Chengdu Living Post Series
Sometimes the topics we approach are too big to fit in a single post, so we break them into multiple parts. To keep them organized and easily accessible, we’ve created this series page to index them all. Enjoy!
Chengdu Stories: Profiling Personalities
- Interview with Chengdu’s Most Prolific Graffiti Artist, Gas – I’ve been seeing a graffiti tag appear with ever greater frequency over the past year and I wonder: who’s doing this? I found out and interviewed him. Hear his story and check out his artwork inside.
- Interview with Jamie, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Trainer – Kung Fu dominates martial arts in Chengdu, but there is a small band of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the city. I met with Jamie and he demonstrated chokes on me before politely answering my questions.
- Interview with Adam Mayer on Chengdu’s Urban Development – Chengdu is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. So what’s coming in the next few years? Adam Mayer is a great person to ask and I did exactly that.
- Chengdu’s Fixed Gear Bicycles: Interview with Jacob Klink of Natooke Bicycles – Known for minimal aesthetic and bright colors, fixed gear bicycles are appearing everywhere around Chengdu. I interview Jacob Klink, proprietor of Natooke Chengdu Bicycle Shop about this exploding subculture.
- An American Painter in Chengdu: Interview with Will Kerr – Having spent a full year as a resident artist at Sichuan University, we interview him here about his impressions of and thoughts on the Chengdu and China art scene.
- The Development of Chengdu: Interview with Journalist Michiel Hulshof – After publishing a book on the development of cities in Central and Western China, what does Michiel Hulshof think about Chengdu? I ask him in this interview.
- 300 Shots of Baijiu: Interview with Derek Sandhaus – Q&A with Derek Sandhaus, Chengdu resident who committed to 300 shots of baijiu over a year ago and has since authored a blog and committed to write a book on the subject.
- Interview with Peter Goff, Chengdu Bookworm Founder – The English language bookshop and cafe The Bookworm has been a Chengdu staple for years. On the eve of Bookworm’s 2013 Literary Festival which features writers from around the world, I interview the Bookworm’s owner and founder, Peter Goff.
- Interview with JerryS, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Trainer – Two years after our interview with Jamie, a new, higher skilled trainer has taken the reigns in Chengdu. We catch up on Jiu Jitsu’s progress in Chengdu.
- Interview with Jemimah Steinfeld, Author of Little Emperors and Material Girls – We sat down with Jemimah Steinfeld, author of Little Emperors and Material Girls, to discuss China’s generation gaps and the youth culture of sex in China.
- Interview with Robbie Worth, Ninjutsu Practitioner and Trainer in Chengdu – Robbie has been in Chengdu for several years, practicing and teaching Bujinkan Bodo Taijutsu, a Japanese form of ninjutsu. This interview explores his journey studying the art form and earning his 5th degree black belt, and his experience with it in Chengdu.
- Opening Tag Club in Chengdu: The Interview – We spoke to Twan, co-founder of the Tag nightclub project, about what opening a club in Chengdu entails. From securing a site, to acquiring the required credentials and licenses to serving both local and expat patrons in a hectic and fast-changing environment.
Studying Chinese Quickly & Efficiently
Live in Chengdu and you must learn Chinese. It’s just a basic fact of life here. Although it doesn’t come quickly to everyone, there are undoubtedly shortcuts that’ll accelerate your progress.
- 4 Proven Tips to Master Basic Chinese – Learning Chinese is no small task and everyone can use some help at the beginning of this journey. Master the basics of Chinese with these 4 tips that are guaranteed accelerate your progress.
- Studying Chinese with an iPhone (or iPod Touch) – If you didn’t know, the iPhone and iPod Touch are incredible study companions for learning Chinese. With so many apps to choose from, however, you might need a little help finding the best options.
- A Sichuan Restaurant Menu Translated: Stir Fry Dishes– This particular restaurant offers 150 different dishes: let’s translate them all. This first post translates all 38 of the stir fried dishes on the menu.
