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    • abcdefg
      Freezing drizzle mixed with light snow flurries outside my window today here in the City of Eternal Spring sent me on a quest for some simple comfort food. Kunming has real good weather overall, but that doesn't mean we totally escape winter. Managed to make a quick run to the fresh market on one of the trusty Ofo shared bikes before getting really socked in.   Invested 3 Yuan in a nice slice of long, skinny Yunnan pumpkin 南瓜, not the Jack-O-Lantern kind. The seller had donggua/wintermelon 冬瓜 on offer as well. She lets you buy as much of one as you want, since both these vegetables are usually too large for only one family. Deftly scoops out the seeds and shaves off the thick rind, then chops it into two pieces so it will easily fit inside my shopping bag. Wound up with 600 grams, a little over a 斤 or a pound of usable flesh 肉。                       Before anything else, I started washing and soaking the rice. I used one cup total, about half of which was medium-grain white rice 大米, with the remainder being millet 小米 and short-grain sticky rice 糯米。That combination is completely optional; the recipe works just fine with all plain rice instead.    The thing I most often got wrong when starting out making zhou 粥 several years ago was that I always seemed to use too much rice. It's easy to forget how much it will expand during the process of cooking, and you want the result to be soupy, not thick. I would suggest thinking long and hard before exceeding one cup of grain, since it eventually needs to be diluted 10 to 1 or 12 to 1 with water or stock.   Next order of business, and another of those simple things that is easy to slight, is to wash the rice very well. The idea is not just to get it clean, but to remove surface rice powder and begin softening or even breaking some of the grains. This is different from making steamed rice where you would like to maintain grain integrity.   Rinse it four or five times, each time scrubbing it around with your hands, rolling it between your palms. Consider this some kind of mild primal therapy. Put on loud music if necessary.   Then let it soak. Ideally for about an hour. And this soaking water will be discarded before you actually start cooking.               Now turn your attention to the pumpkin. Wash it quickly under running water and then slice it into thin pieces. These don't need to be tiny slivers, but it works best if they aren't large chunks.       Steam these for 15 or 20 minutes, until they are soft and pierce easily with ordinary blunt chopsticks. Some recipes call for mashing them at this point, but I think that's unneeded labor. While the pumpkin was steaming, I defrosted a large cup of frozen chicken stock that I had made a week or two before. Water can be used instead if you want to go vegetarian.       Poured off the rice soaking water, which by this time was pretty clear, added the stock and enough extra water to be twelve times the volume of the dry rice. Add the soft steamed pumpkin and turn on the heat. I'm using my trusty rice cooker, which has a setting for zhou, labeled 稀饭 because that's the preferred term in Yunnan. Make sure your rice cooker is not more than about three quarters full; don't want it to boil over.       If you don't have a rice cooker you could make it stovetop, but it requires lots of stirring to be sure it doesn't stick. You can also use a slow cooker 电子砂锅。The "zhou" program on my rice cooker takes a little over 30 minutes. But I open the lid every five minutes or so and stir it well with chopsticks. Want to break up any clumps and make sure it doesn't burn in the bottom of the pot.   Towards the end of cooking time, I add a teaspoon of salt 食盐 and four or five pieces of rock sugar 冰糖。Taste to be sure the rice is cooked through and completely tender. If not, give it a few more minutes. The results are smooth, steamy, aromatic, and nourishing. I garnished the bowl with a few wolfberries/gouqi 枸杞。       You can use your imagination in adding other ingredients, or you can keep it classically simple. Regardless, it will chase away the cold weather blahs admirably and not saddle you with much in the way of cleanup. Give it a try.
    • 2bwo
      I'm learning about the degree complement 得. I understood how to use it but what is not clear to me is when do I have to repeat the first syllable of the verb. For example, there's a sentence which is 我游泳游得不太好 and another one which is 我准备得好 referring to an exam. My question is: why in the first case you need to repeat the first syllable while in the second you don't need to? How do I know when I have to repeat it or not?
