Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pre-Pyongyang: Japan and China

After two weeks in Japan and China, we leave tomorrow for North Korea. The "we" includes about 260 New York Philharmonic orchestra members, staff, board members, patrons and international media. Today, I'm blogging from Beijing. Tomorrow, from Pyongyang.

In the last week, we've attended Philharmonic concerts in Shanghai and Beijing. On Tuesday, the concert will be in Pyongyang. The Ping Pong diplomacy of 1971 may -- or may not -- be emulated by the Philharmonic diplomacy of 2008. Nixon visited China in 1972. Will our new president visit North Korea in 2009? The pundits will have fun with that one for months to come. But in the meantime, Donna, I and the other 258 visitors are in for an experience that we'll not soon forget.

Prior to our arriving in China, we spent a week in Japan. So before we get to the serious stuff in our next blog, here are some random photographic impressions of our stays in Tokyo, Kyoto, Shanghai and Beijing.


arch1
Tokyo architecture gets groovy


noodle house
Where we ate noodles in Tokyo -- different architecture


fuji
Famous mountain shot from the bullet train on the way to Kyoto


overhead wires
Kyoto is beautiful -- in parts. Underground wiring is not yet widespread


temple
Kyoto temple


miho1
Pedestrian tunnel to I. M. Pei's Miho Museum in Kyoto


miho2
Bridge at the end of the tunnel


miho3
Entrance to the museum


miho4
Inside the museum


kiln
Donna inspecting kiln at ceramist's studio


geisha1
Geisha who entertained us at dinner in Kyoto


geisha2
She was a very appreciative audience


geisha3
All geishas are not created equal -- the one on the left is the musician


zen master
Our Zen Master


bamboo1
Gorgeous bamboo forest in Kyoto


bamboo2
More bamboo


gates1
Shinto gates -- many thousands of them


gates2
Do these gates remind you of a recent public art work in Central Park?

new1
Contemporary Shanghai architecture

new2
And more

old1
The beautiful old architecture of the Shanghai Bund

old2
And more

crickets1
Crickets bred for fighting at the cricket market in Shanghai

crickets2
A champ gets a closer inspection

worms
And food for the other critters sold in the cricket market


gw1
Famous large wall outside Beijing

gw2
Donna checking for approaching Mongol hordes

gw3
She may have spotted one

templeheaven
Beijing's Temple of Heaven


dancing
Dancing outside the Temple of Heaven

ribbons
And ribbon dancing

contort
And exercising

callig
And practicing street calligraphy

kids
Not only cute, but they speak fluent Chinese

cloi1
Cloisonne bowl in early stage of fabrication

cloi2
Cloisonne bowl about half-way done

cloi3
Cloisonne horses

cctv odel
Model of Rem Koolhaas CCTV tower


cctv constr
CCTV tower under construction


cctv constr2
Another view of the construction

nestegg model
Model of the "Nest Egg," the main Olympics stadium


nestegg constr
Nest Egg under construction

traffic
An indelible memory of Beijing

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