Beijing street fashion is really unlike any fashion I have seen on a walk down any Main Street in any American city. It’s hard to capture Beijing fashion in a few words. Many think cute when they see the bows that frequent many shirts (male and female alike). Others observe the blazer top–sweat pants look with confusion. Even more debate what kind of statement short shorts over leather tights accompanied by the ever popular high heels make, and if that liberal expression of one’s identity is worth braving the 20 degree F winter temperatures.
The Chinese have a saying, 入乡随俗 (ru xiang sui su) that parallels the familiar English adage: When in Rome do as the Romans do. With this phrase in hand and an unyielding motivation to discover the ins and outs of Beijing culture I decided to try and don the most fashionable glasses I could find. Here in Beijing big, thick glasses are totally “in.” Have perfect vision? No problem! You too can look fashionably hip and cool because lense-less glasses are not only easily accessible, but a completely accepted social fashion statement.
If you want to buy glasses in China, you don’t go to: Western catering districts (Sanlitun and Dongzhimen), malls or optometry clinics. You go to 潘家园 (Pan Jia Yuan). It’s the area of Beijing all locals go to purchase lenses. This place has streets of stores upon stores that sell glasses. I had the upper hand of local knowledge as my Chinese roommate directed me to a more secluded super mall situated behind the throngs of stores you first see. There, we (well, she bartered a lot more than me) for a pair of ridiculously awesome huge, black framed, hello kitty glasses. Before you get too jealous, you need to hear the price: 80 kuai (roughly $13 USD). That’s right, $13 and about two hours of bartering got me a unique set of frames sure to impress Beijingers and Foreigners alike and a free eye exam. To top off this amazing experience I also got my frames 30 minutes after the final price was negotiated and my eye prescription set. They made the glasses right in the complex.
For those who have not experienced the joys of ordering and purchasing glasses conventionally in America I can relay it to you here. The eye exam itself is at least $50 (Sam’s Club) and frames often $400 or more. You wait about two weeks and then you have that pair of beautiful glasses you forgot you ordered.
As you can see, ordering glasses in China is instant gratification. You see a pair you like, barter, pay and bam! You have a pair of swag, hipster, academic or trendy pair, all for a price most Americans and Chinese alike would think quite reasonable.
The fruits of buying glasses the local way: culture understanding, new words and phrases learned, a look into how people in Beijing can get glasses, fresh confidence to go out and see China, several compliments on the “cute,” “adorable,” “hip,” new frames gracing my face. How’s that for a shopping trip?
The deadline for the Freeman-ASIA study abroad scholarships is quickly approaching!
Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia.
Student Application Deadline – April 4th, 2012. Adviser Endorsement Deadline – April 11, 2012. Applicants should have a minimum 2.8 GPA. The program’s goal is to increase the number of Americans with first-hand exposure to and understanding of Asia and its peoples and cultures. Awards of up to $3,000 are available for summer programs.
Award amounts range from a maximum of $5,000 for a semester/quarter program to a maximum of $7,000 for an academic year program.
Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) U.S. Student Programs Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017-3580
Tel: (212) 984-5542
Fax: (212) 984-5325
Enter for a chance to win great prizes, including a trip to Washington, DC to attend the CET 30th Anniversary Celebration on May 10, 2012!
- All contestants must have completed a CET semester, summer or JanTerm program.
- All contestants must be registered on the CET Alumni Record.
- Alumni may submit up to three photos. While photos should fall into at least one of following categories, we encourage alumni to submit images of special memories or moments that they feel best represent their CET experience.
- Places (architecture, scenic views, places of interest): Photos should show host city sites of interest, or destinations visited during a CET program excursion. Photos may or may not include people.
- Engagement: Photos should show CET students interacting with the local community in everyday life. Photos may include CET roommates or faculty, or members of the local community.
- Culture & Customs: Photos should show local celebrations, festivals, rituals or events.
- Academics: Photos should show classroom settings, guest lectures, extracurricular courses or program excursions.
CET has an array of fantastic prizes for the winning photographers. The first place prize is a trip to Washington DC (hotel and flight) to attend the CET 30th Anniversary Celebration on May 10, 2012!
- April 16, 2012.
- Winners will be announced April 23, 2012 on the CET blog.
- This contest is open to CET alumni only.
- Please submit high resolution JPEG photos only.
- Please submit no more than three submissions per alumnus.
- Photo must be submitted as attachments via email to: cetacademicprogramstv [at] gmail [dot] com.
- Please use this format to title photos: FirstName.Last Name# (ex: Marisa.Sterling01, Marisa.Sterling02)
- The submission email should include the following information for each photo:
- Your full name
- Name/Location/Term of the CET program attended
- Title of photo
- A short caption or description of the photo
- Home university/college
- Photos may be either images that you have taken, or images of you. If the latter, please credit the photographer whenever possible.
Please e-mail Marisa Sterling or call (+001) 800.225.4262, ext 7315.
Please note that CET reserves the right to keep any/all photos entered in the photo contest for promotional use. Promotional use includes, but is not limited to print, video and digital media. All photos will be credited when used. CET has the sole right to determine future use of all photos.
Part of the Film curriculum at CET is a lighting exercise conducted inside FAMU Studio. This is a three-day intensive workshop where students film different scenes and work with different lighting scenarios. It sounds rather daunting but it is actually a lot of fun. In our workshop we tended to get rather creative and silly with our scenes, utilizing a whole array of fun and interesting props. It is also a great way for the students to experience the richness and depth professional lighting can ad to a scene.
What is really special about the lighting exercise is that it is often the first time any of us ever really use a film camera. That’s right, in this program we shoot on actual 16mm film, grain, silver halides, gelatin and all. FAMU is old school and digital video devices are not tolerated.
For us beings of the twenty first century, the concept of shooting on film is rather daunting and nonsensical. After all, painters at art school do not start painting on caves because that is how it was once done. It is natural to be nervous and apprehensive, especially when considering all you have to be insecure about when using film.
Once you start to handle the camera, all the limitations become apparent. You cannot play back what you shot so you have no idea if it was good. You will find that it is incredibly easy to accidently overexpose your filmstock. A roll of film goes by very quickly so you are limited in the number of takes. Once it is processed the quality is not all that much better than what you get shooting on a DSLR.
Why bother using film then? Every person interested in making movies should be a filmmaker at least once. Working within the limitations of film makes you a better filmmaker. Not having a playback function forces you to trust yourself and build confidence. Only having to work with two-four rolls of film will force you to plan every scene meticulously because you know you will only get one or two takes. If you were filming digitally, where memory is cheap, you may be more lackadaisical with your directing style. With film you have to know exactly what you want. The equipment and the film itself is far more delicate, this forces you to take up good habits for taking care of equipment.
FAMU provides a unique opportunity to shoot on film that should not be squandered or taken for granted. By the end of the program after we have made our seven-minute film, we will look back think about how much harder it was simply by the nature of using film. How inefficient and limiting it is compared to digital. We will be proud that we have at least one movie under the belt that cannot be reduced to a series of zeros and ones. When we inevitably abandon film and move back to digital, the skills we picked up while learning to shoot on film will ultimately make us far better filmmakers in the long run.