ddjiii's Comments

There are 2 different readers (identified by email address) with the same nickname ddjiii. They are represented by different colors.

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35 Impression of Impression Sanjie Liu

I had the same reaction as Jianshuo. It is big, it is visually appealing, it is colorful... but there seemed to be no center. I had little emotional reaction to it. I am not sure the first poster would have understood much more if she knew Chinese.
Posted by ddjiii at 2009-03-26 15:04:06. More

34 Favorite Road: Wukang Road

Are other people allowed to vote for your favorite road? If so (and even if not) here's mine: Sinan Rd.
Posted by ddjiii at 2009-02-24 23:34:23. More

33 Xizhimen Viaduct is Too Confusing

I think the most basic problem with this intersection (and all the ring road intersections in Beijing) is requiring everybody to get on a limited access highway to travel somewhere only a few hundred meters away. Beijing is the hardest city to get around I know of, bar none.
Posted by ddjiii at 2009-02-16 18:16:47. More

32 Shangri-La vs Four Seasons Hotel

Are you talking about the Four Seasons in Puxi? It's been there for quite a while.

I quite agree with you about free wireless and other perks, but there is a strong public reason for charging for parking. If you don't charge for it, you hide the true cost of driving, which is is high (air pollution, congestion, use of scare urban land, etc.) I think it's instructive that parking is generally expensive in Puxi (the popular, human-scaled, attractive, high-land-value part of Shanghai) and free in Pudong (the less popular, automobile-centered, inconvenient and low land value part of Shanghai.)

More prosaically, parking is probably much more expensive at the 4 Seasons site near People's Square and Nanjing Rd., even though the Shangri-La is in Lujiazui, so they have a lot more to lose.

Just my opinion...
Posted by ddjiii at 2008-12-16 15:26:14. More

31 Seek for Some Guidance

I agree that you are normal; at least, I feel the same way. I have a job, a boy only a few months older than Yifan, and I have always wondered how you manage to do what you are doing and still keep up your excellent blog. So to be honest I feel a bit relieved that you also think it's difficult. There are always so many things that remain undone... But I think the answer is to take it easy and don't feel bad about giving the boy the time he wants from you. There won't be another chance to do it.
Posted by ddjiii at 2008-07-19 16:41:50. More

30 Foreign Banks in Shanghai

Well, I am pretty sure JS meant some kind of more significant "access" than just withdrawing money using an ATM card. It's not BOA's fault, the yuan is not freely convertible and there are a lot of restrictions on moving funds into and out of China. It is a big pain for those of us who are foreign nationals living here. On the other hand, China has been largely insulated from the big financial crises of the last few decades (including the current one, so far) so there is a reason for it.
Posted by ddjiii at 2008-06-13 00:56:49. More

29 More Discussion on Tibet

@ Peter, you wrote:
My question for you is how can people in the United States best support positive change in China?

Don't you find this question just a little bit arrogant, especially given the United States' role in world affairs in the past few years? I'm an American living in China, and I believe that you are thinking and acting from a good position, and I can say that I essentially completely agree with your views. But I guarantee you, the reaction to your well-meaning question from almost any Chinese person will be "How does any American think they have standing to advise China how to act?" The fact that you personally may be opposed to the current administration's actions does not come through when you stand as a protester during a torch relay. So my advice to you before you get involved in such a protest would be to listen first, start a dialogue (as we are doing now through this excellent blog), then maybe you have standing to start giving advice. Chinese people right now tend to be pretty sensitive about criticism, and protests such as the ones in SF and especially Paris tend to REINFORCE that tendency, rather than easing it. By reinforcing anti-foreign sentiment in China, you are directly supporting the government in power, which has reaped a big public relations victory domestically (which is what they care about) through all the torch protests.

Finally, I hope you are not one of those who favor the attacks on the torch in Paris. I hope that it doesn't matter what one's views on Tibet are, to see anyone physically attacking (rather than peacefully protesting) an Olympic torch-bearer (especially a handicapped one!) is pretty shocking and should not be tolerated by those of any political side.

