She had peed on her feet, something the taxi driver had no way of knowing. Indeed he had no way of knowing that she had peed on her feet for the first time ever in her life, and had done so while wearing sandals and shorts, in a public convenience with poor ventilation, trillions of fat flies, and all the unpleasantries found in and around popular municipal lavatories at the zenith of summer. The taxi driver also had no way of knowing that her freshly-urinated toes had spiced-up a day that began with insufficient deodorant and, since noon, had been oozing rapidly into an August afternoon of blotchy foundation, sub-sartorial swampiness, frizz, and a hair-trigger mood. Nor did he know that his gravel-in-the-mouth northern accent was grating on my singed nerves nearly as much as his barrage of probing questions about myself, my partner, and our relationship (rather untimely given the circumstances). He could not have known that I had no desire to discuss international relations from his very particular and troublingly nationalistic perspective. He could not have known any of this, and could not have known that I wanted to throttle him.
The fare rang-in at 19RMB, and I slipped him two tens through the gap in the plexiglass shield which - for the past three kilometers - would have impeded my efforts to choke him had I attempted to do so. How, then, to describe my feelings when he forced one of the tens back through the gap, thanking me with a broad smile for a stimulating conversation and congratulating me on my spoken-Chinese and pretty belle?
Embarassed. Humbled. That’s exactly how I felt as I mumbled a string of penitent and ashamed thank-yous and stuffed the tenner into my shirt pocket. The taxi driver could not have known how complex my feelings were at the moment, or that the issue of the pee-feet (for which somehow I was responsible) had not yet reached its climax. Eventually it did, nine months later. This 11 November I will be celebrating Single’s Festival (guanggun jie, 光棍节).
Over the course of my 13 years in China, this would be the first and only time that a cabbie had insisted I take considerably less than the fare on the meter. (Would this happen in any city? In any hemisphere?) It was also one of the few times that I felt genuinely grateful for any courtesy extended to me in this country. I’d said xiexie millions of times, of course, and meant it. But sincere semiautomated thanks-saying is to the expression of gratitude what a McDonald’s cheeseburger is to, well, a cheeseburger.
The Chinese word into which one typically translates grateful is ganxie (感谢), a compound of gan (feeling, as in ganjue, 感觉), and xie (to thank, as in xiexie, 谢谢) -- literally: the feeling-to-thank, or, feeling-of-thankfulness. This is a little different from gan’en, as in gan’en jie, the American holiday Thanksgiving. Gan’en has the same gan as ganxie, and the en (恩, which can be translated a number of ways) approximates favor or grace – the latter in the sense of There but for the grace of the gods go I. Why was I grateful to the taxi driver? Because there was no norm, rule, or convention that required the taxi driver to benefit me – or: to aim intentionally to benefit me. He was not repaying a debt, making good on a promise, or luring me into a transactional reciprocal relationship – odds were between slim and none that I’d ever be in his cab again. He had nothing to gain by being weirdly, spontaneously generous. And that’s what made my last few seconds in his stationary cab so moving.
One thread of enquiry into these sorts of circumstances focuses on the taxi driver’s actions, on his seemingly altruistic behavior. What has long attracted my attention, however, is the other side of the coin: the experience of being the beneficiary of seemingly genuine altruism, and the resulting experience of a feeling of gratitude.
Ganxie consists of two characters which I have known for as long as I have been wrestling with Putonghua and Chinese-languages, and when I arrived here ganxie was immediately added to my new and tiny quiver of poorly-pronounced Chinese words on the assumption that I’d be using it with regularity – feichang ganxie for this, hen ganxie for that. Feichang ganxie is in fact a phrase you’ll hear a lot at the beginning of speeches, public addresses, and in the prefaces to oratory honorifics. But off the dais and in the humdrum of every-day existence, you’re unlikely to hear it being used with the same frequency as the English word grateful. As my language-skills approached proto-conversational, its absence from discourse was conspicuous.
Which is odd. Chinese antiquity – like that of the Occident – consistently celebrated gratitude as a virtue. In The Book of Odes (诗经) we find this: 投之以桃，报之以李 . (Tóu zhī yǐ táo, bào zhī yǐ lǐ. “Don’t forget the good others have done you and seek to return the favor”.) The arrival into China of Buddhism and its subsequent flourishing only reinforced indigenous traditions (folk, Confucian, Daoist), which, in their characteristic ways and in varying degrees, were principally oriented around ren (仁), yi (义), and li (利) – humanity, righteousness, and (ritual) propriety. Whereas yi and li are sufficient for formalized-reciprocity and debt-fulfillment, it takes ren (and lots of it) to get anywhere near kenotic altruism (and debt forgiveness), which are much nearer to the spirit of gratitude. Apparently, it doesn’t take too many generations of strategic and mercenary guanxi-calculation to beat the gan out of ganxie, leaving behind only a hastily-reiterated xie. Ten thousand spoken xiexie’s weighs less than a single felt ganxie.
