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Opening Your Whiskey Bar
By Jimi Morrisen

So you want to open up a bar, huh? Well, and this is coming from a bar owner himself, let me just say that it’s no easy task. Your immediate friends will not just show up at your place each and every night willing to pay for drinks and make your dream come true. Yeah, we’ve all thrown great parties over the years, but owning a bar means that you’ve got to throw those parties constantly. But seriously, you know this because at the end of the day, it’s your responsibility to pay your rent, your suppliers and your employees, not to mention the taxes, and other fees (let alone have a good time). So here’s my very condensed guide to opening a bar in China. Maybe one day, I’ll write a book on it.

First, you’ve got to make other people money, to the point where they can’t live without you, or to the point where they keep asking you why you don’t open your own bar. And those asking you can’t just be your average traveler having a good time at your events. It instead needs to be somebody with money. You’ve really got to make somebody extra rich before they think about making your dreams a reality. Unless of course you’ve got your own money, then skip this step.

When you make other people cash enough to fill their hot tub, they just might take it as a given. After all, they deserve the money they make no matter where it’s coming from, but there is that smart person out there, somewhere, that’s thinking about how to expand their empire, and who better to do it with than you, the person who made their money sinkhole into a waterfall?

When you think you’ve got somebody on the line, drop the notion that you’ve always wanted to start your own place but just don’t have the resources to do it. Plant the seed, and then go to work trying to find a place. Location, location, location. Blah, blah, blah. We’ve all heard that a million times, but the rule doesn’t necessarily apply here in China because ninety-five percent of your customers will take a taxi to your place, and who cares if they’ve got to spend an extra fiver on their cab fare? It’s a great idea to keep the place near the action but not necessarily smack dab in the middle of it. Cheap, cheap and cheaper as far as I’m concerned. You’re going to have to redo the place anyway, so the walls might as well be crumbling away as far as you care. As long as you’ve got the right to put in plumbing, you’re as good as gold. Having a place with no bathroom is a nightmare.

Alright, you’ve found this gem of a spot, just large enough but not too big, on the second floor of an old factory or a wet market (as long as it’s far away from residences). Remember that in many other countries, there are realistic expectations on opening up a bar. 25% of your expected annual revenue should go towards the rent/advertising. 25% of the same should go towards paying your staff and taxes, 25% should go towards paying your suppliers/utilities, and the last 25% should go towards your investors. That is assuming you’re making money, but you’ve got to do the reverse math when you think about paying your rent. I understand that the “normal” rules don’t necessarily apply here, but you’ve got to start somewhere. For example, you might be paying your staff a bit more than they would be getting paid in other tip-cultured countries, and your rent might be a bit lower, but those above numbers are good to keep in mind. Anyway, think about how much money you expect to make on a poor average day, divide that number by four, times that by 365, and there, you’ve got your annual expected rent. Let’s do a little math here:

Average daily revenue: 4,000RMB/day.
Average staff pay/taxes: 30,000RMB/month.
Average supplier bill/utilities: 30,000RMB/month.
Average investor return: 30,000RMB/month.
Rent: 30,000RMB/month.
Initial investment: 1,000,000RMB.

That seems about right now doesn’t it? The investor will be getting over 33% of their initial investment back each and every year. Sounds easy, no? Think again. Don’t by any means get to the rent bargaining table too soon with all of this because preparations take time, and each day you’re spending renovating the place takes away from your profit. So every step has to be made precisely. I personally would find a place that looks like it has no hope in hell of being rented, bring my investor there covertly, and start the process of convincing moneybags to start dishing out the dough. Then you can start ordering the furniture, buying the fixtures and getting things fabricated beforehand. One word for you out there: Taobao.

Now hopefully, you’ve either got some design/building sense yourself, or you know somebody who does and is willing to spend all of their extra time helping you. Let’s assume the former. You’ve peeked into the space you want to rent, so you’ve got a general idea of what you need, but of course, not everything. No need to worry because there’s nothing in there that a few extra workers including yourself can’t take care of. I’m going to say this again and again: Watch your budget! Yes, you want those leather chairs and barstools and that hand-carved stone bar, but it just doesn’t fit the budget. This isn’t some Starbucks that’s in the most expensive real estate in the city, so you only need a spot that’s more comfortable than somebody’s used to at home. Having said that, get a hold of the standard measurements for things like chairs, tables, bars and bar stools before you buy anything. The last thing you need is to have a table that’s too low – I’ve been in way too many places with those. Not everything on Taobao follows those standards. I certainly know that. You order everything including all of the extra refrigerators, freezers, locks for the storage and extra sturdy bathroom fixtures.

