Blogging in Chinese

I think I should start.

Over the last few months I’ve intensified my study of Chinese characters, and this seems like the next logical step. I’ve installed QQ (the ubiquitous instant messaging program used all over China) and have spent more time speaking to Chinese people in their own written language so my reading and writing skills are slowly improving. I’d guess my character recognition to be in the range of 500 characters by now, which certainly isn’t enough to read a book or a newspaper. Maybe if I keep at it, I’ll get there.
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PS – If you don’t have Chinese installed on your computer, here are easy instructions on how to install it.

Published on July 3, 2006

Germany vs Argentina

Like most Americans, I don’t care too much about the World Cup. Matter of fact, this is the first one I’ve ever seen and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’m taking note of it now that I’m outside of the country. This place, tucked between mountains in Western China, has gone crazy with football fever. I can’t go anywhere without overhearing people talking about it or seeing re-caps on local television in shops and restaurants. And maybe after all these repeated unintentional exposures to the Cup, it has some kind of draw which it’s never had before. Add to that the national pride and buzz surrounding the German team (since they’re the hosts) and it’s actually exciting to watch.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game more than any sporting event of the last few years. Germany is playing Argentina, a very strong team, in the quarter-finals and the results might be a preview of who’ll win this year.

The game is tomorrow at 11pm China time (11am EST, 8am PST) and I picked up some Chinese to root for Germany in the local language. Jia You Âä†Ê??, which roughly means “go team” (literally translated as “add gasoline”?).

Published on June 30, 2006

Sunday at the Hemp House

You might not have heard there’s a venue here in Chengdu called the Hemp House. Yes, called the Hemp House. Can’t you get executed or something here for trafficking hemp? Oh well, this lounge seems to manage, keeping a solid customer base and developing into a great low-key place to hang out in the evenings. They play mostly reggae and trip hop and feature a live band once a week, but most of the times that I’ve been there it’s looked like a downtempo afterparty, with people laid comfortably out on couches all around the room. I’m not sure what kind of place it’ll be like to perform in, but we’ll find out on Sunday.

Published on June 23, 2006

DJ'ing at French Cafe

Hey, hold on. Because of a clerical error a post from June 2004 showed up as a new one here. I haven’t been to Andalu in years.

Last night I played to warm reception at the French Cafe near the Blue Lagoon. A few months ago I vowed not to bring my equipment out to parties anymore, but I broke that rule last night by bringing one turntable and my mixer, along with laptop and Serato. There were no sponsors, there was no promoter, and there was no house music all night – downtempo, jazz, soul, and trip hop. It was really nice to be able to share that kind of selection with a room full of people, instead of having to play dance music in clubs. I flipped through Bonobo, Thievery Corporation, Xploding Plastix, Bjork, Al Green, and Massive Attack. I don’t know if it’s worth the weekly hassle and lugging equipment around town, but I’d be happy to find a place that’s interested in hosting a weeknight residency to showcase this kind of music.

Tonight I went with Nemo and Sunny to sichuan opera at Wuhou Temple which was a great way to spend the evening – I’d seen the show at this venue once before, but the show was as impressive as I’d remembered it. The 90-minute show is set inside the 2,000 year old temple which provides excellent atmosphere and backdrop.

I’d write more but I’m too tired!

Published on June 18, 2006

Gig @ Babi, Chengdu

I just got back from the second gig at Babi this weekend, which went much better than last night.

I was looking forward to DJ’ing there because it was the first Chinese club that I saw when I first came to Chengdu, and since that time I think I’ve always known it as the most crowded and well known club in the city. It’s not very distinct (looking like almost every other club in China), and truthfully, the music is usually terrible there, but at least it’s always crowded; especially on Friday & Saturday. Nemo was there and we drank a lot and hung out for a few hours after the gig which is unusual for me; especially when I’m here in Chengdu, I’m usually ready to go home shortly after I finish playing.

There were plasma TV’s all around the club showing the soccer matches tonight, the highlight of which was I think the England game. The final score was 1-0, which equals super boring to me. Unless the score is like 12-18, watching soccer is like watching paint dry to me. I suppose that must be because I’m American, right?

I met a guy with a pony tail tonight who looked like the Highlander. The most appropriate thing I could think to say when I met him was there can be only one. :)

Published on June 11, 2006

$1,500 Raised

We pulled a crowd of 400 in a small bar and raised $1,500 for Tibetan minority kids in Western Sichuan and the night was essentially an ultimate success aside from Kensho getting out of control drunk and us having to prop him up on the street outside. Probably the best show I’ve ever had in China, and I’d say definitely the best show that we’ve had together as Hunters & Gatherers. The crowd was literally yelling for more so we went through a lot more material than we’d originally planned on. There were tons of photographers in the house and a group of video guys making a documentary on the benefit show so it’s all on tape!

Published on June 4, 2006

Tibetan Benefit Show

I’m in Mike’s apartment in Shanghai with a group of friends, hanging out before returning to Shuffle to play tonight from 11-1am. It’s our first time playing together in Shanghai and we’re looking forward to it – we rehearsed for an hour or two this afternoon after helping set up the equipment. We’re listed in all of the local publications as the #1 thing to do tonight in Shanghai (with the help of a number of local journalist friends), even above DJ Shortkut who’s here from California. Apparently a few hundred pre-sale tickets are sold out so the attendance should be proper, helped in no small part by 10yuan Carlsberg beer (with the average price in Shanghai at an upmarket club being about 50-60yuan).

About the event; it’s a non-profit charity event to raise money for children in Western Sichuan. None of us are getting paid for the performance, and as a matter of fact, we’re all staying on couches while we’re here in town. I think the promoters have just barely covered the operating costs, so from here on out it’s just a party where we’re all trying to have fun. A number of Shanghai promoters will be in the house and it’ll be a great place to promote ourselves, both as a group and individually. I’m going to finish my white wine now; served to us by Mike’s neighbor from France. 😉

Published on June 3, 2006

The Forum; white-kite.com

I made a forum the other day and forwarded it to my old domain, white-kite.com. It’s not much more than a small place for friends in China to have a place to collect information, but hopefully it’ll grow to be a spot to keep in touch with friends and stay on top of events in Chengdu and around China. A few of my Chinese friends indicated that there was some demand for a forum where both Chinese people and foreigners could correspond on various subjects, so there are sections for music, travel, and photography. When I get back to Chengdu I’ll fill in some of the gaps with photos and information on my travel adventures in Beijing. Check it out: www.white-kite.com

Published on May 29, 2006