Our first performance

Culture&Tradition, Martial Art: Qigong, Tai Chi, 香港 HongKong 2 Comments »

26th July 2015

1st of July was not only a super hot day, but also the Establishment Day of Hong Kong. In this frame my master has been invited to participate at Wanchai District’s activity. My classmate and me had our first performance ofAva, Master Joe and myself “Phoenix In Graceful Clouds of Blessing“. Because I have been so nervous, I have been rehearsing for almost two hours. The stage was on a sports ground and the sun was shining on the stage and guests’ sitting areas. As it was too hot, there have been not so many guests. I would wish more guests could come, see us and join us for classes! Next year might be better! Can you recognise the phoenix on our uniform?

Group picture

 

Tai Hang Dragon Dance

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19th June 2015

Though I have been here in Hong Kong for such a long, there is still a lof things I have not yet discovered or experienced, e.g. last autumn I have attend the awesome Tai Hang Dragon Dance for the first in 8 years!

Around 100 years ago, few days before Mid Autumn Festival a typhoon devasted the fishing and farming village in Tai Hang. Afterwards they had been suffered from a plague and a snake ate all oft their livestock. In other to stop the unfortune, village people performed a dragon dance for three consecutive days and nights. The dragon is built from straw and a lot of burning incence stick had been stucked on him. It had been accompanied with fire crackers and drummers to push away the unfortune – and it disappeared.

Nowerdays Tai Hang is not a village any more, but Tai Hang people are still performing the dragon dance in the small streets in Tai Hang  as a part of their culture. Tradionally only Tai Hang people can perform the dragon dance.

Head of DragonThe dragon dance was amazing! The dragon itself is very long and hold by serveral people by sticks on some points of the dragon body. People are moving the sticks, so it looks like that the dragon is moving like a like a real dragon between the old building and small streets.
Light up Due to the tons of inscence stick, the air was not good. Once they have been burned, Tai Hang people lighted new inscence sticks, removed the old ones and covered the back of the dragon with news ones. It is said that those who go a burning inscence stick, they would receive fortune. Therefore when Tai Hang people were distributing the burning inscence sticks, visitors – including us – are “fighting” to get a piece of fortune.

Yeah, we got some fortune!!!Tai Hang Dragon Dance 2015
Date:
26-28 September
Time:
19:30 ~ night
Venue:
Tai Hang, Causeway Bay (follow light and drum sound)
Futher info:
www.taihangfiredragon.hk

Dates in following years
2016: 14-16 September
2017: 3-6 October, ard. 20:15 ~ 22:30

In Love with Hotpot

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19th June 2015
Recently there are some restaurants offering Hotpot for one or two persons, but traditionally HOTPOT is a group dining event. It is very common to eat Hotpot during the cold season, in oder to heat up the body. But I love Hotpot so much that I am eating Hotpot allyear round! *grin”

For Hotpot a soup base and a lof of different ingredients like fresh vegetable, meatballs will be ordered. The pot filled with boiled soup will usually arrive the table first and be placed in the middle of the table on a stove or induction cooker. After a short while everyone can add the ingredients into the soup. Cooked food can be dipped into a housemade special sauce oor can be mixed by my own.

My favorite restaurant for Hotpot is the the “Old Man Hotpot” in Hung Hom. There a bit pricey, but I think they have a very good fish base soup, rich in taste! Ohhhh yummy! Everytime when friends from overseas are coming to HKG, I always bring them to here e.g. Andrew.

Deepfried fish skin can be also eaten as a snack without dipping into the soup.I love to dip deepfried fishskin for few seconds into the soup and eat the slightly soft fishskin soaked with the yummy soup! Mhhmmmm. Oh, I am getting hungry!!

 

 

Where is your favorite Hotpot restaurant? And which ingredient is your favorite one?

Vitamin B – protection ?!

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18th June 2015

Rich in Vitamin B sports day!On last Sunday I did some exercises at the sports ground under the bright sunshine. Indeed the sun was very strong, I easily got out of breath, but at the same time I enjoyed the sunlight! These days I was working indoor in the office, shielded from the sunshine and starving for Vitamin B. Therefore I enjoyed the sun ray touching my skin on my sports day!

It was early in the morning around 9 o’clock. There had been already a lot of people doing exercise: ripped tanned man was doing push ups, old man was running in FLIP FLOPS (he was even faster than me in sneakers, WOW!!)) , sweating ladies were resting. Among all of them I discovered a middle aged woman running and holding an UMBRELLA.
Have a close look!
Why an umbrella?! – In Germany it might a very unusual scene, but actually it is very common here to have an umbrella for sun protection. It is bigger than a hat and would cover most part of the body.

