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Learn Chinese in China


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OK, it's a menu

We know the names of dishes don't translate well, but I wondered what these dishes actually are...


(From an eatery on 平江路 in 苏州, by the old canal.)



Anyone who has spent any time in China will have noticed the often nonsensical, and sometimes funny, things written in English on young peoples' clothes. To be fair, at least Chinese people have the sense to just have it printed on their clothes, rather than permanently tattooed on their bodies, as many westerners do with Chinese characters. After 2 years in China, I thought I could no longer be shocked by any crazy English T-shirts or jackets, but then I saw this:

There was just something about the choice of words and the big, red lettering that stunned me for a moment. I personally would be down with 1.5 of the 3 things the club stands for, and was tempted to ask for more info but, well, you know the rules...
I'm always amazed by the ability of Chinese people of a certain age to sleep in (often very noisy) public places. The newly opened Harbin Ikea in particular is heaven for those 大妈s looking for a quick power nap. However, even the most intrepid wouldn't dare sleep on this one. It's an upturned sofa/chair being used to cover up a collapsed manhole cover near my apartment:

 It says 井盖塌陷  注意安全. While it's an unconventional use of furniture, it does the trick.
Thanks to @roddy for inviting me to join in here... most of what I post will probably be quite simple due to my level.
What's going on here?  Taken in a hotel dining room in Nanjing.

I was quite shocked when I saw this poster last week. It can't be, can it? Do I have a particularly dirty mind, I asked myself. Well, dirty maybe, particularly definitely not, I concluded. This is a well-known wordplay. So well-known that whoever made this poster had to use quotation marks to eliminate ambiguity. But the quotation marks only serve to remind the reader that there is another reading. So the shock was calculated. Which leaves me wondering how low can you go in advertising these days. (For anyone who doesn't get it, 下面 = the nether regions.)
This is a Yunnan specialty orange which is not mass produced and it commands a slightly higher price. They have a thin skin and very sweet, juicy flesh. The seller stands behind them, as you can see. Not sure I've ever seen a similar sign on other fruits and vegetables at the market. I bought a bag of them yesterday.  Fine eating!

At Kunming airport yesterday, hanging on the wall behind the western-style toilet in one of the stalls. 

China loves "government by slogan" 口号治国。But still, why is such an admonition needed here? 
This machine at Shanghai Pudong was having a bad day. But at least management offered a clear explanation.
               (Please click the photo to enlarge it.) 
设备故障 -- 暂停使用 
I saw many slogans like this written on the side of the hills and mountains while cycling through the 甘孜 Tibetan autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province last spring:

This one says "感党恩  爱祖国  奔小康". Roughly translated: "Be grateful to the party, love your country, strive to be middle-class". I noticed it when I went with a friend to look for a valuable type of caterpillar fungus, called 虫草. There were also a large group of locals there, all looking to 奔小康 by finding the fungus and then selling it in the market (apparently, a single large piece can fetch potentially fetch several hundred RMB). Unfortunately, despite the encouragement of the mountainside slogan, my friend and I both left empty handed.
From the publicity for Edinburgh's Chinese New Year celebrations. I snipped this from the Internet, but the same poster is adorning bus stops city-wide. 

If you don't know better, you'd think everybody in China knows Kung Fu. Well, pretty much. They may not be a practitioner, but they surely know the terms like 七傷拳 and 金鐘罩 from Wuxia novels Do you?
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