Feb 28, 2011

Chinese senior citizen Juggalo in my apartment building!

As is my routine, I walked into the elevator in my apartment building after work one evening recently. There was a 70 year old Chinese man in the elevator with this hat on:

How awesome is that?! A Chinese Juggalo (Insane Clown Posse fan) in my own building! I complimented the gentleman on his cool hatchet man hat, but it was pretty clear from his response that he had no idea what was on it.

On a similar note, we were driving around Beijing recently listening to the local radio station, and an ICP song came on. Beijing seems to be really embracing Detroit hip-hop.

I'm very pleased to see that Kid Rock, that phoney-baloney who is actually from Romeo, Michigan but pretends he's from the Detroit ghetto, is thoroughly ignored here in Beijing. Does anyone else get annoyed by Kid Rock? He feels the need to plaster his autographed photo at every joint around Detroit, on his seat at the Pistons, and who knows where else. Too much of an attention-seeker for my tastes.

Feb 21, 2011

"Be Careful of Kowtow"

This was beside the escalator at an H&M store in Beijing. Isn't it a great sign?

Somehow they've translated "小心碰头" as "Be Careful of Kowtow". For your reference:
/ˈkaʊˈtaʊ, -ˌtaʊ, ˈkoʊ-
–verb (used without object)
1. to act in an obsequious manner; show servile deference.
I'm surprised no one has pried this sign off the wall with a putty knife and taken it as a souvenir by now. What a great collector's item!

Feb 19, 2011

Non-compliance with fire codes at Mango

Clearly the owner of this Mango clothing store in Beijing has something against the fire marshal. He's put a U-lock on the emergency exit during business hours. I love the two little fire extinguishers beside it.

I suppose that in the event of a real emergency, customers could throw the fire extinguishers through the glass door and create an exit.

Feb 17, 2011

An inappropriate menu item

This was seriously on the newly printed menus at Yipinzhou (一品粥), a chain restaurant in Beijing.

Yes, it's "cake made by rumpkin".

Feb 15, 2011

Houhai ice skating photos

Beijing's Houhai pond freezes solid enough to ice skate for about 3 weeks in January. December and February are a little too warm for solid enough ice. Here are some cell phone pictures.

An old school Beijing roasted sweet potato vendor, parked right out on the ice. Check out the sticks of sugar cane. This guy almost seems out of place these days:

I think this guy here used an empty can of Wanglaoji (王老吉) to create a makeshift bowl and smoke a brick of Xinjiang hash. Check out his green Eco-Friendly Shopping Bag with the four marijuana leaves plastered on it, and the way he's slumped over his ice-chair, randomly poking holes in the ice with some long pieces of metal. Definitely spaced out. I bet that bag is full of Doritos and Twinkies.

Not a stone's throw from the spaced out guy is a happy family playing on an ice chair. How cute is that father and kid?

Feb 13, 2011

Signs that you slept in class a lot during high school...

...you put a giant decal of your country on the hood of your car, with the country's name spelled incorrectly:

This is seriously a real photo, I took it near the US embassy in Beijing. How crazy is that!

I get irritated when Americans hang the flag vertically with the union on the incorrect side, but this car decal fellow proves that the situation could be much worse. I've not yet seen anyone with a big decal of America on their hood with text reading "The Yoo-nited Staytes of Umerica". Americans are worried about China overtaking us, bu I think we're still ahead in this game.

Note that this particular individual has included two islands to the south of mainland China, but we won't get into that political discussion.

Feb 11, 2011

My response: "Why Home Depot Struggles and IKEA Thrives in China?"

This China know-it-all has a blurb in Forbes titled "Why Home Depot Struggles and IKEA Thrives in China?". Don't waste your time sifting through the author's rambling article. I can tell you the answer to the question in one picture below.

This photo is from one of my classic blog posts in 2008, "Ikea shopping madness!"

No offense intended here, but anyone who's spent time in China will tell you that Chinese folks love to snooze, especially at Ikea. Now where are you going to catch some z's at the Home Depot? On a stack of splintery pallets by the loading dock? On the stack of bags of potting soil? On a rack of 2x4s? By the paint mixer?

Ikea clearly has the upper hand here. There are dozens and dozens of comfy sofas and beds to sprawl out on. Who needs one of these Sinologists to tell us what's what?

Feb 9, 2011

Signs that you need a job...

...when you're seriously considering "eeko" brand shoes.

I snapped those with my cell phone in a Beijing mall recently. Copyright infringement, anyone?

Just as amusing as the "eeko" brand itself was the fact that the display in the photos above was located about ten feet from a legitimate ECCO shoe display.

For reference, this is what they're imitating.

Feb 6, 2011

Monday morning fireworks surprise!

Monday this week was still a public holiday in China. It's the fifth day of the Lunar New Year (初五), and everyone is off from school and work.

I thought I'd enjoy a few extra hours of sleep in the morning, but it turns out I wasn't able to. I guess all of the farmers and migrants where I live in Haidian District found some extra firecrackers and mortars that they didn't shoot off on New Year's Eve, and they all united in shooting them off Monday morning.

So much for extra sleep!

Chinese folks might try to convince you that this fifth-day-of-lunar-new-year-morning fireworks craziness is related to something called "po wu" (破五). Malarkey, I say, I'm sticking with my all-the-migrants-found-some-extra-fireworks-in-their-pantries theory.

Feb 5, 2011

How we do in Beijing

If you're a Chinese person from outside of Beijing, aka a waidiren (外地人), you probably drank your baijiu during Lunar New Year like this:

You used a tiny little glass that looks like it was from your daughter's tea party set, you take tiny little sips of liquor, and you make a big show about finally finishing the glass an hour later. "Gan bei! Gan bei! Gan bei!" over and over again.

That's weak. This is why people from Beijing call you guys "南方鸡子" (little southern chickens).

Here's a snapshot from our Lunar New Year's family dinner in Beijing:

Beijing folks will just take a regular old 6 ounce teacup, fill it to the brim with 100 proof baijiu, and suck it down like it was beer during their meal. No repetitive ganbei's or showiness required, just sorghum liquor goodness.

Note that when I say "Beijing folks", I'm not referring to waidiren transplants that just happen to be living in Beijing for work or because they bought a house there and transferred their hukou, I'm talking about people that have been born and bred in Beijing. There is a huge cultural difference, and a large divide in the respective drinking cultures.

Southern Chinese drink huangjiu in tiny glasses and make a big deal about it; Beijingers and northern Chinese nonchalantly suck down giant cups of 100 proof baijiu.