Jilin Province, People’s Republic of China

February 15, 2009

map courtesy travelguide.com

map courtesy travelguide.com

Jilin 吉林
Jilin City 吉林市

I found this wonderful item on YouTube about Jilin Province that I wanted to share. It’s from a tourist point of view, so keep that in mind (i.e., it’s more or less a travelogue.)

I have never been to Jilin, but I can see from this slide show that there are things we could learn in St. Louis from Jilin. In particular we could learn more about loving our winter weather and getting outside year round. In St. Louis, we tend to roll up the carpets and stay inside after Labor Day (early September) and many outdoor venues close for the season then.

We write off a good part of the year with this schedule, and if we pay attention to how other people in other places live, like Jilin, we could enjoy our public spaces and nature together year round. It’s kind of silly to close up here so early in the year–it’s still summer! It stays fairly warm in St. Louis until the end of October, and we usually have a gloriously colorful autumn with leaves turning red and gold. Why not continue to have outdoor venues open?

Performers present traditional drum dance during Folk Culture Festival of the Korean Ethnic Group in Jilin City.

Performers present traditional drum dance during Folk Culture Festival of the Korean Ethnic Group in Jilin City.

Jilin Province borders North Korea and Russia on two sides, and Jilin City is also called the River City. Like St. Louis, it is nearly surrounded by rivers. I read some information on Jilin City that said in the winter the trees get covered in rime ice, which is frost and not actually like the dangerous ice coating we experience here in an ice storm. The rime ice is one of the natural wonders in China. There are images of it in the slide show here. I also read that “winter swimming” is a sport enjoyed there, even when people not in the water are bundled up on shore! (You swim. I’ll watch!) Jilin is in the far northeast of China, so winters are quite cold there. Sounds like a very hardy population!

Tourists view the rime scenery by the Songhua River in Jilin city, northeast China's Jilin Province.

Tourists view the rime scenery by the Songhua River in Jilin city, northeast China's Jilin Province.

Another thing noticed in the slide show here is how the river’s edge is always made such an accessible and welcoming public space for the residents. I found that to be true in every city where I’ve been in China. Again, St. Louis could learn from this. We currently have a big design competition and debate about how to make the riverfront here on the Mississippi more accessible to pedestrians, and really, it can be simply done.

If you want to learn more about Jilin, there is a lot of information on the Web, including the people’s love for Karaoke and places where you can go to participate locally.

One last thing: The pop song that accompanies this slide show is sung clearly and slowly enough that I can understand most of it! If you are learning “putonghua,” watch the slide show once for the images, and then play it again and close your eyes to concentrate on the lyrics. See how much you can understand.

If anyone knows the singer and song title, please post it here to share!

The slide show includes images of all the things I’ve mentioned here and more, so I’m not adding any more images to this post. Click on the “Jilin Province” link just below: Enjoy!

Jilin Province

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