Ask any bar owner in China and they’ll tell you that glasses and ashtrays are running costs rather than fixed ones, and there’s a huge difference. People spend money at your place like you want them to, but the more cash they spend the drunker they get, so things, especially glasses and ash trays, tend to walk. Every bar owner would love to have etched mugs served with expensive beer in them, but this is simply not a reality. Avoid this at any expense. 

Now that your living room is full of everything from sinks to the welcome mat, it’s time to get that rent deal done and your licenses applied for, and don’t give me that “This is China” bull when it comes to getting your permits and licenses done. Every country has their own set of strange and incomprehensible laws when it comes to doing these things. Quit your whining and just get it done!

After you send in the most experienced bargainer you know to do the negotiations, your ten year (highly recommended) incrementally increasing rent deal is done. You’ve watched your budget and skipped getting the imported stuffed polar bear head. You’ve dotted all of your i’s and crossed all of your t’s on all of the permits, and you’ve had all of those people who have enjoyed your party making efforts over to help wash all of the floors and hang the moldings. You’ve got a week or two to hang your sign, order the liquor, hire your staff, make your menu with prices, train all of your staff and plan your opening party. You’ve done the party thing before, and you’ve got 500 or so WeChat contacts that’ll hopefully show up, so you think you’re set, but the battle has yet to begin.

Concerning your staff, hire people who you pay. Free employees are more often than not unreliable. Hire people who come on time and are friendly. Prepare them well, warning them that this will be one of the toughest jobs they’ve ever had, but don’t invest too much time on training them until they prove themselves on the job. The number of times I’ve spent tons of effort on employees who then pick up and leave kills me. I’ve washed the bar with my tears way too many times to count. In the end, your customers will forgive you when an employee messes up an order on their first visit, as long as they don’t make the same mistake time and time again. Pay them well and give them time off. There’s no need to compare your place to McDonald’s because you are not the biggest hamburger chain in the world, so forget the pay standard they set and follow the standard 25% bar pay rule that I mentioned above. When your business gets better, either pay your employees more or hire more staff.

When making your menu, make sure your prices are right. As long as you follow the 25% you pay to your supplier rule, this should be an easy thing to do. You simply mark everything up four times. If you’ve scored a very cheap place to rent or have saved tons of investment capital because you’ve put in tons of your own time, well then you can start by marking up your menu a little less to relieve any guilt you might feel. But don’t forget, it’s really hard to raise your prices once they are set. It’s easier, on the other hand, to give away some free drinks every now and then.

Now onto what people really come to a bar for: the booze. Ordering your liquor isn’t an easy thing to do, especially if you’ve got wine on the menu. I’ve seen owners taste twenty bottles of wine or so before they find a single bottle they like and feel they can sell at a reasonable price. Get stuff you like and would easily recommend to others, and get a wide range of prices. There’s nothing like having people walk into your bar only to find that everything is either too cheap for their sophisticated palate or too expensive for their budget.

What’s in a name? A bar by any other name would smell just as much like stale beer, right? Not necessarily. The name of your bar is obviously very important. Think of it as your child. You don’t want to name your child something that they’ll be made fun of in school for, no matter what language that school is conducted in. So ask your friends about a variety of names and see which ones fit. Nobody wants to walk into a place that translates into “poo bar” in Russian. In addition, you want to be unique, so look online to make sure that the name isn’t trademarked because though today you might only own one joint, that doesn’t mean that tomorrow you won’t have the biggest bar chain in the world.

So, you’ve got your sign up, you’re ready to go, and you want to have a big opening party. I highly recommend not hiring a very expensive DJ or ten piece band to help you have it. After all, it’s your job to bring the people in, isn’t it? Not only that, but you don’t want to have people coming to your place for the one-time event you’re having. You’ve got to do this on a daily basis in order to pay the bills. And don’t worry about having a few goose egg days at the start. That’ll just kill you.

Do your books on a very regular if not daily basis. It’s an easy thing to do when it’s not piled up, and it makes the investor happy when everything is clear. That way you can easily see what affects your business and when or if somebody is stealing from you. Also, often take pictures of your staff, your bar and your customers. It’s funny how time flies, and it’s great looking back when years pass. Though you can always do your books at a later date, though this is not recommended, pictures can never be taken of the past.

Also as a final note, I highly recommend broadening your horizons. Have a bar that welcomes everybody, old, young, rich, poor, man, woman, pretty and plain. In the cities we live in, there are not enough wealthy, sexy business women to open a cocktail bar that caters only to them. Now I’m not saying that you should serve every Joe, Dick and Sally, but I am saying that you should go with the flow and welcome everybody who’s willing to contribute to the very general atmosphere you’re trying to create.