Thanks for posting and thanks to Jianshuo for hosting, we have to keep the conversation going.
Posted by ddjiii at 2008-04-15 14:08:44. More

28 Shanghai Snows Again

I agree, this has to do with what you're used to. In the northeast (of either China or the US) this would not slow people down at all, but in Shanghai (or Washington or Atlanta) everything comes to a halt.

But to close PVG for this kind of snow is absurd, it must mean they simply have no snow equipment at all.

Posted by ddjiii at 2008-02-02 11:06:05. More

27 Chinese Middle Name for Erik's Baby


Whoa, easy there.

My examples are only examples.

You have framed the argument as "China giving up its children," which seems purposefully designed to upset people. But you also say that you want to do what's best for the children. So the question is, is it better for a little kid (probably a girl) to grow up in an orphanage in their home country, or to grow up in a family outside their home country? That's not an easy question, but I'd lean towards the family. My point was only that I doubt that most people adopting kids are doing it for superficial reasons.
I certainly didn't mean that China should be grateful because they are only girls. What I meant was that you could argue that China has already "given up" these children because they are in orphanages, many of them unwanted because they are girls. If you're uncomfortable with westerners adopting Chinese children, fine - find Chinese families to take them in.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-11-27 12:17:41. More

26 Chinese Middle Name for Erik's Baby

Well, I think wonton (and everyone else) has missed a key point. I think (although I am no expert in this) most (white) western couples who adopt Chinese babies don't do so because of the "novelty" factor, but because that's the easiest and/or most secure path to adoption. In the US there is a very long wait for adoption, which causes couples to look abroad. And it's not just China; I have friends who have adopted from Guatemala, and friends who are adopted from Korea. They all seem perfectly well adjusted. Celebrities aside, I don't think most people take on a financial and personal responsibility like raising a child on a whim or for a novelty. They just want the most predictable way to become parents.

One final note: Chinese babies adopted by westerners are always, always, always girls. Chinese people who disapprove have to account for that in some way. Why are children in Chinese orphanages so overwhelmingly girls?
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-11-26 21:52:51. More

25 Fingerprint for U.S. Visa

A visit to the consulate is a lot better if you're a US citizen, but still no fun at all. It's really "fortress America," and reminds me exactly of all the things I don't miss about the U.S.

I have a one-year visa as well, but that's because I work for a company incorporated in China, i.e. a local company. I think it's different if you're in the U.S. working for a U.S. company and want a visa.

Jianshuo, your experience only shows that it's easier for a Chinese citizen to go to the US than to Hong Kong if they've already got a visa. If it's a first-time applicant it's not the case at all. A friend of mine recently applied for a visa to go to the US for the first time on a business trip and was told that the earliest possible time for an interview was over a month (although he later did get an earlier one.) It's incredible to me that you need an interview to get a visa for a business trip.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-11-01 16:31:56. More

24 Some Thoughts about War and History

WJS, I basically am in total agreement about the Japanese and Chinese people both being victims in WWII. The Japanese bear some responsibility for allowing their leaders to bring them to such a tragic state, but for average people the responsibility was not great and the suffering was terrible, just as it was in the countries that they victimized. But I'm afraid you can't generalize that to all war, otherwise war wouldn't exist. In some wars, one of the parties benefits. Look at Britain in the opium wars, or the U.S. in the Mexican war, both of which were imperialist wars in which the victor benefited at the expense of the loser.

But it's true that if you look at any likely wars in the near future - India/Pakistan, China/Taiwan, Korea, there will only be losers. I certainly don't see any winners in Iraq.

This is a good conversation and you're providing a valuable service by hosting it.

