Beijing JJStyle 06: Streets of Style

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It’s not a proper vacation to Beijing until you’ve experienced old and new world shopping unique only to this city. I’m talking about making time to visit the boutiques and cafes of Nanluoguxiang Hutong and the edgy and exciting retail experience found at Sanlitun Village.

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Nanluoguxiang was built during the Yuan Dynasty in the 1700’s, and today is still home to many of Beijing’s residents. This hutong is also a popular venue for those who are looking for the quirky gift or unique fashion find that are design-oriented pieces original to the artists and craftsmen based in the city. Check out these cheeky porcelain figures.

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… Or these funny postcards. Most of them are in “Engrish” (Chinese-English), but you get the general gist of the message.

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Shops sell everything from authentic shoes worn by Beijing people for hundreds of years…

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…To propaganda shirts which remix historic Chinese images to create new messages and designs that give their product that “contemporary art” edge.

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Im speechless.

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There were so many lanes which branched out of the main street. It would take a whole day to visit all of them.

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With so much to see, it’s easy to get a bit tired. That’s why it’s always good to take a rest and to have a sip of some hot Chinese Tea or coffee at one of the many establishments in the Hutong made for visitors and tourists. These cafes have plenty of character and allows one to recharge before continuing their shopping journey.

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For lunch we had some “Dan Dan Min (Hot and Spicy Noodles)” at another local eatery,  Red Ding Coffee.

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They had a beautiful courtyard.

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But for street food… you can opt for steamy yams.

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Or Caramelized Fruits on a stick. This was divine.

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This dessert is called Tanghulu and it’s a Beijing original. I had figs.

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Other fashion finds for me include these original (read “real) Feiyue shoes for about 130RMB (18-20USD).

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And this fashionable gentleman.

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Across town it’s all about modern indoor-outdoor shopping experiences with Sanlitun Village.

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Criss crossing glass planes, diagonal pathways, and a LED lights define this new shopping environment. 

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Every corner is a different discovery.

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From Home furnishings…

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To current fashion trends… it’s all here.

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Vying for your attention.

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New or old…

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… There’s something in Beijing for every stylish individual, like this gent I spotted at Sanlitun Village.

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Or this gent at Nanluoxguxiang who was channeling a young Woody Allen.

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Also spotted… Fashion Blogger, Vanessa Hong at Sanlitun Village. Love the quilted jacket and ripped jean denim.

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We hung out with Vincent from VICE Magazine China.

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I’ll miss all this. Thank you Hilton Hotels & Resorts for such a wonderful and memorable trip!

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SHOP Nanluoguxiang Hutong / SHOP Sanlitun Village / EAT Red Ding Coffee 

This post was originally published on November 24, 2012 for CNN.com and Hilton Hotels and Resorts for the CNNGO Experience Asia Contest.

JJ.

Beijing JJStyle 04: Visiting Tiananmen

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On our first outing the day after arriving, we paid homage to Beijing as China’s center of political power by paying a visit to Tiananmen Square located right in the middle of the city. But first we needed to fill up on a power breakfast at VASCO’s at the Hilton Beijing Wangfujing, our hotel.

We asked for coffee… and we got a whole pot of coffee press coffee. Impressive.

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While I’ve been to Tiananmen Square in the past, it was the first time for my friend, Denise. It was really exciting as we were approaching the Square, a short 5-10 minute ride from our hotel.

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I keep forgetting how the scale of the streets, buildings, and open spaces that make up the Square and the walls that surround the Forbidden City adjacent are planned and designed in such a way to amp up “Wow” factor for any tourist, visitors, and all state guests. The wide lanes and the open spaces also make room for processions and pageantry of all sorts.

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Tiananmen actually refers to the initial portal of the Forbidden City, also called The Gate of Heavenly Peace. This gate was first built in 1420 during the Ming Dynasty, and appears in many Chinese printed iconography, including the official National Emblem of China.

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Tiananmen Square is the city square across the road from the Tiananmen and is the site of where most Political pageantries, shows, as well as public gatherings have been held over the years. And compared to when I first visited, the Square today is very safe, clean, and full of Chinese nationals from all over the country paying a visit. 

Below is an ultra huge LED screen devoted to showing tourism-style travel shows of each region in China to visit. This is a recent addition which is new to me.

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The reason why it’s safe to visit now, is because like any National Monument, these days the square is fenced off from all sides, and you have to cross a security checkpoint, complete with body and bag scanners to make sure you’re not carrying a weapon. The checkpoint will generally filter out any street hawkers or the type of people that tend to harass tourists in these kind of places.

Denise was just excited to have a neat backdrop to take “street style” photos for her fashion blog.

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Unfortunately we didn’t have the whole day to explore… but there’s just so much to see here at the seat of China’s political power.

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Everything is so tidy and clean.

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On the way out we picked up a few propaganda goodies for fun.

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There’s more in Beijing to see. Time to go!

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Impressive.

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It rained. Alot.

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It made everything look a bit moodier which I love.

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Great times.

