Pixel Art: Pikachu

Pixel Art: Pikachu

Pixel art of Pikachu from Pokémon, created with logos of brands owned by the Coca-Cola Company, including Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Light, Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola Cherry, and Fanta Orange.

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Pixel Art: InuYasha

Pixel Art: InuYasha

Pixel art of InuYasha from InuYasha, created with logos of brands owned by the Coca-Cola Company, including Coca-Cola Classic, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Light, Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola Cherry, Fanta Orange, Fanta Stawberry, Pibb Xtra, and Minute Maid Light Lemonade.

Guilin: Mountains and Waters of Eternity

The river forms a green gauze belt; the mountains are like jade hairpins. —HAN Yu, a Tang dynasty poet

Courtesy of Chris McLennan

The name Guilin (pronounced “kway-lin”) may not ring a bell to many; however, almost everyone has seen its signature beauty. Seldom does a book or travel magazine promoting tourism in China miss the chance to include a picture of the sheer limestone pinnacles jutting up along banks of the limpid Li River. Sometimes, it’s a nightfall scene that captures the magic of this city—perhaps a fisherman, dressed in clothing made from palm leaves and a traditional conical straw hat, lighting his lanterns on a narrow bamboo raft with his well-trained cormorants.

Providing backdrops for countless Chinese landscape paintings, Guilin has long been a tourist Mecca among domestics. Today, with more quality Western-style hotels and resorts—ranging from the 27-year-old Sheraton Guilin to the newly constructed Shangri-La Hotel, from the only State Guesthouse Ronghu Lake Hotel to Merryland Resort and its award-winning golf course—this enchanted land starts to gain attention from outside China.

Courtesy of 白雪石 (BAI Xueshi)

Speaking of international recognition, the Li River was recently named number four on National Geographic’s World’s Top 10 Watery Wonders, after Victoria Falls, the canals of Venice, and the Great Barrier Reef. The mother river of Guilin, Li originates from the Mao’er Mountains, winds through the city towards Yangshuo, and continues as the Gui River after merging with two other streams in Pingle. Several stretches make up the flow of about 271 miles, and each has its distinctive beauty. Hardly can a local appreciate every bit of Li due to the length, let alone tourists. Fortunately, a variety of signature sights happen to lie on both banks within the city limits and every step of the way—whether venturing southeast towards Yangshuo, exploring other counties, or choosing to stay near the highest peaks in the region.

Courtesy of 旅遊品質保障網 (Tourism Quality Assurance Network)

However far the Li conducts you along its winding miles, a bit of delicacy will make the day better. Here in Guilin, rice noodles are a civic icon, a tourist draw and a cultural obsession steeped in 2000 years of history. Each bowl consists of either spaghetti-shaped or linguine-shaped noodles, sliced marinated beef, crunch pork belly, minced pickled string beans, roasted soybeans, and fresh minced green onions. Often imitated around the world, the rice noodles are rarely duplicated successfully outside Guilin for lacking the soul—the dressing. Each shop treating its unique sauce as a top trade secret, the recipes, however, look almost identical—water from Li, regionally grown spices, and animal bones and gutting. Two of the leading shops, Fulin and Shiji, are 20-year neighbors—each with its die-hard fans. Both care much more about the satisfaction of each customer than about winning in numbers. Located by a downtown crossroad, both stores open 24/7, working to satisfy every bit of lust for this iconic dish regardless of the time.

Courtesy of Momentary Awe Photography

Not far from the rice noodles shops, on the western bank of Li, is Guilin’s emblem, Elephant Trunk Hill. Shaped as a huge elephant drinking from the river through its trunk, the hill thus earns its name. Thanks to plate movement and erosion, a gigantic pure limestone tower thrust up from the seabed over 300 million years ago, and ever since, running water has been carving the hill to its present-day configuration—a semi-rounded cave, named Water Moon Cave in between the trunk and the legs. A full moon casts two moons upon the water—the second formed by the inverted reflection of the cave. It is said the water never stops flowing away, but the moons stay even when the moon sets—hence the name “Moon over the Water.” On the top of the hill, stands a two-story pagoda built in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), consecrated to Samantabhadra, a Mahayana Buddhist bodhisattva, who mounts a white elephant with six pairs of tusks. Interestingly, seen from afar, the hill looks just like the mounted elephant that brings happiness and peace to the man’s world.

