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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Free Rice = Real Chinese Restaurant

My family just came back from a one day trip to Santa Barbara, and on the way back we stopped by Thai Town. And they charged for rice!

An easy way to tell if the target customer of a Chinese and other Asian restaurant is Asian or not is if they charge for rice. In Rowland Heights where I live, there is usually no extra charge for white rice. There is also usually no charge for hot tea.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Scary College Debt Levels

A graduate of NYU has $100,000 in student loans and is making roughly $40,000 a year.

Scary. NYU is a great college, but at $50,000 a year is it worth it? For some parents due to the prestige the answer is yes. In the Chinese community many parents are obsessed with their kids getting into name brand schools.

Your Money: Placing the Blame as Students Are Buried in Debt - NY Times.


China's Honda Strike

Surprising that China's media has been allowed to cover it.

Strike in China highlights gap in worker's pay - NY Times.

Some guesses:
  1. Honda is Japanese, so an acceptable target for publication.
  2. A way to help Chinese auto manufacturers.
  3. A way to send a message that wages need to increase overall in China.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Live Plaza RIP

The local Live Plaza is gone! The only Boba place around that used real fruit to make smoothies! And they had a buy one get one free! Live Plaza had been there since the plaza went up a while ago.

There are also ones in Arcadia and San Gabriel. No idea what happened.

Food was OK, but the drinks were great. Deserts were also good.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Tea & China

Good article. The original link is not working so this is a cached version.

Why foreigners are beating China’s tea-makers on their home turf - FT

link that does not work:


Columnist home page with some good articles.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Whitewash of Asian Manga Airbender?

Hollywood Re-Engineering!

Take an all Asian main character series with a devoted following.

And cast all the main characters with Whites!

And for damage control cast some secondary actors and villains with Asians.

Result is the Dragonball Evolution that got a 13% score on Rotton Tomatoes!

And now the same thing happens to Avatar: The Last Airbender


A whitewash for 'Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time' and 'The Last Airbender' - LA Times.

Site/Organizations protesting this:

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Future of Books

When a new hard cover comes out, if a Kindle edition is also available, per this article, The iPad Revolution by Sue Halpern 35% of all sales are in the Kindle Edition.


Does that affect children's books? Or is this because new hard covers are around $25, and Amazon forced publishers to do $9.99 for a Kindle edition. Should I be worried about the future of my online Chinese bookstore?

Disclaimers :-)

I am very interested in the iPad, but with no Traditional Chinese support yet I just don't have the reasons to convince my family we need it. :-)

And yes, I plan on getting the new iPhone in June...


Friday, May 21, 2010

Future of Book Selling

Good article from the Wall Street Journal - E-Books Rewrite Bookselling

I love bookstores and books. Probably one of the reasons I run an online Chinese bookstore.

I have noticed the local Borders and Barnes starting to stock different products. The local Borders in Brea has enlarged their non media area selling seasonal goods. The local Barnes & Noble has expanded their own published products. Per the article B&N is also going to expand to non media areas. This is due to the rise of eBooks as well as the huge growth in the selling of online book sales.

I have also noticed some of the Chinese book selling competition starting to diversify. One of them has added a large games section. The other one a while ago expanded to sell everything you would find in a Chinatown type tourist shop with Chinese jewelry, clothes, etc. Another bookstore added a Chinese Christian selection as well as a market

With EliteDresses originally it was started by my wife selling on eBay Flower Girl Dresses. Later I convinced my wife to add some Chinese Girls Dresses when she launched a web site.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

No Tradtional Chinese for the iPad?

I finally got a look at the Apple iPad. I do want one!

I was surprised to see it currently only supports Simplified Chinese.

So much for my Mother-in-law getting one soon (she's from Taiwan that uses Traditional Chinese Characters). It would be a nice portable replacement for her Laptop.


China and the Koreas

China will need to be making some hard decisions right now.

China does not want to risk the collapse of North Korea. Having Korea united and democratic on their border is something that China wants to avoid. Not to mention the huge amount of refugees that would flee to China if the regime in North Korea collapsed.

China on the other hand does not want to irritate South Korea that has become a major trading partner with China. China has tried to avoid in the past few years as being seen as taking sides between North and South Korea, but with the proof of what happened this may force China's hands. The slowness of China's response to the sinking has already had a negative impact on South Korean public opinion on China. Another worst case scenario would South Korea deciding it needs to have a nuclear deterrent.

Torpedo accusation raises Korean security stakes - LA Times

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China's Red Phone

It seems to be one of the 400 in China with a Red Phone on a private, encrypted network is the ultimate symbol of being an insider.

