I think I mentioned we also saw an actual knife fight in this same alley! With big giant meat cleavers!
Davesecretary of TIME FOR SOME STORIES fame (previously) decided to spend a year in a smallish Chinese city to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. He slowly realizes that he's not having a very good time.
Weirdo Toys started with a mix between Superman, Green Lantern, and good old fashioned racist characterization. Along the way it's found a demon lumberjack (ok, maybe not), action figures that should probably have never happened, cake decorations, real toys that look like knock offs, and a butt flashing pee boy. My favorites though are Super Spider-Man and Disney Transformers (part 2).
In Chinese, Shanzhai (山寨) literally means "mountain stronghold" and connotes a place with limited accessibility -- i.e. beyond the reach of authorities. In the past couple of years, it has come to refer to the manufacture of illicit tech gadgets by unauthorized factories: show us your shan zhai ji! But shanzhai can be used more broadly to describe knockoff culture, cheeky brand subversion, grassroots industrial creativity, and a certain DIY ethos. The latter may be best exemplified in these videos of a "Shanzhai Glider" in action. Apologies if the Chinese sites are slow-loading or unreachable for Western audiences. Mouse over links for descriptions, if so inclined.
A nation of outlaws. A century and a half ago, another fast-growing nation had a reputation for sacrificing standards to its pursuit of profit, and it was the United States.