Marvel

Jul 15, 2018

Ordering on Taobao, avoiding the scams

Wait ... how much is the shipping?!?!?!?!

We order all manner of things on Taobao, the online marketplace of choice in China. It’s a buyer beware situation, but mostly you’re going to get what you pay for: imitation Crocs, real Tabasco, Oscar Meyer ham, Swiss cheese. There’s a middle eastern deli — hello Voski! — that sells excellent flatbreads and hummus. And the Good Friends Store stocks a great selection of American condiments and spices. (Though I wish they’d get that dill relish back. I hate sweet relish.) We place a grocery order about once a month from various vendors on Taobao.

For big-ticket items, we usually order through 京东 — another online shopping platform that is a little more expensive but a lot more into genuine brand namery. But recently we’ve been plumbing Taobao for some pretty fun items. Peter collects Marvel Legends figures … and he doesn’t mind if the box has been opened, so he’s found some good deals on figures whose build-a-figure part has been harvested. And I’ve found some fun Korean stationery. I love stationery!

Sometimes there are hiccups, though. We talk about a clever scam we stumbled onto in the video above. So, be safe out there.

Sep 20, 2013

Kunming: Nerding it up at the Yunnan Cultural Industries Expo

At the anime convention, the cosplayers all want photos with us

Checking in at the Anime Convention
You can buy many weird hatsSome cosplayers wanted to pose with usThere was a small performanceMom as the HulkMore cosplayersMore cosplayers and us

Our time in Kunming coincided with the Yunnan Cultural Industries Expo, a show of local handicrafts, jade, jewelry, clothing, etc., that included a rather extensive anime convention. We had to go!

The anime hall was chock-a-block with booths selling pins, toys, cards, fans, panda hats (of course), cat ears, statues, etc. There was a tiny amount of Marvel stuff (including a Captain America shield that looked to be … unofficial), but for the most part the expo was a celebration of the local. We recognized a couple of cartoons — Doraemon and Pleasant Goat — because our junior students love those guys. Detective Conan, whom I used to watch oh so many years ago on Cartoon Network or wherever, is hugely popular here and was well represented; as was Monkey D. Luffy (gotta love that name!), a roguish pirate that my boy senior students all have T-shirts of. These guys and many others were plastered on all kinds of merch, from T-shirts to key chains.

The main attraction, though, was definitely the other attendees. Almost everyone was in costume, some of them quite elaborate. (The costume competition was fierce!) We took some photos with some of the cosplayers … and then some of them started asking to take pictures with us. We didn’t see any other westerners at the expo, and so we became a de faco exhibition!

Peter said our experience there was a lot like an American convention would be. (Besides the fact that we became accidental stars.) You know, nerds loving nerd stuff all nerdily together. It warms the heart to see that that’s just universal.