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  • DrWatson

    Handwritten Signs at the Market

    By DrWatson

    Longan's for sale at a shop in New York City's Flushing Chinatown.
  • roddy

    The Return to Kiroran

    By roddy

    With that spirit of sacrifice common to all members here at Chinese-forums.com, @DrWatson has provided us with pictures of the menu at Kiroran. Our correspondent writes:     葱爆羊肉 for me. What's everyone else having?  
  • Tomsima

    At the dog beauty parlour

    By Tomsima

    Spotted in the dog beauty parlour today (yes, they exist, yes there was a walk in wardrobe of dog clothes, no I was not a customer). Made me smile.   What's going on with 愛犬島 and the UK picture? Am I meant to understand the UK is "isle of dog lovers"?
  • js6426

    Week 4 - 生词,量词,动词

    By js6426

    So I am going to add a few photos of the campus to this post as was requested, and then hopefully (if I can move my fingers enough to take a picture!), I will grab some of the same shots in mid winter so people can compare.    I should probably update my blog at the end of each week rather than the start, so I might change that once I start back.  This is our last week before we have a week off.  Things are continuing to go well.  Yesterday one of my teachers lost it at some of the Kor
  • murrayjames

    997,630 Characters to Go

    By murrayjames

    In “The 2019 Aims and Objectives Progress Topic” thread, I recently resolved to read one million Chinese characters in books and articles this year. Our esteemed forum administrator @roddy reached out to ask if I would chronicle my attempt to do this through posts on this website. And here I am.   My goal is to read one million characters in 2019. To accomplish this will require reading 2,750 characters per day, or three to seven pages of text per day, on average. That is a manageable

Our community blogs

  1. WechatIMG784.thumb.jpg.e6a8269224c577ddf97845aac96e1be0.jpg

    Completed this book in record time(for me), about 5-6 weeks cover to cover. Felt like an accomplishment as there is zero English or pinyin, and I was able to follow the analysis of all the questions and answers pretty well. This was all review, as I've already taken the HSK 4, though I learned some new vocab that was used for question analysis. My rationale in doing this book was just more repetition or sentence structures and vocab usage. I did 5 complete listening tests, plus 2 hours of audio breaking down listening questions into categories like "place questions", "attitude questions" etc. Also read every tape-script. 3.5 hours of audio with this book. Completed the writing section as well with broke the questions down by grammar type and included 6 practice tests with answers/sample answers. Not the most exciting book in the world, but certainly some good review. 


    Next up is HSKK Intermediate. This will again be review, as I've already taken and passed the HSKK Inermediate. However, I took the speaking test with almost no specific test preparation, so I think this will be even more useful for when I take the HSKK again along with HSK 5 test sometime in the future. Over 4 hours audio with this book, and I'm looking forward to hearing the sample speaking answers/photo describing. I'm going to try and knock this one out in the same amount of time, around 5-6 weeks. 



    Along with this, I'm still working my way through Kubler (on unit 15 of 24).


    Current study schedule:

    1. Kubler Intermediate Spoken and Practice

    2. HSK 1-4 Vocabulary Master

    3. HSKK Intermediate



    Chairman's Bao

    《幸福的方向》 (kind of sappy soap opera, but language is easy enough to follow quite well.

    Random Youtube videos

    Various books



  2. I got slightly stitched up when the school asked me to meet 'a few' students for a cultural exchange...


    However, it turned out to be a blessing!


    Take a look at this short video to see what happened!



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    Latest Entry

    My big event is a week in Chengdu for an event. 

    I am here with attending a sports event and taking some photos.


    Compared to travelling to mainland China four years ago, and definitely not doing that much practice inbetween, I can get around with a bit of fumbling with words. I was asked if I wanted a bag after shopping and I understood that whereas four years ago, I couldn’t understand the words being spoken at me. 

    People are definitely very friendly and helpful here. I went to the my event supposedly as a photographer. They told me I should have applied for a media pass beforehand. Unfortunately, the English information previously provided had no mention of a press pass. To cut a long story short, one of the staff at the event (with excellent English) helped me negotiate with security who were also very nice. The stumbling block was it was the first day of the event and they needed to strictly follow the rules set by the police. They checked my camera equipment and made sure it was a proper functioning camera. I should have asked what they were scared of - maybe explosive devices because you weren’t allowed to take a mobile phone recharging unit in either. After a couple of days of photography and being relatively harmless and keeping out of trouble, there were no problems with security. In fact, I also saw someone else in the audience using a large camera despite me being told on the first day cameras weren’t allowed in.


    It’s been a busy day and most of the day, I am on my own doing my own thing not really communicating with anybody. The most mandarin I speak is to the taxi drivers who have heavily accented putonghua. Quite different to my experience in Qingdao where the taxi drivers had basically standard mandarin. My control of mandarin tones is imperfect - I rely on tuning in using the conversation to progressively speak better tones. This method absolutely doesn’t work with Chengdu taxi drivers. I can feel my tones are all over the place.


     I get a day off tomorrow to explore city centre. See what turns up there. The nice thing is finding that I can get around finding out simple details quite easily such as walking into the local gym and talking about their packages and rates. 


