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Catcher of the Wry
By Jack Cameron

Fuyang Native and Best-Selling Author Mai Jia: Decoded

“Mai Jia is described in the publisher's blurb of this absorbing and unusual book as ‘the most popular writer in the world that you've never heard of.’ Now, with the translation of his 2005 debut being published in the west, English-language speakers will have a chance to see why Mai deserves this reputation…. [T]he central story is a gripping one, offering a protagonist who is never exactly sympathetic but whose struggles in service of an unknown and unknowable goal seem all too clearly an echo of what his fellow countrymen faced during the postwar era.”
                                                                                                                                      - The Guardian, 2 February, 2014 


It’s been 32 years since best-selling author and Zhejiang native, Mai Jia, last set foot in his childhood home. His first stop is the ancestral village temple, a hall rich with some 400 years’ worth of history, and a sacred space which has heard the hopes and dreams of generations. He surveys the scene with nostalgia in his eyes.

“The ancestral hall is well-preserved. In the last year or two, there’s been some painting. The appearance should be the same as when I was a child. Nothing’s changed. It is the place I first started my studies. I spent the first year of my primary school here, or, my intellectual life began in this place, on the second floor.”

Mai Jia, born Jiang Benhu, is perhaps the most famous person to hail from Jiangjia Village. Known affectionately as A’hu, he guides me on a tour of his hometown, which boasts some 600 years of history, and apparently an equally impressive literary tradition. It is informative.

“This is where I studied. I started primary school here. My seat at that time, if I recall, was here. The seat was against the pillar. Teacher was over there. This place has no windows. It was freezing cold in winter. Snowflakes can still float in.”

We approach an old, and not particularly inviting, building. “I was born here,” he says. “In fact, I lived here until I left.”

The structure has long since been abandoned. Fifty years ago, six households lived there together. Mai Jia and his family, seven persons in all, lived in one room. It was in the confines of this small space that he honed his creativity, imagination, and sense of urgency.

“The biggest dream I had was just to leave here. It was poor and backward. Given our family status at that time, I knew it was only a dream. I could hardly leave here,” Mai Jia says, referring to his family home. “But it couldn’t stop me from dreaming. How could I get out of here?”

Mai Jia’s grandfather and father were both victims of political persecution. The circumstances of which gave his family – everyone in it – a tinge of contamination. The subject changes the character of Mai Jia’s nostalgia.

“I feel at that time, my father was talking less. This was the atmosphere, the atmosphere of society. I felt we didn’t have the right to speak. As a result, he was very depressed. The inhibition and sorrow took their toll. But, in fact, when we look at it today, it’s [part of what] made me a good writer.”

It is almost cliché, but the atmosphere of the times certainly facilitated cliché. Mai Jia's father was irritable and hot-tempered. His mother was kind and merciful. Limited by rural poverty and stigma, his parents, nonetheless, tried to light their children’s way, albeit in very different ways. Today, his strongest sympathies seem to lie with his mother. He says, “Later, after I left, I’d remember my childhood and be overwhelmed by how great I felt my mother was.”

Throughout childhood, Mai Jia kept looking for a way out and a way of life that suited him. While the period known to history – and as it was propagandized at the time – as Reform and Opening-Up would not immediately reestablish his family’s reputation, or their fortunes, but it would be the stage upon which Mai Jia began to open up.

“The relationship between my father and I is complicated. Once, we were absolute opposites. We seldom communicated with each other. Today, I have to say, my father indeed benefited me. It was the Spring Festival of 1978, and it was my last semester of junior high school.” He paused thoughtfully, “It was my father who brought me to a senior high school, seven or eight kilometers away from home. Walking around the wall of the school, he told me that everything was going to change. In other words, he knew entrance examinations were going to be resumed.”

In 1978, senior high school entrance examinations were resumed in the rural area of Fuyang, and Mai Jia, with parental prodding and paternal support, successfully matriculated. Mai Jia explains, “Crops can be destroyed by floods. Luxurious houses can be burned to the ground. But a great storehouse of knowledge, this cannot be easily destroyed by either floods or fire. For this reason, he encouraged me to study.”

Mai Jia studied hard. He graduated from high school in 1981 and was admitted to a military academy. After graduation, he became a respected officer, and the pride of Jiangjia, but celebrity, or perhaps redemption, was a long way off.

Jiang Jinle, a friend of Mai Jia, attempts to elucidate, “Many people have said it already. Mai Jia writing novels is itself a novel. I can understand what they mean. First, Mai Jia is a person who speaks little but thinks a lot. Second, in junior high school and senior high school, the writing courses were completely irrelevant to [an aspiring] writer. Right? At that time, Mai Jia might not have written good compositions, you know, the kind that matched the teachers’ tastes, but Mai Jia never meant to do that. A good article Mai Jia wrote at that time was not considered good. This phenomenon still exists today.”

Mai Jia’s preference for introspection seems to have begun as an effort to transcend the village, his family’s infamy, the congested confines of their home, and the silence of his embittered father.

“I spent plenty of time thinking. Since I was young, I’ve had many funny ideas. Writing diaries became a part of my process, because I thought too much and never spoke to others. There was no one I could talk to. My mind was full of ideas. They wanted to rush out. Finally, I chose to pour-out in a diary. I wrote diaries because I thought too much.”

