Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

2019/03 Moments March 2019

Toronto, Ontario; Shanghai, PR China

Hugh's Room Live
Hugh’s Room Live: Tribute to #JoniMitchell @MiaSheard @HughsRoomLive #TaniaGill #ErnieToller @WordsByRGM @ChrisGartner @joelschwartz Songs Are Like Tattoos.  Guests rotating on and off stage, first night of two.  Brought by millennial son who recognized one song, introduced to interpretations of both popular and obscure repertoire.  (Hugh’s Room Live, Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20190301
China Visa Centre
China Visa Centre: Procedures changed with online submissions done in advance including digital photo. One line to validate passport and take another picture; second line to review documents and take fingerprints; third line now requires payment in advance rather than at pickup in 3 days. Appointments are scheduled by hour, there’s less of a lineup showing up on the half hour. (China Visa Centre, University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario) 20180304
OCADU SFI
OCADU SFI: Energetic students in lecture for Understanding Systems and Systemic Design Class @OCADU_SFI Master in Design program. Presented new content for Systems Changes research program, focused on errors and breakdowns. Brought more slides than the time slot allowed, offering to follow up with diligent student to greater depth. (OCADU, Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20190307
OCADU SFI
OCADU SFI:  Abbreviated outline of @SystemicToolkit by @redesign @OCADU_SFI master’s program, covering enough templates to get students started, with deepening later. I presented in the first half of the afternoon, following a timeboxed version of #SystemsChanges, same slides as yesterday, slightly different emphases today. Great opportunities to see what’s new with others. Hung out to guide students on team projects. (OCADU Strategic Foresight and Innovation program, Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20190308
Scotiabank Theatre
Scotiabank Theatre: Scheduled family time to enjoy Imax screening of Captain Marvel. RDI prebooked seats well back in the room, the screen is large that fast action would be even harder to follow when sitting up front. Nostalgia for the 1990s seems to be rising, which feels familiar for us who remember the period first-hand. (Scotiabank Theatre, Richmond Street West, Toronto, Ontario) 20190309
Blaze Pizza
Blaze Pizza: Vegan cheese for everyone, but separate orders for meat, vegan and gluten-free preferences. Quick and easy snack across the street from movie theatre, most of us hadn’t tried this made-to-order single serving sized chain restaurant. A small luxury that we can easily repeat. (Blaze Pizza, John Street, Toronto, Ontario) 20190309
Pearson Airport T1: Happy to retain lifetime million-mile privileges for priority services for shorter queues. My travels have reduced over the past year, and even less often without DY. This trip to Shanghai is not only to places with which I’m familiar, but also reduction of stress through a few more Western conveniences available in China. (Terminal 1, Pearson International Airport, Toronto, Ontario) 20190311
Xiang Shan Lu
Xiang Shan Lu: Beginning of 23-day stay starts with alleyway leading to rear entrance, up 5 floors to an apartment that should server better than a hotel room. The Former French Concession has a history as an expat enclave. Short street has Former Sun Yat Sen Residence at its east end, and then Fuxing Park beyond. (Xiang Shan Lu, Huangpu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190312
Tongji U. College of Design and Innovation
Tongji U. College of Design and Innovation: Professor Yi Heng Cheng inscribes copies of the Chinese translation of @ClubOfRome book Come On, for Ph.D. students in the Quantitative Methods course. Class exercise will have participants working in teams to define research questions on carbon credit approaches, considering data that may be available, and how it might be used. Intensive course led by Susu Nousala has multiple instructors to give a broader range of perspectives, and more voices to hear. (Tongji University College of Design and Innovation, Siping Road, Yangpu district, Shanghai, PR China) 20180313
More Than Eat
More Than Eat: Food hall has multiple culinary outlets in a casual dining style attracting both expats and trendy locals. We had pizza from a certified Neapolitan oven, atmosphere more like new world than old city in Shanghai. After work occasion to relax with colleagues. (More Than Eat, Julu Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190314
Tongji Huangpu School of Design and Innovation