  3. Ledu

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    Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014)

    Director: Yi'nan Diao


    Ash is the Purest White (2019)

    Director:Jia Zhangke


    I had posted this in another thread but since they are not released in 2023 I have created this blog instead. I particulary like the main actor in both movies. These are not the style of Chinese films I am used to seeing. What I am used to seeing are films that have Kung Fu or depict ancient China.  These two depict a more modern era and also an underworld element. Both are award winners. Black Coal, Thin Ice I watched without English subtitles.  There was not a lot of fast talking and generally standard Mandarin was used. Both movies made me feel immersed in a place. I liked that. Black Coal, Thin Ice was filmed in Harbin. The other was filmed in Shanxi. Next for more immersion is Peppa the Pig as I am around a HSK4 level now.

  4. księżycowy's 角落

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    Hello everyone!


    I've decided to begin a journey into learning Chinese. I am interested in not just Mandarin, but also quite a few of the other varieties of Chinese. In particular I feel I have the resources and abilities to get pretty far into Taiwanese Hokkien (here after simply Taiwanese, in line with current English terminology standards) and Cantonese, so the primary focus in this blog will be my language learning adventures with Mandarin, Cantonese and Taiwanese. This summer I thought I'd get a general sense of tones and tonal languages. I don't want to get caught up in characters or other difficult things due to other things on my plate. So, long story short, I've decided to focus on Taiwanese (in POJ) for the time being.


    I'll be working through a combination of lessons from Taiwanese Pronunciation updated by Martin Symonds (found here) and grammar lessons from Spoken Hokkien by Meili Fang (found here). (Yes, I could just use Symonds' Taiwanese Made Easier coursebooks (and I'm sure at some point of my Taiwanese study I will make my way into them), but I wanted something just as sound and with an answer key. I primarily am learning without a teacher (hence the wish to promote corrections and comments on my blog).


    Anyway, I intend to start working through both resources, and randomly posting progress updates, notes, things of interest, and questions as I go along. Updates will probably be random, but I hope to post at least once every 2 weeks. Perhaps more if time, energy and material allows. Unfortunately, Chinese (in any form) is not my focus at the moment, thus the 2 week time frame.


    Until next time!

  5. Use the translated English lyrics below to find the title and artist of the song. Bonus points for providing a video or audio link. A short audio clip is provided as an additional hint, should you need it.

    We chat every night
    We go tit for tat, always those two phrases
    Did you miss me?
    I’m really missing you
    Stars are falling from heaven
    This, isn’t it pretty good?

    He has a wife
    This doesn’t matter, it doesn’t bother me
    We don’t talk about the future or the past
    Mood becomes so beautiful
    Otherwise... what?
    It really doesn’t matter

    He says he wants to come, to come see me
    Ah, I’m actually rather scared
    What kind of person is he
    I have no idea
    I just know his WeChat account
    This isn’t great

    Day after day, it just goes on like this
    Meet or don’t meet, this is a conundrum
    He’s so enthusiastic
    If I refuse
    Those tedious, long nights...
    Oh, I shouldn’t refuse
    Can we just push it back a bit
    We aren’t lacking anything






    Title: 微信
    Artist: 孔大宁
    Link: https://youtu.be/ZQe7PmEg_4A
    Translation: https://www.notion.so/95e8b975fa0b43e6b08db1b50eacaa31

    Chinese lyrics







  6. js6426
    Latest Entry

    Hey guys, sorry it’s been so long since I did an update.


    I graduated successfully with a 92 average, which was number one, but honestly it basically feels meaningless. My final thesis was on the 3 body problem.


    Doing the final year and a half online was a disaster, and my Chinese went downhill massively - thanks covid.

    All the student had to speak, which meant we got about 3 minutes per class to actually use Chinese. Time differences also made it challenging. 

    Glad that I graduated of course. I guess the question is, would I recommend this degree to anyone else? Probably not, but it depends on what you want to get out of it. My classmates were all young and were basically there to party and end up with a degree, I was there to learn Chinese. In person was better by far. Also important to recognize it was a Chinese language and literature degree. Classes on Chinese mythology were a waste of time for what I wanted, and my time would have been better used doing self study on stuff I would actually use.


    I also really struggled with being treated like a child - things like having attendance taken at every lecture. In England you can attend lectures if you want, but exam results are what matter. If you fail then that’s on you, if you can pass without attending class then it’s all good, but that just wasn’t an option for us in China, to the point where you wouldn’t get a visa if you missed a certain amount of classes.


    I’m glad I did it as I learnt a lot, but if I could go back in time I probably wouldn’t have bothered.

  7. I set myself some goals at the beginning of this summer, and they served as a good motivating factor over the course of my vacation. I'm now replicating this pattern with the fall season and some of the winter one - setting myself goals I hope to have completed by the end of 2021. There are a total of 122 days in this block.


    The goals are somewhat more relaxed as I'm entering the IB, which is supposed to be quite time-consuming. They mostly revolve around Chinese learning, though the last one (which I'd be happy to hear any feedback on!) is about building a language-learning related web app.



    • Read 300k characters of webnovel content. This summer, I read about 75% of that, so this is an achievable goal. I have no specific books to read in mind apart from the highly recommended 《许三观卖血记》and 《活着》.
    • Finish the HSK 5 course - I'm already 2/3 of the way through it thanks to progress in the summer.
    • 70 LangCorrect entries. I've been in discussion with a member of the LangCorrect team, and they'll likely either implement a calendar feature or create an API endpoint that I can use to programmatically access my journals to check whether this goal has been accomplished.
    • Shadow the entire Mandarin Bean HSK 5 library. The HSK 4 "episodes" - though really more like short articles with audio - are about 120 in number, so at my current rate of 3 a day (just finished the HSK 4 library today), this shouldn't be a problem.
    • This one's harder to keep track of: at least 3 hours of audiovisual immersion a week (including XYY). This means Mandarin Corner, Douyin, and dramas in Chinese. This goal is only for after I finish HSK 5.