The Greeks and Romans of antiquity were fixated with the idea of gratitude (or rather: ingratitude), and the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca (4bce-65ce) went so far as to say of ingratitude that there was no vice more odious. This was the title of a lecture I gave in 1999 at a very small philosophy colloquium at a university you’ve never heard of. It was based on my research interests at the time, and it focused mainly on a question raised by Seneca in On Benefits (63ce): Can children bestow upon their parents benefits greater than those bestowed upon the children by the parents, on the assumption that the parents “benefitted” the children best and most by creating them in the first place? It is in this context that Seneca gave Western letters one of the earliest explorations of gratitude and ingratitude. My bagatelle of a paper was an incomplete and imperfect attempt to resurrect discussion of a subject which (to my thinking) was receiving far too little attention.
I had no way of knowing at the time, but psychologist Michael McCullough (University of Miami) had been working on a similar topic, and in 2001 McCullough and Emmons (et al.) published “Is gratitude a moral effect?”. Had this paper only helped to legitimate scholarly interest in the phenomenon of gratitude, all would be well; but what it did was yank the subject matter away from belles lettres and philosophy and slam-dunk it into the overrated but fashionable mosh pit of the experimental behavior sciences. McCullough’s long-time collaborator Robert A Emmons (University of California/Davis) explains, in lovely prose, his take on “the new science of gratitude” in his 2008 book Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
Gratitude is an important dimension to our life as we interact with one another in our everyday affairs. It is impossible to imagine a world don’t receive and give gratitude on a regular basis. Binding together people in relationships of reciprocity, gratitude is one of the building blocks of a civil and humane society. Georg Simmel, a prominent early-twentieth-century Swiss sociologist, referred to gratitude as “the moral memory of mankind”. He wrote that “if every grateful action… were suddenly eliminated, society (at least as we know it) would break apart”. We need gratitude in to function in relation to others.
McCullough and Emmons (editors of the 2004 The Psychology of Gratitude) continue to do research in this domain. Both have websites which cite their work and celebrate its importance in the domain they (individually and collectively) helped to create.
My notes from May, 2008: I am sitting in a well-known chain coffee shop which at the moment smells more like scalp and wet Labrador retriever than Arabica beans and cacao. I am awaiting the arrival of a friend, and have just held open the door for an incoming-patron who, due to what she was carrying, would not have been able to open it on her own. She does not say thank you (or xiexie), or acknowledge my efforts, or appear cognizant of my intention to help. This is the rule and not the exception in these latitudes, and although I’m used to it, it still annoys me. It’s not that it’s rude not to say “thank you” -- that’s a judgment based on cultural-norms for etiquette. It is the seeming failure to apprehend a conspicuous intention to benefit that has me wondering about her and her compatriots’ cognitive or visceral amenability to the feeling of gratitude. And I am wondering about the deeper implications of that.
Emmons’ book Thanks! was published in 2008. I didn’t know about it at the time. But by that year I had been thinking rigorously and conscientiously about the phenomenon (and the phenomenology) of gratitude for nearly a decade. As the scalpy smell of Starbucks churned the mocha-caramel latte in my stomach into something unpleasant and unmentionable, I was acutely aware of the fact that - eight years in-country - and I was still finding it very difficult to reconcile what I thought I know about ‘gratitude’ with what I thought I knew about ganxie and with what I thought I knew about human nature. When my (local, bilingual, and wealthy) friend arrived, I asked her what seemed to me to be a simple question: How often do you think about the things for which you are grateful? How often do you feel consciously gratitude? She paused for a moment, masticating the query with what appeared to be embarrassment. Almost never, she said, almost penitently. By appearing as if she is confessing a moral shortcoming, she redeems herself. She also helps confirm a working-hypothesis. She does not know about any of this.
Since 2004 I have been living in what Oriental Outlook magazine rated “The Happiest City in China”. (In 2009 the same publication ranked Chengdu as “The [Second] Happiest City in China”.) I learned only last year that McCullough and Emmons keep the bread of their research buttered with “happiness-studies”, and it occurred to me precisely ten minutes ago those who cut grant-checks seem to like happiness-research nearly as much as they do research related to childhood allergies, addiction, and Asperger’s. “Gratitude”, Emmons opines,
is the “forgotten factor” in happiness research. We are engaged in a long-term research project designed to create and disseminate a large body of novel scientific data on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its potential consequences for human health and well-being. Scientists are latecomers to the concept of gratitude. Religions and philosophies have long embraced gratitude as an indispensable manifestation of virtue, and an integral component of health, wholeness, and well-being. Through conducting highly focused, cutting-edge studies on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its consequences, we hope to shed important scientific light on this important concept.
