Huang Ji (黄 吉)
Nagasaki Prefectural Coordinator for International Relations
Lived in Nagasaki from April 2014 to April 2015
Long time no see! My name is Huang Ji and I was a Nagasaki Prefectural Coordinator for International Relations from 2014 to 2015. I’ve been back in Shanghai for two years already. In these two years many things have changed here and I would like to tell you all about one of them.
What do you think it is? ^^
There is a common saying in Shanghai, 一年一変様、三年大変様, which means “if there is a single change in a year’s time, in three years’ time there will be great changes”. This saying was coined in the 1990s as praise for the development of Shanghai that was happening in leaps and bounds. The phrase is still commonly used today.
In the past few years, high-rises are being built one after another and Shanghai is changing at a bewildering pace, but what’s said to be the biggest change is transportation. There are over 3 million personal automobiles clogging the streets with 3.3 million kilometers of subway underneath them. However, the biggest change in the last year has to be the advent of shared bicycles, otherwise known as “rainbow bicycles”. These have swept Shanghai in the blink of an eye.
And why are they called rainbow bicycles? …Well, I’ll explain a bit later ^^
Bicycles in the 1980s (in People’s Square)
An advertisement from a bicycle maker in the 1990s.
Slogan: “Independence begins with a bicycle.”
At that time, bicycles were truly indispensable to the people of Shanghai
Present-day People’s Square and the shared bicycles in front of the subway station.
This bicycle boom began in the first half of last year. Initially there were only two companies that did shared bicycles: mobike (called 摩拝 in Chinese), and OFO, and they didn’t have many bikes available. You could walk hundreds of meters and not be able to find a bike. Then, once the apps for shared bicycle services were developed, it became so much simpler and easier to find a shared bicycle. They’re also extremely cheap to use. A 30 minute use is only .5 yuan (which is about 8 yen). It bears mentioning that it costs 2 yuan to take a bus, and between 3 and 7 yuan to ride the subway, so you can see how comparatively cheap it is.
Let’s take a shared bicycle to do some hanami
Photo by cloris chen
Let’s take a “mobike” to a café!
photo by Huang Ji
Towards the latter half of last year, the expansion of the shared bicycle market really exploded. Multiple bike sharing companies sprung up, including one that works with bikes with small motors attached! Each of these companies have their own distinct color of bicycle, so when all the different companies’ bikes are lined up in one of the shared bike spots they look like a rainbow. That’s why “rainbow bicycle” has become synonymous with “shared bikes”. These rainbows have become a kind of new symbol of Shanghai that can be found in many different places. They are becoming quite popular as photo opportunities for foreign tourists.
Shared bicycles with motors
photo by Huang Ji
As these shared bike services grew, the lives of people living in Shanghai grew ever more convenient. Why did these bikes gain so much popularity? I’ve listed a few reasons below.
Just download the application and you get access to all the bikes in Shanghai that company controls, you can just leave a bike once you’re done with it, and they’re really cheap!
To take mobike and OFO as examples, these two companies control over 100,000 bikes. They make a point of having many bicycles available outside subway stations and now the combination of share bikes and the subway have become the ideal way to get to work in Shanghai.
Because bicycles are powered by humans, this naturally makes them good for the environment as well as the rider’s personal health. They fit with current trends towards caring for the environment.
Young ladies touring the city on OFO bicycles
photo by Huang Ji
On the flip side of making life more convenient for some people, these share bikes to carry with them some problems of their own. The sidewalks of downtown areas are congested with these bikes making it difficult for pedestrians to get through. There are safety concerns about children riding these bikes as well as disputes about which government body is in charge of the huge deposits made by these bicycle sharing companies. The government is working as quickly as it can to establish practices for the management of such funds.
Multicolored share bikes in a bike parking space marked by a white line
photo by Huang Ji
I very recently found two interesting pieces of news on the subject of shared bicycles. The first of which is that Tim Cook of Apple recently visited the offices of OFO. The second is that both mobike and OFO have begun services in America and Singapore. I’m very excited to see how these shared bicycles change the world.
Apple’s Tim Cook visiting OFO
So, what do you think? I think that these bicycles are going to continue to spread through Shanghai and make the city even more colorful ^^
That’s all for this essay. I’ll make sure to write again next time I find something interesting!