After graduating from the military academy, Mai Jia was assigned to work in a confidential unit in a remote mountain area. It’s there that he picked up his pen and wrote. Lonely, his emotions, his depression, found a voice in his novels.

“The mid-1980s was a hot time for literature. Publishing a novel was evidence of your talent. The motivation for starting my novel was simple. A very utilitarian purpose. I just wanted to show my talent. I just wanted to catch my leaders’ attention. I wanted to change my life. The Catcher in the Rye had a great influence on me. I started my literary career because of that book. I told you just now, in my youth, I kept diaries. After reading this book, I realized how to write a novel. I thought I could also write novels. So I began to write.”

And on the origin of his nom de plume he explains, “In the 1980s, around 1986, I changed my name to Mai Jia. It has a double-meaning. First, it pays homage to The Catcher in the Rye. Second, our family planted wheat when I was a child. So for these two reasons, I named myself Mai Jia.”

Mai Jia’s style was influenced by both European and American modernist literature; Hemingway, Faulkner, Krakow, and Kafka. A mild seismic shift came when he encountered Latin American magical realism. After encountering the works of Argentinean writer, Jorge Louis Borges, Mai Jia says his silent but unstill ruminations about his craft became much deeper.

“Some of his theories about the novel guided me. Novels had to have something other writing did not. A novel is just like handicraft. It should build a kind of maze. He influenced me in this respect. I wrote a novel about a cryptologist and another was a spy thriller. Both of them are closely connected with [Borges’] concept of the novel. To some extent, it was [Borges] who taught me how to use my own life experience, to find my position in a literary family. Over these 16 years, I kept writing silently. Today, what has brought me fame and fortune is my novel, Plot Against. This novel was rejected 11 times. My first novel, Decryption, was rejected as many as 17 times.”

After years of hardship and rejection, Mai Jia brought his novel, Plot Against, to completion in 2003. It quickly became a bestseller, one which he himself adapted as a teleplay. The success of the series he created triggered a wave of contemporary Chinese spy thrillers, earning him the sobriquet, China’s Ian Fleming. The lonely road that began with poverty, sadness, and failure, has now led to accolades and awards in both literature and television. Mai Jia is currently one of the most famous and wealthiest writers in China.

“A writer wants fame and fortune, but not many writers can get it. I think luck is relatively important for us. If you want me to summarize what I have done, I think two things are worth mentioning. One thing is I am a decent man. I never take the conventional route. I never take shortcuts, and I never look for shortcuts. The other thing is I work hard. These are the two points I’d mention. I walk the right way, so I can walk further.”

In 2008, Mai Jia returned to his hometown in Zhejiang Province. He has a studio in Hangzhou’s Xixi Wetland. This year, he was elected chairman of the Writers Association of Zhejiang Province. He still worries about those struggling to get out from under, and make names for themselves; and so the dreamer turned darling and doyen of the literary world established a writing base for young writers, one that focuses mainly on those facing the greatest challenges. As a chairman of the provincial chapter of the Writers Association, Mai Jia has to attend all kinds of conferences and social events, which he does, but what he wants most, he says, is to live in peace.

“In a sense, it is easy for me to concentrate. Once I touched literature, I fell in love with it. It totally changed me.”

He is currently writing a love story. A story, he says, he has never shared before. The novel, a departure from the genre for which he’s now best-known, will likely shed some more light on Jiang Benhu. Fans and critics are sure to want to engage it and decode it.

FROM PENGUIN BOOKS (AVAILABLE MARCH 2014):

DECODED

Mai Jia

Translated by Olivia Milburn and Christopher Payne.

Never before translated into English, Decoded tells the story of a maths genius who becomes China's greatest code-breaker, only to be driven mad by the unfathomable darkness in the world of cryptology. With the pacing of a literary crime thriller, it combines elements of magical realism with historical fiction and state espionage. The fact that it takes place in a fully characterised shadowy world of the Chinese secret security, where Mai Jia worked for decades, makes it all the more unfamiliar, intriguing and authentic… Decoded was published in 2002 and became an immediate success. There are over 3,000,000 copies in print and it has won several awards.

 

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Jennifer’s Enchanting Rose Garden

Imagine a garden where roses stretch out before you in a sea as far as the eye can see, carved out from a backdrop of tea fields and bamboo groves, the heavenly, sweet scent of roses enveloping you in a fragrant cloud. Imagine going back to simpler times when you can fall asleep looking up at a sky full of stars and wake up at daybreak to the melodious cacophony of lively roosters. An enchanting place where friendly dogs roam around freely, joined at times by a stoic horse, fluffy llama and a preening white peacock.

Fortunately, there’s no need to stay in the realm of imagination, the dream has been brought to life at Jennifer Ji’s Four Seasons Rose Garden in Daixi (埭溪), less than 45 minutes from Hangzhou.

How the Rose Garden Came to Be

The roses at Seasons Rose Garden come from all over the world, over 500 species from Bulgaria, France, England, Japan, etc. Jennifer would collect rose cuttings while on vacation in different lands then bring them home to carefully grow in her garden. Friends would also send her rose cuttings from different countries. Over the next 4 years, Jennifer’s rose garden slowly began to take shape, a labour of love.

Most of the roses seemed to be vintage varieties which are highly prized for their fragrance. There are fuchsia coloured rosa rugusa shrubs, a crimson coloured Louis XIV specimen, peachy quartered roses and cream coloured shallow cups. I didn’t know the names or histories of all the roses I encountered, but what’s in a name? I can assure you they all smelled as sweet.