    • (Coding Project) - release at least a beta version of the website I've been working on to help language learners. In a nutshell, it's Goodreads for language learners - a place where learners can track, rate, and get recommendations for books - but taking into account book difficulty (crowdsourced by users) and language, not just genre. Apart from this, I'm planning on implementing book charts, reading stats, book clubs, etc.
    • (cont.) Really excited about this, since I think it will solve a problem that I've personally been encountering - finding both comprehensible and interesting books - as well as motivating users to read with goals, articles, and a social aspect, among other things. If this is something that you'd like to hear more about, please let me know and I'll message you when it's done; equally, I'd love to hear ideas for how it could be made to be the most useful tool possible for fellow learners.
  8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPcBCQo_Upo


    My parents came to visit (first time seeing them since the whole pandemic started!), so took a big of a break, but back at it.


    I think this one overall went OK.  Nothing stands out to me as particularly problematic, but can always improve cadence + pronunciation.




  9. Its now been about a year and a half since I last posted in this blog, and a lot has happened in that time. I wanted to return here to set down some progress updates and new targets. Hopefully some of you might find it interesting and/or useful! 


    Covid accelerated my move into the translation industry when I thought I might go into language education, largely because of the work at home aspect of the job. In the last few years there have been some boring projects along the way, but also some really fascinating ones too. Regardless, I've become a lot more involved and interested in the industry than I thought I might when I completed my Masters in T+I back in 2019. Sitting at home in lockdown has also meant I've had a lot of time to work on my notetaking skills for interpreting, as well as actively building vocabulary in specific professional fields (as per my 2018 post, I've now surpassed 20k general vocab and still come across new words all the time - my experience is very similar in this respect to recent posts by @Woodford). I'm now looking at returning to interpreting and integrating it into my professional life.


    I once said I wouldn't pursue this route, but in recent months I've been gravitating more towards interpreting practice in my daily study, and I'm starting to feel like I am actually getting the hang of the multitasking now - I've certainly improved since I was on the program, thats for sure. Anyway, I've decided I'm going to study for the DPSI here in the UK, to give me a target to work towards and push me to work harder at training up my interpreting skills, which I confess I have largely avoided since graduating (sorry to @Moki in particular, who started a great thread here but I never got organised enough to contribute to in the end).


    Either way, its another few years of graft to gain a comprehensive grasp of English Law in both English and Chinese, but I'm looking forward to it - so look forward to more updates on this blog in the future!



    Another aside: I'm happy to say I've got back on my Canto in the last few months too, which I'm very happy about, and hopefully can make some good headway with it in the coming years too.

  10. 2hr 20 reading on du chinese, it gets easier as I go :)

    Love my hsk 1 writing book, it stats with easier characters so been smooth sailing so far now at char 58 :)


  11. image.thumb.jpeg.6e0a4bbe2ffbafde976f8a79b142fa83.jpeg


    My HSK level 4.5
    Book title 《平如美棠:我倆的故事》
    Author 饒平如
    Origin country China
    Traditional/Simplified Traditional
    Pages 330 with illustrations
    Paper/E-book Paperback
    Translated to English (Yes/No) Yes
    English title Our Story: A Memoir of Love and Life in China
    Approximate comprehension level  
    Approximate hours to complete  
    Start date 21/06/2021
    Completion date  
    Short paragraph of what it’s about  
    Short comment  
  12. mungouk
    Latest Entry

    By mungouk,



    天边的额吉 seems like a really odd name for a brand, possibly something to do with the Mongolian connection...?


    Anyone know the story behind this?

  13. Here's the link to our club: https://www.joinclubhouse.com/club/芝加哥汉语聊天社. Anyone on Clubhouse can follow our club.


    Our regular meeting is now on Saturday evenings at 7 pm CST. If you want to become a member, please attend a meeting and ask to be added as a member. Membership gives you the right to open a room on behalf of the club, which will automatically notify all other members of the club. It possibly notifies followers as well, but I'm not sure about that.


  14. Chinese Video Recordings

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    Here are the first three videos they I recorded in the last week.  All videos are recorded as a single take so I'm not "cheating," but I wrote an outline before recording.  I think I did two takes of each of these.


    Video 1: how I have studied Chinese: https://youtu.be/IK_A7Wbeo5Q


    Video 2: a 成语故事:塞翁失马: https://youtu.be/0H_He6_5jvY


    Video 3: random dialog about the pets in my house: https://youtu.be/Lx3SdHzd2RY



    Certainly a lot of room for improvement, but it should be a good way to look back at previous skill level in the future.

  15. Here are 100 commonly used phrases in Chinese and English for the HSK exam. Remembering them can help you pass the HSK exam. Come on!