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Courtesy of Carl Gabrielsson

On the other side of the town sits Seven-star Park, just across the river. The biggest and most comprehensive of many, Seven-star Park features a long history and various attractions: Camel Hill, in front of which Clinton made his 1998 environmental address; Guilin Zoo, where panda Fengyi and Meixin and other animals reside; Crescent Pavilion, a long lasting Buddhist nunnery. Seven-star Cave, an extensive limestone cave complex under the Seven-star Hills that roughly resemble the stars of the Big Dipper constellation, tops all. In the cave, stalagmites, stalactites, stone curtains, stone flowers and stone pillars abound. With colorful illumination bringing dramatic effect, the cave suddenly turns into Willy Wonka’s world of pure imagination—some look like a lion playing with a ball; some look like a bridge of magpies across the Milky Way; some look like a koi traveling to the sea.

Courtesy of Dariusz Jemielniak

If and when ready to leave the city, Li has way more to offer. A cruise down the golden waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo reveals the dreamlike shan shui—the mountains and waters—all along. This 51-mile handscroll unfolds with foliage-covered peaks, crystal water, deep ponds, and shallow shoals. The placid river exquisitely reflect as a mirror, with the magical scenery rising straight out of the water; meanwhile, flowing mists linger around the mountains, concealing them and then exposing them in moments of surprise. Small villages with vistas of an idyllic life in rural China dot the valleys, where wisps of smoke curl up from kitchen chimneys, eventually mixing with the mist halfway; women kneel on the banks, washing clothes; peasants follow behind their water buffalo, plowing the rice fields; kids play, chasing each other on the grass…

The ride to Yangshuo ends without notice. There, a fishing-village blends tradition with modern, Eastern with Western, just as a well-mixed “Yangshuo Slapper” served at the local-famous Buffalo Bar& Cafe. Located on one end of West Street, Buffalo serves all three meals in either Chinese or Western fashion, with a large selection of beer, wine, and spirits. The owner, 46-year-old Australian Alf Exposito, says the otherworldly natural scenery stunned him, and so did the beauty (now his wife), Ming Fang, when he stepped on the territory of Yangshuo. He soon decided to settle down here and open a small bar business to welcome friends visiting from afar. Exposito’s idea never lacks support, or rather, competition—after a few entrepreneurs succeeded with their businesses, one after another Western-style bar and restaurant opened and lined the pedestrian-friendly street, making the name Foreigner’s Street popular among locals. Nowadays, the street attracts more Chinese tourists to come into one of the bars to have chocolate cakes or pizzas, experiencing a slice of Western culture, as Americans in the United States go to Chinatown and Little Italy.

Courtesy of Laitr Keiows

A corner turn from Buffalo is situated the bus station, where coach buses back to Guilin are available every 20 minutes. In no time, the bus arrives in Guilin—just as rich an adventure waiting for the next day of exploration.

Every year, as summer grudgingly gives to a clear, crisp southern China fall, attention turns to osmanthus trees that shadow every corner of the city. As the osmanthus flowers, blossom by blossom, burst into bloom, the whole city is awash with the pervasive sweet-orange scent, reminding local and tourists they are in the Forest of Osmanthus Trees—as Guilin translates—rather than in a fine Chinese ink wash painting.

DoSomething.org Announces the Do Something Music Festival 2014 Line-Up

For Release: May 1, 2014; November 5, 2013

Contact: Yanqitian Huang, (XXX) XXX-XXXX, yshuang@bu.edu

BOSTON—DoSomething.org announced the artists performing at the Do Something Music Festival 2014, set for July 12 and 13 at the TD Garden, Boston; the line-up includes Miley Cyrus, Macklemore, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, and Justin Timberlake with more to be announced in the weeks prior to the event.