This might one of China’s most consistently happy cities – one with an increasingly affluent population, no less – but I don’t hear too many people talking about gratitude or the things for which they are grateful. Superficially at least, this seems a little at odds with core of the McCullough-Emmons hypothesis. I also would have thought that being affluent in a country which, a half a century ago, didn’t have enough kilocalories to go around (never mind Starbucks and Lamborghini dealerships) would be reason plenty to feel grateful, to be brimming over with ganxie-ness. But perhaps none of China’s happy cities are really happy. I’m sure there’s grant money somewhere for asking and attempting to answer that question. But then again, social and behavioural scientists are generally better at applying regression-analysis to data from questionnaires than they are at thinking up the right questions to ask in the first place.
I for one am grateful for many things, and the number of things for which I am grateful increases as I get older. I write, now, from a comfortable chair, snugly warm in a little café, sipping a nice California Merlot and nibbling on cheese cake that the immigrant teenage waitstaff here – in this twee boutique, in my happy city - cannot themselves afford. I walked here at a healthy clip and without the use of a crutch or cane. I have at no point in my life peed on my own feet, or anybody elses, at least unintentionally. I know that gratitude is not a feeling of indebtedness, but a feeling of wonder, and that feeling gratitude – as intensely as I do, as often as I do - does not seem to contribute much to my happiness. (To my eudaimonia? Maybe. To my happiness? No. On the contrary.)
And I know, too, that however we analyse, biologize, and demystify altruism it is still a wonderful thing, and that gratitude (whatever the psychologists say) is a feeling of smallness – the kind of smallness that makes one feel giddy, and summons to the frontal lobes appreciation of the fact that most of the best things in one’s life are, in one way or another, hostage to circumstances beyond one’s control. To be susceptible to the experience of authentic gratitude, one must appreciate acutely (and I think chronically, too) one’s fragility, and the ultimate contingency of one’s contentment – or better: one’s lack of discontent.
"Since you are mortal”, wrote Simonides (556-468bce), “never say what tomorrow will bring nor how long a man may be happy. For the darting of the dragonfly is not so swift as change of fortune." I suspect Simonides grasped and understood the essence of gratitude. I’m not sure if the maiden sitting nearish to me now in the café – the one with the iPhone, BV purse, and tuhao bling; the one posting on Weixin pics of her bare milky knees and creamy latte; the one who did not even ritually xiexie waitstaff for serving her the expensive beverage she photos rather than drinks – grasps the essence of ganxie.
But how would I know. She seems to have a nice grip on her latte and smartphone. And she seems happy enough. As well she should.
Still, I hope she accidentally pees on her Pradas.
Eve Waites is the author of a number of books which he has not yet written.
1 “Shiyi shiyi”, the eleventh day of the eleventh month. The series of ones (1 1 1 1) is, I’m told, suggestive of singleness.
2 Emmons (2008) Thanks: How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, p.9
3 Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness Dimensions and Perspectives of Gratitude, vide: http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/highlights_fall_2003.pdf
4 See Lung Hung Chen et al. (2008) “Validation of the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ) In Taiwanese Undergraduate Students”, Journal of Happiness Studies, vide: http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/Validation%20of%20the%20Gratitude%20Questionnaire%20(GQ)%20in%20Taiwanese%20Undergraduate%20Students.pdf. See also http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude-Related%20Stuff/Chinese%20GQ-6_Joyce%20Leong.pdf, and generally http://www.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/Gratitude_Page.htm.
5 See generally Martha Nussbaum (1986) The Fragility of Goodness.
T I M E
V E N U E
Shanghai Exhibition Center
T I C K E T S
Public Ticket: 150RMB
VIP Preview: 660RMB
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai announces its program highlights and gallery list for its sixth edition which will take place at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre from September 20-22 with Presenting Partner Porsche.
Since its beginning, the Fair has provided an unparalleled platform for collectors and audiences across Asia Pacific to revisit the history of photography and to be challenged to redefine the medium's boundaries.
Recognizing photography as a changing and developing art form, the Fair presents moving images, installations, videos, digital art, sculptures and performance alongside classic masterpieces and still works.