    100 common phrases for HSK exam

    1.随着经济的快速发展 with the rapid development of economy

    2.人民生活水平的显著提高/ 稳步增长  the remarkable improvement/ steady growth of people’s living standard

    3.先进的科学技术 advanced science and technology

    4.面临新的机遇和挑战 be faced with new opportunities and challenges

    5.人们普遍认为 It is commonly believed/ recognized that…

    6.社会发展的必然结果 the inevitable result of social development

    7.引起了广泛的公众关注 arouse wide public concern/ draw public attention

    8.不可否认 It is undeniable that…/ There is no denying that…

    9.热烈的讨论/ 争论 a heated discussion/ debate

    10. 有争议性的问题 a controversial issue

    11.完全不同的观点 a totally different argument

    12.一些人 …而另外一些人 … Some people… while others…

    13.就我而言/ 就个人而言 As far as I am concerned, / Personally

    14.就…达到绝对的一致 reach an absolute consensus on…

    15.有充分的理由支持 be supported by sound reasons

    16.双方的论点 argument on both sides

    17.发挥着日益重要的作用 play an increasingly important role in…

    18.对…必不可少 be indispensable to …

    19.正如谚语所说 As the proverb goes

    20.…也不例外 …be no exception

    21.对…产生有利/不利的影响 exert positive/ negative effects on…

    22.利远远大于弊 the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

    23.导致,引起 lead to/ give rise to/ contribute to/ result in

    24.复杂的社会现象 a complicated social phenomenon

    25.责任感 / 成就感 sense of responsibility/ sense of achievement

    26. 竞争与合作精神 sense of competition and cooperation

    27. 开阔眼界 widen one’s horizon/ broaden one’s vision

    28.学习知识和技能 acquire knowledge and skills

    29.经济/心理负担 financial burden / psychological burden

    30.考虑到诸多因素 take many factors into account/ consideration

    31. 从另一个角度 from another perspective

    32.做出共同努力 make joint efforts

    33. 对…有益 be beneficial / conducive to…

    34.为社会做贡献 make contributions to the society

    35.打下坚实的基础 lay a solid foundation for…

    36.综合素质 comprehensive quality

    37.无可非议 blameless / beyond reproach

    39.致力于/ 投身于 be committed / devoted to…

    40. 应当承认 Admittedly

    41.不可推卸的义务 unshakable duty

    42. 满足需求 satisfy/ meet the needs of…

    51.对这一问题持有不同态度 hold different attitudes towards this issue

    52.支持前/后种观点的人 people / those in favor of the former/ latter opinion

    53.有/ 提供如下理由/ 证据 have/ provide the following reasons/ evidence

    54.在一定程度上 to some extent/ degree; in some way

    55. 理论和实践相结合 integrate theory with practice

    56. …必然趋势 an irresistible trend of…

    57.日益激烈的社会竞争 the increasingly fierce social competition

    58.眼前利益 immediate interest/ short-term interest

    59.长远利益. long-term interests

    60.…有其自身的优缺点 … has its merits and demerits/ advantages and disadvantages

    61.扬长避短 Exploit to the full one’s favorable conditions and avoid unfavorable ones

    62.取其精髓,取其糟粕 Take the essence and discard the dross.

    63.对…有害 do harm to / be harmful to/ be detrimental to

    64.交流思想/ 情感/ 信息 exchange ideas/ emotions/ information

    65.跟上…的最新发展 keep pace with / catch up with/ keep abreast with the latest development of …

    66.采取有效措施来… take effective measures to do sth.

    67.…的健康发展 the healthy development of …

    68.有利有弊 Every coin has its two sides.

    69.对…观点因人而异 Views on …vary from person to person.

    70.重视 attach great importance to…

    71.社会地位 social status

    72.把时间和精力放在…上 focus time and energy on…

    73.扩大知识面 expand one’s scope of knowledge

    74.身心两方面 both physically and mentally

    75.有直接/间接关系 be directly / indirectly related to…

    76. 提出折中提议 set forth a compromise proposal

    77. 可以取代 “think”的词 believe, claim, maintain, argue, insist, hold the opinion/ belief that

    78.缓解压力/ 减轻负担 relieve stress/ burden

    79.优先考虑/发展… give (top) priority to sth.

    80.与…比较 compared with…/ in comparison with

    81. 相反 in contrast / on the contrary.

    82.代替 replace/ substitute / take the place of

    83.经不起推敲 cannot bear closer analysis / cannot hold water

    84.提供就业机会 offer job opportunities

    85. 社会进步的反映 a mirror of social progress

    86.毫无疑问 Undoubtedly, / There is no doubt that…

    87.增进相互了解 enhance/ promote mutual understanding

    88.充分利用 make full use of / take advantage of

    89.承受更大的工作压力 suffer from heavier work pressure

    90.保障社会的稳定和繁荣 guarantee the stability and prosperity of our society

    91.更多地强调 put more emphasis on…

    92.适应社会发展 adapt oneself to the development of society

    93.实现梦想 realize one’s dream/ make one’s dream come true

    94. 主要理由列举如下 The main reasons are listed as follows:

    95. 首先 First; In the first place; To begin with

    96.其次 Second, In the second place

    97. 再次 Besides,In addition, Additionally, Moreover, Furthermore

    98. 最后 Finally, Last but not the least, Above all, Lastly

    99. 总而言之 All in all, To sum up, In summary, In a word

    100.我们还有很长的路要走 We still have a long way to go.

  16. image.png.7da1f7aa3e463f8cfdc27b67c9f39064.pngimage.png.9a1ae91a50eafcce4dce8473080d4d60.png






  17. Adventures in Mandarin

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    Ok, it's finally time for the next lesson in Volume 1 of PAVC! Lesson 2!


    Grammar Notes:

    This lesson goes over stative verbs and introduces the following sentence structures:







    Which basically can be formulated as:

    Affirmative: N/PN + ADV + SV.

    Negative: N/PN + NEG + SV. -or- N/PN + NEG + ADV + SV.

