. Most prefectures surrounding Tokyo have benefited from the proximity to Tokyo and its relatively cheaper real estate.


[DJ GOWHERE] SUMMER IS HERE MIX

Summer is here and we all need some tunage to start up this summer! Check out my newest 30 minute mix which includes 9 new and old tracks of soulful and nu-disco flavors. Please do play in high volume and share it with your rave partners. Enjoy.

1. The Joneses – Summer Groove
2. Louis La Roche – Be Brave
3. Carte Blanche feat. Alexis Taylor – With You
4. Tiger & Woods – Kissmetellme
5. Les Loups – Show U The Luv (Les Loups Rework)
6. Phonat – Love Hits the Fan (Bestrack Remix)
7. His Majesty Andre – Untitled Vinyl
8. Justin Faust- Holdin’ On
9. Rogerseventytwo – Take Me Higher

Check out my other monthly mixes here.


[Photo] Where’s the news about Japan these days?

It’s been 100 plus days since 3.11 and unless you are in Japan, I feel that you rarely hear too much about the aftermath of the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami these days. In China, after a week or two topic of interest quickly switched over to the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. Its’ interesting to see how most of the major foreign media companies spit fired all they want talking about how Fukushima is the next Chernobyl and they ignored how the survivors are dealing with their changed every day life. No one can deny the great amount of hysteria that was caused by the foreign media journalists post 3.11. Foreigners in Japan or “flyjins” were in panic and had no choice but to flee the country believing the words from their media of origin. In Japan, I feel that most Japanese media companies looked up to foreign media outlets in the past. You could find that most articles in Japan would use an US media company to enforce the writer’s point or thesis. But what happened? I have seen stereotypical adjectives come up in pieces that if a writer really understood the complex society of Japan, he/she would never have used; such terms like Ninjas or Kamikaze to describe the Fukushima 50. The greater portion of interest for readers and writers may be over but in reality, Tohoku region is still in ruins today even after 3 months. In a country like Japan, still left in ruins even after this much time, to me, tells the story of how significant this incident really is. Since being back in Japan for a week now I can’t stop but to hear stories about the survivors from the Japanese media; how it has changed Japan as a society and how people interact with one-another. I learned today that over 1,500 children have lost one or both of their parents from the earthquake and tsunami. According to NHK, the government has stated that family members who have not been found past 3 months can be declared dead as opposed to the usual 1 year rule that was applied in Japan. That means family members are rushed to find their beloved ones as reconstruction is carried on at high pace; making it harder for them to find family members. There are days recently that not a single body is found as more than 7,000 people are still missing. In Japan, survivors yearn for their family members body to return back to them even if they know the person is already dead. All I ask is for everyone to take a moment and please think about the survivors and the family members of the victims. Their journey to recovery  has just begun while the aftershocks have yet to end.

By: Go Katayama

Chinese people take a close look at the "Japan Tohoku Earthquake Photo Exhibition" at 798 Art District in Beijing


[Photos] Pollution and Phone Lines around Dawanglu

My last couple days in Beijing reminded me of my very first days when I first arrived to this city exactly a year ago. Dry, hot, and polluted summer in Beijing. Driving back from my usual Wangjing Korean Saturday lunch back into Guomao, I couldn’t stop but to notice the low visibility. Sitting next to the cab driver, I took out my camera for some snap shots out of my window as I passed an electric tower and some phone lines (around Dawanglu). I’m currently back in Japan so I’ll be catching up with my photos from Beijing as a I put up more from Japan.


[Photo] Guomao Bridge and CCTV Tower

It’s interesting to see that people here in China have many ways to keep themselves involved. I spotted a man playing with a batton over some fast paced trance music.


[Beijing Seen] Miami Heat Club in Beijing

The other day, I wanted to get dinner at a local 家常菜, home style Chinese food, restaurant around Sanlitun and learned that the restaurant was no longer there and was replaced by the MIAMI HEAT CLUB. I’m a die hard Bulls fan and I just couldn’t stand that my favorite Chinese food joint was taken over by this club located right by D-Lounge and Salsa Caribe. But this comes to a simple conclusion that NBA does sell in China but will most likely follow the footsteps of OBAMA CLUB in Shanghai.


[Photos] Construction Fences in Beijing

If you want to visualize just how quickly China is modernizing and rapidly developing walking over to the numerous construction sites around China is the way to go. I wanted to focus on the fences/walls that you would see around Beijing and how it lays out with what’s behind the fences. It’s interesting to see that these fences usually have nature or pro-environmental idealistic messages on them.  Here are some photos for the day.

