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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/28/2019 in Posts

  1. 29 points
    We got back to the UK And it was a crazy journey. First off, massive respect to the UK foreign office and local constituents for representing us, they managed to get a coach arranged only one day before the last flight out of Wuhan, which drove around 700km to pick up 4 British nationals in the far reaches of Hubei province and take us to the airport in time for the flight. I had completely given up hope, but was amazed to receive a phonecall only days ago saying there was a chance they had found a government driver that would be able to come find us. And he did. sort of. as is always the case in China, the smaller the town, the less contact with state and central government there is, and this was no different. when the coach arrived at the exit to come into our town, the police refused the driver entry point blank, saying he didn't have the right papers to enter the town. If we wanted to get on the coach, we had to come to them and walk across the ETC area by foot. okay. how do we get to him? there were three police checkpoints to get through, and the only thing the police would accept was their 枝江通行證 (turned out to be a torn in half A4 sheet with the above characters on it and a stamp…). I showed them all the embassy papers, the official notices from the provincial and city governments, but they just weren't good enough. I even called the foreign office, and was again told 'don't you have any guanxi?' In the end, it took over 2 hours, 5 pages of forms, 9 official stamps, a visit to the hospital and two government bureaus and a long argument between a yichang official and a zhijiang official who refused to stamp the final form (even though zhijiang falls under the jurisdiction of yichang). Seemed like noone wanted to be held responsible for letting us go... But more interestingly, this ordeal required us to run all across town to different departments, and it was our first time out of the house in three weeks. Cant really describe how eerie and quite frankly scary the place looked: familiar busy streets completely deserted, police cars driving around slowly, blaring messages to cover your face and stay indoors at all times, the hospital had people screaming hysterically at the entrances and (not even joking) doctors running inside with boxes with blood slopping down the side (i can only hope it was emergency blood transfusions). Nobody about except police and military, and the occasional government car. No word of a lie, it looked and felt like something straight out of I Am Legend or 28 Days Later. I really wanted to take pictures and videos, but all the police were not looking like they were in the mood for such antics. Once we finally left the city it was as expected: completely empty motorway for 3 hours. Only one month ago I day on the very same stretch of road in gridlock. Empty fields too. The whole province really is a ghost town. And it was so sad to see, because for me, Hubei is China. We made it to the airport after many police checkpoints and temperature checks, to find hundreds of passengers from a number of countries all trying to get onto three different flights leaving at the same time. It was one massive queue that lead into a single health check area. If your temperature didn't make the cut you couldn't get on the plane - found out later two of the Brits on our flight weren't allowed on and were sent back to Wuhan because their temperatures were checked five times and 1/5 times their readings were slightly above average. Terrible feeling. All in all, queued in a room full of facemasks and hazmats for about 7 hours. But thankfully for us we made it out, through the storm in the uk at the moment and landed in galeforce headwinds at a military base in the uk (scariest landing of my life). We are now in quarantine. Phew, cant believe it. As for family back in Zhijiang, we are happy we managed to get out for our own sakes, but also as it is two less mouths to feed over the next few weeks, which will make things a bit easier for the rest (still six mouths to feed all in one house now we've gone). The hoarding has already begun in many cities, and I know rations-style food distribution started in some of the 小區 near us started today. The local university has been converted into a quarantine centre, where student bunks are now hospital beds. Online classes also began today. A friend can't return home, as while they were outing buying food, someone in their building got diagnosed with the virus and now the whole block has been quarantined. People are saying infection rates are dropping, but at street level, I can say from first hand witness, the state of things near the centre of the outbreak is pretty dire to say the least… Cant believe I'm in the UK writing this right now, surreal. Just been swabbed for the virus, have to wait 48 hours for the result. Wish me luck!
  2. 22 points
    Over the last two years I have been at East China Normal University in Shanghai studying International Chinese Education. A lot of people on these forums recently have started coming with questions regarding whether or not it is worthwhile to get a master’s degree in China and what are the pros/cons. If there are any topics that you wish I'd have included, please let me know and I'll add it. I hope others will also follow suite and share their experiences of getting a master’s degree from Chinese universities. Two years is a lot of time and I’ve experienced a lot while I’ve been here. It’s not all been good but I’ve also achieve the goals I had originally set out to achieve. Before starting my degree I had one primary goal: improve my Chinese language ability. Next to that, and the reason I decided on the degree I did (汉语国际教育) is it meant staying in the field of education. I was hoping that even if I didn’t end up teaching Chinese, the knowledge I learned and the skills I gained would stick with me in teaching English. OVERVIEW The degree itself is interesting. It is not Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, but rather aims to prepare Chinese students to go to Confucius institutes and teach Chinese. As such, all of my Chinese classmates are currently working at CI’s all around the world teaching Chinese. The course work is a hybrid of language teaching and culture classes, with the idea that “International Chinese Education” (as opposed to TECL/TECL/TCSOL) has culture as a more core component. For non-Chinese people, it is a two-year (专术) degree. The first year is classes, while the second year is internship, research, and thesis writing. Chinese students and non-Chinese students are divided into separate classes, while a few (think 2 or 3) of the classes are taken together. This is in large part because the needs are very different. Many of the Chinese student’s classes focus on English language learning and understanding the process of learning Chinese whereas the non-Chinese students’ classes focus on Chinese language learning as much as language teaching. Chinese students are expected to already have a solid foundation of linguistics and Chinese language and culture knowledge before beginning. This degree is not focused on research or academics. It is a degree specifically geared toward preparing students to enter the classroom and teach Chinese. COURSEWORK Courses are all condensed into the first year. There were roughly 10 classes per semester. Each class had its homework and the whole year was very intense. The full list of courses is: 1. 论文写作 (focused on how to format a Chinese thesis as well as how to decide on a research topic) 2. 汉语国际教育导论 (nothing worthwhile to say about this one) 3. 当代中国 (Chinese language class focusing on Chinese history and news) 4. 教学设计 (how to plan a class) 5. 跨文化交际与文化传播 (how culture is disseminated) 6. 文化项目 (how to plan a cultural event and assess its success) 7. 汉语语言学 (basic linguistics with a focus on Chinese) 8. 课堂管理 (classroom management which involved a lot of case studies) 9. 跨文化交际 (theories behind cultural communication) 10. 高级汉语 (two semesters, normal Chinese class) 11. 中国民俗 (Chinese traditions and holidays and things like that) 12. 口才艺术 (pronunciation class taught by a 播音员) 13. 教学技术 (teaching skills which broke up the process of teaching a class into very clear segments and talked about how to plan a class to account for all components) 14. 汉语教学教材与资源 (how to design your own textbooks) 15. 教学要素 (looked at commonly taught things like how to teach 把字句 or stroke order) 16. 汉字文化 (the history of Chinese characters) 17. 文化课(太极拳、油画、书法、民族舞)(two semesters) Overall, I felt that a lot of the content was redundant or not well covered. The earlier problems were discussed with the teachers and they made a very strong effort to better communicate with each other and make sure classes didn’t repeat the same information. It got better and props to the department for taking the constructive criticism so well. The latter problem, with material not being covered very well, was largely a consequence of how little basic knowledge most students in the class had about teaching methodology or grammar or etc. The bar to get in was just too low in my opinion, and as a result, it felt more like a year of undergrad coursework. This was utterly disappointing to me. If you are considering this degree to better prepare you to teach Chinese, I would recommend going someplace else. At the very least, do not do this degree at ECNU but rather do the linguistics degree which will not separate out Chinese and non-Chinese students, and as a result demand much more from the students. TEACHING As for the teachers themselves. It was a mixed bag. There were no teachers that everyone was agreement as a bad teacher. So it is important to recognize the below as my opinion. Some teachers knew there content extremely well and were able to pair it up with successful teaching methods. In other words, they practiced what they preached. Unfortunately, this was the minority. I found most teachers taught in stark contrast to the dos and don’ts being taught. Some of the classes had great content but it was delivered very poorly, and I got far more from just ignoring the teaching and reading on my own. Still yet other classes were an utter waste of time. Classes were mostly taught in the teacher-speaks-you-listen way, despite a constant drilling from various classes that teaching this way is ineffective. This was paired with many homework assignments that seems to do little from an education standpoint. What I did like was that few classes used paper tests and most all required papers. This was good practice for writing a thesis and altogether I wrote something like 10 papers, each in excess of 2000 characters, some longer that 5000 characters. THESIS The most fruitful part of this whole process was writing my own thesis in Chinese. The thesis has a 30000-character requirement. Mine ended up at 35,000 which, included the appendix, graphs and everything, amounted to 80 pages. The process was: During the first semester all students determine which direction they want to study (culture or language) and were randomly assigned a thesis advisor (Not according to your area of interest, which meant even if your area of interest was exactly what one teacher is researching, you were still very unlikely to get paired. Very frustrating.). During the second semester, most thesis advisors had some way of encouraging students to deepen their understanding of their chosen direction. Some had bi-weekly study groups in which students choose papers to read and analyze together, while others require you to collect a list of all relevant papers to your topic. Each advisor had their own method, while some were completely hands-off. Those students all struggled. Some students, despite immense effort, only managed to get a few phrases of feedback during the whole one-and-a-half-year process from their “advisor.” My personal experience was that when I asked another advisor a question since a paper they wrote was part of my thesis, my thesis advisor at the time got furious (apparently she had beef with the other advisor) and demanded I change thesis advisors. It was all a very childish affair. Once your topic was clarified and before the end of the second semester, all students had to present their topic to a panel that would decide whether or not it was do-able. This involved explaining how you would go about your research and why it was of value to pursue. If your idea passed the panel, the next step was to begin research. All students were expected to find an internship for their third semester (no formal help was provided from the school in finding these internships) during which all were expected to do their research. My research focused on vocabulary acquisition and several motivational factors and their effect on vocabulary retention over several time periods. It’s worth noting that at this point, we still had no idea what the precise timeline was for when we turned in our thesis. In, roughly, late December, it was announced we needed to turn in our first full draft by the end of January. This was in stark contrast to the estimated early-March deadline. Many students resorted to less-than-kosher methods (directly paying someone to write their whole thesis, plagiarism, and what-not) to deal with the short deadline as many could not begin writing until they had collected their data from their internship or were too busy with the internship to have any time to write. I literally spent one month at my apartment writing and adopted a cat to cope with the stress. Great decision. My orange tabby Charlie is an angel. After turning in the first draft, each new deadline was announced in bit by bit: second draft with all parts completed, then a final draft which was used for the pre-defense in early March, and a week after the pre-defense all were to turn in their final draft. The final draft went through a “复制比检测” to check to make sure <10% of all content was similar to any other document in their system. It seems to work as at least one student who succumbed to easier options had a copy rate in excess of 30%. That student now has three months to re-write their thesis. Lastly, student draw lots for 盲审 in which papers are given to a blind-panel for review (though your status as an overseas student is noted). The last part, and the part I have not yet taken part in, is the proper defense of the thesis in May. However, I have been told that should the department let you pass the pre-defense, you are most likely going to pass the actual defense. My understanding is also that since our thesis is not uploaded to 知网, which is to say it is not to be seen by any outside of the school, standards are much lower than for, say, a student in the linguistics program. MISC Students in the master’s degree program stay with the other international students in the same dorms which have two students per dorm with a shared bathroom on each floor. The rooms are simple though quite big as they are designed for Chinese-style dorms with two sets of bunks per room. The services provided from the International Student Services office were top notch. Every step of the way, from registering to moving of campus, was well explained. They provided plenty of help and were always available to answer questions of WeChat. Big props to that whole team. If you like taking part in school events like fashion shows and singing competitions, they organize plenty of these as well. University life is great since ECNU is next to the biggest shopping mall in Shanghai as well as a massive park with a large pond (though many call it a lake). There is no shortage of food options with plenty of restaurants and three separate canteens on campus, which also include halal areas, western-style areas, and a slightly fancier area outside of the normal Chinese canteens. The campus itself is also comfortable (Zhongshan campus) with plenty of nature and a little steam running through the middle. CONCLUSION Simply put, if your goal is to improve your Chinese language ability, this is a really good degree to go for at ECNU. Your coursework will demand reading increasing amounts of Chinese content and climax in writing 30,000 Chinese characters. However, the burden of improving your Chinese is on you (be prepared to include 300 RMB/week for a tutor in your budget). On the other hand, if you sincerely want to become a great Chinese teacher, this program is not for you. It falls short it two major ways: 1) bar of entry is too low and as such content difficult is reduced to match the needs of most students. 2) Academic rigor is desperately lacking. Students often get away with plagiarism and very low-quality work. The result is a degree that doesn’t hold much credibility. If you are looking to teach Chinese, make sure to enroll in a program that does not separate out the international students and applies the same standards to all students. Chinese students were all held to a much high standard and I think that is better. If you do this, then make sure you are already at a “strong” HSK 6 before entering the program, otherwise you’ll be spending too much time on language learning and not enough time on mastering the content that will enable you to become a great Chinese teacher.