Just for everyone’s information, I’ll leave you with some instructions for how to use these bike sharing applications.
1. Download the app.
2. Sign up, pay the 299 yuan deposit (about 4800 yen), and charge your account with money through Alipay or WeChat.
3. Walk to the nearest bicycle on the map inside the application.
4. Scan the QR code on the bicycle with your phone and the lock will automatically be released.
5. Once you reach your destination, put the bike in a bicycle parking spot and set the lock. Your account will be charged immediately after the lock is set.
Mobike and OFO’s apps. Mobike app showing bike locations.
Former Coordinator for International Relations for Nagasaki Prefecture
Was in Nagasaki from April 2015 to April 2016
Dajia hao! Hello everyone!
Long time no see! My name is Guo Li and I was a CIR in Nagasaki Prefecture until this past April. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you all for the lovely year I spent in Nagasaki.
I want to tell you about the thing that surprised me most when I returned to China after my year abroad. That thing is the “Internet Plus” industry, its popularity, and its convenience.
Some of you are probably wondering what exactly Internet Plus is, so allow me to attempt a simple explanation.
It was in 2015 that the State Council of the Chinese government decided to implement the “Internet Plus” plan. This would be a strategy to create a new instrument that would integrate and renew existent industries that are not fully realizing the potential of practical internet application. These would be industries like public service and transportation networks, among others.
Actually, before I came to Japan, Internet Plus was already underway. Just like many young people I was already involved in online shopping as well as online to offline services. But when I returned to China this April I was shocked to realize that Internet Plus had advanced far beyond what I had imagined. It felt like something akin to culture shock because even though I had only been gone a year so many people around me were using all kinds of applications that I had never heard of.
For one, I was very impressed with the convenience of the medical app “Weiyi” recommended by my coworker. It really drove home the spread of the Internet Plus industry to me. Allow me to tell you a little bit about Weiyi.
Here is the homepage of Weiyi for PCs.
Here is the Mobile App for Weiyi.
As you all already know, medical science is quite advanced in Shanghai. It is home to many famous doctors and many of the hospitals that are known across the country are concentrated here. That is why not only people from Shanghai, but also the surrounding areas, flock here to receive treatment. Until recently, in order to be seen at a hospital it was completely normal to have to get up extremely early in the morning to arrive at the hospital only to be made to wait for hours before being seen.
I had one of those experiences, and I’ll never forget it. One winter day, in order to go to be checked at one of these famous hospitals, I woke up at 4:30am to catch the subway and arrive at the hospital by 6:00am. But by the time I arrived (a bit before 6:00am) there was already a line of people in front of the hospital 200 meters long. I was speechless…
So, there I waited in the cold of the morning for two hours until the hospital opened at 8:00am. When the doors open the crown surged in like a flood. Again I was made to wait in a long line of people to register all amid an environment filled with crying children and arguing adults. I was made to wait at every step of my experience that day including waiting to actually be seen by the doctor, after being seen, and before receiving treatment. It was after 7:00pm that I finally made it back to my home, exhausted.
However, since I returned this year I went back to that same hospital but used the Weiyi application. I made an appointment with the hospital through the app, went at the appointed time, breezed through reception, and was seen by a doctor right away. My appointment was for 8:30am but I arrive at 8:25, got everything done, and I was home by noon. I couldn’t believe the huge change that occurred in this system in only a year.
In addition to be able to make appointments, you can also ask questions to a doctor for free. For a charge, you can also receive a private health check. Furthermore, if you aren’t sure what department of the hospital to which you should try to make an appointment, you can input your symptoms and it will direct you to introductions to famous doctors in the appropriate field.
This app is also okay for older people who don’t know how to use apps. This is because everyone that registers with this app can register five more people with them. So that means if one person in a family registers with the app, then five other family members also get access. Elderly people also having access to this app is very important because Chinese society is gradually growing older.
This service fits with the needs of nuclear Chinese families and is also very popular with young people.
The Weiyi function menu.
In China now, Internet Plus apps like Weiyi are growing in number and are reaching all areas of life from basic needs like clothing, food, and shelter all the way to transportation. It feels like the Internet Plus industry is bringing convenience to peoples’ lives and simultaneously changing them.
