Shanghai – first impression. From utopia to reality

My first impression about China turned out to be fairly utopistic. 😉 Since my plane landed in rain & fog, i accepted in no time, that the general weather condition keeps constantly being this, and you can never see further than 80 meters, and dont have the chance to see the sun, or clouds, not even ufos or yeti, unless they come close enough to get unfolded. Just like in ‘Matrix’ or ‘Highlander’.. etc. I gave the chance to Shanghai to surprise me and show the opposite of the above listed beliefs, later..

First Impression about Shanghai: Empty fields.

First Impression about Shanghai: Empty fields & working construction machines in the background (“maybe they are already extending Shanghai here?” :)

10 minutes later: road & cars

10 minutes later: road & cars & “smog”‘

40 mins later:  road & cars & houses

40 mins later: road & cars & buildings & smog? (caution: the photos are massively digital-effected :)

So in the first hour it turned in my mind, that maybe from now i not going to see the Sun for a few months.. Okay, i said to myself: “never mind dude, since every given fact is part of our new experiences, thus we should accept everything as it comes (or not comes;).”  What is more, i immediately (forced myself to) turned to be happy by realizing that i will have even more time to deal with my chinese language studies, since there won’t be any disturbing parameters such as: good weather, sun-tanning, laying/sleeping in a park or riverside, hiking and other “time-consuming”, “ineffective” activities. 😉  ..After a short while my new plans and ‘hopes’ were seemed to be sabotaged again..

By arriving from the Pudong Airport Shanghai seemed to be an ugly, utopic, post-communist area fully populated by these living-units.

By arriving from the Pudong Airport, Shanghai really felt like an ugly, utopic, post-communist area fully populated by these living-units all over the way.

Then a bit later you can realize that the overall image can look far better if the weather sets to be better. (Yes, so clouds are egzisting on the Shanghai sky as well! Good news! ;)

Then a bit later you can realize that the overall image can look far better if the weather sets to be fine (Yes, so clouds are truly existing objects on the Shanghai sky as well! Good news! ;)

Then soon it turned out, that Shanghai is just a normal city, no crazy utopia, no dark cloud-curtains and acid-rains,  (to date:). Haha, there are other crazy places for that.. check Linfen city, oh my gosh! Even more, Shanghai has just as good sunsets as any other place i have been to. From this point me and Shanghai were kickstarted our good friendship, the symbiosis by which i accept every gift that Shanghai hands me, and Sh have to accept my activity on every squaremeter of his / her (?) territory.

My first sunset in Shanghai. I'm satisfied. Let's collect 'em all!

My first sunset in Shanghai. I’m satisfied.

Let's collect 'em all!

Let’s collect ’em all..

Food-shot challenge #02 – The “bun question”

Some ingredients are not visible in the picture, unless i replace the top of the buns. Okay, but that’s not the typical way that i eat them.
Both the left and right side gives us important information, but about two different aspects, which exist at the same time, but (maybe) impossible to show at the same time! So i cannot compress all the information* into one picture.
I try to document my food on the most logical way, however it’s not an easy business to keep the reality unmanipulated in such extreme situations, however i do everything to not to manipulate or pimp the ‘design’ of my meals just for the sake of the photo-documentation!

Food-shot challenge #01 – Flash vs. natural light

iwanwilaga's food-photo project rules, requirements. Flash usage advantages versus natural lights.

Easter Menu (and behind that..)

Easter menus consumed by iwan between the year of 2006. and 2012.

iwanwilaga's default Easter Menu - ham, horseradish, eggs, bread - the core basics

Why i think, Easter-breakfast worth a blog post?

If you are an atheist..
..and don’t deal with the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at all, ..never mind, you may even find it a tasty meal, which you eat once a year, out of sheer habit. No question, the yearly basis might be one of the key components of our sympathy towards this tradition (however I’m not an atheist at all, now let me speak & think like an atheist for a few seconds;). Thanks to this once a year – “feature”, it isn’t really counts, what the menu is about. It could be literally anything. It could be – for example – just a glass of water.  Pre-eminently if in the rest of the year i only could drink drinks that consists no water..;P. I would desire it as hell the same way because of it’s curiosity. Waiting for something (or someone) for one entire year – most of the times – used to do it’s job. Intrinsic value runs up by inverse ratio to the occurrence. And by this fact we instantly arrived to the good-old topic of classical temperateness, which we such easily forget in our daily life, nowadays..
I think, we deal with temperateness much less consciously than we should do. Our life quality and happiness factor can extremely depend on managing temperateness properly. We can revalue almost anything if we set up some limitations towards doing or reaching a specific thing, or person. Just think about blooming long-distance relationships, or try to think how it feels like to take a shower (or to drink a glass of fresh water) after 3 days walking in a desert, or getting into a dry, warm bed after 12 hours of continuous hiking in cold,  rain and dark, or a minute of silence after a whole day construction in the neighbour. Or just not watching tv for a day and “re-exploring” other useful activities in the room.. Things valorizes up. Yeah! I think, the real Art & Knowledge is to be able to approach the things of life by this way, ..by default..

