Category Archives: Culture

Millions of non-smokers rejoice!

For a long time, China was considered a smoker’s paradise, with more than 300 million of China’s 1.35 billion being smokers, and with more than half of adult men being regular tobacco users according to WHO. You could smoke in a restaurant, in a taxi (though that became harder to do in bigger cities such Read More…

International Brand Names in Chinese

As every other language, Chinese language has undoubtedly been undergoing many changes, such as new vocabulary and even new sentence structures, particularly under the influence of English. New words have been seeping into Mandarin since Qing dynasty, but the process has been much more notable in the recent decades. This has been propelled by the Read More…

Hacking the Chinese Menu (Eat and Be Merry)

Oh, the dreaded Chinese menu. Here you are, sitting comfortably in a small restaurant in China, hungry and ready to dig into some big bowl of noodles or a pile of dumplings. The waiter comes by and hands you the menu. Oh no, no pictures! And, what’s worse, no English translations either. Sure, the translations Read More…

A word about Chinese martial arts

Martial arts have a long history in China, with the first origins dating back to at least 2,000 years ago, to a time when China was dominated by warlords, bandits and foreign invaders. They can largely be divided into two forms: armed and unarmed arts. The former include disciplines such as spearmanship, archery and swordsmanship Read More…

5 tips on food etiquette in China

In an informal setting there are hardly any special rules for dining in China and as a foreigner you will often be excused for any potential mistakes. But, if you find yourself in a business setting, for example, attending a formal banquet, there are a couple of things that you should bear in mind in Read More…

Let’s Talk about Chinese Cinema

The majority of movies featured here were created by one of the members of the so-called fifth generation of Chinese movie directors. The five generations correspond to historical periods: silent films; first sound films during the 1920s and 1930s; films from 1949 through the Cultural Revolution; films after the Cultural Revolution; and the fifth generation, Read More…

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a match

As we are approaching the Spring Festival, many young Chinese are dreading their visit home. The long travel, the rigid traditions with no room for rest and, of course, all the nosy personal questions that one would rather avoid. Particularly afflicted are single women over the age of thirty. Though they might be successful in Read More…

Chinese New Year Series III

In our previous post we already discussed such esoteric terms as heavenly stems and terrestrial branches, but I am afraid there is more to come. In order to understand the many roles that the traditional calendar has in China, as well as understand the rules that govern how the calendar is set up, we will Read More…

Chinese New Year Series II

The basic unit of the Chinese calendar is 日 (Rì) which means ‘the sun’ and we translate it as ‘a day’. A day was defined as a period of time which involves the exchange between the light and the darkness. The astronomers then had to decide when exactly should a day start and end . Read More…

Chinese New Year Series I

We are approaching the Chinese Spring Festival (春节 ChūnJié) or the Chinese New Year. The coming year, celebrated on the 19th of February, will be the  year of the goat (羊 Yáng). 19th February must sound like an odd date to celebrate the beginning of something, but let’s see what are the reasons behind it. Read More…

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