This was my report on Internet Plus with Weiyi as my example. I’ll be sure to write again with more interesting information from China!
Nguyen Thi Phuong Lan
Da Nang, Vietnam
2015 Overseas Technical Trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2015 to March 2016
Hello everyone! How are you? My name is Nguyen Thi Phuong Lan and I was an Overseas Technical Trainee in Nagasaki from August 2015 to March 2016.
When people think of Vietnam they often think of our capitol Hanoi, or the famous Ho Chi Minh in the South, so I bet you all are wondering what sort of place Da Nang is. Please allow me to tell you a little bit about it here.
A beach in Da Nang
Da Nang has long thrived as a port city in the center of Vietnam. It is a resort area of Vietnam that is blessed by the sea as well as mountains. When I lived in Nagasaki I felt like it looked a little bit like Da Nang. Like my hometown, Nagasaki had beautiful views and kind people, so I quickly came to love it.
Time has flown by in the six months that I’ve been back in Vietnam and luckily I was able to meet up with some old Nagasaki friends in July because of the Third Annual Vietnam-Japan Cultural Exchange Festival 2016.
I was very happy to be able to attend and help out with the festival with my friends from Nagasaki. I had been looking forward to the festival ever since I heard from the manager of the restaurant where I worked that we were going to have a booth there with people from Nagasaki. I was also a little nervous with anticipation ^^
Finally, on July 27th the long-awaited festival opened and I was able to see my friends from Nagasaki. We started working at our booth in the morning. Using Nagasaki beef, Goto udon, and Nagasaki kamaboko (a cured seafood product) we made Vietnamese style Lemon steak and Nagasaki beef shish kebabs, Goto udon with Nagasaki kamaboko, and kamaboko shish kebabs. I was only able to help out a little with the Nagasaki dishes at our booth but I was very happy and thankful to be able to lend a hand to my beloved Nagasaki.
The Nagasaki Booth
Midday was very hot so we only had a few customers but once night fell we became very busy and sold a lot of food. We all had a great time at the booth. I was overjoyed when one customer told me that our beef shish kebabs were so good that he had come back several times over to buy them again and again. I’m very happy that we were able to promote Nagasaki’s delicious foods to the people of Vietnam. In addition to the food booth, we also had a tourism booth where we were doing PR for Nagasaki.
At the festival there were many Japanese cultural things to enjoy like Ikebana and Calligraphy displays, Tea Ceremony, Pro-Wrestling, and paper cutting with Japanese katana. There were also many other things going on too. The whole festival was a great success and I’m so happy about it. We only had a short amount of time together and it’s too bad that we didn’t have the chance to go sight-seeing around Vietnam. But, I’m very happy that in our short time we were able to work together and do some great PR for Nagasaki. Thank you all so much! I can’t wait to see you again!
Reuniting with friends from Nagasaki!
All of the people who worked at the Nagaski Booth ★
2015 Nagasaki Prefecture Overseas Technical Trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2015 to March 2016
Hey Dejima Network members, long time no see! Do you remember me? I’m Zhang from Shanghai. My nickname is “kun-kun”. I was one of last year’s Overseas Technical Trainees and I lived in Nagasaki for about 6 months. It’s hard to believe but it’s been 4 months since I returned to Shanghai from Nagasaki. I really miss so many of you in Nagasaki. How are you all doing?
It’s been so hot recently in Shanghai. The temperature regularly reaches above 40 degrees. Getting to work every day is such a burden; I sweat a waterfall every day.
But there is still something to be enjoyed in this oppressively hot weather. The most unique season in Shanghai has arrived: Terrace season. “Terrace season” is our name for the time of year when people can go to restaurants and cafes with terraces and enjoy a drink. It’s a little like how there’s beer garden season in Japan.
Most of you who have met me know that if there’s one thing I like to do it’s have a drink with friends. Discovering new restaurants and bars in Shanghai seems to have become one of my daily activities, haha!
With that in mind, I would like to introduce to you all a couple of my favorite terrace bars.
People who know even just a little about Shanghai probably know some of the more famous bars there. But the bars I’m about to talk about are probably quite unknown to most tourists.
Sorry, that introduction got a little long, haha. Ok, let’s get to the bars!
