Nice to meet you everyone!
I’m Arthur and I’ve starting working as a new staff member at the InternChina Office in Zhuhai. I am a local and I will graduate from Guangdong Ocean University in July 2014, I will be graduating in administration management.
My first week at the InternChina office in Zhuhai was full of rain which seemed to make the week run slow, but starting last week I have been having a really great time.
My favourite sport is hiking and mountaineering, if you have interest in it too, maybe we can take a trip together during the holidays to Banzhang Mountain. On one hand, I like reading novels and on the other hand, I enjoy running around a track for at least 3 laps. Peaceful and energetic, are two words that best describe my personality.
While it is my first time working with a diverse and international office, its still not easy to understand everyone’s accents, but with the help of others in the office, I believe that I will improve if I stay long enough in IC. I feel good about my colleagues, everyone in IC is nice and friendly, everyone can come up with his or her own idea and ask questions about each area, incorporating different mindsets and philosophies.
I really love the seafood in Zhuhai, and its cheapest if you buy it straight from fishermen or fishmongers. You can have a lot of fun the process. Not only is it a bargain but you can eat fresh oysters, abyssal fish, prawns and crabs as often as you like! You can enjoy yourself and spoil yourself in Zhuhai’s romantic seaside setting.
Come and join me in Zhuhai! Apply now for an internship.
This has been my second time spending the Spring Festival in China. And just the same as last time, I was heading to my Chinese friend’s hometown, only this time it was to attend her wedding. When I first came to China I met a very nice Chinese girl in my University, who helped me to settle into China and became a really good friend. Therefore, I was very happy to be able to attend her wedding as we hadn’t seen each other for around a year. I was even so lucky to meet my friend from Belgium, who had also been studying with us at that time. She had extended her travel through China just to be able to attend the wedding. The three of us had a lot to catch up with and it was nice to see each other together again and that we still had such a close bond.
First of all, it is a very unusual thing to get married during Chinese New Year in China, as it is their most important festival for the family and many people would not have time for a wedding. However as my friend’s now husband is from France and he works in another country, they had to get married during a time where he could get off work and would be able to come to China. Although the groom is from France, it was still a very Chinese wedding and the only foreigners were two of his former colleagues, my friend from Belgium and me. We were seated on the main table with the parents and the couple, which is a great honour. This was my first time at a Chinese wedding, so there were a few things very amusing for me.
To me it was more like a show than a ceremony. At first they showed an informational video (which seemed to be taken from a TV documentary) about France and the region where the groom comes from, this was then followed by a picture slide show of his family and friends. Later, they also had a small video of his parents giving their blessings to the couple, which was really nice, considering his family was not able to attend.
The ceremony started with a drumming performance by four girls in red glittery dresses on the stage, which made me feel more in a circus than at a wedding.
Finally the groom marched down the aisle to the Star Wars main theme, which was framed by blue lit angel cherubs. The bride then entered with her father taking her to the middle of the aisle to angel like music. The groom then had to come and fetch her by bowing to the father and kneeling to his beloved. The two of them proceeded to the stage where they stood behind the ‘altar of love’ lighting a candle together and pouring champagne into a pyramid of glasses. After that, they stepped on a small round platform to perform the exchange of the rings. All of this was accompanied by the host talking non-stop and two camera men following their every move.
That’s for the ‘classic’ part, because what followed then was an alternation of singing and dancing performances by the group of girls who changed into a variety of costumes, or the couple being called to the stage for small games. A tradition for Chinese weddings is the groom and bride have to go around every table to toast the people, the couple was involved in so many activities, they were hardly able to sit down and eat of the masses of food that kept coming. And even when they got the chance to sit at the table, the camera men asked them to feed each other or kiss. There were also people coming over to the table to toast again which happened throughout the whole evening. My Belgian friend and me just sat in the middle of all of this and tried to grasp what was going on.
One of the games on stage showed a Chinese wedding custom, the bride had to sit down in a red carriage and the groom and his friend had to carry her through the hall. Traditionally the bride would be carried to her wedding like this by servants in a closed carriage, so she would be shielded from the eyes of the people.
At some point a cook entered the stage with a huge fish on a plate to majestic music. With a magnified voice he stated into the microphone: The fish has arrived! He then received a red envelope from my friend’s mother. Later my friend explained to me, that during the whole meal there had been no fish (which they would usually have during New Year). This fish was only for her family to take home and eat later to bring them luck, especially for the New Year.
Then all of a sudden people started leaving, as the main event seemed to be over. Within 5 minutes the hall was empty and people started cleaning up already. No party until dawn, no dancing, no cake. This wedding left me a little surprised and confused, but it was definitely an interesting experience. I would say it was a Chinese wedding with a touch of western culture. My friend was wearing a white western wedding dress at first, then later changed into a red 旗袍 qípáo, and finally changed into a more comfortable black dress in the end, which I heard is very common for Chinese weddings.
I have never been to another Chinese wedding, so I cannot say in which aspects this one differed from typical Chinese weddings, but it was very special for me and different from anything I experienced before. If you have the chance to attend a wedding here, I am sure you will enjoy it and learn more about Chinese culture.
Want to experience a crazy Chinese wedding party? Then apply now. Come to China and find Chinese friends, who might get married soon 😉
China – the Kingdom of the middle- had a wide influence in Asia. In almost every neighboring country of China you can still find traces of Chinese Civilization from hundreds of years ago. However, you can also discover external influences in Chinese culture – customs, habits, products or even whole lifestyles have been imported from abroad and been integrated into Modern Chinese Culture. One of those neighboring countries which China always had a very special relationship to, is Japan. I had the chance to get a return flight for only 3.000,- RMB to Tokyo so I took advantage of it and explored a beautiful and fascinating place not far from China.
