David Lancashire of AdsoTrans fame is in town this weekend. He wrote a little about Shanghai in his new blog.
My roommate Lenny is leaving Shanghai for Taipei tomorrow (with his new t-shirt!). I’m moving out of this apartment in early January. It’s been a great place, and I really like having the extra room for guests. These past few months we’ve had lots of visitors, like Mark of toshuo, Poagao, Alf, Greg (house guest extraordinaire), Lenny’s sister, and now David.
This “free hotel” business isn’t going to last much longer, but until I move into my new place, I don’t mind it at all. With Lenny gone, this three bedroom apartment is going to seem quite empty.
Man, I was just in Beijing Tuesday and Wednesday, so missed out on the free physical affection and its fallout. What I didn’t miss is the sociopolitical and cultural implications, thanks to Greg’s brilliant editorial on the incident: China Says “No” to Half-assed Attempt at Affection.
Thank you, Andy Lau (刘德华), for one of the funniest Chinese music videos I have ever seen. Greg and I witnessed this amazing recording of a live concert while lunching at the “Kowloon Ice House” in Zhongshan Park’s “Cloud Nine” (龙之梦) mall. A search on YouTube turned up nothing, but thankfully the Tudou.com results had a clip of the exact video we watched:
For those of you too lazy or too foolish to watch that clip, let me recap the hilarity contained therein:
1. Andy Lau is wearing a white cowboy hat and a wifebeater-blouse.
2. The song is a Cantonese version of “I Hate Myself for Loving You” called 我恨我痴心 (literally, “I Hate My Infatuation”).
Well, that’s all, really. It’s funny.
Oh, and just in case you need it, there’s also a karaoke version of 我恨我痴心 set to random boy/girl scenes that have absolutely nothing to do with the song.
– Saturday, Sept. 2, I stayed home and wrote a 4,000 character paper for a class.
– Sunday, Sept. 3, I stayed home and wrote a 4,000 character paper for another class.
– Monday and Tuesday nights, Sept. 4-5, I worked on a 3,000 character paper for still another class.
– Wednesday night, Sept. 6, Pepe helped me clean up my papers. Alf showed up.
– Thursday, Sept. 7, I turned in my three papers and attended my two new classes for the semester: Semantics and Pragmatics and Critical Discourse Analysis.
– Friday, Sept. 8, I went to meet Greg at the airport with Alf and John B.
– Saturday, Sept. 9, I went to meet my friend Nobuhiko at the airport.
– Procrastination is bad. I know this. Sort of.
– Not much beats seeing good friends again. Especially over hot pot and beer.
– A new semester is here already, and I still have a list of linguistic topics I meant to blog about over the summer. (Does anyone enjoy the linguisticky posts?)
Jamie’s recent post outlined his history with China. It was a history which crossed mine. The most significant common experience was had in a college in Hangzhou we call ZUCC. (If you’re American, you say Z-U-C-C, kind of like F-B-I. If you’re Aussie or kiwi, you say “Zook,” rhyming with it “book.” I have always wondered about that little cultural linguistic difference.)
In chronicling my three years at ZUCC, I aim to do three things:
Create an easy reference for myself, since I’m very forgetful.
Provide a reference for friends and family with regards to ZUCC friends.
Provide an idea of what kind of salary you might expect. (Yes, I’m going to disclose how much I was paid for each semester I worked at ZUCC.)
Jamie is a man of many talents, but I am sad to say that Chunky Salsa design skillz is just not one of them. I knew, however, that Jamie (and quite possibly Greg as well) had some serious, borderline neurotic needs for online Chunky Salsa, so I had no choice but to go that extra mile and put together my own Chunky Salsa layout.
Get it while it’s fresh… it may not last! In the meantime, for those of you that need it, each new Sinosplice post can be a fresh bowl of China salsa for your minds. But this blog needs chips. You, the readers, can be those chips. Together we will boldly forge into uncharted Salsa-China blog territory!
Happy New Year, everybody. It’s been a while since my last entry, I know. In the meantime a lot has happened (although really, not much).
I have completely moved into my new apartment in Shanghai, and it’s awesome. My ZUCC co-worker friends were all going to help me with the final move, but they all bailed on me at the last minute for lame reasons like “no money,” except for Greg. He was a great help, and strong as an ox, that lad. Alf tried to placate me by later showing up with a potted plant for me. What a charmer.
Anyway, I don’t hold grudges, so I’ll be happy to put any of them up should they feel like coming to visit me in Shanghai. Those guys are great, and I’ll really miss them. Sometimes it’s hard for me to explain even to myself why I would voluntarily leave such a great community of people.
I also met the notorious Brad (of BradF.com) recently. Very chill guy. Much more into music than I expected (if you read Chinese, make sure you check out his ideas for his new band!). Hopefully I’ll be hanging out with him again soon.
