Or should I say fake beach? First, Jiajia could us a delicious chinese lunch with seven different dishes, then we walked it off by going to the “Big Beach” at the Bismarckbrücke nearby. Was such a beautiful day today, not a cloud in the sky, 100% summer. Fantastic!
Tag Archives | germany
Starting March 15th, I will be working as a video producer for a large advertising agency based out of Saarbrücken. It’s really a win / win situation, not only for me, but for us, my family, my friends… Not only will we be able to enjoy living in Germany and Europe, but we’ll also live near my parents and near my friends, they are in my hometown, and just an hour away. Also, I should be able to get back to Shanghai and Asia every once in a while for video jobs, as the agency wants me to keep doing those here.
So how do you sum up the experience of over five years of living in China in a blog entry? It’s nearly impossible, unless I make the longest entry ever written by me out of this. I would really like to go into detail and explain very clearly what is making me move out of China by remembering the past, but it’s just too much right now. There’s some unfinished business, we have to pack, deal with Shangdown: The Way Of The Spur and other things. I will only quickly mention the main reasons.
The first and biggest reason of them all is our sweet daughter Emily, she deserves a safe and peaceful childhood, and I can offer her that. Looking at her growing up here in Shanghai reminded me of my own childhood, and China simply stands no chance against Germany in many aspects: Sanitation, insurance, society, safety, honesty, weather, quality of living, education system, politics and much more. What disappointed me recently the most was the Expo 2010 and the fact that the slogan “Better City, Better Life” was nothing more than toxic hot air. Don’t get me wrong, Shanghai is a fantastic city in many other aspects, especially for young people and singles, but as soon as you hit the family road, you realize just how terrible it is to live here with children. There is barely any nature, at least nearby, most venues are not family friendly, people in the park spit all the time and ruin it one way or another, the roads are dirty and all that… So many reasons.
Another reason is the increase of cost in Shanghai. Our apartment price went up by almost 15% last year. This year, the landlord is raising it by another 20%! Food is getting more expensive. Services of any kind are. Everything is getting more expensive. But it’s hard to charge customers so much more to compensate, and there is more and more and cheaper competition. Less productions, more bargaining. I think we are at the point where China got on it’s feet, and now it wants to try walking by itself.
There will be many, almost countless things that I’m leaving behind happily, but there are also things I will miss a lot, friends, food, work… And so on. It will be quite a challenge for us to get back and used to the life in the western world, especially for my wife. But she wanted it, learned German B1 at the Göthe Institute in Xi’An and looks forward to moving to Germany. And on a professional level, I feel I have learned as much as possible here, and will develop more skills in Germany.
I look forward to our new home, and to keep revisiting the city that both formed and changed my life.
So long, Shanghai!
It’s been a long time since I last posted some of my images here. I’m trying to upload at least 5 new works every week to flickr, but recently I’ve fallen a bit behind – there’s much business stuff going on at the moment and I’ve to take care of a visiting family member, too.
But I managed to squeeze in some time here and there for some new pics in the last weeks and here they are! Enjoy.
This is the new CCTV building in Beijing. It was supposed to be finished before the Olympics but that didn’t work out too well. So now they try to finish it by 2009, as far as I know.
Here are some shots that I took in Parma, while visiting my sister. They are some months old, but I never got around until recently to edit the hell out of them. Parma is a nice little city, these were taken downtown. The food there, especially the bacon and cheese, are uber delicious.
My sister got a new dog just two weeks before we arrived… She’s such a cutie, so here are three images from Agatha.
Last picture from Europe: Switzerland. We went by train from Heidelberg to Basel, then from there to the Como lake to visit my grandparents for a couple of days. Then we went from Como to Parma and stayed at my sisters for a night. Then we went by train from Parma to Bologna, then from there back north to Levico. Boy, that was a trip, and the horrible italian railway didn’t make it any better.