    • Nu Nu
      I am interested in Chinese art and thinking about taking a 2 years course in furniture design in China. first name comes to mind for design is Shanghai but it is pretty expensive. Nanjing is known for its educational institutes but how about woodworking traditions? or it's art scene life? are Nanjing's artists hubs and galleries active?  if I decide to persue working in furniture design field after the course would Nanjing give me good opportunities?   
    • 陳德聰
      This recent International Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Beijing LGBT Centre released the results of the first national survey targeting China’s transgender population (“2017中国跨性别群体生存现状调研”). The release was accompanied by a cartoon video breakdown, sort of like a couple minutes of Transgender Discourse 101.   This survey was conducted in collaboration with several other organisations but I am more interested in the fact that it was conducted at all. I think this is a positive step towards much needed research and education around transgender issues in China, but it feels curious that it has been framed (as may be familiar to some of us in the Chinese-speaking LGBT community) in the usual “this is a Western concept” way. But presumably with more research, more culturally appropriate terminology should emerge. Perhaps a reclamation of terms like 陰陽人, and hopefully an understanding that not everyone desires or needs to undergo sex reassignment surgery to be their true selves.   I am accustomed to putting content notes on things I post to social media so I’ll do so here as well.   ** content note: the video contains cartoon depictions of self harm, suicide, domestic violence, and uses before/after-style photos of known trans people **   Video with Simplified Chinese subtitles (Youku): http://m.youku.com/video/id_XMzE3MDE4MDA4MA==.html   Video with English subtitles (YouTube): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=K0CdK1ZKrok   For terminology buffs:   跨性別(者) kuàxìngbié(zhě) Transgender (person)   性取向 xìngqǔxiàng Sexual orientation   性別認同 xìngbié rèntóng Gender identity   跨性別男性 (又稱: 女跨男) kuàxìngbié nánxìng (also: nǚkuànán) Transgender man   跨性別女性 (又稱: 男跨女) kuàxìngbié nǚxìng (also: nánkuànǚ) Transgender woman   性別酷兒 xìngbié kùér Genderqueer   指派性別 zhǐpài xìngbié Assigned sex   非二元性別(者) fēi èryuán xìngbié(zhě) Gender Non-binary (person)   轉變期 zhuǎnbiànqī Transition period   異裝者 yìzhuāngzhě Cross dresser   扭轉治療 niǔzhuǎn zhìliáo Conversion therapy   激素治療 jīsù zhìliáo Hormone therapy   性別重置手術 xìngbié chóngzhì shǒushù Sex reassignment surgery   And a bonus that doesn’t appear in the video:   順性別(者) shùnxìngbié(zhě) Cisgender (person)
    • sultan110
      Hi All,   I applied for china visa and it got refused. They gave me the attached document. When i asked why they told me the reason is written. I said i dont speak Mandarin and was told thats not their problem.   Can someone translate and tell me why i was refused? Refusal.pdf
    • yu.yuri
      I'm going to study in Chinese. But I dont know that I should choose Beijing or Shanghai. Can you guys recommend your ideas for me? Thank you so much ^^
    • junelove
      I am US citizen and having a flight tmomorrow night to go to China. After visiting China I am going to Vietnam. I had a temp. Residency in Vietnam but it looks like I lost my visa. What I am gonna try is I am going to apply e-visa in Vietnam now bring the letter or document saying I got approved for the vietnam visa and show it to immigration in China.    Do you think it will work to enter China?   What should you recommend for this situation. I really have to go to two countries for business purpose but I lost third country visa.    thank you.     
    • mayi
      How did you learn it, what is the best way you think that works, and what is the most consfuing part to you?
    • Itou
      Hi, there is a company called 长电科技。 I read it as chang dian, but its logo says chang jiang.  Can 电 be read as jiang?   thanks!
    • Nevendar
      Hi all,I want to buy my first Bamboo steamer, and I wonder which will be a better.Mostly I will use it to Dim sums and baozi.The choise is between classic Bamboo steamer and with steel banding like this:https://www.amazon.com/inch-Bamboo-Steamer-La... Do you think, that steel banding make steamer stronger? Or it's just an marketing trick?And the second think: size. I looking for 10 inch. Is it a optimal and typical size?Thank's for any help.:)
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  • Blog Entries

