This was 10th meeting which was last one because I’m going to go back my country in two weeks. If I will return back, it would easier to go visit China so we talked about the place I should go.
When it comes to travel somewhere, I prefer the place where I can relax not busy place, so I thought 烏鎮 is good to visit. 烏鎮, Wuzhen in English, faces the big canal and traditional life style is still existing. Speaking of China, big cities like Shanghai or Beijing are famous but Wuzhen gives you the chilling atmosphere and I felt like stepping back in time watching Youtube video together. I have never been to China before and I didn’t really know about China, so this time was nice opportunity to get ideas.
Thorough this course, I could know Chinese cultures and languages more than I’ve expected. Before talking with them, I’d thought we have a lot of commons each other because of nationality, geographical and historical aspects, however I got many surprising new information. Moreover, I felt I should know my own culture, language and country more. They asked me a lot of questions but sometimes I couldn’t answer because these are natural for me and never thought reasons and background of them. This course gave me chances to know Chinese culture, at the same time, be proud of my country.
We had much time to meet this time so we decided to talk online. This time I learned how to count big number in Chinese. We use mostly same characters but pronunciation and system counting number are different. Here are things I learned today:
一百 -100 (in Japanese, we omit 一, just 百)
一百一(十) -110 (in Japanese. it means 101 which makes me confused)
Eg. 这件衣服的价钱太贵了。(This cloth is very expensive.)
―多少钱？(How much is it?)
It is difficult for me to distinguish which number I can omit or which number I have to put because we have different way of counting. But today’s leaning was helpful, I can use them when I go shopping and also often use number in dairy basis.
We went to Chinese restaurant called Kiinan Tähti and 中国星 in Chinese language. This restaurant serves Chinese dishes and sushi as well. We ate some Chinese style stir-fried noodles, fried vegetable with seafood and soup. These foods are familiar for me because there are a lot of Chinese restaurants in my country and I ate them in dairy basis. We talked about work, some companies and so on in our cultures respectively.
I’m currently seeking job, and basically we start doing job hunting on March when we are junior students and it would last by summer. Moreover, there is not much different situation regarding job hunting between degree student and master student, salary is bit different though. In Japan, companies don’t require work experience or study specialty, of course in some occupations do though. Percent of students proceeding to master is around 10 percent in this respect. On the other hand, in China it is hard for degree students to get a job. If you get into and graduate from famous university or proceed to master, you can join a good company, it means educational background is put value on more in China. Many people hope for studying and getting a job in foreign countries because of this. I knew Japan has a quite unique employment system, but I didn’t know we have different situation about it. It’s time to think about my career so it was a great chance to learn something new from different country.
This time we met at UTA cafeteria and talked a little. I realized many cultural differences between us so far and I encountered one thing this time as well.
In last post, I mentioned differences about way of thinking for time. New discover regarding time was that differences about how to decide schedule. Japanese prefer securing schedule beforehand and carrying out according to it. I’m typical Japanese at this point so I want to decide date, time and place in advance, and fill up my calendar. On the other hand, Chinese tend to hate making plans and it is fine to fix them depend on relationship and convenience, which means they are easygoing and big-heart more. Before knowing this national personality, I was kind of frustrated because they often change date and time for example just before 1 hour of meeting time. For me it is impolite behavior and making plan preliminarily and following it are natural. So, this time I thought if the culture is different, common sense is also different. If the culture and manners are different, feelings of which it makes a mutual concession are needed. That’s especially why we must discuss, understand and respect each other when we communicate with people who have different culture.
This time, we agreed that I cooked Japanese homemade dishes for Bo and Pan. They’ve eaten Japanese food at some restaurants here in Finland and China, and as a matter of fact it was a first time for them to have kind of real Japanese food which Japanese make. So, I felt responsible for making it because the dishes I made would be idea of Japanese homemade food for them.
I made pork cutlet which is called とんかつ(Tonkatsu) in Japanese, Nikujaga and some fried vegetable.
Tonkatsu are tender deep-fried pork cutlets served Japanese style. It is thick pork cutlets breaded with flour, egg, and panko (bread crumbs), and then deep fried in oil. There are many Tonkatsu specialty restaurants in Japan, so I think it is quite popular for people from different countries as well. On the other hand, Nikujaga is a very popular kind of nimono which is simmered food with thinly sliced beef, potato, carrot, and onion, and soy sauce, sugar and alcohol for condiments. It was hard to get thinly sliced beef here, so I used minced pork instead of it. Nikujaga is really popular homemade food so you can hardly find it at restaurants. Bo was interested in it and he asked me how to make it. I was glad he was interested in Japanese food and I thought it was good to make it.
