Tag Archives: China

I love that Letizia took a trip to China via a book. What a fabulous way to be global from home. Check out her review of China in Ten Words by Yu Hua.

reading interrupted.

I haven’t been to China yet but I went on a little voyage through space and time to take my mind off of the hurricane and its aftermath.

I had read a few good reviews of Yu Hua’s China in Ten Words and its bright yellow cover had been sitting on my desk for a few months.

As I prepared for Hurricane Sandy, I set aside a few different books to read.  I wasn’t sure what kind of reading mood I’d be in so my selection included:

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, John Steinbeck’s America and Americans and Yu Hua’s China in Ten Words

Yu Hua explores his relationship with 10 words (such as “People” and “Writing”) and through this exploration tells a history of China interweaved with his own personal stories.

I was delighted to find that one of the words he writes about is ‘reading’.

One passage in particular…

View original post 109 more words

Qixi Festival i.e. Chinese Valentine’s Day

Today (August 23rd) is the Chinese Qixi Festival. When I read about the festival earlier this week, I knew I wanted to participate but there wasn’t a scheduled festival here in OKC so I had to make my own.

The Qixi Festival is held each year on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month to celebrate the reuniting of the seventh daughter of the Queen of Heaven, Zhinü to her mortal cow-herding husband Niulang. The folklore says that Zhinü came to earth to bathe and while she was in the water, Niulang’s bull told him that if he stole Zhinü’s clothes she would marry him. (Romatic, right?) The two fell in love, married, and had twins. While they were living happily, the Queen of Heaven found out that her daughter had married a mortal, so she kidnapped her and forced her back to the sky. Now Zhinü and Niulang are the stars Vega and Altair and are only allowed to meet once a year.

The festival is one of romance. Traditionally, the young women go to the temple of the match maker to make a wish for a mate or if newly married, they pray to get pregnant. The festival is also an opportunity to display their handiwork, where melon carving and embroidery are some of the more popular displays. But since the 1990s, the festival has also taken on a commercialized feel now being called Chinese Valentine’s Day.

For my own celebration of Qixi, I participated in several of the traditions, both old and new.

First I headed the to Asian District to do some grocery shopping. Unfortunately no one was celebrating the festival.

Embroidery was a craft once celebrated at the Qixi Festival.

At the festival, young women would try to float an embroidery needle. If it floated, they were considered a skilled artist. Mine sunk so I guess I’m not very skilled.

Hmmm…which to choose for Hubby? I think I’ll stick with the fortune cookie.

No melon carving for me today but Hubby did at least get the benefit of a good Asian-inspired meal last night.

Asian Inspired Reading List

I found a great new website this weekend through Stumble Upon called Which Book.  You put in the type of book you want to read and the site spits out recommendations. It inspired me to start my future reading list and I’ve made up my mind to do it by region of the world. I’m starting with Asia; the books have to be set in Asia and preferably written by a person of Asian heritage. I hope to mix it up a bit with fiction and non-fiction. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Sawako Ariyoshi, The Doctor’s Wife, (1978) the story of the wife of the first doctor to use anesthesia in Japan and her relationship with her mother-in-law (as a doctor’s wife, I thought I could relate to this one)
  • Pearl S. Buck, The Three Daughters of Liang (1969), the story of a woman in early Communist China and how she copes after her husband takes a concubine (I read Good Earth a few years ago and really enjoyed it so I thought I’d give Pearl Buck another try)
  • Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness (2009), the spiritual leader of Buddhism gives shares his wisdom on happiness (I just saw the Dalia Lama speak at SDSU a few weeks ago…amazing!)
  • Kien Nguyen, The Tapestries (2003), about a boy with royal Vietnamese blood sold into slavery at the turn of the twentieth century (this just looked good)
  • Mishima, Yukio, The Sounds of Waves (1994), a young fisherman is entranced at the sight of the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the village (I needed a good love story in the mix)
  • Fan Wu, February Flowers  (2007), a girl goes off to college and becomes a woman in 1990s China (as a Study Abroad Advisor, I thought this sounded pretty interesting)
In addition to these, I have a few books of Asian influence that I’ve already read and would definitely recommend:
 

   

Netflix Recommendation – Mao’s Last Dancer

After a long work week in our household, we decided to spend Friday night in. After some delicious Cooking Light corn fritters, I began to search Netflix and came across Mao’s Last Dancer. I personally haven’t been to China, but it’s definitely on my short list so I was interested. The 2010 Bruce Beresford film depicts the “true story” of Li Cunxin, a ballet dancer who came to the U.S. on exchange from Communist China, and his struggle to remain in the U.S. With flashbacks to his childhood and training in China, the film was full of cultural incidents that really struck me. For example, Li’s parents don’t call him by his name but rather call him Sixth Son (he is the 6 of 7 boys in the family). There is also a great scene with Li and the artistic director of the Houston Ballet addressing American frivolity and excess that was excellent (part of it is in the trailer). If you are looking for an inspirational, cultural film for your Saturday night, I would highly recommend Mao’s Last Dancer.