This is clearly reflected throughout the Fair's 2019 public program which emphasizes the experimental features of photography, encouraging new approaches and ideas through special exhibitions, installations and new commissions by some of the most exciting artists working in the medium today.
Staged is a curated initiative that spotlights artists working at the cutting-edge of photography. Placed throughout the Fair, Staged 2019 is powered by Ocula and features:
- Chen Dazhi (Three Shadows +3 Gallery, Beijing & Xiamen), whose photography evokes the visualization of spirits across the dimensions of time and space.
- Johannes Wohnseifer (König Galerie, London & Berlin), whose ‘Polaroid Paintings’ challenge the functional use of Polaroids as a social and aesthetic means of documenting everyday reality.
- Michael Najjar (BANK, Shanghai), as a pioneer artist who fuses science, art, and technology into visions and utopias of future social orders emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies.
- Leila Alaoui (Galleria Continua, Beijing, Havana, Les Moulins, San Gimignano), with La Marocians which brings together larger-than-life portraits taken by the artist as she travelled Morocco.
Li Binyuan (Ren Space, Shanghai), whose performance ‘Room’ (2019) brings together video art and live action sculpture.
In a newly commissioned exhibition, Para Site (Hong Kong) will bring together a diverse collection of artists from across East Asia/Asia Pacific who use photography and new media to challenge the conventional theme of landscape including Yang Yuanyuan, Lau Wai and Tan Lijie.
Titled Fieldwork, the exhibition reflects on ideas around territory, culture, identity and state by reframing the past to consider its role in shaping the future. With artworks never seen in Mainland China, each artist will examine moments in history that have been previously overlooked or deliberately excluded to offer comment on the current geo-political situation. Works include:
- Intensely personal pieces such as Sim Chi Yin’s series One Day They’ll Understand. The work captures the complexity of family history in relation to the Cold War era in South East Asia and examines the hidden stories, silenced memories and contested narratives.
- Particularly pertinent against the backdrop of the Hong Kong protests, Siu Wai Hang's Inside/ Outland documents the very waters that separate Hong Kong from the mainland, a reminder of those who swam to the shores of Hong Kong to seek refuge, including the artist's own father, and the complexity in distilling "we" from "they".
Motoyuki Shitamichi's Torii project in which the artist photographs the Japanese torii outside of Japan’s national borders. Torii represents a symbolic shape in Shintoism and outside of Japan the torii lose their significance and transform into simple objects.
COLLECTORS' EXHIBITION TAKING THE LEAP
Artworks from the UK's University of Salford Art Collection, which focuses on digital and Chinese contemporary art, have been selected by celebrated Hong Kong curator Ying Kwok for the 2019 Collectors' Exhibition.
With the theme Taking the Leap, Kwok challenges collectors and audiences to move away from their comfort zone and demonstrates how to collect digital artworks by showcasing exciting artists including Cao Fei, Sun Xun, Mishka Henner and duo Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead.
The exhibition also hopes to inspire collectors to commission artists to create new work. Demonstrating this point, the leading, and often censored, female multimedia artist Lu Yang, has been commissioned to create a new photographic lightbox which will be shown in the Collectors Exhibition and will then enter the University of Salford Art Collection after the Fair.
Spotlight & Exposure Award
As announced earlier this year, the 2019 public program will also see two Mainland China debuts: Marina Abramović's legendary series The Lovers (1988) in the Spotlight exhibition and a solo presentation of work by French artist Noemie Goudal (Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, Paris), winner of the Fair's inaugural Exposure Award powered by MODERN EYE.
Supporting PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai this year are 50 galleries from around the world, committed to showcasing the very best in contemporary photography.
They include: 10 Years Ago (Toronto), Alter Gallery (Shanghai), Arario Gallery (Cheonan, Seoul & Shanghai), Art Labor (Shanghai), ArtCN Gallery (Shanghai), artspace AM (Tokyo), BANK (Shanghai), bitforms gallery (New York), Brownie Project (Shanghai), Cipa Gallery (Beijing), Galleria Continua (San Gimignano, Beijing, Les Moulins & Habana), Danysz Gallery (Paris, Shanghai & London), Galerie Dumonteil (Paris & Shanghai), Galerie F16 (Paris), Flowers Gallery (London, New York & Hong Kong), Gaotai Gallery (Urumqi), Christophe Guye Galerie (Zurich), Harmony Art Gallery (Shanghai), Sean Kelly Gallery (New York & Taipei), Klemm's (Berlin), König Galerie (Berlin & London), Leo Gallery (Shanghai & Hong Kong), Les Douches La Galerie (Paris), Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire (Paris), Ami Li Gallery (Beijing), Matthew Liu Fine Arts (Shanghai), M Art Center (Shanghai), Mohsen Gallery (Tehran), Nine Art (Shenzhen), Nine Art Space (Shanghai), Anna Nova Gallery (Saint-Petersburg), Ostlicht. Gallery for Photography (Vienna), Pan – View Gallery (Zhengzhou), Christine Park Gallery (New York), Pékin Fine Arts (Beijing & Hong Kong), Galerie Photo 12 (Paris), Rén Space (Shanghai), Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris, Salzburg & London), see + gallery (Beijing & Shenzhen), ShanghART Gallery (Shanghai, Beijing & Singapore), Three Shadows +3 Gallery (Beijing & Xiamen), Timeless Gallery (Beijing), Time Space Gallery (Beijing & Zhengzhou), Up Gallery (Hsinchu City), Per van der Horst Gallery (The Hague & Taipei), View Art Gallery (Lanzhou) and University of Salford Art Collection (Salford).
