HIT Subcultures (Older Population and Farming Locals)

A few classmates and I were walking about campus and ran into the front entrance sign. The calligraphy was written by the one and only Mao Zedong! I thought I would take a picture in front of it with my friend, Mallory.

I often take walks around campus. Since it gets dark around 6:00pm, my walks turn into nighttime ventures where I observe what people are doing. I’ve run into the rollerblading club, little kids playing around the food market, and a quaint district within the walls that hosts the older relatives of HIT teachers. This district or 4 or so buildings has a garden that has corn stalks, sunflowers, a cat, and older people exercising or doing Taichi. It’s fun to walk through to see how they spend their day, and compare it to the lives of the thousands of students that live around this tranquil place.

During a break between classes, I walked around the library and saw these two women chatting up a storm. That is the library next to them and an administrative building in the background (its nickname is the “toilet bowl”)

The quaint district’s park and garden

Though we live on a school campus, where the majority of residents are 20-26 year old students, there are other subcultures that live within our walls. For instance, the older relatives that live in this district, or the thin rows of farmland that line the edge of the west wall. On one of these walks, my classmate, Shanxia, and I found abandoned ground between campus and the railroad tracks that has been turned into toiled soil. We slid under a gate and walked through the uneven rows of cabbage, carrots, peanuts, and tomatoes. The width of the patch is about 15-20 feet long and the length is about 2-3 blocks long. At first, it looks like overgrown brush, until you look closely and see handmade fences made out of sticks, wire, and plastic, and orderly green sprouts coming out of the earth.

This picture was taken while we walked along the railroad tracks. A local is toiling the earth. Notice how thin the patch is and its location. I wonder if they pay for using this land or if they toil it without local officials noticing?

My classmate, Shanxia. We walked along the railroad tracks to get back to the West Gate of campus.

This fencing was made out of sticks and wire. It looks like this local is growing green onions and other vegetables.

Besides academic/school culture that fills this area with life, there are other “hard-to-see” populations of people that occupy it as well. The older relatives, the farmers, and restaurant/shop owners, janitorial staff, etc. So far I have only witnessed two of these subcultures, hopefully I will be able to see more aspects of HIT culture later in the year.

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