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Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:49 am

ImageBNH 7 kurama 9 by John Yingling, on Flickr

After the onsen, and the temple, I laughed a bit, as my mind hadn't felt so clear, had such peace and quiet, for some time. I poked around the small town, looking for food. The first place I popped my head into was this, and I was sold. The old woman barely looked up from her reading. The menu was small, and had a winter and summer section. Perfect. A lady came out, smiled, pointed at something, and translated "wild boar" on her phone. Said "Soba. Soup." Sold. It was intensely good. I laughed while eating it. Had a cigarette with the lady. She pointed at my camera, so I asked her for a photo. Really, one of the best days I can remember. Thanks for this one, Kansai.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:06 pm

ImageShanghai 1 by John Yingling, on Flickr

Greetings from Wuzhen at dusk. I've been a bit quiet. Soaking in the incredible food. Studying. Getting my mind set for a few crucial finish lines. This has been really nice. We're back in Shanghai now for a few days, but we've been bouncing around this area, which I've never been to, eating our faces off. Suzhou, Hangzhou. Wuzhen is a water town. The White Lotus temple looms in the back of the west area as you poke around all the winding alleyways. Wonderful.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:23 am

ImageShanghai 2 by John Yingling, on Flickr

As I suspected, the food in the Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces is pretty goddamn incredible. Really, it's just as I'd hoped and imagined it to be. Deep, sweet flavors. Lots of killer sauces. Fresh seafood. The prices are a bit of a bucket of water to the face at some times, but coming from Dongbei I guess that's to be expected. I can see both sides of it here.
Prices run the gamut, as always. Yet, one can drink heavily at Specter's (a punk rock spot ran by the Yuyintang people in Shanghai) for as cheap as almost any space I've found in China. Crazy for Shanghai. Surely, long-term digging would find true gems. That said, it's been an insanely delicious run.

ImageShanghai 3 by John Yingling, on Flickr

Wuzhen water town, at least the parts most tourists would want to go to, is divided between east and west. Having to pay to access each side, if you stay on one end, you're stuck there until late that night, unless you want to pay simply to access your hotel. One could stay in the middle, but that's no fun. We wandered the west end from our arrival time until 10PM. A call was made to "our guy" at the hotel. He dropped us off under a bridge, and like some sort of old-school mass exodus, alongside dozens of others, we were herded through pitch black alleys to a very dead east end. Wuzhen is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.

ImageShanghai 5 by John Yingling, on Flickr

Full, happy, refreshed. Some seriously key moments hidden in the laziness here. In other news, I am getting older, and I can certainly feel it when I don't put in the effort. Soon it's time to wrap that garbage up into a leather jacket and throw it into a mosh pit. Final sprints toward the unknown. Just a few months, and you'll understand. Back to reality, for now. As always, a few more stories to come. Thanks, Shanghai.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:15 am

ImageShanghai 4 by John Yingling, on Flickr

The Fairmont Peace Hotel Jazz Band. Shanghai. You could close your eyes and instantly be anywhere. For me, this was purely Chicago, but the old woman dancing with her hundred kuai drink surely had more stories than I. Six men, who average in age to about 85, with their trumpet player, the oldest at 97. This place supposedly became known as simply "The Jazz Bar" from the 1930's on. The band have been playing together since 1980, since China "lifted the ban" on jazz music. No idea what local kids think of this, but hugging the Bund area, it's a solid one-two punch of a night. If ever in Shanghai, skip some other tourist trap, and go here. Oh, and they make a pretty solid "Old Fashioned."
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:53 am

Image

Something big is brewing. It's months away. Episode 2 is coming. It's taken a long time. Sound is being finalized. Back end is being worked on. It's done. It's been done for a while, but we're all doing this while we gasp for air. The next one will not take so long. In fact, things are going to go quite quickly this year. It should be a very intense Q2 and beyond. I am gearing up for that. Consider a donation to this project. The monthly costs for it to even exist are heavier than I'd like. It is not going away, and will only flourish, with your help. Get ready for some serious shit. Stick with us.

Do it : http://www.theworldunderground.com/donate/
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:31 am

ImageOsaka New 8 by John Yingling, on Flickr

A rapid-burst of a music festival at Hokage. Osaka, Japan. Still figuring out the names of these bands. It was my last night in town on a short, yet very astonishing trek to Kansai in December of last year.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:41 pm

ImageScreen Shot 2018-03-08 at 2.44.38 PM by John Yingling, on Flickr

New interview in Surabaya, Indonesia zine Anti Warna.
Will grab some copies when I head there, which will happen eventually this year, without a doubt. Thanks, Abraham Herdyanto. This surely took a lot of effort and is way cool. <3
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:40 am

ImageWimps by John Yingling, on Flickr

Wimps. Negi Posi. Kyoto, Japan. December, 2017. I had no idea they were playing Kyoto until just days before, and had only planned 48 hours in the city. One of those beautiful and perfectly random moments of life, halfway across the world from where I last saw them.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:39 pm

