To spend or not to spend? How much and when to pay for an app dedicated to the study of Chinese

when to pay for a chinese app

As a student of Chinese at the end of my three year course, I’ve spent many – too many – nights in the books or, worse still, seeing characters flutter before me until I finally went to bed. My Chinese books have notes in every free corner, and are worn out. I’ve used a disproportionate number of exercise books and pictures books, often with kittens or cartoons on the cover.

And the dictionary… Here’s where things get interesting. Just before officially enrolling and registering for a Chinese course, I bought a dictionary. A lovely green and white brick that for me represented the solution to all my problems, the source of all possible knowledge. However I barely used that dictionary, thanks to Pleco.

If you study Chinese and you don’t know Pleco, know that this free little app without advertising banners will be your salvation. And just as Pleco perfectly replaced the brick I revered with a bit of trepidation, and has been most useful, there are many other apps that constitute a valid support for the study of Chinese. [Read more...]

8 great dishes from Sichuan that you can find in a restaurant

Sichuan food

This article was written by Elaine Luo, the writer, photographer and cook of China Sichuan Food.

Sichuan cuisine is my favorite cuisine out of the eight ones of China not only because of my childhood but also because of the great taste and imagination. There is a famous description about Sichuan food: “one hundred dishes, one hundred flavors.” Sichuan cuisine is featured by its unique cooking methods, adaption of spices and seasonings including fresh ones, pickled vegetables and dried goods. Now Sichuan dishes are enjoyed across the world. Today I’m going to introduce eight of the best dishes from Sichuan you can usually find in a real Sichuan style restaurant. [Read more...]

Do Reseach in Taiwan: Interview with Isabel

do research in taiwan

I met Isabel in Barcelona when both of us were doing our PhD, and out of the curious nature of destiny, a few years later I moved to the capital of the People’s Republic of China and afterwards she went to the capital of the Republic of China.

This adorable Colombian, from the city of Pereira, has been working for the past 8 months as a post-doctoral researcher at the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan.

The other day, while we were sharing impressions on Facebook of our experiences in the two Chinas, I thought that I could do an interview with her. This is the result of our discussion. Enjoy! [Read more...]

Food street markets in Vietnam (Photo Essays)

Vietnam food street markets

On July 2012 I traveled for three weeks across Vietnam with Jelen, a good friend of mine. Shortly after my trip I published some articles about this wonderful country (How to survive to the crazy Vietnamese traffic, Ten unconventional habits of Vietnamese, Dog meat in Vietnam (photos NSFW) and Mama I wanna be a playboy in Saigon) but I never published anything about FOOD. Shame on me!

The article of today is a photo essays about food street markets in Vietnam. I promise to publish soon also an article that explores Vietnam cuisine. Enjoy! [Read more...]

China’s Third Gender: The Woman PhD

Third chinese gender

Note: this is a satirical story and therefore may be rather offensive. If you think that you will find it offensive, this will surely be the case, so don’t read any further.

In the past months, I have had a lot of problems getting a good night’s sleep. This is the first time in my life that something like this has happened to me, so I’m completely obsessed with knowing the reason.

My fantastic neighbors

In the beginning, I thought that my insomnia was to blame on my neighbor, who was training to be the starring actor in the Chinese remake of Indiana Jones.

Each morning around five, I wake up all of a sudden, thinking that something has gone wrong in the conflict between Japan and China over a handful of islands in the middle of nowhere and that the Japanese have started to bomb Beijing. I wake up, take a look out the window, and I see him with his whip. I can’t believe that this god-damned whip manages to make so much freaking noise. Compared to it, New Year’s fireworks seem like nothing but a noisy kid’s toy.

[Read more...]

How to get a Visa for Taiwan – The complete guide

visa for Taiwan

Welcome to the complete guide for obtaining a visa for Taiwan!

Here are the subjects that I will consider in this article:

  • Do you need a visa to visit Taiwan?
  • How to obtain a visitor’s visa;
  • How to obtain a student visa for Taiwan;
  • How to obtain a work permit and a resident’s visa;
  • How to get a family reunification visa;
  • How to get a permanent resident certificate (APRC).

[Read more...]

Ten years in China: Interview with Loredana

Interview to Loredana

Today we will speak with Loredana Cesarino, a Neopolitan girl that has lived in Beijing, Nanjing, Tianjin and Hong Kong (where she currently resides). By her own admission, Loredana enrolled in the Chinese language department back in 1998, when in Napoli there wasn’t even a shadow of a Chinese person on the street.

Loredana, when did you arrive in China and why.

The first time I stepped foot in China was back in 2003. I was 22 years old, traveling alone and it was my first experience studying abroad. I arrived in Beijing full of dreams and expectations. Sadly, however, after only three months, I had to return to Italy due to SARS which raged through Beijing that Spring. But that didn’t stop me and a year later I was again back in China with a student visa for a year.

Besides studying, in China you’ve done various jobs: Italian teacher, commercial interpreter, literary translator, etcetera. What advice would you give to someone seeking work in China?

Don’t be scared off by the initial difficulty, be patient and, above all, look for work in non-conventional channels. In China you’ll rarely find work through agencies or online sites but rather through the famous “guanxi”, or the acquaintances you have. Those who wish to work in China must search, speak with people and form friendships with the locals, and after a little time, you’ll find yourself flooded with requests for various jobs. [Read more...]

Liqian: The Chinese town founded by Roman legionnaires

Liqian town founded by Roman legionnaires

Three months ago, I started to learn a bit more about China’s ancient history as a part of writing the article on travelling to the Henan Province, as I sometimes do. At one point, I started to branch out and ended up reading articles about other things: first of all on the Silk Road, and from there, Sino-Roman relations and in the end, I ended up finding a curious article on a lost little town called Liqian.

Today’s article discusses this little town, where history is mixed with legends as well as political and economical interests, something which happens all the time in the middle kingdom. [Read more...]

Transsiberian Express – The Complete Guide

Transiberian Train

Before we get started with our guide…

Are you looking for a Transsiberian Tour?

If you are looking for specific information about Transsiberian tours click here and read our guide. You can also click here to send a message to us and we’ll be happy to suggest a honest and reliable agency to you.

Do you want to check the price for a train train ticket for the Transsiberian? Just enter your data on this form

Notice: Some of the trains don’t have daily service, for instance the direct train Moscow-Beijing and the train Ulan Bator-Beijing, if you want to check the price of these trains be sure to select the option “If exact date not available: +/- 2 days”

Ok, let’s go!

The aim of this article is to share my experience and provide all the practical information that you may need to enjoy an unforgettable trip along the Transsiberian or Trans Mongolian railway.

Here a short outline of the article:

[Read more...]

How to watch Netflix, Hulu and BBC iplayer overseas

watch netflix hulu bbc overseas

I have now been living in China for four years. Being a TV shows addict, when I arrived here, one of my biggest worries was: how am I going to watch my favorite TV shows and programs?

This article aims to provide options to those expats who wish to keep on streaming their favorite programs and series and can’t do it due to the geographic restrictions of the content.

Below, you will find the points that I will cover in this article. You can click on any one of them to skip directly to the section you want to read.

[Read more...]