Sanlitun in Beijing

I arrived to Beijing about 4 months ago and I’m still struggling to meet some new people. (It would probably help if I left the house.)  If you don’t know already, Beijing gets a lot of flack for not being a very cool city.  To some extent that’s true….I consider it a city with cool areas.  In other words you kind of have to look around for some fun stuff to do.  It’s not like Tokyo where just about everywhere you look there are cool bars, clubs, PC cafes, shopping ect.  Right now my favorite areas are Sanlitun    and Yonghegong Station.  Sanlitun is a really cool area with shopping, cafes, and tons of lounges bars and clubs.  During the day and at night its a hot spot for tourists and Chinese people as well.

Sanlitun.jpg

The have stores like Uniqlo, H and M, Adidas, Bape and Supreme. Also tons of cafes like Starbucks and Costa coffee.  There are plenty of lounges and clubs as well.

1.jpg

It’s true Beijing lacks stuff to do.  But if you look you can find some cool stuff.

Daido Moriyama/street photographer

I love the city.  I’m a city man.  I also love looking at photographs.  Daido Moriyama is one of my favorites.  He’s from Japan and takes a lot of street photos.   You get a real feel for the streets of Tokyo when you look at his work.  Some of it is almost anti-aesthetic like, with the way he shoots because sometimes it looks like he doesn’t care.   He’s taken millions of photos over the years.  He takes photos of signs, people, trains, sidewalks, alleys, almost anything from the streets.  His style is gritty and dark.

1*sLIHMHSn7xAiMVJ60Xso1A

AS you can see here in this photo.  He gives us the feeling of a busy Tokyo street.

daido-min

While he’s known for black and white Daido has done a few books in color.

daido-moriyamajpg-0dc2e9fd2070e00d

I love this one.  I love the feeling of loneliness it gives.

images

Check out more of his books at your local library.  You won’t be disappointed!

My apartment was on fire lat night

See video here.  

NEWS_151109996_AR_0_VVCFEHHNIXPS.jpg

(This photo is not my Apartment building)

I was just hangout out last night late night when I heard some noises above.  Like very loud noises…like someone was throwing furniture out the window top noises.  Then I could hear people yelling in Chinese very loud.  This was 1:00AM and my area is pretty quiet.  I looked out the window and saw a cloud of black smoke.  I grabbed my computer, wallet, and cell phone and threw them in a bag.  Then I dress in my pants, put on my shoes and grabbed a t-shirt.  I ran out the door.  rn.png

Adrenalin was pumped through my body very quickly, as you can imagine.  I hit the stairs and kept going.  When I got to the 16 floor (I’m on the 20th) I could smell smoke.  I kept going and made it out.  I was a little freaked out.  When I got out I could see the flames raising from the window of one of the apartments.  People were outside in there pajamas.  I went to the convince store to buy a beer.  I haven’t drank anything in over a year but I really needed something to take the edge off.  I grabbed a Budweiser and walked back out into the night.  I noticed there was never any fire alarm.  The fire men arrived finally.

b8267762-e115-11e5-98b2-952ea680dc16_1280x720

The said there was no water in the buildings water tanks to put out the fire.  I met another American guy that lives in the building.  We chatted over beers.  Time went on.  He bought more beers.  We talked about China and living in Asia.  I told hime a little about living in Japan and my time there.  We traded stories about living in Asia.  Despite the fire I actually had fun chatting with him.  I hope to hang with the him and his girlfriend again soon.  Sometimes you meet people during the oddest times!

 

Night Moves

Today’s Japanese work is: Shiki

It’s 10:02 PM and I’m sitting here in my tiny apartment in Beijing. I just realized I didn’t make a post today.  I love the view from my apartment at night.  The night is dark and the scene is just as you might imagine Beijing would look from an apartment window.

1

I’m a city man.  I love the city…I used to tell my parents when I was a kid I was going to live in the city.  I’ve lived in a few…Seoul, Incheon, Bangkok, Taipei, Tokyo, LA, Riyadh and now Beijing.  Once you’ve done the city it’s hard to go back to living in smaller cities.  I don’t know exactly why that is.  Jonathan Frazen wrote a great essay on why he loved the city.  He describes the feeling of being lost in the crowd.  I think he’s on to something there.  There’s always room for exploring, you’ll never get to the end as hard as you might try.  My favorite city is Tokyo but I have a special place in my heart for Kyoto as well.  I could very easily live out the rest of my days in Kyoto.  I think it’s my ideal life.  Spending my days taking relaxing walks and taking photos of the streets and people.  Well..I guess I’m dreaming a little but hey nothing wrong with a little dreaming.

kyoto-gion

Kyoto is too perfect! I only spent a few days there but I loved my time there.  Getting lost on the city streets.  I went to the Manga Museum and a rock garden as well as a palace.  These are places I had only experienced though books and the internet.  I haven’t been to 137 different countries or anything.  But I can say without a doubt that Kyoto is my favorite place.

25-KyotoStationFacilities1

I read a few things about Kyoto station online…however when I experienced it first hand I was overwhelmed.  Its a building beyond anything I’ve ever seen.  You don’t see Kyoto station, you experience it.  It’s a beautiful futuristic monster that you’ll fall in love with immediately.  I consider it the future of architecture.

01362012770.jpg

Well…Japan has been on my mind because I might have some vacation time coming up so I’m thinking about taking a trip there soon.

Back alleys and first Beijing Youtube Collab!

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 11.26.20 PM

Collab with KenanQHD

I had my first Beijing youtube collab with KenanQHD.  He’s a youtube creator here in China.  We met up on Sunday and got some pizza.  He’s got some great youtube videos on China.  Check out his channel.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip_7k_sCfiY&t=412s

The pizza was the bomb! Like real America style pizza and not to expensive either! we talked cameras and blogs and making videos and life in China.

After we ate Kenan wanted to check out the back alleys at night for some photography.  Actually, its a cool area for night photos.  Sadly, my iPhone got filled up quick with video and photos so I could take that much.  It was just another reminder of my needing a new camera.

We walked around a lot in the quite back alleys and taking photos.

It was great fun connecting with another youtube creator!  Then we smoked hooka for a little while.  Doing the the collab on Sunday really was fun.  It can be difficult to keep doing videos especially when you’re feeling uninspired.  I guess I’m trying to say that the collabs are an easy fun way to make videos.  I hope to do more collabs in the future.