Roses were not the first thing on Jennifer’s mind when she was given the opportunity to develop this 500-acre piece of land. She first thought about growing herbs such as lavender, since she had already developed a status as the “Essential Oil Queen of China” with her acquisition of French aromatherapy brand Lampe Berger in 2014. 

Hangzhou residents may also be familiar with J Spa, her elegant beauty spa on Yangongdi next to West Lake which has been bringing a supreme level of relaxation to clients for over 11 years.

Then it was found that herbs did not grow so well on this land but roses thrived. As Jennifer delved further into roses, she discovered an interesting fact - roses originally came from China and they were first cultivated in China 5,000 years ago. It is poetic then that Jennifer has brought roses from around the world back to their origins, to grow here in her garden. Her goal is to create the most comprehensive rose garden in China for future generations to enjoy the beauty of the rose in all their captivating varieties, colours and scents.

A Lady and Her Vision

The Rose Garden is still taking shape but foremost, it will be a happy, spiritual place where people can come to unplug, spend time in nature with friends and family and let go of stress and anxiety.

“ We work very hard in these modern times, so we must also enjoy and relax to the fullest, by indulging all 5 of our senses. My ultimate ideal treat is to slip into a warm bath scented with roses and essential oils, surrounded by flickering candles with meditative music playing… and also drinking a glass of red wine! Then all the worries of the day would dissolve away!"


“ I wanted that more people can experience that kind of enjoyment and that’s why I created J Spa, a beautiful, calm space where people can go to clear their mind."

“ But you know a spa treatment can be expensive and not everyone can afford that. My next plan is to create mini-spa treatments that everyone can afford, especially today’s students and young workers who are under a lot of stress. I want to let them experience that relaxation and enjoyment too. They greatly need to relieve their pressure and they are the future of China. I want to do something to support them.”

Luxurious Rose Facial for Just 99RMB

“ I always tell my beauty estheticians to treat every customer with the utmost care and love, like they are a family member. The customer has trusted us with their valuable time and money, they come to us to get relief from their daily stress and we owe it to them to do our best to relieve their pressures and worries. Regardless if they pay thousands of yuan or 99 yuan, we will give them the same level of treatment."

Jennifer’s words were proven true as I went to the mini-spa at Seasons Rose Garden to experience their 99RMB, 30-minute rose facial. The esthetician’s delicate, reverential touch and gentle soothing voice are more likely to be found in spa treatments 10 times this price.

Throughout the facial, the esthetician explained the steps that she was doing. First beginning with a ritual to deeply inhale essential oils, followed by cleansing, prepping my skin with pure rose water that protects against free radicals, applying a rose essential oil that quickly penetrates into the skin to repair and revitalize and then massaging my face to drain the lymph nodes of toxins. Next she applied a sheet mask infused with the potency of 52 roses.

While my face was absorbing the nutrients from the mask, she massaged my neck, shoulders and did that favourite maneuver of mine where she carefully nudged her fingers under my back till they were between my shoulder blades then she lifted up with her fingers and held for a moment, arching my back. Ahhhhh….tensions melting away! I even drifted off into a restful sleep, all the while inhaling the divine fragrance of roses.

After removing the mask, she gently patted the essence into my skin and applied a rose moisturizing cream. The 30 minutes felt more like an hour because of all the intricate steps performed and the level of relaxation reached. My face felt refreshed, hydrated and soft as velvet.

The rose products used in the facial were developed by Jennifer and are all-natural, gentle and non-irritating. I have been dealing with eczema on my face recently, which makes my skin sensitive and prone to allergic reactions, and the products did not cause me any problems. The rose water is even so pure and gentle that you can spray some in your eyes and it won’t hurt.

That rose water was actually developed in co-operation with Paris Hilton and is marketed under her brand as “Paris Hilton Limited Edition Unicorn Mist”. On Paris’ website, it says that ‘this is the exact rose water extract spray that Paris uses to keep her skin glowing and fresh all day long!’

In the coming year, Jennifer plans to open mini-spas around China offering these facials as well. I told her that when the Hangzhou mini-spa opens, I will be the first customer lined up and will get a facial every day!

Future Events and Directions

Besides coming to get a facial, there will be many cool events happening at the rose garden in the future and More Magazine will be sure to tell you the details as soon as we get them. Coming up around May 20 will be a celebration for the International Rose Culture Festival. It’ll be a great time to visit as the roses will still be in bloom. I can’t wait to get back there myself, walk around the roses and be immersed in that lovely, natural perfume.

To get to the Seasons Rose Garden, take the high-speed train from Hangzhou East station to Deqing Station, a 13 minute ride, then grab a taxi or arrange a Didi to drive 30 more minutes to the garden.

New RMB Banknotes Series Set to Release 新版人民币来了!

New 50-, 20-, 10- and one-yuan banknotes and coins of one yuan, five and one jiao (0.5 and 0.1 yuan respectively) will be released by the central bank with improved anti-counterfeiting features on August 30.

This will be the third edition of the fifth series of renminbi, which was introduced by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) in 1999 for 50-, 20-, 10- and one-yuan banknotes and one jiao (0.1 yuan) coins, whose second edition was issued in 2005. This is the first upgrade of the one-yuan banknotes and coins and five jiao (0.5 yuan) coins since 1999.