    Question: N/PN + SV + NEG + SV?


    Vocabulary Notes:

    不 is usually unstressed in the SV question sentence type.


    Hanzi Learned:





    Section 1


    1. 李小姐不高。(In my edition, 李小姐 is indeed smaller than 張先生. In the edition pictured above, they look about the same.)
    2. 王太太很熱。
    3. 不熱,李小姐不熱。她很冷。
    4. 冷,李小姐很冷。
    5. 高, 王先生很高。


    Section 2



    1. 不忙。
    2. 不累。
    3. 不熱,我很冷。
    4. 不餓。
    5. 不渴。



  18. Ten reasons why I admire Li Ziqi so much


    If people are talking about a girl who could make a set of bamboo sofa without a single nail, show you how the ancient Chinese writing tool is produced, tell the story of how a grain of rice grows from a seed,they are talking about Li Ziqi, a Chinese girl doing what she likes regardless of what they say. 

    She is true to herself
    Rumor goes that she’s just a cyber-celebrity who aims at a rise to fame, and a benefit from that reputation. She could be anything bad given how the gossips are going to shape, but she still keeps on with these vlog, where she shows us every detail of her life. 
    She knows that silence is the best way to suffocate gossip
    The way she lives and the way she handles things is too amazing for us to believe. That’s probably why she becomes a target of the negative comment from those far away from such a way of living. Instead of getting involved in rebuttal, she prefers updating the videos for years to show how persistent she is to something she had chosen, with or without comments.      
    She is willing to learn everything new to achieve her goals
    She admits that she no nothing about some of the skills shown in her video at first. Her eagerness to learn opens up the possibility to trying something new. 
    She is a genius with business acumen
    Her name becomes a brand now and products related are available on line. Commercial benefit is just the byproduct from her previous effort winning the fans with the videos of high quality. 
    She promotes the spread of Chinese culture with talented videos
    Foreigners and even Chinese get to know how things are made or coming to being by watching her videos. She acts like an almighty craftsman telling you how things awesome may start with something quite usual and simple, in a creative way.
    She realizes financial freedom by doing the things she enjoys
    She keeps doing what she likes, sharing her life in videos, making you the witness of her life interesting and vivid, showing you how she makes the things she wants on her own. She gets lucky by earning both attention and money the way she deserves.
    She lives a life of pastoral style far from the madding crowd
    Living in the remote village, surrounding by plants she grows as food, accompanying by dogs and goats she keeps as pets, she plays the role in a poem-like farm where those people struggling in the urban life don’t even have the time to dream of.
    She knows what’s important to her and sticks to it while leaving out all the rest
    She used to work in the city as a DJ, a waitress, a Taobao seller, and her grandmother’s getting ill making her back to hometown. Being with grandmother means a lot to her, given her childhood without care from parents but grandparents, and her yearning for self-sufficiency further motivates her stay in Mianyang, Suchuan.
    She’s brilliant in an ordinary way
    She can do almost everything, capable of all kinds of skills, making things from the most common materials and ingredients, creating stuff better than you could have imagined. She looks like a fairy, but she’s living a normal life industriously. You may find that what she manages to do is nothing impossible when you break it into steps, but all when all these easy sections combine, you see something complicatedly great. That’s something we fail to cope with without distractions. We lack that kind of concentration to make it.
    She knows how to tell the story and opens up our mind for more possibilities
    Her videos are silent in conversations or monologues. She shows you all the things in the way she works. Thanks to her breaking things into steps to make it simple to know how things work. Her videos act like a trigger of inspiration, especially to those who imitate her and tell the story of their lives.

    She knows how to dye the cloth and awake the beauty and magpies on the dress with thread and needle. This is about the art of embroidery.


    She knows how to make Chinese traditional food out of the normal ingredients. This is about the taste of China.


    She knows how to make the sculpture of characters and get the printing done. That’s the beauty of ancient Chinese inventions.


    She knows how to make the cosmetics applied by ancient Chinese ladies with flowers and honey. That’s the secret of make-up.


    No more meaningless debate on whether she’s doing this alone or with a team backing her up, no more negative comments on her making videos for the sake of fame and fortune. Mind the way she conveys her love of Chinese culture in modesty, and the truth that Chinese culture shines in the eyes of foreign YOUTUBE audience because of her post. She is real and vivid the way she is. 



