Having covered a lot of show nightlife in Beijing and the rest of China. We want to convince you that it is for a reason. Having extensively traveled in Japan, and the Koreas.. well, they also have amazing shows and nightlife. What China has however is something that’s hard to describe but it’s very Chinese. It’s almost tacky, but combined with the kind of skill and fanaticism that tops out the rest of the show world. Of course the productions are going fast forward, such as our most favorite, the Chaoyang Theatre Acrobatics Show that is known for breaking the boundaries of the physical capabilities of acrobatic theatre. But no matter how much they can afford to put into the production and no matter how they evolve.. they will never become a western-like big stage production.
There is an obvious reason for that of course and that answer can be found from the Chaoyang Theatre management that is ALL CHINESE. Yes, they might collaborate with some foreign productions and such. Yet especially a traditional acrobatics theatre of this magnitude, will have too much pride to let go of their strong Chinese-minded influence. Especially when a lot of the management is pretty old and long time players, meaning of having roots in Chinese culture. Besides that, there is plenty of connections going around and landing a job at the biggest Beijing acrobatic show is going to require good friends. So depending on the level of friendship you have with them, you can get your word in and actually influence the evolution of the show. It’s a really funny and complicated sequence of events that lead to what would be known in the west as “decision making”. Yet, it’s not the most ethical or fair environment.. and don’t get me started on the treatment of the performers themselves.
Nevertheless it is this very unique mess of a system that prevails in Beijing as well as the rest of China that makes the theatre nightlife scene a very cool place to be. Might sound a little contradictory, but that’s what it really is. A contradiction on top of another, with sometimes so many difficult decisions that are made. The outcome is now a quite mixed, with definitely some problems with the productions fluidity. You can see that they are actually trying hard to become a western production, and failing at it as well. This kind of awkward situation makes the show so much fun.. there is just nothing like it. A perfect acrobatic production would never be as much fun as this one.
And it’s all good really.. since the feats and the act itself is simply mind blowing. I still cant get my mind around accepting the all the amazing acrobatic stunts that they perform in the show. So no matter how much of a “funny chinese” feeling it will get into.. the acts themselves at the Chaoyang Theatre will not be easily beaten.
We wil leave you with a few amazing highlights from the acrobatics show!
Enjoy and see you next time at the three cools!
I know there is no ultimate answer for this question, but it’s interesting to compared the three cools and see which one beats the other one in certain areas. Such as this little analysis on the concept of “fun”, between the three countries. And to start with, I have had so much fun in all of the three countries that it’s just nothing I can compare with western countries for example. Of course, there you could have an argument too but for me personally.. Asia is definitely the coolest way to go! As has probably become quite evident from my blog so far. Therefore I am shifting thoughts of cool to thoughts of fun, which the three are all about.
Anyway there can never really be a winner in this competition but I would say that depending on the person any one of the three could be just as amazing. But looking at the general picture, of general people, toursits, visitors and so on… China is definitely the hardest country. With the most chaotic environment, along with pollution and that so few people speak English for example. Dirty streets is definitely something not every ordinary person will swallow that easily.
Coming to Japan the first thing you will notice that everything is incredibly organised and clean. It’s a really comfortable situation as you don’t really need to worry about anything. South Korea on the other hand, is from somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately Koreans do not clean the shit of dogs from the street when they walk out, but luckily they have all the modern infustructure and systems to clean all the streats posh clean.
But all that comfort in China can be replaced with money. In Korea also. In Japan you cannot just pay people to do what ever you want. Or it might be too expensive. That’s why I would say that China and Korea are the most fun places if are into adventure and want to feel what it’s like to spend money without worrying about it. If however, you are in Japan you will have some restrictions.. which come with super fun and ultimate comfort!
At the end of the day, it’s just a take your pick situation! =)
First of all I just wanted to say sorry for those who had posted comments, because of huge spam I could not go over all of them.. so please, I would appreciate if you could make the comments again. This time there is a slider captcha, which should efficiently block any of this stuff. That being said, let’s go on with the three cools!
In another peak, this time beyond the republic. While almost everyone has at least heard of the Tang Dynasty, not everyone knows much about it. Of course, it is a very important era in the history of China.. way before the republic. We are talking about 618-907 AD here. It’s the imperial times of China.. and before Tang there was five of them. But this dynasty was special, as it was a very high and important point in the Chinese civilisation!