Another two parts of the fifth series are the 100-yuan banknote, which was first changed in 2005 and last changed in 2015, and the five-yuan banknote, which was not upgraded this time as it is used to study how to further promote anti-counterfeiting ability and extend the service life of renminbi due to its smaller denomination and circulation, according to the PBOC.

Notably, the 2019 edition of the renminbi’s fifth set seems to contain more color than previous bills. In the comments section under a Weibo post by Caijing, one netizen joked that the new paper money looks like it was enhanced with filters, while others caught up in the cashless world of payments claimed to have forgotten what the renminbi looks like.

In addition to the latest set of banknotes, the copper-colored five jiao coin is set to get a new silver makeover, while the size of the RMB1 coin will be reduced.

How is the anti-counterfeiting ability improved?

Color-changing ink will be applied to the pattern of the number in the center of the new bills to make it more difficult to counterfeit. For instance, the color of the numeral "50" will change between green and blue and a band of light can be seen to roll up and down when the angle is adjusted.

Other new features of these three kinds of notes include a security line on the right of the bill, which will change from hot pink to green with a bright band rolling up and down when the viewing angle is adjusted, and where "¥50", "¥20" as well as "¥10" can be respectively seen in the light.

As for the coin, a "¥" and "1" are hidden in the numeral "1" at the front of the new 1-yuan coin, which may be respectively seen from specific angles when spinning the coin.

What's the major change?

To be more portable, the diameter of the new one-yuan coin has been narrowed to 22.25 mm, 2.75 mm less than before with dots ringing the inner edge on the front.

There are six serrated segments, equally distributed around the edge of the new five-jiao coin, each of which contains eight isometric serrations with the coin's color becoming nickel instead of golden yellow inside, and the inner edge of the coin is changed into a polygon from circle, making it more identifiable to people with poor eyesight.

All four new bank notes will feature additional decorative patterns on the left-hand side and the tactile lines on the right have been removed.

Zhang Meng, deputy head of PBOC's Currency, Gold and Silver Bureau said that with major elements have remained unchanged from the previous version, and this new issuance strikes a balance between security, durability and elegance.

He also added that the central bank would collaborate with other ministries to ensure a smooth transition that help residents and vendors get used to the new currency.

The bank said it has already arranged for financial institutions to do the preparatory work, including upgrading the existing currency detectors to verify authenticity.

Great Places for Spring Getaways Around Hangzhou

The dreary months of rain may have you hankering for a vacation, and spring is the perfect time to take a quick weekend getaway. Whether you’re looking for the bustle of a city or the calm of the countryside, there are plenty of easy weekend trips that will feel like a much-needed escape.

With ideal temperatures, smaller crowds, and a true locals’ scene, spring shoulder season is arguably the most underrated travel time of the year. Here are five destinations to hit in April and May—before everyone else does.


Suichang, Zhejiang
Hongxingping Hot Spring Boutique Hotel

After 10 months re-renovation, this hotel reopened in the end of last year. Hidden in a small town called Suichang which is 4 hours driving from Hangzhou. To get there, the best way is to take a train to go to Longyou station (about 1 hour), then a 30 minutes bus ride to Suichang, once you are in Suichang, then you can get a Didi taxi to take you to the hotel.

As the name says, hot spring is the highlight of this hotel. The hot spring water associated with fluorite mine is introduced from the bottom of Hushan fluorite mine, which is two kilometers away from the hotel. The water temperature is about 41 degrees. It is one of the few natural hot springs of fluorite mine. You can chill out in the vinegar spa, rose spa, herb spa, or fish spa, if you want to be more private, a few rooms come with a spa. Make yourself a pot of tea, leave the stress and worries behind, pamper yourself in the nature.

There 22 rooms with different designs. The Family Friendly Room has a slide for the child to come downstairs and a glass ceiling to gaze at the starry sky; Hot Spring Room is facing at the Huangzhao mountain; the Husky fridge and Marshall blue tooth speaker are icing on the cake.

The hotel locates on the upstream of Wuxi River, everything comes from nature. The ingredients used in the restaurant are local chickens from Huangniling, vegetables and fruits from Gaoping, fish head from Shangping or rice from Zhulong. These ingredients either come from pollution-free areas at high altitudes or from areas with clear water quality at the source of Wuxi River.

The tea mountain just a few minutes away, you can also pick up the freshest fruits and vegetables in their own garden, or go sweat your self in the tennis court and gym, after enjoy a salt bath and hot sauna. 

Special Deal For MORE Readers
Price: 888RMB

Inclusions:
* 1-night stay of your choice of Courtyard Room, Sunshine Room, Family Room, Family Sunshine Room, Family Friendly Room (values 980RMB - 1,380RMB)
* Breakfast for 2 adults and 1 child
* Hot spring ticket for 2 adults and 1 child  (values 650RMB), unlimited entries during staying
* Free access to the gym with 1 hour personal trainer
* 2 glasses of cocktails at the bar, welcome fruit and free drinks at mini bar
* Ancient pagoda and tea plantation tour
* 30% off on the Hot Pot set menu (500RMB) for 2-3 people

Valid on both weekday and weekend till June 30th, 2019 (except for Apr.30th - May.3rd), if check in during the weekend, the 200RMB/room price difference need to be paid at the front desk. If change to other types of room, the price difference will be charged.

