Posts tagged “China

Earthquake in Japan: a Letter from China

Dear friends and families,

It’s been a while since I have made my last post on my site. I’ve been busy making sure that all my family members and friends were okay in Japan. Fortunately, my relatives and families reside in the western part of Japan and so everyone was okay. But this devastating earthquake which took tens of thousands of lives away will not only affect the North-eastern(Tohoku) part of Japan but the entire population of Japan and the interconnected world. The aftershocks continue at this very moment and Japan’s largest challenge to recovery will take time.

Living in China, I can feel that the Chinese population can relate to what Japan is going through at the moment as there was an earthquake in Yunnan last week and in Sichuan in 2008, which is still new in everyone’s memory. I was happy to see so many of my Chinese friends and colleagues ask me if my family and relatives were alright. I also saw a video from the Sichuan earthquake victim’s telling Japan to not give up. It left me in tears when I saw this. Everyday I am touched by the people who are praying and trying to make a difference to help Japan from around the world.

Here’s my heartwarming story from Beijing:
I walked out of my apartment to grab some breakfast this morning at the usual vendor who sells eggs and sausage for about 5RMB(about 0.75USD), prices went up from 3RMB about a week ago. I enjoy having a 1-2 minute conversation with him in Chinese since he’s curious about me and what I think about China. He knows that I’m from Japan and this morning he asked me if my family was alright and told me to never give up. He said he is originally from Sichuan and he lost a family member in the 2008 earthquake. “Times like this, we need each-other”. I was really touched by his simple remarks and gave me power to push on.

Living in China, it is hard for me to contribute directly and help with the relief efforts in Japan and I though that I could help by spreading the word on how everyone can help out right in your living room. It’s been 4 days after the earthquake but Japan is still in need of your help. At this very moment, the survivor’s of the earthquake at the evacuation centers are starving and are lacking warm clothes and blankets. Please make a small donation at the Red Cross’s website here.

I am also continuing to translate and interpret Japanese media and useful information on my twitter feed at @gokatayama. I will also be making daily posts on my thoughts and photos I took from Sendai and Fukushima in the following days from last year when I was in Japan.



Go Katayama


[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.


[Photo] Chinese Longevity

I really enjoy walking around Lama Temple on the weekends. Here, you can  see so many things that make you feel like you are in China. Since I spend most of my time in the central business district, it’s really nice to get out and walk around the hutong. I found these peach-looking objects with a chinese character on it. This character 寿means longevity in Chinese and you can find this character all over China within people’s houses. We can all agree that a long, healthy, prosperous life is one of the most admirable and highest goals of humanity and especially in China longevity is something that is valued highly. The peach is not only a symbol of longevity but it comes from an ancient story of the fruit that enables immortality which this peach of immortality can only be planted every 3000 years.

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Go Katayama – Photojournalist in Beijing by Go Katayama is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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[Transportation] China has the Fastest Shinkansen (Bullet Train in Japanese)

I’m sure by now you’ve seen posts from all over the web saying that China has the fastest bullet train in the world,  running at a speed of  245mph compared to the 186mph Japanese Shinkansen, which previously was the fastest before China overtook the Shinkansen in 2008 with the opening of the Beijing-Tianjin Intercity Railway. I had the opportunity to ride the Chinese Bullet Train from Beijing to Tianjin couple months ago and I must say I was extremely impressed.  From Beijing to Tianjin is about 117km in distance and it only took about 30minutes. The ride was comfortable as the Japanese Shinkansen, or even better and the interior was spacious enough to take a brief nap but again, 30 minutes wasn’t long enough for my nap.  The total cost one way was about 70rmb (about 10USD) for first class coach. With the record breaking traffic jams in Beijing, it’s nice to see more means of transportation being complete all around China.

The world’s first maglev also belongs to China running at  a max speed of 268mph connecting Shanghai Pudong International airport and the outskirts of central Shanghai. I finally had a chance to ride it couple weeks back and not only the speed but how comfortable it was really amazed me. Japan Railways announced recently that they will also be completing a maglev style bullet train with max speed of 312mph, aiming for commercial use in 2027, which is still a while away. But as an observer, it’s interesting to see how quickly China has caught up and passed Japan in this field. Considering 20 years ago, nobody could compete with the Japanese Bullet Trains in speed, efficiency, and safety.  For more comparision on comparative literature on high speed transportation, the Transport Politic did a great job analyzing “High Speed Rail in China”.

at Beijing South Subway Station waiting for the Bullet Train.

a Bullet Train is ready to leave Beijing towards Tianjin. It runs almost every 30minutes from Beijing South Railway Station

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