It’s heart was at the most populous city back then, Xian. Now a popular touristic attraction, and a beginning of the legendary silk road. Besides Beijing & Shanghai it’s one of the most visited cities in the whole country by not just western visitors, but Chinese who think of it as a “must thing to do” at least once in a lifetime.
One of the best and most entertaining ways, is to head to the Tang Dynasty Palace which is located right at the heart. Not just the city of Xian, but also the heart of the people that live there. The palace is a host for a stunning show that depicts this brilliant era in history. All with ancient musical instruments, dance and singing. The performance in question, is about as traditional as theatre can get nowadays in China. Thus bringing not just a unique experience but also an unforgettable one for those who are interested in Chinese culture.
Check out the music and dance Show (仿唐乐舞表演) at the address: No.75, North Chang’an Road, Xian. They also have metro access so it’s easy to find at Nanshao Gate Station (Should be on Line 2). We promise you that this is the most cool way to get to know about the Tang Dynasty, which is extremely important to know.. in order to understand more about why we all are here in this world the way we are.
Fascinating stuff & highly recommended!
We are most happy to announce that we have discovered something new and exiting from the show-front in China. As many of us know, especially us.. you cannot just go to see any show in Beijing or any other of the big cities. Because some are just no good, or some are only for very specific tastes. While we have been extremely happy with some of the shows here, overall the entertainment industry is not the easiest bite to grab!
But we can say happily the this new drum show in Beijing, known as the Millennium Drum or “Millennials Melody of Drum Music” as was badly translated by the Chinese media is definitely worth it. It has it all, based on Chinese tradition.. performing arts doesn’t get more exiting than this. The pace is fast and makes your heart pound. Leaving you with a high from it, for days.
The troupe that performs at Chaoyang Theatre was founded in 1988. So you know you are watching professionals in action. The name Jiangzhou is the ancient name of the city of Shanxi where this type of traditional Chinese drumming originates from. As the history dates back let’s say somewhere after D.A, you can imagine that there are quite a few styles to it as well.
At this prominent Beijing theatre however, they have focused on fast pace and action. In other words it is guaranteed to not bore anyone. The show is still fresh and a new venue so grab some popcorn and try to see if you can eat it during the show! Or might be a bad idea
Yes.. once again it’s the topic of China. Which is probably the most contradictive of the three. I mean, Japan and Korea have their contradiction too of course. A mix of modern with Tradition. Technological achivements, skyscrapers in the midst of traditional wooden buildings. That’s the contradiction we all well know.
But in China it’s something totally different.. since there are hardly any old structures or historical things in comparison. New destroyes the old, they don’t walk hand in hand. The contradiction in China is more emotional.. the infrastructure is still in babies hands (once again in comparison), no matter how many sky scrapers they build they are not able to clean the shitty street next to it.. that’s where I set the mark when they have reached a certain height in evolution..
Going back to the contradiction, emotionaly it’s something that lives in side you. You hate it, and you love it. At the same time. Most probably you hate it so much because you love it so much. It’s not easy, yet you feel free and comfortable when it works out for you.
Some of unfortunate, some or fortunate.. you can find everything from the country when you look at people. And especially when you look at yourself.
Ultimately I would say that China is a journey inside your own self. Everytime you are pissed off at the Chinese or the structure of their society.. take a moment to breathe and look at yourself. This pause can teach you a lot about yourself. Welcome to China!
I found another great resource for Beijing nightlife goodness, it seems like a sister with the Shanghai version. Known as Show Beijing, this night show guide looks like a neat addition to the family.
For nightlife Beijing is a pretty interesting place because all the best stuff is underground. Also the government likes to keep parties a bit smaller, which is good for us. We love more intimate and friendly parties anyway. Ok, I’ll admit some of the shows are pretty crap but.. wait for the but!
Usually the most popular ones are rubbish.. the ones that are in small smelly theaters.. I think they are the ones to look out for. You get the original atmosphere, without any “special effects”. Just extreme skill shown my people who hardly get paid. Well the money issue is not something I think is good or something. But without a doubt it’s the way it goes in the country.
Once someone gets paid a lot then the quality goes down. Then you just run after the money instead of doing something with a passion. A lot of the shows in Beijing have seen this curve when they got famous. Stay away from the guidebooks and experience the real atmosphere of the city.
That’s why I’m happy to see another site that goes into detail to review these things, with authenticity. Creativity is blooming, just you need to accept that China is not a western country that’s all!