Beside protecting the skin against sun and possible age spots, there is also another belief: protection against tanned skin.

A lot of Chinese prefers white skin, as this is a sign of beauty. In the past, skin colours indicate where the individual comes from and what kind of life she/he had.  For example, people with darker skin tone would be associated with working hard on a field daily, because there are poor. And people with lighter/white skin would be associated with having a wealthy and rich life. This belief still exist in this century..
Why? –  In a fast growing society, most of them do not want to look like a poor farmer, they wants to keep their face beeing wealthy. And that’s have been developed to a sign of beauty. Look at those Chinese models, the majority have white skin.
No wonder, whitening products on the market are top sellers!
From time to time I am helping my friends from Mainland China to buy cosmetics like whitening creames for eyes, body and face!!
Last time I was looking for a make up powder in darker skin tone, and I could not find it. I have been told by the drugstore Sasa lady that my product for darker skin had been taken out from the market!  Instead she highly recommended the whitening powder, I would look more elegant rather than tanned skin. She also recommended buying whitening sun protection.  Now, I am not using any make up, which might be better for skin any way *smile*

In German there is a idiom “Farbe im Gesicht haben” means “having colour in the face”. That’s the opposite of the the Asian belief. If did not have “colour in my face”, I would look pale and sick.

Flat H(a)unting

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13th May 2015

In the last 7 years, I have moved in HKG more than 8 times. And I thought that I have already gained a lot of experience in flat hunting. But on Monday I had a total new experience, which I would like to share with you today.

The property agent Marco, who is my colleague’s friend’s colleague (personal connection is always important here in order to get a better service/benefit), introduced me several flats in Parkland near Lingnan University. The estate is relatively new (only 15 years old!!!), has a club house including gym, swimming pool, huge garden for Taichi(!) and tennis courts. Convenient transportation, nearby supermarket, shuttle bus to HKGisland. Nice interior, rooms with big wide windows, great kitchen with washing machine and fridge provided (!!) and clean bathroom with bathtub. Wow!! It was love at first sight!!! I wanna live here!

Every time when I was on the cloud nine , Marco  said “You have the right to know…” I was wondering what does it mean. I was curious and listening carefully. So, for the first flat he showed me I had the right to know that the temple, which can be seen from the bedroom’s window, is a “honey pot” for burning people illegally. I was in shock. Marco comforted me “Don’t worry, it is illegally. There will be penalty. They will not do it again. And you would live in the higher floor, so the air is clean.” I was still in shock!!! People burn dead bodies ILLEGALLY?! And for the second flat, I had the right to know that somebody jumped out of the window of the 20th floor and died immediately. My flat is on the 8th floor. He asked me, whether I would mind. I said it is ok.  At that time, I still have not yet understand his point. My mindset “Why I should care?” And for the third flat, I had the right to know that somebody commit suicide in the flat above me. And for the fourth flat, I had the right to know that somebody accidentally fell out of the window. And so on. For the nineth flat, he informed me that there is a “there is someone dead inside flat”. WHAT?! I asked  “Suicide? And he is still there” ” He explained “No, still there la that’s scary. Yes suicide”.  I saw in total 9 flats all related to murdering, suicide or unnatural death.

At the end of the flat hunting on that, I felt weird. Confused. Usually I do not mind. Does HKG people do a lot of suicide? If they do not die in the flat, where they die? A lot of questions, no answers. On that night, I did not sign a contract. The next day, I asked my colleagues for some advice. They strongly recommend not to live there. Some of them recommend not to live in the building and some of them recommend not live in that flat or same floor. WHY? Well, a lot of people believe  a flat in which a suicide, unnatural death or murdering has been occured has been haunted FOREVER. It has a bad feng shui. The soul or ghost of the died person may come back and lead to some unfortune to the new tenant.

Because a lot of people believe in that, there is Chinese and even an ENGLISH website , recording all hauted flats including type of unnatural death and summary how they died. And I also found out that my colleagues will check in advance whether the new flat is haunted before sign the contract. It is also the duty of the property agent to tell the possible tenant, no wonder Marco kept telling me the information!!!

Does the haunted flat influence the price? YES, A LOT. I have heard, that I can get up to 10% discount if a suicide or unnatural death occurred or up to 50% discount if somebody killed in that flat. Is not that a good deal, for somebody who does not believe in Feng Shui?

So, I checked the record and crossed out those haunted blocks in Parkland! From 9 blocks  5 blocks are haunted!!!  No wonder that those flats are available.

Map of Haunted flats

Either I will look for a unhaunted flat or haunted flat and get a great deal. I choose to bargain first.  The reality was a bit different, the landlord did not want to decrease the rent. So, I did not take that flat.