I finally bought a new hard drive yesterday. 80 GB of Seagate goodness. Works like a champ so far. I’ve actually found that I didn’t lose as much data as I thought I did, due to my inadvertently backing important documents up in the past for various reasons. That includes my book, to my extreme relief. My publisher has just recently informed me that they’ve finally made the official decision to publish it. Cool. Only took 3 months.
Hmmm, every paragraph is beginning with the word “I”. But not this one.
My ADSL internet access will be installed tomorrow, and then I can finally quit with this internet cafe hanky panky.
I paid a huge wad of cash for my apartment on Christmas Day. My new job doesn’t start until after Chinese New Year. I was getting paid very little all last semester because I was teaching very few clases to make time for my full-time Chinese studies. That all amounts to me being pooooor. My older sister Amy is coming for a visit next Wednesday. Fortunately she’s bringing funds. Everything’s gonna be cool, I’m sure.
Things are looking good. I have lots of ideas for Sinosplice in the months to come, but I’m gonna need that internet access first. Expect more pictures. My new surroundings have imparted new inspiration to me.
Last night Russell, Greg, John B, and I took the two new Aussies to West Lake. West Lake’s Nanxian (南线) area, newly renovated, looks very nice at night. If you’ve been to West Lake before but not recently, you have no idea what you’re missing. The newly renovated section, Xixian (西线), is opening for the National Day vacation throngs, and it’s also supposed to be very nice, in the old school traditional Chinese style. I’ll go check it out after the tourist crowds depart and put some pictures up (something I haven’t done in quite a long time, as Wilson kindly pointed out to me).
After checking out West Lake at night, we headed over to a very cheap bar I know of. The name is 西部小镇; Old West Town is their translation. There’s a cowboy hat on the sign. It’s in a prime location, in a string of little bars right next to West Lake. It’s not a great bar. It’s very loud, and the music is always bad. The bar serves little more than beer, despite the plethora of Western liquors on display. The bartender’s job is basically to pull out more beers and open them. The one saving grace of this bar is its beer special: 3 West Lake beers for 10rmb ($1.25). West Lake Beer is not the greatest beer in the world, but it’s always so cheap that in Hangzhou I find myself drinking it more than any other beer. Apparently it’s owned by Asahi now.
So we did what so many Chinese people do in bars — drink and play a dice game called chui niu (吹牛). It’s this game where everyone has a cup of 5 dice, and you have to estimate how many of a given number there are out there, under everyone’s cups. Ones are wild. Bluffing is key. It’s a fun game, but not quite fun enough to warrant its popularity in China, in my opinion. Anyway, it was good for the new Aussies, Ben and Simonne, because we played it in Chinese and they got their numbers down (kinda). We left a little while after the bar ran out of cold beers.
On the way to West Lake, I was given this flyer:
> Restaurant Bar Club
Nothing Comes from Nothing.
Nothing comes from Nothing.
> In celebration Z Bar begins a new chapter, in a new city
that mix our minds and drinks our souls.
We stamped the ground and strung the lights to launch this new theme Restaurant-Bar-Club of modern artistry.
Experience the sight, the sound, the taste,
the energy —
We welcome you to experience our OPEN DOORS
I have thus far neglected to mention that while I was in Japan, two more twenty-something teachers arrived at ZUCC. They are John and Greg. John has his own site as well, which is morphing into something of a China blog itself. (Side note: there are now 3 Johns among the 16 foreign teachers here, one of whom also has a son named John.) Anyway, they’re great additions to the team of teachers here; the new crew is shaping up to be really good.
Speaking of new China blogs (yes, an update to the list is coming!), Carl would have a conniption if I didn’t finally mention his new site, which he daily spurns as being “the stupidest blog ever.” It’s about China, though, and it’s not nearly as bad as he claims.
In other news, three of us had a mooncake-eating contest in honor of Mid-Autumn Moon Festival the other day. I’ll leave the details for later. I plan to devote a whole page to it (kinda like the Junk Food Review) if I can ever get the photos from Carl. In the meantime, you can get a taste from the Chinese blog if you read Chinese.
I’ll end this haphazard entry with an amusing incident that happened the other night.
> [Scene: a small Chinese bar]
> Me: You should talk to her. Practice your Chinese.
> Greg: But I don’t have anything to say.
> Me: Well just say something — you need to practice!
> Greg: Actually, I learned a great Chinese sentence today.
> Me: What is it?
> Greg: [I like cake.]
> Me: OK, great, tell her that!
> Greg: What? Why should I tell her that?
> Me: Just do it! It’ll be cool.
> Greg: I’m not going to tell her that!
> Me: Why not?
> Greg: It’s stupid.
> Me: But just do it anyway. Something good will come of it.
> Greg: I’m not gonna do it.
> Me: I’m telling you, something good will come of it.
> Greg: Forget it.
> Me (to her): [He says that he likes cake.]
> Her (to Greg): [Really? My family makes cakes! I can give you some cake, no charge!]
> Greg: [I like cake.]
No, I didn’t know the girl or that her family makes cakes. But that kind of thing seems to happen in China all the time.