Of Spitting, Skylines, And Seniors
My Final Post (For the Near Future)

Attention: I finally made my other Tumblr(s)!!! You can find my personal one at erikakalkofen.tumblr.com and my (soon to be) Beijing blog at babybeijinger.tumblr.com. [Forewarning: I just set them up tonight and they are bare bones. Give me a few weeks to flesh things out]

This means that my Shanghai blog (which you may have noticed got changed to shanghaisophomore.tumblr.com) will be as of now archived. I maaaaaay wrap some posts up, but really, who knows when.

I realized that this shouldn’t be my primary Tumblr account and yet didn’t want to move every post over to a secondary one or, heaven forbid, delete it. So it will remain inactive but available for those out there that have Shanghai questions or whatnot.

It was a great way for me to share and help others and I hopefully won’t forget about it entirely, but make sure to transition to my new ones!

Thanks a million,

Erika K

Thank You Kara Korab

Thanks to my wonderful friend Kara and her new life with a wonderful new blog karakorabphotography, I remembered I have a Tumblr. And then subsequently remember how awful I was for deserting it. Hey, life kinda got in the way.

Now, I am graduated and ironically enough have free time on my hands (good for my mind, bad for my wallet…). And I am also RETURNING TO CHINA! 

I won’t be picking up where I left off on my blog Of Spitting, Skylines, and Seniors, but I might wrap it up (there are some posts in my drafts folder waiting to be published). And then I will start a new blog, about my new life in a new city: Beijing. It won’t be the same style and I doubt any of my followers stuck around to even be interested in this post, however I just wanted to let y’all know whats up, that I am trying to get back into blogging, and that I am grateful for the support you gave me when I was actually active.


I went through my messages and saw some wonderful messages from fans/random peeps that just dropped by to say that they loved my blog and recommended it to friends and just basically said things that made me all warm and fuzzy inside. Y’all planted the seed for me to start again.

So, before this becomes to mushy-gushy, I’ll leave a parting message that once I finally decide on a name for the new blog, I’ll post it.



how good is your mandarin now, and how good was it before you came to china?

Ummm, my Mandarin was conversationally good when I left the summer of 2012. Now….not so much. Lack of practice/motivation/opportunity to talk to other Chinese speakers. But! I will be returning to China soon, so hopefully I pick it back up and improve!

~ E

hey, i just wanted to say, i have read every single post you ever put up. every. single. word. btw, thanks for going to shibuya with me

Thanks…I think. Is this Colleen?

You weirdo,

~ E

Back From The Dead

I think I just remembered I have a Tumblr. After almost four months of silence I have decided to post again. As I read my past posts, I rediscovered why I had began blogging: to help others navigate China (and the world) a bit easier and to show how wonderful the diversity of the world is.

As of right now, I am in Osaka, Japan (right right now I am also in my bed). I have been here almost three months, traveling, learning, and eating my heart out. But learning Japanese is hard: even though I have been here three months, I am still lower than a kinder-gardener in terms of language skills.

This also means I am really busy. While I will try to update again, it may not be with the same detail or frequency as before. And I will not have the same themes (like Engrish or Funny pictures and whatnot).

I don’t know if any of you lovely followers will come back to me. I don’t expect much. But I hope to help spread Asian fever again.

On a side note, I think I will create a second blog just to keep my adventures categorized  If I don’t find a way to keep my blogs linked, I may move to a different site.

Update…pending. But I swear on the 30円 I have left to attempt this adventure once again.

As my Aussie friend would say, 

Cheers ~ E

How did you come up with "Of Spitting, Skylines, And Seniors"??

Well, it all came from my first impressions of China. Within the first 24 hours I had Seen men and woman, young and old, Spitting. Everywhere. And coming from a country where this almost never happens meant that I was kinda(very) Shocked. And looking out from my balcony for the first time, all I Saw was the Shanghai Skyline, full of Skyscrapers. A big impression on a girl who comes from DC, where none of the buildings are taller than the Capitol building. And there are so many elderly people: this information I had learned about while reading an Economist article about China’s aging problem. But actually Seeing all of them, Sitting and chatting and even working on the Street was an totally new experience.