Tongji Huangpu School of Design and Innovation: Lecturing on “Systems Changes: Culture and family over time” in innovation class for high school students. Reviewed my family history from my grandfather through to our sons, to illustrate marriage systems, family systems, and education systems. Teams then asked to think about activities that grandparents would have done that aren’t done today; the systems in which those prior behaviours would have been natural; and changes in today’s systems to enable those behaviours again. Underscored behavioural and ecological approaches to students, by suggesting a few members might want to visit other tables to gain intelligence. (Tongji Huangpu School of Design and Innovation, Sichuan Middle Road, Huangpu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190315
Julu Road
Julu Road: Private uses spilling over into public space, bed covers drying on clotheslines tied between trees on the boulevard of a city street. Even in an urban environment, the Chinese tend to take action first, and worry about consequences later. Sight is remarkable only to foreigners not yet fully immersed into local societal conventions. (Julu Road east of Shaanxi South Road, Former French Concession, Shanghai, PR China) 20190316
Xintiandi Style
Xintiandi Style: Children attracted to #PenzoCAO (2019) “Time Traveller” at #XintiandiDesignFestival, sitting in bamboo chairs inside red crystal-like walls. The circular part is hinged, and rotates. Installation is one of many in the courtyard of a high-end fashion mall, shoppers are complemented by foreign tour groups crowding in the restaurants to the north. (Xintiandi Style, Madang Road, Xintiandi, Shanghai, PR China) 20190317
Laoximen Tea Plaza
Laoximen Tea Plaza: One of largest tea distribution centres in the city, where we asked about luobuma tea, and were told it’s not considered to be a Chinese tea. Merchants used smartphone to translate Chinese messages into English. Followed suggestion to visit a herb store, and we were offered the bluish dogbane on the first try. (Laoximen Tea Plaza, Shanghai, PR China) 20190317
Fuxing Park
Fuxing Park: Card players attract observers, on the plaza facing south over the pond to the waterside pavilion. The park is a welcome green space in a city where stone and concrete roads don’t have grass, and spring hasn’t seen the trees sprout leaves, as yet. Bright and clear day. (Fuxing Park, Shanghai, PR China) 20190319
Design Square
Design Square: Last year’s overabundance of dockless bicycles has been curtailed, so sidewalks are more easily passable. The university is replacing the plants outside the entry with new ones, rather than cultivating survivors from winter. Morning rain left the air clean, spring temperatures are definitely welcomed. (Design Square, Tongji University, Siping Road, Yangpu district, Shanghai, PR China) 20190320
Xiangming Junior High School
Xiangming Junior High School: Blaring rock music and bright large screen video at 7:55 a.m., with students running around in circles behind the entry gate with a guard attending. Julu Road is otherwise a quiet two-lane residential street, so the commotion is a daily event somewhat more mundane than changing of the guard. Morning walk was for an early taxi pickup, anticipating a full date with students at the university. (Xiangming Junior High School, Julu Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190321
Ruijin Hospital
Ruijin Hospital: A bust of Fu Peibin (1912-1989), a Belgian-trained surgeon who became the president of Ruijin Hospital, after returning for the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The green field, and maybe the fountain, originate as part of the original 1907 Sainte Marie Hospital from 1907. Today, the facility is affiliated with the School of Medicine of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Discovered on a short lunchtime walk around the neighbourhood. (Ruijin Hospital, Ruijin Er Lu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190322
Park Hyatt
Park Hyatt: Sunset view north from the 91st floor in Pudong, with the Oriental Pearl Tower, Huangpu River and the Bund beyond. We opted to be seated for tea, wine and whisky, rather than waiting in a long queue and paying the admission fee for the observation level a few floors higher. The small table for 3 grew to 4 and then 5, as friends of our new acquaintance from Shenzhen came to visit. (Park Hyatt, World Financial Centre, Shanghai, PR China) 20190323
Residence (1946) of Zhou Enlai
Residence (1946) of Zhou Enlai: Modest office with desk and bed for Zhou Enlai, on his stay in Shanghai from Nanjing, during post-war China in the uneasy ceasefire between the Chinese Communist Party and Kuomintang. Other rooms in the building are similarly furnished sparsely. In a separate building to the east is the former CPC Delegation Office for Shanghai, with history circa 1946 in both Chinese and English language. Admission is free for visitors with identification, foreigners provide fingerprints. (Former residence (1946) of Zhou Enlai, Sinan Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190324
Xiangyang Park