  3. 18 points
    Hey ABC, if you don't know yet, there is a chance of snow in Dallas for the next couple of days. The TV weather report is saying travel is not recommended. (Just what you want to hear...) Yes, you are right, that's not what I was hoping to hear. Got to DFW (Dallas) last night from Los Angeles. Good flight. But this pilgrim is weary. Feels like I've been on the road forever. Lost my large checked suitcase somewhere along the way. Filed a "lost baggage" report. Chances are it's back in Hong Kong. Have rented a car, and in a couple hours will drive home. Should be able to lay my head on my own pillow tonight. A big thank you to all of you here on the forum who have been pulling for me to make it!
  4. 15 points
    It was all because I, out of curiosity, downloaded @imron's Chinese Text Analyzer. I just wanted to get a rough idea on how different Chinese writers compare with each other in terms of accessibility for foreign language learners. As a native speaker, I'm not in a good position to assess the relative ease or difficulty of a book. Of course I know 《道德经》 is more difficult than 《小布头奇遇记》. But what about normal books that normal people read? I wanted a more objective criterion. And I think I've found one – the number of unique characters in a book. (Total characters and unique words are also useful – Chinese word segmentation is not a perfect science but the number still means something when comparing different texts.) After running a dozen of .txt files through CTA, I have some interesting findings: 1) 余华 really is easy. He is like the Chinese Hemingway. You can't get any easier, really. 余华's 《活着》 is a favorite among Chinese learners for good reason. It has 1865 unique characters, significantly lower than 2619, the number of unique characters in 曹文轩's 《草房子》, a children's novel suitable for 4-6th graders. 2) For advanced readers like imron, who knows 4400 characters and has quite a few 金庸s under his belt, the Four Classic Novels or 四大名著 should be theoretically within reach. (《水浒传》 was among the first novels I read. I was in 初一 and I don't think I knew that many characters. I didn't understand everything of course, but understanding everything isn't the point.) So it was a dark and stormy night. I ran a dozen of .txt files through CTA. And the perfectionist in me wasn't happy. As anyone who has used these "free" e-books knows, they're a very mixed bag. Typos, OCR errors, bad formatting, and no way to know which version/edition they are based on. When all the texts you pull from the internet give you 身后“”的马蹄声, you know something is missing. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I bought some 300 yuan's worth of books and was proofreading e-books... That's when it struck me: We have a First Episode Project, why not a First Chapter Project? Thus here I am, presenting you with 第一弹 of the First Chapter Project! biu~biu~ The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. The reason I chose it is because: 1) It's popular. It's one of the bestselling books on JD.com, Dangdang, and Amazon.cn. 2) It's a contemporary work, not too easy, not too difficult, and rather heavy on dialogue. A major obstacle may be technical vocabulary. But the Chinese technical words are mostly compounds and relatively transparent compared to English. And you don't need to be a scientist to read science fictions. From what I gathered from JD.com reviews, children as young as 10 are able to enjoy this book. How much do you reckon they know about particle physics or radio cosmology? Not much. It's just a fun escapist adventure. Don't take it too seriously. 3) It has two different versions of the first chapter. The novel was first serialized in Science Fiction World in 2006, because the opening scene (China at the height of the Cultural Revolution) was deemed too sensitive for the year 2006 – the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the said revolution. In the book version published in 2008, the story begins instead in present-day Beijing – the original Chapter 1 was tone down a bit and became Chapter 7. The English translation from 2014, which went on to win the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel, was based on the serialized version. Personally, I like the book narrative better. Science fiction with no sign of science in the first 30 pages is, frustrating. Although admittedly, had it not been for the Cultural Revolution theme, it wouldn't have won the Hugo Award and I wouldn't have read it in the first place. All right, enough third conditionals. Let's get to the main course. 《三体》,刘慈欣,重庆出版社,2008年1月第1版,2017年8月第7次印刷,ISBN 978-7-5366-9293-0 Difficulty: medium; Total characters: 162,680; Unique characters: 2,817; Unique words: 10,228 (not counting preface, epilogue and the like) First chapter (6,897 characters): (I made two corrections: 不、不→不,不 and 看去很小很小→看上去很小很小) Characters: 汪淼 Wāng Miǎo – Nanomaterials researcher (淼,大水也。 Personal names are the best opportunity to get acquainted with some rare characters, e.g., 金鑫, 牛犇, 朴文垚.) 史强 Shǐ Qiáng – Police detective and counter-terrorism specialist, nicknamed 大史 Dà Shǐ 常伟思 Cháng Wěisī – Major general of the People's Liberation Army 杨冬 Yáng Dōng – String theorist, recently committed suicide 丁仪 Dīng Yí – Theoretical physicist, Yang Dong's boyfriend 申玉菲 Shēn Yùfēi – Chinese-Japanese physicist and member of the Frontiers of Science Other names: 科学边界 Kēxué Biānjiè – Frontiers of Science, a fictional international academic group 吉普赛人 Jípǔsàirén – Gypsy 北约 Běiyuē (abbr. for 北大西洋公约组织) – NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) 中央情报局 Zhōngyāng Qíngbào Jú (中情局) – Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 罗非鱼 Luófēiyú – tilapia 良湘 Liángxiāng – Fictional place name, site of China's new high-energy particle accelerator 钱钟书 Qián Zhōngshū (1910.11.21–1998.12.19) – Chinese literary scholar and writer 白桦树 Báihuàshù – Siberian silver birch (Betula platyphylla) 联合国教科文组织 Liánhéguó Jiào Kē Wén Zǔzhī – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 三菱电机 Sānlíng Diànjī – Mitsubishi Electric 石器时代 Shíqì Shídài – Stone Age Vocabulary (explanations in Chinese, taken from 《现代汉语词典》第7版 and 教育部《重編國語辭典修訂本》): (A bit long, so I'll just fold it into a spoiler tag) ==================== P.S. If you're planning to buy the book, don't buy the hard copy, at least not until there's a revision. They made 200+ changes to the original text, ranging from unnecessary (它几乎完全被野草埋没/它几乎被野草完全埋没) to awkward (扩大搜索目标、频率及范围/扩大搜索目标和频率和范围) to stupid (夕阳、晚霞/朝阳、朝霞). The handling of 了 and measure words makes one wonder whether the editors are native speakers. And I'm not even talking about typographical errors that can throw a reader completely off the planet (一颗恒星/一个颗状星). The electronic version restored most of the original text while keeping the rearranged chapter order. It is the version I recommend.
  5. 14 points
    update from quarantine here: - first lab test results are back, and the whole group has tested negative, which is obviously great news. - were going to be tested again this saturday, then again two days before the 14 day period is up, because apparently some symptomless carriers don't show up on early tests. - i am closing in on completing my written memorisation of 千字文, I have written it out so much now I am starting to really hate it…which is always a good sign, shows I'm definitely reciting it enough - hit the 30 mark for classical poems learnt by heart… - so bored ive ordered a neo geo to the quarantine centre so i can play metal slug. I literally never get bored of studying, but damnit if my brain doesn't need to unwind sometimes
  6. 14 points
    Im certainly no expert, but seeing as the title reads "what do you believe", I will share my opinion based on what I saw in Hubei in the last few days. Ive never seen anything like the level to which the cities have been locked down before, it was very extreme to the point where I was wondering, why are there so many roadblocks everywhere, when nobody even wants to go outside? People have been saying a lot about how the amount of flu deaths far exceeds this virus, even if it is super contagious, no need to panic blah blah. But we all know the Chinese govt puts economic development before pretty much everything, so shutting down a whole province all the way down to the movement of people out of their neighbourhood streets onto the main streets, which will inevitably have a deep impact on the economy long term, surely indicates that this is not only a serious problem, but the govt knows just how much more serious it might become if it doesn't put measures in place. But they can't really state this outright, otherwise the whole place will go into panic mode. So yes, I personally think numbers are being underreported and downplayed, judging from the actions bring taken at street level, and to me it makes logical sense as to why.
  7. 14 points
    I’m bailing out. Bought a ticket late last night that has me leaving this Friday, 31 Jan. Will fly via Hong Kong. Flights via Beijing and Shanghai are subject to long delays or cancellations. "Hub" traffic jammed up, especially in Beijing, where they are “breaking in” a new airport. In Hong Kong I will remain air-side if possible. I will have completed exit formalities at passport control prior to boarding in Kunming. I should be in Dallas by the afternoon of Saturday 1 Feb. Lock-downs and travel bans are becoming more widespread. Inter-city bus routes have been suspended, as has all group holiday touring. Most points of interest all over China are closed. The government has officially extended the holiday, so people don't need to be in a panic to get back home to their place of employment. Once people reach their actual homes, where they have jobs, I wouldn't be surprised if all (or most) domestic travel is halted. When no one is sure how much is enough, official over-reaction becomes the norm. Schools are suspended, all gathering places are sealed. Even the movie theaters have shut down. People are stockpiling groceries, especially non-perishables like rice and cooking oil. Canned goods were flying off the shelves when I was at WalMart this morning. If I were not to act now, I would face a real risk of being stranded here 3 or 4 more months before being allowed to exit the country. At least that is my main concern. Of course, nobody has a crystal ball. A second concern is that even though I am healthy, were I to get a benign ten-cent winter cold, the cough, runny nose, and slight fever from that would wind me up in some mandatory locked isolation ward, shoulder to shoulder with people who are "really" sick. I see that as a recipe for disaster; my policy is to stay far away from hospitals at times like this unless I’m on the caregiver end of the equation. So it's bye bye Kunming. I will definitely miss you. Promise to return as soon as it's safe.
  8. 13 points
    This resource is probably more intended for intermediate to advanced learners. I've personally been studying for about 9 years and work in translation full-time now, and I've always used Zhihu as a tool for studying Chinese and staying abreast of the current Chinese zeitgeist. On Zhihu Digest, each week I take a look at the top 10 questions and analyze the language involved (from a Chinese learner's perspective) as well as any relevant cultural aspects. Some of the interesting tidbits from this week include what exactly it means for a person to 废掉, different ways of talking about steroids, and what grade levels 中小学 comprises. https://www.zhihudigest.com/ All feedback, whether regarding content or the site itself, is welcome. Cheers.
  9. 13 points
    Graded Watching is a website I've created to make watching Chinese TV series more approachable for Chinese learners. It offers mainly two things: a ranking based on the number of words, to find TV series at your level a list of words for each show that you can import into Pleco for studying Currently there are around 60 shows listed. I hope I can add more shows in the future, but since the analysis is done based on soft subs the selection is limited. I selected two easier shows for myself to start with, "On Children", a show on Netflix which reminds me of Black Mirror, and "Memory Love", which I use for practicing listening comprehension together with the Chrome extension Language Learning with Netflix. It will stop after each subtitle and I can check whether I understood everything. Before watching an episode I study all the words using Pleco flashcards, so I hardly need to look up anything while watching, which is very motivating. If you have soft subs for more shows I'd be happy to include them.
