Japanese Issues in Wuyuan

The group of ECNU international students that went to Wuyuan last weekend was composed of undergrads and above (no language students). So that meant everyone could communicate in Chinese pretty well already. There was a whole busload of Korean students and half a bus of Japanese students, however, so you still heard a lot of Korean and Japanese on the trip.

It was nice hearing Japanese again (it’s been a while), and even nicer knowing I still understand it pretty …

Filial Piety

I recently learned that a grad student at my university worked hard over the CNY vacation and earned 8000 rmb. That’s about US$1000. That might not seem like a lot if you don’t live in China, but that is quite an impressive sum for a college student to earn in two months. To put it in perspective, my university teaching job in Hangzhou got me only 3000 rmb per month to start. Many Chinese laborers earn less than 1000 …

Inherent human worth

I am a grad student, and I’ve been doing part-time English tutoring and translation work to pay the bills. As a tutor, I sometimes have English sentences to correct. I recently got this sentence (more or less):

It’s common for people to envy the people who are better than them.

During the lesson, I told my student that the sentence was grammatically correct and the vocab word “envy” was used correctly, but I couldn’t help but find it funny. It …

Remember that calendar we always use?

With Chinese New Year comes many annoyances. Nonstop fireworks for a week ranks up there pretty high. But another thing that annoys me is that during the Chinese New Year season, Chinese people lose the ability to refer to dates using the normal calendar. I use the word “normal” not in an ethnocentric way, but in the sense that it is the calendar that all of China uses for the other 50 weeks out of the year. When Chinese New …

Living in China is like an RPG

How is living in China like an RPG? You'd be surprised at all the similarities. Examples: "It takes place in a magical world where people believe in mystical concepts like qi and fengshui," "The people take legends very seriously (even 5,000 year old ones)," and "The word 'peasant' doesn't seem out of place."

Spitting, Peeing, Snot Rockets, and Me (part 2)

My time in China has exposed me to my fair share of public spitting, peeing, and snot rocketing. Thoughtful fellow that I am, this makes me all introspective. What are the effects of five years of phlegm? How potent is the power that all that pissing poses to me, personally? Let us examine.

PART 2: INDOORS

I hope I’m not disappointing anyone, but I’m not going to tell stories about Chinese people spitting on the floor or peeing in the …

Spitting, Peeing, Snot Rockets, and Me (part 1)

My time in China has exposed me to my fair share of public spitting, peeing, and snot rocketing. Thoughtful fellow that I am, this makes me all introspective. What are the effects of five years of phlegm? How potent is the power that all that pissing poses to me, personally? Let us examine.

PART 1: OUTDOORS

Spitting

It’s no secret that freedom of expectoration is a widely held ideal in the PRC. Some of the enlightened city folk of this …

Unsolved Mystery

It’s pretty well-known that Chinese college boys love computer games. When I taught in Hangzhou, I saw firsthand how those guys would spend every free minute in internet cafes playing CounterStrike or whatever the latest network game was. The reason for the obsession was hard for me to grasp.

Then I saw two eye-catching entries on Bingfeng’s Teahouse which offered a possible explanation:

Bingfeng's Chinese Internet Girls 1

Bingfeng's Chinese Internet Girls 2

Bingfeng’s large collection of “Chinese Internet Girl” photos (click on both photos above for more) — evidence …

All Apologies

A Chinese story:

At 8:40am I called her on her cell phone. “Are you headed off to work?” I asked.

“Sure am!” she laughed back.

Choking back a sob, I said to her, “Wen… I’m sorry.”

After a moment of stunned silence, she replied, “why are you apologizing to me?”

“It’s nothing,” I explained.

“Xiao Nuo, you…” she started, but I quickly hung up.


At ten minutes past noon I dialed her office number.

“Why isn’t your cell phone on?”

Writing Gospel

Gospel

Recently I bought a new notebook for scratch paper and random notes. I didn’t even glance at what it said on the cover. I just liked that it was lined and spiral bound.

Later as I was scrawling “Scratch Paper” on the cover in big, lazy black letters I discovered the word Gospel boldly staring up at me. In the upper left corner, I read, “Gospel. Faith. Committed.”

Now I feel kind of strange. My random jottings have been elevated …

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