Where’s China??

27 05 2014

Apparently, these days, you can see some of the big cities only behind a thick curtain of smog!!! 20140527-124248.jpg Got this from a good friend in Shanghai and then I have been told that Beijing is in an even worse condition! And I still got some of these memories from those 2 cities:

blue sky in Beijing

Qing Ming jie in Shanghai

Shanghai sky

Airport mathematics

27 08 2013

My flight from Shanghai Pudong to Shenzhen is scheduled for 23:10.

Once I got at the airport the airline people said that it would be possible to perform the check-in from 22 o’clock.

Given the check-in usually close 40 minutes at least before departure the time seemed extremely tight. Also considering the security check (Pudong is the major airport in Shanghai, even if so late there are not many flights) and the long walk to the gate (it took me 15 minutes and I walk always fast) the opening time for the check-in looked suspicious!

In China as in the rest of the world the boarding starts about 30 minutes before take off, so for a flight at 23:10 it means more or less… now!!

Considering there is no plane outside but the monitor at the gate still shows:


…I wonder how can they manage on-time departure…

But then I notice a detail on the ticket:


Then their math does make more sense suddenly: a check at 22 is not too late with departure around 01:20!!!

I must add that for me it doesn’t matter at all this delay: I’ll sleep at Shenzhen airport again… A delay shorten my bench time waiting the opening of subway at 6 am!

What I really hate though is the complete
Lack of info from the monitors (still on-time departure) and there is no people at the gate so one must trust the ticket boarding time and hope. At the check-in also the operator did not tell me anything about delays. This is Chinese service!! 😦

Farewell from Chinese Aikido

27 08 2013

Intending this time mainland China, after the very nice farewell I got in Hong Kong (even if most probably I will manage 1-2 sessions more!), yesterday night I joined practice at Xijiao Aikido dojo.

A small dojo in the west part of Shanghai with motivated people that I had chance to meet several times in the past years. And fun on and off the mats!!

At Xijiao Aikido club
At Xijiao Aikido club - fun

My last week in Asia

26 08 2013

The time has arrived, almost..

For the past weekend and a few days more now I visited  潘蕾 in Shanghai, but she got a job right now and basically we have little time together.

In this last visit anyway I managed to be scr*wed with my bad bargaining skills when I went to buy a couple of t-shirts for the very last minute presents (and moving back I will not buy presents anymore for the firends in Europe); I managed to experience the n-th example of bad Chinese public services and in this case lazy doctors at a hospital that should be quite famous (not for me, but I went with a friend..); I verified again the extremely high prices in Shanghai for everything, from subway to taxi to food; I managed to meet a couple of friends that I will certainly miss; I had some good local food that I will also certainly miss.. and a few other things..

Tonight one last Aikido session at Xijiao Shanghai dojo and a chance to say bye to a few friends there. After that I can consider complete my visit to Shanghai.

Tuesday late night I’ll have a flight back to Shenzhen resulting in a last night in Shenzhen airport, hoping to find again the same place I used the times before, being actually able to catch a few hours of real sleep (some soft benches close to a mini caffe of course closed in the night).

A couple of days of packing in Longgang and then Friday I’ll go to Hong Kong from where I will leave on Sunday night. I actually look forward to Friday: I got nothing real to miss in Longgang and I am happy I got the chance to have some tiny accomodation in HK. Leave as soon as possible Longgang is actually the high priority aspect!

In HK I’ll got actually more friends than in Longgang and I will certainly manage one more Aikido session and have a good time!

The time in Asia has passed quite fast and my decision to leave has been suffered but I have been realistic. I will write more about this. And I will write more about China for sure. As I am sure I will come back, but no idea as for traveling or for work again.

I have learnt much, but I have failed in the most important part: learning Chinese. Without Chinese here, unless you work as ex-pat for some big international company that send you or support you locally with international salary rates as well it is very tough, unless one speaks the language.

So it is a farewell to China without too big regrets and also not regretting the decision to come here at first.

Now, let’s get ready for Aikido 😉 (and I am happy to go back to Europe for the Aikido part!!)

Useful hakama

5 08 2013

Huge delay (again) at Shanghai Hongqiao airport due to weather conditions: rain (not that much) and lightning storm.

Result: flight delayed (now new departure time set at 01:35 from the original 22:55 and the new time was given only 10 minutes ago).

Several flights were delayed or canceled.


So now we last travelers are camped on the seats waiting the departure and to combat the air condition chilly cold also my hakama is good for Panlei:


El Cubano

31 07 2013

Listening to extremely good old music in a deserted Cuban bar very close to my hotel and enjoying an El Cubano shot (with extra rum):


In the background AC/DC, Deep Purple, Linkin Park and other assorted rock written and performed several years before all the people working in the bar were born!!!!

Back to China

7 07 2013

After almost 2 weeks in Japan, and more exactly 3 weeks away from Longgang, I am back in the South of China.. already for a couple of weeks now! I know, I have been a lazy blogger lately.. hope to imporve again once back in Europe!

Again it has been an Aikido driven trip, that had started in Shanghai for 3 nice sessions with Irie sensei, start of the hombu dojo annual event in China (Shanghai/Beijing.. indeed a tiny part of China). Then, instead of following sensei to Beijing has done earlier, I said bye bye to both China and sensei and I flew to Japan, Kyoto at first, where I joined the Aikido Kyoto 10th Anniversary International Seminar with Yasuno sensei as top instructor.

A fantastic weekend seminar: nowadays a few instructors show such a passion, energy and are equally captivating as Yasuno sensei. Unfortunately sensei talked much during the seminar, and it was all in Japanese and not translated. But a good friend and close student of sensei translated for me some points that were emphasized during practice. This is indeed an extra motivation in order to improve my Japanese.. even if Yasuno sensei talks so fast that it was a challenge for a few foreigners even with good Japanese skills!

After Kyoto I visited Nara and thanks to Tominaga sensei, teacher of the local club (with several dojos between Nara and Osaka) I had a wonderful time both on the mats and off. Sensei took me around Nara and also a little in Osaka and I meet a few of the locals officials and the three UNESCO protected sites in Nara.

Back in Tokyo I had only one chance to practice with Endo sensei in hombu dojo and then one visit to Funabashi dojo, where the main teachers are also Endo sensei close students. At Funabashi dojo I had a great practice followed by a great dinner! Really nice people that I hope to meet again soon.

In Tokyo, as said, I had the chance again to practice several times with Irie sensei, both at hombu dojo and Shinagawa dojo. The more I can practice with sensei, the more I want to practice with him.. and I know already his only visit to Europe for next year.. I must take contact soon with the organizers!

With these 2 trips close to each other I clearly took my decision to stop being a hombu dojo Aikido tourist trying to practice 5 sessions per day (ok, I could never really do that!) with all instructors. I have taken a direction and I know I will struggle to keep contact with the teachers I really like now. Especially after I will go back to Europe, since Irie sensei and Yasuno sensei do not travel that much. A good thing is that in Italy there will be soon more activity related to Yasuno sensei because of one of his close students leaving Japan after several years. His new project together with the already existing and very active Aikido Club Bolzano will introduce more of Yasuno sensei Aikido vision.

I don’t need to add that if I will ever be again in a position able to invite some teachers to my dojo, Irie sensei is top of the list: my new dream is having him in Norway, just because I know Norwegian Aikido environment and people very closely and I am sure they would all love sensei from the first minute.. as I did!!