Edited by Marco Monroy
Jinyin Street: The Base of “People-to-People”
On Friday, March 31, the day after Consul General James Heller and Dr. Huang Haifeng’s visit, Jinyin Street (The Golden and Silver Street) next to the HNC reopened as Jinyin Street International Youth Art District. This day coincided with the opening of the Nanjing University International Culture and Art Festival. Jinyin Street is about 200 meters long and is known as “A Back Street with the Culture Rich, Hundred Steps with Everything Nice.” And on one side is HNC, Institute for International Students of Nanjing University, and Nanjing University Business School. Jinyin Street is organically combined with Nanjing University Gulou Campus, where Chinese and foreign students live and study. There are nearly 500 small shops around Nanjing University: bookstores, flower shops, tearooms, restaurants, cafes, and so much more.. This is one of the most internationalized places in Nanjing and is one of the centers of face-to-face communication. Jinyin Street in Nanjing serves a similar purpose to Chinatowns abroad, hosting an enclave of international cuisines and shops. Walking down Jinyin Street, people can experience the fusion of cultures from all over the world, granting residents and visitors of Gulou District access to the entire world.
At the opening ceremony, 13 cultural stalls allowed people to enjoy the multinational experience without going abroad. Chinese students sang “Imagine” in a cappella and “Our Lady of the Underground” in English and performed Rubik’s Cube demonstrations; Korean students showed Korean song and dancing and sang “Daoxiang (Rice Fragrance)” and “Friend” in Chinese; Thai students sang and danced to “Ku Gad” and “Ku Gad” was covered by Chinese with the name of “Lost Love Front Alliance”; Vietnamese students sang Vietnamese songs and displayed the traditional garment Ao Dai; Students from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Ukraine and other countries showed their traditional dancing. Finally, everybody danced together to express this concept of a global village and peaceful unity.
开街仪式上，13个文化摊位让人们不出国体验多国风情；中国学生用阿卡贝拉唱“Imagine”，用英文演唱“Our Lady of the Underground”，还表演了魔方；韩国学生表演韩国歌舞并用中文演唱《稻香》和《朋友》；泰国学生唱跳《欢喜冤家》，这首歌被中文翻唱为《失恋阵线联盟》；越南学生唱着越南歌曲展示传统服饰奥黛；塔吉克斯坦、乌兹别克斯坦、土库曼斯坦、俄罗斯、乌克兰等学生分别展示自己的传统舞蹈，最后共同用舞蹈表现地球村与和平鸽……
Students from the HNC also participated in the opening ceremony. I initiated a dancing group at HNC and invited everyone to dance together. At the opening ceremony, we showed the Chinese classical dance “Golden Wind, Silver Sea, Singing Fishing Boat.” Wan Rongrong, who performed with us, said, “That day, Jinyin Street was full of foreign faces as if this was not Nanjing but abroad. Jinyin Street becomes a center of international exchange, and people are closer to each other. We can’t really understand a country or culture through any medium, but we can feel the warmth of culture through on-site visits or exchanges with local people.” Liang Xiao, another performer, added, “Communication is a shallow mutual recognition and understanding, but also a deep outpouring of true feelings and spiritual connection. People are constantly seeking to communicate with each other to create new and diverse connections and stories. I feel that Jinyin Street is driven by commerce which generates new vitality and enlivens cultural and social life.”
Chad Higgenbottom, a fellow HNC student, co-founded the Shanghai Composers Workshop, whose goal was to achieve structured musical improvisation. While at the HNC, he launched the “Innovation Band” which pursues “symbiotic improvisation” including music, dancing, painting, poetry, and so on. The band co-creates by focusing on a theme, such as “A Day in the Xuanwu Lake.” The band performed an improvisation of “Friday Jam” at the opening ceremony, using a keyboard, an electric guitar, and a Chinese drum. Jinyin Street makes Chad feel at home, he said, “When you dwell abroad, you require a range of new and improved aptitudes to make the most of the experience. The ability to speak Chinese is an example of a new aptitude I attained — and am still working each day to improve — to provide a basis for stronger relationships with Chinese people. I had practiced intercultural communication in the US before coming here, particularly during undergrad, but participating in group meetings at Starbucks with friends from other countries is a very different matter than living in these friends’ countries! A vastly improved ability to communicate interculturally, which often shows itself as patience or building common context with someone before arriving at conclusions, is one of the pillars of my present life in China. Without it, I could learn little when outside of an academic environment.”