At Tiananmen Square, National Museum and Mao's Masoleum in the background

At Jintaixizhao, Central Business District in the background

A worker takes a rest in front of a fence with a new development area ad in Wangfujing


[Beijing Seen] Observations at the Great Wall

Congratulations. You finally made it to the middle kingdom and climbed the Great Wall of China, which was on the top of your To-Do list in China. At Mutianyu Great Wall, which is becoming much more popular for foreign tourists(i.e. the newly installed Subway sandwich at the entrance of the wall),  you can easily make your way up to the top of the wall in thirty minutes if you’re in shape and roughly one hour if you like to pace yourself and absorb every step up. I’ve been fortunate enough to have enough visitors in Beijing to climb this portion of the wall four times in the last year. It amazes me that every time I go, I run into the same vendors whom are farmers from the region and make a living by selling second-hand drinks and food for five to six times the original price. They climb this wall every day at sunrise and climb down at sunset. They say that they are not registered with the city nor the Great Wall and told me that “It’s not easy to make a living out here nowadays and so we have to be creative”. They told me that they mainly target French tourists who they say are the easiest and most curious customers who are willing to have a conversation with them at the top of the wall. The younger sister of  the vendor is practicing her French along with her English. It’s interesting to get away from the city of Beijing and go past the 6th ring road to see that China mostly is still a developing country with most of its people living off of 300USD per year which is roughly one-third of urban areas in China. The country side and people who reside in these regions feel that they have become forgotten being excluded from the main cycle of life and modernity that is taking place in China.

Another observation I have made is the high level communication for business that surrounds the Great Wall. At Dongzhimen Long Distance bus station(located in Beijing city central), I say that a majority of foreigners are headed towards the Great Wall(either Mutianyu or Jinshanling). These tourists are here since they are going on their own to avoid being with a tour group. At this terminal, are countryside farmers who come out to the city early in the morning and annoyingly follow/”guide” foreigners to the great wall. Trust me, they have a sharp eye for who is a foreigner and who is not.  Once the foreign tourists give in and are on the bus to the wall, these farmer “guides” start making calls to their black cab drivers on arrival times and who to expect. Since I speak a bit of mandarin, these “guides” were communicating my background and China knowledge etc. When we got off the bus, sure enough there was three to four black cab drivers who share the same network with the old lady to discuss plans and prices. Since getting to Jinshanling Great Wall is a bit tricky, you have to ride a black cab  if you are going on your own. The locals know this and this new process and networking by working together  seems to be really helping the local farmers in the region to make some extra cash. The black cabs can range from 300-700 RMB round trip depending on how much you can negotiate and how much you are willing to pay.

Photo taken at the top of Mutianyu Great Wall in the outskirts of Beijing


[Beijing Seen] Malatang at Dongsiliutiao

One of the many advantages of living in Asia is the variety of food to choose from. In the variety of food is also a variety of combinations you can come up with when you decide to eat Malatang.  Of the many options I have seen that being: shrimp, fish balls, tofu, bean curd, lotus root, mushrooms, chicken, beef tendon, and noodles seem to be the malatang all-stars and much more get cooked in a pot of steaming broth laced with Sichuan peppers and sesame oil. Prices can rage from simple snacks(3RMB) to a full dinner (15RMB). My favorite out of many in Beijing is this joint located in Dongsiliutiao Hutong. It’s a nice place to mingle with locals and the owner, Mrs. Ma, who is originally from Sichuan has been cooking up Malatang for almost 2 decades. If you like your food real spicy then it is definitely worth a try when you’re in China.


[Photo Essay] Intro: Beijing Electronic Music Festival 2011

In its third year, INTRO 2011 is China's largest electronic music festival featuring China's very best electro DJs and international artists. Held at 798 just like last year, this two-day festival with 80 DJs proved to live up to its expectations bringing in over 20,000 Chinese and expatriate music lovers raving all weekend long. I didn't get to capture too much of this event but here are some snapshots that I came out with. Nonetheless. if you're in Beijing during this time of the year, it's a party that you cannot miss. I'll be adding more throughout this week.


[Photo] Basket Kid

I’ve seen all sorts of ways parents carry their children around the city but this one was just too good. Happy Friday from Beijing.