China's Private Party - WSJ

The Communist Party has made strenuous efforts to keep signs of its enduring power out of sight to the Chinese public and the rest of the world. Richard McGregor on the secrets of the world's largest political machine and its role in Beijing's growing clout.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FaceBook & Common Sense

Unfortunately with Facebook there is a lack of common sense for many users...


The searches on stupid customer are sad.

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All About Little Pim from Julia Pimsleur Levine

The Little Pim Videos numbers 4, 5, 6 are here.

The 3 newest Little Pim DVD titles are:
On a related note, I saw this video about the creator of Little Pim and would like to share it with you.

Julia Pimsleur Levine (yes, she is the daughter of THE Paul Pimsleur!), talks about how this series can help babies learn to be bilingual. 

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Euro Debt Crises and China

I missed this one. Makes sense. Basically the fall of the Euro compared to the US Dollar makes it less likely that China will increase their currency value vs. the dollar, since this would make them less competitive with the Euro.

Europe’s Debt Crisis Casts a Shadow Over China - NY Times.


Fight for Made in USA

Good article that shows how much of the infrastructure for key manufacturing areas has moved to China. PCB production is another area.

China's governments, both local and national, have been giving a lot of incentives for businesses to move to China for manufacturing. When enough of an area has moved to China due to the efficiencies of clustering, it makes it so a product area can no longer be made in the US. This has also happened in some component areas.

Fighting for 'made in the USA' - A battery maker's story shows the hopes and hurdles of green technology. - LA Times.

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Pajama Game in Shanghai Ends

The Pajama Game Closes in Shanghai - NY Times.

I"ll have to E-Mail this article to a Shanghainese friend of mine and ask her about it.


More Headaches for Foreign Companies in China

This is reminding me of the power of the robber barons and how they used every resource possible, including politicians to help their business. I guess this is progress in China that now Chinese companies are lobbying their own government for help. The challenge is the lobbying in China seems to be pretty one sided. In the US, our politicians gladly accept lobbying from domestic and overseas based lobbies.

Foreign Companies Chafe at China’s Restrictions
- NY Times.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

China USSR 1969 Nuclear War - Almost?

I have heard this before. This time its from a Chinese newspaper.

USSR planned nuclear attack on China in 1969 - UK Telegraph

I disagree with this part:

Then US President Richard Nixon was also apparently fearful of the effect of a nuclear war on 250,000 US troops stationed in the Asia-Pacific region and still smarting from a Soviet refusal five years earlier to stage a joint attack on China's nascent nuclear programme.

In 1965 Johnson was President, not Nixon. So Nixon would have had little interest in what Johnson had proposed and I have never heard about this. In 1965 the USSR and China were neutral in the relationship, the relation went downhill in 1966 with the start of the cultural revolution peaking in 1969 with the various border incidents.

My guess was the part about the US proposing a strike against China was make the article even handed and not be seen as anti-Soviet.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Frustrations with Navigation

Somedays I just get so frustrated with childbook. There is so much there, but some of its hidden because its so buried.

I should start doing a series, did you know on childbook there is...


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

China Trains Pulling Ahead

China is pulling ahead in worldwide race for high-speed rail transportation - Washington Post.

Amazing how fast China is changing.

For the longer term do bullet trains make sense for China? Is there a cost advantage when compared to planes? Ecological advantage? Capacity advantage?

My guess is yes, but I honestly don't know. Taking a plane in the US has become a dreadful and time consuming experience. With the added time needed in the US now because of the added security, my guess is any trip under train trip under 3 hours will be faster than a plane trip that only takes 40 minutes (not including check in, security check, luggage check, etc., that adds about 2 hours).

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shanghai Maglev - I want to ride it!

A Brief, Buttery Ride on Shanghai's Maglev Train - Popular Science.

Yes, I like trains...

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Culture Clash - Teaching Chinese

Guest-Teaching Chinese, and Learning America - NY Times.


  • Hong Kong is the capital of China?
  • Chinese actually use cell phones...

Actually when I was a substitute teacher it was amazing what some students knew, and did not know. Sometimes you wondered if they were pulling your leg.

And there can be a huge culture clash. I remember one class where the majority of the class was flunking. The teacher, first year Math Teacher from Taiwan or China, had given up on the class. And the classes has given up on her. It was one of my most challenging classes I ever subbed and I learned a lot from it.


Privacy Online

Privacy is a big issue, both as a business owner, for myself, and my family.

