Can we assume there’s also a weakly strong electricity room? As a former journalist for daily newspapers, I’ve learned that all you can hope for is that your story is an accurate reflection of what happens on a given day. It’s a snapshot, that’s all. By tomorrow, everything may have changed completely. I live [...]
Every once in a while, something comes along that just has a magical spark to it. This short film is in that category, an Irish production about a young guy in China who, bored with his life, decides to make a major change with unimagined consequences. Though a few years old, it’s worth seeing and [...]
When discussing philosophy over in East Asia, regardless of where I was at the time, I seemed to consistently encounter aphorisms. It was always the same procedure. I would be told that there was an old Chinese/Japanese/Korean saying and they would first speak it in their language, then translate it into English for me. Then [...]
Shortly after my wife and I had moved to Taipei, we had ordered an ADSL internet connection and I was having a hard time installing it, so I asked my wife to call Chunghwa Telecom to see if they could help. The lady in their service department began to give us directions for setting it [...]
One of the main reasons I became interested in China was the writing system. After almost 20 years, I haven’t lost that interest and at times get emotional satisfaction just by gazing at characters, whether individual or as part of a group. Their innate balance and dynamism is amazing. Even when seeing them in reverse, [...]
I saw this sign just outside the Taichung (臺中) HSR station in Taiwan. I mean, isn’t that exactly what you do when your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend drops you off before you catch your train?
Every once in a while, I see these discussions on the term “laowai” (a slang word for “foreigner” in Chinese, although the exact meaning is a little bit more involved) and how Chinese tend to use it to refer to Caucasian people just about everywhere. Even abroad, Chinese refer to nationals of the countries they [...]
Walking through my neighborhood in Taipei’s Ximen district, I came across a new construction site. Another high rise that I’m sure will add to the value of our area, this commercial building is currently under construction and should be finished sometime later this year. On the street level was the future name of this imposing [...]
The improbable character to the left is read “biáng” and makes up the name of a popular kind of noodle in Shaanxi, “biang-biang-mian.” I’m not going to get into discussions about whether this character is a recent invention to attract tourists, or whether it is truly several hundred years old, but rather about the sound itself. “Biang” is not a syllable found in standard Mandarin. What’s more, I found early on that many native speakers of the language can not even pronounce it properly, or only with great difficulty. A friend of mine, for example, tried with “bian” (pronounced “byenn”) or “liang” until he finally was able to string the sounds together.