  10. 13 points
    Haha, with families and couples suddenly forced to spend a lot more time together than they are used to, I'm sure China will see a spike in both births and divorces in the coming months (just a general comment, not talking about your personal situation) The situation in Harbin escalated a notch overnight, and I'd say we're at DEFCON 3 now. Apparently, there have been a few infections around my area (within 1-2 km), so the situation feels a lot closer to home, rather than just being something on the news. It also seems that many residential apartment complexes have begun requiring permission slips in order to leave, including mine: I used one of the three slips issued to me for this week to go to the local supermarket to stock up. I pretty much bought a weeks worth of supplies, so I suppose I could now sell the other two slips on the (probably already thriving) exit slip black market. Surprisingly, the two guys who run a nut and seed street stall just outside the supermarket decided to open today. Just as I was walking past and thinking about whether or not to buy something, one of the men let out a massive sneeze. While I appreciated the effort he made to turn his head to face slightly back over his shoulder as he did it, it was far from the recommended "sneeze into the inner elbow" technique, and I decided to carry on walking. At the entrance to the shopping mall was a man taking everyone's temperature. He said something to me as he was aiming the small thermometer gun at my wrist, but I was daydreaming and didn't hear what he said, so I just smiled and asked ”正常吗?“, to which he replied ”零“ and showed me the result. He had a slightly confused look on his face, as if unsure as to whether those strange 老外 just naturally had a much lower body temperature to normal folk, and that maybe he should just let me pass anyway. Fortunately, I already had already experienced this issue a couple of days before and therefore knew what to do. I said to him “零?怎么可能, 我还没死呢!” and pulled my jumper and jacket down a bit from my neck so that he could take the measure again, this time around my collar bone area. This time I got a ”正常“ reading, and could continue on downstairs to the supermarket. Everyone seems pretty calm around here, in spite of the new measures. Even the people taking temperatures and controlling the flow of people are generally in good humour. The only nervousness I've encountered was when I was walking around my 小区 a little earlier today. My apartment area is criss-crossed with walking paths, and as I was walking towards a small crossroads, a woman a little ahead and to my right suddenly shouted “别动!”. As I looked to my left I could see who she was telling to stop - a 10/11 year old boy who had seemingly fallen behind his parents at the other side. The boy stood perfectly still with a scared expression on his face, as if he had just been told by Dr Grant to freeze so that a nearby T-Rex wouldn't be able to see him. I carried on walking and the boy ran to join his parents as soon as I had passed the little cross-section. This afternoon I decided to take a leaf out of @abcdefg's book and actually try my hand at making some Chinese food. I generally like cooking, but the food is so cheap that I tend to eat out most days, and when I do cook at home I usually make western food. I decided to make a Dongbei favourite of mine, 锅包肉, but realised when I go home that I had forgotten to buy any Chinese onion. It's at this point that I had to decide whether or not buying it would be worth using one of my two remaining exit permission slips for (#justcoronavirusthings, as @vellocet might say). I decided that I could make do with the western onion already in my fridge instead. The dish turned out ok, but I couldn't quite get the water to 淀粉 ratio right, so the batter didn't turn out as well as it could have. I was satisfied how the sauce turned out though (a delicate balance between the sugar, vinegar, ginger and onion). Oh well, I'm going to have plenty of time to perfect the recipe over the coming days anyway.
  11. 13 points
    http://www.bilibili.com/video/av85901845?share_medium=android&share_source=more&bbid=XYFB5CAF698EEE335B6147082A959F8C857D9&ts=1580454870665 started a video diary for anyone thats interested in getting a realistic perspective of what things are like here at the moment. as you can see, things are calm and quiet. the sun is out, everyone is going about on the street as normal, feeling happy. but tbh it does feel like a calm before the storm kind of atmosphere here, little bit eerie, this street is usually buzzing with neighbours washing clothes, smoking meat, chatting and playing cards and chess
  12. 13 points
    Hey guys, I can comment on this because I know a lot of people who have been in the China Horizons program and I am familiar with the program over my time in China. They are unaffiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints although they are members of the church and primarily recruit students from BYU. Basically, they have been breaking the law in China for a decade or so. They are being accused of human trafficking which, while I think does not exactly capture what has happened, does have a case as a legal charge. Here is what CH has been doing. They offer a program to primarily undergraduate students to go to China to teach English for 2-3 month stints. The students pay CH a fee to go to China and the students pay for their own flights to China. The students are placed in a small town with largely private English schools in the area, primarily teaching young kids. The students go to China on a tourist visa. During their time in China, the school provides accommodations and a small stipend of around 500 RMB per month. The students then return back to America after their time is up. There are legal problems with this situation as well as some ethical issues I have always had with it. First, the students are working in China illegally. To legally work, in China, you must have a work permit. It's a lengthy and sometimes costly process which would not justify just a 2-3 month employment. The students largely would be unqualified to receive work permits anyways because they do not have a college degree. China Horizons is "double dipping" on both sides: they receive a payment from the students AND they receive money from the school employing the students. This seems supremely unfair the first time I ever heard of it and I've always felt the students are being taken advantage of it. The students have no idea how much of a risky situation they have been placed into. With the stricter enforcement that the Chinese government has enacted over the last few years, they could easily be jailed and deported if they were found to be working without proper documentation. I've heard a lot of people rally for Jacob Harlan and his associates indicating that they are victims of Chinese government oppression, but this is just not the case. While I feel for Jacob and his family (his family being the real victims of his crimes), he has been breaking the law and arguably exploiting students for a very long time and the chickens have proverbially come home to roost. I have been in touch with some of the representatives about this and I have expressed my opinion about all of this but they didn't seem to want any of this information spread around because it is damaging to his case. However, it is my prediction that he will not be coming home till he finishes a jail sentence complete with an apology and possibly fine. I will say that despite what I have said, I have known a number of the students who went through the CH program and had a very good experience and some even went back to China under more legitimate circumstances. I am really happy for them and I am glad that they did have this experience. However, I have always harbored big reservations about the CH program and it appears that things have finally caught up to them. I hope this sheds some light on the issue for anyone interested.
  13. 13 points
    Just a small reflection I wanted to share here on my improvements with tv comprehension. I can vividly remember feeling so frustratated with how impossible and stressful watching the 'fun' Chinese tv recommended here on the forums used to be. But now watching tv is so easy and fun, I wanted to share my 'yeah you can do it' moment So, I watched 琅琊榜 when it came out, which was what about 3-4 years ago now. I loved it, but it was such hard work, I remember spending about a week working through the first episode alone. The visual aids made it watcheable and fun, but I was well aware of the fact that I was only really able to grasp the bare bones of the plot, and struggled a lot with even trying to pick out names from regular vocabulary. After that, I watched similar kinds of tv shows non stop, for years, with depressingly low success rates. But it did seem to be getting easier. Just that progress was painfully slow. But I figured, what else was I going to do with my evenings? So I kept watching, and pausing, and then watching...and then pausing...etc Flash forward to earlier this year, I finished the fantastic 武林外传 (highly recommended), but after having such an annoying time with what you might call 方言-interference in my everyday Chinese tones (from the non-standard accents in the show), I then switched to something more 'clear' - the classic 甄嬛传 (avoided for years because sadly I thought it was too 'girly' - imo this show is actually a legit classic and must watch for intermediate-advanced Chinese learners). It was still pretty tough going, but by the end I would say I felt 'relaxed' and enjoyed it without any language stress - ie. minimal pausing, I would guess maybe around 98^% listening comprehension. Recently I took a break to read 左傳 in the evening instead of TV. This evening I sat down feeling pretty tired (dissertation translation submitted...finally!) and thought, hey, why not give 琅琊榜 a try again, would be good to rewatch it. I was shocked to find I could understand everything, the plot, the subplot, insinuations, jokes, you name it. Must have been 99.5^% comprehension or something. I just sat and watched five episodes straight without a hitch. In fact the language is actually easier than 甄嬛传, and obviously way way way easier than 左傳. I almost cried it felt so good. So thats all I really wanted to say really, in a really long-winded way... Hopefully some will read this and remember what the struggle was like, others might realise, it will come, don't give up.
  14. 12 points
    Update: Made it as far as Hong Kong. Flew out of Kunming yesterday afternoon (Friday 31 Jan.) It was an on-time departure with arrival in Hong Kong about 6 pm. Good flight, even had food and beverage service. As you know, China is taking this epidemic very seriously. Everyone wearing a face mask, wiping down surfaces, using hand sanitizer and such. Compliance was 100% at the airport, complete with temperature checks. Still, I was not prepared for lots of passengers on my flight to be wearing those cheap plastic raincoats with hoods. They had the peaked tops pulled up over their heads in addition to face masks. Odd sight. Reminiscent of a KKK rally, since most were light colors, pastels and off-white. (I have only seen these in movies.) The young lady sitting next to me was additionally decked out with disposable vinyl gloves and eye goggles as though she was preparing to do battle in the ICU. She was exquisitely well informed on the subject of this health crisis, and in fact would not shut up about it. My flight out to the US, scheduled for this afternoon (Saturday 1 Feb) was delayed a couple times and ultimately cancelled. Am now re-booked on another flight leaving Monday 3 Feb. Nothing was available tomorrow. The flight from Kunming to Hong Kong was on Cathay Pacific, but now I am at the mercy of American Airlines, and they are a less stable player. I've read that their pilot's union is suing the carrier over assorted grievances, real and imagined and this has further compromised their performance, their ability to deliver the goods, which is getting passengers and freight from point A to point B. I don't really know or care whether their cause is just. I just want them to take me home. Not a big deal. I'm in a good hotel, healthy, well fed and watered, and was able to simply extend my stay by two nights. Have adjusted reservations on the Dallas end of the trip and notified friends and family. Beats the hell out of being locked up in some quarantine gymnasium or warehouse, eating instant noodles 方便面 and sleeping on a straw mat.
  15. 12 points
    Recently I did an interview with @Phil Crimmins, the co-founder of Mandarin Blueprint. Phil is an old friend and drummer I used to perform with around Sichuan. He invited me on his podcast to speak about my experience learning Mandarin and making music in China. The podcast covers many topics, including: definitions of language fluency and proficiency; reasons to learn (and not to learn) a foreign language; similarities between language and music; the benefits of patience; moving past the “intermediate plateau”; immersion/environmental factors; language learning and empathy; my experience teaching at a Chinese music conservatory; aural reading and reading speed; reading Chinese literature; concision as an indicator of language ability; my upcoming role at NYU Shanghai; and more. Chinese Forums gets mentioned a few times as well! The podcast can be watched/listened to on the Mandarin Blueprint website: https://www.mandarinblueprint.com/podcast/35-mastering-mandarin-music-with-murray-james/ It’s also on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0mg2sBhEtA
  16. 12 points
    Half year update time for me too: Goal 1: Watch 新聞聯播 every single day of 2019. To date, 100% on this goal, but I after day 74 of 新聞聯播 I was really not learning much beyond 一帶一路 every. single. day. So I switched to 國際財經報道 (also part of CCTV news), the content is much more varied and more importantly faaar more interesting. I've been watching this every day for the last few months. Listening ability has improved massively. Very happy! Goal 2: 30 mins Chinese cursive practice every day. Also 100%. But 30 mins has turned into a good 1 1/2 hours every evening before bed now. This has unexpectedly become my obsessive hobby, love it so much. I've learnt so much in researching and compiling information, images, books, databases, you name it. I can now read a lot of inscriptions on painting, and can now read pretty much the whole of 書譜 in its original form. Again, really happy! (stats from my anki deck for learning 草書, it says 60 hours, 24.5mins/day, but thats a bit of an understatement, as it sits on the edit screen for another additional hour or so as I edit each entry. Im using the Heisig order for learning characters, as it nicely builds up your knowledge of shortcuts, so that by the time you reach complex characters, 7 or 8 times out of 10 you can guess how to write it correctly even if you've never seen the supercursive form before) (^ regular handwriting, speed fairly average, this is a page of me writing out an essay from 思想與社會 that I've learnt by heart. Not pretty, just trying to build speed.) (^ what learning how to write looks like, slow speed, again, very ugly to look at, but its not about looks, its about getting that muscle memory drilled in) (^ the latest entry from today. You can see in the middle some Hiragana. Yes, Im finally beginning to learn some basic Japanese in order to access some great resources on 草書 and 書法 in general. Luckily the Hiragana forms are proving pretty easy to learn, as theyre all based on 草書 anyway. Thanks to @Gharial for recommending some great books on this!) All in all, my two goals have served me well. Cant wait for what the next six months may bring!
  17. 11 points
    Hi Guys, I just got my HSK 4 and 5 exam results back results posted to HSK results thread here The 2019 thread and previous threads have been a source of inspiration for me and I hope no one minds that I get the 2020 thread started a little early. While I failed HSK5 fairly hard, I was happy that I did most of what I had set out to do in 2019 with massive amounts of listening practise and watching of TV shows - I saw a big improvement in general communication. 2020 I'd like to pass HSK5 with a 200+ Get into structured classes again. At some point during 2020 - turn off the subtitles on the tv shows. Thanks !
  18. 11 points
    Hello, I created a podcast series aimed at intermediate to advanced learners who want to listen to more spoken Chinese to improve or become more used to pronunciation and sentence structures. Along with each podcast episode, I also set out the script (in simplified Chinese and pinyin) for that episode on my website (https://chinesecolloquialised.com/). The podcast episodes are under the name "Chinese Colloquialised", which can be found on most major podcast platforms (e.g. Apple Podcast / Google Podcast / Spotify / Overcast/ etc). If there are any intermediate to advanced learners, I would be keen to hear your thoughts on the podcast. Particularly: Is it helpful? Is it too easy or too difficult? Do you find the episodes interesting? Any other thoughts, whether it's positive compliments or constructive criticism. Thank you and best wishes, Kaycee
  19. 11 points
    Hi everyone, As we begin a new month I have decided to share some words of encouragement to all who are awaiting response of their scholarship application. Without this forum I myself don't know how I would have kept sane. Regardless of the outcome ,I wish you all the best in whatever path you may choose to embark on. “Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe and have faith that everything will work out for the best.”