I found a new flat the other day. The flat has been introduced by my friend’s colleague’s property agent Ms. Law. It was not haunted and I was still able to bargain to price for 300 HKD (~30EUR). I met the landlord in person. The wife of the landlord explained to us that they bought the flat for their kids, so I should really take good care about the flat. I confirmed. Her husband added a bit sceptical: “Do not jump out of the window! Do not suicide! Do not kill anybody! You know?!”

I nod my head silently. “Yes, I know. “

Otherwise the flat will be haunted and  the value of the flat will decrease, isn’t it?

 

EDIT 5th August 2015: I met David in Starbucks. He is a property agent and listening to my stories of Hong Kong. He explained to me that Marco and me might have some miscommunication. The honey pot might be a place to store ASH of dead people illegally.

Happy Moon Festival

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2011 / 09 / 12

My dearest friends, family members and blog readers,

According to Chinese calendar, today is the Full moon Festival. Especially tonight the moon is shining very bright and nice. Please let’s look up at the night sky tonight to watch at the moon and enjoy this festival together. No matter where you are, the same moon connects us! I am thinking of you!

In this frame, I wish you a beautiful and sparkling Moon Festival with a lot of happiness, health and joy.
May the good fortune shine on you every day.

My best and warm wishes from Hong Kong
Nobu

HKG VS JPN – Table Manners

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27 / 11 /2009

Recently I read an interesting article in a Japanese bi-monthly magazine called “Concierge” about how Japanese living in HKG are thinking of HKG people or what Japanese people found out about HKG people and their habits. This article contains different topics like dining, business, life, friendship, relationship and wedding/funeral.
Reading this article I was aware of different cultures and habit. A HKG-habit might be impolite in Japan, but “normal” in HKG. Well, I would like to pick one point to share and discuss with you.
(CN = CHINA; GE = GERMANY; HKG = HONG KONG; JP = JAPAN)

“Shells of shrimps, bones or similar will be put on the table.”

MY HKG EXPERIENCE: That’s true! HKG-people often put these just on the table; sometimes they even do not use their hands. When I first came to HKG, I was surprised (゜ロ゜) , when my colleague put a whole chicken wing into his mouth, separated meat and bone in his mouth and split out the bones only on the table! I tried to do it, but it is really difficult. I cannot turn a chicken wing in my mouth! Can you? Using fingers are much easier, but I have been told using fingers are too dirty…
I guess the reason why they put it on the table instead of plate is, because only eatable things can be put on plate.
I have also realized that HKG dishes contain much more bones than e.g. Japanese food. I guess this is because a) it is more delicious and b) the local knives can cut bones easily. So they do not bother themselves to take out the bones. I am used to eat dishes with fewer bones, so eating HKG dishes could sometimes really annoying me, since I need to be aware of bones every time (It is not relaxing at all!). Otherwise one day my teeth might break.
Some restaurants serve some small plate for everyone, where bones and shells can be collected.

MY CN EXPERIENCE: Nearly 10 years ago my parent gave me the great opportunity to take part at the exchange program in China. At the time I have experienced that bones and shells have been split UNDER the table. So you can imagine how my shoes look like after a meal! (^-^; ・・・・

MY JPN EXPERIENCE: In general Japanese food does not contain so many bones and shells as HKG dishes. Served food is ready and also easy to eat or easy to cut with chopsticks (e.g. Fish). We use chopsticks to separate meat from bones.
Shells or bones will be collected in a common bowl on the table or they will be left in one corner of your own plate. Chicken wings will be eaten by using chop sticks. If you cannot manage it, you can put down your chopsticks and use your fingers.

MY GE EXPERIENCE: Bones will be separated by fork and knife. As I can remember in Germany I seldom eat chicken wing (as a German dish). It was always a fillet. Shells or bones will be collected in a common bowl on the table or they will be left in one corner of your own plate.

What is your experience? What is the habit in your country?

Choose your Name

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Chinese Name sounds different and may difficult to remember or write especially for European foreigners. In order to make life and communication (e.g. in business) easier, pupils in China will get an English name already during their school time: Either they can choose by themselves or teacher will choose the name for them.

In Hong Kong there is the same practice. Local young or middle aged people DO have an English name.

Sometimes very “special” and unique name will be chosen. In some countries as Japan, some of the names will be also forbidden (e.g. Devil). But in China and Hong Kong there there seems to be not any restrictions. Here are some true examples:

My Chinese first love when I was 16 was Coco, because he likes Coco Pops.
A girl named Pandora does not know the Greek Story of “Pandora Box”, but the Canadian brand of Cosmetics.
Some of our clients and friends are called Alki (German slang description for somebody who is addicted to alcohol), Ice Cream, Candy, Devil, Clerk, Cherry, Cinderella,  …
Last time I met a young men, called Peter Pan, in the train from China to Hong Kong!