VISIT Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City / STAY Hilton Beijing Wangfujing / EAT Vasco’s

This post was originally published on November 20, 2012 for CNN.com and Hilton Hotels and Resorts for the CNNGO Experience Asia Contest.

JJ.

CNNGo x Hilton x Beijing x theWanderlister

Well here we are. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go visit my favorite city in China, Beijing, with Brew&Post pals, Denise and Jason via Hilton Hotels and CNNGo (now called CNN Travel). Basically I turned in a video to Youtube, auditioning for a spot to go on a trip. I was picked from a handful of applicants and luckily I got to go to Beijing on Hilton as an assignment which was great. I’ve been to Beijing before the Olympics and haven’t really been back since. I was impressed by the city then, but I’m more impressed with it now.

In a nutshell, I think the city is very cool, full of culture and creativity, good architecture, nice people, and great food. It’s not aFinance oriented environment like Hong Kong is, which is a nice refreshing change from this corporate city. Anyway my first of six blog posts for CNNGo x Hilton are up. Check it out, Retweet it, like it, and if you follow my posts, you too will get a chance to win a trip to stay at Hilton Beijing Wangfujing like I did. Don’t wait, read it now!

READ THE CNNGo x Hilton Hotels Experience Asia Blog HERE.

JJ.

The Geek and The Chic Mixed and Mingled for Airbnb.Com in Hong Kong

My world imploded last month at The Airbnb Mix and Mingle Party at the Bar-That-Shant-Be-Named. First of all, the party consisted of these guys… the geekfest that is my #HKSocial friends. (Shown from L-R below; media blogger Michael Suen for 21CB.Net, Social Networker Elle Lee, Casey Lau of the Popcorn Network, Foodie and F+B Consultant AJ Bellarosa, Travel Blogger Connvoyage, Food Blogger and Columnist Janice Leung of e*ting, Social Media Consultant Harold Li, HKFashionGeek’s Virginia Lai, the Queen of Mommy Blogs Mocachocolatarita, and Habitu’s Social Networker Jessica.) Phew did I miss anyone?

The Airbnb party ALSO consisted of these familiar faces, the #HKFashionbloggers. In front of our umpteenth time at Linguini Fini. (L-R after me, ChristingC., Denise Lai, Carmen Chan, and Christina Ko of HKFashionGeek and Prestige Magazine.)

So you can imagine. I was completely overwhelmed when I moved from this:

To This, all in the same night.

Talk about Chic to Geek then Geek to Chic. Both badges which I *attempt* to wear proudly myself. (Although I have to say, i’ve had tons of Chic moments with #HKSocial, AND Geek Moments with #HKFashionbloggers, so you know…I’m love both my techie families the same. LOL)

Anyway to give you a bit of context, The Airbnb Mix and Mingle Party was a culmination of the big month for Social Media and New Media in general this past October, when Hong Kong had a bit of a taste of Silicon Valley / San Fransiso with the arrival of the Asia D Conference and the tech-inclined Startup Saturday 2011 the following morning. The Asia D Conference which took place at the Hong Kong’s Grand Hyatt featured speakers from the likes of Al Gore, Google’s Andy Rubin, Yahoo’s Jerry Yang, Asus’ Jonney Shih, and designer, Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb, with whom our interview for this website was later picked up by CNNGo (yay!).

RELATED ARTICLE: Airbnb’s Asian Push This Week and Our Cool Interview With Co-Founder, Designer Brian Chesky

Great. Now let’s go for the fun part. What I didn’t know about Airbnb, was that the company is famous in California for it’s awesome parties, a culture of which was imported to HK at that bar. The party, a huge part of Airbnb’s big Asia push, turned out to not only be an afterparty event for both Asia D and Startup Saturday 2011, but it also formulated into THE BIGGEST DOT-COM SHINDIG Hong Kong had ever seen, attended by so-called “movers and shakers” from California who were in town that week, and the almost complete handful of Hong Kong’s most active and visible tech, food, lifestyle, travel, and fashion social media bloggers, columnist, founders, twitterers, weibo-ers, marketers, consultants, you name it all in one roof… getting wasted at the open bar. And for this, I give all/most credit to Airbnb’s party and events guru, Karishma Shah, who already contacted me over a month before the event to help her round up a guest list for the night.

The cool, Karishma Shah, greeting guests at the door for Airbnb HK Launch.

The big Airbnb poster at the entrance.

That bar’s interiors. To be fair, the interiors ARE very pretty and chic.

A few people spotted that night, included Robot Designer (I kid you not) Erica Young with my food columnist, Elfie C.

Elfie C. with her pal and Airbnb co-founder, Brian Chesky.

Angela and Michael of 21st Century Boy.

Graphic Designer and Fashion Blogger Denise Lai with her boy.

Ex-HK-Pageant Contestant turned Social Icon “Queen” Elle Lee with me.

Not Social Networkers, but my Social Life OUTSIDE Social networking; Candy Moore, Fashionisto Hertman Kong, Cotton On Asia’s Jade Raskin and Dom.

HKHQ.tv’s Boris, Electric Sekki’s Social Networker Priscilla, and Cotton On Asia’s Genevieve.

