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Monday, March 31, 2008

Dragon Boat Festival Calendar

Dragon Boat Festival Race Event Calendar has been updated - thanks everybody who sent in corrections!. Dragon Boating is much bigger than I thought it was. For some reason I had this picture of each team building their boats. Nope, their are actually manufacturers who focus on this area.

Some Dragon Boat Manufacturers I found in the US:


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mice and Men & the Chinese Experience

My family last night saw Of Mice and Men at Theatre Banshee in Burbank. They did a wonderful job! It is about two male farm workers during the depression in California. And earlier that day I had met a person who's family (Japananese) was from Hawaii and had been plantation workers.

Before WW2, Chinese in the US were usually male and worked on farms as laborers. A similar situation to the two workers in Of Mice and Men. At the time Chinese were not allowed to own land or enter into mixed race marriages. History of racism against Chinese in the US.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Learning Chinese Video's

There are a lot of Learning Chinese Video's out there and the quality of them really varies. Some of them have poor production quality. The other challenge is different audiences. What may be great for a family that does not speak Chinese, would be rated poorly by a Family that speaks Chinese at home (trust me, I have seen the reviews that prove this).

My section of DVD's - Learning Chinese & Culture

Some products I carry:

Follow Jade - Let's Visit Chinese Kindergarten in DVD Front Cover
Follow Jade - Let's Visit Chinese Kindergarten in DVD
Our Price: $24.95
Sale Price: $19.95
You Save $5.00!

Award Winning Children Learning Chinese DVD from Jade Qian, 30 minutes long. Jade incorporates basic Chinese words into everyday conversation about topics familiar to children using her special bilingual and activity based method. For ages 2-6.

Early Start Mandarin Chinese with Bao Bei the Panda #1, 2, 3, and 4
Early Start Mandarin Chinese with Bao Bei the Panda #1, 2, 3, and 4
Our Price: $79.80
Sale Price: $69.95
You Save $9.85!

This introductory learning Chinese DVD series includes Volume 1: Colors and Animals, Volume 2: Numbers and Fruits, Volume 3: A Wonderful Day, Volume 4: My Healthy Body. Stimulating visuals keep kids coming back for more. Repetition encourages learning!


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fat Envelope Frenzy

Two reviews from the Wall Street Journal. Eye opening...

Wow! Great read which I am now carrying.

Fat Envelope Frenzy by Joie Jager-Hyman
Our Price: $14.95
Fat Envelope Frenzy by Joie Jager-Hyman. A former Ivy League admissions officer follows five bright and eager high schoolers--students from diverse ethnic, social, and financial backgrounds--as they each put their best foot forward on the road they hope will lead them to the hallowed halls of Harvard University. Jager-Hayman also offers a startling frank appraisal of the college admission process and the important roles race and class continue to play in a student's efforts to attend the best school possible.. English. Paperback. 231 Pages.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chinese Summer Learning Programs K-12

There are a number of summer programs for Learning Chinese for K-12. Here is a list of Teaching Chinese Summer School programs in the US and overseas focused on non-native speakers.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chinese Holidays and Festivals

Chinese Holidays and Festivals
  1. Spring/Lunar New year/Chinese New Year Festival (pick your name). I put together an events calendar for the US and Canada, page of background information, lesson plan, etc.
  2. Lantern Festival - Happens 15 days after Chinese New Year.
  3. Dragon Head Festival
  4. Clear and Bright Festival
  5. Dragon Boat Festival - Information includes events calendar for the US & Canada and background information.
  6. Double Seventh Night - Chinese Valentines Day
  7. Mid Autumn Festival, Harvest Festival, Moon Festival - Information includes events calendar for the US & Canada and background information.
  8. Double Ninth Day
  9. Laba Festival - The Day Budha received enlightenment
  10. Kitchen God Day
  11. Children's Day - June 1st\
  12. Ancestor Day or Tomb Sweeping Day - cleaning ancestor tombs is a big event.
  13. Ghost Festival
  14. Mid Winter Festival/Winter Solstice - Chinese Thanksgiving. The day to eat dumplings.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Dragon Boat Festival & Racing

I am in the process of updating my information on Dragon Boat Festival Event and Information . This section on Dragon Boats includes:

  • Dragon Boat Calendar of Events for the US and Canada for 2008.
  • Customs, Foods, and Background on the Dragon Boat Festival
  • I am going to create a page of links for the 40 or so associations in the US.

Good books that have information about Dragon Boat racing are:

Good Luck Life: The Essential Guide To Chinese American Celebrations And Culture
Our Price: $14.95
It has a large section on the Dragon Boat Festival and Racing. 10+ pages if I remember. Best resource for learning about the Dragon Boat Festival A-Z I have seen. Provides a readable introduction to the legends, customs, traditions, festivals, and celebrations of Chinese culture and heritage, complete with trivia, drawings, charts, tables, recipes, and informative sidebars.
Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes
Our Price: $21.00 Sale Price: $19.95 You Save $1.05!
Has a couple pages on the Dragon Boat Festival, more for kids. Filled with delectable recipes, hands-on family activities and traditional tales to read aloud, this extraordinary collection will inspire families everywhere to re-create the magic of Chinese holidays in their own homes.

Awakening the Dragon - The Dragon Boat Festival
Our Price: $9.95
Only book I have seen 100% focused on the Dragon Boat Festival. By Arlene Chan, a respected librarian and an experienced dragon boat racer, explores the origins of the festival, customs, and the races themselves. Beautifully detailed illustrations by Song Nan Zhang let you experience the beauty and energy of this ancient festival.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Land of Opportunity - China?