Even though, Japan is geographically located close to China, the cultures are differing a lot from each other. As a German I can see the parallels rather between Japanese and Germans… but then on the other hand, there are a lot of concepts and ideas which are shared by the Japanese and the Chinese and make them very similar from a Western perspective!
To give you an idea of similarities and differences between Japanese and Chinese Culture, I want to share my experiences and observations with you.
Traffic: A lot of foreigners perceive Chinese traffic as more chaotic than organized (see our blog: http://internchina.com/surviving-in-chinese-traffic/). When I arrived in Tokyo, it was the complete opposite picture. Even though, more people seem to use public transportation at the same time, everything was very organized, calm and people act very polite. For Chinese people it seems normal to use their elbows, don’t cover their mouths when they are coughing or sneezing in public and shout into their mobile phone on any possible occasion – Japanese people prefer their little space around themselves, nobody talks on the phone in the subway and avoid under any circumstance to run into each other even if it is crowded. It was very interesting to see that crowded doesn’t necessarily mean chaotic.
***Be aware though, that in Japan cars go on the left side of the street!
Language: Japanese on the first glance seems to be much easier than Chinese because you don’t have any tones that you need to take care of. If you know Chinese, you already can read a good part of the Japanese characters (not the pronounciation though, but you can guess the meaning!) which is very helpful in a country which is not using Latin letters. However, on a long-run mastering Japanese language seems to become a lot more complicated and rather difficult to master as grammatical rules are similarly difficult to German grammar. If you want to make quick progress on speaking learning Chinese seems to be the better choice (see our blog: http://internchina.com/china-vs-europe-reasons-to-learn-chinese-in-china/).
Saving/Losing face: Being in China for three years now gave me confidence to understand the idea of saving or losing face. For many westerners it is something very difficult to grasp and accept as a part of the Eastern Culture. It means a lot of rules, such as avoiding to name problems, not to negate or refuse anything directly or using a very flowery language. In business situations this can cause a lot of misunderstandings if you don’t understand these rules or are not be able to read between the lines. Japanese seem to follow this concept to an even further extent than the Chinese, so I can imagine that for Westerners doing business in Japan is even more difficult to adapt to than doing Business in China. More about cross-cultural communication: http://internchina.com/cross-cultural-communication-in-china-west-vs-east/.
Eating and drinking: Japan offers a wide variety of traditional Japanese dishes, but also international influences can be found. There are many restaurants offering fusion kitchen and the Japanese interpretation of “Western Food”. Very similar to Chinese food, you can offer several dishes, which you can share with your friends. Of course, the best way is to get up very early in the morning and enjoy the freshest sushi in the world at the Tokyo fish market. However, excellent sea-food can be found in China as well – especially in coastal cities (e.g. Qingdao) sea-food will be offered and is part of traditional dishes. In the West we hold the prejudice, Chinese and Japanese wouldn’t drink a lot as they are lacking an enzyme to process alcohol. It is true, that the digestion/processing for a lot of Asians is difficult, but that doesn’t keep them away from consuming good amounts of beer (e.g. Asahi in Japan, Tsingtao-Beer in China) and rice wine (Baijiu in China, Sake in Japan). “Cheers” sounds very similar in Japanese (“Kanpai”) and Chinese (“Ganbei”). More info about eating and drinking customs in Asia: http://internchina.com/how-to-say-bon-appetit-in-chinese/.
Religion/Beliefs: Chinese traditional beliefs are rooted in Confucianism, Daoism and the Buddhism which originally came from India to China. Japanese are traditionally Zen-Buddhists and Shintoists. Shintoists believe in “kami” (= spirits) which live in every tree, stone, house etc. Animism is a big part of Shintoism, which means, that each animal has its own spirit. That’s why you can find in Japan numerous parks with temples and shrines where people can pray to certain spirits. In China, there are only a few places left where Daoists and Buddhists can practice their traditional beliefs, modern culture dictates a very practical approach of practicing Buddhist and Daoist traditions. I was very fascinated by the parallels between Daoist beliefs and Shintoism. In both beliefs, unity and harmony of humans and animals and nature in general play a significant role. Each country though developed their own interpretation of a universal truth. More about Daoism: http://internchina.com/a-visit-to-qingyang-temple-back-to-the-roots-of-daoism/.
All in all it was a very interesting trip to Japan and I am sure to come back at a later point to enjoy the blossom of the Sakura trees (cherry trees) as it is said to be one of the most beautiful events in the world!
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The easiest and best way to eat some fresh seafood in Zhuhai is to go the seafood street. You can select your own live seafood and just bring it to one of the restaurants on the other side of the street.
At Wanzai Seafood Street, at the Xianggang District in Zhuhai you’ll find all different kinds of crabs, oysters, prawns and fishes that you can imagine.
Just go to there, choose everything you want to have, pay a little money, walk around on that unbelievable long road full of fish with some plastic bags with live seafood in it and then choose one of the restaurants on the other side of the street and they will be prepared for your dining pleasure.
On Saturday InternChina organized a Fishing Boat trip to Guishan Island: Enjoying the sun on deck and breathing in the wonderful air at the sea one whole day.
The staff pulled out the fishing nets and we could take a look how they caught our lunch directly from the sea. A few hours later the boat arrived at Guishan Island, were the staff cooked an incredible meal for us with all the fresh seafood they caught.
After having the best and the freshest lunch ever, everybody of us left the boat to go on the Island to visit one of the beautiful beaches there.
Thank you everybody for being there. That was a wonderful day!