  20. 11 points
    I wonder if any of the people who posted in this originally are still active in the forum? I completely forgot I had an account here, then re-signed up and found my old account history. Thought it would be interesting to give a catch up to what happened to the eager 16 year old that posted on here all this time ago back in 2007! Well turns out most of the advice was the perfect advice to give! I took a break from my school but still became a professional dancer, now at the age of 27 I finally started to achieve my dream of getting a degree in Chinese, however I decided to be 'sensible' and enrolled in a uk university at the age of 25 in a Chinese and business management degree programme. I got a 1:1 in each year and am now about to go on my 'official year abroad' to China! Thought it might be a fun post to show that even though it may take years, some things can finally happen!
  21. 10 points
    we're basically screwed - FCO called this morning to say last flight out is this Sunday, again from Wuhan. Again, no way for us to get to the plane. There are no cars to rent, or buy, yet to find a driver willing to do a 500k round trip to the centre of the epidemic. FCO are not able to guarantee the driver will be able to return after dropping us at the airport. Helpless, govt telling us to get out asap, but when I asked how, I was told, you should use your 'connections'. I dont live in China anymore, and even when I did I didnt live here, and the people here are old just old farmer folk, what connections are we meant to have? Currently speaking with a bbc reporter, see if they can put some pressure on, raise some awareness… At least im in a great place with great family.
  22. 10 points
    Things are fine here in Harbin. The streets are a lot quieter, there are very few cars driving about and many shops are closed, but the supermarkets and 便利店s are all open and full of food, and the air is clear and the sky is blue (probably due in no small part to the lack of traffic). I managed to buy three tubs of fresh fruit for just 10 yuan this afternoon. I've just come off a 3 and a half day water fast, so I dread to think what all that fruit will do to my digestive system! We had our first lesson today via wechat. Luckily there are only 3 students in our class, so we can make it work. All things considered life is pretty good here at the moment - it's all quiet on the Dongbei front. Now I have to send an email to my family to stop them from panicking (I hate the sensationalist news sometimes)
  23. 10 points
    This is an Unfinished List (will update later as per contributions) This list of resources is meant for anyone that aims to improve their Chinese proficiency past the HSK benchmark. While the obvious course would be to consume whatever Chinese media you can get your hands on, I still believe that having a few resources on hand to kick-start the process can't hurt. Heck, it might even provide some well-needed structure. 📱 Pleco 🆓 (Apple / Google / APK) [forums] ↓*↓ • Most comprehensive database of Chinese dictionaries. • Flashcard system optimized with dictionary entries. • OCR (Optical Character Recognition). • Native pronunciation to a range of words. ... 📱 有道语文达人 💯(Xiaomi) • Lightweight Chinese to Chinese dictionary. • Shows synonyms and antonyms. ... 📱 微信读书 👥🆓(Apple / Google / Xiaomi) • Most popular reading app in China. • Contents far-ranging. ... 📱 天天作文精选💯(Xiaomi) • Reading materials sorted by Chinese school grade all the way to 高考. • Short stories from 200 characters to 2000 characters. ... 📱 观止 💯(Apple / Xiaomi) • Don’t like the abundance of choice? Here is one short-story per day. • Short stories by critically acclaimed writers (cross-strait) • Want to read more? Randomly receive any of the previously posted stories. ... 📱🔗人民日标 👥 (Apple / Xiaomi)[Website Version] • “The Party’s Daily” ... 📱🔗纽约时报(Apple / Google)[Website Version] • NYTimes – Chinese Edition ... 📱 喜马拉雅FM 🆓(Apple / Xiaomi / APK)↓*↓ • Large collection of podcasts, comedy, eBooks, history and more. • Largest broadcasting “network” on the web. ... 📱 每天读点故事 ⚡👥 (Apple / Xiaomi / APK) • Stories by (I assume) amateur writers. • Spoken in by storytellers with the original text available • Non-Audio stories also available. ... 📱 得到 ⚡👥🈸 (Apple / Xiaomi / APK) • Collection of University level “classes” or rather thought provoking discussions. • Listen to books. ... 📱 普通话学习 📞⚡(Apple / Xiaomi) • 15k+ words, tongue twisters, and more with standard pronunciation. • Ability to test your own pronunciation, graded by PC. • Personal tutors available. • [More information in another thread + translated word sheets] ... 🔗 普通话学习网 💯 [website address] • Similar and sometimes overlapping content with above, but free. • Audio fragments downloadable • Want to learn 儿化音? Here is all the 儿化! ... 🔗 范文等等 [Many Links > Here is one (Just Google 范文大全 or similar) • These are model essays, speeches, letters, and above all CONTRACTS. • Want to avoid getting scammed in a contract? Why not read some examples beforehand? • Need some flowery language for a love-letter? Here are 1000 examples. • Do you want to join the Communist Party? ... Probably not, but reading other model essays won’t hurt! ... 🔗 草书字体转换器 [Placeholder Website] • Website that allows you to type in text and get it in cursive. • Though only a placeholder, I wish I could find a teaching resource for 草书 ... 🔗📱 📚 "国考" China's Civil Service Exam Study Materials [LINK TO THREAD] • A myriad of topis/questions that test whether the examinee's reading comprehension is up to standard. • Tests whether the examinee's language logic and if they can make direct connections between words and definitions. • Dubbed "HSK's Reading Exam on STEROIDS" ... I really can't recommend it often enough. [... I will keep updating this post in the foreseeable future. Please share anything you have. ..] → Pleco: By now you should have gotten used to using CN-CN dictionaries. Pleco offers both “Xiandai Hanyu Dacidian” ($50) and “Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian” ($20). Also, as a bonus, there is the “Duogongneng Chengyu Cidian” ($20) which offers a wealth of knowledge on Chinese idioms. → 喜马拉雅 FM: “Free” is only true for parts of certain broadcasts. While you don’t need to register, you will still need a Chinese phone number to buy courses and even link your WeChat to the app. 【Meaning behind the emoticons】 ↓*↓ Check bottom of post for extra comments. 📱 App on phone. 📚 Physical book. 📺 Television series. 🔗 Website address. 📞 Registering requires Chinese phone number. 👥 Registering requires WeChat authentication 🈸 Registering is possible with just an e-mail. ❔ [IF BLANK] Then just downloading is enough. 🔒 Region-Locked to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao. 💯 Even if you wanted to pay they wouldn’t let you. 🆓 Standard (functional) version is free. Buying more content is optional. ⚡ Some free. You can slowly unlock content through use, but prohibitive. 💲 Requires an up-front purchase or monthly fee. Sometimes a demo is available. 🌄 Traditional Characters only AKA Taiwan or Hong Kong based.
  24. 10 points
    Just got my HSK 6 test results back. Up to 248 from 212 the first time I took it one year ago. Pretty proud since I spent close to zero time preparing for the test itself which surprising shows non-test language learning does transfer over to the test. Good to know. My writing was the lowest at 72, which, while disappointing, isn't much of a surprise. I don't use a lot of "fancy" chengyus and the like that tend to bump up the score. Mostly just happy I got a 90 on the listening which was previously a weaker skill for me. My reading of 86 is hard to assess because I never do the bingju and don't know how many I randomly got right. Still would rather invest time in consuming native content rather than just studying test content, however, I do think I would benefit from a more structured course in writing in Chinese for a variety of different specific situation and practicing adjusting tone/formality to the occasion.
  25. 9 points
    You can have Kung Pao Chicken 宫保鸡丁at the all-you-can eat Chinese buffet in the strip mall on the outskirts of Smalltown, Texas, USA. I know because I’ve eaten it there. Panda Express also dishes up a ton of it at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Concourse B. You can always count on it to form the cornerstone of an honest, solid meal. East or West. But if you start chasing it around Mainland China, you will quickly find that the name is the same wherever you go, but what the waitress delivers to your table definitely won’t be what you remembered having last week down the road a piece. It varies all over the map. More so than most popular dishes. Why is that? Gongbao jiding originated in Shandong during the latter Qing. Chicken and peanuts were both staples of Shandong Cuisine, which is also know as 鲁菜 lu cai. The Governor of Shandong Province 山东省 was a real aficionado of that particular taste combination; anecdote has it that he would even occasionally fiddle around with cooking it himself instead of just relegating the task to his staff. We are talking about Ding Baozhen 丁宝桢(1820年-1886年.) Shandong Governor Ding was originally from Guizhou 贵州省 and that is where he began his political career. When his relatives and friends from back home visited him at the Governor’s Mansion, he couldn’t wait to introduce them to his Shandong “find.” They were suitably impressed and carried the word back to Guizhou. The dish was quickly adapted to the local palate, and soon became a staple of Guizhou Cuisine 黔菜 (Qian Cai) as well. Guizhou loves hot food, so the fire quotient was ramped up. Guizhou also insists that sour be part of the flavor mix. That was accomplished by including pickled vegetables 泡菜。 In his later years, Ding was appointed governor of Sichuan. Not surprisingly, he took his culinary discovery with him. Once again it was modified for local tastes and to make use of prized local ingredients such as Sichuan peppercorns, also known as prickly ash, a mouth-numbing member of the citrus family 花椒 huajiao. Today Gongbao jiding 宫保鸡丁 definitely belongs to the cannon of best-loved Sichuan Cuisine 川菜 chuancai. Ding continued to attract favorable national attention by revising the salt tax codes and by refurbishing the famous Dujiangyan Water Conservation System 都江堰水利工。In the course of his long career, Governor Ding caught the eye of the Qing Emperor in a positive way, and before long his favorite dish got picked up by the power elite in the northern capital city. It earned a proud place in Beijing Cuisine. So today your order of Gongbao Jiding 宫保鸡丁 can have many faces. Not to worry; they are all pretty darned good. I’ll show you one very decent recipe that’s not difficult to cook up at home, but I make no extravagant claims to it being the “one true way” or the “gold standard.” (Please click the photos to enlarge them.) The finished product and the vegetables. Start with the meat. Use two large chicken breasts if you plan to make enough for 3 or 4 people to share as part of a Chinese meal. I suggest buying fresh chicken, instead of frozen chicken breasts since they have more taste. The two I had today weighed 0.549 kg (a little over a pound.) I sliced them open first off so they wouldn’t be quite so thick, then proceeded to cut the meat into roughly one-inch cubes. 鸡丁 Safety tip: Put a folded piece of damp paper kitchen towel under the cutting board so it won’t scoot around. Marinate the cut chicken in a mixture of 1 beaten egg white 蛋清, ½ teaspoon cooking salt 食用盐, ½ teaspoon ground white pepper 白胡椒粉, 1 tablespoon of yellow cooking wine 料酒, and a heaping teaspoon of corn starch 玉米淀粉。Put on a disposable glove 一次性手套 and massage the seasonings into the meat. Let it marinate 腌制 in the fridge about 15 minutes. Notice that the marinade isn’t “soupy.” It coats the meat without much excess. Wipe a small amount of cooking oil around the inside of your wok and heat it with low flame. Put in a heaping teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns 花椒 and stir them until you start to smell their lemon-zest aroma. Take them out and let them cool. Meanwhile, cook a handful of peanuts 花生米 the same way. You want them to slowly toast, but not scorch or burn. Keep them moving over low flame for a couple minutes. They become crunchy as they cool, not while they are still hot. Crush the toasted Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or in a bowl with the back of a stout soup spoon. Toasting and crushing them like this greatly increases their flavor. Set them and the roasted peanuts aside, turning your attention to the vegetables. Cut the red bell pepper 红甜椒 into thumb-sized pieces and chop a cucumber 黄瓜 into cubes 丁that are about the same size as the chicken. If you are using long Chinese cucumbers as shown, no need to peel them. Cut the spring onion into rounds, using only the white part. Mince 切碎 a thumb of ginger 生姜 and a clove or two of garlic 大蒜。 Prepare a thickening sauce 勾芡酱 by putting a heaping teaspoon of corn starch and a half cup of water into a bowl. Stir well to dissolve. Stir in a tablespoon of sugar 白砂糖。Add a tablespoon of cooking wine 黄酒, a tablespoon of dark vinegar 老陈醋, a tablespoon of light soy sauce 生抽 and about a third as much dark soy sauce 老抽。Set aside. Prep finished, time now to cook. Get the chicken from the fridge, stir it up. I always like to lay out the ingredients and mentally rehearse what goes in first, what follows, and so on. I suppose you could even arrange all your “mis en place” dishes in time-sequence order if you were of a mind to. “Hot wok, cold oil” 热锅粮油。I realize you knew that. Preheat it before adding two or three tablespoons of cooking oil. I used corn oil today. Flame on medium 中火 instead of high. Chicken requires a different approach from pork or beef. Add the chicken in one layer, spreading it quickly with your chopsticks (not all mounded up in the center of the wok.) Leave it alone for a minute or so, allowing it to sear. Carefully scrape it up and turn it over, trying to minimize surface tearing. It should mostly have changed color from pink to white by now and have a little bit of golden crust. The goal for this first stage is to only cook it two-thirds or so; not completely done. Only takes two minutes max. Add the crushed Sichuan peppercorns and 4 or 5 dry red peppers 干辣椒。I usually just tear these peppers in half as I add them. Some people cut them into smaller bits with scissors. Stir everything well and then add the chopped cucumbers and red bell peppers. Add new ingredients to the center of the wok; that’s the hottest part. Then stir it all together. Give it a minute or so, allowing flavors to blend, stirring and flipping all the while 煸炒,翻炒。 Now the thickening sauce goes in, mixing it well because the solids will have settled in the bowl. Stir everything well for a minute or so until you see the chicken and vegetables developing an attractive sheen. Last of all, add the peanuts and incorporate them more or less evenly 拌均匀。You want the peanuts to have a very short cooking time so they will retain their crispy texture. Plate it up 装盘。Admire your handiwork. Snap a photo with your phone. Set it on the table. Call the team to come dig in. Gongbao jiding and steamed rice 蒸饭 are just about inseparable, so plan ahead and have some rice ready when the chicken comes off the stove. Took a little over half an hour today, maybe 45 minutes including clean up. I listened to the Sutherland - Pavarotti Turandot while working. London Philharmonic/Zubin Mehta. Although this is fun to make at home, it’s also an easy thing to order in a simple restaurant. Any random six-table Mom and Pop joint will be able to turn it out. I often supplement it with a clear green-leafy vegetable soup. 苦菜汤 kucai tang, for example, is easy to find and serves the purpose of turning this into a real meal: veggie, meat, and soup. Tasty and won’t break the bank. Try it soon and see what you think! Here's the recipe all in one place to make it easier to use: (Click "reveal hidden contents."