I’m a big fan of Sauna’s which is why I was more then exited to try out the traditional Korean version.. known as Jjimjilbang (찜질방). Before I went there I knew little of it.. except that recently it has become also popular in Japan.
Turns out this is more like sitting on warm stoned instead of a full power Sauna experience. However the biggest surprise was that these Saunas are uni-sex with both women and men together.. while wearing clothes.
Hearing the “clothing” aspect of the Sauna didn’t sound quite exiting.. and indeed I was struggling with the “not so pleasant” sensation of wearing sweat soaked clothes throughout the whole experience. Unfortunately but better late than never it was explain to me, that the clothes enable you to see “bad parts” of your body. These parts will produce more sweat than others and help you to identify specific problems.
My body might have a lot of problems because I felt like the sweat was simply everywhere. I was very happy to remove the clothes are this 30 minutes of lying down on stones. Despite this issue.. the Sauna was very pleasant and I liked that fact that you lie down instead of a normal Sauna where you mostly have to sit up. This made it very pleasant and I almost fell asleep. Just remember to take a cold shower afterwords!
Undoubtedly, if you want to see a buzzing city with huge skyscrapers and exiting nightlife. In the world one city in China stands out from the rest in a truly spectacular fashion. We teamed up with Show Shanghai to discover some of the highlights the city has to offer.
While during the day tourists are on the move, there is another kind of movement that can only seen the light of dawn. If you have the time and energy, one of the most fun things to do is to simply go around with cheap taxies to restaurants and clubs.. eat well, drink well and party even better!
We started off the night by catching the show at Shanghai Centre Theatre which shows off the acrobatic might of China. This worked up well enough to bring our mood into the heights of the surrounding skyscraper landscape.
There is lot to eat and drink.. Shanghai is famous for soups and dipping dumplings in them. This is a light-enough a bit Hong Kongese flavored style to eat a lot without getting stuffed and leaving room for the drinks. My favorite, Chinese alcohol no matter what the brand.. and wash it off with good old Tsingtao beer.
Catch up on some of the local nonsense with fellow diners and grab a few chilies before you centre off to some clubbing.
While the restaurant life might be irresponsible and an intuitive beast. The clubbing is not that of an easy ask.. sure the city is filled with clubs, but you better check out a good venue in advance and plan a bit. Perhaps even buy the tickets in advance. I know it’s a bit of a bore, but random clubs in this city just don’t give you the kicks if you know what I mean.
Well the rest his history. You can catch a early morning sleep at the capsule hotel recently opened in Shanghai. It’s well suited for the whole, masculine portion of our nightlife crew!
One of the striking things about Japan, is it’s vending machines.. you can find them from all around the country. From train stations, street corners, shop fronts, countryside, cities, you name it! They are absolutely abundant.
From the western perspective it almost looks irresponsible. Of course they contain money and valuable goods inside, so hasn’t anyone realized they could break the machines and steal the money at night? Seems no one is worried about such a thing! So any shop or street corner can have it, just for extra income.
You can buy anything from coffee, soft drinks to even alcohol at times. Not to mention cigarettes and other goods. Japan just wouldn’t be anything without it’s vending machines!
Getting to Grips With Chinese Culture
Absolute one of the best ways of becoming friends with The Republic Of China is to get to know it’s culture and people. There are a lot of negative views towards the country but this is often due to a lack of real knowledge.
Every country has it’s good and bad sides and if you put enough effort into getting to know the things you like about the country, negative views will naturally subside.. even though this may sometimes seem difficult, we believe it’s simply a matter of personal choice.
Beauty in Chinese Opera
One such interesting example is opera. The women are so stunningly beautiful and the make up so striking that it made me fall in love with China in an instant. In fact this was one of the main doorways to my fascination with the country. Without it I would still be with my negative thoughts about the country, while now I am so overwhelmed by the art that it’s hard for me to accept the negativity of which some is absolutely correct. The situation has gotten as far as being accused by my friends of over protecting the countries image.
Nevertheless, Chinese Opera or any other Chinese performing art can spark your interest. Therefore for your enjoyment I have collected some of the most beautiful images of Women in opera. All of the images are from Peking Opera, of which the majority are shot at the renowned Liyuan Theatre stage in Beijing. You can find more information here.
To go and witness the beauty with your own eyes, we recommend heading your way to Beijing and checking out some of the popular theaters there. Till next time..!