  19. 只要有你 

    As long as you are here with me

    Original by 那英

    Translated and performed by Enjune Zhang


    谁能告诉我 有没有这样的笔

    Who could tell me if

    There is a pen like this


    It could get those eyes painted

    Shining without tears


    Make the time stay

    Keep it from being vanished


    Keep all the beauty evergreen

    And the colors never faded

    如果是这样 我可以安慰自己

    If it is what things could be

    I could get myself comforted

    在没有你的夜里 能发出一线光明

    It could be the light around me

    When I'm lonely in the darkness

    留得住快乐 全部都送去给你

    I will give it all to you

    All the remaining happiness


    With you even the bitter becomes sweet

    从此也不用分开 相爱的天和地

    From now on there's no need

    To get the heaven and earth separated


    Right in the same sky again

    We see the sun and the moon meet

    生命中只要有你 什么都变得可以

    Everything's possible

    With you next to me


    Shooting stars may find each other

    I wish to be their witness


    Wish that there will be

    No more departing helpless


    I don't have to see you leaving

    And can do nothing

    没有变幻的青春 没有失落的爱情

    Youth and love stay with me

    Growing deep without changing


    May the promises be like the stars everlasting


    As long as you are here with me.m4a

  20. 不浪漫罪名

    Charged as being unromantic

    Original by 王杰

    Translated and performed by Enjune Zhang



    Without rose sweet


    Is that very moment incomplete


    Are you still warm within without the fire


    Shall we celebrate without firework bright


    If love between you and me


    Is nothing but a play fake and dim


    The setting's far from real but beautified


    Is the embrace of drama style what you like


    You've said that 


    I failed to make you smile every day in time


    I haven't got you that perfect line


    It's the flaw that you define in mind


    Like a thorn in the corner of your eye


    I'm charged as being unromantic

    Please tell me why


    Why placid like water running deep is something bad 


    You haven't realized that

    Every little gesture of mine


    Is silent but the proof of love identified


    I'm charged as being unromantic

    Please tell me why


    Why you are expecting something particular


    My tender tone is something you haven't realized


    I have made it clear with the breath of mine


    I will promise you everything with my whole life


    Charged as being unromantic-enjune.mp3

  21. A few days ago, I finished reading the short story collection 《樱海集》 by 老舍. This brought my reading total above one million characters, completing my goal for the year.


    《樱海集》 was first published in 1935. The collection contains a funny and self-effacing preface plus ten short stories of varying lengths (from six to forty-two pages). The stories deal with classical human failings—hypocrisy, pride, envy, bitterness, cowardice, lust, revenge, greed, anger—and the consequences that arise from such failings. Though the stories are thematically related, they differ considerably in their characters, plots, point of views, and settings.


    Below is a brief synopsis of each story, along with some amplifying details and concluding thoughts.



    1. The first story in the collection, 《上任》, is about a recently promoted government official named 尤老二 and the opium-smoking thugs he employs. Much of the story is concerned with 尤老二’s inability to pay for his thugs, who show up at odd times asking for money for travel and other expenses. This story was difficult for me to get into. I found the details of the plot hard to follow and the language more challenging than any other story in the collection.
    2. 《牺牲》 is a character sketch of 毛博士, a bizarre 崇洋媚外 teacher educated in the United States.
    3. 《柳屯的》 is about a small village, a powerful Christian family, and an unrestrained woman who tries to take over them both.
    4. 《末一块钱》 is about a young dissatisfied college student who yearns for the kind of life enjoyed by his more affluent classmates.
    5. 《老年的浪漫》 is about an old man who, cursed with greedy former colleagues and a foolish son, decides to settle old scores.
    6. 《毛毛虫》 is a very short story that asks the question: What does a community think about that unenviable husband and wife who live down the street, and that husband’s former wife, and their new children?
    7. 《善人》 is about a well-to-do woman who sees herself as generous but is oblivious to the suffering of those around her.
    8. This story was my favorite story of the collection. 《邻居们》 is about the tensions that flare up between two neighboring families after one receives the other’s mail by mistake.

      The 明 family and the 杨 family are neighbors. 明家 is selfish and uncivilized. 杨家 is altruistic and lettered. The husband and father in the 杨 family, 杨先生, is described as a “最新式的中国人.”

      One day, 杨先生 receives a letter addressed to 明先生. 杨太太 attempts to deliver the letter, but 明太太 misunderstands her neighbor’s intentions and rebuffs her. 杨先生 then writes his own letter explaining the situation. 明太太 refuses this letter, too. Tensions between the two families escalate. 杨先生 believes that he and 明先生 can resolve their differences like rational gentlemen, and continues to write his neighbor letters. 明先生 sees 杨先生 as a weak man and despises him for his bookishness and inaction. Eventually…

      the 明家 children go into the 杨家 garden and stomp their flowers to smithereens. When 杨先生 comes home from work and sees his ruined garden, he flies into a rage and smashes every window of the 明家 house. 明先生 is not mad at his neighbor, but impressed with him. It turns out that 杨先生 is a red-blooded man of passion, after all.

    9. 《月牙儿》 is a longer story about a girl and her hard life after her father dies and her mother is forced out of exigence into prostitution.
    10. 《阳光》 is about the life of a beautiful, proud, and dissolute woman from a rich family. Her eventual arranged marriage to a prominent morality-promoting Daoist is comfortable, but stifling.



    《樱海集》 is the second work I’ve read by 老舍; the first was his delightful science fiction satire 《猫城记》. There is something irreverent about 老舍’s style in these two works. 老舍’s stories foreground the character defects of early 20th-century Chinese people, whatever their station in life. Opioid-addicted menial laborers, wives of rich businessmen, the orphaned, the educated, the religious and the ideologically possessed—none are spared.


    By pointing out character defects in such a wide-ranging way, 老舍 advances a kind of criticism of the Chinese society of his day. But 《樱海集》 is not a “critical” work, at least not in the sense that modern people use the term. It isn’t a systematic, theory-driven critique of Chinese society; nor is it especially tragic or concerned with issues of justice. Rather, 《樱海集》 is a moral work. The stories in 《樱海集》 are cautionary tales filled with negative moral examples. They are the modern literary equivalents of fables.


