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Posts Tagged ‘China’

What’s in Chinese Walmarts?


picture of Chinese Walmart

What would life be like without Walmart? Loving Walmart's low prices, in our home we have a saying, "If Walmart doesn't have it, we don't need it." Some people are snooty about shopping at Walmart, and others object to shopping there because of some of their corporate practices or because so many things they now sell are made in other countries. We will not discuss all that in this post, please, but we'll focus rather on some interesting things available at Walmart in China.

Earlier this week my wife forwarded an e-mail to me that she had received from her office mate and that served as the basis for this post. It had pictures of Chinese Walmart products that are either unusual or that most Americans would not even think about finding at Walmart.

It's not surprising that the Walmarts in China would have a large selection of chopsticks.

picture of a Chinese Walmart product

Bulk rice is available. (Actually, we saw the same thing in other supermarkets in China. We never got to shop at Walmart over there during either of our summers.)
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Foreign Delicacies or Indelicacies?


Every country has its delicacies. French cuisine, regarded by many as the best in the world, is probably best known for its pastries. In the image below most readers will recognize croissants on the left. The pastry on the right is called a religieuse, which means nun.

picture of French pastries

A religieuse is a made up of two glazed cream puffs, a smaller one atop a larger one. The most common fillings are chocolate pudding or coffee pudding. Some religieuses are good while others are just incredible!

British cuisine is not as highly regarded as French cuisine (is that the kindest understatement of the year?), but it still has its delicacies. In the picture below the dish on the left is steak and kidney pie, and on the right is fish and chips.

picture of British delicacies

Japan is best known for its sushi.
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Oddments


That's an odd title, isn't it? Why oddments? Oddments is a word that means remnants, leftovers, odds and ends, hodgepodge, etc. You get the idea. So... why oddments? What I'm posting today is little bits of stuff, none of which would make a real blog post, but they're things just too good not to share! Mainly it's stuff that I've received or found that has something to do with previous posts on my blog. I'll put a link to the various posts that the oddments are related to. And some of it is simply interesting little oddments I'd like to share, not related to much of anything. Emphasis, I guess, on odd....

A while back I had a post called 10,000 words - 10 really crazy pictures, each worth 1,000 words. I have since learned that one of the pictures actually could/should have been part of a later blog post dangerous hike and freebies. Here's the picture...

outhouse on the Mt. Huashan hike

Here's another outhouse that could have been part of the post nice bathroom humor

double decker outhouse

That's something we could all keep in mind as we go into the elections this fall!

Here's a picture that could have been part of the post sign language The picture is of a martial arts school.

martial arts school signs

I ran across a neat picture that I think could make a great header picture for my blog (if it weren't the wrong size and proportion, let alone all the potential copyright issues). Just think, instead of having an ancient gargoyle looking over the skyline of Paris, I could have Ratatouille looking at it from a different angle....

Ratatouille looking over Paris

My wife found a great recipe online for the ratatouille that Ratatouille made in that animated film. We love this dish and have declared it her recipe find of 2008! If you'd like to try it out, you can find it at http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/07/rat-a-too-ee-for-you-ee

I tried something new in the garden this year - Thai Red-Seeded Long Beans. They're like the green beans we've eaten in China and like the ones in many Chinese buffets here in the USA. The name "long beans" is not an exaggeration! Here's a picture of me measuring several against a yardstick. I don't know if you can make it out in the picture, but the longer of the two beans measures 30 inches - 6 inches longer than they're supposed to be! Just a couple of beans is enough for a meal for the two of us!

30 inch long beans

Recently I've found a couple of neat "toys" online. Anyone who reads my blog finds out pretty quickly that I am a word person. I love puns and other forms of wordplay. Well, here are several visual forms of wordplay. In both them them you can tweak the font and colors to your liking.

The first one is called Wordle. You can create your own "wordle" in several ways - either by pasting in "a bunch of text" (as they say) or by entering a URL. I chose the second, entering the URL of my most recent blog post last Thursday. Here's the wordle of that post...

wordle of my post called English must be difficult

Another word toy I ran across is a text animator called textanim. Here's my little creation from that site...

animated text of ivman's blague

Several weeks ago I had a post called t-shirt slogans. Someone sent me a great video clip on how to fold a t-shirt in seconds. It's in Japanese (I think), but if you watch it a few times, you should be able to do it too. My wife has mastered the technique and says, "This has revolutionized my recreational laundry!" Click in the square below to start the video.

Now I think you'll agree that my calling this blog post "oddments" (with a heavy emphasis on odd) was appropriate. I'm looking forward to some really odd comments now. 😀

quotation...

"Most problems in our lives go back to a false idea of who God is." - Dr. Chris Barney

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If you tell a joke in the forest, but nobody laughs, was it a joke?


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English Must Be Difficult!


If you grew up speaking English, be glad you did! The English language has so many subtle shades of meaning and idiomatic expressions, that people learning English as a second language have a really tough task. When we anglophones learn a foreign language we get a glimpse into how hard it is to master the intricacies of another language. When we anglophones try to teach our language to non-English speakers, we find many aspects of our language difficult, if not impossible, to explain.