Courtesy of DoSomething.org

All proceeds from the Do Something Music Festival 2014 will benefit DoSomething.org and its national campaigns, which aim to encourage young people to become active citizens and leaders in their communities.

For the second year, artists will perform over the course of two nights at Boston’s TD Garden; a performance by Demi Lovato will begin the two-day Do Something Music Festival 2014 on Friday, July 12 at 8 P.M.

“This year’s incredible line-up of global superstars will surely make the Do Something Music Festival 2014 our best event ever,” said Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething.org. “We are honored and appreciative to have so many renowned artists join us, inspiring more young people to take action on causes they care about and make a difference in the world. On behalf of all who will receive the support that DoSomething.org provides, we thank each and every artist for his or her participation.”

“The majority of my fans are young people, and I think it’s so important for them to realize they can have an impact on society,” said Demi Lovato, the host and opening artist of the Do Something Music Festival 2014. “I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of this music experience and, more importantly, social movement.”

Tickets will be available via Ticketmaster on May 15 at 1 P.M. EST. To avoid re-selling and scalping, all tickets will be held on will call; proper I.D. of the ticket purchaser will be required.

More information about the Do Something Music Festival 2014 is available at http://www.DoSomething.org/Festival.

Artists are subject to change without notice.

DoSomething.org is the largest organization in the United States committed to young people and social change. DoSomething.org sponsors a wide-range of campaigns that allow young people to take action on causes they care about. By leveraging the web, television, mobile services, and pop culture, DoSomething.org is on track to activate five million 13- to 25-year-olds by 2015, who recognize the needs of society and believe in their abilities.

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Asian Studies Initiatives at Boston University Hosts Museum Tour

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 22, 2013

Contact: Yanqitian Huang, (XXX) XXX-XXX, yshuang@bu.edu

BOSTON—On Saturday September 26, Asian Studies Initiatives at Boston University (ASIABU) will take students on a guided tour of the Asian Export Art Wing and Yin Yu Tang of the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM). The tour leaves at 10:30 A.M. from East India Square at 161 Essex Street in Salem. Participants can carpool or caravan to the site.

Courtesy of Yanqitian Huang

“This is a great opportunity for students majoring in history, arts or culture, and anyone interested in Asia to widen their knowledge on Asian arts and culture,” said Ayako Watanabe, the President of ASIABU. “And more importantly, it’s also a great chance for them to socialize with others with similar interests.”

Courtesy of Michael Lin

The Asian Export Art Wing is the country’s first permanent space for the collection of decorative art made in the Far East for export to the West. Numbering approximately 12,000 objects produced in China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, the collection reflects the  interaction between artistic and cultural traditions of East and West for almost 400 years. The collection includes a variety of artifacts ranging from porcelain to precious metals, from furniture to paintings, and from carvings to textiles.

Courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum

Yin Yu Tang, meaning Hall of Plentiful Shelter, is a late 18th century Chinese house that was removed from its original village in Anhui province and re-erected in PEM in 2003. The 16-bedroom home of the Huang family, Yin Yu Tang depicts life in the house for eight generations over a 200-year history of family and cultural change in Huizhou region, part of southeastern China.

The tour returns to East India Square at 12:45 P.M. for a quick reflection session.

All fees, including admission and guided tour, are covered by ASIABU, though participants are responsible for travel and accommodation costs.

“Considering students may have difficulties getting to the museum by themselves, ASIABU will leave as a group at 8:45 A.M. from Barnes and Noble @ Boston University Bookstore at 660 Beacon Street in Boston, taking public transportation,” said Yi-An Chen, the organizer of the event at ASIABU. “The round-trip fare is estimated as $18.50.”

More information about the tour is available by emailing asiabu@bu.edu.

Established in 2007, Asian Studies Initiatives at Boston University (ASIABU) serves as a liaison between students and Asian Studies faculty at Boston University. In order to promote opportunities for students, regardless of ethnic backgrounds, to learn about Asia and to develop career goals related to Asia, each semester ASIABU hosts numerous lectures, tea talks, roundtable discussions, excursions, and other academic and social events related to the study of Asia, including the annual Asian Studies reception.

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