[Photo] Happy Moment at 798

I was originally going to post this yesterday since the air quality in Beijing the past couple days has just been tragic. But what do you know, the wind kicked in over night and Beijing is beautiful today with bright blue skies. Rain and wind are our saviours! But I wanted to post this photo from 798 art district, where will be the place to  be this weekend for the Intro: Electronic Festival in Beijing. I’m really happy that they are holding the event at 798. Hope to see all of you at 798 this weekend.


[Photos] Beijing Capital International Airport

Completed just in time for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Beijing Capital International Airport is now the most busiest airport in Asia. Living in Beijing makes it simple to travel around Asia and I myself have called Beijing my home for the last year. Coming back to this airport always has a special feel to it, well assuming that it’s not polluted outside, but when I came back from Seoul last month I took my time to snap some photos of the ceilings in Terminal 3. It’s massive and the photos don’t do justice.

At its opening, It was the largest man made structure in the world in terms of area covered, and a major landmark in Beijing representing the growing and developing Chinese city.

A 98.3-meter monitoring tower stands at the southern end of T3

The expansion was largely funded by a 30 billion yen loan from Japan and 500-million-euro (USD 625 million) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB).


[Photos] Wudaoying Hutong: The Next Nanluoguxiang

With all the construction taking place around the Gulou area in Dongcheng District, Beijing and  with the new  subway line planned to run through the old city, I can’t help but to notice all the changes being made all around this area. Wudaoying hutong, located right by Lama Temple Subway station is another project; similar to the Nanluoguxiang hutong, this hutong is slowly transforming into a much more commercial themed hutong. If you walk along the street, the exterior is accompanied by  hutong style architecture but the interior is occupied by trendy boutiques and cafes serving up western food. I walked by Wudaoying two weeks ago and it already looked a lot different from what I could remember from last year.  The entrance to the hutong from the Lama Temple side looked as if it was almost complete. Here are some photos I snapped from Wudaoying hutong entrance.


[Photos] Green Forbidden City

One of the most recognized monuments in the world, the entrance to the Forbidden City shows up in countless articles and photo blogs when talking about Chinese politics and Beijing. I wanted to take a fresh perspective by focusing more on the nature that surrounds this monument. Enjoy.


[Photo Essay] Dalian Beat

Located in Northeast China in at the tip of the peninsula in Liaoning Province, Dalian has served as the major seaport in China as it faces Bohai and Yellow sea. From a historical standpoint Dalian has gone under the occupation of the British, Japanese, and Russians. With the surrender of Japan in 1945, Dalian was passed to the Soviets which they eventually returned the land back to China in the year 1950. Since then, Dalian has seen much changes and has become one of Asia's largest shipping center. Dalian has a unique feel unlike most other cities in China as the hills within the city reminds me of San Francisco and you rarely see anyone on a bike or bicycle. The numerous number of squares and natural parks along with Russian and Japanese architecture makes Dalian a destination definitely worth visiting. This photo essay is an attempt to capture Dalian as it is today.

Breakfast time in Dalian by the main railway station. The area around the train station was crowded with people at this time.

Russian Street is the first avenue ever built-in Dalian. Now under slight construction, as you can see in the image, this road is mainly a tourist attraction with shops along the sides.

You can see that the architecture in this city doesn't resemble China and has a much more European feel to it than anything.

Gorgeous dogs. With some cities in China being limited to have only one dog per house hold and larger dogs being limited nowadays, this person seems to have it all.

Unused fountain at the end of Russian street

Out of the many squares in Dalian, People's Square is the largest and is the most popular. The green grass caught my attention right away with government buildings surrounding this entire area.

Flowers at Peoples Square

A female police officer navigates traffic around Peoples Square. The TV tower is in the background.

Policewomen on horseback is much more of an attraction than anything of practical use.

Street shops line up on the staircases. People are busy doing their weekend shopping while vendors kill time playing cards. I mostly saw antiques sold here.

Ruso-European style architecture. Again, no bikes or bicycles on the streets.

Dalian Olympic Square: the first ever Chinese athlete to compete in the Olympics was from Dalian.

Soccer seems to be really popular in Dalian.

Mother and son take a walk in the park.

Almost everywhere you go, you can't get away from this blue fence in Dalian. Dalian Subway is under construction like many other cities in China.

The streets of Liaoning Normal University

A little boy rides his 'horse' at Xinghai Square: a popular destination for younger people and families to spend their afternoons in the sun.

People enjoy all sorts of activities and hobbies here.

The amusement park was packed with visitors on a Sunday afternoon.