  26. 9 points
    Err...No thanks! Flight out of Hong Kong on JAL was on time, as was the flight onward from Narita (NRT) on JAL to LAX was also on time and without drama. Both were full planes. Just arrived Los Angeles LAX this morning. Took 2 hours to accomplish entry screenings. Hugely disorganized. It was like they were inventing the process as they were going along. No supervisors in sight. Just the foot soldiers trying their best to kind of play it by ear and figure things out. "Hey Bertha, why don't we screen families over here, and people with connecting flights over there." "Sounds like a good idea, Chester. Lets separate out the US citizens from the non-citizens." "OK, that makes sense to me." At first they just had us all sit in a large room. Everyone who had passed through China. Only when the chairs all got full did we begin to form lines, queues. Very few face masks in use here. It's like America thinks the whole thing is some kind of a Chinese joke. Most staff members wore masks at the airport, but less than half of the passengers. Nobody at my hotel is wearing a mask, not even the check-in clerks. Very casual.
  27. 9 points
    I"m prepared for a 2 week quarantine: I have a change of underwear and my Kindle. If the health authorities don't impose one, I will impose my own self-quarantine for 2 weeks. Only go out for essentials. Wear mask, wash hands, etc. Keep a contact diary. My plane leaves in a few hours. Will let you all know how it shakes out. Thanks for your support and suggestions.
  28. 9 points
    Yes, I fully agree and plan to do that. When I go back to Texas for my annual visit, I usually hit the ground running, trying to get lots of things done in a short time. Dentist appointment, new eyeglasses, get new supplies of prescription meds, stop by and chat with the folks at the bank, and so on. Visits with friends and relatives to catch up on news, renew interpersonal ties. Take this old pal out for dinner and that old pal out for a drink. This year I will take it slow and easy. Will play the "masked bandit" when out of the house. Maybe I can finally get my Chinese recipes all pulled together into a small but usable cookbook. That would give me a welcome sense of satisfaction.
  29. 9 points
    Well here it is folks: Yichang has been shut, Zhijiang has been shut. In fact it appears that every road, train station and airport out of Hubei accessible from where we are is now closed. So not going to be able to make the flight out from Chongqing by the looks of things. Seems I'm in this for the long haul... on the plus side my fangyan is gonna get a lot of practice. Not even joking, this year is the first year Ive ever been able to hold conversations with my parents in law (was shocked when we got in last week and I could somehow...understand what they were saying! My wife speaks in fangyan at home all the time when were in the UK, and it has clearly had some deeper passive effect on my listening abilities). Its honestly the best feeling to be able to keep up with jokes in the local dialect, feel like I'm finally a part of the family.
  30. 9 points
    Incidentally, friends don't let friends get Chinese character tattoos.
  31. 9 points
    I have been studying Chinese for just over 3 years now, while also being a college student. I have just passed HSK5 a few months ago, but I feel like my progress is the greatest while I have more time to myself, during summer and winter break. I just graduated 3 days ago, and have a job in America set up to start in mid-September. As such, I will be following my dream and living in China from December 31 to August 31. During this time period, I will be spending 14 weeks doing 1 on 1 lessons for 16 hours a week in Chengdu. I am hoping for some major improvements, and will be working hard to reach my goals. I will first break down my goals by each ability, then summarize with some general goals. Speaking: Current Level: Currently, I can speak to people, but it sounds awful, and I am not comfortable doing it. I can speak about simple topics with bad grammar, and greatly struggle to say anything remotely advanced. Goal: By the time I return from China I hope to develop a sort of confidence in my spoken chinese. I want to be able to much more comfortably talk about simple to medium topics, and be able to converse about complex topics, albeit perhaps a bit slower, or with some grammar problems. I believe this goal is fairly achievable, since my passive vocabulary is far greater than my active vocabulary thanks to way too much time on anki. I have honestly had very little practice with speaking in comparison to reading, so I hope that being put in a Chinese-speaking environment will finally allow my speaking to "catch up" in a sense. Method: Daily conversation with my teacher. Hanging out with friends that don't know any English as much as possible. Speaking to as many people as possible. My goal is to spend at least an hour every day speaking to someone in Chinese. This shouldn't be too hard to achieve considering I don't know any other foreigners there, and the Chinese friends I do know there all don't know English. Listening: Current Level: Similar to speaking, I feel that I have most of the necessary vocabulary, I just lack the practice. I have the knowledge vs proficiency problem that I sometimes hear about. Goal: I hope that living in China and talking to many people will give me the listening practice I need to allow me to understand the same amount of speech that I can understand while reading. Currently, my listening is a sort of embarrassing point for me, as I struggle to understand some fairly basic sentences unless the person repeats it or speaks slowly, I also am entirely incapable of understanding speech from people with any sort of an accent. I hope to reach a level where minor accent differences (sh->s, n->l f->h etc) won't throw me off, and I can comfortably understand pretty much everything spoken to me in conversation. I don't expect to be able to fully understand things like TV shows and the news quite yet. Since I will be living in Chengdu, I hope to reach a full level of comprehension for people with sichuan-accented mandarin( 川普), and perhaps understand a little 四川话. Method: Same as speaking, lots of conversation. I will also try to get into Chinese TV shows, movies, music, and podcasts as much as I can, and listen to some kind of Chinese audio (a podcast or the news) while getting ready in the morning. Reading: Reading has always been my strongest skill. I really enjoy reading Chinese, and I review vocabulary in anki on a daily basis, which has brought my passive vocabulary up to an unproportionally high level, and I can read simple novels (余华), even though I wouldn't be able to understand a single sentence if it was read aloud to me. Since I enjoy reading, and it is much easier for me to practice outside of China, I think I should definitely put it on the back-burner while in China, in order to focus on my speaking and listening. That said, I plan to read a lot of Chinese social media and news on a casual basis. Writing: In terms of handwriting, I enjoy writing characters, and practice it with my anki deck daily. I will keep this up every day just so I am good at writing characters. I know many people argue that being able to hand-write characters is pretty useless nowadays, and I totally agree. That said, it is something I enjoy doing, so I will not give up on it. As for actual writing, I will tell my teacher to have me write an essay every once in a while, or perhaps some kind of small paper every few days. Although I don't enjoy writing, I think it is pretty helpful for improving grammar, especially if I have a teacher to look at my writing and go over all the mistakes with me. General Goals To Reach By December 31, 2020: Can comfortably converse in Chinese - be able to put any idea into speech, and understand nearly everything spoken to me by another person. Read 5 novels (These can mostly be done after my return from China, in September - December) Have decent comprehension of some simpler Chinese podcasts and shows During China (January - August): Spend an hour conversing in Chinese every day. After China (September - December): Every day: spend a half hour watching a TV show, or listening to a podcast. Every week: Spend an hour either talking to a friend over wechat, or an italki teacher if that is not possible.
  32. 9 points
    These are my goals for 2020, as of now... Daily: 30 minutes reading time Deeply focus on at least 5 unknown new words 30 minutes active listening (active TV watching, LCTS, etc) Diary entry "Teach" my wife for 15 minutes per day (as long as she stays interested... this can just be a basic conversation together based on her vocabulary) Weekly: Continue at least 1 hour formal tutoring (online) Write a 500-1000 word essay At least two 30-minute conversations with language partners Yearly Read 6 novels At some point, begin a more serious study of Classical and Literary Chinese Thoughts?
  33. 9 points
    Hi @重大雷雨 , you bring up some valid concerns. Perhaps this might help. I have lived in Shanghai for 8 years. I had worked for 3 Chinese companies, 2 who had never before hired foreigners and I had to handle most of the work permit and residence permit process myself. I have renewed my own work permit and residence permit for myself and my family over the course of the 8 years in China. I have personally accidentally made a mistake on the renewal date of my own work permit and residence permit and was able to get things pushed through faster and negotiate a special arrangement. My wife has had 2 babies in China and we have had to apply for US citizenship, passports, and then take those documents and get residence permits for them, a process that is muddy and ill-defined. I have helped dozens of friends with work permit and residence permit issues, including people who have been denied. I have friends whose companies have illegally employed people (in Shanghai), were checked by the gov, and received heavy fines. I started and still own my own company incorporated in Jingan District of Shanghai (a WFOE - Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise) of which I am the 法人 I have used my own company to sponsor my own work permit and residence permit I have previously met the qualifications for a 5 yr work permit and 2 year residence permit. On top of all of this, my wife and I have personally gotten to know over 30 students involved in the China Horizons programs over the years. On one occasion in 2016, my wife personally made arrangement for 3 China Horizons female teachers to have places to stay in Shanghai the night before they were to fly out of Shanghai and back to America. It was an emergency situation, we never got the details, all we knew is that they had to get out now. To be clear, there is no "work visa". A person must first obtain a work permit with Labor Dept that handles foreign affairs (located at 梅园路77号, 5th floor). It's a separate dark red book, not something that goes into your passport, and it allows you to work in China. However, this allows you to work in China but not live there. Once you have a work permit, you can take that to the Entry-Exit Bureau and you can apply for a Residence Permit 居留许可在 that allows you to live in China. This is an actual sticker that goes in your passport. Once you've got that, you're good until it needs to be renewed. That is a basic overview of it and it ignores the many documents and new verifications required. If you want to see the full details on the process, I recommend this article from the China Law Blog: "The ABCs on China’s New Work Permit System for Foreigners". It may be of help to you if you are thinking of taking a job in China. I hope that sheds some light on the matter. All the best!