If you are a believer..
..you know well, that the Easter feast after the Lent period is even “much more fun..” i mean, much more sophisticated, deeper experience, ..but leave this part to the next post;).

What the World Eats

families from different countries and the food that they consumes for a week time

photos from the book: "Hungry Planet - What The World Eats" by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio

I’ve met this project first around the year 2007.  I was amazed by the simplicity of the concept:  Choose typical families representing such different countries, and ask them to buy that they usually eat and drink for an average week. Then make a nice family pageant/portrait photo with all the purchased products and family members in their kitchen or living place.  The concept is simple, but ingenious. We know, a lot of simple concepts are ingenious;). But someone have to make them real!

Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio made it real, and now i repost it as a tribute to this spectacular, informative and thought-prvoking representation of life-quality in different places of Earth.
Here you find the full project.

You can check how much money they spent and can compare it to the other families spendings (thus it’s calculated in US dollars as well). It’s quite familiar with the idea of the Big Mac Index which also represents well the purchasing-power parity of the different countries.

Compact camera vs. iPhone 4S

image and flash quality comparison between a compact=I have to admit, i still was a bit afraid of the photographic capacity of the iPhone 4S when i tossed the money for it in the store. I checked some comparisons on websites before and found, maybe it is the first model, that could retire the compact cameras, which i used since 2006. My main doubt was about the flash capacity and quality, since i use flash for ALL of my documented meals. It’s in my “design” policy.

Now i want to show, that Apple dudes made quite eligible job with the 4S, because there is not a big difference between the two images in my comparison picture above. Or at least it’s above the line. I’m glad, and sure, that the new generations of iPhones will give even better image quality.
Iwanwilaga project is kinda satisfied at this moment. iPhone 4S passed 😉

Grenade to the rainforest

There is a quite spectacular OCD* disease named Compulsive Hoarding . The main sympthom of it, that the victim simply cannot throw out / get rid of any object, which is normally not necessary anymore. So the things, (mainly rubbish) are slowly accumulate at the living place of the patient..

*:obsessive-compulsive disorder

There are different levels of this disease:

A kitchen owercrowded by pizza boxes versus a shopping bag filled with reuseable paper sheets

The results of this behaviour are truly frightening – sometimes kind of artisticly spectacular (with a little pinch of irony).

Why i deal with this phenomenon anyway? Cause i realized, that i may be related to this kind of behaviour in a way. Fortunately not at that hardcore level ;). In fact for several years i often preserve and collect all kind of papers, sheets which has any remained empty surface on them to draw or write! That’s what you can see on the right picture above. The left picture is NOT MY ONE ;). It taken somewhere in the U.S. i guess (this disease may affect up to 2 million people in the United States).

I simply feel awful, and kind of defeated when i have to throw out any paper with only 1 page filled out. So mostly i manage to avoid these situations somehow. To go further, i feel the same every time, when a toilet paper roll is finished. I don’t throw the roll out, instead i cut it with scissors and put it to the “paper repository” (right pic above again) which is a simple shopping bag fully filled with papers. From faulty printed office papers, to corn-flake boxes, pasta-, rice packets(inside of them is empty, so i used to unfold / lay out them), toilet-rolls..

The evolution of making an emtpy toilet paper roll to a fine piece of sketch paper
I collect them for about 5 years. Since  “occuppied”  my university dorm room, and i started to be a conscious consumer or something like that.  For me it’s a pleasure to draw sketches, graphics, plans, thoughts  on them with my black brush-pen / marker. I feel, i do a bit of redemption/adonement to the nature with this gesture. It’s one of the best feelings i know. It’s amongst the top 10 feelings i know ;).

Thats what i feel when i throw out or destroy a reusable paper:

When i throw out a reusable paper, i feel that i throw a grenade on the rainforests. Infographics by iwanwilaga.com
If this post has motivated at least 1 reader,  it worth to do it!

Here are some cool ideas of using toilet paper rolls for different things 😉 And here is some hot ART..

(note: the illustrations of this post are draw onto toilet-paper rolls, and rice-box insides)

iwan’s daily food 2011-10-31

iwan’s daily food 2011-10-30

iwan’s daily food 2011-10-29

iwan’s daily food 2011-10-28

iwan’s daily food 2011-10-27

iwan’s daily food 2011-10-26

iwan’s daily food 2011-10-25

iwan’s daily food 2011-10-24


The more tea, the more biscuit..