Signs of Winter in Shanghai

Winter has arrived in Shanghai, but it’s not yet in full swing.

My checklist would go something like this:

  • ☑ Leaving the water heating function on the water cooler on yet?
  • ☑ Using your warm fuzzy blanket in addition to your comforter yet?
  • ☑ Wearing a heavy coat yet?
  • ☐ Wearing your warm fuzzy slippers instead of the open-toed rubber slippers yet?
  • ☐ Wearing long underwear yet?
  • ☐ Using the heat at night yet?
  • ☐ Using the heat during the day yet?

Hmmm, I might just have to check a few more of these off after today.

2005/12/04 Update: Yeah, this was the weekend that winter finally arrived in Shanghai. It’s way colder now.

This has been a Micah-esque entry. For more HTML symbols (like ☐ and ☑), check out Character Entity Reference HTML 4.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Your apartment must have insulation if you’re not using the heat yet. I swear ZUCC’s walls are made of low-grade cardboard. It’s freezing in here all day unless we run the heaters.

  2. Beta males!

    Snow storm in Qingdao this evening, and I was only wearing a T-shirt and a windbreaker. Im sure ill be out on the mountain bike up Laoshan tomorrow afternoon in ever so thin spandex.

  3. And up here in the north? Minus 8 Celsius tonight, minus nine the next couple of nights, with highs of minus two. Sorry, but Shanghai is warm. Well, warm-ish. Well, a little chilly. The best part of living north of the Yellow River is central heating.

  4. Justin (Parasite) Says: December 4, 2005 at 12:24 am

    Christ. Well be lucky you aren’t paying for gas in the US. Me mum was telling me the other day — something that was formerly $8/unit has suddenly this month gone to $15/unit, and so seeing how much heat we needed last Jan Feb, our Jan Feb bills are gonna be $700-800 range for FRICKIN HEAT, and we’re only in Ohio!

    I remember walking around on a super cold day in Shanghai with no coat and a t-shirt only. It really impresses the natives, you should give it a try! All these old dudes were giving me this strong arm pounding into 2nd arm hand motion. I think it means I’m cool — though my girlfriend at the time claimed it is the hand sign for “you are a retard”.

  5. Justin, you gf is right… haha

  6. A snowstorm in Qingdao? I lived there four years, and I never experienced real snowstorm. I’m from Michigan, so my definition of the word might differ from yours.

  7. wow it did get extremely cold in shanghai today!!! i was freezing but the weather does make me feel like i’m home back in the states.

  8. I had to change apts on Jan 1, without having ever seen the apt before. The first thing we did was go in to turn on the heat, and lo and behold…no heat! My gf and I froze for 5 days before they fixed the heat… I guess that’s just typical Chinese. My boss had looked at the apt before renting it, but didn’t even think to check out the heating. Bah! I’m off the the Ukraine this Jan 5th though…That’s going to be pretty cold I think. Right now the weather is 32F with snow showers in Kiev…I’m going to freeze. This is the second time that I’ve left the warm, balmy, awesome Florida winter for freezing cold… in 2004, I went to Shanghai, now to the Ukraine. And I don’t like the cold at all.

  9. Jesus Christ. You all are too tough. For me Shanghai is so cold I want to cry, but it’s too cold to do even that. Why do people choose to live in such an environment? Even more I’m wondering, does all the spit freeze, and then stay there until Spring? I believe so.

  10. I’m up to “wearing long underwear yet”, but you forgot a step after that one, the “late night run to the Quyang Carrefour to pick up an electric blanket” step. Great investment, but I’ve discovered it still doesn’t help with the getting-out-of-bed process. I suppose I’m getting closer to the “using the heat at night” step, or at least for an hour or two during the waking up process.

  11. Whoo, I remember cold winters in Wuhan. Freezing. Living on res, with a tiny heater (by special dispensation), snowing outside, a thin door separating me from nature. I was a heavy consumer of hot water bottles, and double blankets.

    The students could never understand why I was complaining – you are Norwegian they said. Yeah, but in Norway we have big luxurious isolated houses, buses, restaurants don’t open their doors wide open… In fact I joined a Haerbin girl in complaining, she was also used to indoor heating – while Wuhan is on the wrong side of the Yangtze, so none of that luxury.

    Stian in wintery Toronto, but with heating

  12. True, I have been in shanghai in december 2005. I will be going again next week. The heating at some of the places just sucks. They left the door wide open after coming in. Need some common sense. Back in toronto, it was not like that at all.

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