Category Archives: Asia

Window of the World (Shenzhen 6 of 7)

One of Shenzhen’s most popular tourist destinations is Window of the World which features over 100 reproductions of some of the world’s most popular attractions. The real attractions are of course more substantial, but it is still interesting to see so many of them together as replicas at Window of the World. Many of the attractions are very small, but a few such as the Eiffel Tower are actually large enough to dominant the skyline of the park. Continue reading

China Folk Culture Village (Shenzhen 5 of 7)

I visited the China Folk Culture Village inside the Splendid China theme park in Shenzhen. It features the daily life of various ethnic groups in China. The hot weather made it difficult to enjoy being outdoors in the middle of the day for any length of time, but there were many worthwhile sights to be seen.

After this post, I have 2 more to go from Shenzhen, adding an extra post to my originally planned set of 6. Continue reading

Dongmen Pedestrian Street (Shenzhen 4 of 7)

The Dongmen Pedestrian Street is known as Shenzhen’s original shopping mall. It’s a very busy maze of streets with hundreds of shopping options for those seeking clothing, street food, and electronics, although there is also a handicraft market, a street of vendors all selling neon signs, and more. The area is one of the oldest parts of Shenzhen, first being established 300 years ago, although I imagine the bulk of its growth has occurred since the 1970’s.

I visited this area a couple of times, although mostly at night, since it was an hour away from my hotel by train. Continue reading

Late Night Shopping in Shenzhen, China (3 of 7)

As I began to uncover in my last post with the electronics markets, the retail scene and shopping experience is perhaps one of China’s most remarkable differences when compared with North America. Large multinational store brands such as Walmart have begun to operate in recent years, but a lot of shopping is still done in “markets” and small mom-and-pop shops that are clustered by the dozens all over the city. This is true even for Shenzhen which is such a new city. Continue reading

Huaqiangbei Electronics Market (Shenzhen 2 of 7)

Shenzhen is one of the most important centres in the world for electronics manufacturing. There are many factories in the city producing your favourite electronic devices, along with copies of those devices.

The Huaqiangbei district of Shenzhen is home to many electronics markets which span several floors and several buildings. These markets are places for locals to buy their electronics as well as wholesalers and resellers to buy components in bulk. To a North American, these markets are somewhat comparable a flea market, except for electronics.

Competition in these markets is high, and was actually quite intimidating for me. Upon entering or approaching most booths, the staff will seemingly swarm around you, and watch your every move quietly, ready to answer questions, or make a sale. I prefer a bit more distance between me and the sales staff as I try to shop, particularly if I am just browsing for nothing in particular. Continue reading

Shekou and the Bay of Shenzhen, China (1 of 7)

I recently travelled to Shenzhen on the south coast of China for a 3 week business trip. This is my third visit to Asia, and my first to China.

Shenzhen is now one of the most built up cities in the world, and currently has a population of 8 million. Before 1979, Shenzhen was merely a small village of 30,000 people, so nearly everything that exists in Shenzhen has been constructed in less than 4 decades. The city’s rapid growth was made possible by foreign investments following the establishment of the Shenzhen Economic Zone in 1979. Continue reading

Japan – HRI 2010 Robotics Conference (3 of 3)

Of course, my main reason for visiting Japan was to present a poster of my work at the HRI 2010 robotics conference.

Robovie is one of the many robots being shown and discussed here.

You may remember these guys from my pictures of last year’s Japan visit. They made an appearance again here. These robots are quite expensive as I found out after last year, at over $25,000 each!

An optional bus tour was offered as part of the conference. One part of the tour took us to a grocery store where this robot was demonstrated as a shopping assistant. The robot helped guide an elderly woman through the entrance of the store.

This is me with the famous Ishiguro android. Although it can be very hard to tell, I am the only actual person in this photo. I am looking towards the robot which has been designed almost exactly like its creator.

This concludes my Japan 2010 blog posts. More updates coming soon, including a few photos from my quick stop in San Francisco on the way back from Japan.

Japan – Osaka (2 of 3)

After being in the Tokyo area, I took the famous Bullet Train to Osaka.

This view from my hotel window shows the characteristics of this particular neighbourhood as well as the city as a whole. In this shot, you can see the highway running over a river with roads snaking around all over the place.

This is some public artwork near the top of the Business Innovation Center, where the conference took place.

Lots and lots of bikes! It is actually somewhat dangerous to walk on sidewalks as people riding bicycles zoom past and around you. I witnessed a person on a bicycle running into a person who was walking. No one was hurt, as the bike wasn’t going fast.

I visited a temple on the way to the shopping district.

A night shot of a large department store which isn’t far from other shopping districts and a major train station. This department store occupies pretty much all of the large building, which isn’t something we see too much of in Calgary.

A night shot of a famous display of ads, including the walking man. Although you can’t see in this still, many of these ads are animated in some way.

More photos from Osaka are in my Gallery.