And really last, but certainly not least. You now own a bar, but that doesn’t give you the right to do what you want. I’m talking to myself here. Just because you own the place, doesn’t mean that you can drink all you want whenever you want. So what, you’ve got the keys, and you get the booze for cheap. Drinking every day does nobody, including your business, any good. And a bar owner should never forget that this place of business is just that – a place of business, one that needs to pay the rent, the employees, the suppliers and the taxes. Just because you’ve followed all of the rules and are profiting from them doesn’t mean that you’re the king of your castle. It’s hard, and believe me I know more than most exactly how hard it is, but that doesn’t mean drinking yourself to near death is excusable by any means.

People will puke on your shoes, piss you off, money will disappear, employees will leave without notice, your landlord will try to increase your rent, liquor prices will go up, glasses will be stolen, chairs will be broken, fights will inevitably happen, but you should know that going into this business. It is not for the weak at heart by any means, and most people just fade away after a couple of years, but it’s definitely worth giving it a try. After all, sometimes putting your money where your mouth is has something to be said for it. At the end of the day, it’s better than sitting at home watching the tube day in and day out. Oh, the people you’ll meet, and the conversations you’ll have, the stories you’ll hear, not to mention all the laughs, they are what make it worth it in the end. Because it wasn’t the booze that got you started in this whole adventure, it was the people.  

*Note: This wasn’t the way that I did it, but if I were to do it a second time in a new location, it certainly would be, so until then please “show me the way to the next whiskey bar.”

Whiskey Bars in Hangzhou:


Joy Bar 酒隐
5 Haiguan Road 海关路5号, 136 6660 2871, 7pm - 2am
87 Nanshan Road 南山路87号, 158 2121 5580, 7pm - 3am

Kamakama Cocktail & Kitchen
104, 3rd Lane, Longxiangli, Zone B, Hubin InTime Mall, 255 Yan'an Road 延安路255号湖滨银泰B区龙翔里三弄104, 0571 8798 1819, 11am - 2am

Mill
77 Yile Road (close to West Wen’er Road) 益乐路77号(近文二西路), 0571 8891 2175, 1pm - 2am

Smoky Bar 醺
Room 1-3, 2/F, Building 32, Qingchun Fang, Dafuqing Lane 大福清巷青春坊32幢2楼1-3室 (嘉德广场旁), 0571 5613 9111, 7pm - 2am

Aurora Lounge
86 East Huancheng Road 环城东路86号(老浙大横路与环城东路交叉口), 0571 8580 3206, 7pm - 2am

H Lounge 西拉酒吧
7 Paomachang Lane 跑马场路7巷, 0571 8880 9701, 7pm - 2am

Mora Whisky & Cocktails 莫拉酒吧
145 Jiangnan Avenue, Binjiang 滨江江南大道145号, 137 3804 4196, 2pm - 2am

Xiang Lounge 響Lounge
1-3/F, Longhe International, 1961 Jianghui Road, Binjiang 滨江江晖路1961号隆和国际1-3楼, 0571 8887 7798 

 

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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
Location: Hangzhou


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
Location: Zhejiang University Yuquan Campus


China International Automobile Aftermarket Fair

China International Automobile Aftermarket Fair not only witnesses the rise and prosperity of China Automobile Aftermarket Industry but also sets up the most direct business negotiation platform for industrial enterprises. It will be the comprehensive industrial event that focus on providing product and technique solutions for automobile service industry, automobile dealers and all levels of selling agents

Time: 9am - 6pm, Nov. 23rd - 25th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre


International Conference on Signal Processing and Machine Learning

International Conference on Signal Processing and Machine Learning are meant for researchers from academia, industries and research & development organizations all over the globe interested in the areas of machine learning methods/ algorithms, signal processing theory and methods, data mining, artificial intelligence, optimization and applications to human brain disorders like epilepsy etc. The conference will feature world-class keynote speakers in the main areas. Machine Learning usually plays an important role in the transition from data storage to decision systems based on large databases of signals such as the obtained from sensor networks, internet services, or communication systems.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Nov. 27th - 29th
Location: Hangzhou Dianzi University


Universal Tourism Exhibition

Universal Tourism Exhibition is a large outbound tourism trade platform and an itinerant exhibition. It is a B2B platform for Chinese outbound travel agencies and overseas inbound travel agencies, hotels, resorts, scenic spots, tourism platforms, cruises, tourism bureaus, other related tourism.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Dec. 5th
Location: Hangzhou


Money 20 20 China

Money20/20 is your opportunity to mix with an electrifying blend of global financial leaders, showcase new ideas, forge new partnerships and build brand awareness. This market-leading event showcases domestic and international companies from across the entire payments, FinTech and financial services industry, from financial giants to the rising stars of FinTech. Become a sponsor and make the most of this incredible opportunity.

