McDonalds shop-in-shop

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On busy nights this entrepreneur sits at the local McDonalds. She takes orders from her website. She buys MacDonalds food that people can pick up, or that her friend delivers. Price for this service is 1 yuan extra. McDonalds is strict on internal guidelines and branding, so it is remarkable to see something like this happening.

Tiger Hill visit

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Last weekend I finally went to Tiger Hill. It is perhaps the most famous tourist spot of Suzhou, besides the Humble Administrators Garden. Tiger Hill is few kilometers outside the old mooted city and sits a few hundred meters away from the Grand Canal that runs all the way to Bejing. The road leading to the hill is filled with sellers of street food.

Its main attraction is the Bhudist pagoda that tops Tiger Hill. It stands at an angle and unfortunately you can’t climb it. It is surrounded by many other places of worship and waterworks. Personally I found the Pensai (in the West also known as Bonsai, their Japanese name) garden next to the monastery the most interesting.

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‘Hello J-15’: jet-fighters & shopping

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China is proud of its new jet fighter, the J-15. A Suzhou shopping center–Emerald City–has a live sized model on exhibit with many festivities surrounding it. The J-15, also called the Flying Shark, made its first landing on the new Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning in 2012. Full scale production began in December 2013. Continue reading

Chinese package deliverer

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How to get back money from university without Fapiao (an official receipt)? You can’t, which I forgot when I ordered new materials for my department. The supplier had to make and sent a new receipt by mail. Since I was not in when it was delivered I had to pick it up at the transporters.

All transporters were holding court behind the shopping mall near the university. Some of them on the street, the more official in run down basements. It looks chaotic but somehow it works. It is still not clear to me how the delivery systems exactly functions. I got my receipt : ) Continue reading

‘Emerging Practices’ Conference Tongji University

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When I first visited Shanghai I returned with a severe food poisoning and got almost stuck on a flooded highway. This time it was a remarkably more comfortable experience. I travelled with a colleague to Tongji University which was the venue for the third Design Research and Education Conference titled ‘Emerging Practices’, attended by circa 100 people.

Keynote lectures from Ken Friedland, Don Norman and Patrick Whitney were transformed into a joint performance. According to Don Norman they did their utmost best in making ‘us feel uncomfortable’. It was a great pleasure seeing them interacting together. New insights? Not that much, that classic product design was going out of the window. . .we knew. Continue reading