Fun fact: My wife got into Switzerland illegally. When changing trains at Basel, we got off at the wrong Basel station – Basel Bf, not Basel SBB – and had to enter the swiss Basel by kind of a subway. There was not passport control, of course… But when we entered Italy and they checked my wife’s passport, they were a bit pissed and told us, that they have the option to send us back now. Gladly they didn’t do it, but we decided to travel back to Germany with a train via Austria, which really is in the european union. Damn Switzerland!
And now some China images. Shanghai, of course. It’s been a really, really hot summer so far, and working without air conditioning is not possible at all. We even run the A/C at night to get a good sleep. I wonder how people without air condition survive this heat.
I shot above image out of a window from the 30th floor in our office building. I got the sweet Nikkor 80 – 200 millimeter lens from my grandmother, who now shoots with Canon. It’s a really good, sharp lens. Shanghaiist featured this image with the caption “The Concrete Jungle” when I released it on Yahoo’s flickr.
The full moon was really bright some days ago, I tried to capture that with a long exposure.
I titled this image “We Are The Night” because I like The Chemical Brothers’ music a lot and because XuHui really is a night-active place.
Believe it or not, this is what you see at night when you look out of my toilet window. It rocks to live in the 18th floor.
The last picture of today. I’ll just quote what I wrote on flickr for this image:
We were looking for a new apartment some months ago, and one apartment these dumbasses from a housing agency introduced to us was directly next to a future Expo site, where lots of people were bringing trash away. Needless to say, we did not want to live next to a construction site and looked for a new apartment agent directly afterwards.
And that’s it for
today this week. Hope you enjoyed my newest pieces!
And let me tease you a bit: Big news coming soon. Really big. Wait for it…
While looking through some older posts of mine, I realized that even some chinese people wrote comments. Why? Because I live in Shanghai and sometimes I write something in chinese characters, just for fun of it mostly. So I just realized, in order to gain a broader audience, why not add more chinese in future posts? Thanks to UTF-8 the encoding of different language characters is no problem at all. And with sites like Wikipedia or the Google Language Tools, it’s easier than ever to have keywords or names translated to a foreign language (please write a WordPress blog on-site plugin, anyone?)…
But there’s more to it than just translating key words or phrases. In other countries, other cultures, other things are considered as important and discussed. This is where Googles Zeitgeist comes into play. I mean, it’s actually so easy to write posts that get many visitors… You just need to check out what people find interesting!
Let’s use the Google Zeitgeist of February 2008 as an example from now on. This post is not going to be a SEO Tip entry only, no, I will keep an eye especially on the visitors of this entry and report later on what kind of audience it found. I hope to attract readers from all over the world!
To attract readers from Afghanistan, you should have written about ako, which sounds like some music band? Or about Afghanistan itself, which is of course written فغانستان in arabic characters. They write from right to left, did you know that? They also like poetry a lot, which is why فال حافظ is another search term that seems important. And love, of course! عشق is the word for that. Poetry and love, that’s already a lot to write about.
Australia on the other hand seems like a bored country. They search for terms like grace kelly, optimus prime, pikachu or james dean. So bored, only watching movies all the time? I guess I am an Australian after all. Timekiller is a word many Australians searched for. Funny! They also care about israel, oakley and nrl sharks. So many topics to get their attention!
In Brazil, the people seem to love celebrities. This is why they search a lot for danni carlos, marco feliciano, caetano veloso and… gwen stefani?! Okay. So open yet another celebrity site and get their attention. Or you write about topics such as lua cheia (full moon), favela (slums), resumo das novelas (soap opera summaries) or ciclismo (cycling). Cycling? Isn’t it too hot for that there? Anyway, many unwritten stories to gain a brazilian audience…
Cold Canada dances itself warm, searching a lot for disco. They’re also interested in craigslist calgary and Bleach, which is a famous Anime if I recall correctly. Canadians also care a lot about the toronto stock exchange, infinity, adecco, viking and footlocker. Well, okay, maybe not the most interesting stuff. Then again, Canada is not that big. Which leads us to…
China! That’s my thing. Looking at the Zeitgeist China list, I have to admit though that me myself is not doing everything right. There are so many topics that seem to interest the chinese people, yet the only thing I wrote about was the Edison Chen sex-scandal. Shame on me! I should have focused more on this stuff: 郭德刚 (a famous crosstalker), 成都小游戏 （small games of Chengdu）, 楚留香传奇 (a TV program), 音乐在线 (music website), 旗袍 （Chinese traditional female dress, qipao）, 安以轩 （actress）, 英超 (premiership), 花样少男少女 (a TV program), CCTV5节目表 (program list of CCTV5), 同济大学 (Tongji University), 化妆品批发 (cosmetics wholesale), 花与蛇 (a movie) or 爱转角 (TV program). Another thing that seems to interest many chinese people is the stock market, as many people searched for the stock codes 600839 and 000532. China is one of the biggest, if not the biggest country in the world, and you should care about getting people from there to visit your website.