Time: 9am - 6pm, Dec. 4th - 6th
Location: Hangzhou International Expo Centre

What To Do For Chinese Lantern Festival

Lantern Festival marks the last day of the Spring Festival and officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations. This fun festival is mostly celebrated at nighttime to see the colorful lanterns flying high in the dark sky. In addition to seeing the lanterns flying, during this festival, families gather to attend four other major activities on this special day.

The belief during this festival is by lighting a lantern, you make a wish. So Chinese families light their lanterns and pray for health, fortune, wealth or make even more precise wishes. It is said that if you want your wish to come true, you must walk under a hanging lantern and pray for what you want.

So, at the end of the day, people light their lanterns and watch them fly away in the dark sky, accompanied by fireworks. Releasing the lanterns, which are red for good luck, symbolizes people letting go of their past selves and embracing new identities for the coming year.

Another popular activity during the Lantern Festival is to guess lanterns riddles.

Lantern riddles are called 灯迷 dēng mí in Chinese, where 灯 dēng is a lantern, lamp, or light, and 迷 mí refers to a puzzle, riddle, enigma, or conundrum.

The lanterns’ owners write riddles on small strips of paper they attach to the lantern they have hanging outside their home, so visitors can try to guess and solve the riddle.

If the visitors come up with an answer to the riddle (they are usually pretty tough to guess!), they can take off the paper and give it to the lantern owner. If the visitor guessed the right answer, then they win a little gift, given by the owner.

And this is how you change your casual stroll in the streets into a delightful moment by solving riddles. Fun, right?

Lastly, a big Lantern Festival tradition is to eat 元宵 (yuán xiāo) and these sticky balls are so yummy you’d be sorry to miss out on this excuse to eat sweet stuff.

元宵 (yuán xiāo) are sticky rice dumplings that can be stuffed with white sugar, brown sugar, sesame seeds, peanuts, walnuts, rose petals, bean paste, and jujube paste, or any combination of two or three ingredients. For Chinese people, the roundness of the dumplings symbolizes the togetherness as it is a great time for family gatherings.

Here are the locations where you can watch the Lantern Festival:

Grand Canal Spring
“运河之春”灯会


Time: Feb. 19th
Location: Streets in Gongshu District 拱墅区各街道

Wushan
吴山灯会


Time: 5:30pm - 9:30pm, Jan.25th - Feb. 20th (5:30pm - 10:30pm on the 19th)
Location: Cheng Huang Ge, Wushan 吴山城隍阁景区
Tickets: 30RMB/adults, 15RMB/children

People's Square, Xiaoshan
萧山人民广场


Time:  1:30pm - 3pm on Feb. 18th - 20th. Variety performances including singing and dancing, magic, acrobatics, etc.
Location: People's Square, Xiaoshan 萧山人民广场

Xiang Lake
湘湖灯会


Time: Feb. 3rd - 19th
Location: Xiang Lake, Xiaoshan 萧山区湘湖景区

West Lake Culture Plaza
西湖文化广场


Time: Feb. 18th - 20th
Location: West Lake Culture Plaza 西湖文化广场

Qiantang Lantern Affair
钱塘灯会


Time: Feb. 19th - Mar. 4th
Location: Dengxin Lane, Tianshui Street 天水街道灯芯巷

Song Dynasty
宋城灯会


Time: Feb. 5th - 19th
Location: Song Dynasty Themed Park 宋城景区
Tickets: 290RMB

Post-Holiday Weight Loss Plan

If you gained a few pounds over the holidays, you’re not alone. The good news for seniors looking to get back on track is you can bring about weight loss by cutting 500 calories daily from your diet. That’s the equivalent of one bagel with cream cheese.

The bad news, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, is most people don’t lose the one to five pounds they gained during the Christmas and Chinese New Year’s season. Aim to follow these suggestions on this list over the course of a week, and you'll be well on your way to reclaiming your waistline before you've even had a chance to pack up the holiday decorations.

Cut Sugar
The topic about sugar can go on and on, how bad is sugar? The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume no more than 6 teaspoons (about 22 grams) of sugar per day. This seems easy to control, but in fact, if you drink a bottle of any sweet drink, you will exceed the standard.