Please also refer to the show by SexyBeijingTV “Lost in translation” . “Sexy Beijing is a show about love, lust, youth culture and street life in China’s capital. In this episode, our heroine Su Fei goes around Beijing, asking Chinese people what their English names are, and why they need them.”

Should there too many “Angel”s in the company, the manager may also ask you to change your name! This is unbelievable in Germany!
Btw my Chinese name is Sasa! My friend took the last character of my real name and just double it. It will be written same as the Cosmetics Shop in Hong Kong.

Candy, tissue paper and an one dollar coin

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Everyone who attended So Mei’s funeral on 2009-03-03, got a small envelopment with a green candy, one tissue paper and one Hong Kong Dollar Coin. I have been advised to use and/or eat them all, before I arrive home.

It remembers me to funeral in Japan. I got a small envelopment with salt inside. I did not know what I should do with. So after the funeral I went home. My mother got a little bit “panic” and pushed me out of the house. She explained to me that I need to place the salt in the left and right corner of the entrance door BEFORE I enter the house, so that the bad soul/dead cannot enter in the house. Otherwise dead will enter the house and somebody will die soon. That’s why we also need to return to home directly from the funeral. We should not go for shopping or post office.

I am wondering what kind of meaning the candy and the tissue paper have…. The one dollar coin represents a single case.

CANDY
Shortly after I attend the funeral I ate the candy. It was extremely sweet and also not tasty. But well, this candy is not to be meant as a delicious sweet – I guess it is a symbol of funeral. Maybe I thought it was as not tasty, because I was not in dark mood.
The color of the candy was green. In Germany green is the meaning of “hope”. May be it is the same here.

TISSUE PAPER
During the funeral I have not used it, since I was using my handkerchief. After the funeral I was thinking how to use it, because it is a waste of the tissue paper to throw it away w/o using it before, right? While I was running and looking around, my nose started to run, so I used the tissue paper and threw it away.

ONE DOLLAR COIN
I was thinking how I can spend the one dollar. Well in HKG you cannot find something for one dollar. I do not want to buy sweets, and I also do not want to buy food, since I feel very strange to spend the money from So Mei for food, which we cannot eat together. However, finally I have decided to spend the one dollar for something useful rather than unnecessary staff, because of So Mei. Otherwise it will be very impolite towards her. I went to an totally empty restaurant (usually this is a sign that the food is not good, but this moment I did not care, just want to have silent around me) and ordered a dinner set. I was not hungry at all, although I did not eat so much that day. So it takes me 2 hours to finish the meal. It was not noisy, so I was able to think, to go deep inside of me. After a “M goi, mai dan” (Excuse me, Bill please!) I have received the bill of 65 HKD. I gave the kind waitress a 60 HKD note and 5 dollar coin. When I was going to leave the restaurant, I recognized that something is in my hand. I opened it and discover the one dollar coin. I called the waitress “deng yi deng” (Wait!) back, gave her the one dollar coin and went home.

Broken Cup

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Last week my mother rang me up.  She told me that my cup – which my friend gave me to my 20th Birthday – suddenly slipped out of her hand and now is broken. She felt very strange and rand me up to ask me how I am. I told her that our friend and paddle buddy So Mei suddenly passed away. At that time I did not know what happened. I was shocked, confused and sad. According to her face book’s entries, she must have died very suddenly.

Last Tuesday I went to her funeral. It was the first time I went to a funeral of my friend; it was also my first time to attend a Chinese funeral. Her dead body has been covered by a golden and red blanket with a lot of symbols, which looks exactly like a swastika. Usually she did not wear a make up, but today she was wearing a thick layer of make up. She looks so unnatural; she looks like a wax figure from the Madame Tussauds. She has not any smile on her face, somehow she looks very lonely.

I was thinking she may have an accident, so that’s why her body needs to be covered and she needs to wear such a make up. But I have been informed that this is habitat of the religion.

This funeral was different from the others I went before (in Germany, Italy and Japan). People came, bowed, prayed, said to her good bye in person, sit, prayed,bowed and left. There was not any ceremony. The room was tiled – it looks like a big bathroom, which makes the atmosphere very cold. The room was full of flowers from friends, from business partners and sport teams.

When I arrived the funeral building I met our coaches. They friendly “took care” of me and guided me how to behave. I was not that afraid any more. Although they left after 30 minutes, I have stayed in this room for nearly 2 hours. I was thinking and talking to So Mei.

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