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A Journey of a Thousand Miles

Posted by: zgarrett | May 27, 2011 Comments Off |

On Wednesday I leave for China and I won’t be returning for over a year. I have been planning to study in China ever since High School when I first began learning Chinese. Last Summer I got my first opportunity to visit China when I participated in a post-session studying debate and sustainability at Xiamen University. During the month and a half I was in China I also visited Shanghai and Suzhou to sight see.
I wanted to spend this Summer travelling around the country, since my last visit was so short. With this goal in mind I came up with a research project and proposed it for a grant from my University. The project I came up with is a comparative study of Kung Fu and Wushu focusing on the preservation of traditional elements. I will be conducting this research through June and into early July, and will be travelling to Shanghai, Beijing and Shenyang.
After the research I don’t really have any plans other than continued travel. I am hoping to visit Mongolia during this time. At the end of August I will go to Nanjing, where I will be studying during the Fall and Spring Semesters.
I am also planning on visiting South Korea, possibly for the World Expo, and Japan after I finish studying at Nanjing University.

If you want to read more about Zack’s study abroad, check out his blog: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog/zhihe/1/tpod.html

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Posted by: nshevche | March 5, 2011 Comments Off |


李白(701年2月28日—762年),字太白,号青莲居士, 又号“谪仙人”。中国唐朝诗人,有“诗仙”、“诗侠”之称。汉族,祖籍陇西郡成纪县(今甘肃省平凉市静宁县南),出生于蜀郡绵州昌隆县(今四川省江油市青 莲乡),另有说法称出生于西域碎叶(今吉尔吉斯斯坦托克马克)。有《李太白集》传世,代表作有《望庐山瀑布》、《行路难》、《蜀道难》、《将进酒》、《梁 甫吟》、《早发白帝城》等多首。


First information of Li Bo in modern Europe is documented in Jean Joseph Marie Amiot’s in his Portaits des Célèbres Chinois of his Mémoires (1776–1797). Further translations into French were accomplished by Marquis d’Hervey de Saint-Denys in his 1862 Poésies de l’Époque des Thang.

Joseph Edkins read a paper, “On Li Tai-po”, to the Peking Oriental Society in 1888, which was subsequently published in that society’s journal. The English-speaking world was introduced to Herbert Allen Giles translations of Li Bai in Gile’s 1898 publication Chinese Poetry in English Verse, and again in his History of Chinese Literature, in 1901.The third “old school”translator of Li Bo into English was L. Cranmer-Byng (Launcelot Alfred Cranmer-Byng, (1872–1945), whose Lute of Jade: Being Selections from the Classical Poets of China appeared in 1909 and whose A Feast of Lanterns was published in 1916 – both volumes featuring translations of “Li Po”.

More modern renditions of Li Bo’s poetry into English were performed by Ezra Pound (in Cathay, 1915) and Amy Lowell (in Fir-Flower Tablets, 1921), though neither directly from the Chinese: Pound relying on the work of Ernest Fenollosa and professors Mori and Ariga, and Lowell on Florence Ayscough. Witter Bynner with the help of Kiang Kang-hu made some translations (in The Jade Mountain); and, Arthur Waley made a a few translations of Li Bo, although not his preferred poet, into English (in the Asiatic Review, and included in his More Translations from the Chinese). Shigeyoshi Obata, in his 1922 The Works of Li Po, made what he claimed to be “the first attempt ever made to deal with any single Chinese poet exclusively in one book for the purpose of introducing him to the English-speaking world.

Li Bai’s poem Drinking Alone by Moonlight (月下独酌, pinyin: Yuè Xià Dú Zhuó), translated by Arthur Waley, reads:

花间一壶酒。 A pot of wine, under the flowering trees;
独酌无相亲。 I drink alone, for no friend is near.
举杯邀明月。 Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon,
对影成三人。 For her, with my shadow, will make three people.
月既不解饮。 The moon, alas, is no drinker of wine;
影徒随我身。 Listless, my shadow creeps about at my side.
暂伴月将影。 Yet with the moon as friend and the shadow as slave
行乐须及春。 I must make merry before the Spring is spent.
我歌月徘徊。 To the songs I sing the moon flickers her beams;
我舞影零乱。 In the dance I weave my shadow tangles and breaks.
醒时同交欢。 While we were sober, three shared the fun;
醉后各分散。 Now we are drunk, each goes their way.
永结无情游。 May we long share our eternal friendship,
相期邈云汉。 And meet at last on the paradise.
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Chinese Music

Posted by: mbenke | February 25, 2011 Comments Off |






Hey all!  This is Mary Benke, a new assistant at the Language Learning Center for Chinese.

