Cùn: The Chinese Inch (寸)

Units for measurements around the globe developed from what was easily available, namely body parts. For instance, hands were used to measure the height of horses, human feet for distance, and even the average length a physicist’s beard grows in a second was once used to measure extremely short distances (around 5 nanometers). An inch in the West, is generally based on the length of a thumb.

Yet, China’s inch historically used more than one digit or finger depending on who or what was being measured. Was this ever standardized? Do some people still use multiple fingers to measure things? These questions and more are answered in my newest blog post: Cùn: The Chinese Inch (寸)!

Why Wearing a Green Hat Symbolizes Infidelity in China (戴绿帽子)

No other class on a Western holiday elicits such a visceral reaction from my students, and not for reasons you might assume! It is due to green hats being the unofficial symbol for infidelity in China. What scandal started this taboo? How does it affect China today? Is St. Paddy’s Day celebrated at all in China? Read my post for answers to these questions and more!

Legends of the Split Pinky Toenail

If split pinky toes are a common characteristic among other nations and races, then why do some Han Chinese feel strongly possessive about it?

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋节快乐!

I often liken the Mid-Autumn Festival to Thanksgiving in the USA, but Mid-Autumn festival has more similar counterparts in Korea and Japan (with the Chuseok and Tsukimi holidays). During this holiday in China, family members will cook and eat traditional foods, watch tv together, and enjoy the full moon.

The Sad Closure of Lishui’s Only Walmart

Word leaked about a month ago that Lishui’s Walmart was to close on April 16, 2019. A document in Chinese that was shared on wechat sent shock waves through our town. While Walmart hasn’t always had it easy breaking into the Chinese market, it had grown to become a beloved store in Lishui.

Happy Year of the Pig!

新年快乐! 恭喜发财! Spring Festival is upon us! This February 5th, 2019 marks the beginning of the year of the Pig! Why is this important? It’s is the final year in the 12th-year zodiac cycle! This means we can all indulge in a huge sigh of relief and reap the benefits of having worked hard the…

Holiday Season Recap and a Visit to Shanghai

It’s been a whirlwind past couple of weeks! Where did November and December go? Now that my classes are finished (as in my classes were co-opted for test review), I actually have free time to blog. Thanksgiving The AYC Thanksgiving this year was held by my friends, Dani and Rachael, as is the tradition for…

Why 666 is a “Lucky Number” in China

It was 2017 when I first heard “666” in my classroom. I was taken aback; my sweet students were shaking their fists with their thumb and pinky out, chanting “six six six” in English at their classmates doing a grammar racing game on the chalk board. I left class that day feeling bemused and more than a little perplexed. After this initial observation, I began noticing 666’s positioned seemingly randomly around town. Pretty sure not everyone was a Satanist, I set out to investigate what was going on.