- Five Great Reasons to Learn Mandarin – From immigrants in Chinatown to school boards in Ohio, people around the world are changing their tune on what languages should be taught to children. Resoundingly, they’re recommending Mandarin, the language of Mainland China. Here’s why.
- Using the iPad to Study Chinese– Shortly after the iPad was announced, I gather what I know about the iPhone and iPod Touch as language learning platforms and estimate what the future holds for iPad. This could blossom into an incredible device to aid your Chinese language learning.
- Learn Chinese Like an American Diplomat for Free – The U.S. Foreign Service Institute is offering its Chinese lessons online for free download. Read more inside the post.
- Five Must-See Websites to Advance Your Chinese – Of all the resources at your disposal for learning Chinese, the internet has to be at the top of the list after interaction with native speakers. Check out our list of 5 must-see sites to improve your Chinese.
- Learn to Write Characters on Your iPad With Word Tracer – Word Tracer, a character writing app exclusively for iPad, is one of the coolest apps for Chinese learners that I’ve founded. Read about it inside.
Solutions to Common Issues in Chengdu
- How to Handle Chengdu’s Pollution Like a Pro – Pollution in Chengdu has always been present, but it’s gotten worse recently. Here’s how you can deal with it like a pro.
- How to: Unrestricted Internet Access Using a Proxy Server – If you aren’t using a proxy to access the internet from the Mainland, you are really missing out on a lot of great content – Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogspot to name a few of the most well known blocked sites. Here’s how to get free reign over the internet by using a VPN.
Giving Birth & Raising a Child in Chengdu
Sascha gave birth to his first child, a son, in Chengdu in the spring of 2010. Since then he’s amassed a wealth of knowledge on the topic and has gone on to author this comprehensive post series. He covers everything from finding a hospital to breastfeeding and cultural differences between multi-cultural parents raising children overseas. This post series has grown to claim its position among the top resources for foreigners giving birth in China.
- Part one: Giving Birth in Chengdu – This is the first part in a series about mamas, babies and hospitals in Chengdu. We’ll talk about choosing a hospital, the business side of the doctor and interesting superstitions.
- Part two: Selecting a Hospital – The continued adventures of an American giving birth in Chengdu give insight into China’s hospitals and health care. Read about what’s involved inside!
- Part three: The Cesarian Conspiracy – A recent report published by the World Health Organization draws attention to the fact that the number of c-sections performed in China is skyrocketing. Why is this? I take a look as my wife prepares to give birth to our own child.
- Part four: A New Life– Just as the first barrage of New year fireworks echoed throughout Chengdu, The Notations transitioned into David Ruffin’s Heaven Help Us on iTunes and I watched my newborn son heave a sigh of relief and squirm a bit deeper into his swaddling. This post is about the birth of my first child in Chengdu.
- Part five: Post-partum Recovery – The institutional coldness of the hospital soon gives way to the cozy quilt of Grammas wisdom and traditional Pig’s Feet and Peanut soup. For a full month after giving birth, Chinese medical theory calls for a strict regime to help mothers regain their strength.
- Part six: Breastfeeding – If you think breastfeeding comes natural to a mama, think again. Mother and child have to learn how to move together and that takes some practice. I learn to navigate the path along with my wife in Chengdu.
- Part seven: Importing Baby Products – Chinese mothers, increasingly aware of the potential dangers presented by unsafe domestic products, are looking for foreign alternatives. I do some research and procure items with my wife for our newborn child.
- Part eight: Nationality – There was never a question that my son (I call him Little Man) would have American citizenship. The question for me was: is it worth the sacrifice and risk to attain Chinese citizenship as well?
- Part nine: In-Laws – The term in-laws is loaded with meaning. The classic depiction is of a crazy father and a domineering mother, but in my situation, I find neither is really true. All families are nuts in their own way and here is a glimpse into ours.
- Part ten: Mixed Blood – Being of mixed-blood heritage, my son is afforded vastly different treatment than the average Chinese person. What does this mean for his development and how he perceives his position in society?