    • anonymoose
      Our values By anonymoose in Signese 0

    • somethingfunny
      一样好 By somethingfunny in Signese 1
      Saw this written on a wall in a mountain village.

    • roddy
      Signese Revival 17 By roddy in Signese 3
      One fairly random photo of Chinese characters in action, per week, until sometime in 2018. And perhaps longer if I'm encouraged. Those who want to contribute their own random photos of Chinese characters are welcome, just get in touch and I'll add you to the contributor list so you can post directly, from computer or phone.
      Early Internet slang?

    • js6426
      Week 12 - 阅读期中考试 By js6426 in Chinese Language And Literature Degree 7
      This has been an awesome week, and I felt like I really learned a lot.  First of all, for some reason I am still unable to upload photos.  I have sent Roddy a message and so hopefully by next week I can put some up.
      I got my reading/writing midterm back, and it turns out I actually did write 容 correctly, and I got 100%!  Obviously I am over the moon with that, but it led to something even more cool.  There were 9 of us who did really well on the midterm, and so our teacher said that after looking at our results, attendance, and homework each week, we don't need to attend class between now and our final exam in January if we don't want to.  She said we are welcome to come, but our time is probably better spent devising and studying our own 内容。  She said we obviously still need to take the final exam, and we need to make sure we cover what's in the book as that will all be on there.  Each week we have to send photos via Wechat showing that we have been studying, and we have to produce 3 paragraphs/articles each week, on whatever we choose.  We can either send photos of those to her, or leave them in the classroom the night before and she will correct them for us (I am definitely doing the latter so that I actually continue to learn).  I am really pumped about this. The remaining Hanzi in the book that will be on the final are fairly common, and so shouldn't take long to learn.  Most of them I can read, I just need to remind myself how to write them.  But it means I have more time to study personal vocabulary, and writing the articles will be really fun and allow for a lot more experimentation with new words and grammar.  Finally she said after our final exams she will reassess and let us know whether she wants us to return to class, or we can continue to do our own thing. 
      I just started a thread on sentence structure, so I won't repeat it here, but one of our teachers gave me a brilliant revelation when he was teaching this week - basically, if we know general sentence structures (subj + v + obj) and all that, then when we discover a new word, in most cases we can work out how to use that word by just checking what type of word it is.  I have always struggled with this when looking up words in the dictionary!  Now it seems so simple, why on earth was I finding it so hard, I should have just checked what kind of a word it was and then I would know how to put it into a sentence!
      I spent some time hanging out with my friends at the tattoo place on Friday which was fun.  They wrote me a list of vocabulary as I walked around the shop pointing out things I didn't know, and then trying to explain things.  I think (I haven't actually checked them all in the dictionary yet though) I managed to get outline and shading, which I was quite proud of, or at least I will be if they are right hah!
      Aside from Chinese study, the weather here has been getting very cold.  Today was -16C, which is the coldest it has been so far this winter.  There has also been some snow which is nice!  Some rather unfortunate news is that we may have to move house.  Our landlord is letting us know by the end of this month whether or not she wants to sell the place (I naively just assumed we'd be here for 4 years).  It's annoying because this place has 3 bedrooms which is perfect with our kids, the location is also fantastic.  It's not too far from uni and we are right by a big supermarket and a great kindergarten for the kids.  The silver lining is that our contract is up mid-Feb, so we will most likely move in January, right in the middle of my holiday!  I think I will stop there for this week, before the post gets too long!
    • abcdefg
      Admonition at the dining table By abcdefg in Signese 2
      The saunas 洗浴 I visit all have something similar to this on prominent display as a tabletop sign of some sort in the dining room where free lunch and supper buffets are served. This one was just slid under the glass. These have been a prominent fixture for several years. Loosely enforced, if at all. Still, a reminder as to what constitutes suggested behavior.

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