Not that interesting or important is Chile, but here’s what you should’ve written about to attract readers from that country: barra los cruzados (Soccer fan club), shangay (huh??!), melipilla (Chilean town), huevos cartoon (cartoons), celulitis (cellulite), radio romance (local radio station), iori yagami (video game character??!), DIARIO LA CUARTA (local newspaper), el exorcista (the exorcist), el tabo (Chilean town), ENAMORADOS (in love) or mu magdalena (online game). Okay. Wow.
No, Cocaine is NOT in the Zeitgeist list from Colombia. Instead, Columbians googled up the following stuff in February: distrital, GRAFFITIS, carolina, espectador (Colombian newspaper), camion (truck), balon (ball), musica clasica (classic music), angeles (angels), modernismo (modernism) and presupuesto (budget). What is also interesting is that Brad Pitt seems to be written with one t only in Colombia, brad pit. So, run a culture blog and the Columbians are yours…
As for Costa Rica and the Czech Republic, they search a lot for music, actors and video games. No need to feature them here big time. Nothing spectacular…
People from Denmark must be real stylish, as the top search term was evisu (Japanese designer brand). Other important things for the Danes: rd (Danish mortgage company), papillon, dolphin olympic (wtf?), ingeniøren (The Engineer, Danish weekly engineering paper), wozniacki (Danish tennisplayer), krone (the Danish currency, DKK), fredericia kommune (Danish municipality), morten andersen (multiple record-breaking Danish NFL kicker) and det moderne gennembrud (Nordic literature in the late 19th century, Georg Brandes). Jesus, these searches seem pretty focused on their own country! It’s gotta be pretty difficult and tough to gain a big danish audience on your blog if you are not danish yourself or live there.
Finland… Well, they like big asses, which is why ‘kim kardashian’ is their number 1 search phrase in February 2008, right? But that’s about it with celebrities. Maybe Kim’s sex tape arrived there late. The other 14 search phrases seem rather random: rockabilly, gilmore girls, kansallismuseo (national museum), hernekeitto (pea soup), bob dylan, julisteet (posters), talent, rap, dementia, puola (Poland), sähkön hintavertailu (comparison of the price of electricity), disco ensemble (Finnish rock band), madrid and Mona Lisa. Gee, that must be the most random and unfocused country… yet. Let’s see if any other country is even weirder than Finland.
Baguette, Crossaint, France. The french seem to be into money and brands, as the Zeitgeist tells us: suivi colissimo (French equivalent of UPS), eastpak (backpack brand), VIDEOPOSTE (banking online service), resultat du loto (national lottery results), deblocage participation (company bonus information), jsl (local newspaper), cnas (national committee of social action), astro, joker, supinfo (engineer school), yu-gi-oh (manga (and anime, dear Google)), fifa, gerardmer (international movie festival) and shopping. The french seem a bit self centered, as the only person who made it to the list is Heath Ledger. Looks a lot like Denmark, France’s search phrases are pretty national. Difficult market…
Now to my roots, ze Germanz. Germany has some pretty weird searches, too: nail art? brandenburger tor? biene maja (German cartoon bee)? borussia mönchengladbach (German soccer club)? bbl (German basketball league)? vw käfer (vw beetle)? Man, am I happy to be an expatriate… On the other side, they also searched a lot for playstation, pink floyd, liv tyler and dwayne johnson aka The Rock. Now that’s something anyone can write about.