The recent ruckus with Facebook privacy sharing with other sites was eye opening. I did not appreciate that I was not given a choice with their partner sites, except if I went to each partner site.

And this is even more scarier...

Online tools promote amateur sleuthing - Mercury News

And this is not even mentioning E-Mails and dangerous they are. One wrong E-Mail being forwarded can ruin your reputation forever. A third year Harvard student just found this out.

Advice I got early in my career is never put anything in an E-Mail you would not want on the front page of the NY Times. I would now extend this to Social Networks.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chinese Vs. Mexican Restaurants

San Francisco's Chinatown

Present tense history and wanderlust in San Francisco's Chinatown - Sampan

Nice article. What is interesting is how they Chinatowns are changing, as the immigrant ethnic Chinese population has changed over the past 50 years, so has the composition of Chinatown.

I have not visited the cultural center for Chinatown in SF yet. My list of Chinatowns of the US. Chinatowns of the United States


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Chinese Restaurant gets Tax Inspection

Tiny Chinese eatery gets big-league scrutiny from California tax board - LA Times


Auditors say Tasty China in Sun Valley didn't pay enough sales taxes. The couple who run the bare-bones place say it's not true, but they can't afford a lawyer and will be forced to close.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Soft Power Lessons for Beijing from a Chinese Petitioner

Soft Power Lessons for Beijing from a Chinese Petitioner - Wall Street Journal

Interesting guest blog post and some of it I agree with, and some I don't. I do believe that China is paying more attention to their internal voices than external.


A Sampling of Chinglish

A Sampling of Chinglish picture gallery - NY Times.

and the accompanying article.
Shanghai Is Trying to Untangle the Mangled English of Chinglish

What do you call the Chinese that gets messed up in tattoos? Engchin?


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Biggest World Expo ever opens in Shanghai

Biggest World Expo ever opens in Shanghai San Jose Mercury News. A nice feel good piece.

But this article is a bit more fun to read...

I am amazed by the amount of money being spent on this. $58 Billion


Picking a Chinese Tutor

Not all Chinese tutors are created equally. Just because a person is a native language speaker does not mean they can teach that knowledge to another person. That is not even getting into the issue of standard Mandarin and the different accents within China. A person from Shanghai has a different accent than a person from Beijing, that is different from Taiwan. The official standard in China is close to the Beijing accent.

Some suggestions:

1. Do they have experience teaching? With what age group?

2. What do their existing students say?

3. Can you get a test lesson to see if it's a good fit on your learning style and their teaching style?

4. What textbook do they recommend and why?

5. Do they teach the type of Chinese characters you are interested in? Traditional or Simplified Chinese?

6. Figure out what the going rate is. A school with tutoring on site may charge more than having a person come to your house.

7. Do they give a cash discount :-) I heard a story of a voice coach who was $180 cash, or $320 with a check. After a few months of tutoring the person getting tutored did get a starring role i a Broadway musical.

8. Investigate getting an online tutor for Teaching Chinese. It may offer a better value than a physical tutor, but there are trade offs.

9. Get referrals on tutoring. Until you actually work with a tutor its so hard to find out if they are a good fit. Sometimes it can take a few months.

10. Discuss with the tutor what your goals are for Learning Chinese.

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Chinese firms buy Japanese ones

Chinese firms buy Japanese ones - Economist.

A comment that I find very intriguing is one of the purchase failed due to the cultural differences. A huge amount of mergers and acquisitions fail usually due to soft issues that often come down to corporate culture. If there is a cultural disconnect you can end up with an internal civil war that actually leads to more inefficiencies.


upstart Chinese electric car company coming to LA

More details emerge on Chinese car company's arrival in Los Angeles - LA Times.

The company employees 150,000 people and is relocating their headquarters to Los Angeles. The company started out in the battery business and is moving into Electric cars.


Procurement Rules discriminate against US Suppliers?

Basically if you want to sell to China's government computer and telecommunication gear, you will need to disclose a lot of proprietary information and western firms are worried this may be used by Chinese competitors. It is also seen as a form of trade protectionism.

U.S. Companies Say Chinese Procurement Rules Threaten Proprietary Information - NY Times.


The Indian government officially is worried about Telecommunication equipment having back doors put in it for hacking for the Chinese government and has banned Chinese telecommunication equipment because of this. It is a big worry, especially with counterfeit chips and computer equipment.

Or may be, its a response to the hacking from China of Indian government networks.

India bans Chinese telecommunications equipment - San Jose Mercury News.


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