So put it all together and its the three things that first came to my mind when Summarizing China. Now that I have lived here for 8 months, I think a little differently. Yet all these things are still prominent in my mind.

Even though the title says that, the money needed is not actually for me. A fellow friend of mine is going on the same program as me to Osaka. Only problem is she doesn’t have enough money to cover everything. Before you say “She can take out loans” and “She should have applied for scholarships”, I want you to know that she has done all that and more. This isn’t some girl needing some extra spending money, but someone who truly needs this money to achieve her dream. Please take even a second of your time and visit her site. Even $1 makes a difference!

Thanks all you AWESOME, AMAZING people out there ~ E

How To Apply For A Japanese Visa In Shanghai

[Disclaimer: This information is only from my experience, as an American student applying for a Japanese Student Visa. While the information provided on the location and how to reach the office can be applied to everyone, all of the visa tips/application process may only apply to Americans/Foreigners hoping to study in Japan]

Since I am going to study in Osaka this fall, I needed to apply for my visa, but I didn’t know how to get started. Getting a visa is always a difficult process and doing so in another country seems even harder. As an American studying in China, all the information I had about applying for a visa was useless, as it only applies to the United States process. I needed to do some reserch before hand to get in right (the first time, since we all know that one mistake can delay the process for another billion years).

I took to the internet in hopes of finding information on applying in Shanghai or finding the Shanghai Japanese Consulate’s website. Well, I found the website and, low’n behold, it was all in Chinese (no English option and my Google Chrome can only translate at the level of a 5 year old).

So I turned to Googleing other people’s experiences. I didn’t find posts from people’s experiences but I did find some pages on the process (ehow.com and other such websites). But they didn’t all match up: some of the requirements were different, as were the prices. I was getting kind of frustrated with all of the vauge answers. The only thing I was sure of was the Consulate address and that the Consulate’s website did have visa information.

Fed up, I turned to my Chinese friends and had them translate the Consulate’s information. Thankfully, the website also included an application form, which I printed. If you cannot find the form, here is the link:http://www.shanghai.cn.emb-japan.go.jp/apply/images/application1.pdf (you will need Adobe to open it). I finally got the right information and felt prepared.

[IMPORTANT: This form and process is for holders of a COE or Certificate of Eligibility. Though some of the process may be similar for other visas, please check the website for details. (http://www.shanghai.cn.emb-japan.go.jp/cn/apply/shorui.html)]

For foreigners, you will need to have the following items:

  1. passport
  2. Certificate of Eligibility (also bring a copy, though the center can copy one for you)
  3. Visa Application
  4. one 4.5x3.5~4.5cm photo (with a WHITE background)
  5. Temporary Residence Permit (If you don’t know what that is, it is the pink slip you get once you register with the police)

This morning I grabbed everything and set off for the Consulate. Because I live on Line 9, I went from Qibao (七宝), transferred at Yishan Road (宜山路) (Line3/4) and again at Hongqiao Road (虹桥路), to get off at Yili Road (伊犁路) on Line 10. For all of the other cheap people out there, the following are instructions on how to get there by metro and walking.

Step 1: Take the metro to Yili Road and then take Exit 4.

[Tip: For those of you who don’t have 4.5x3.5~4.5cm pictures laying around, all Metro stations in Shanghai have photo booths. Yili Road Station has one right next to Exit 4, the exit you should take, so make a quick stop. It is 20RMB for four Japanese Visa photos and the process takes less than five minutes. Make sure to have 10 or 20 bills.]

Step 2: Once you take Exit 4, keep turning left. It looks like a dead end, but it actually is an entrance to the park, giving you a short cut and a straight walk right to the road you want.

Step 3: Before you start wandering, stick to the path straight in front of you. If you are traveling during the morning rush hours, just follow all of the business men and woman. If they have a briefcase, its unlikely that they are taking a morning stroll. After about a minute, you will reach the other side: exit through the gate and you should see a big intersection.

Step 4: Cross the intersection (carefully and keep to the left sidewalk). You should be on Loushanguan Road (娄山关路).