The roads in Greece must still be shitty, this is why the top search query there was ‘smart roadster’. They also like bentley. The other stuff is in greek characters: χαρταετός (kite), Αθήνα (Athens), εστιατορια (restaurants), φιλία (kisses), Μιχαλης Χατζηγιαννης (Greek Singer), δασος (forest) and κυπρος (Cyprus). Well, Greece is more an cultural country, so interpret these searches in whatever way you think is right.
Okay, writing this takes a lot more time then I thought in the beginning. I’ll skip the following countries but write their top search term behind them, as they are small and more or less unimportant: Guatemala (sagastume (SMS site from MoviStar)); Hungary (játékok (games)); Indonesia (akatsuki (manga character), sasuke (manga character), samurai x (Japanese anime), naruto shippuden (Japanese anime), one piece (Japanese manga)); Iraq (صو (pictures), العاب (toys), كاظم الساهر (singer Kathim al Saher), حسام الرسام (Hussam al Rasam), ابراج (horoscopes)); Peru (moderato (Mexican rock band), hermione (Harry Potter character), quimica suiza (local company)); Poland (walentynki (Valentines), plemiona (online game), jozin z bazin (viral video), pity 2008 (tax forms 2008)); Puerto Rico (clasificados el nuevo dia (classified ads site), vertebrados (vertebrates), amor de Dios (God’s love)); Serbia (mts mondo (portal), mojenagrade (Coca-Cola’s sweepstakes), leto 2008 (summer 2008)); Turkey (fulldizi (online tv series site), burç uyumu (horoscope harmony), sarışın kızlar (blond girls), panik atak (panic attack)); Ukraine (грузовик (lorry), подростки (teenagers), загранпаспорт (international passport), тернопільський чат (Ternopil chat), Гаррі Поттер (Harry Potter), художественная ковка (art iron work)). Now let’s go back to bigger countries.
Hong Kong, officially belonging to China but with their own Google, searched for: 陸詩韻 (celebrity name), 中信嘉華銀行 (Bank), 民族服裝 (fashion), 全盒 (festival item) and 世界上最大建築物 (the biggest building in the world) as well as 天空之城 (Sky City). They are into skyscrapers, hmm? How about an architecture blog in cantonese?
India is pretty important, as they have over a billion people! So make sure to blog about something that they find interesting, such as: filmfare awards 2008, budget highlights, aishwarya (actress), concept cars, dhoom2 (Hindi movie), causes of global warming, peta (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals), gladiator, punjab university, italy, travel guru, dehradun (a hill town in northern India), reliance industries, cricketnext, nauheed cyrusi (actress)… Ah, just start a Bollywood blog and you’ll be rich in no time.
The war in Israel doesn’t stop them from googling: פורים קטן (Small Purim), ברכות לבת מצווה (Bat-Mitzvah greetings), אזרחות (citizenship), איגוד הטניס (tennis association), מכבי חיפה (Macabi Haifa – soccer team), משפטים מצחיקים (funny sentences), משחקים לגיל הרך (games for young children), וינוגרד (Vinograd – National Investigation Committee), עשרת הדיברות (Ten Commandments), רפואה משלימה (alternative medicine). Boy these characters look cool. You’ll get them to your blog if you write about religion, it seems to me.
O Google mio… Italy is in search of amore, on the 2nd place. Number one is san valentino (Valentine’s day), because that’s always hard to remember. Other things the italian people care about: scusa ma ti chiamo amore (italian movie), caravaggio, i cesaroni (Italian sitcom), marco carta (Italian singer), partito democratico (italian democratic party), carnevale (carnival), sanremo 2008 (TV music festival)… Culture and politics, that’s how to find a way to the italian audience.