Regarding Japan, I don't see any contradiction in remembering what Japan did in the past and abhorring those actions, and working with and befriending modern Japanese. No nation or people is without guilt.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-09-28 00:21:21. More

23 Zhouzhuang, Tongli or Zhujiajiao

I have been to Zhujiajiao. It's nice, especially if you're a foreigner looking for a feeling of traditional China. (Don't know about the reality, but for an outsider the feeling is sort of what you think it should be.)

But there is no way you can get there by taxi in 30 minutes from Shanghai, if you mean downtown Shanghai. It's at least an hour, and I would say more like an hour and a half. Zhujiajiao is right on the border of Shanghai municipality, it's quite a ways.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-08-29 14:02:18. More

22 Avoid Blog Blocked in China

We had this problem from November of last year, our blog (with nothing objectionable on it) with our own domain was blocked. Strangely, it doesn't seem to be because of the hosting company, since other blogs are not blocked. We are simply moving the blog to a new domain (.com to .org) that is not blocked.

Is it just me, or is the blocking getting more random and more widespread?
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-08-15 22:42:46. More

21 Setup a Blog like This?

Blogger and Wordpress (and many other hosted blog sites) are blocked by the great firewall, meaning that if you're in China, you can't see them.

There are ways to get around this, but in order not to bring trouble to WJS I won't go into detail. Google around a bit.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-07-25 14:17:18. More

20 Controversy Car Plates

In America (most states) you can choose your own plate characters - but you have to pay extra!
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-07-25 10:48:34. More

19 How Often Do you See "CPU Exceeded" Error?

I check pretty often and I've never seen it
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-07-16 18:22:52. More

18 China's Social Resources

We have had the same experience as Micah, and our baby is now almost five months so we've done it four times. We go to the local public clinic, we don't wait long - 10 or 15 minutes - we pay 20 - 30 yuan (for what exactly, I'm not sure) and that's it. It's quite good.

The clinic only does immunizations and a few other children's health-related functions and it's tiny (the second floor of a lane house, it can't be more than 50 m2) but it serves quite a small neighborhood, so there's not much of a wait.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-07-04 18:56:16. More

17 Name of the Baby

It took us a week to name our baby (now 4 months.) We also had a name picked out which did not seem right when we met the baby. Take your time, it's fine.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-06-12 17:33:28. More

16 Take Taxi or Buy a Car?

I guess I'm with everybody else on taking taxis and public transportation.

And let me address WJS's issue of freedom: there is no doubt that owning a car gives you freedom when travelling outside the city center. We took a family trip to Suzhou a few weeks ago (4 adults, one baby) and we had to rent a van and driver in advance, kind of a pain.

BUT when inside the city center having a car gives you less freedom - you have to figure out where to park it, and you have to worry that someone will hit it, scratch it, or steal it. Taking a taxi IMO gives you a much greater sense of freedom - you just get out and walk away. We live in a very central location, and we have several friends who don't like to come visit us because it's too expensive to park. I guess they feel that now that they have cars, they don't want to pay taxi fare, and they've gotten out of the habit of taking public transportation. What irritates me is that they seem to sort of feel that I'm to blame for living in an inconvenient place! I'm not very sympathetic, it's very convenient in every other way, there is no right to cheap and convenient parking - plus their cars add to my air pollution.

Good post as always!
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-05-24 14:11:06. More

15 How I Drive in Shanghai?

George, your comments are outrageous and completely out of line. Have you ever been to Shanghai? WSJ has shown himself consistently to be a thoughtful and moderate person, and I believe in this case he is doing what is most reasonable.

You should be scared to walk around Shanghai, it's not Geneva, you know. It's one of the things I don't like about this city.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-04-27 11:58:23. More

14 How I Drive in Shanghai?

Hm, same issue as yesterday.

1) This is what I am trying to say: the driving culture in China is that the WRITTEN rules are not important. What's important are the UNWRITTEN rules (and the written rules that the traffic cops are enforcing on any particular day.) I think in this case WJS is 100% right - if he were to decide to follow all the written rules, he would be disobeying all the unwritten rules. This would make him a bad and dangerous driver, just as if in Germany someone were to decide to disobey all the written rules. Driving is the most dangerous thing most people do on a daily basis, and to take it upon yourself to change society by disobeying the important rules (the unwritten ones) makes you a danger to yourself and others.

