On our 26-day journey, we only scheduled 24 hours in Suzhou. The city is on the main train line between Beijing to Shanghai — actually only an hour east of Shanghai. We arrived at Suzhou North Railway Station, and had a long taxi ride to our hotel west of the Jinghang Canal. Thus gave us an experience of suburban Suzhou, with Yushan Lu station nearby the shopping mall.
With Jinji Lake a destination sight, we rode the not-very-busy subway at rush hour through the city centre to the east side at Dongfang Zhimen (Gate of the Orient) station. The building outside that subway stop looked to be a concert hall with no performances that day.
Jinji (Golden Rooster) Lake is manmade. Knowing that, the concrete shore is less surprising.
After dinner, we walked along the shore in the dark. Vendors featured lit-up toys.
Looking westward, the higher buildings in central Suzhou were prominent. Read more...(520 words, 14 images, estimated 2:05 mins reading time)
In the ultimate family trip, we started a 26-day journey of China and Vietnam in Beijing. By the end of the trip, we would have 8 people in the group. On our first stop in Beijing, five of us flew together.
The pond east of the hotel is on the west side of the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park. Headed out for sightseeing on our first morning in Beijing, we thought that we might spend an hour or two in the culture park, and then move on. Once inside, we rediscovered the park was much larger than anticipated. The existence of the park focused on ethnicity is itself a surprise, as the vast majority of the country is populated by Han Chinese. The south end includes reproductions of buildings in the Uyghur style, as would be found in the Xinjiang northwestern region of China.
On the east side of the Ethnic Park was a large bridge depicting the She (Hakka) region in southwest China.
From the Gelo house, we could look at stream depicting the Maonan ethnic minority, both from the southern China.
In contrast to my winter visits to Finland, the timing of Co-Create 2013 conference meant an opportunity to visit in the summer. Minna and Petri now live in Hameenlinna, which is cottage country 100 km north of Helsinki. As a way of beating jet lag, Minna suggested that we bicycle along the paths north by the lake (Vanajavesi).
In town, the Finnish sense of humour shows up at the HAMK University of Applied Sciences with a milk pier, for which the design is patented. It’s outside the dairy. Students produce products which the local neighbours enjoy.
Petri and Minna have a big back yard. The weekend was warm enough for brunch under the gazebo, but not warm enough for shorts.
One tourist attraction open on Sundays is the glass outlet in the town of Iitala.
Routing back from the ISSS 2011 meeting in Hull, Diana, Adam, Thuy and I stopped over for a few days in London. From King’s Cross, we rode the underground to go to the hotel in Earl’s Court. I might have checked the map more closely, as the West Kensington or West Brompton stations would have have been closer. Our luggage is on wheels, but we had a long walk.
Since Tokyo is so many time zones from home, I arrive a few days and go sightseeing to beat jet lag. On my fifth visit to Japan, I was the first of our meeting to arrive, with the group gradually gaining mass. I checked into the usual hotel, in an high rise tower overlooking the tracks by Tamachi station.
On a mission from DY, my first destination was Harajuku. I went looking for crafting supplies at the Daiso (100 yen) store.
The products aren’t made in Japan, but the variety is wider than in other branches internationally.
A few blocks further east, the Design Festa Gallery changes its installations rapidly, with emerging artists showing their work for nominal costs.
The variety of work includes paintings, photographs and sculpture by mostly Japanese artists.
While most rooms are barely large enough for an overnight stay — Design Festa also offers artists accommodations from late evening to early morning, when the gallery is closed — this week featured a wall where artists could claim an 80 x 80 cm display space. Read more...(1406 words, 51 images, estimated 5:37 mins reading time)
One of my longer trips to Finland was for 14 days in favourable fall weather. I was scheduled to teach a class in the Creativity Sustainability program. Immediately before and after that teaching, there was an opportunity to pick up some credits for my graduate studies. While this visit was busy with work, I also made some time for sightseeing, with the guidance of friends (and friends of friends).
My usual Aalto University campus (i.e. for engineering) is at Otaniemi in Espoo, on the west side of Helsinki. The class that I was teaching was at the school of arts and design (i.e. Taik), at Arabia Centre within Helsinki city limits on the east side.
The redeveloped factory facilities fit the feel for a design school. While about half of the Creative Sustainability students had undergraduate training in design, the other half were drawn from other studies from across the university.
As usual, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art was nearby my apartment, so I went over to catch a showing. With warm fall temperatures, there were skaters on the plaza.
Over lunch in Nottingham, Martin asked what fermented black beans look like. Around the corner, the store has them both in small plastic bags, and cylindrical paper cartons. No need for the jars with pre-made sauce. A signal of cultural diversity in a university town.
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