Thursday, August 23, 2007

i figured i should update, as its been a while, even though my top blog reader is here with me, and thus unable to read my blog updates, as the great firewall of china is still standing. beijing has been a lot more fun with mariel here- oh wait, i was going to write about tokyo. tokyo was awesome. it was probably one of the more random trips i've taken- a few days before, my friend isaac had mentioned that he needed to leave the country to renew his visa, and that he was planning on heading to japan. i had a week and a half to kill, so i figured i might as well. i'd been to tokyo before, but only for 1 night- on the way back from studying abroad, two friends from my program and i decided to make our layover worthwhile by staying up all night and heading into the city. i'm glad i got to spend a bit longer this time though, as i really found the city to be much more enjoyable then i expected. we hit up all the cool areas in town, taking in the incredible technology and appreciating being in an asian country that equalled, and even surpassed the US in modernity. we tried out all the different cheap sleeping options including the capsule hotels (which were incredibly comfortable and nowhere near as claustrophobic as i feared) and the internet cafes (where for 10 bucks you can spend 6 hours in a private booth with a pillow and blanket and enough space to sleep comfortably, all while enjoying internet use and all you can drink from the soda and coffee machines). we even stayed up all night on saturday night, when we failed to book a hotel and found that nothing was open at 3 in the morning. we even tried to find a spot in a "love hotel," a popular option with themed rooms where couples who live with their parents can get away for the night. no luck though.
the food was incredible, we ate sushi for just about every meal. sooo good. we also got out of the city for a day, to kamekura, a tourist spot about an hour from tokyo with a nice beach. it was my first trip to the pacific ocean, and i was impressed with how warm and salty it was. i was also impressed with the large numbers of japanese surfers, a phenomenon you'd never see in china. they were outrageous, dude.
um, i forget what else i was going to say about it. this always happens, i wait too long to update and then i forget what i planned to write. i had fun with my two jewish homeboys, one of whom had to spend 200 bucks on a visa for one day in china! that sucked, but he had a good attitude about it. we also spent the entire trip talking about scenes in lost in translation that reminded us of where we were then. but we never got to do karaoke, which was a shame. oh, and also tokyo is so unbelievably expensive! after being in china, it definitely hurt to drop 25 bucks on the capsules, or to spend 4 dollars an hour on internet. and we never ended up getting a real meal, because we straight up couldn't afford it. all right, that's all i have to say.
oh, and i'm going to qingdao w/ mariel for the international beer festival. i will definitely update and tell you allll about that. ciao!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

thats what i said! or maybe i didn:t say it because i thought i:d lose my job. in Tokyo now, i:ll tell you all about it soon.

Monday, August 06, 2007

hello from unemployedsville. today is my first official day as a member of the non-working class, and let me tell you, it did feel good to wake up at 8 and go right back to bed. unfortunately, days without work are kinda long and hard to fill. its 230 and i'm just about tapped. but then again, i think thats because i'm in that transitory period where i haven't quite settled into how i am going to spend my time. i'm pretty sure i'll find my groove, and anyway its just a few months. so yeah.
on friday i met up with one of my old kiwi roommates from the summer i studied here on a grant from swarthmore, otherwise known as the summer that i drank away a couple thousands dollars and didn't have much to show for it. it had been two years, but it was nice to see that neither of us had changed much. i mean we still got along really well. except i guess my tolerance has gone down. because i spent all of saturday in bed willing myself not to throw up.
then on saturday night i went to see a modern dance performance that mike hatch's friend allison was involved with. its so cool to see chinese arts stuff, and to see that they are really learning to express themselves creatively, even if a lot of times their art feels a little overly influenced by western styles. but i have a lot of friends that are working with chinese artists, and its really something that seems so cool and exciting, i wish my language skills were good enough to have a job like that. at this point i kind of feel like its too late, and anyway i'm not particularly interested enough in chinese art to commit the time and energy to making a go of it, but it really is such a cool thing to do. and it is really cool to see how the expatriate community is changing in nature here, how there are so many people who come and are really committed to interacting in a significant way with the chinese and with the chinese culture. okay i'm rambling now i think, so i'm gonna check out. but i'll try to keep up with the updating.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