Kso sounds funny and means shit in Japan. That’s one of the 10 words I remember from my trip there. The japanese people searched almost only for people – so the next time you blog a star, make sure to include his japanese name somewhere in the post! Here are the people they googled up: 新垣結衣 (Yui Aragaki, actress, model, and singer), 倖田來未 (Kumi Koda, singer), 芋洗坂係長 (Imoaraizaka-kakaricho, comedian), 藤井彩子 (Ayako Fujii, broadcaster), 長谷川静香 (Shizuka Hasegawa, voice actress), 一色紗英 (Sae Issiki, actress), 岡村靖幸 (Yasuyuki Okamura, singer), 真木よう子 (Yoko Maki, actress), ロバート・メイプルソープ (Robert Mapplethorpe, photographer), 柳美里 (Yu Miri, writer). Besides people they google up tourist attractions, I think: 南大門 (national treasure in Korea) and 平壌の凱旋門 (gate in North Korea). I recommend a celebrity blog for japanese readers.
Korea makes quite good movies in the last time and their search queries show that they care a lot about entertainment: 조인성 (Korean actor), 퍼펙트케이오 (computer game), 미스코리아 김주연 (miss korea), 이화선 (Korean actress), 장백지 (Hong Kong actress), 프리즌브레이크 (drama, Prison Break), 박진희 (Korean actress)… Okay, let’s just say that a multi-language celibrity blog for the asian market would be a bomb, really.
Let’s finish the list and this experimental entry with Taiwan – once again I seem to be right with my celeb idea: 陳冠希 (Hong Kong celebrity), 張柏芝 (Hong Kong celebrity), 楊永晴 (Hong Kong celebrity), 阿嬌 (Hong Kong celebrity), 陳文媛 (Hong Kong celebrity), 顏穎思 (celebrity) and 長江七號 (CJ7, a new Chinese movie).
Okay. I think there is no other blog featuring so many different languages in a single entry. Anyway, I’ll update this post in some days or weeks and report how the visits were. Be sure to subscribe to my feed, then you wont miss the update.
And here’s something else: Zeitgeist 2007. It’s also very interesting, as it shows last years most used search phrases – and also the ones that are not interesting anymore. So blogging about one of these topics in 2007 should’ve brought you a lot of visitors: Apple iPhone, badoo, facebook, dailymotion, webkinz, youtube, ebuddy, secondlife, hi5, club penguin, tmz, transformers, myspace and Anna Nicole Smith.
Not that interesting are now: The world cup, of course, it only lasts one year always… Mozart, fifa, rebelde, kazaa, xanga, webdetente, sudoku, shakira and – mp3? Wow, mp3? Really? Good to know. Hope you had fun with this article and found some inspiration.
So Tarantino’s part of the Grindhouse series titled Death Proof finally reaches Germany. They are going to show Death Proof in cinemas first, and Rodriguez’ part Planet Terror one or two months later. Since there are no Matinee-cinemas in Germany it makes kind of sense – you have to adjust to your audience, not the other way around. Anyway, german distributer Senator must have found a quite creative publicity team for handling Death Proof, as a impressive PR-email reached me today. Here’s a rough translation:
Tarantino’s Death Proof will be advertised in a quite unique way between July 16th and 23rd: 39 City-Light-Posters with Bluetooth-technology will be used in 39 different places. This is a pilot-project in this kind of advertising. Cell phones with bluetooth can retrieve in a couple of minutes cell phone wallpapers, the tv ad and the trailer of the movie. It’s called a ‘beamzone’.
Pretty cool, right? So while you stand there waiting for your train or subway, you can open up your bluetooth and start enjoying some free stuff from the movie. I think that’s really neat. The only problem is that right now, there are only five of these posters and all of them hanging in the city Hamburg. But, oh well, I guess they are also checking out how well this is received, how many people log on. For sure this isn’t the cheapest way of advertising…
Reminds of a another extremely cool advertising I saw when living in Frankfurt a couple of years ago: 20th Century Fox was advertising for the big budget Will Smith movie I, Robot. They placed posters of the movie on the main street of Frankfurt – but on moving walls! These walls were connected to a small device that had tires and was driving slowly around. As soon as it reached a wall or a step down or up that it couldn’t cross, it would stop moving in that way and turn around. So a driving robot system made advertising for a robot movie… Also cool.
What do you think about these kinds of advertisements?