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai
PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is the leading destination in Asia Pacific for discovering and collecting photography; classic masterpieces, contemporary photography, large-scale installations, moving-image and the latest innovations in technology. PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai is dedicated to offering 50 international galleries a unique and personal art fair experience from the tailored environment of the fair, through to dedicated VIP and curator events and personal translation services on the booths. The fair offers two exhibiting sectors Main and Platform that are supported by an extensive Public Program of exhibitions, talks and events, including Insights, Staged, Spotlight, Connected and Conversations.
The sixth edition of PHOTOFAIRS | Shanghai will be presented by World Photography Organization and PORSCHE.
Living outside your home country can be exciting and eye-opening, immersed with new experiences and culture and the idea of being independent. Yet there are times that we still long for the familiar. That is when homesickness strikes. Being away from what has been common to you for long is tough, and a totally different culture like China is of no help either.
What do you do when homesickness strikes? There are a lot of tips and tricks you can find online, but if there's only one essential thing these tips have in common, that would be cooking up your favorite comfort foods to start the day right.
With that, Sam’s Club prioritizes food safety as much as you do for you and your family; that's why we make sure that our products are properly managed and controlled precisely from our suppliers to our display shelves. We also utilize advanced frozen at sea technique and transports with entire cold chain equipment to eliminate food concerns and ensure food freshness and quality.
Not only that we at Sam's Club offer high quality food at great value so you don't have to break the bank in order to enjoy good and healthy food for you and your family.
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We at Sam's Club asked our customers for the dishes and recipes that made them think of home, and here are the 2 best recipes we've compiled for you to enjoy as well.
Mexican Egg Bacon Avocado Toast
Avocado toast is absolutely delicious. It's a go-to for a quick and easy healthy breakfast that is so versatile and can be topped with a variety of ingredients.
- 2 slices Member's Mark Black Wheat Toast
- 2 slices Hormel Selected Bacon
- 2 large Member's Mark Eggs
- 1 large Dole avocado
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pico de Gallo and Feta cheese for topping
1. Cook bacon over medium-high heat.
2. While cooking the bacon, toast the bread, scramble the eggs, and make the avocado mash.
3. To make avocado mash:
- Cut avocado in half lengthwise.
- Take out the seed and scoop the avocado out of the peel with a spoon.
- Mash avocado with a fork.
- Season with paprika, garlic powder and salt to taste.
4. Once everything is done, top bread with avocado mash, scrambled egg, bacon, Pico de Gallo and Feta.
All the eggs are sterilized and source traceable.
¥29.8 / 1.85kg.
¥29.8 / 1.5kg.
Hormel Selected Bacon
¥74 / 1kg.
Black Wheat Toast
¥24.8 / 0.46kg.
Super Fresh Grilled Shrimp Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
A simple salad made almost entirely lettuce, shrimp, corn and bell peppers, and using it in this fresh grilled shrimp salad.
For the Shrimp
- 1 ¼ pound Member's Mark Raw Tail-Off Shrimps
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons Member's Mark Pure Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the Salad
- 3 hearts of romaine (Sliced down the center with end intact)
- 2 ears of corn, husked
- 2 bell peppers (yellow, red, orange whatever you like)
- 1 hothouse cucumber, diced
- 1 large avocado, diced (optional)
- 2 ½ cups of chopped grape tomatoes
For the Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon yellow or dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- ⅓ cup Member's Mark Pure Olive Oil
1. Add the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, olive oil and salt in a bowl.
2. Add the shrimp and stir to combine. Let marinate for 10-15 minutes while you chop all the veggies and prepare the dressing.