- Part eleven: Split Between Two Worlds – On Christmas break to visit my family, I learn about the challenges of bridging the cultural gap between my German parents and Chinese wife. I returned to China having learned some things.
- Part twelve: Choosing a Kindergarten – In China, the choice of where to send your child takes on added importance with the recent rise in alternatives to public schools to meet a growing demand for “gardens”.
- Part thirteen: Learning Languages – Raising children of mixed-heritage usually includes learning more than one language, and my children are in exactly that situation. Here’s what I’ve learned about them learning English and Chinese.
Underground Gourmet in Chengdu
You simply cannot overestimate the local cuisine in Chengdu. It’s truly some of the best in the world. The Underground Gourmet series is all about sharing our favorite tips and tricks on getting the best eats in the city.
- Underground Gourmet – Delicious Dumplings – Legend has it that Marco Polo brought the recipe back from China in the 12th century and made them famous in the West as ravioli — little flour pouches with tasty fillings, boiled and served. We reveal our favorite places to get dumplings in Chengdu.
- Underground Gourmet – The Best Noodles -Discover the tastiest noodles in Chengdu in this guide to the best that the city has to offer. From Master Huang’s “Superior Sliced” noodles to Granny Jin’s “Palm-style”, these are some of my favorites that I’ve been going to in Chengdu for years. Best of all, you won’t find them listed anywhere else.
- Underground Gourmet – A Fiery Feast: Hotpot – Hot Pot is but another Sichuanese institution – like teahouses and foggy skies – without which the locals would slowly wither and die. In fact, the overcast Sichuan sky and the damp conditions of the Sichuan basin make hot pot a necessity.
- Breaking the Cycle of Sameness: Food – This post, Deven’s first, explores the many options we have to break out of our eating routines in Chengdu. From exploring new options at local restaurants to sourcing and cooking Chinese or Western food, this post is filled with tips.
Internet & Technology in China
- Charlie has been working in the IT industry for over 10 years, from the United States to Asia. The tech related post series cover anything and everything involving electronics and internet technologies, be they social networks popular in China, or about one of the many digital consumer goods markets in Chengdu.
- How to: Unrestricted Internet Access Using a VPN – If you aren’t using a proxy to access the internet from the Mainland, you are really missing out on a lot of great content – Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogspot to name a few of the most well known blocked sites. Here’s how to get free reign over the internet by using a VPN.
- Streaming Video Sites in China – A breakdown and comparison of all the options – Tudou, Youku, Vimeo, and of course Youtube. Are any of these worth checking out?
- Protect Your Wireless Network From Tools Like This – Since recent events like Google versus China and the arrests in Hubei Province have brought Chinese hackers out into the limelight, now is a great time to secure your wireless network from intruders. Because your personal information and bandwidth aren’t as safe you think.
- Why Registering a .CN Address Really Sucks – When the .com you want isn’t available, you’ll have to settle for something else. If you’ve ever thought about registering a .cn address for something China related, you should know why registering a .cn address really sucks.
- Apple Set to Conquer Chengdu – As Apple has finally opened an official Apple Store in Chengdu, the first in Western China, it continues to grow in relevance across China. Check out what the new Apple Store in Chengdu looks like.
- 5 Essential Apps for Living in China – It seems like everyone has a smartphone these days, but I find that it’s the apps you have installed that transform your phone into a truly indispensable tool for daily life. These are the essential apps for anyone living in China.
- Cleaner, Faster, Cheaper: Uber in China – As Uber has spent nearly a year building a following in China, it has grown to become a widely-loved service. Here’s how you can use Uber in China, or perhaps more importantly, why Uber is something that you must check out if you live in Chengdu.
- Measuring pm2.5 for 200rmb: The SamoAir Review – Spend some time in Chengdu and you might find that the most common concern among expat residents is the polluted air. Now there’s a cheap solution to collect real data on air quality in your home.