The first bar I’ll talk about it called “Kartel” and its at the corner of North Xiang Yang Road (襄陽北路)and Ju Lu Road (巨鹿路). Just as I said before, Shanghai has many terrace bars but I’m introducing this one because it’s a bit out of the way from the ones that people usually know. When you ask about a terrace bar to people from Shanghai, most people will point you towards The Bund. But Kartel is not on The Bund but is rather in the busiest part of downtown Shanghai.
This bar is hidden inside a run-down old building. I was first brought to this bar by a friend of mine and when he led me into this decrepit building I began to doubt his judgment. But when we stepped out of the elevator and into Kartel I knew I liked the place immediately.
Kartel has two floors. The first is all indoors and the second is where the terrace is. Lots of people come to drink in the terrace area but the indoor area is also super fashionable and unique. The most interesting part of the terrace area to me is that even though the bar is located in the middle of a very busy area there aren’t many tall buildings around it. That means visitors to the terrace can enjoy a great view of the Shangai skyline.
And of course the most important part, the price^^ Kartel not only serves alcohol but also has some great foods. The food can get a bit pricey but the drinks don’t cost any more than other places around Shanghai. You can get a drink for 70 Yuan (about ￥1,100).
Below is a picture of my friends and I at Kartel. I’m in the bottom right and my face looks huge so please ignore me, haha.
The next bar that I would like to tell you about is “Captain Bar” located at 37 Fu Zhou Road (福州路37番). This bar is relatively near The Bund but it happens to not share the high prices of the bars that are actually in it. This terrace bar has prices that are quite similar to those outside of the touristy Bund area.
Actually, the real name of “Captain Bar” is “Captain Hostel”. Aside from the top floor, the rest of the building is a hostel. You would never imagine looking at this building from the outside that the top floor would have a terrace bar from which one can get such a superb night view of The Bund.
Shanghai has many bars just like these that feel like their hidden behind secret book shelves. There are so many unique ones to experience and I‘ll be happy to show more of them to you. If you ever come to Shanghai please let me know! You know I’m always up for heading out for a drink!
Kaori Thais Hirose
Sao Paulo, Brazil
2015 Nagasaki Prefectural Overseas Technical Trainee
Lived in Nagasaki from August 2015 to March 2016
Hello everyone! Nice to meet you! My name is Kaori Thais Hirose and I’m a third generation Japanese living in Brazil.
I was a Nagasaki Prefectural Overseas Technical Trainee and I lived there from August of 2015 to March of 2016.
I’ve been back in Brazil for three months! It’s now winter in Brazil. It’s warm during the day but the temperature drops in the evenings and the nights get cold.
There are many people of Japanese descent in Brazil. Brazil has the largest community of Japanese decendants outside of Japan in the world. Furthermore, Sao Paulo where I live has the largest population of Japanese descendants in Brazil. This explains why we have so many events related to Japan throughout the year.
I want to introduce to you all one of those events that happened just the other day: the Kyushu Block Sports Day.
Kyushu Block Sports Day flyer
This Sports Day was held on May 22nd in Sao Paulo city. It was held by the Japanese Prefectural Association, Kyushu Block.
I bet many of you are wondering what exactly is a “Japanese Prefectural Association.”
In Brazil there is an organization called “The Federation of Japanese Prefectures in Brazil.”Members of the federation organize into groups based on their home prefecture in Japan and hold events.
Since I have a connection to Nagasaki, of course I am a member of the “Brazil Nagasaki Prefecture Association”^^
The sports day was held jointly by all the prefectural associations from Kyushu: Nagasaki, Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Oita, Saga, and Okinawa.
I helped out with the Nagasaki Prefecture Association’s youth shop.
On Saturday it rained the grounds turned to mud, but on Sunday the weather was beautiful and everyone from one-year-old children to the elderly had a very fun time.
The opening ceremony began with radio calisthenics. Everyone had differely colored but matching t-shirts ^^
With the sun shining aren’t the t-shirts so colorful and pretty?
There was worry that it would rain in the afternoon but luckily the sports day wrapped up without any issue. Around the time it ended there was a rainbow in the sky despite it not having rained. Sorry, but I forgot to take a picture… ^^;
I’m already excited to find out what the next event will be! I’ll be sure to write again when it happens!