ImagePK14 South by John Yingling, on Flickr

Hey. The third installment of The World Underground will be called "南方" (South), and it will be about P.K.14. It will not have any interviews. That's all I can tell you at this time. I decided to shift last year's trek to EP3 for many reasons, all of which will become clear in the next few months. Episode 2 will be released by summer, and then I will begin editing this. I hope to have it released around the end of this year, around the same time P.K.14 put out their new record, but that's a tall order. In a perfect world, I will follow them on tour one more time, but it's uncertain if or when they will tour around the album release. More information to come. My website will be updated shortly. Cheers.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:32 am

ImageOsaka New 12 by John Yingling, on Flickr

Hokage punk festival. Osaka, Japan. December 2018. Still have no idea who many of these bands are. Waiting on an e-mail response. Whoever this was, they were brutally good.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:28 am

ImageP.K.14 Film 21 by John Yingling, on Flickr

Guangdong. I loved it here from the first minute. Pork paradise. Hot and glitzy, with energy. It was years after the first time that I finally returned, and with P.K.14 once again, just like the first time. I've decided I will go to Chongqing to film Hiperson June 2nd, and then spend some days in Chengdu and Beijing, filming whatever happens, before reuniting for two more gigs in Shanghai & Hangzhou. Then, it's down to B10 in Shenzhen for a final show, June 22nd, before the final leap to Indonesia. However, this does mean, it's time for just a touch more time in nearby Guangzhou. To me, it's never enough, the short bursts there, always seeming too little. We'll have to see how this one shakes out. I hear talk of new bands. See you soon, Guangdong. 24 days remain to make this happen: https://igg.me/at/worldunderground
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:07 am

Imagehiperson by John Yingling, on Flickr

Often times, things end where they begin. Anyone who's followed from the beginning knows my deep love for the Chengdu band Hiperson. We met on that first trip in 2013 with P.K.14. After many failed attempts I finally caught them again last year. Their sound has changed completely. It's only fitting that before I leave China, I follow them on tour in Sichuan, wrapping in a circle down south. I'm raising funds for a move to Indonesia to begin a short film series to go alongside the longer ones. Hiperson will be the first dispatch. There's a lot more in the works I can't talk about. Have a read, and consider grabbing one of the remaining record packs, art from Tony Cheung, and more. Thanks so much to those who are helping make this real. 21 days remain.

Do it : https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-world-underground-dispatch-series-music-art/x/101516#/
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Tue May 08, 2018 7:21 am

ImageTWUsummer by John Yingling, on Flickr

Three weeks left in Northeast China. Here's a rough plan for the first month or so. All shenanigans in between will be considered. Let's ride.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby noise&light on Tue May 08, 2018 1:27 pm

Can't wait for the next round of photos! Travel safe and be well! Thanks for taking us with you!
There's no reason
To feel all the hard times
To lay down the hard lines
It's absolutely true
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Thu May 17, 2018 12:34 am

ImageOsaka New 5 by John Yingling, on Flickr

Mizutama and Megumi Araki. Two of the nicest people I've met in Japan. We first connected in 2014, when they hosted a gig with Guiguisuisui and Noise Arcade. This is also where we met the infinitely sweet Go Tsushima. We all immediately loved what they were doing. It's difficult not to.
Their space is a unassuming gallery and art spot called FIGYA. That night we slept on tatami mats above the space, and they gave us the keys to the place. That was really something. I've since returned multiple times. It now has moved down the block a bit. You should head there when you're in Osaka. Time flies. See you again in three weeks, my friends.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby andyman on Thu May 17, 2018 5:52 am

Hey, John, out of curiosity: what's your speaking and comprehension level like in China and Japan? Do you have to rely to English often?

Awesome work, dude!
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Thu May 17, 2018 7:15 pm

andyman wrote:Hey, John, out of curiosity: what's your speaking and comprehension level like in China and Japan? Do you have to rely to English often?

Awesome work, dude!


Hey, thanks!

My Chinese is still very poor, due to a combination of laziness, having to finishing a Bachelor's Degree while here, and it just plain being difficult.

My Japanese is even worse, because i'm only there for 1-2 weeks at a time, maybe once or twice per year at best.

That said, both countries are pretty damn easy for basic things, even at their worst moments. Really, like any country, you just need to learn how to say "that one" as you can then just point at what you want.

Food can be tough in the beginning, like if there's no picture menu, but if you just learn the basics like "rice" and "noodles" you can either ride it out and hope the thing will be good (it probably will be anyway) or just figure it out via one more step up, like beef (whatever), chicken (whatever). Those things are all easy to learn and make stick because you use it often.

It's all about using the thing. If you don't, it'll never stick. Hell, I still even get confused to specific things I use in China all the time. I'm a bit dense though. Bad combo.

As for talking with people. China is easy as hell. Japan can be a bit more difficult on that end, both because the people are a bit more closed up, but man....finding places can be a BITCH. Especially in Tokyo.

Time and again, though, I'm consistently amazed by what and how much can be accomplished without even talking. Emotionally, connection wise, whatever.

If anyone is reading this and afraid to go somewhere because you don't speak the language, please don't be. Often times that leads to the best moments.

