Asia Blog: China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam

Japanese Women Thinner than Western Counterparts

Posted in Japan by Elliott Back on March 6th, 2010.

According to a Washington Post article Body image, diet pushing Japanese women to lose weight, while young Americans are putting on the pounds, in Japan, the trend is completely the opposite:

The trend is most pronounced among women in their 20s. A quarter-century ago, they were twice as likely to be thin as overweight; now they are four times more likely to be thin. For U.S. women of all ages, obesity rates have about doubled since 1980, rising from 17 percent to 35 percent.

The opposite trend holds true for Japanese men and children, who are not subject to the same social pressures. As a result, 32% of men in their 50s are overweight, up from 20% just 25 years ago. Young to middle-aged women, says Hisako Watanabe, a child psychiatrist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, create an atmosphere of unhealthy competition:

“Japanese women are outstandingly tense and critical of each other. There is a pervasive habit among women to monitor each other with a serious sharp eye to see what kind of slimness they have.”

Healthiness in the dimension of weight is a problem with a simple solution: moderation. In the United States and Western world, we guilty of overeating; in Japan, there’s a problem with undereating. Neither is healthy!

Boa’s US Debut Album

Posted in Korea, Music by Elliott Back on March 29th, 2009.

BoA’s new US debut album–which is in English for the first time–just dropped on March 17, under label SM Entertainment USA. It started on the Billboard 200 at #127, a rather lukewarm reception. The main problem with the music on this CD can be reduced to poor English pronunciation (some lyrics are unintelligible), and heavy abuse of auto-tune/vocoder effect. Simply because more people are using the T-Pain effect doesn’t mean an actually decent singer, like BoA, should do so for US albums…

boa-boa-us

01. I Did It For Love (Feat. Sean Garrett)
02. Energetic
03. Did Ya
04. Look Who’s Talking
05. Eat You Up
06. Obsessed
07. Touched
08. Scream
09. Girls On Top
10. Dress Off
11. Hypnotic Dancefloor

So checkout BoA-BoA (Retail) 2009-NiSHiNO for the dirty download.

American War Pronounciation

Posted in China, Language by Elliott Back on July 8th, 2006.

I came across a WWII guide published in 1942 for American soldiers called “How To Spot A Jap,” and noticed that the opposing page has a Chinese pronounciation guide:

american-war-comic-chinese-pronounciation.jpg

It’s interesting how 你是谁? becomes nee_EE SHER! SHAY.  Still, I suppose there’s still some value in soldiers being able to look up half-broken Chinese and say something to their allies…

Chinese 101-102: Learning Chinese Characters

Posted in China, Language by Elliott Back on May 11th, 2006.

For Chinese 101-102 at Cornell University, we have to learn about 250 Traditional Chinese characters (hanzi 汉字). We’re using P.C. T’ung & D.E. Pollard’s Character Text, which can be bought off Amazon relatively cheaply. It gives stroke order, vocabulary, simplifications, and little dialogues and sketches translated from its companion book, Colloquial Chinese. Here I want to present a simple lesson in basic Chinese words, but more for my own practice in the language than for you to learn how to read or write or speak Chinese. Standard pinyin and characters will be used, though without tone markings. I will also attempt to classify words into useful categories roughly by part of speech.

Nouns:

  • 天气 – Tianqi – Weather
  • 同志 – Tongzhi – Comrade
  • 人 – Ren – Person
  • 名字 – Mingzi – Name
  • 地方 – Difang – Place
  • 咖啡 – Kafei – Coffee
  • 茶 – Cha – Tea
  • 电视 – Dianshi – TV
  • 文 – Wen – Writing
  • 书 – Shu – Book
  • 外国人 – Waiguoren – Foreigner
  • 菜 – Cai – Dish [of food]
  • 反 – Fan – Cooked rice
  • 朋友 – Pengyou – Friend
  • 晚上 – Wanshang – Evening
  • 水 – Shui – Water
  • 酒 – Jiu – Wine
  • 普通话 – Putong Hua – Common Tongue
  • 老师 – Laoshi – Teacher
  • 字典 – Zidian – Dictionary
  • 汉字 – Hanzi – Chinese characters
  • 女人 – Nuren – Women
  • 男人 – Nanren – Men
  • 孩子 – Haizi – Child
  • 孙子 – Sunzi – Grandchild
  • 家 – Jia – Home / Family
  • 客人 – Keren – Guest(s)
  • 鸡 – Ji – Chicken
  • 鱼 – Yu – Fish
  • 青菜 – Qingcai – Green Vegetables
  • 钱 – Qiang – Money
  • 份报 – Fenbao – A newspaper

Place Names:

  • 中国 – Zhongguo – China
  • 北京 – Beijing – Peking
  • 上海 – Shanghai – Shanghai
  • 英国 – Yingguo – England
  • 美国 – Meiguo – America
  • 德国 – Deguo – Germany
  • 法国 – Faguo – France

Forms of Address:

  • 小姐 – Xiaojie – Miss
  • 先生 – Xiansheng – Mr
  • 太太 – Taitai – Mrs
  • 夫人 – Furen – Madam
  • 父母 – Fumu – Parents
  • 妈 – Ma – Mother

