It’s funny, when you first learn anything about Chinese characters, you learn that they’re a “writing system.” Fair enough, seems simple, right? But you don’t have to study long before you’re bombarded with all kinds of ideas about how the characters are the language, or the characters are the essence of the culture, or the …
I recently stumbled across this Flickr group called Chinese Restaurant Worldwide Documentation Project. It has this intriguing description:
Chinese Restaurants – Worldwide, except China and Taiwan. Here you’ll find the culture ‘clash’ and culture ‘mash’ with all the societies they have adapted to.
Below are a few examples of photos from the group pool, taken at locations all over the world.
Santa Cruz, Bolivia:
Brooklyn, New York, USA:
Aguas Calientes, Peru:
Of course, …
It’s been a while since I got my copy of Tales of Old Peking. I’ve taken my time going through it. It’s a patient a book, its contents largely magazine-style, most articles only indirectly related to each other. A book like this doesn’t demand your attention or keep you frantically turning those pages until the end. But it’s still a fascinating collection of accounts of old Beijing, through the eyes of foreigners. Below are a few of the quotes …
Most Americans are familiar with the “base system” baseball metaphor for physical intimacy. If you’re not familiar with it, you might check out this XKCD comic for the complicated version, or this excerpt from baseball metaphors for sex from Wikipedia:
- First base is commonly understood to be any form of mouth to mouth kissing, especially open lip (“French”) kissing.
- Second base refers to tactile stimulation of the genitals over clothes, or of the female breasts.
- Third base refers to groping
I’ve been interested in Chinese humor for a while. Most recently, I’ve written about a few Chinese comics and Shanghainese stand-up comedian Zhou Libo. So I was quite interested in the Wall Street Journal’s take, which is initially about Chinese comedian Joe Wong. Apparently Joe Wong’s comedy works in the U.S. but not in China. It’s not your typical cross-cultural story.
This is the part which caught my attention (emphasis mine):
Younger audiences are starting to warm to
I was quite amused to stumble upon a whole array of fake (but humorous) Chinese documents last weekend. The documents adopt the official style of Chinese 证书 (official documents), but the names are a lot more fun. Here are the three I bought (for 5 RMB each):
The three types of documents above, left to right, are:
- 美女证 (Babe Certificate); “PLMM” stands for “漂亮妹妹” (pretty girl)
- 帅哥证 (Cute Guy Certificate)
- 白痴证 (Moron Certificate); “SB” stands for “傻屄
I remember when I first arrived in Shanghai, thinking, “I wish that people in Shanghai, when riding the escalators, would stand on the right and let people by on the left, the way they do in Japan.” It’s just such a more courteous and efficient way of doing things.
But yeah, I know… this is China, not Japan.
So when recently riding the Shanghai subway for the first time in a while, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that …
I originally found this video introduced by a Chinese friend on Kaixin Wang as “a Chinese film way more fantastic than Avatar”:
Transcript for the students:
[source (with additional sarcastic commentary)]
The video is a public service message urging people not to accept hongbao (red envelopes full of money) for what they should be doing anyway for the good of society. (And apparently that idea is still …
During our recent trip to Beijing, conversation naturally turned to comparisons of Shanghai and Beijing. I don’t want to rehash that tired topic (again) here, but there were three particular anecdotes told by Chinese friends which I found amusing. All involved interactions with the locals in which the storytellers’ values clashed with the locals’.
I’ve recreated them below, in spirit, at least, and translated them to English, but I’m not revealing the cities. See if you can identify the …