Step 5: Walk about 200 meters and look to your left. You should be at 娄山关路55号 (or 55 Loushanguan Road). You should see a building and large red post that look like this (see below):

Now, at this point, all of you are like “Wait… this doesn’t look like the Japanese Consulate.” This, in fact, is not the consulate. This actual consulate is right around the corner on Wanshan Road (万山路), but DO NOT GO THERE. Listen carefully: The Japanese Consulate does not issue visas. You must go to the Shanghai Foreign Affairs Service Center.

As far as I can tell, I believe this Service Center handles all types of visas, not just Japanese visas, but this is only my impression. The Shanghai Foreign Affairs Service Center does have a website (http://www.11fa.com/index.htm) but again it is only in Chinese (though there is an “English Version” button in the corner, there is no way to click on it…), so try and find out more before traveling all the way over there and then finding out they only do Japanese visas.

I believe that there are three centers around Shanghai, but the only one that seems to show up online is the one I have directed you too: 上海外事服务中心出国服务部虹桥受理点. The actual address is 上海市长宁区娄山关路55号新虹桥大厦108室 (in case you decide to take a taxi) and their phone number is 62787790. 

Now, you have reached 55 Loushanguan Road: once you enter the building, go to Room 108. This room is hidden way in the back, so I took some pictures to help you find it (since the security guard speaks no English).

Follow the red carpet to the reception desk but, before you reach it, look to your right. You should see a doorway looking like it leads to the restrooms. It does, in fact, go to the restrooms, but it also leads to a hallway that ends with Room 108.

When I arrived, there was no queue: in fact, this process was the fastest government form application process I have ever gone through. But a small warning: there is someone who can speak English, but not very fluently, so brush up on your Chinese or make sure you have everything correct (which… is impossible).

You may have to re-fill-out the second page of the form, but I think it is so she can watch you sign it and allow you to keep a signed copy. While it says on the Consulate website you need your Temporary Resident Permit, I think she didn’t even looked at mine, so it may be unnecessary. She kept my passport (part of the standard procedure) and made a copy of my COE (which she also kept).

She told me to come back a week later, after 10:30am, to pick up my passport. As long as everything is in order, the process should only take a week, but if there are some mistakes, I have heard it can take up to 2-3 months. The hours for the center are Mon-Fri 8:30am-11:00am & 13:30pm-17:00 (though I saw a sign saying 16:00, so get there earlier rather than later). I believe you can apply for your visa throughout the entire day and that you can return to pick up your visa after 10:30am the following week (they will tell you which day to come back).

The visa costs 200RMB, which is only a single entry. Since my COE only allows a single entry, I am not sure what the price for a multiply entry is, but they assured me that I can change it once I reach Japan. You pay at window #6.

Once you pay, you are free to go. I hope that these tips are useful and clearly outline the process. I know that if I didn’t speak Chinese, I may have never found the building or the room (at the consulate, the Security guard simply said “Room 108” and pointed down the street). Bring extra money and any documents you think you may need (proof you can pay for your time in Japan, your school’s acceptance letter, etc.). I didn’t end up needing these things, but different countries have different relations with Japan, so you may need to meet different requirements.

Trying to make Shanghai a bit more navigable for foreigners ~ E

Another Apology Letter

I am updating after Something like… 2 weeks? I know, I was so good in the beginning, writing enthusiastically everyday. But lately between work and adventuring to far off places, I have had no time (or energy) to write. So now I am apologyzing for the… fifth time? I Say Sorry way too often.

Basically, I am now working random Shifts: Sometimes 7-3pm or 3-11:30pm and maybe they throw in a day off on a Wednesday. Now, I have always associated off days with weekends, so whenever they do that I get huffy because which of my friends also have Wednesdays off?

Anywho, because my bestestfriendinthewholewideworld is leaving tomorrow, we have Spent the last three weeks galavanting around China trying to do everything she hasn’t done before she gets Shipped back. We went to Suzhou(苏州), Nanjing(南京), Huangshan(黄山), and Hangzhou(杭州) over three different weekends (one of the most hectic months of my life). Today, she is getting back from Beijing(北京) and then I am helping her get to the airport tomorrow. So when I do finally blog about those trips, hopefully the amazing pictures will make up for the lost time.