  34. 9 points
    This happened yesterday at a branch of Bank of China in Kunming, where I live. Same thing occurred once before in another city, a long time ago. Thought it might be a useful review for people new to China. The transaction I was attempting (a cash deposit) didn't work, for whatever unknown reason. My card just disappeared. I pushed the button on the speaker box beside the ATM and told the lady who answered. She told me to just walk inside the bank and get one of the employees to help since it was still during business hours. I'm not sure whether they would have been able to respond if I had spoken English; I didn't try that. My guess is that it might have involved a delay, but that an English-speaking employee would have eventually become available. So I walked inside and got one of the "rent-a-cop" bank guards 保安 who stroll around with a long billy club, plastic helmet liner, and what looks like an imitation bullet-proof vest. Told him my situation. I didn't want to get too far from the ATM in case it suddenly spit out my card when the next person walked up to it and attempted a new transaction. I wanted to keep an eye on the ATM. He fetched an actual bank employee who told me to go sit down. I explained my concern about someone else making off with my card and she told me that would not happen. I took a deep breath and did as instructed. They gave me a number from the 挂号 machine. The branch manager came out in a couple minutes and asked if I had my 身份证。I told her I had my 护照 (passport.) She asked if the card was a BOC card or another kind (from another bank.) I told her it was one of theirs and that I was a regular customer. Waited ten or fifteen minutes, seated in the lobby. She walked by again and flashed a card, asked if it looked like mine. It was a gold card 金卡 and I told her that was the kind I had lost, although I couldn't see the number to confirm. She did not want to let go of it; could not hand it to me to check. Had to follow procedure. The card does not bear my name, though it does have my signature on the back. Waited another ten or fifteen minutes and my number was called to go to Window Three. The teller asked for my passport and made copies. A supervisor came over, looked at the passport, looked at me, and signed off on the form that I looked pretty much like the guy in the photo. Teller kept on working; had to make a phone call. I was guessing that the call was to the bank's Kunming home office. (Cannot confirm.) Then she used a machine on my side of the window to ask me to verify my account number. I didn't remember the number (many digits) and she still had the card. I told her that and she called the teller supervisor to come over again. They asked my approximate balance and they asked the approximate date of my last transaction before today. I remembered those and told them. Then I recalled that I had the account number in my phone, encrypted in a "password manager" vault app that I use. I looked it up and verified it for them. I signed a form attesting that it was my card. That took another couple minutes. Then they gave my card back. I told her I'd like to go ahead and complete my transaction, a cash deposit 存款 or 存款钱。I handed over the cash and they generated another form. I had to sign the form and input my PIN number into the verification machine on my side of the glass partition. Finished. Took between 30 and 45 minutes during mid-afternoon on a weekday. Not bad. Seemed to be off peak, judging by how many customers were in the lobby waiting for service. Told a local friend about it later. He said I had not used the most 地道 (native) term. Should say "ATM 呑了我的卡“。That means "swallow" (tun1). I had used a different verb: "ate" (ATM 吃了我的卡.) Doubt it really matters much; they seemed to understand what I meant. If I had not just happened to have my passport with me, I would have had to go home and get it, then return. Could have easily been the next day. My friend says he has had to wait several days to get his card back when it got "swallowed" at a bank which was different from the issuing bank. (Like using a Merchant's Bank card at an ICBC ATM. He remembered a friend who had a card "swallowed" by a machine that was in front of a store, instead of attached to a bank, and that took nearly a week to get straightened out. Staff was polite and efficient. It just took some time. Could put a big crimp in travel plans if one were a tourist using a card from back home while just passing through. One of several reasons to always travel with more than one bank card.
  35. 9 points
    To Chinese Forums, I have been intensely studying Mandarin on my own for the past 2 years, and since October 2017 have lived in Beijing. I am now reaching the stage where I mostly use native materials to read and listen extensively and intensively. The purpose of this post is to make a list of native listening resources which can be used by upper intermediate or advanced language learners to practice their listening ability., sorted by availability of transcripts and availability to download the audio. It seems to me that language learner material for beginners is pretty well-documented on many sites different sites, but I myself had to find most of the advanced materials through my own effort, scrounging through many different places in order to find them. Over the past year, I have spent many days scouring around both the English and Chinese web to compile this list. This list began as my own pet project, and I now wish to share it with you guys. I owe much to the good advice and tips from the online language learning community, and perhaps this Hopefully it will decrease the time you need to spend preparing to practice a language, and increase the time you can spend actually practicing. Allow me to clarify a few notes on the layouts, offer you some important tips to help increase your efficient use of these resources, and admit some caveats before I list out all the resources. Notes on the Layout After compiling all of the resources for the list, I then divided all content based on the answers to two very important questions. 1st Question: Is a written form of what is said available? 2nd Question: Can I download the audio directly from the site? After asking the first question I had four categories of content, three of which I then split into can be downloaded and cannot be downloaded categories. So you have this: (1) 有实录 (Has a transcript of embedded text) ① 能下载 ② 本能下载 (2) 有字幕 (Has subtitles) ① 能下载 ② 本能下载 (3) 有书 (Audiobooks) - All sites here allow you to download the audio. (4) 没有实录、字幕、书 (Does not have a written form available) ① 能下载 ② 本能下载 If any one folder still had a lot of items in it (10+ items), I further subdivided the folders based on content type (i.e. TV show, podcast, radio broadcast, etc.). In an effort to save time for those of you who want to quickly get in and start using the best of these resources without sifting through a swamp, I created a fifth category, simply labeled 快点儿/ Top 12 , wherein I list what I consider to be the top 12 coolest resources, based on content and lack of awareness alone. That is to say, the criteria I asked to include the resources in this list was first to ask Is the content here very interesting, of high production quality, and regularly pumped out? followed immediately by the question Does this resource seem to be overlooked by many learners? For this section alone, I also wrote a short description for each resource included. For the sake of convenience I list the Youtube link for video series that cannot be download directly from its website, and the Player FM link for audio series that cannot be download directly from their website. The rationale for this being that Player FM always you to directly download an MP3 file from its website, and that most people will find it very easy to convert Youtube videos into MP3 files if they have an inclination to do so. I tried only to include material which is free to view and or listen to. In the rare cases where the content requires payment, I will list a $$$ (price of subscription) to the side of the name. Each entry includes a direct link to the website. In the future, if anybody notices any broken links, update the community quickly and we can try to find the new location For the websites whose content hasn’t been updated in sometime, I would highly encourage you guys to save the content to your own hard drives, if possible. The list is written in 汉字. If you are wanting to use these resources, a fine prerequisite would be that you are able to read the list in characters without aid. If you wish to inform many of any resources that we could add into here, please let me know. Important Tips All entries in the list are native resources, that is to say, they are content produced for native speakers. I did not include in materials made for language learners which can still be used at advanced levels (i.e ChinePod Advanced lessons, Mandarin Corner, Learning Chinese Through Stories, etc.) I would suggest that any learner interested in using these materials listed below for intensive study should already have reached a B1 level, and for extensive use a B2 level. For the materials which do not either transcript or subtitles, a fellow member of this forum has alerted me to the presence of a website which is an absolute godsend. It’s a transcription website, ostensibly meant to be used by native speaking professionals like IT, medical, law, etc. But the uses of this for us language learners are obvious. The service is not free,. but for machine transcription the rates around 0.33Y per spoken minute of audio. That equals out to about 10Y per half-hour and 20Y per hour. I have already had it transcribe four different podcasts. Obviously, the more standard the accent the better transcription, but all of the podcasts that I had transcribed featured non-standard accents (from Taiwan, Shandong, Wuhan, and Beijing respectively) and the machine still was hitting 95% - 99% accuracy on all of them. The biggest glitch actually was that on one of the shows (马丽欧陪你喝一杯) the two people were throwing in a lot of one-off English words and acronyms, which the machine mistook as mandarin syllables. Anyways, website is a highly recommended cheap way to get transcripts of any of the resources I list under 没有实录、字幕、书。 Website Name: 讯飞听见 Website Address: https://www.iflyrec.com/ For the few websites which do not allow downloads directly from the website and do not have their content available on another compendium podcast or video website for free download, the easiest route to obtaining an mp3 is to record the audio you want to download while it is playing on your device, using either a built in recorder (must smart phones have these) or a free program like Audacity. If you wan to use the above-mentioned transcription, strive to obtain as clean sounding a recording as you can. Caveats There do exist other websites which have attempted to compile lists of learner resources, to varying degrees of comprehensiveness (most notably Hacking Chinese Resources, Ling Ling Chinese, Chinese Podcasts and Mandarin Society, and a few forum posts on Chinese Forums), but all of these have failed to meet my needs;mostly due because they either haven’t been updated for a while, fail to separate resources based on if the content has a transcript or not, and I myself have found several very cool resources not listed on any of those sites. As the list was already getting very long at near 125 items, I did not include many so called podcasts who appeared to have stopped producing content and/or who had only produced a few episodes (less than 20) and then stopped broadcasting. I specifically tried not to include too load the list with too many TV shows or movies on this list, because I have seen these well documented in these forums. Furthermore, if you are living in the mainland I can heartily recommend that you just download and buy a year’s subscription to 优酷 and/or 腾讯 and just browse around until you find what you like. I specifically was trying to avoid short form content (defined here as an average episode length runs below 15 minute). While there are some producers of this type of content mixed in here, the majority of these shows are long form. Special thanks to Imron Alston, whose writes very concisely and with a inclination for the truth, a trait which I admire greatly in today’s world. If you have not, I highly suggest reading his articles on Chinese the Hard Way. Warmest, 孙博运 P.S. As this is my first time posting on here, I was unfamiliar with the posting interface. It seems that if I copy and paste the list directly into the posting box, I will lose the formatting of Word Document. So in an effort to avoid that, I am just going to post the Top 12 list into the forum, and attach the complete list of 125 - 150 links (or thereabouts) as a Word Document here. 高级听力材料的列举.docx
  36. 9 points
    快点儿 / Top 12 ① 一席 The best Chinese version of TED Talks out there, by a long shot.Very interesting topics, updated bi-weekly, sporting a clean interface, painless to download, and contains transcripts for all shows. I cannot believe I never heard about this from other learners. https://yixi.tv/ ② 163 Courses Tons of free courses spanning a range of subjects, all of them (that I have seen) with subtitles。 No registration needed. Tip, in some of the videos there is actually a built in (very basic) pop-dictionary within the video player. https://open.163.com/cuvocw/ ③ 希望之声 Non-profit Chinese news broadcasting company. A whole lot of articles here, the majority with transcripts and able to be downloaded. https://www.soundofhope.org/gb/2019/08/01/n3076028.html ④ 华语环球 Like the Mainland version of NPR podcasts. Check out 非常记录 and 会客厅 for starters. Currently only 3 or 4 are producing new episodes, but the backlog here is quite extensive. http://chinese.cri.cn/media/index.html ⑤ 故事FM Each episode tells a different story of an ordinary person from the Mainland. Some of the stories themselves are ordinary, some are extraordinary, and all are interesting. Very good production value here. https://player.fm/series/1496859 ⑥ 臺灣故事島 Same as 故事FM above, but from Taiwan. https://storytaiwan.tw/default.html ⑦ 中央广播电台 This is the single best producer of Mandarin speaking radio content, bar none. No download or transcripts however. https://cn.rti.tw/radio/programList/program_category_id/1 ⑧ 玛丽欧陪你喝一杯 Very nice host who drinks and converses about a smorgasbord of topics with a different guess every episode. Very informal, great for getting used to Taiwanese accents. https://player.fm/series/series-1920692 ⑨ 观点 Some people in a studio giving opinions on topics, usually big, sometimes small. Again, production quality here is very weel done. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeQNWQtmrc98TFUJNrFOdfQ/playlists ⑩ 狗熊有话说 Very relaxed dude, very relaxed podcast. http://voice.beartalking.com/ ⑪ 文昭谈古论今 One guy - who I believe is a professor - giving his take on current events, politics and life. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtAIPjABiQD3qjlEl1T5VpA ⑫ 圆桌派 Perhaps not as good as 锵锵三人行 but still very interesting. If you haven;t noticed, I tend to like barebone productions such as this - a few people, some microphones, and ideas. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xmIquqwnBQ&list=PLwmPBqRou8APdG6K-Ks0lV2yL0yqCFHOu
  37. 9 points
    Forget Chinese for a minute, what are other things that you like to do? There are almost certainly Chinese people who like to do that too. Go and find people local to your area who also do that thing and hang out with them to do that thing. Probably many of them don't speak English or don't speak it very well, and they will speak to you in Chinese in order to be able to do that thing with you. Western type hotels and restaurants are likely going to have trained staff to try and interact in English. They are bad places to practice Chinese, because if your Chinese isn't better than their English they are going to want to use the simplest, easiest way to communicate and that will be English. It will also be their default for all foreigners - don't take it personally. You are not being robbed of this experience. This is the normal experience, even for Chinese people. Your life will be a lot less infuriating if you stop assuming negative intent. You are taking them showing you a calculator as a slight against your Chinese and then getting upset at that perceived slight. In reality, the shopkeeper doesn't know you from the next random foreigner to walk in their shop. If they are showing you a calculator as a first response they have probably had many other foreigners come in to their shop who didn't speak Chinese and this was simply the easiest way for them to facilitate the transaction. And that's what their intention is - to try and make things as smooth as possible for both of you. Based on experience and/or stereotypes, they are not expecting to have a chat with a foreigner who walks in to their shop, they are instead expecting to make a transaction. Once again, don't take it personally, in fact you could use them showing you a calculator as a conversation opener - ask them if they think you can't speak Chinese, ask them if all the other foreigners that come in can't speak Chinese, make a joke saying you can't read "Chinese numbers" (yes I know the numbers aren't "Chinese", that's the joke). There are dozens of responses you could go to instead of "I'm infuriated that this shopkeeper is showing me a calculator", and every single one of them is within your control (including feeling infuriated or not). In general, assume positive intent (until proven otherwise) and don't take things personally. Finally, there is also the possibility that your pronunciation is horrible and people can't understand you. You could visit this thread and upload a recording of you saying the phrases you mentioned in your OP and maybe people will be able to tell you if there are any problems. If nothing else, you'll get some honest feedback about whether the problem is your pronunciation or the people/situations you are trying to speak Chinese with.