Recently I created a profile on China’s Version of Facebook, 人人网 (also called Xiaonei).  This site is really similar to Facebook in its abilities and applications.  Xiaonei also has a feature where members can listen to internet radio, with stations ranging from American rock to Chinese Jazz.  When I first tried this feature, I immediately came across my now-favorite artist Hackleberry (扑树 Pu2shu1).  Because the feature acts like a radio, this feature is a great way to discover Chinese artists and current musical trends.

That being said, Xiaonei is also a great way to learn Chinese characters.  The site uses simplified Chinese; if you still have trouble reading, the Language Learning Center can set you up with a program called Wordchamp that lets you read scroll over words and translates them.  If you have friends using Xiaonei, try contacting them and chatting in Chinese!

That’s all for now!


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唐山大地震 (The Great Tangshan Earthquake)

Posted by: zgarrett | October 27, 2010 | 1 Comment |

This last Tuesday we showed 唐山大地震, a movie about a major earthquake that occurred in 1976 in Tangshan. Tangshan is a city of around 7 million located in Hebei province. At the time of the earthquake only 1.6 million people lived in Tangshan, but due to the poorly constructed buildings and the time that the earthquake struck the casualties reached around 240000, making it the deadliest earthquake in the 20th century and the 2nd deadliest of all time. However, it is believed that the actual death toll may be even higher. It was a common practice in China at the time to make things appear better to the rest of the world than they actually were. Many people now believe that the number given by the Chinese government might not be accurate. Since the population of Tangshan was 1.6 million and most of the city was completely flattened, it is likely that the real death toll reached half a million or more. The earthquake occurred at 3:45 am, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. 16 hours later an aftershock, also measuring 7.8, increased the death toll.

It was not a very large surprise that an earthquake struck Tangshan, since it had already been predicted by the State Seismological Bureau. A man named Wang Chengmin had even predicted it to happen within the range of July 22nd and August 5th. The surprise was that it struck in the middle of the night and so suddenly. It is believed that the death toll would have been even higher had a man named Wang Chunqing not taken the news as seriously. He decided to prepare his county for the event and was even evacuating some sections of the county.

The movie details the story of a brother and sister who are separated after the earthquake, and their separate journeys through life afterward. The two children are trapped under a large slab, and if the rescue workers lift the slab to save one child it would crush the other. Their mother is forced to choose between them and decides to save her son. The daughter somehow survived and woke up later after her mother had left with the son. She is then adopted by two People’s Liberation Army soldiers. It is a rather sad movie, but the sad moments in the movie make the happy ones even happier.

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汉语水平考试 (HSK)

Posted by: zgarrett | October 20, 2010 | 3 Comments |


Last weekend I went to Portland to take the HSK, a test created by the Chinese government to test people’s proficiency in Mandarin. The test was developed in 1987 and by 2005 around 1 million people had taken it in over 120 countries. It is frequently compared to the TOEFL, which serves a similar purpose for people learning English. If you have a certificate from the HSK then many new opportunities in higher education and work open up in China. If your score is especially high then you stand a chance of being granted a scholarship from the Chinese government to study in China.

The levels of HSK tests are divided into three sections, containing two tests each. The elementary level has HSK 1 and 2, the intermediate has HSK 3 and 4, and advanced has 5 and 6. I decided to take the level 3 test, since this is what the people at the Confucius institute suggested as a first try. The test was divided into a listening section, a reading section, and a writing section. If you are in Chinese 331 then you shouldn’t have too much trouble with the listening, after all our classes have a pretty strong focus on listening. The reading section was also not very much trouble. All the characters in the reading questions were very common, but if you aren’t that confident that you know enough then you can find word lists on the internet. The writing section was the hardest because it contained characters that I didn’t know. Plus, I feel that grammar is one of my weakest points.