If you want to know more, we suggest you to watch this film That Sugar Film by Damon Gameau, here is a trial:
https://v.qq.com/x/cover/yxmn5h9ya3rl2e9.html
Damon Gameau becomes a human guinea-pig when he puts himself through a grueling 6 week diet consuming the equivalent of 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. That Sugar Film is one man's journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as “healthy.”
Sugar is Sweet or white “poison”?

Drink Water
People often mistake thirst for hunger, so next time you feel like noshing, reach for water first. Drinking also helps you feel full. Some experts suggest sipping water (or iced tea) just before you sit down to a meal. Continue drinking as you eat to add volume and weight to your meal.

Try An At-home HIIT Workout
Try this 25-minute HIIT workout to torch 500 calories: 1 minute, 30 seconds of burpees; 1 minute, 30 seconds of squat jumps; 1 minute, 30 seconds of pendulums; 1 minute, 30 seconds of band jumps; and 1 minute, 30 seconds of bicep curls with bands. Repeat three times with a minute of rest in between. This sequence hits your whole body and the fast transitions keep your heart going. That way, even when the workout is over, you'll still be burning calories.

Opt For A Low-calorie Breakfast
Swap out your regular morning bagel, baozi, youtiao, fried dumplings to immediately slash 240 calories from your breakfast. And instead of flavoring it with spreading some ripe avocado on the whole wheat bread. You'll save yourself another 25 calories and benefit from the "good" monounsaturated fats in avocados, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Do this twice a week to cut 530 calories.

Don't Just Sit There
The average person burns 100 calories per hour sitting and 140 per hour standing. Make a point of being on your feet for at least two hours every day, and you could slash an extra 560 calories by the end of the week. Bonus: Taking frequent breaks can help prevent your risk of developing anxiety, heart disease, or certain cancers—all potential side effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

Go Easy on the Alcohol
Remember that alcohol is a source of calories. A 12-ounce beer has 150 calories; a 3.5-ounce glass of wine, 85. A margarita packs a bigger caloric punch. Even worse offenders are creamy cocktails, such as brandy alexanders and mudslides—equivalent to drinking a rich dessert. The bottom line: If you’re trying to lose weight, stick with water. Follow these simple tricks to cut back on alcohol.

Dress Your Salad with A Fork
Prefer your salad dressing on the side? Lightly dip your fork into the dressing before stabbing your greens instead of plunging an already-loaded fork into the condiment (which picks up more) or drizzling it on top. You'll get just enough to flavor each bite and will cut about 500 calories. Another tip: Always opt for balsamic instead of Caesar to save yourself another 70 calories per tablespoon.

Say Goodbye to Soda
There are plenty of reasons to give up your soda habit once and for all. Studies have linked consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to tooth decay, diabetes, and poor bone health. And diet soda doesn't fare much better—artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose trigger insulin, which could cause you to gain weight. Start by replacing your daily 12-ounce can with a glass of water for a week, and you'll cut 980 calories. This is probably one of the easiest and best swaps you can make.

Up Your Protein (A Little)
Research suggests that protein prolongs the feeling of fullness better than carbohydrates or fats do. Studies in Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, and England found that people who ate a high-protein breakfast or lunch were less hungry at their next meal. Protein also requires a few more calories to digest. Just don’t go overboard. Stick to low-fat protein sources like low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, low-fat soy drinks or snacks, or thinly sliced turkey breast.

Go For A Run
Running may be one of the most efficient workouts when it comes to blasting fat. Lace up your sneakers and go for a 60-minute run at a 10-minute-per-mile pace to burn about 600 calories.

Hit the Stairs
Not a fan of long runs? Work off nearly the same amount of calories in half the time by running up and down the stairs in your home. Do this for 15 minutes, and you'll lose 270 calories. Repeat twice a week to torch over 500.

Grab A Jump Rope
We know, we know—it gives you flashbacks to elementary school gym class. But jumping rope is a serious calorie-burner that strengthens your quads, calves, core, and shoulders. Spend 20 minutes jumping rope and you'll burn 240 calories; do this twice in a week to torch nearly 500.

Snack Smart
You may think of it as a health food, but one serving of pita bread contains about 13% of your recommended daily sodium. For a healthier fix, pair hummus with crunchy red pepper slices. This fiber-filled veggie is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, and will save you 135 calories. Do this four times a week to burn 540 calories in total.

Work Out For Just 10 More Minutes
Whether you're on the treadmill, walking around your neighborhood, or swimming laps, tell yourself to continue on for another ten minutes after you're ready to end your workout. Those extra minutes could help you shed an additional 100 calories. Repeat for five of your weekly workouts to burn 500.

Only 4 months to summer, good luck to you, and we hope you'll get to see a new you in the year of 2019!

Click for Hangzhou, Zhejiang Forecast

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