  38. 9 points
    The anatomy of garlic: a key Chinese cooking ingredient. This post fits together with and expands on a thread I started yesterday, about how to use garlic bolts, or stems with Yunnan ham. (https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/58187-gift-ham-and-garlic-bolts-蒜苔炒火腿/?tab=comments#comment-451727) I use plenty of garlic here in my Yunnan kitchen. Love it in all of its various forms. Some of the lingo might be new if you've just moved to China of if you've just begun cooking authentic Chinese food. Please allow me to tease it apart for you. What you normally buy in the grocery store or the market is heads of garlic 蒜头。Generically it's referred to as 大蒜。These heads are composed of individual garlic cloves 蒜瓣。It looks like this: In Yunnan, we have another kind of garlic, namely that in which the whole garlic bulb is comprised of one large un-partitioned clove. It's easier to work with if your recipe calls for a large amount of garlic (quicker to peel.) The flavor is a bit milder, reminiscent of a shallot. Dusuan 独蒜 is what it's called. You might have already guessed that because you know that 独立 means independent or separate. And you slice 切 or chop 剁碎 or mince 蒜蓉 these garlic cloves most of the time when cooking. Sometimes you turn them into a paste 蒜泥。You have probably met spinach stir-fried with garlic paste, since it's a very common menu item: 菠菜炒蒜泥 When the next season rolls around, the farmer or gardener plants some of the individual cloves to grow more. It takes several months (six or eight according to what I read) for the new crop to mature. In the early stages of growth, the tops are green and luxuriant. The garlic bulb itself is under the ground, the green tops consist of two parts. Lots of leaves and a single flower stalk (aka "scape" or "bolt" or "stem.") Both of these parts of the garlic plant are prized here in China. They are largely ignored by commercial growers in the US. I'm not sure about England and Europe. The leaves, below left, are sold as suanmiao 蒜苗。The flower stalks, used in the recipe that started this ramble, are suantai 蒜苔。The farmer trims the flower stalks away to allow more of the plant's growth energy to be directed into the garlic bulb, making them larger. Sometimes the stalks are straight and sometimes they curl, as shown below right. He leaves the long leaves alone and they eventually start to become brown, signaling that the garlic bulbs are ready for harvest. When the garlic is eventually harvested, the bulb is gently dug up and the long leaves are left attached. It is hung with the bulb down for weeks or months to get firm and dry. Then the garlic bulbs are trimmed and sold. Some are held back to divide into cloves and plant for next year's crop. Variations in this process exist for different varieties of garlic and for different growing conditions. It's not exactly the same all over the world and not even all over China. Additional "garlic words" for your flashcard vocabulary file: 大蒜 = garlic heads, general name for garlic. Don't confuse it with 打算。Different tones, different meaning. 大蒜末 = garlic powder 大蒜油 = garlic oil 吸血鬼 = vampire. Yes, of course garlic repels vampires. How could you possibly doubt it? The rest you can extract on your own from the text of this post and the one which preceded it. Let me know if you have questions, bearing in mind that I'm not really a farmer.
  39. 8 points
    We have just taken the decision based on the update from the UK government to close our shop for the foreseeable future as I am in the vulnerable group and can't take the risk. As we are in the entertainment business ( electronic audio equipment) the source of much of our work is also closing so won't be losing much business anyway and not worth being open for one or two passersby that don't actually want anything we sell. We are in a positive financial situation so not worried for the immediate future and will access what funds are available from the government for small businesses. Take care people.
  40. 8 points
    This will probably be my last update from Harbin, as things seem to be much more "interesting" in Europe now. I went outside of my apartment complex on Thursday for the first time in over 2 weeks (not due to being scared about catching the virus, it's just such a hassle signing in and out etc). Harbin finally opened up the big shopping malls, and even some smaller shops have opened too. Hopefully they will begin to do away with the constant temperature checks and name signing over the next couple of weeks. There is a fair bit of traffic now, although still much less than usual. Crossing the road is a little dangerous again: I took the opportunity to take a long walk outside. I'm in a modern apartment complex where all they had to do was lock some gates and put extra people on guard duty, but I always wondered what they did about the traditional apartment buildings. As you walk around you begin to realise that you need to stick to the main roads, as the small ones all have makeshift fencing to control the flow of people: There was quite a long queue outside this supermarket, and I was impressed by the distance being kept between each person (maybe not quite 1.5 m, but much better than usual). The supermarket in the mall next to my apartment didn't have any queues at all, and was just normal busy: I finally got to eat a meal not made by my own hands (some jiaozi, which I have never made before). Although the restaurants were open, it was take-out only. All the other stores in the mall seems to be open, but only a handful of customers. I've got another 3-4 weeks before I have to go back to the UK. I hope to be able to get some normal-style living in before jumping into a yet another quarantine-like situation back home.
  41. 8 points
    Yep, happy to say we're both out of quarantine here in the uk now, the whole group tested negative for the third and final time, so we were all allowed to leave the facility this morning. It has been over a month in isolation for us, but thats looking like nothing now really in comparison to my wife's family, who are all still cooped up indoors and looks like they will be until the new preliminary office opening date of March 10th at the very earliest. Its strange to think what things would be like if we didnt have video calling - with it we feel very connected to everyone back at home almost as if we're still there…I can't imagine how panicked we might be without it. Looks like infection rates are now starting to gradually drop in Hubei finally, but obviously sad to see things look like theyre on the rise in SK just like last month in Wuhan, I don't know much about Korean culture Im afraid, don't know how the government might or might not respond differently there…
  42. 8 points
    Well, the news we have been waiting for all week finally arrived this morning: That's right, no new confirmed infections yesterday, not only in Harbin, but in the whole of Heilongjiang province! While there are are bound to be a few new cases here and there, it was nice to wake up this morning and see the number 0. Speaking of nice surprises upon waking up, the first and most obvious one was the snowstorm. While cold weather might not be good for preventing the spread of the virus, Harbin always looks more beautiful under some snow, and I'm still holding out a small sliver of hope that I may yet get to go snowboarding at least one more time this winter. The good news doesn't end there. As I walked around yesterday, I noticed that one of the buildings that had been quarantined has completed it's 14 day observation period, and that quarantine has now been 解除ed. Despite the recent good news, some people still aren't taking any chances, and a face mask is still an obligatory item of attire for anyone wanting to go outside. No dogs, no unmasked Chinese? Now the question is how long the city lock-down will last for. Given the estimated incubation period of 14 days, I hope that things will be back to relatively normalcy within a couple of weeks, given no new outbreak (and I'm talking about Harbin, not the whole of China). It would be nice to be able to walk about without constantly getting my temperature taken all the time, plus I have a hundred things I'm looking forward to eating again!
  43. 8 points
    For people old enough to have been a child in the 90s, I think the NeoGeo has an almost mythical status. I could never afford those games back then, so had to make do with the Sega Megadrive. Speaking of which, the mini version of that console has been helping to keep me entertained throughout the semi-quarantine I am currently under. I went on one of my weekly adventures out of my 小区 today. The set-up at the entrance/exit has become more elaborate since last week, with some tents now set up. The dreaded "caronavirus pen" awaited me there, however I was well prepared this time and had brought my own so that I didn't have to use the same one as everybody else in the apartment complex. Unfortunately, as I was half-way done writing my phone number, the pen ran out of ink. It was kind of like one of those cliches in a cheesy horror movie where the car won't start at precisely the moment the main character needs to escape from the murderer. I had no choice but to trepidatiously pick up the communal pen and fill in the rest of my personal info. I had to do the same twice more, once at the supermarket, and again when re-entering my 小区. The supermarket itself was the same as it has been ever since the crisis started, with people buying much more than usual (the few people you see outside are invariably carrying at least two full bags of shopping each). The only difference from last week was the extra protection worn by the staff (what looks like a basic, cheap plastic rainjacket for the counter staff, and a more fancy all-in-one white suit for the lady on the left). Although only a fraction of the normal amount of traffic, they were noticeably more vehicles driving about, to the point where I actually had to look before crossing the road. Apart from the cars, another familiar menace has also returned to Harbin - falling icicles. This sign was part of a barrier chain in front of one a few of my local restaurants and I initially thought that they had been sealed off due to a virus-connected incident. It was only as I walked up to the sign and read it that I realised it was warning about another danger (at which point I quickly 远离ed my way back a few steps). The daily 确诊病例s in Harbin are now down to single figures, so I wonder how much longer they will keep the travel restrictions in place here? I've been pretty much just staying in my apartment all day, every day, except for when I need to buy groceries, but starting from tomorrow I am going to start taking little jogs around my 小区 area every morning. Although I have been doing daily yoga and "prison workout" videos, it doesn't quite make up for the lack of fresh air and natural sunlight (and the air has been unusually fresh since the clampdown). At this point I think that is a bigger danger to my health than the tiny chance of contracting the virus.
  44. 8 points
    I really wish I had been a bit braver and subtley taken some videos, because it really was so surreal. When we were indoors for those few weeks, despite reading all the shocking social media posts, I really didnt expect anything once we were outside, and tbh once we were off our little alley and onto the main road, it really wasnt anything remarkable, just an empty street (although that is fairly remarkable in china i guess). It all got all bizarre and apocalyptic-like once we had to go to the centre of town, where all the govt buildings and hospitals are. As long as you were on foot and passed the temp check, police were letting anyone walk in and out of the areas cordoned off to cars in the city centre. In two hours we must have seen around 20 people in total, mostly queueing up to scream at govt officials who were locked in rooms with an open window to talk to people about whatever problems they were having. We had to go into the hospital body check area, and thats when it got scary, bad timing on our part I suppose: we were being tested by a guy in a hazmat in one of those outside tents when a man started hysterically screaming at a doctor across the road from us. Then an ambulance pulled up and a bunch of doctors jumped out in a panic and started unpacking coolers and boxes with blood on them. We immediately jogged off without trying to look in a panic ourselves. It was one of those moments where you just kind of look at everything as if you arent really there, almost like it was too weird to really be happening. Presumably large parts of Wuhan, Yichang, Huanggang, Jingzhou etc. are the same right now, ie. understaffed and overinfected. I would hazard I guess that many people living in Hubei dont know what its like outside because they haven't been outside nor do they want to. The only people that are outside are those who absolutely have to be out for some emergency reason, causing a concentration of panicked people to all be congregating in one place. edit: added a photo I took of one of the 'windows' where people were shouting, this one was for applying for the 通行证 permit that would get you out of town. Also added one of the many signs up at the entrance to every road
  45. 8 points
    Yes, that was us on the news, we are now in the milton keynes quarantine facility. Still not allowed out of our rooms, test results for the virus have apparently delayed until tomorrow. Still, its fairly nice here, and almost certainly miles better than any of the quarantine centres back in Hubei right now, so we're happy to slowly count down the days until the end of our two weeks.