    The stories paint a pessimistic and probably unbalanced picture of Chinese life. Readers interested in positive moral examples—the righteous government official or revolutionary, the loving and longsuffering mother, the diligent young student who succeeds in life despite enormous opposition—will not find them here. Some of 老舍’s negative moral examples are also offensive to contemporary Western sensibilities. His portraits of women are pretty unflattering. 老舍’s women are ostentatious, stubborn, and quick to anger. (To be fair, the men don’t come off much better. Most of 老舍’s male protagonists are feckless hypocrites.) Others will find 老舍’s portrayal of poor people unsympathetic. The peasants in 《樱海集》 are lazy and spend what little money they find on drugs:





    It is interesting to consider 老舍’s portrayals of Chinese people in 《樱海集》 in light of then-upcoming theories about politics and art in China. In his lectures at Yan'an in 1942, Mao advocated a new pro-proletariat literature and denounced “petit bourgeois writers” that write “pessimistic literature” and “harm the people.” Were 老舍’s mid-1930’s stories compatible with the new Chinese literature Mao would soon advocate? Was 老舍’s literature “pessimistic”? [For the curious, I blogged about Mao’s Yan'an literature lectures in an earlier post on this blog.]


    The Chinese language in 《樱海集》 is not especially difficult. The vocabulary is more challenging than contemporary Chinese fiction writers like 余华 and 韩寒, but far easier than writers like 张爱玲 and 莫言. 老舍’s word choices are frequently different from those found in contemporary fiction. This may confuse language learners unfamiliar with early 20th-century Chinese literature. For the uninitiated, try reading other authors from the same period. (I read short stories by 丁玲, 沈从文, and 施蛰存 before. That helped.)


    My new year’s resolution was to read one million characters in books and articles in 2019. I have now reached that goal with a little over a month to spare. This year I read mostly fiction. I also read Mao’s literature lectures, an article by IBM, a undergraduate thesis on the music of American saxophonist Sonny Stitt, and a third of the Bible. It’s been a great and rewarding experience.


    From time to time, people ask about the value of studying Chinese language given recent political and economic changes in China. It’s a fair question; there are many reasons to study Chinese and people differ in their motivations and goals. For me, the desire to engage in the cultural and literary traditions of a large and important foreign world was and is a main driver of my Chinese study. This desire was sustained and strengthened this year. I intend to keep reading in Chinese, both fiction and non-fiction. For literature, my near-term goals for the next couple years are to continue with works at or slightly above my current reading level; to move on to major works by 张爱玲, 莫言, and 阎连科; and to tackle tougher early 20th-century works by authors like 鲁迅. I’d like to wade into 文言 someday too, though that day is still a long way off.


    I had a lot of fun writing these posts and interacting with all of you. In the future, I may continue writing posts here. For now, however, because of many pressing demands on my time, I will put this blog on hiatus and return to posting intermittently in the excellent and underutilized “What are you reading?” thread.


    Thank you to everyone who read or commented on this blog this year.



    Link to《樱海集》:


    Some statistics: 
    Characters read this year: 1,000,931
    Characters left to read this year: 0
    Percent of goal completed: 100%
    List of things read: 
    《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters) 
    《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters) 
    《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东   (18,276 characters) 
    《自杀日记》by 丁玲   (4,567 characters) 
    《我没有自己的名字》by 余华   (8,416 characters) 
    《手》by 萧红   (7,477 characters) 
    《牛》by 沈从文   (8,097 characters) 
    《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲   (693 characters) 
    《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲   (2,176 characters) 
    《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》 by IBM   (25,098 characters) 
    《夜》by 丁玲   (4,218 characters) 
    《虎雏》by 沈从文   (46,945 characters) 
    《在巴黎大戏院》 by 施蛰存   (6,181 characters) 
    《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》   (5,483 characters) 
    《一个女剧院的生活》 by 沈从文   (61,154 characters) 
    《致银河》 by 王小波   (17,715 characters) 
    《在细雨中呼喊》 by 余华   (132,769 characters) 
    《熊猫》 by 棉棉   (53,129 characters) 
    《1988:我想和这个世界谈谈》 by 韩寒   (81,547 characters) 
    《偶然事件》 by 余华   (20,226 characters)
    《第七天》 by 余华  (84,847 characters)
    《圣经》 (新译本)  (1,055,606 characters; 315,144 read in 2019)
    《樱海集》 by 老舍  (83,649 characters)

  22. Titanium



    Original by Sia

    Translated and performed by Enjune Zhang


    You shout it out


    But I can't hear a word you say


    I'm talking loud not saying much


    I'm criticized but all your bullets ricochet

    我饱受指责 每一颗子弹击中我都会反弹

    Shoot me down but I get up

    你枪声刚落 我又站起来

    I'm bulletproof nothing to lose

    我天性防弹 无所忌惮

    Fire away fire away

    我不惧射击 请你随意

    Ricochet you take your aim

    子弹落地 你再度瞄准吧

    Fire away fire away

    不惧射击 请你随意

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium


    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium


    Cut me down


    But it's you who'll have further to fall


    Ghost town and haunted love

    往昔不再 爱已没落

    Raise your voice sticks and stones may break my bones

    你放狠话 石头木棍使我开口但我不说

    I'm talking loud not saying much


    I'm bulletproof nothing to lose

    我天性防弹 无所忌惮

    Fire away fire away

    我不惧射击 请你随意

    Ricochet you take your aim

    子弹落地 你再度瞄准吧

    Fire away fire away

    不惧射击 请你随意

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium


    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium


    I am titanium


    I am titanium


    Stone-hard machine gun

    心硬若磐 枪已上膛

    Firing at the ones who run


    Stone-hard as bulletproof glass

    心硬若磐 如玻璃防弹

    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium


    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium


    You shoot me down but I won't fall

    你一发即中 我安然无恙

    I am titanium


    titanium 天性防弹-enjune.mp3

  23. He says Xi says

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    语出《韩诗外传》卷五 原文是:夫明镜所以照形,往古所以知今。夫知恶往古之所以危亡,而不袭蹈其所以安存者,则无异乎却行而求逮于前人也。成语 却行求前 即出于此。




