Finally! After one short and one veeery long flight I’m in Beijing. The last 24 have been pretty surreal. Every now and then I get a mental brick through my window with a note “You’re in China,you’re in fucking China”. I suppose that will wear off eventually but in the meantime :O These are just just a few pictures so far and I’m tired as hell , so goodnight world!
Vietnam stops anti-China protest, detains many(Reuters)
Story from reuters about Anti-China protests in the Vietnam Capital of Hanoi. Apparently the protestors are claiming that China is being quite the bully reguarding oil exploration in the South China Sea restricting Vietnam growth. The Vietnamese cracked down but after reading this article it seems that Vietnam might not be the only south asian country upset by China’s policies.
Niubi! The Real Chinese You Were Never Taught In School is …. enlightening?Some of you might have already checked this one out but as the title suggests it provides you with vernacular that it claims you are deprived of in a standard mandarin class. This isn’t the only slang book out there, a few others come to mind such as “Dirty Chinese” and “Making Out In Chinese” but the organization and delivery in Niubi! is alot more refined, making it much easier to follow and actually read through, and yes it does cover almost everything your dirty, vulgar little mind could think of. Some time ago ChinaSmack posted a story on the book along with a few sample translations and Chinese reactions gathered from various sites. Most of the comments left by the Chinese netziens were quite negative and some even seemed appalled at the examples given stating that this kind of lingo is only used by real lowlifes. So even though there’s alot in this book there isn’t anything that you would really find yourself using quite to often. Also it’s worth noting while the words and phrases are usually split between either northern and southern the writer spent most of her time in Beijing so there is some biased to the northern slang. Even if you don’t end up using any of it it’s still an interesting read with alot of cultural tidbits to take in especially the chapter at the end about Internet slang ! Enjoy
I was introduced to 象棋(Xiang qi Chinese chess) during the dragon boat festival a few weeks back and I became hooked! The game has alot of similarities with international Chess but the gameplay has some distinct differences.
I enjoyed playing it so much that I started looking into acquiring a 象棋 board, but after searching around I figured it might be cool to make my own. More on the Xiangqi board project in the next post!
I’ve been wanting to learn Majiang for quite awhile now and finally got my chance last week. It’s a little tricky at first but once you rap your head around all the different hand combinations and little rules it’s a blast!
The goal of the game is to get a full hand. You’ll start off with 14 tiles. You draw a new one and discarding another on each of your turns maintaining the 14 throughout the game. A full hand is made up of different sets called:
pongs (3 of a kind)
chows (3 in order)
and Eyes (2 of a kind)
To complete a hand you need 1 and only 1 set of eyes.
To really understand how to play you must go find a chinese freind, family , or group of old men sitting in Chinatown betting away and join in.
For more details on how to play and to better prepare yourself there is a great guide here at black dragon cafe. It’s says Sichuan styles but there are apparently many many different regional variations on the game so don’t be surprised when some of it doesn’t make sense depending on who you play with.
Have fun! And try to to make a ”bomb”
Fun Fact: The first mahjong sets sold in the U.S. were sold by Abercrombie & Fitch starting in 1920. It became a success in New York, and the (co.) owner of the company, Ezra Fitch, sent emissaries to Chinese villages to buy every set of mahjong they could find. Abercrombie & Fitch sold a total of 12,000 sets. WIKI
Or 端午节 (duānwjié) is a holiday celebrating the life(or death) of ancient chinese poet 屈原Qū Yuán who lived during the warring states period. He spoke out against his native Chu state when it formed and an alliance with the Qin state. As a result he was banished to exile. Many years later Qin ended up invading and conquering the Chu state. Qu really took it hard and committed suicide by drowning himself in a local river. The local people who admired Qu Yuan threw rice balls into the river for the fish to eat instead of feasting on Qu Yuan’s corpse.
Im not sure how that transferred into racing dragon boats but the second tradition making and eating 粽子（zòng zi）pictured above and below kind of tie in to part of the story with the rice balls. To make 粽子 you take glutinous rice,wrap it in a bamboo leaves then tie it up with string and boil it. There are two variations of 粽子 one 甜(tián)sweet and the other 咸(xián) salty. the 甜(tián)sweet (my personal favorite) has red bean inside and the 咸(xián) salty usually has some kind of meat. There are probably plenty of celebrations going on this coming weekend in your local chinatown area so check it out. The vendors will probably be selling some 粽子（zòng zi）too, some will even let you try and make your own.
Not bad for a 老外 eh？