okay, this is my last update today. seriously. anyway, there was this article in the chinese news that everyone was going crazy over as part of the rash of findings about poison in Chinese food, medicine, etc, that said that little dumpling places were putting cardboard in their dumplings because of a pork shortage. then, it was recently discovered that the article was a fake, based on a false videotape taken by a reporter. i still dunno about this, because i really would not put it past the chinese government to force a reporter to admit that something was a fake. its funny, not that i put such an amazing amount of faith in the american media, but here, since there is no freedom of the press, you absolutely cannot trust them. also, in response to the discovery that the article was a fake (if it was), dandan said that there was recently an article in the newspaper saying that it snowed in beijing a few days ago. she said that it was because of an old chinese saying about when there's a dishonesty, it snows. it's like, what?? how can the chinese media respond to a fake article with a piece of news that is obviously fake? do they have any concept of reality? sometimes i wonder.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

man, i am crazy on fire with the blogging today- maybe because after tomorrow i won't be doing it so much. anyway, i thought this article about Mattel's problem w/ lead paint from Chinese factories was kind of funny considering the Times just did an article about how superior Mattel's dealings in China were.
Maybe in job interviews i should say i "resigned" for "moral reasons" like Steven Spielberg.
From an interview with David Clay Large, historian of Modern Germany and author of "Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936.''
Hoelterhoff: What about the Beijing Games? China is no longer a place of mass murder, I guess, but hardly a paradise for human rights.
Large: Whenever the IOC (International Olympic Committee) awards the Games to some authoritarian place, it claims that the Games will force those countries to improve their records on human rights. It's quite the opposite. These countries redouble their efforts for security, round up troublemakers and start up special police brigades.
Of course, Beijing is doing that now, with increased scrutiny, under the guise of sanitizing slum areas and forcibly removing the occupants.
At some point, the IOC should drop this cant about how the Games liberalize these countries.
today i had a nice surprise. we all got an email yesterday saying that the morning shuttle would only be an 8-seater, quite a letdown considering we already fight for spots on a 20-seater. so this morning, as a took the subway to the shuttle location, i had a big internal struggle about whether i should just get in a taxi when i got off the subway, or walk the ten minutes to the spot where the shuttle is and hope that there would still be spots. this may not seem like a big deal, but for someone as lazy as me, it was extremely tempting to throw in the towel and skip the walk. but as a soon to be unemployed person, i realized that i need to start being a bit more careful with my money. and i thought there might be other people waiting at the shuttle location who hadn't fit, so maybe they would pay for the cab, since technically we can get reimbursed for that, i just don't know how to do it. anyway i got over there, about two minutes before the shuttle was set to leave, and there were still two seats left! this reminded me about what i learned in intro psych about group psychology. everyone had assumed that the shuttle would be full, and so they had preemptively sought other means of transportation. and so lucky me didn't have to pay for a cab.
speaking of psychologists and scientists, i've beeen thinking that article in the Times a couple of months ago about sexuality, where the doctor said that he didn't think women had a sexual orientation based on their sexual responses to pictures and questions they were asked. this article annoyed the hell out of me, because i think this guy really did not properly interpret his results at all. i mean, there are several ways he could have interpreted his findings. he could have asked, is there a reason that the vagina, which i have equated with a penis (!) responds differently to the stimuli? Or he could have asked, is there a factor of sexual orientation that exists in a location besides the genitalia, like the brain perhaps? its funny cuz i guess i mean sure i consider myself a feminist, but i've never really been the kind of person to get angry about things. but it is pretty annoying to hear some idiot guy making dumb claims in the NY Times about women's sexuality.