方毅（Chad Higgenbottom）在上海和其他人共同创立了“上海作曲家工作坊”，目标是实现结构化的即兴。来中美中心学习，他发起了“创新乐队”, 追求“共生即兴创作”,包括音乐、舞蹈、绘画、诗歌等艺术。“创新乐队”通常根据一个主题来共同创作，例如“在玄武湖的一天”。“创新乐队”在开街仪式上用键盘、电吉他和中国鼓进行了《即兴礼拜五》（“Friday Jam”）的演出。金银街让方毅有宾至如归的感觉，他说：“当你居住在国外时，你需要一系列新能力来构筑体验。我的新能力之一是中文。我每天都在努力提高中文水平，为与中国人建立更牢固的关系奠定基础。来中国之前，我曾在美国体验过跨文化交流，尤其是在本科期间。但是与外国朋友在咖啡馆参加小组讨论，和生活国外完全不同。我的跨文化沟通能力大幅提高，我更加耐心，争取和人达成共识，这是我在中国生活的支柱之一。没有它，我在校园环境之外几乎学不到新东西。”
The other two performers of the band are Alexander Rosas and Nathan Rose. Alexander has been playing bass guitar for 18 years, and his nickname is Alexander Bassist. He said, “When I came to Nanjing in 2018, there were shops around HNC such as Ivory Fruit café & bar, Old Friends Restaurant, Skyways Bakery, Taiwanese Style Rice, The Uncle Pizza, etc. I went back to Nanjing at the beginning of this year and they are still open. The owner of Ivory Fruit Café is a friend of many foreign students, and we often chat with him when we pick up coffee, and the coffee he makes can be said to be an art. The day after I arrived in Nanjing, I went to eat at The Uncle Pizza, and although three years passed, the female owner immediately recognized me. HNC and Jinyin Street are a community where we create our daily life. I participated in this opening ceremony and worked with everyone to build our community and make the street come alive. Face-to-face conversations and people-to-people exchanges are important, and it is difficult for us to understand each other without communication. I was asked, ‘Why did you come back to China?’ I say that half of my life is in China, and Nanjing is my second hometown. As long as you have a Chinese friend, you are more willing to connect with China. This is true for any country.”
“创新乐队”的另外两位表演者是罗山达（Alexander Rosas）和任宏斌（Nathan Rose）。罗山达弹贝斯吉他已经18年了，他有个绰号叫亚历山大贝斯手（Alexander Bassist），他说：“2018年我来南京的时候，中美中心周边有象牙果咖啡、老地方餐厅、云中食品店、台式烩饭、披萨大叔等这些店。今年年初我回到南京，他们还在。象牙果咖啡的老板是很多外国学生的朋友，我们取咖啡的时候经常和他聊天，他做的咖啡可以说是艺术。我到南京第二天就去披萨大叔那里吃饭，虽然过了三年，但是披萨大叔的女店主马上认出了我。中美中心和金银街是一个共同体，我们在这里创造生活。这次开街我参与其中，和大家共同构建我们的社区，让街道活起来。面对面交谈、人与人交流很重要，没有交流我们很难理解彼此。有人问我为什么要回到中国？我说我的一半人生在中国，南京是我的第二故乡。你只要有一个中国朋友，就会更愿意和中国建立联系。这对任何国家都是同样的道理。”
Nathan loves to perform with a big smile. As for his experience in Nanjing, he says, “Before I came to China, it was actually difficult to communicate with people online. After coming to the HNC, people-to-people communication occurs naturally. You can have a chat after class or during meals. If I wasn’t in China, maybe I could easily have a negative impression of China. Because if you’re not in the local area, you’re easily influenced by other people’s opinions, such as those experts who can’t speak Chinese. We need to focus on real people, flesh-and-blood people. When faced with real people and environments, we will form individual experiences. After coming to the HNC, I realized many possibilities that I never expected. I tried the Chinese drum, Erhu, Guzheng, Guqin, and calligraphy. I use Western rhythms to play the Chinese drum, and music knows no borders.”
Shen Sheng, a student of HNC and a member of the Nanjing University Folk Orchestra, has traveled to Germany, Switzerland, and France to play Erhu, and has performed with the orchestra in many countries. She played the classic Erhu song “Pentium Horses.” Shen Sheng felt very happy that she could bring performances showing national characteristics to students from all over the world and felt the charm of the diverse cultures of all countries in Jinyin Street. Shen Sheng said, “Communication makes us understand each other better—it enhances feelings and shortens distances. For example, before I met my classmate Doron Shapir, I never understood what the original intention of vegetarianism was. But after talking to him, I learned more about vegetarianism, and I fully understand his concern for animals and the natural environment.”
Dr. Song Jing, a visiting scholar at the HNC, brought a camera to record the grandeur of the opening ceremony as an audience. He believed that globalization is not only economic globalization but also cultural globalization. He said, “Jinyin Street is a window for the world to see China. International students from all over the world gather here and constantly shine with the culture. This is especially valuable in the context of anti-globalization. The sustainable development of cultural globalization requires the support of cultural platforms, the participation of international contacts, and grounded exchanges. The HNC has innate advantages and is the leader of Jinyin Street international culture. In the process of creating a new form of human civilization, Jinyin Street is a new space for the coordinated development of multi-dimensional civilization and a new driving force for the development of civilization itself. Civilizational exchanges, mutual learning, and coexistence transcend civilizational barriers, conflicts, and superiority. Every day of living in Jinyin Street, we all feel, enjoy, and create culture, and spread culture in people-to-people communication, and we are all practitioners of the mission of civilization.”
On the afternoon of April 21, HNC held a scavenger hunt on Jinyin Street, and the treasures were hidden in the small shops. Participants can pick up clue notes to find out the treasure and receive a reward—shopping coupons. Residents and passers-by actively participated. A group of Germans went back and forth on Jinyin Street to search for treasure, and would never give up until they found the hidden treasure; An 80-year-old professor of Nanjing University happily hunts for treasure with young people. Wu Wenjuan, a student of HNC, was a volunteer to explain the rules of the game. “It is enjoyable to be a volunteer! The clues of the game are related to Jinyin Street, if you did not know enough about Jinyin Street before, then you must know more through the game. I think a lot of people respect the rules of the game and have the spirit of the game,” she said, “Chinese people, foreigners, the young, the elderly, residents, stall owners, and shop assistants all participated. People who don’t know each other get to know each other through the game, and they help each other in the game, and everyone gets along very well.”