2) However, sorry WJS, I disagree with you completely that these rules cannot work in Shanghai. They don't work because people choose not to follow them, but in crowded cities all over the world, including New York, they work just fine. The principle is, no central city has good traffic - the demand is far more than any city can meet, even cities like Los Angeles or Houston that put traffic above every other consideration of a good city. You simply can not meet the traffic demand. Far better is to follow London or Singapore and try NOT to meet traffic demands as much as possible, to make the city better for pedestrians.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-04-27 11:53:30. More

13 Online Survey Need Participants

Sorry, I didn't realize my comment went through the first time.

50 years is a long time. Interestingly, I was telling a Chinese friend about the McCarthy hearings and blacklists, which took place in the States about the same time (it was mentioned on "Studio 60.") And yet most Americans are not afraid of speaking out, nor is that anniaversary marked as much as maybe it should be.

Posted by ddjiii at 2007-04-26 14:29:52. More

12 Online Survey Need Participants

Shockr, please.

"Gaol" is the British spelling for "jail." So the answer is probably yes.

And your comment about Chinese people not liking to answer surveys is quite right in my experience. But it has nothing to do with, er, prison, and your comments are needlessly inflammatory. China is an authortarian country and of course you can find examples, but in daily life people are no more afraid of authority here than they are anywhere.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-04-26 14:24:57. More

11 Online Survey Need Participants

Shockr, please.

1) "Gaol" is the British spelling of "jail." I'm not condoning it, I'm just telling you.

2) Your point about people not wanting to do surveys is quite right. But nobody is afraid of going to, er, prison. Of course China is an authortarian country and you can find examples, but as a daily life issue for most people, it's no more an issue here than in any other country. Please don't be alarmist.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-04-26 13:03:27. More

10 Reasons of Bad Traffic in Shanghai

OK, guys, I'm sorry but you're all missing the point.

Traffic is a cultural thing. Those who quote the rules are missing the point - what's important is knowing which rules are important and which are not, and that's a cultural issue. Maybe some of you come from countries in which all rules must be followed exactly, but that's not how either China works, or the U.S., where I am from. If you stand on the street furious because nobody is following the rules (yes, I have done this and still do sometimes) THE PROBLEM IS YOU, not the 14 million people around you who have different expectations.

Of course I wish Shanghainese didn't turn right on red without stopping, and especially that they would stop at zebra crossings - this makes me crazy. I also wish Brits would serve beer cold, Spanish restaurants opened before 9 pm, and Japanese people heated their buildings. But the deal is, you live in someone else's country, you have to accept their norms. The norm here is, traffic rules can be broken.

If you came to America, drove 55 miles per hour in the left hand lane and started yelling at everyone else for going too fast, people would think you were a nut. And that's what people think when you freak out about people running red lights in Shanghai. Try to get some perspective.

Jianshuo had a great post about this some months ago, talking about how after driving in the U.S. and getting used to following the rules, he came back to Shanghai and was a BAD DRIVER because of it. When you follow the rules instead of the norms, you become a danger because you are not acting as people expect.

BTW, the incident in Italy was reported as posted here in the Shanghai Daily.

P.S. I am a planner too. Planners don't set traffic signals. Widening the narrow streets would be a terrible idea - you wouldn't solve the traffic problem (no streets are wide enough to handle everyone driving in a high density area) and you would make it impossible to walk around. There is too much of this in Shanghai already.