    I heard it in:



    同舟共济创造美好未来——在亚太经合组织工商领导人峰会上的主旨演讲 (2018年11月17日)

    Jointly Charting a Course Toward a Brighter Future – Keynote Speech at the APEC CEO Summit





    my English version: "Like looking in a mirror, the past can be looked upon to understand the present"

  24. Haven't really had a chance to update since the new term began, I had my thesis proposal in early September which felt like more of a defense than a proposal. Out of my panel only one of the professors could really ask me questions because the other two didn't have a background in cognitive linguistics and didn't really understand my topic. So I spent 20 minutes of defending my topic with this one professor (Actually my old Consecutive interpreting professor)  who began with "honestly this just feels like an idea on paper" ... ummm.... yes.. thats what a proposal is lmfao. but I continued to humor her and stand by my topic. It was rough, actually the entire classroom went through this slurry of vicious attacks toward our topics that if you were unable to defend yourself you would just be stuck standing there listening to them shit on you for 20 minutes. The hardest part was that everyone had to stay in the room so it was roughly 4 hours of listening to each student present and defend themselves. But I survived and my proposal passed somehow even though one of the panel told me that she felt that my topic was really interesting but just not for me. 


    This term I only have 4 classes. Written translation on Mondays, And 2 simultaneous interpreting courses on Friday. Our Tuesday classes (4 hours) began sometime after the holidays and every week since then has been a mental torture. The original teacher for the class "cross-cultural communications" was supposed to be an interesting guy from Australia. Unfortunately this guy is under Confucius scholarship studying his Phd and cant continue his teaching so we got stuck with the same guy who taught us last semester in 4 hour brackets. 


    Yes... that professor. I don't like to judge but this class should just be renamed "My musings" because every class has just been about him rambling off  things from his mind for four hours. Nothing he says has anything to do with the class or to anything even remotely useful. It actually feels like he's just trolling the class, because I don't understand how someone can talk about an ant and tiger analogy for four hours straight. I think the worst part of this class is that his musings always lead to something totally inappropriate. So something extremely racist or sexist, or homophobic crosses his mind and he just goes on and on and it really hurts me to hear that so many of my classmates find this "PHD" so interesting, when he would literally be crucified in my country for the things hes said. I don't know how someone like him has studied in America. I've been bringing my study materials and books to read in class so that I don't have to listen to that garbage that he says, but you know its really hard to block out something so completely inappropriate. 


    But other than his inappropriateness his classes are just a waste of time. I'm not even kidding when I say that I had to listen to him talk about colors yesterday. He started from Red and ended on Gray and then looked at the time and we had about 20 minutes left of class and he mused "what other colors have i missed? Oh yeah Brown!".


    The Monday translation professor is a close second to a professor I have no respect for this term. This lady prepares nothing for class. Her classes are prepared by a different classmate each week. And I'm not talking about just a short presentation. No. I'm talking about a full class, including creating group work exercises etc. She does nothing. What she does is sit there and when shes given the remainder of the class to add anything (roughly 20 minutes) her response is "well what am I supposed to do?" ...... um. Teach. That's what you get paid for . That's your job. In the very beginning of the term the professor wasn't clear she wanted us to basically teach the class every week so in week 2 when we came to class this lady had some nerve to criticize us all for being irresponsible and unprepared for class. She does this from time to time when people are late. I'm legit rolling my eyes in that class every week. 


    The only class worth mentioning is our simultaneous interpreting classes held on Fridays. The classes have been really difficult but really good for exercise. The only qualm I have is that I have my recordings played every class for both sections, so every week I have to hear my lousy interpretations twice in the same day (from E-C and C-E) its rough but I've gotten so used to it that Its kind of like meh whatever to me. Though its kind of irritating that its always the same people played every week. I haven't heard half of my classmates in that class even once. 


    So other than classes what have I been up to? Its a semester that leaves a lot open. I've been trying to work on honing my interpreting skills, especially in simultaneous interpreting which I find to be quite challenging. My professor suggested shadowing for about 10-15 minutes a day to get used to keeping up with the pace. A problem that many of us have with simultaneous is waiting too long to begin, and only speaking in 3 word clusters instead of having a fluid sentence. I've been shadowing with this program 《绝密档案》 from the app 蜻蜓。 The app itself has a lot of different podcasts to choose from to listen. I just find this program particularly interesting so after 15 mins of shadowing I just continue listening to the rest of the story. I've also made use of going over some of my old resources that we had from past classes so Ive been going over speeches that have Chinese and English to work on a more formal register and also to get a feel for collocations. 


    I wanted to work this semester but I think that with the thesis and everything I'd rather just focus on my studies this term. Its sad to be without the extra cash but I have my whole life to make money but just this year to really work on my studies. I've still been keeping my eyes on jobs because I'd like to find a job after my studies and stay here for another year. As much as China kills me at times, I'm not ready to leave. 


    That's it. Our first draft of our thesis is expected to be ready by December for our pre-defense. The date hasn't been confirmed yet but we've been told already we should have a minimum of 19,000 written. I still need to set my study up and get a move on it.  I'll try and keep this blog up to date! 

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