The weather conditions in Dalian is supposed to be one of the best in China and attracts visitors from all over China.

Seagulls flying around the port makes for a perfect photo opportunity.

Playing with bubbles.

At Xinghai Square. One of the most luxurious apartments in Dalian stand in this area.

A man observes families and friends searching for shells and seaweed on the dock.

The seaside was full of people and couples enjoying the afternoon.

Luxurious housing on the seaside on Xinghai Square.

More luxurious house in the seaside that are being constructed.

There were hundreds of newly built residential towers like this one in the city being constructed.

Sunset reflection on the bay by Xinghai Park

A ferris wheel at Xinghai Park.

Let the dancing begin.

Chinese dance groups shows their talent at Lushun under the cherry blossoms.

Cherry Blossoms just make everyone happy here in Lushun.


[Photos] Beijing Railway Station at Sunset

Upon leaving for my latest thirteen hour train ride over to Dalian in Liaoning Province, I took some time to snap away some scenes from Beijing railway station: the oldest station in Beijing that’s been around for almost sixty years. Since my train was to leave at night and it was during China’s labor day three-day weekend, you could see a lot of people rushing in to catch their trains.  Beijing railway station to me is a special place since my first trip to Beijing couple years back started from this station. I had no idea I would be back working here but it was nice to look around and take some photos here during sunset. I think the photos can do most of the talking but I wanted to show some movement in these photos.


[Photo] Beijing Apple Store Scuffle Aftermath

Last Saturday afternoon turned out to be an interesting one for me at Sanlitun Village, one of the premier shopping malls in Beijing. A group of people wanting to purchase the brand new white iPhone 4 and iPad 2 clashed with Apple Store employees in a fight that caused the store to close down for several hours. Sources like gizmodo and WSJ have a pretty good coverage on what went down but it was interesting enough for me to observe the aftermath as this all folded as if nothing ever happened.

I first noticed the crowd getting larger and larger around the apple store, and so like most curious people I decided to check it out. Throughout this week with the release of iPad 2, you could feel in Beijing the tensions and pressures of people wanting to get one for themselves. Beyond the hundreds of observers, I noticed the large amount of security guards lined up in front of the store along with one side of the glass door to the apple store being completely shattered and gone (see photo below). You could see that the venue didn’t want any more attention and chaos as I witnessed a number of  people yelling for them to open the store since they were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to get their apple products today. Then a man came around and started sprinkling water on the clean pavement to stir the crowd away. His action inspired me to take out my camera and snap this photo. This water method worked so well that he alone cleared out almost half of the hundreds of people in a couple of minutes. 30minutes later the store was still closed but it was really as if nothing happened at all.  But nonetheless the demand for apple products here is growing substantially.


[Photo Essay] Beijing Snap Shots: One Week of Spring

If you've lived long enough in Beijing, there's one season that we all look forward to and that is Spring. Beijing in my opinion only has two seasons: Summer and Winter. Spring and fall add up to a minimal 2-3 weeks out of the year. So when Spring arrives this city becomes much more active and people enjoy this season as much as they can. This photo essay was my attempt to capture as much as the city as I could during different times of the day. From the central business district to the hutongs in Gulou: I hope that you can feel the energy level of this city in one of the best times of the year.

1. A group of men pass by a public art at the Art District in Pinguo near Shuangjing. You can see Guomao, the central business district of Beijing, in the back ground to the north-west.

2. Heading north towards Guomao is Jianwai SOHO. The white buildings are noticeable from the south end of Guomao. Jianwai SOHO has commercial, residential, and office spaces along its 18 towers and is a popular destination for workers in the area for lunch and dinner.

3. Going west from Guomao is Qianmen, one of the major shopping areas in Beijing. This photo was taken at Qianmen Street: one of Beijing's oldest commercial area that has recently been renovated.

4. A woman walks by a group of pots at one of the side streets from Qianmen Shopping Street. QIanmen is home to some of the oldest restaurants in Beijing and serves a collection of famous Chinese dishes from all over China.

5. Families enjoy a nice weekend on Qianmen shopping street.

6. The National Museum. Photo taken from the Tiananmen Square. The museum was recently re-opened after its long renovation was completed.

7. Visitors exit the forbidden city and head south towards Tiananmen Square.

8. This Underground pass connects the Tiananmen Square to the Forbidden City entrance.

9. Chinese tourists take a rest together besides the Forbidden City.

10. Chinese tourists are easy to spot with their identical caps.

11. Visitors enjoy the nice weather at the Forbidden City.

12. At the north end of the Forbidden City is the flower garden blooming with colorful flowers as you exit out.

13. Visitors glance over the Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Park, located directly north of the Forbidden City. You can overlook most of the city of Beijing from this park.