Cheers.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Tue May 22, 2018 11:56 am

Imagefall by John Yingling, on Flickr

New tour to film locked in for Fall. This should be a burner. I will likely skip Singapore, but the rest shall be done. I love this band. Now, to fill in August and early September.
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby andyman on Tue May 22, 2018 7:52 pm

gonzochicago wrote:
andyman wrote:Hey, John, out of curiosity: what's your speaking and comprehension level like in China and Japan? Do you have to rely to English often?

Awesome work, dude!


Hey, thanks!

My Chinese is still very poor, due to a combination of laziness, having to finishing a Bachelor's Degree while here, and it just plain being difficult.

My Japanese is even worse, because i'm only there for 1-2 weeks at a time, maybe once or twice per year at best.

That said, both countries are pretty damn easy for basic things, even at their worst moments. Really, like any country, you just need to learn how to say "that one" as you can then just point at what you want.

Food can be tough in the beginning, like if there's no picture menu, but if you just learn the basics like "rice" and "noodles" you can either ride it out and hope the thing will be good (it probably will be anyway) or just figure it out via one more step up, like beef (whatever), chicken (whatever). Those things are all easy to learn and make stick because you use it often.

It's all about using the thing. If you don't, it'll never stick. Hell, I still even get confused to specific things I use in China all the time. I'm a bit dense though. Bad combo.

As for talking with people. China is easy as hell. Japan can be a bit more difficult on that end, both because the people are a bit more closed up, but man....finding places can be a BITCH. Especially in Tokyo.

Time and again, though, I'm consistently amazed by what and how much can be accomplished without even talking. Emotionally, connection wise, whatever.

If anyone is reading this and afraid to go somewhere because you don't speak the language, please don't be. Often times that leads to the best moments.

Cheers.

Just so I understand: you're using the native language in each case? When chatting to doc interviewees offscreen?
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Re: Musings and food photos from Northeast China + beyond.

Postby gonzochicago on Tue May 22, 2018 11:39 pm

andyman wrote:
gonzochicago wrote:
andyman wrote:Hey, John, out of curiosity: what's your speaking and comprehension level like in China and Japan? Do you have to rely to English often?

Awesome work, dude!


Hey, thanks!

My Chinese is still very poor, due to a combination of laziness, having to finishing a Bachelor's Degree while here, and it just plain being difficult.

My Japanese is even worse, because i'm only there for 1-2 weeks at a time, maybe once or twice per year at best.

That said, both countries are pretty damn easy for basic things, even at their worst moments. Really, like any country, you just need to learn how to say "that one" as you can then just point at what you want.

Food can be tough in the beginning, like if there's no picture menu, but if you just learn the basics like "rice" and "noodles" you can either ride it out and hope the thing will be good (it probably will be anyway) or just figure it out via one more step up, like beef (whatever), chicken (whatever). Those things are all easy to learn and make stick because you use it often.

It's all about using the thing. If you don't, it'll never stick. Hell, I still even get confused to specific things I use in China all the time. I'm a bit dense though. Bad combo.

As for talking with people. China is easy as hell. Japan can be a bit more difficult on that end, both because the people are a bit more closed up, but man....finding places can be a BITCH. Especially in Tokyo.

Time and again, though, I'm consistently amazed by what and how much can be accomplished without even talking. Emotionally, connection wise, whatever.

If anyone is reading this and afraid to go somewhere because you don't speak the language, please don't be. Often times that leads to the best moments.

Cheers.

Just so I understand: you're using the native language in each case? When chatting to doc interviewees offscreen?


Man, I have been VERY lucky so far. Here's how I've done it thus far:

I make all questions, and get them translated to whichever local language. This is my "oh shit, this is falling apart" back-up plan. I check if whoever I am about to interview has one member who speaks enough English to understand follow-up and such. Either way, there is usually always someone with or near me who speaks enough of both to help me handle each side. If things go side-ways, I can just show them the question and what I get is what I get.

In the few instances there isn't, or for random happenings, I just have to ride the waves and see what happens. I always try to do interviews in the local language. Not only is it easier for them, it's almost always infinitely better content wise, for obvious reasons.

All foreign language interviews are translated after the fact. That said, this does bring issues with follow-up questions on my end, or even knowing what they're talking about in the first place. If someone is with me helping, I advise them they can chime in when there's break in questions, if they really feel the need. It's up to them. Everything is situational. It makes for an insane mix, but without hiring a full-time translator that's all I could do. I've never had the resources to do that, but I do now, and I will.

I'm amazed things have worked out so well thus far, without any major craziness.

It makes for some crazy after the fact moments though! Like, for example, Wuhan...in the first film on China. When Wu Wei (who speaks decent English) was talking about the enforced demolition and people "disappearing" out on that table...I did this alone. He's like....fucking smiling and laughing half the time, and in-between! I took it as light-hearted banter. Only after it was translated did I realize what he was actually talking about. People getting offed by the local mob and getting their houses taken from them.

Madness.

Shit's about to get real.
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