Time Words:

  • 今天 – Jintian – Today
  • 昨天 – Zuotian – Yesterday
  • 年 – Nian – Year

Measure Words:

  • 位 – Wei – For persons
  • 两 – Liang – For two of a thing
  • 本 – Ben – A volume of a book
  • 岁 – Sui – For years of age
  • 个 – Ge – Generic classifier
  • 杯 – Bei – For a cup of a drink
  • 口 – Kou – For wells, family members
  • 只 – Zhi – For birds and animals, pairs
  • 条 – Tiao – For fish and other long narrow things
  • 瓶 – Ping – A bottle of

Pronouns:

  • 我 – Wo – I
  • 你 – Ni – You
  • 您 – Nin – You (Polite)
  • 他 – Ta – Him
  • 她 – Ta – Her
  • 我们 – Women – Us
  • 你们 – Nimen – You
  • 他们 – Tamen – They
  • 这 – Zhe / Zhei – This
  • 那 – Na / Nei – That

Question Words:

  • 谁 – Shei – Who
  • 什么 – Shenme – What
  • 哪 – Na / Nei – Which
  • 几 – Ji – How many
  • 多少 – Duoshao – How many
  • 怎么 – Zenme – How
  • 怎么样 – Zenme Yang – In what manner

Stative Verbs:

  • 好 – Hao – Good
  • 冷 – Leng – Cold
  • 热 – Re – Hot
  • 忙 – Mang – Busy
  • 早 – Zao – Early
  • 老 – Lao – Old
  • 小 – Xiao – Young
  • 累 – Lei – Tired
  • 大 – Da – Big

Adjectives:

  • 华侨 – Huaqiao – Overseas chinese
  • 半 – Ban – Half of a thing

Adverbs:

  • 很 – Hen – Very
  • 不 – Bu – Not
  • 真 – Zhen – Really
  • 也 – Ye – Also
  • 都 – Dou – All
  • 再 – Zai – Again
  • 只 – Zhi – Only
  • 常常 – Changchang – often
  • 应该 – Yinggai – Ought to
  • 一点儿 – Yidianr – A little
  • 就 – Jiu – Just now
  • 因为 – Yinwei – Because
  • 所以 – Suoyi – Therefore
  • 总 – Zong – Always
  • 多 – Duo – Many
  • 一定 – Yiding – Certainly
  • 一共 – Yigong – Altogether
  • 还 – Hai – Still

Particles:

  • 吗 – Ma – Questions
  • 呢 – Ne – Followups
  • 啊 – A – Intensifier
  • 吧 – Ba – Suggestion
  • 跟 – Gen – Along with
  • 的 – De – Possession
  • 对 – Dui – Towards

Verbs:

  • 请 – Qing – Please
  • 坐 – Zuo – To sit down
  • 见 – Jian – To see
  • 爱 – Ai – To love
  • 姓 – Xing – To be surnamed
  • 是 – Shi – To be
  • 叫 – Jiao – To be called
  • 进 – Jin – To come in
  • 问 – Wen – To be excused
  • 喝 – He – To drink
  • 看 – Kan – To look [at]
  • 喜欢 – Xihuan – To like
  • 吃 – Chi – To eat
  • 学 – Xue – To study
  • 会 – Hui – To be able to
  • 说话 – Shuohua – To talk [speech]
  • 想 – Xiang – To think/plan/want to
  • 谢谢 – Xiexie – Thanks
  • 做 – Zuo – To do / make
  • 有 – You – To have / There is / To exist
  • 没有 – Meiyou – To not have
  • 能 – Neng – To be able to
  • 要 – Yao – To want
  • 可以 – Keyi – To be permitted
  • 知道 – Zhidao – To know [something]
  • 买 – Mai – To buy
  • 够 – Gou – To be enough
  • 行 – Xing – To pass muster, to be OK
  • 准 – Zhun – To be allowed / To allow [something]
  • 抽烟 – Chou – To smoke
  • 对不起 – Duibuqi – To be sorry
  • 用 – Yong – To use

Surnames:

  • 张 – Zhang
  • 王 – Wang
  • 李 – Li
  • 汤 – Tang

Numbers:

  • 一 – Yi – 1
  • 二 – Er – 2
  • 三 – San – 3
  • 四 – Si – 4
  • 五 – Wu – 5
  • 六 – Liu – 6
  • 七 – Qi – 7
  • 八 – Ba – 8
  • 九 – Jiu – 9
  • 十 – Shi – 10

Of course, the characters we’re using are all in traditional, so forgive any incorrect simplified characters. This list represents the first five chapters of basic characters I am studying for my test. There seven or eight more that I also need to know, which are more complicated than I have time to put up here. If you want to correct some bad translation, just leave me a comment!

My First Chinese Cognate

Posted in China, Language, Words by Elliott Back on March 13th, 2006.

I learned my first real Chinese cognate today, sanmingzhi, meaning “sandwich.” It’s pronounced san1 ming2 zhi4. How cool is that–borrowed words. Leave me more in the comments–US place names don’t count though.

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