14. Crowds gather at a local music performance at Tiantan Park, near the Temple of Heaven.

15. An Old man teaches how to dance with sticks to anyone who is interested at Tiantan Park.

16. As the weather gets warmer, more and more people can be seen at the park dancing and singing. I met people who were over ninety years old who wanted to exercise and keep healthy.

17. At Beihai Park, one of the largest imperial gardens in China on a sunny afternoon.

18. Taijiquan sessions take place daily from early morning to dawn at Beihai Park.

19. Students are walking home at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

20. A group of local high school students eat Stinky tofu together near the Drum Tower in Dongcheng District.

21. A vendor prepares pineapples to be sold by Drum Tower. You can find all sorts of fruits and small snacks in this area around the Drum Tower.

22. A hot pot restaurant attempts to attract customers as they sing songs and welcome people walking by.

23. A vendor takes a break from work. Photo taken near Nanluoguxiang.

24. Workers along Gulou Da Jie.

25. A family takes a rest in front of the Bell Tower.

26. Pedestrians make room for a car driving through the narrow commercial hutong of Nanluoguxiang.

27. Bikers and pedestrians await the green light at an intersection in Wangjing, the Korean Town of Beijing.

28. Residents of Dongcheng district enjoy a game of ping-pong. They are always looking for new contenders and they practice every day.

29. A mountain besides the Jingshanling Great Wall(located in the outskirts of Beijing) reads "Praise Chairman Mao" in white characters.

30. People rush out of Beijing heading east at Sihui during sunset. Guomao is in the background.

31. People crossing the overpass bridge at Shuangjing during sunset.

32. The dancing continues at night-time at Shuangjing bridge.


[Photo Essay] Xingcheng, China: Old City Walls

Many of you may not have heard of Xingcheng in Liaoning Province and its no surprise with so many destinations to go in China, this country level city witnesses minimal amounts of foreign visitors. Just a 7 hour train ride away from Beijing, its the perfect destination to spend one of the days over the weekend to get away from Beijing. Xingcheng has two highlights of which being one of the best preserved Ming Dynasty town and city wall in China. as well as a beach resort facing the Bohai Sea. This photo essay is my perspective on this city as I hiked along the city wall and peeked into the local peoples daily lives.

Xingchengs city walls have stood since they were first constructed in 1428. A good lap around the wall took about 2 hours to complete. As you can see, the weather was inconsistent, as it rained and stopped raining followed by sunlight upon my visit. (50RMB entrance 25RMB with student card).

Gucheng(Old City) Subdistrict is home to about 100,000 residents most of which were toddlers and older people. The youth in the city seems to have relocated to larger cities for better job opportunities.

You can see the Gulou(Drum Tower) in the middle of the old city. The roads that go through the drum tower are filled mostly with commercial shops(mainly toy shops and accesories). Dont plan to find any restaurants in the old city as I found none.

Along each gate on the north, south, east, and west sides were small markets that consisted of daily products and animals.

Looking east from the old city. The Train station is only about a 3RMB tuk tuk ride away from here. The buildings outside the old city tend to be much higher and newer.

A man talks on his phone along the city wall.

The watch tower on the east end of the wall.

Man walks by a deserted building.

Sneak peak from the west to the east side of the wall.

Rooftops of old city housings.

Most of the courtyards were used as storage for scrubs and other random materials.

Man bikes along the wall.

Mother and daughter are having a conversation.

Man rests along the wall taking a break from his work.

You could see flowers along the front door in most of the residencies in the old city.

A woman walks along the wall. I really like the yellow bricks with the green door.

A new shopping facility is in construction.

The other highlight in Xingcheng is the beach. Creatively, the beaches are named by numbers #1,#2, and #3. You can hope on bus #1 from the old city and get off at the last stop. This statue of the Chrysanthemum goddess welcomes you in.

Xingcheng is really pushing its beaches to become a commercial beach like in Beidahe but seems like they have much more work to do. The sea food was suppose to be famous but I only managed to find a handful.

The sand at Xingcheng Beach was really soft and was perfect to be lazy and stare at the Bohai Sea.

Xingcheng Train Station. A midway stop for trains going from Beijing to Dalian and for most trains coming from north-eastern China to the south.