3. Place 4-6 shrimp on wooden skewers before grilling.
1. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of honey with a pinch of salt.
2. Continue whisking as you stream in the olive oil.
3. Taste and adjust with an additional tablespoon of honey if you prefer your dressing a little sweeter.
1. Preheat the grill and spray with cooking spray if desired. Grill time will vary for the ingredients so start with the corn.
2. Spray the corn with cooking spray, season with a pinch of salt and roast, turning every 4-5 minutes for about 15-18 minutes total.
3. Add the whole bell pepper next and grill for 1 minute or longer if you’d like it to char a bit.
4. Add the shrimp skewers near the end of cooking time, they’ll take about 2-3 minutes per side.
5. Spray the romaine hearts with cooking spray and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt, grill for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
1. Add the chopped cucumbers, avocados, and tomatoes to a large salad bowl.
2. Remove the stem from the romaine hearts and chop.
3. Chop the corn kernels off the cobb.
4. Dice the bell pepper.
5. Add all the ingredients to the bowl and toss with the dressing.
6. Serve immediately.
Raw Tail-Off Shrimps
¥89 / 0.91kg.
Pure Olive Oil
¥36.8 / 1.46kg.
¥49.8 / 0.1kg.
The fun does not stop there!
We have a lot of other products you may want to experiment with your recipes:
Triple Mix Berries
Imported from Chile.
¥48 / 1.3kg.
Peas, Corn and Carrots
Imported from New Zealand.
¥19.5 / 1.02kg.
Organic Full Cream Fresh Milk
Fresh organic milk air freighted from Australia.
¥56 / 1kg.
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This year the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival, falls on September 13th. This is the 2nd most important festival in China, after the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival blow out extravaganza. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that coincides with the autumnal equinox and marks the end of the summer harvest season, and its date varies from year to year because the Chinese can’t seem to let go of the Lunar Calendar. Of course, they’ve seen silverware too, but Jerry Seinfeld already did that bit.
Like everything else here, the history of the Mid-Autumn Festival dates all the way back, 3,000 years, to the Shang Dynasty, when the powerful sorcerer Lo Pan broke the curse of immortality by marrying a girl with green eyes…no, wait, that was the plot to Big Trouble in Little China. Here’s the real one, according to legend (or, Wikipedia, if you want to be a jerk about it):
“Chang'e and her husband Houyi were immortals living in heaven. One day, the ten sons of the Jade Emperor transformed into ten suns and scorched the Earth. Having failed to order his sons to stop ruining the Earth, the Jade Emperor summoned Houyi for help. Houyi, using his legendary archery skills, shot down nine of the sons, but spared one son (who conveniently became the Sun). The Jade Emperor was obviously not pleased with Houyi's solution to save the Earth as it involved Houyi murdering nine of his sons. As punishment, the Jade Emperor banished Houyi and Chang'e to live as mere mortals on Earth.
Seeing how miserable Chang'e felt over her loss of immortality, Houyi decided to go on a long, perilous quest to find the pill of immortality so that the couple could become immortal again. At the end of his quest he met the Queen Mother of the West who agreed to give him the pill, but warned him that each person needs only half the pill to become immortal.
Houyi brought the pill home and stored it in a case. He warned Chang'e not to open the case and then left home for a while. Like every other woman in the history of the world, she didn’t listen. She opened up the case and found the pill just as Houyi was returning home. Nervous Houyi would catch her fiddling with the pill, she swallows the whole thing like a stooge and starts to float into the sky because of the overdose. Although Houyi could have used his wicked archery skills to shoot her and tether her down, he couldn’t bear to do it and Chang'e kept on floating until she landed on the moon.
Although Chang’e missed her husband dearly, she wasn’t alone. She did have company of a jade rabbit that manufactured elixirs, and that of the lumberjack Wu Gang. The lumberjack offended the gods in his attempt to achieve immortality and was therefore banished to the moon. Wu Gang was allowed to leave the moon if he could cut down a tree that grew there. The problem was that each time he chopped it down; it would instantly grow back, effectively condemning him to live on the moon for eternity. Gods are tricky that way.”
So to commemorate this story, as well as the end of the harvest season, people throughout China gather their families together to catch up while eating moon cakes (discussed in more detail later) and pomelo. They also light lanterns to adorn their homes, temples, and even the sky. This last kind of lantern, called a, “sky lantern,” is really quite cool. They’re basically an ornate box kite that’s lit with a candle, but when they’re launched, after night fall, they make for a beautiful, candlelit sky. Add to this luminescence that of the full round moon and you’ve got yourself the makings of one festive evening. It’s also the perfect occasion to pull out your old Neil Young albums (namely Harvest and Harvest Moon) and rock out.
