As I was staying with a friend who lives near the maglev station in Pudong, Shanghai this last weekend, I took the maglev into town. A bit of a closet trainspotter, I have to admit I found the whole experience quite a thrill! It was even more fun watching my fellow trainspotters filming, of all things, the speedometer!!
Thu 26 Apr 2007
Mon 16 Apr 2007
Off Off Offenbach - International Festival Chorus performance of Offenbach at Forbidden City Concert Hall a huge success!Posted by + mOdOk + under Life in Beijing , Music
Words can’t describe the feelings of elation after exiting the stage to thunderous applause after our Saturday performance of Off Off Offenbach at the Forbidden City Concert Hall. Percussions Claviers de Lyon were simply amazing. I had such a good time performing this piece that I’m flying down to Shanghai this weekend to join the IFC Shanghai to perform it again! If you are in Shanghai on April 21, you definitely don’t want to miss this! For more information and to purchase tickets, check out the following link.
Fri 6 Apr 2007
One sticky topic that comes up for discussion from time to time is Japan. When I arrived in Beijing 4 years ago, the advice from those close to me was to not advertise the fact that I had spent 9 years in Japan to anyone. Events since then seemed to support that view, with demonstrations at the Japanese embassy and around the country flaring up over unresolved issues from the Japanese occupation of China, especially over the issue of so-called “comfort women” - the forcing of many young women into sexual slavery, a gripe which many other Asian nations share - and more pointedly, the visits of then prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to Yasukuni shrine, regarded by Japanese as equivalent to the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” in the US, but seen by formerly occupied countries as honoring known war criminals, of which 14 are buried there.
In fact, Japan has repeatedly apologized for Japan’s former aggressions, most recently in August of 2005, for what Mr. Koizumi claimed was the last time. The full text can be read here:
In the past, Japan, through its colonial rule and aggression, caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. Sincerely facing these facts of history, I once again express my feelings of deep remorse and heartfelt apology, and also express the feelings of mourning for all victims, both at home and abroad, in the war. I am determined not to allow the lessons of that horrible war to erode, and to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world without ever again waging a war.
To say that relations between Japan and China have been chilly is an understatement, this despite the fact that no one has invested more in China than Japan. Japan has recently witnessed the trade volume with China whither away, losing most of the advantage they had gained by investing in China while most still considered it too risky.
Well, at last things appear to be improving. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is scheduled to visit Japan in about a week, the first such visit in seven years. Wen remarked that, “The two countries should seek equality, mutual benefits and common development,” and called for the two countries to abide by three political documents which review the past and chart the future of China-Japan ties, saying, “As long as the principles and spirit of the three political documents are observed, China and Japan will develop steady ties.”
This is very good news to me, as I would very much like to see the two countries which have hosted me as a foreign guest for the longest get along.