Now on to a more important topic, I am actually finishing my work here in Shanghai on Sept. 1st. Then (wait for it)… I am off to Japan! You See, I have always want to go to Japan and after Studying abroad in China, I decided to continue my Studies in Osaka, Japan. I am Still going through the Same program, USAC, but this time I am Staying an entire year.

I will continue blogging when I am in Japan, but I have a question: Should I continue using this blog and change the title or Should I create another blog? Any input would be appreciated (but I think I am lazy enough to just change the title).

Either way, once Alecia leaves, I will be all alone (all my other university friends have left for the Summer too) and available to blog…… unless I Start Spending too much time doing KTV and eating Street food with my coworkers. This is totally possible, but I want to try and get back into the blogging Spirit

So I leave a parting gift as a promise to update: a lovely picture of me. Love, Peace, and Good Times ~ E

Uncle John (Who Is Not My Uncle)

About three weeks ago (we’re talking Ice Age time frame), my friend Alecia’s uncle came to town. He is a flight attendant and happens to fly into Shanghai fairly often. I was invited to hang out (more like be their tour guide and translator) and I luckily had that Saturday off.

I got up early (actually more like 10am) and hopped on the Metro. Saw way too many couples being lovey-dovey and was thoroughly nauseous by the time I reached Jing’an. They had already gotten up and went to See Jing’an Temple, which is where I found them and met Uncle John for the first time. I have to Say that I liked Uncle John from the start (I mean, the man Said he loved Coco).

It was lunch time and Alecia had looked up a Specific restaurant for her uncle, as he is vegan. I think we Spent over an hour looked for the place before we gave up. I Suggested going to a food Street on West Nanjing, Since most of the restaurants are clean and more Western/International than your average Chinese family joint. In the end we decided on Korean, because it usually includes a lot more vegetables than American food. I have to Say that anytime I go looking for a place my visiting international friends can eat lunch, it is always Korean: if China would up their game (and Standards), I might be more inclined to tout Chinese food culture.

It was delicious (despite the face I am making). I grabbed some Krispy Kreme afterwards (Wujing Road is the only place that has a Krispy Kreme in all of Shanghai, so I had to Stock up). They wanted to See East Nanjing Road and The Bund, so we walked down West Nanjing to People’s Square. On the way, we Stopped at People’s Square because there was a large crowd and we wanted to check it out. When I Saw all the old people and hanging pictures, I could only laugh hysterically. I had heard of this “bulletin board”, but it was amazing to actually See it. Maybe every weekend, a huge mass of parents and grandparents advertise their Single children. They exchange information and look at potential Spouses to Set up their kids with. I could only Stare at all of the postings: there were even postings for people over 60. We eventually left the craziness and made it to East Nanjing. It was crowded, but we got some good pictures and exercise. 

Uncle John was put up in the Marriott at People’s Square, which had a pool (everything except the word pool is irrelevant in that Sentence). I had packed my bathing Suit just for this and was beyond thrilled. The pool was gorgeous and the changing room had two different Saunas and professional hair product. It was fantastic (except for the part were the pool desk told us afterwards that only one person was registered with the room, which means that Alecia and I were Supposed to pay 300RMB).

We cleaned up and went out to dinner. Now, Alecia has been craving honey toast for as long as I have known her. It so happened that we were in the area of a Cantonese cafe that Served honey toast. Off to Raffles City!

But before eating dessert, we decided we should get real dinner. Curry Sounded really appealing. It was very good, but big portions, so Alecia and I Split a plate. Uncle John got “vegan” curry and a beer. He Shouldn’t have had the beer, because it make him Sleepy, which lead to him almost nodding off later on when we got honey toast. The honey toast was a master piece, but definitely not meant to Serve three people (maybe one person). We demolished it in a matter of Seconds (the twenty minute wait was worth it).

Afterwards, I Said my goodbyes (I had to make the Metro). It was a fantastic day and I hope that I get to meet Uncle John again. And went I get paid next month, I will most likely get more honey toast.