Xiangyang Park: Still too early for cherry blossoms, this fountain is the north end of the park with a French-style boulevard. Opened by the Conseil Municipal of the French Concession in 1942, it was named Lan Weina Park or Dumet Park in 1939, then Taishan Park in 1943 and Linsen Park in 1945, before taking the current name in 1950. Some badminton players put up a net a little further south. (Xiangyang Park, Huaihai Middle Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190325
Tai Feng Yuan Ruijin Road
Tai Feng Yuan Ruijin Road: Second purchase of luobuma 罗布麻, from a neighbourhood store, yields larger green leaves priced slightly cheaper, as compared to prior smaller brown shrivels at a higher price from the main street. While luobuma is not available in North America, this traditional herb that reduces hypertension seems easy to find in Shanghai. Will the lightly dried green leaves have more antioxidants, leading to greater efficacy than the macerated brown leaves? (Tai Feng Yuan, Ruijin 2nd Road, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190326
Luobuma 罗布麻 leaves
Luobuma 罗布麻 leaves: Not available in North American, luobuma 罗布麻 is a traditional Chinese treatment for hypertension that appears easy to acquire in Shanghai. The package on the left was purchased on the major shopping street (Huaihai Middle Road), and the package on the right from a small neighbourhood store (Ruijin Road). The left resembles black tea; the right appears less processed as a green tea. Does the conventional wisdom of green tea preserving more antioxidants than black tea transfer over to other types of herbs? (Former French Concession, Shanghai, PR China) 20190326
IAPM
IAPM: Super-luxury shopping mall on the main street in the Former French Concession is grand beyond practically all of its peers in the New World. Merchandise selection is way beyond my means. My visits are primarily to shop at the City Supermarket one level down to buy soymilk, strangely not readily available in neighbourhood stores. (IAPM, Huaihai Middle Road, Shanghai, PR China) 20190327
Nene
Nene: Seven hungry diners consumed eight thin crust Lazio-style pizzas, arriving late through rainy traffic. Appreciated why the group knows the place as Davide’s, as the energetic host welcomed us individually, and ensured that we were well-served. We ordered the black crust with activated charcoal that serves as a natural alkaline that might neutralize heartburn from tomatoes (or cured meat that I’m not eating anymore), but I can’t say that I noticed a difference. (Nene, Yongfu Road, Former French Concession, Shanghai, PR China) 20180238
Tianzifang
Tianzifang: Shikumen (stone warehouse gate) transformed into a warren of alleys with shops, food stalls and restaurants. Complex still has residents, at least one with the sense of humour for a pink panther in the window. Not in a shopping mood, the lanes were walkable on the afternoon before the weekend begins. (Tianzifan, Taikang Lu, Shanghai, PR China) 20190329
Wukang Road at Anfu Road
Wukang Road at Anfu Road: City crews throwing plants onto flower bed, as spring temperatures appear more frequently. Leisurely vegan Saturday lunch, then walked up street to cafe. Having been given bad seating and then told that cheesecake and souffle were out, we decamped for a better venue up the street. Meeting new team member first time in China, lots of orientation. (Wukang Road at Anfu Road, Former French Concession, Shanghai, PR China) 20180330
Tank Shanghai
Tank Shanghai: Team bonding experience at new private gallery opened just last week, on site of five former oil storage tanks for Longhua Airport (1922-1966). One tank closed for private showing, vicinity populated with fashion models and the well-dressed overflowing from terminals of the West Bund Art Center. Queue to enter the Teamlab installation a good opportunity to discuss our background contexts. (Tank Shanghai, Longteng Avenue, West Bund, Shanghai, PR China) 20190331
Tank Shanghai: Teamlab (2019) combines immersive digital works of (i) “Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together, Transcending Boundaries – A Whole Year per Hour” from the floor upwards, and (ii) “Transcending Boundaries” of waterfall light descending inside the tank. Show is titled “Universe of Water Particles in the Tank”. Visitors moving slowly, or resting on the floor or against walls, are sensed interactively to change the display. ((Tank Shanghai, Longteng Avenue, West Bund, Shanghai, PR China) 20190331
Yuyuan Teahouse
Yuyuan Teahouse: Afternoon break in 200-year-old mid-lake pavilion included zhong, quail eggs, kumquats, sesame peanut blocks, preserved plums. Following afternoon visiting two art museums, the snack re-energized us into discussing philosophy, following the tradition of those frequenting Chinese teahouses. (Yuyuan Tea House, Yu Garden, Shanghai, PR China) 20190331

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