Alternate Uses for Moon Cakes:
Let’s face it; the moon cake is the fruitcake of China. No one actually wants them (other than for re-gifting purposes). They’re just the gift you give people to let them know how little you care for them. For the person on the receiving end, it’s really a slap in the face. The giver of said crap cakes gets to slide by on the kindness of the gesture, while you’ve got to work up a smile, and pretend to appreciate what is in essence, an empty, backhanded act of passive aggression. Giving someone moon cakes is the same as saying, “I’ve nothing but contempt for you, but I do plan on knocking you up for a favor in the next couple weeks, so try not to choke.” But all’s not lost because moon cakes can serve many other functions besides pissing all over the definition of cake. So as those decorative boxes of banality from all your condescending know-nothing colleagues at work pile up in your home, don’t think about how drunk you’re going to have to get to choke them all down. Get creative. Think like Martha Stewart, or just keep reading and use some of the ideas we’ve come up with. It’s a good thing.
Stabilize that wobbly chair or coffee table
One of the nice things about a cake that’s got the density of a brake pad is that it can endure a sizeable amount of force without breaking apart. That makes it one of the best materials to use to support that bothersome short leg on your table, chair, or bar stool. It also won’t scuff up your hardwood floors.
Serves as a fantastic replacement puck for ice or street hockey
Thanks to the moon cakes stout, cylindrical design, (It’s called, yeast, you a-holes! It’s what makes baked goods fluffy and delicious. Stop living in the past.), it has, not only the same shape as a standard ice hockey puck, but also, almost, the exact same dimensions. So here’s what you do. Take a box of these abominations and throw them in the freezer for a couple hours while you gather the gang for a good old fashion game of street hockey, or take them down to the skating rink at the MixC Mall and have at it.
Give to the needy
This is just to prove our point that these shit snacks are universally reviled. Go up to a homeless person asking for money and give them a box of these bastards instead, and see if you don’t get pegged in the back of the head with one as gratitude for your selfless gesture.
Protect yourself from stray dogs
It’s late and you’re stumbling out of the bar after a few too many with your buddies. Your senses are impaired, as is your sense of direction. You find yourself alone, walking down a dark street when you spot a mongrel dog that has shown an interest in you. You’re too drunk to outrun it, and it’s the only thing between you and your warm bed. What do you do? You pull out the moon cakes that some jackanapes forced on you and you force them right into the dog’s mouth. Like peanut butter on their nose, this should keep it occupied for at least 10 minutes, giving you plenty of time to make a staggering escape.
Whip at motorists who don't obey the traffic laws
How many times have you been on your bike, or in a taxi, and you’ve almost been killed by some motorist who thinks the rules don’t apply to them? If you’ve been here a week it’s happened at least once. Don’t lie to us. Of course, you want to throw something at them, but all you have handy is your cell phone and/or wallet and, obviously, you can’t throw those. Moon cakes combine the heft of a billiard ball with the softness of a dessert you’d still pass on in a hostage situation. You make your point, no damage to the target’s car, but the message was received. Everyone wins.
Earmuffs in the winter
Get creative this winter and be the first one on your block to chase away the chills with some homemade, moon cake earmuffs. All you need is a needle, some decorative, elastic yarn, 2 moon cakes (one for each ear) and a microwave. Cut 5 lengths of yarn at a measure of one and half times the circumference of your head. Work the yarn through the moon cakes laterally (through the sides). Adjust the position of the cakes so that each one rests comfortably over each ear, with your lengths of yarn going around your head like a sweat band. When you’ve got them positioned how you like them, tie the ends of your yarn together to ensure a snug fit around your cabeza. When you’re ready to hit the town, throw your stylish new earmuffs in the microwave for 30 seconds and prepare to laugh derisively at Old Man Winter.
Haze the new guy
Like snake wine and unicycles, moon cakes serve no purpose. They do, however, work well for gags, especially when the new guy in your office starts getting a little too big for his britches. Knock him down a peg, and remind him of his place by challenging his manhood with a moon cake eating contest. Basically, you just tell him that it’s a rite of passage we’ve all gone through and if he can’t eat 10 moon cakes in 10 minutes, no one will respect him. Whether or not he finishes them is beside the point. The point is, no one else is going to eat these things and they’re starting to take up space.
And there you have it. Seven great ways to get rid of your moon cakes, when re-gifting is simply not an option, but by no means, are these the only ways. Get creative and think up some yourself. You like building models? Build yourself a 1/10 scale trebuchet and see how far you can wing them. Or give them to kids. They’ll put anything in their mouths. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everybody!