For a new generation, land of opportunity may lie in China, not the US - Article from the NY Times via IHT.

Interesting article.

Key Points:
  • 500 US public schools offer Mandarin with 3000 students taking the AP test for Chinese.
  • 40 million people worldwide are learning Mandarin
  • 100,000 foreigners went to China to study Mandarin in 2006. US was third in nations sending people to Learn Mandarin Chinese in China.
  • Recent Gallup surveys in 13 Asian countries showed some 40 percent expect China to replace the U.S. as the leading superpower within the next 50 years.
  • 51,600 studied Mandarin in the US in 2006.
The article is a good complement to my Why Learn Chinese page. The article has a link to http://www.chinglish.com/, but does not mention Zhongwen which is probably because they had an interview with the owner of Chinglish.com.


Made in China - Violins, Cello's, pianos, and more!

Made in China conjures up images of low quality junk when it does not have a foreign brand name on it. From iPods to piano to cellos, so many are made in China due to lower labor costs.

There are basically three quality range for Pianos. The low end of the market that is made in China, Korea, and Indonesia. The medium range of the market is piano's made in Japan from Yamaha and Kawai. The high end is Steinway and German pianos such as Bosendorfer (my daughter loved test playing a 9'). There are some pianos that are made in China with German actions, to German design, etc. The made in China Pianos range in quality from poor to fair, the challenge is figuring out which one is good. Many pianos made in China now put on foreign names, such as Vienna for a European name. The quality of the Chinese brands is improving quickly and has resulted in them owning most of the lower end of the market. The challenge is some Chinese pianos have pretty good quality, and others are horrible. A great book to buy if you are looking to buy a Piano is the Piano Book by Larry Fine helps you sort through all the wonderful claims. We bought a Kawai piano after visiting many Piano shops. If your interested in an upright and in the Los Angeles area, we are selling our old one. Contact me for more information

Stringed instruments from China have taken over 80% of the market in the US. The challenge is figuring out the quality. So many of them have a foreign name plastered on them, resold by US companies, it's hard to tell where they came from. Music teachers often have a friend who sells instruments. Music teachers also get a bit upset when you buy from another place. One music teacher was upset that we bought from another person and told us how lousy our cello was. She then showed us the cello of another student, and it did not have tighteners on all the strings as she has pointed out our cello did not. Her credibility was gone after that so we changed teachers.

Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear by Lensey Namioka
Our Price: $4.50

Nine-year-old Yang and his family have immigrated from China to Seattle and the father is a professional Violin Play. He has been giving Yang Violin lessons for years, and Yang hates the Violin. Yang discovers Baseball! A great story about fitting in and getting used to a new country and culture.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Simplified and Traditional Characters

China Daily News has an article about Simplified vs. Traditional Chinese Characters. The articles conclusion is they are equally good. Post I did about Simplified vs. Traditional Chinese Characters - Which to Learn

I disagree with a couple of points of the article "Jianti" and "fanti" are equally good.
  1. My understanding is if you can read one, you can read the other. I would compare it from driving a stick shift to an automatic. If you can read simplified you can read traditional, which is why most of the Chinese newspapers in the US are in Traditional Characters. Traditional characters just has a few more strokes. If you read Traditional characters, going the other way is a bit harder since strokes are missing, but still doable. And people who say they can't read the other type of characters are more into politics.
  2. Learning Simplified Characters is easier than traditional because there are less strokes. The counter argument is because traditional is more systematic, it's actually easier. The best comment I have read was when simplified characters were being created, they did not simplify it enough. They both require a huge amount of memorization. In English, we only need to deal with 27 sounds and rules that are not systematic (I taught ESL), but that's because English is a polygot language that has borrowed grammar and words from lots of languages.
Areas I agree with:
  1. On the issue of writing, that is much more challenging. I like the argument that the use of computers make this a non-issue.
  2. Traditional Characters have cultural significance.
  3. Traditional Characters are prettier. It's amazing when you have someone with good handwriting write traditional characters, they are a work of art!
Mysteries - Why is it my Father in Laws Chinese writing is so much better than my wifes? Why is it my Grandmother's Enlglish handwriting is so much better than mine? Do people's handwriting improve as they get older? Or are schools just slacking off. My wife's answer is I am just lazy :-)

This is a wonderful book just to read on Chinese Characters! It's one of my favorite books at ChildBook. A great activity is buy the book, get some ink and brushes, and just have fun writing characters.

Long Is A Dragon - Chinese Characters
Long Is A Dragon by Peggy Goldstein
Our Price: $17.95
Sale Price: $15.95
You Save $2.00!

Explains how Chinese writing developed and demonstrates how to write 75 Chinese Characters, using detailed instructions and examples, hardcover, English.

These are some book that are very popular for Learning Chinese Characters.
Fun with Chinese Characters
Fun with Chinese Characters, Volume 3
Our Price: $14.95

Creative cartoons illustrate the origins to today's ideographs (characters). Each page elaborates on the origin, development of one character from a pictograph with an example of usage.
Fun with Chinese Characters
Fun with Chinese Characters, Volume 2
Our Price: $14.95

Creative cartoons illustrate the origins to today's ideographs (characters). Each page elaborates on the origin, development of one character from a pictograph with an example of usage.
Fun with Chinese Characters
Fun with Chinese Characters
Our Price: $14.95

Creative cartoons illustrate the origins to today's ideographs (characters). Each page elaborates on the origin, development of one character from a pictograph with an example of usage.


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