Thanks all.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-04-26 12:57:24. More

9 Justin.TV

Isn't this the problem with the internet, and with life in general these days? I mean too much information. There are already too many interesting blogs, books, movies, places, people, etc. that I can't get to them all. At the same time, the signal to noise ratio for life in general is decreasing - meaning that there is too much NON interesting stuff which keeps me from getting to the interesting stuff. I would place 2GB daily of unfiltered data about someone's day - and I mean anyone, including Zhang Ziyi or Bill Gates - firmly in the noise category. I would find that boring even for myself, why would I want it for anyone else? What we need is not more raw data, but better editing!
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-04-06 18:30:56. More

8 Justin.TV

Isn't this the problem with the internet, and with life in general these days? I mean too much information. There are already too many interesting blogs, books, movies, places, people, etc. that I can't get to them all. At the same time, the signal to noise ratio for life in general is decreasing - meaning that there is too much NON interesting stuff which keeps me from getting to the interesting stuff. I would place 2GB daily of unfiltered data about someone's day - and I mean anyone, including Zhang Ziyi or Bill Gates - firmly in the noise category. I would find that boring even for myself, why would I want it for anyone else? What we need is not more raw data, but better editing!
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-04-06 17:43:14. More

7 Serious Ill caused by Serious Mistake

"Cost of American healthcare is out of control, but at least we don't have to deal with type of negligence to much, and if it does, people will SUE!"

Um, unfortunately these two facts are not unrelated. Of course you should be able to sue in cases of obvious incompetance like this sad one, but there are a lot of crazy lawsuits too. As a result in America we have fabulous quality healthcare which nobody can afford.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-03-29 13:01:57. More

6 Lujiazui is Full

Jianshuo -

Shanghai is a developed world city now, at least mostly. What that means is that you can't expect to drive into a major business and entertainment district on Friday night and expect to find a parking place. This is just as true of New York, London and Paris. Remember that post about the metro a few days ago...?

Cars and cities just don't mix well.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-03-26 12:34:32. More

5 Old Houses in Shanghai - Part III

"Green, not noisy, not too over-developed and close to the center?"

You forgot cheap :-) Seriously, as in every city housing presents a tradeoff, and it depends on what you like. If you are looking for a typical suburban area (i.e. green, not noisy, not too over-developed) you will not be close to the center. If you like old houses with character, however, the former French concession (Luwan and parts of Xuhui district) have some beautiful and not very noisy areas, and they are close to the center. Hongkou and Jingan have some nice areas too. The tradeoff is that they are expensive - not only in Chinese terms, but international terms.

Note that according to the new laws, foreigners may not buy property until they have lived in China for a year, although I understand that it's possible to get around this somehow.

Posted by ddjiii at 2007-03-13 14:20:27. More

4 Four Seasons Hotel

I dunno, I know several people, including my boss, who will ONLY stay in the Four Seasons when they come to Shanghai. They just think it is the best hotel in town in terms of service quality. I haven't stayed in any of them so I can't say myself.
Posted by ddjiii at 2007-01-31 09:34:34. More

3 Swensen's in Xujiahui

I think you were joking, but there is a Dunkin Donuts in Shanghai, on Huaihai Lu. Mmm, donuts... Haven't been by often enough to see how the Shanghainese are taking it.
Posted by ddjiii at 2006-09-22 11:34:32. More

2 The World of Different Rules

Not so, at least in America. A decorator is someone who renovates an entire house or apartment, but a guy who lays brick and tile is definitely a mason. They often have the word "mason" or "masonry" in the name of their business.

I'm guessing also that Jianshuo's mason was not so clear on the distinction between the English words mason and decorator...
Posted by ddjiii at 2006-07-13 09:15:36. More

1 Jian Shuo on Wired Magazine?

You know, I can't help thinking that your life as described in the article doesn't really sound the same as you write about it in the blog. Do you really feel like you've escaped shabby housing, nosy neighbors and haggling with the fishmonger? That's a very negative view of central Shanghai, I think, and one that I've never gotten reading the blog (or visiting Shanghai.) It was fun to see your name, and the most of the article is really interesting, but I thought this was an unjustified slam. What do you think?
Posted by ddjiii at 2005-03-25 12:14:31. More