Add: Hongxingping Village, Hushan, Suichang, Lishui  浙江省丽水市遂昌县湖山乡红星坪村
Tel: 0578 8155 158
Website: www.schxp.com/cn/index.htm


Ningbo, Zhejiang
Camphor Tree Valley


Located in a small village called Li Jia Keng on Siming Mountain in Ningbo, Li Jia Keng means Family Li’s Pit. After 3 hours driving, you will arrive in this retreat away from the world.

In this spring, it’s time to get there to enjoy the private pool, the outdoor hot spring, and have outdoor picnic during the day and romantic stargazing at night, take a walk to the mountain which is covered by cherry blossoms and taste the rustic flavour from the countryside.

This is the season that cherry blossoms all over the mountain, there are two ways to enjoy the cherry blossom.

Tip 1: The Cherry Blossom Festival in Siming Mountain

The Cherry Blossom Festival in Siming Mountain (Zhangxi) of Ningbo is about to begin, it’s about 15 minutes drive from the hotel. This is a "cherry rain" for the tourists, you can walk among them or climb up to the cherry blossom sight-viewing platform to enjoy the amazing view. The Cherry Blossom planting area covers about 10,000 mu, there are more than 20 varieties of cherry blossoms in the field. In recent years, Zhangshui Town has extended the flowering period to more than 40 days by planting early cherry and mid-late cherry alternately. Generally, the flowering period can be extended from early and mid-March to the end of April.

Tip 2: Xiekenling Ancient Road

Xiekenling Ancient Road starts at Li Jia Keng and ends at Zhangxi village, it was the only way for Li Jia Keng people to reach to Zhangxi in ancient times.

It’s cherry blossom all the way from Xiekenling Ancient Road up to the mountain, total length is nearly 2.5 kilometers. The one-way journey takes about one hour, make sure you bring your camera, there will be a lot of inspiration for you all the way.

Now get the special offer for the Cherry Blossom Festival, only 588RMB for weekday, which includes 1 night stay + 2 breakfast + Chicken Soup Dinner (valid till Apr. 30th, 2019).

Add: Li Jia Keng Village, Zhangshui Town, Haishu District, Ningbo, Zhejiang  浙江省宁波市海曙区章水镇李家坑村
Tel: 136 1658 1771, 0574 8778 6682
Website: wx.miot.cn/i-95103


Anji, Zhejiang
Alila Anji 阿丽拉安吉


Alila Anji is a peaceful oasis situated on a hillside overlooking a lake, surrounded by the beauty of lush bamboo groves and tea plantations. With its clean air, mountainous landscape, dense bamboo forests and tea plantations, and ease of access from the major cities of Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou, Anji offers a wonderful escape for city dwellers and nature-lovers.

Enjoy the outdoors, cycling, harvesting seasonal produce, or fishing in Tian Fu Lake. Grab your camera and uncover Anji's hidden beauty spots. Or enjoy cooking and crafting - great fun even for the little ones.

Weekday Lake View Room 
Price: CNY1,999net per room per night

Available on weekday stay (Sunday to Thursday)
Inclusions:
* 1 Lake View Room stay with daily breakfast for 2 persons
* 1 time 60 min Spa treatment for 1 person
* 1 time hot pot for 2 persons
* Free upgrade to Hill View Villa (subject to availability)
* 1 time hotel activity (choose from singing box, mahjong, archery, hiking etc)
* 20% off on extra consumption of F&B Spa

Weekend Lake View Room 
Price: CNY3,999net for 2-night stay

Available for weekend (Thu & Fri, Fri & Sat, Sat & Sun)
Inclusions:
* 2-night Lake View Room stay with daily breakfast for 2 persons
* 2 times 60 min Spa treatment or 1 time120 min Spa treatment
* 1 time hot pot for 2 persons
* Free upgrade to Hill View Villa (subject to availability)
* 1 time hotel activity (choose from singing box, mahjong, archery, hiking etc)
* 20% off on extra consumption of F&B Spa

Both promotions are valid till 30 June 2019, exclude public holiday (5 - 7 April, 1 - 4 May and 7 - 9 June 2019)

You can book these two packages through: 
https://www.travelzoo.com/cn/local-deals/EastCN/Getaway/317161/?from=timeline&isappinstalled=0

Add: Fushi Reservoir, Meizi Wan, Hanggai Town, Anji, Zhejiang 浙江省安吉杭垓镇梅子湾旅游风景区赋石水库
Reservations: anji@alilahotels.com
Tel: 0572 5133 566
Website: www.alilahotels.com/anji


Deqiing, Zhejiang
Moganshan Solvang Village Boutique Hotel


Many of our readers may know that Mogan Mountain has increased in popularity over the past year as ‘the’ place to go for that weekend break, especially in those hot summer months to escape the heat. There are resorts popping up everywhere.

So why, you ask, or what makes Solvang so special? Nestled right in the midst of hiking trails, this family-feel resort has everything you could ask for to keep your blood pumping whether that be on a hike through bamboo forests, local farms for some fruit picking or to a serene waterfall or perhaps racing around on a mountain bike (available to hire at the resort for a daily fee). Not feeling the ‘sweat it out’ fresh air vibe? How about relaxing on a terrace with a good book, soaking yourself in a large bathtub or if you book on a special weekend, center yourself with some fresh mountain air outdoor yoga? Not convinced yet? With a fully stocked bar and restaurant, you can really relax, put your feet up and enjoy being looked after.