If you want to take the HSK I believe they will be holding it in Portland again in April. However, if you want to take the HSK 2 they will be offering it for free in November, just check you email.

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China’s Got Talent

Posted by: zgarrett | October 15, 2010 | 1 Comment |

You all probably know the concept behind the Got Talent tv shows. A lot of people perform their talents on stage in order to compete for a prize, which in America is a show on the Vegas Strip. The series was originally planned to air in England, but after some problems emerged postponing the show Simon Cowell decided to run the show in America. Now there are versions of the show all over the world, including China.

China’s first season of 中国达人秀 just came to an end and a disabled pianist named Liu Wei was the winner. Wei lost both of his arms during a childhood accident, but now plays the piano with his feet. To show everyone how far the human spirit can go to overcome adversity and to offer a little inspiration through the course of the day, here’s the video of the final performance.

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Gardens in my hometown-Yangzhou

Posted by: nshevche | October 6, 2010 | 2 Comments |

Some of us went to visit the Chinese Garden in Portland last weekend.The LANSUYUAN garden is a typical Suzhou style garden,while my hometown Yangzhou(扬州) is also very famous for its gardens.

Yangzhou,sitting on the northern bank of Yangzte River, is historically one of the wealthiest of China’s cities, known as various periods for its great merchant families, poets, painters, and scholars.As for gardens,my favorites are He-garden(何园) and Ge-garden(个园).

He-garden is honored as the LIVING WISDOM OF ORIENT.It is built by He Zhidiao, a 19th century Chinese envoy to France.The garden is famous for a 430m. (1,377 ft) two storied winding corridor, the walls of which are lined with stone tablets carved with lines of classical poetry, In the garden,there is also an open air theater set on an island in the middle of a fish pond.Here is one of my pictures of He-garden in winter.

Ge-garden is one of the four best gardens in China,and the magnum opus of private gardens in Qing Dynasty.It is well know as the only extant of gardening art for its Four-season rockeries.The architect of Ge-garden had distinguished the acuity of the figures and colors of rocks.In the garden,different prospects in four seasons are constructed with different rocks.The garden is designed by the great Qing Dynasty landscape painter Shi Tao for Wang Yingtai, an officer of the Qing imperial court, this garden takes its name from the shape of bamboo leaves which resemble the Chinese character ge-个.

In my own opinion,each garden in Yangzhou is unique.Most of them were designed by wealthy merchants who were also interested in literature,painting,calligraphy etc.The garden was not only their residence but also their backyard,where they could build their own world and enjoy their own four-season without disturbing.I’d rather say it was their fantasy land.

I hope you can go to my hometown some day,and wish you’ll love the gardens there.

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Portland Chinese Garden

Posted by: zgarrett | October 6, 2010 | 1 Comment |

On October 2nd the Chinese and Japanese students went to the Chinese and Japanese gardens in Portland. Portland and Suzhou are sister cities, so the Chinese garden is based on the gardens in Suzhou. One of the most noticeable structures in a Chinese garden is the buildings. When Americans think about gardens we think about plants and not buildings, but in China the garden was not just a place to look at nature, but also a place to live and relax. Because it was such a special place the builders took into consideration many important matters.

One of the other prominent features in a Chinese garden is rocks. Rocks, though seemingly mundane have great philosophical significance. The rocks in Chinese gardens are full of holes since they have been dug out from the bedrock of the lakes near Suzhou. The solid mass of rock represents the yang (the hard), while the holes represent the yin (the soft).

Another example in Chinese gardens of the yin yang mixture is bamboo. When the wind hits bamboo the trees will bend, but bamboo has the tensile strength of steel. It has the qualities of yin and yang that are considered in the construction of a Chinese garden.

Finally, Feng Shui is a major element in the garden and also in Portland itself. Feng Shui means literally wind and water. The idea being that if you construct your structure in a harmonious way the structure will be harmonious. The garden has as its center water, and the rocks throughout the garden represent mountains.