Baby food bloggers from Hungry Hong Kong Dan and Tim, meeting their idol Food Blogger and SCMP Columnist, Janice Leung of e*ting for the first time.

AND just wanted to say thank you to CNNGo for reposting our interview with Brian Chesky of Airnbnb, which turned out to be our first content for CNNGo.

What it looked like on my iPad Safari! :)

AND on my ZITE app. (Which is the best app ever… a magazine tailor made for you, and a daily aggregate of stories from the web based on your interests!)

So basically tech nerds can be BOTH chic AND geek now. Which is cool because i’ve always been geeky and chicy since High School.

JJ.

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Not a Wanderlister Fan? Here’s 5 Other Blogs About Asia’s Culture Today You May Like Instead. I Know I Do.

Call it a change in the wind, or a paradigm shift, or whatever you’d like to call it but economically, at this point, Asia is standing up pretty well .  Which may be an understatement to some, considering the amount of sales transpired via this year’s ArtHK11 or amount per square foot for property in Hong Kong, nevertheless there is a lot of money to go around. Where there is money, there’s culture and art to follow. Hate to tell you artist purists, but excess cash means more leisure investments, and people would sometimes rather invest in art (which would appreciate over time) rather than a car or clothes, for example.  This blog has documented so far the opening of various design boutiques, and we’ve been able to visit various art openings, both imported and homegrown, and I have to say, it’s a good place for artists, designers, and culture right now in Hong Kong. And hopefully, it will get even better. 

RELATED ARTICLE: ARTHK11, The Fair in Focus

TheWanderlister+ Asia exists solely as a personal project of mine to document and note things that I see in relation to art, design, and style cultures that exist in Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila and other asian cities or internationally by Asia based creatives.  You may or may not agree with what you see or read on this blog, but this is what’s happening in Asia right now via my POV.  In any rate if you want to read more about what’s happening culturally now in our neck of the woods or would rather read something else besides this blog, here are my favorites I completely recommend:

+ Surface Asia Online / Asia’s Art, Design, and Fashion Magazine Online


I first began reading SURFACE magazine in College. Back then, the magazine served to document talent, creatives, and avant garde fashion trends in major US cities only like NYC and San Fransisco. Of course these days the magazine is completely global, and has expanded to Surface China and now, my favorite, Surface Asia, which covers Hong Kong and the Southeast Asian Region.  The online edition has articles and Q+A’s that supplement their magazine, but have a few extras as well to go with the overally complete “SURFACE” experience. (IMAGE via SURFACEASIA) http://surfaceasiamag.com

+ CNNGo  /  Asia’s Offbeat Travel Report

The people from CNN have correspondents all over the world, especially Asia. There is always hard-hitting news to report, but in addition “funky” stuff always goes on in our region that deserve reporting as well. CNNGo started off just a mere travel blog for Hong Kong and India, but now it also covers Sydney, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Seoul.  It’s very up-to-the-minute light fun read that is whimsical, silly, and sometimes inspiring. For example today’s headlines: Japanese Marching Drill Makes Robots Look Sloppy and recently, Pet Peeves on Hong Kong Public Transport. (IMAGE via CNNGO) http://www.cnngo.com


+ WSJ Asia / Asia’s Market and Lifestyle News


You can always count on the Wall Street Journal Asia Edition to give you up to the latest market news for Hong Kong, China, India, and Japan.  Market news however are supplemented with stories about art, design, tech, invention, and green trends, as well as some articles on hospitality and travel.  Also plenty of local HK and general Asia gossip… as it relates to Markets again. Fun read. Great if you’ve got investments in the region and want to keep track with what is going on. (IMAGE via WSJ ASIA) http://asia.wsj.com/home-page

+  Fili’s World / One Man’s Blog and Love for Asian Culture


I haven’t really met blogger, Fili Gilad An in person, but all I know is that this guy loves to travel, and is everywhere, at all times.  The blog is full of content about events (this week the Anicom alone) and places to go like the Shida Night Market in Taipei. And on top of that he is currently studying for a PhD in Hong Kong.  He began his blog 6 years ago to record what he was seeing when he first arrived in Asia. Years later he’s still at it and the passion for Asia and all things Asian is clearly evident. I also follow his Twitter account @Filination. (Image via FILINATION http://www.filination.com

+ 21CB.Net / Collector and Aggregate of Popular and Digital Asian Culture


There’s SLATE, there’s Mashable, there’s Gizmodo, there’s tons of blog about the randomness that is now our world. 21CB (21st Century Boy), a blog managed by Michael Suen, takes this idea, and customizes it for Asia with content from Asia.  The platform is a bit open and flexible, they’re always trying to bring together collaborators and partnerships, and subjects range from K-Pop 2NE1 Song Deconstructions to something a bit right up my alley, Street Art in Hong Kong. I love it. (IMAGE via 21CB) http://www.21cb.net

These blogs inspire me, but hope you stick with us as well. :) 

xJJ

All comments moderated. To get more info on comment moderation for this personal blog project, please visit http://www.wanderlister.com/DISCLAIMER