  46. 8 points
    It felt great to leave my apartment, have a walk around and breathe some fresh air after almost a week of being stuck inside. The air is noticeably fresher than usual without all the cars, and without the usual background noise of traffic and people I even managed to hear some birdsong while walking back to my apartment. The general experience of being outside, listening to the birds sing, letting the sun shine on my face and breathing in the crisp, cold air was so nice that I decided it was worth risking staying outside for a little while so that I could enjoy it for a few minutes longer. I had a funny interaction with the 保安 on the way out. As I was filling in my details, I thought he asked me about my 属性. I usually come across that word when using my computer (file "properties" etc), so I was a bit confused, and thought that maybe it was being used in regards to my status or something. A couple of sentences later and I realised he was asking about my 属相 (Chinese Zodiac) and whether or not we had this concept in my country. He then asked “你们是不是都很有钱?” followed by some comments about the strength of the mighty 英镑 (he doesn't seem to have been following the news these past 3 and a half years). I'm sure most people here have had similar conversations countless times before, and it can be a little boring to go through the same old routine, by today it felt different. With all the virus stuff turning everything upside down, it was oddly reassuring to be having one of those typical foreigner/old curious Chinese man interactions. Here's one of the temperature checking stations that have become a regular part of day to day life in China (taken at a shopping mall): Now for a little about Wechat. The screenshots below are from a popular 公众号. It basically tells you how many newly confirmed infections there have been in the city that day and who the infected are. They give a surprisingly large amount of info about each case, including the person's occupation, address, etc. The thing that seems of most interest to people is each infected person's 活动轨迹 (basically their movements before being admitted to hospital), which is set out in remarkable detail. My teacher was particularly worried when she saw that one of the infected people had eaten at a certain market on the same day she had went there with her family. You'll notice that many of the recent descriptions state 无武汉出游史, meaning they contracted the virus in Harbin, not Wuhan. There is even a map showing infected locations relative to yourself, if you really feel like scaring the bejesus out of yourself (I'm not quite surrounded by red infection marks just yet!) : I know many suspect the official figures, but in Harbin at least, things appear to be being handled with great deal of transparency. We're down to 10-20 new confirmed cases per day here, and many seem to be appearing in clusters. Today especially, many of the new infections appear to have resulted from people ignoring official advice and still getting together with extended family and friends, much to the consternation of many: The few business that remain open are trying to adapt tot he situation, as this 无接触 pizza delivery service from Pizza Hut shows. I take it that they just drop off the pizza at the entrance to your 小区. I wonder if picking up a pizza means having to use one of your exit passes? And finally, some light-hearted humour from my 朋友圈:
  47. 8 points
    I'm still in Hong Kong as of this morning, Sunday 2 February. My flights have been delayed and then cancelled so many times that I'm beginning to lose track. Am currently confirmed on a JAL (Japan Airlines) flight tomorrow, Monday 3 February, to Tokyo NRT. Am also confirmed onward from there, connecting with another JAL flight to LAX (Los Angeles.) Gave up on trying to get straight from Hong Kong to Dallas. Will spend a night in Los Angeles and fly out to Dallas on American Airlines Tuesday 4 February if all goes according to plan. Found some flights leaving today. Tickets were selling for over $8,000 each in business class, over $2,000 in coach. That's US Dollars, by the way. This is about 4 times the normal rate. Too rich for my blood. It seems the airlines believe strongly in the rules of supply and demand, about like the guy selling face masks from the back of his car for a price that's as high as the traffic will bear. My credit card companies are raising red flags and questioning my purchases because I have had as many transactions in the last week or so as I usually do in a whole year. I have so far convinced them that these charges are legitimate. Hope they don't freeze my accounts. Have an alternative plan in my back pocket in case Tokyo falls through. Fly Hong Kong to Vancouver and to the US from there. My brother was in Europe on a business trip right when 911 happened. They locked down the US, but he was able to get back home via Canada. So, I am borrowing a page from his play book. It has been an adventure, not the kind I would seek. (And I'm not home yet.) Have wasted lots of time on the computer making and changing reservations. Each time the airline announces flight alterations, I must change hotel reservations and rental car arrangements, and so on. But at least I've had comfortable accommodations at Hong Kong's Sky City Marriott. It's a very good place to be marooned.
  48. 8 points
    Took this picture on the way to IKEA this morning (doing my usually salmon run). To be fair, I would've been pretty similar last year, too. The roads are usually empty on New Year's Eve. I think people living in China are really experience this whole coronavirus differently. While a lot of people will say about people are just lying and spreading rumours on WeChat, what a lot of people don't realise is, we aren't seeing messages, we are seeing videos and government reports. When you see a video of hundreds of people screaming and crying in a Wuhan hospital, because they all have a fever, and there aren't even enough doctor to check them all, then it's scary. When you see a government issued report that before the shut down of Wuhan, 19,000 people from there travelled to Hangzhou, then it's scary. A guy in my housing complex in Hangzhou turned himself in because he had been in contact with people from Wuhan who had the virus, but luckily he was cleared. If you're in China and want to get a clearer picture, you can contact your local districts office. They're all up to date and pretty honest about everything that's happening. I keep seeing a lot of 'it's all lies' and 'it's not a big deal' online, especially in places like Reddit, but for us living in China, we don't use papers and journalists to see what the situation is like, we get to see real people's videos and photos that they've posted on their moments.
  49. 8 points
    My post in the 2019 thread is here (mostly for my own reference). Basically, flashcards are a routine for me for quite a few years now. This year I nuked my cards from the old HSK and began studying words from novels analyzed with CTA. Right now my deck is at 8k cards, consisting of the New HSK and cards from a few novels. The change of focus was a great move, it is tempting to check off these word lists, but it isn't a good learning strategy. Learn the words from your text books and then from your reading/watching materials instead. Don't be like me kids! But of course I knew this too when I started grinding through the HSK6 list, and then ALL of the old HSK lists... Now flashcards do not take up much of my time, which leaves room for... …reading. I finished 圈子圈套 , read 许三观卖血记 and then finished of the year by completing 圈子圈套 2. I have used Pleco Reader and I have cheated myself by checking to many words, but I still feel I have made some progress. I definitely know more characters, my reading speed has improved and I’m much less fatigued after a session. I haven’t really read much else at all, so I spent some time with an article from 南方周末 this morning, and even without the Pleco training wheels I was able to read it. Note, not 100% comprehension or recognizing every last character but I could easily summarize it and think I got some of the finer points. And not only that, but I can now drop fun facts about Shanghai’s garbage recycling at cocktail parties (article here , for my own reference). I set a goal in last year’s thread to read a page every day. I haven’t read every day, but I’ve read reasonably consistently over any given week, so I’ll call it a success anyway. The plan is to start 家 on paper, to quit the pop-up habit cold turkey. If I don’t have access to the book, I’ll read some article on my phone instead (in Safari, no addins). I’ll maintain my goal of one page a day; I’ll do less when I’m busy, more when I have free time. Since reading is reasonably under control, I’ll also work on my listening skills. I have a hard time keeping my interest up when it comes to podcasts directed at learners, so I’ll have to find some native material (perhaps a TV show) and do my best with it, even if it means pausing a lot. I watched a few clips before posting this to gauge my level, and it’s bad. Vocabulary is less of a problem now, but making out the words, and then fast enough is a challenge. I’ll have to drill quite a bit to get somewhere. I’ll be realistic and aim for two hours/week to start with. So another year of horribly unbalanced, slow and spotty progress. At least I enjoy it
  50. 8 points
    These wild mushrooms thrive when a couple of rainy days are followed by half a day or so of sun. That’s how it’s been this summer, and it has led to a bumper crop. As you probably already know, Yunnan is China’s top producer of wild mushrooms. We harvest a couple dozen varieties in the mountainous parts of the province. Lots of them are exported regionally, bringing top dollar in the fine dining restaurants of Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo. I used to just buy them at my nearby farmers market, until I was convinced by local friends to visit the mother lode late this spring. By this they meant the wholesale wild mushroom market 木水花野生菌批发市场 in an older part Guandu Quarter 官渡区。Better selection, fresher product, lower prices in return for a 20-minute ride on the subway/MTR 地铁。I have officially been converted. (Please click the photos to enlarge them.) 32 acres, hundreds of merchants, mostly small stalls, wares spread on the ground. I’ve gone every week or so for the last month and a half, concentrating on getting comfortable with only one or two varieties per trip. I also research the best ways to cook the ones I’ve bought. When you first walk into the market, people may approach with small baskets offering you “a special deal.” This man was selling a nice-looking tray of precious 松茸菌 songrong jun/pine mushrooms (matsutake) for only 100 Yuan. They would normally fetch three or four times that much, so there’s probably a catch, probably something fishy. Walk away. Once inside, the selection is nearly overwhelming: Takes a minute or two to get your bearings. On this trip I had decided to focus on 鸡枞菌 jizong jun (collybia termitomyces), Yunnan’s famous “termite mushrooms.” That meant I had to ignore these delicious 牛肝菌 (Niugan jun) a type of porcini/boletus, pictured just below. Niugan jun are delicious and I love them dearly. But they can sometimes be poisonous with varying degrees of toxicity and thus require special handling. Best not to mix them with other varieties, cook them hot and long. (Another day I’ll show you how.) First time at the market, I was surprised to see these wild bee and wasp nest 蜂巢 vendors. They extract the larvae 蜂蛹/fengyong carefully with tweezers, sort and sell them while still alive and wiggling. Local people consider them a delicacy. A night on the town has no better finish than a plate of these fried crispy and dipped in a fiery chili sauce, chased with a tall cold beer 啤酒 or an incendiary glass of 白酒 (Chinese "white lightning.") Starting to close in now on the kind I’m after, jizong jun 鸡枞菌, locally called “The King of Wild Mushrooms.” Unfortunately, it has no snappy English moniker. Have been pricing them as I walked along, getting a feel for how much the prime big ones bring, how much for smaller and less perfect ones. Have been assaying the amount of “wiggle room,” the difference between rock bottom and initial asking price. On average, medium size and medium grade can be had for about 200 Yuan per kilogram. I’ve also been making a point of talking with a sampling of experts here at “wild mushroom ground zero” getting their thoughts on how best to use them. My advance plan had been to make a hearty soup or stew in which I paired the mushrooms with half a wiry free-range chicken. Everyone has recipe tips: “Lots of garlic, but easy on the onions.” Or "be sure to include the head and the feet. They add lots of flavor." I've been urged to not mix them with any other mushrooms; to use them all alone so as to be able to appreciate their unique contributions. I listen carefully and jot things down. The seller below left is sorting songrong jun 松茸菌。Notice how carefully she handles them, only by the stem. The jizong jun 鸡枞菌 that drew my interest have long stems that look like roots and closed tops. Price goes down if the caps are open like an umbrella. Price goes down if the bottom parts have traces of black soil instead of the red earth in which this species thrives. She snapped off the woody end of one of these long-stemmed specimens. She wanted me to see and hear the way it broke cleanly like a twig; how it wasn’t mushy or soft. Fresh ones should not just bend. These jizong jun 鸡枞菌 are sometimes called “termite mushrooms” because they must grow right above a nest of large-bodied termites 大白蚁。If the termites move, the mushrooms die. Obligate symbiosis 共生。 (These 2 photos are from Baidu) It’s easy to be distracted by exotics such as these delicate beauties, below. They aren’t actually wild, they are cultivated. They sometimes show up at banquets here, thinly sliced the long way and fanned out on a plate. 竹苏野生菌/phallus indusiatus. As you might expect, vendors of dried wild mushrooms are also well represented. Sealed packages of dried wild mushrooms in the supermarket are sort of a local joke. Kunming old-timers 老昆明人 won’t touch them. But they grudgingly admit that good ones can be bought here in bulk and used in the deep of winter. You can have your mushrooms professionally packed and shipped home to Shanghai or Beijing by air freight. Domestic tourists come here and load up. It’s not too difficult to slowly stew them down into a thick, rich sauce 野生菌酱 or 野生菌油 that keeps a long time, even without refrigeration. A big dollop of it transforms a simple bowl of noodles into a memorable treat. (Noodles Baidu) Beware of mushrooms that have been misted with water to keep them looking fresh. (See the water bottle below left. Click the photo to make it bigger.) I wound up buying nearly a kilogram of this guy’s jizong jun 鸡枞菌。(Below right.) I tagged along with a retailer who was buying a whole lot to re-sell across town, benefiting from his bargaining skills. I didn't get as low a price, because I was buying a much smaller quantity. The seller's mother gave me tips on cleaning them by gently scraping with the sharp edge of a paring knife, followed by scrubbing with a toothbrush. Leaving now, passed into a second hall. This one has some fresh fruit and vegetables in addition to more mushrooms. My friends who are in the know say to avoid coming on Saturday and Sunday morning because the place is mobbed with restaurant owners laying in a supply for weekend diners. It was a little past 11 when I headed home with my trophies. Stopped off at a shiny clean snack shop 小吃店 for a bowl of 米线 mixian/rice noodles heaped with fresh mint 薄荷。Seven Yuan. One of the young cooks had just finished chopping lots of fresh vegetables for the lunch crowd. The front of this small eatery opened onto the street, while the back led directly into the market. I would imagine lots of mushroom sellers eat there at noon. Honest, humble food. No Golden Arches or McNuggets.
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