This meeting, everyone couldn’t come on time, so we decided to learn basic words and expressions quickly. Actually, we hardly gathered just on time I realized that we have different ways of thinking about time even if China and Japan are close with respect to geography and ethnic. It is natural for Japanese to be punctual especially about time, and I think it is our virtue. For example, I promised my friend we would meet at 11 am and if I would be 3 minutes late, it is good manners to send my friend messages beforehand so that my friend doesn’t need to worry anything. But this is too sensitive for Chinese and they are laid back for time, of course it depends on person though. This kind of problem often happens when you live in foreign countries and it’s not first time for me. I think every time you have doubt about other’s attitude, it is important to understand the culture and national personality because it would be possibly just culture difference, not their own personality.
In learning session, I learned how to introduce myself- name, home country, age, study field, hobby and personality- in Chinese. Surprising thing there was that we use similar letters but a little different when we express word. For instance, introducing myself is 自己紹介 in Japanese and 自我介紹 in Chinese. I can understand this Chinese version reading it but it was confusing point for me. In addition, 趣味 is hobby in Japanese but in Chinese it become different meaning, which means interesting things. There are a lot of these kinds of words between Chinese and Japanese, here is more examples;
Japanese- Man dress up as a woman
Chinese- Clothes for woman
Japanese- Faithful, serious
Chinese- Real character
When I learn it, I should care about differences of meaning like that and also when I teach Japanese language to Chinese people at the same time.
This time, we talked about difference regarding housing situation between Japan and China. After discussing, I realized that we have a different value for our lives and it makes housing situation totally different.
Speaking about Japan, preferences about house are sharply divided into buy(own) and rent. Buying our own house is really big shopping and it requires sufficient economic power. However, some Japanese don’t buy own house and sometimes they don’t want to have house even if they get enough salary to buy it. It means that Japanese people don’t decide if they have own house or they rent a house according to economic power, or rather they consider their value and way of thinking for life, lifestyle, convenience and so on.
On the other hand, he told me Chinese have thought which property is important very much and they believe if they own their own house, it would be profitable someday. In addition, it comes from marriage culture in China. Woman in China prioritize economic power over other elements like appearance, personality or something like that. These days, Chinese men who cannot get married are increasing because they don’t own house. Of course, it is not only reason for this problem though. I was really surprised to this fact. I have heard that it is so important for Chinese men to have car and house, and also to get high salary for getting married with nice woman, but it was kind of shocking. I thought in China house is not only just living place but also prerequisite of marriage, symbol of their ability and guarantee of sense of security.
These were interesting topic and nice to know that.
This time, we met at TUT and watched Japanese movie again and then we talked about our culture regarding work life and education.
We watched 言の葉の庭 which means 言叶之庭 in Chinese and ‘The Garden of Words’ in English. This movie is directed by Makoto Shinkai who made ‘Your Name’ and it is one of his masterpieces. This movie is full of visual beauty like how beautiful nature is and also truly depicts scenery of Tokyo. In this movie, there are a lot of the scene which it is raining. This beauty touched my heart. His works give a description of cityscape so we can get much information easily about life in Japan and talked about that.
Additionally, a traditional Japanese poem of thirty-one syllables plays an essential role in this movie. I taught the rule of it to him. People, a long time ago, used to make this poem and write the letters to tell their feeling especially to lovers. And also they used to make it for expressing beauty of nature and record it. We study these kinds of poem in school and refine our tastes feeling and expecting others. This is the good chance to remind our culture and it makes my mind to be at ease.
In that day, I thought that teaching my culture is understanding it deeply and recognizing the good aspect again.
Today, we had our second meeting in TUT. We watched Japanese movie ‘君の名は’ which is named ‘你的名字’ in Chinese and ‘Your Name’ in English. This is a really famous animation movie released in 2016 and it is loved by people all around the world. I think there are many people who have watched it already. We watched it with Chinese subtitle and after watching we checked some vocabularies and sentences are used in this movie.
I learned Chinese grammar and sentences and got a lot of new things. Chinese also has polite and casual way of saying depend on who I am talking to as other languages have. Today, I could know how to talk friendly. In addition, he taught me tense and I felt it is easier to express than English and also Japanese. I hope we can communicate in Chinese and Japanese gradually.
Our first meeting was at Metso. We introduced ourselves each other first and then learned about some vocabularies and sentences which it’s useful in traveling, and basic grammar.
I’ve been leaning Cantonese which is one of Chinese is used in Hong Kong, Macau or somewhere in southern part of China. So I was thinking that learning Chinese is easier than learning other languages but then I realized it’s not like that at all. The reason why I felt is the pronunciation is completely different with Cantonese and also Japanese even though we use the same letters. Here is an example,
我 means “I” and, we can pronounce it ‘ware’ in Japanese, ‘wǒ’ in Chinese and ‘ngo’ in Cantonese.
Distinguishing and Understanding are the hardest point for me to master Chinese but ,at the same time, it is the most interesting point to know differences between our languages. So I’m so excited to get much more new vocabularies!
Our next meeting would be around Valentine’s Day and I’m thinking we will talk about our culture like what meaning Valentine’s day has in each countries and what do we do in this day and so on. Looking forward to knowing the culture as well next time!