I have made some horrible mistakes in French, German, and Chinese which usually resulted in laughter followed by an explanation. Such experiences are humbling, to say the least, but they have provided great opportunities to laugh at myself and to empathize with my students as they struggle to make themselves understood and as they make funny mistakes themselves. I'm sure that, as people from all over the world converge in Beijing for the Olympics and as they try to use Chinese phrases they've been memorizing, they will make some great mistakes. One of my best mistakes was when I was trying to tell someone I was from America (Mei Guo - roughly pronounced may-gwa) which in Chinese means literally "Beautiful Country." (Keep in mind that Chinese is a tonal language, that is, a change in tone often changes the meaning of the word.) When I pronounced it, though, I got the wrong tone on the second part of the word and said I was from "beautiful melon." I really think that some Chinese people just don't like my tone of voice.

That said, I am posting today some great examples of English mistakes or oddities from other countries. No one country or language is alone in finding English difficult!

English Must Be Difficult...

In a Tokyo Hotel:
Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

Instructions in a Belgrade elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

A sign in a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.

Sign in a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 am daily.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across the street from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

On the menu of a Polish hotel:
Salad a firm's own make
Limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger
Roasted duck let loose
Beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

In a Rhodes tailor shop:
Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.

From the Soviet Weekly:
There will be a Moscow exhibition of arts by 150,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
Teeth extracted by the latest methodists.

In a Swiss mountain inn:
Special today - no ice cream.

In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no miscarriages.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.

On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

How a sewage treatment plant was marked on a Tokyo map:
Dirty water punishment place

In a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

In the office of a doctor in Rome:
Specialist in women and other diseases

From a story in an East African newspaper:
A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

In the window of a Swedish furrier:
Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.

Sign in a Vienna hotel:
In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

Sign in a Hong Kong supermarket:
For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.

In a Tokyo shop:
Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in the long run.

From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner:
Cooles and heates - if you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.

From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

Detour sign in Japan:
Stop. Drive sideways.

Sign in an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

An Italian hotel brochure:
This hotel is renowned for its peace and solitude. In fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.

Menu at an Athens hotel:
Chopped-up cow with wire through it (shish kebab)

A Polish tourist brochure:
As for the tripe served you at the Hotel Monopol, you will be singing its praises to your grandchildren as you lie on your deathbed.

Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
- English well speaking
- Here speeching American

4-star toilet

fall carefully please

please die elsewhere

practice dog etiquette

dont fall down

monkeys in the forest

offer your seat to the needy

Chinese Olymepic Cmmittee

begin with me

no stuff only

very suspicious market

wealth dream

And here's one that we've been told about and have suspected was true all along...

hot dog

Have you seen any examples of English obviously written by a foreigner?

By the way, this Friday is an Ultimate Bonza Bottler Day - 8-8-08!

quotation...

"If it's big enough to make me worry, it's big enough to take to God." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Did ancient Roman paramedics refer to IV's as "fours"?


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Is Beijing Ready?


logo of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing

With the opening of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing a week away, I thought I'd share some pictures of the landscaping that's been going on around China in preparation for visitors from all around the world. Some articles that I've read have called this "greenwashing" - an attempt to purify the image of wide-spread pollution that many have in mind when they think of China. In any case, the results are spectacular and impressive, and the Chinese have shown great ingenuity and creativity in many of the preparations.

Here's the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium...

2008 Olympic stadium

Now on to some of the gardens...

a tribute to the Greek origins

flowers highlighting several sporting events

a floral abacus

playful creatures

a butterfly

dolphin fountains

a hand with a waterfall

Chinese men talking

dragons

Whatever you want to say

At the end of our time of teaching two years ago, we went to Beijing for a long weekend before returning to the USA. You can read about it by going to http://blog.ivman.com/our-final-days-in-beijing At that time we seriously wondered if Beijing was going to be ready for the Olympics, and we weren't thinking about the landscaping! Those three days, we ate only in American chain restaurants - restaurants in which we seldom, if ever, eat here at home - McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut. Our reasons were not because we craved Western food; it was because we could not read Chinese and could not order without assistance in a Chinese restaurant where no one speaks English. What astounded us was that, even in the American restaurants, no workers could speak English! We pointed at pictures on a menu to place our orders! I'm eager to hear how things go this summer when thousands of tourists arrive, unable to speak or read Chinese.

The question is not only if Beijing is ready for the tourists, but also if the tourists are ready for Beijing. If they want some adventures, they could try some Chinese fast food sold by street vendors (not always the safest option available, from what we heard.) Too bad the food won't be labeled as it is in the pictures.

street vendors selling their wares

fried starfish

various bugs

dog brain soup

seafood and more

goat lungs and red peppers

dog livers and veggies

sea horses

sea snake

grilled snake and silkworms

We ate some interesting stuff in China, but I assure you we ate none of the above - and definitely not from sidewalk vendors! Are any of you game to try any of those delights?

quotation...

"God's small group discipleship program is the family." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Taste makes waist.


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