Intern name: Kacie Miura
Internship Position: International Crisis Group
School: Yale University – Jackson Institute for Global Affairs
Major: Master’s degree in International Relations
Posted on August 30, 2012
This summer sure went by quickly! I enjoyed my entire stay in Beijing, but I loved August most of all. Because I had injured my ankle playing tennis earlier in the summer, I had been unable to do many of the things on my bucket list. Fortunately, by the time my internship wrapped up in early August, my ankle was good to go.
The month began with a quick visa run to South Korea, where I stayed with a good friend of mine in Seoul. She took me on a four-day eating tour of the city. We did some sight-seeing and explored different parts of the city, but our main focus was the food: kalbi, cold noodles, bulgogi, traditional kimchee pancakes, bimbimbap.. and a whole bunch of other delicious foods whose names I can’t remember. Needless to say, I had a wonderful time in what might just be the culinary “Seoul” of Asia.
As I was at the Incheon airport waiting to catch a plane back to Beijing, the plane that was boarding at the gate next to mine was headed to my home state, Hawaii. Even though the thought of hanging out all day on the beach was tempting, I was still really excited to go back to Beijing, where I had so much left to do before heading home. Perhaps that’s why, as soon as I landed in Beijing, I set out in a flurry to do everything I couldn’t do when I was injured.
For the rest of the month, my boyfriend, who is Chinese and was staying with me in Beijing, played tourist with me as we explored the hutongs and shoppings spots (from antiques at Panjiayuan to luxury goods at Wangfujing), and of course visited the standard attractions, like the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Olympic Village, and, best of all, the Great Wall.
The Wall was amazing! I wish I had been able to make the Norcap trip that Jaise went on (see his blog for incredible pictures), but the spot my boyfriend and I went to at Mutianyu was pretty darn cool. It’s quite touristy (visitors go down via toboggan), but not overly so, and we were able to hike out far enough to get away from the crowds. I was sore for days afterward, but it was definitely worth it – words just can’t describe the magnificence of the Wall. As I stood facing Beijing from on top of one the watchtowers, I couldn’t help but feel as though I had achieved something special. I’m certain that this feeling of accomplishment is a feeling shared by everyone who climbs the Great Wall, as well as everyone who spends time living, working and learning in China. Climbing the Great Wall was definitely the perfect way to cap off an incredible summer in Beijing.
Posted on August 7, 2012
My friend Lulu at the Panjiayuan antique market looking at leather shadow play puppets… I met Lulu as an undergraduate at the University of Hawaii, but hadn’t seen her for years – ever since she took a job in the port city of Dalian. In June her company sent her to Beijing for the week, so we had lots of time to catch up and explore the city together.
Fishing and romance at Chaoyang Park… This park, which is Beijing’s largest, features carnival rides, flower gardens, and a man-made beach (where the beach volleyball event was held during the Olympics).
“Liangfen” is my favorite summertime snack in China. It’s fat slabs of gooey noodles made from mung beans, dunked in a cool peanut-flavored broth and topped with cucumber strips and hot peppers. It’s heaven.. and all for $1 a bowl!
At the Summer Palace… this imperial garden, built in the Qing Dynasty, came under attack by western powers during the 1900 Boxer Revolution. It’s hard to imagine anybody ransacking someplace so beautiful. At the center of the Summer Palace is Kunming lake, which my boyfriend and I spent part of a very hot afternoon boating across.
Posted on June 5, 2012
I am a graduate student at Yale University and am working toward a Master’s degree in International Relations. I am spending the summer interning at the Beijing office of the International Crisis Group, a think tank that advises governments and other influential international actors on how to prevent deadly conflict around the world. I am passionate about the Crisis Group’s mission and consider myself lucky to be here in China, which frequently finds itself in the midst of much action as it increasingly shapes political outcomes on regional and international levels. My job is to track China’s role in potential areas of conflict, such as the South China Sea, the Korean peninsula, and along the Sudan-South Sudan border. I can’t help feeling impressed, and a little overwhelmed, by the sheer complexity of the challenges and opportunities presented by China’s rise.
While my research is focused on Beijing’s external influence, I am just as interested in learning more about what goes on within this fascinating city. From swanky rooftop lounges in Sanlitun to barbequed lamb skewers on street corners, Beijing has it all. I love that I can watch Men in Black III in 3-d on the same day that I eat beef noodles from a shop tucked away in a Yuan-dynasty hutong. The clash between old and new gives Beijing its unique charm. As I once read that the largest local map publisher revises its diagrams every three months in order to keep up with the city’s changes, I am determined to enjoy Beijing as it is now.
I’ve spent some time in China before – I studied abroad for a summer on the island province of Hainan and then lived in the Chongqing countryside as a Peace Corps volunteer – but this is my first time in Beijing. I learned a lot, often the hard way, from my living and traveling experience in China, and I arrived with the basics: I knew to avoid Sichuan peppercorns, which numbs your mouth, and the rice wine baijiu, which numbs your brain. Yet my time in Beijing thus far has shown me how much I have yet to learn about China and its culture, history and people. Each day here holds the promise of a new adventure, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you.