To get there is pretty easy, just take the fast train from Hangzhou East to Deqing station in just 15 minutes and the resort can arrange a car for you from there for a fee.

Room starts at 1,180RMB, to celebrate the arrival of the spring, they are offering an offer (200RMB down) from this week until April 30th.

Add: 112 Xiangdao, Reservior Side, Dazaowu Village, Deqing, Zhejiang 浙江德清县大造坞村112乡道水库旁
Reservations: booking@mogansolvangvillage.com
Tel: 136 6189 4469, 0572 8667 297
Website: www.mogansolvangvillage.com/


Deqing, Zhejiang
Gen Sinn Horseback Riding


Unleash your inner cowboy, the Indiana Jones or Lawrence of Arabia deep within, and hop in the saddle for the trip of a lifetime! Here in GenSinn Moganshan, you will make it come true.

Cross paths and forests, ride seemingly endless trails on the countryside roads, and stop on your way to enjoy the delicious country cuisine.

Gallop or trot alongside the streams and tea fields in the Moganshan. Ride far from those dusty roads filled with tourists, and go deep into the mountain for a pure bush experience.

Price: 498RMB/40 minutes

Add: Gaofeng Village, Moganshan, Deqing, Zhejiang (you can set your GPS to "浙江爵隐马术文化有限公司")
浙江省湖州市德清县莫干山镇高峰村 (导航浙江爵隐马术文化有限公司即可到达)
Hours: 8am - 5pm
Tel: 400 926 7833, 133 0571 5229, 150 8831 9562 

All About Tomb Sweeping Day

Tomb Sweeping Day (清明节, qīngmíng jié) is a Chinese holiday that has been celebrated in China for centuries. The day is meant to commemorate and pay respect to a person’s ancestors. Thus, on Tomb Sweeping Day, families visit and clean the gravesite of their ancestors to show their respect.

In addition to visiting cemeteries, people also go for walks in the countryside, plant willows, and fly kites. Those who cannot travel back to their ancestors’ gravesites may opt to pay their respects at martyrs parks to pay homage to revolutionary martyrs.

When Is Tomb Sweeping Day?

Tomb Sweeping Day is held 107 days after the start of winter and is celebrated on April 4 or April 5, depending on the lunar calendar.

Origins

Tomb Sweeping Day is based on the Hanshi Festival (寒食节, hánshií jié), which is also known as the Cold Food Festival and Smoke-Banning Festival. While the Hanshi Festival is no longer celebrated today, it has gradually been absorbed into Tomb Sweeping Day festivities.

The Hanshi Festival commemorated Jie Zitui (介子推), a loyal court official from the Spring and Autumn Period. Jie was a loyal minister to Chong Er. During a civil war, Prince Chong Er and Jie fled and were in exile for 19 years. According to legend, Jie was so loyal during the duo’s exile that he even made broth out of the flesh of his leg to feed the prince when they were short of food. When Chong Er later became king, he rewarded those who helped him when times were tough; however, he overlooked Jie.

Many advised Jie to remind Chong Er that he, too, should be repaid for his loyalty. Instead, Jie packed his bags and relocated to the mountainside. When Chong Er discovered his oversight, he was ashamed. He went to look for Jie in the mountains. The conditions were harsh and he was unable to find Jie. Someone suggested that Chong Er set fire to the forest to force Jie out. After the king set fire to the forest, Jie didn’t appear.

When the fire was extinguished, Jie was found dead with his mother on his back. He was under a willow tree and a letter written in blood was found in a hole in the tree. The letter read:

Giving meat and heart to my lord, hoping my lord will always be upright. An invisible ghost under a willow Is better than a loyal minister beside my lord. If my lord has a place in his heart for me, please make self-reflection when remembering me. I have a clear conscious in the nether world, being pure and bright in my offices year after year.

To commemorate Jie’s death, Chong Er created the Hanshi Festival and ordered that no fire could be set on this day. Meaning, only cold food could be eaten. One year later, Chong Er went back to the willow tree to hold a memorial ceremony and found the willow tree in bloom again. The willow was named ‘Pure Bright White’ and the Hanshi Festival became known as ‘Pure Brightness Festival.’ Pure Brightness is a fitting name for the festival because the weather is usually bright and clear in early April.

How Is Tomb Sweeping Day Celebrated?

Tomb Sweeping Day is celebrated with families reuniting and traveling to their ancestors’ gravesites to pay their respects. First, weeds are removed from the gravesite and the tombstone is cleaned and swept. Any necessary repairs to the gravesite are also made. New earth is added and willow branches are placed atop the gravesite.

Next, joss sticks are placed by the grave. The sticks are then lit and an offering of food and paper money is placed at the tomb. Joss paper money is burned while family members show their respect by bowing to their ancestors. Fresh flowers are placed at the tomb and some families also plant willow trees. In ancient times, five-colored paper was placed underneath a stone on the grave to signify that someone had visited the grave and that it had not been abandoned.