Here’s a special treat. Prof. Zhang brought his flute to the garden and played it overlooking the water. Sorry about the video quality, but I forgot to charge my camera before the trip so I had to use my phone.


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A Chinese singer –Xiao Juan

Posted by: hwen | October 1, 2010 | 3 Comments |

The first time I listened to Xiao Juan’s song was when I was chatting with one of my old friends. We were high school classmates and have known each other for many years. He said that I would like her songs when I was complaining that there wasn’t any nice singer in contemporary China. He was right, and I did like her voice. But I didn’t really listen to her after the conversation. When I visit China last Summer, I was living with a Chinese couple who just got married and started their new life. The husband said that I would like Xiao Juan’s songs too. They gave me a CD with the selections that they thought I would like. I brought the gift with me and the voice on that CD was the best gift among all the stuff and experience I brought back with me after the Summer. I like Xiao Juan’s voice.  While I need the rock music to cheer me up on the road, I also need Xiao Juan’s calm and clean voice to purify my anxious and busy mind from time to time.

Xiao Juan used to singing at the night clubs where artistis and literati like to hang out when they get a chance. She got famous before the industry found her. Actually she is still trying to stay away from the mass production and the music industry. Unlike many artists, Xiao Juan thinks it is great when people want to pirate her songs because she believes being pirated means that people love her voice and music. For her, industry only feeds people, but funs who find a singer through a different channel means they really like the singer and that’s the value of being an artist. She is happy that she can be appreciated by a community that really enjoys her voice by choices. Many people exchange the copies of her songs with their friends. Xiao Juan likes the songs written in 1970s and 1980s Taiwan as well as the songs written by American singwriters in the 1960s and 1970s. The people who like her songs are mostly literati, who love to share their new explorations that are outside of the chaotic media industry in China. Many foreign folk songs are Xiao Juan’s favorites. She loves people and the world, you will say, if you listen to her interpretations of the songs that have been familiar to many people from different places and generations. 

You might think it’s too quiet, but living in China, people often need to look for a voice that can be  this peaceful and clean.  I cannot find a clip that shows my favorite songs of Xiao Juan, but I did find this song that can give you a little bit sense about her style.

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Social Networking in China

Posted by: zgarrett | September 24, 2010 | 1 Comment |

Last semester I started using some Chinese social networking sites in order to improve my Chinese ability and meet Chinese people. My roommate, a Chinese TIUA student, told me about 人人网 (aka Xiaonei). Xiaonei is essentially facebook for China. As many of you may know, facebook is banned in China, which means that you have to jump the Great Firewall of China if you wish to check your facebook while you’re over there. Xiaonei is pretty easy to use, especially for us college students.
Most of what you’ll find on facebook you’ll also find on Xiaonei. It even has a Chinese version of farmville, which is called 人人农场. One of the cool features on Xiaonei is the journal feature, which allows you to keep a blog, which your friends can read and comment on. I love writing journal entries about philosophy in order to increase my vocabulary. I have learned a lot of interesting words from writing Chinese blog entries, some of which were vocabulary words I later came across in class. If you are inspired to create a Xiaonei profile, then add me as a friend. I use my Chinese name on Xiaonei, so just search for 高志和.
Another really cool social networking site used by a lot of Chinese people is qq.com, which is more of an instant messenger with a ton of apps. While I was in China this summer I would see billboards that included the companies phone number and qq number. When you first go to qq.com you will be greeted by a website that has a lot of Chinese on it. If you want the instant messenger you will want to go to webqq. If you want other things, such as email, music, or games then you can find those near the webqq button on the left side of the page. You can download most of these applications onto your computer or you can just access them on the webpage. If you decide to make a qq profile, then you can also add me on there. My qq number is 1480409240.
Now, for both of these you will need a good level of Chinese reading proficiency, or a lot of patience to look up the characters. If you lack both of these, then you could also find someone who does have the proper proficiency to help you make your profiles. All in all, if you do go to China you will likely create one of these profiles in order to chat with the friends you make abroad.



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