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.
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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This week we had our Zhuhai Office Christmas dinner. I know it is a bit early for a Christmas dinner but as some of us are going on our Christmas holidays and it was the only opportunity that the Zhuhai Office team would be able to get together.
We went to the Zhuhai Wanzai Seafood Street! It’s a really long street where the Chinese people sell super fresh seafood. How do I know it was fresh? Maybe because 80% of the seafood was still alive. I have never seen before so many different kinds of seafood, especially not in one place. I couldn’t tell what over 60% of the seafood actually was. It was really interesting to see how many different kinds of seafood actually exist. They were even selling shark and crocodile!
My colleagues Sunny, Morgan and Phil had already been to this restaurant before but for some of us it was new and we had no clue what to expect! The place was super Chinese and we were all excited about our Chinese style Christmas dinner. The street was lined with restaurants and all of them had seafood stands opposite them. We had to choose the seafood from the stands and the restaurant will then cooked it for us. Each restaurant had several waiters outside, so basically, from your left there would were people from the stands yelling at you to buy from them and from your right waiters yelling at you to go into their restaurant! In China you need strong bargaining skills to get the seafood for a fair price! So it was a great time to test our bargaining skills.
In the restaurant the waiter suggested 2-3 cooking methods for each kind of seafood and because we didn’t know what to choose, Sunny told the waiter how we wanted it to be prepared.
It was a surprise when the food was served, as every dish was actually new to me. Sunny then had to teach Pia and me how to eat some of the dishes because we had no idea.
Every single dish was just super delicious. The seafood which looked weird at the beginning turned out to be really good!
If you want to have a Chinese style Christmas experience then apply now and come to Zhuhai!
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.
Travelling to Hongkong is such an easy thing to do when you are living in Zhuhai. Just catch one of the Ferries from the JiuZhou Port in Zhuhai, relax one hour on the boat and welcome to an amazing city!
Last weekend I went there again and it was like always incredibly awesome. Fortunately I found a hotel room on the Hongkong Island side, right next to Soho.
So, first evening: arriving at night, getting some drinks and enjoying the city. Everything is just completely different to Zhuhai: the architecture, the people, the shops.
Day two: doing the most popular thing for tourists in Hongkong: going to the Peak, with about 300 other people. If you want to go to there as well, please don’t think it will be relaxing. The Peak is completely crowded. Every single person on that roof wants to make the same picture. Here’s a tip: use all your knowledge about getting into a bus or standing in a queue in China: don’t be too nice, just go for it. Then you will have a really nice view over Hongkong.
There a lot of too expensive restaurants in the same building, which are really good. So eating seafood at Bubba Gump Shrimps is always a good choice. Beware of all the tourist shops there. I couldn’t stand it. I went back to the roof at night with a bag filled with Bubba Gump Shrimp glasses and some ‘I love HK’ t-shirts…
Going to the Peak is a lot more comfortable by bus instead of that Peak Tram. You have an awesome view and you don’t need to wait that long. Now I need to say, going down by bus, after some Cocktails and a whole bucket of shrimps is not the best thing to do. So, at that point there were no more else activities in the evening.
Day three: just being the most awkward tourist on earth! Going to Kowloon (wearing the new t-shirts), cross the Avenue of stars, taking a picture of the Bruce Lee star just because it is the only one you know and buy everything on the Lady’s market just because it is cheap.
Last night: get some drinks in Soho.
Getting back to Zhuhai is an easy thing to do. Just go the Hongkong Macau Ferry Terminal and take the next boat.
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!