The Chinese joss paper “spirit money” known as Hell Bank Notes are commonly used in all manner of contemporary ancestor ceremonies. The most traditional notes bear the seal of the afterlife’s “Bank of Heaven and Earth,” while others are printed to resemble legal tender currency from various countries. Bills feature an image of the Jade Emperor, the Taoist monarch of heaven, and come in outrageous denominations from 10,000 to 1,000,000,000 dollars to help an ancestor purchase services, pay off the God of Death or escape punishment. Here are a few popular designs.

As cremation is gaining popularity, families continue the tradition by making offerings at ancestral altars or by placing wreaths and flowers at martyrs’ shrines. Due to hectic work schedules and the long distance some families must travel, some families opt to mark the festival earlier or later in April over a long weekend or assign a few family members to make the trip on behalf of the entire family.

Once the family has paid their respects at the gravesite, some families will have a picnic at the gravesite. Then, they take advantage of the usually good weather to take a walk in the countryside, known as 踏青 (tà qīng), hence another name for the festival — Taqing Festival.

Some people wear a willow twig on their heads to keep ghosts away. Another custom includes picking shepherd’s purse flower. Women also pick herbs and make dumplings with them and they also wear the shepherd’s purse flower in their hair.

Other traditional activities on Tomb Sweeping Day include playing tug-of-war and swinging on swings. It is also a good time for sowing and other agricultural activities, including planting willow trees.

Hangzhou

In Hangzhou, major activities for celebrating Tomb Sweeping Day Festival include sweeping tombs and going on spring outings. During the Festival each year millions people offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep their family tombs. Cemeteries are becoming more popular as a result of reform and China's opening to the world. This is particularly so in the areas outside Hangzhou, such as Suzhou and Jiaxing. Each year, more than a million people stream to these places, spawning traffic jams.

During the Festival it has become fashionable to blend brome grass juice with the flours of glutinous rice, and then to make them into pastes. The pastes are rolled into pieces of wrappers and stuffed with sweet bean paste and jujube paste. The stuffed pastes are put into a steamer, the bottom of which is covered with reed leaves. The freshly steamed pastes are green, bright and attractive with an appealing aroma. This kind of paste is the most unique local snack of the Festival. The local people also have a penchant for porridge cooked with peach blossom petals. Fish, whether for offering sacrifices or for a family banquets is usually saury. Local people consider the green pastes to be an indispensable sacrifice to their ancestors.     

Qingming Vocabulary

fénmù 坟墓= tomb / grave

mùdì 墓地 = cemetery (which sounds exactly like mùdì 目的 = “goal”)

sǎomù 扫墓 = to sweep tombs

bài zǔxiān 拜祖先 = to pay respects to ancestors

shāo xiāng 烧香 = to burn incense

shāo zhū 烧猪 = roast pig

gānzhè 甘蔗 = sugar cane

fàng biānpào 放鞭炮 = set off firecrackers 

qīng míng tuán 清明团 = green rice ball

All These Big Events You Need to Know - Coming Up in Hangzhou

International Conference on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology has become an important part of many areas of biology. ICBCB conference series will be held annually to provide an interactive forum for presentation and discussion on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. The conference welcomes participants from all over the world who are interested in developing professional ties to and/or exploring career opportunities in the region. The conference should serve as an ideal forum to establish relationships from within China and other regions of the world.

Time: 8am - 6pm, Mar. 21st - 23rd
Location: Zhejiang University Yuquan Campus


2019 4th International Conference on Renewable Energy and Smart Grid (ICRESG 2019)

International Conference on Renewable Energy and Smart Grid. ICRESG is co-organized by Auckland University of Technology, American University of Madaba (AUM) and Hong Kong Society of Mechanical Engineers(HKSME), technically sponsored by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Zhejiang University.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Mar. 28th - 31st
Location: Hampton by Hilton Hangzhou Binjiang


Asia Conference on Power and Electrical Engineering

The Asia Conference on Power and Electrical Engineering. ACPEE is co-organized by Auckland University of Technology, American University of Madaba (AUM) and Hong Kong Society of Mechanical Engineers(HKSME), technically sponsored by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Zhejiang University.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Mar. 28th - 31st
Location: Hampton by Hilton Hangzhou Binjiang


Asia and Oceanian Parkinsons Disease and Movement Disorders Congress

Asia and Oceanian Parkinsons Disease and Movement Disorders Congress is a platform to facilitate communication between clinicians and researchers in the region, disseminate updated knowledge about movement disorders, improve quality of life and independence of movement disorders patients and caregivers, promote research and facilitate research collaborations in movement disorders and expose clinicians, researchers and healthcare professionals in the region to movement disorders initiatives.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Apr. 12th - 14th
Location: InterContinental Hangzhou


Food & Beverage Innovation Forum

"Promoting the positive development of the food & beverage industry"
FBIF2019 is themed as "Gaining New Momentum from Open Innovation". The three-day FBIF consists of Plenary Session and two awards ceremonies on Day One, five sub-forums on Day Two and Day Three including Product Innovation, Marketing Innovation, InnoPack and Food & Money. At the same time, there will be interactive activities at FBIF exhibition area. Food and Beverage Innovation Forum (FBIF), founded in 2014 by Simba Events, is one of the most influential industry forums in Asia-Pacific. It is dedicated to promoting the industry development through sharing the most updated successful cases and communicate upcoming trends across the globe in the F&B industry.

