Browsed by
Category: China

Travel throughout China

Cost of Living: Los Angeles vs. Shanghai

Cost of Living: Los Angeles vs. Shanghai

Shanghai Los Angeles Cost of Living

One of my biggest forms of culture shock upon moving back to the United States was cost of living.  It felt like everything in the United States was way, way more expensive than Shanghai.

In my previous post, I calculated and compared the cost of living between Los Angeles and Tokyo, and I found that living in Tokyo could actually save you 10,000 USD per year compared to life in Los Angeles. I’m a huge advocate for living abroad to not only broaden horizons, but to also save money.

So how does life in Shanghai fare when it comes to cutting costs? read more

You Know You’ve Turned Chinese When…

You Know You’ve Turned Chinese When…

youknowcover

I’ll never be ethnically Chinese.  It’s just not going to happen.

Despite this, I feel Chinese (as weird as that sounds).  I was  so accepted and integrated during my time in China, I felt like one of their own.  Sure, my proverbs sucked.  Yeah, I couldn’t read all the Chinese characters.  Still, I was invited to almost any and every outing, and many of my Chinese friends treated me like family.  I hung out with the locals like I was their neighbor, and they treated me as such.  Thanks to the kindness and passion of my friends in China, I felt like I truly discovered what it means to live and understand China. read more

That Time I Got Fleas in Shanghai

That Time I Got Fleas in Shanghai

fleas-cover

Life was good.  I had just scored my dream job of being an interpreter at a prestigious advertising agency, and I was finally making money after my horrible student experience at Shanghai International Studies University.   I was on top of the world.

The first thing I did with my paycheck was put down a deposit and pay three months rent for my  “new” apartment in Shanghai.  After living in the dorms for six months, I was elated.  I could finally have a place to call my own and move back to city center Shanghai. read more

Why Chinese Men Make Great Boyfriends

Why Chinese Men Make Great Boyfriends

Chinese Men Make Great Boyfriends!

After discovering the tactics for landing dates in Asia, I had romances all across Asia and my dating life was… well, let’s say diverse.

And from my (very small) pool of dating research at this time, I found that the most satisfactory, fun, and long-lasting dates were with none other than Chinese men.

Now, after many hits and misses in the dating scene, I finally found my perfect match: Richard (and surprise!  he’s Chinese!).

Here are some reasons why my boyfriend is simply amazing; and coincidentally, why Chinese men make really darn good boyfriends. read more

Should I Learn Chinese or Japanese?

Should I Learn Chinese or Japanese?

LearnJapaneseorChinese

“Should I learn Japanese or Chinese?”

As a Japanese/Chinese interpreter and translator, it’s a question I get asked a lot.

Those that are crazy or masochistic enough to venture into the realm of Asian languages often stop and pause when it comes to choosing from the two giants of the East Asian languages: Japanese and Mandarin.

Choosing a language is important. Gaining fluency will take you hours, months, and perhaps years of your life. It’s not something to take lightly and, if used for future work purposes, is definitely worth consideration. read more

Grocery Shopping in America vs. China and Japan

Grocery Shopping in America vs. China and Japan

hongkong

Whenever I travel abroad, the first thing I usually do is pop into the local supermarket.  While it may sound strange to pass up temples and ruins for a run to the market, the seemingly average grocery store is a gigantic window into the country itself.  What people buy in a store–and  the food that is offered in the market itself–speaks volumes about a country and its culture.

When I returned to the United States last year, it was no surprise that going to the giant sized American market was one of the big toppers on my lists of reverse culture shock.  Even after a year here, stepping into the grocery store still feels like I’m treading into foreign territory. read more

Learning Kung Fu in China: The Real Story

Learning Kung Fu in China: The Real Story

Corychinaedit

Since I am now acquainted with so many amazing people that have stories from Japan, China and Asia in general, I wanted to start a “My Asia” guest post/interview series every every other Monday where readers and fellow friends can share their fascinating adventures. 

I would like to start with a story that involves China and the journey of an American man going to discover the path of martial arts.

With a few years of tai-chi practice and teaching under his belt, my good friend Cory was convinced that the final step to mastery would be training on Mt. Wudang in China—the birthplace of Tai-Chi itself. read more

You’re not Western Enough: How I Got Kicked Out of My First Shanghai Apartment

You’re not Western Enough: How I Got Kicked Out of My First Shanghai Apartment

Beijing Hutong

“Mary, I published a book about teaching foreigners in China and I wrote almost an entire chapter about you.”

My Chinese teacher from Tsinghua University suddenly e-mailed me with the news, and I was completely caught off guard.

Me? …..In a book?

Impatient, I opened up the attached word file and scanned through the chapters hurriedly.

When I turned to the chapter about me, I realized that she retold one of the bleaker moments during my stay in Shanghai about…

My First Roommate:  The Leftover Woman read more

How I Learned to Speak Mandarin in 6 Months

How I Learned to Speak Mandarin in 6 Months

IMG_0998

This isn’t a post about how great I am at languages. I’m not like some jerk on the internet claiming to achieve fluency in three months.

This is a post about the blood, sweat and tears I spent to learn Chinese.

I never thought I would learn how to speak Chinese: The tones, the characters, and the proverbs were frustrating.  The task of learning Mandarin was daunting and overwhelming–and honestly, there were many moments I thought I was just not meant to learn this language.

Yet somehow, I did it.  I learned Chinese in less than a year. read more

How To Get a Full Ride Scholarship in China (then throw it away)

How To Get a Full Ride Scholarship in China (then throw it away)

Come on, Learn Chinese for Free!
Come on, Learn Chinese for Free!

If learning how to speak Mandarin and living in China is your dream, or even a plausible next step in your life, then you’ve got great timing—because China wants you, and wants you now.

China is allocating tons of money so it can lure 100,000  foreign students to China for the sole purpose of teaching them Mandarin. The United States and China created this 100,000 strong incentive to provide money for young American hopefuls to go abroad, study Chinese, love it, and give China some (hopefully) good PR. read more