Qiantang River tidal bore is one the largest tidal bores in the world which reaches the most spectacular on the eighteenth day of the eight month on Chinese lunar calendar. To watch the 9-meter tidal waves, you can choose the best locations in Haining city, about 50 kilometers from Hangzhou.
2019 Qiantang River International Surfing Competition will be held from Sept.11th to 16th, during which the Qiantang River tides are surging frighteningly high in the year.
Opening ceremony (about 40 minutes)
Time: 3:30pm - 4:10pm, September 12th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)
Qiantang River International Surfing Competition (4 days)
Time: September 13th - 16th (13th-15th: preliminaries, 16th: finals and closing ceremony).
Venue: Qianjiang No.9 Bridge to No.1 Bridge (Qiantang River Bridge) 钱江九桥至钱江一桥(钱塘江大桥)
Closing Ceremony Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)
Teams: 9 teams (China, Australia, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, California, France, Indonesia and Puerto Rico)
Surfing Carnival (5 days)
Time: 10:30am - 4:30pm, September 12th - 16th
Location: Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园 (江干区5号港路)
What to expect: There will be four surf theme carnival activities: water rafting, surfing pool, surfing culture exhibition, surfing board teaching, as well as magical spider wall, frisbee, bowling and many other activities.
Qiantang Music Festival (1 day)
Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Saturday, September 14th
Location: Garden Lawn at Qiantang Farm 钱唐农园大草坪 (江干区5号港路)
The referee of Qiantang River International Surfing Competition, Peter Towndend is the first World Surfing Champion and the former coach of China National Surfing Team.
Nine teams from home and abroad will surf on the so-called “Silver Tides” from Sept. 13th to 16th. World top surfers, Dean Morrison, Eneko Acero, Kyle McGeary and Made Garut Widiarta will participate in the event.
Dean Morrison, who is the champion of Australia and European Division of World Men's Shortboard Surfing Championship Tour. He is one of the most celebrated Australian surfers of the modern era, finishing a career best ninth in 2007. In the water Dean is a pocket dynamo, known for his compact, fluid style and sublime cutback. On land his humility and good nature ensure he is the kind of pro surfer who is approachable for people from all walks of life.
Eneko Acero, one of the most important and influential surfers of Spain and Europe. At that time it was just him on a worldwide tour with surfers from all over the place but his hometown/country. Still today, Eneko is surfing in a daily basis, manages a team of an international brand and of course proudly holds the surname Acero, a surfing family you might heard of from him, his older brother Iker Acero or the charismatic Kepa Acero.
Kyle McGeary, Team (NSSA) champion surfer, he is an underground local surfer from Huntington Beach, California. "Never heard of Kyle? Then you probably don't surf the pier, because if you did, you'd see him hucking big rotators everyday."
Made Garut Widiarta, born and raised in Kuta he started surfing at the age of 9 at his home break Half Ways, Garut is one of the most recognizable Indonesian surfers in the world and he has received more high profile attention in the media than any Indonesian surfer since Rizal Tanjung. Is name is I Made Widiarta a.k.a Garut.
The top local surfers will also participate on behalf of Chinese National Surfing Team. Surfing in the Qiantang River has only been allowed since 2008. During the competition, surfers will follow the tidal bore in motorboats and jet skis, and then take turns riding the waves.
Surfing will be included in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. The inclusion has given a boost to the sport in China, where it remains relatively new.
Hangzhou government hopes the competition can further promote the sport among citizens, especially the youth.
The competition will be broadcast nationwide by China Central Television.
On Saturday, September 7th, 2019, Hangzhou International School held their Annual Welcome Back Barbecue and once again gathered the HIS community, parents, students and teachers, they had an opportunity to welcome the new families and to catch up with the old friends while enjoying themselves, the tasty food, and the activities provided.
MORE’s editor Loren was fortunately enough to be invited, while it was initially a little foreign to him—not having kids going to the school, not being a Binjiang-er—his years of being in Hangzhou felt like they finally paid off, and he bumped into a good cross-section of international folk he has known for a while now.
The food was predictably excellent, with burgers from returning favorite Slim’s one of the queues we had to try, but also present was the Indian faire from Pita’s and Tika’s and pizza from Angelo’s.
The kids had a great time too, with musical and dance performances, face painting and candy.
We had a great time talking to some new and returning teachers, eager to get the new school year fully underway, and had a great time talking about the crafts of teaching and parenting, as well as the sense of community that HIS brings to its families and faculty who come together from more than 50 nations to make events like this fun and engaging. We are looking forward to continue having a great school year!
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