Highlights
120+ global speakers and juries communicating the latest trends and successful business cases
7700m2 exhibition area with both exhibition and exclusively organized interactive activities

Time: 8am - 6pm, Apr. 23rd - 25th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre


API China

"The oldest exhibition in the pharmaceutical field."
API China is the one-stop hight efficient industry platform for thousands of pharmaceutical and health care products manufacturers both at home and abroad. It will help pharmacy colleagues at home and broad fully understand the development trend of China pharmaceutical and healthcare products industry, meet industry friends and find new business opportunities.

Time: 9am - 6pm, May. 8th - 10th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre


China International Pharmaceutical Industry Exhibition

China International Pharmaceutical Industry Exhibition will focus on areas like pharmaceutical machinery, packaging machinery, biological engineering, biopharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical water treatment equipment, fluid engineering, cleaning technology & equipment, process technology & control system, etc.

Time: 9am - 6pm, May. 8th - 10th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre


China Hangzhou International Tea Industry Expo

China Hangzhou International Tea Industry Expo convenes famous tea, artisan and experts at home and abroad from top tea industry, big coffee, and tea lovers Gather together to create a grand tea feast.

Time: 9am - 6pm, May. 14th - 19th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre


VeggieWorld Hangzhou

"VeggieWorld. The fair for the vegan lifestyle."
VeggieWorld Hangzhou is a platform to discover products that are not available in your supermarket and get to know vegan pleasure. Enriched with tips and tricks from creators, producers, chefs, and faces of the scene. Even vegetable-produced clothing and cosmetics that make no compromise in terms of shape, color, and style, you can find with us.

Time: 9am - 6pm, May. 14th - 19th
Location: White Horse Lake Jianguo Hotel


International Congress on Thermal Stresses

International Congress on Thermal Stresses aims to provide a forum for scientists and engineers from academia, research laboratories, and industry from all over the world who are involved in the field of thermal stresses to exchange ideas and to extend further cooperation among participants. The Congress should forge cooperative links between researches and engineers by bringing them to one place where they present their achievements and conduct discussions.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 1st - 5th
Location: Zhejiang Hotel Hangzhou


International Content Summit

International and Chinese companies to develop new programming across all genres. The most direct & easy way to find the right co-production or co-development partners.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 5th - 7th
Location: Grand Hyatt Hangzhou


Electromagnetic and Light Scattering Conference

The main objective of this conference is to promote the communication of new research on various aspects of light scattering including theoretical developments, numerical simulations, and laboratory measurements, and applications in scientific and engineering disciplines. The conference is expected to provide a congenial atmosphere for in-depth discussions as well as a learning platform for young scientists and students to experience the frontiers of these areas of research.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 9th - 14th
Location: Zhejiang University Yuquan Campus


International Conference on Physics of 2D Crystals

The International Conference on Physics of 2D Crystals will cover a variety of topics ranging from fundamental physics to applications of new two-dimensional crystals and crystal structures including Graphene, Boron nitride, Transition metal dichalcogenides (MoS2, WS2, ...), Hybrid Perovskite, Photonic crystal, BN nanophotonics, and much more.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 10th - 15th
Location: Zhejiang Hotel Hangzhou


EAI International Conference on Mobile Computing, Applications and Services

The EAI International Conference on Mobile Computing, Applications and Services focuses on the topics such as Innovation in Mobile Apps, Networking, and Computing, User Interfaces and Interaction Technologies for Mobiles, Location and Context Sensing/Awareness, Mobile Computing and Internet of Things, Smartphones and Wearable Platforms, and much more.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Jun. 14th - 15th
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Asian Regional Association of Home Economics International Congress

The theme of this congress is The Aging and The Development of Home Economics Industry: For the Aspirations of the People to Live a Better Life, starting from the responsibility which home economics should assume while Asian countries and the community are developing rapidly. We hope that through home economics research, we are devoted to attaining the goal of family members' having a healthy, sustainable and long life We expect that in this very commemorative ARAHE International Congress, we will discuss this significant theme with many researchers of home economics from all Asian countries.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Aug. 20th - 23rd
Location: Zhijiang Hotel Hangzhou


11th Edition Conference
International Conference on Intelligent Human-Machine Systems and Cybernetics

"New applications for Human-machine interfaces"
International Conference on Intelligent Human-Machine Systems and Cybernetics aims to provide a forum for exchanges of research results, ideas for and experience of application among researchers and practitioners involved with all aspects of Human-Machine Systems and Cybernetics.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Aug. 24th - 25th
Location: Zhejiang Zijingang Hotel


IWA Odour & VOC/Air Emissions Conference

The IWA Odour & VOC/Air Emissions Conference will focus on the subject areas such as Policy and associated regulations for odour and air quality, Odour/VOC measurement, monitoring & sensor technologies, Odour/VOC perception, impact, formation and dispersion, GHG emissions, particulate matter and industrial emissions, Source characterisation and odour/VOC mapping, Odour/VOC abatement, mitigation and neutralization, Odour/VOC from wastewater, sewer systems and livestock, etc.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Oct. 14th - 17th
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China International Automobile Aftermarket Fair

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Time: 9am - 6pm, Nov. 23rd - 25th
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International Conference on Signal Processing and Machine Learning

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Time: 9am - 6pm, Nov. 27th - 29th
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Universal Tourism Exhibition

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Time: 9am - 6pm, Dec. 5th
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Money 20 20 China

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Time: 9am - 6pm, Dec. 4th - 6th
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