Joyland, Changzhou

Hello readers!

After a short break, I’m happy to report that tonight I’ve done quite a bit of Chinese homework. First I did some reading and listening practice with a nice book of children’s stories that comes with a CD and that I’ll tell you about another time. After that I went to ChinesePod and worked through Dream Girls, which is an intermediate lesson.

When I was tired of doing proper work I had a surf around for Chinese resources and found a couple of great things!

The first thing is this inspired article:

Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2: Playing computer games in Chinese

I just loved it so much. Obviously, my first thought was ‘can I play World of Warcraft in Chinese’? Well, it looks like Blizzard doesn’t want to make that very easy, you can’t just tell your European game client to start speaking Chinese, I’d need a new client and possibly a new account, which could get expensive. But I bet there are Chinese-language WoW fan sites and things like that that I could enjoy. The logic of learning Chinese via your other hobbies appeals to me a lot.

So while I was surfing around, I found this, which is hilarious, or at least it is if you play WoW.

And THEN, I found this. Warcraft theme park! In China! Look at the majesty!



More breathtaking photos by World of Joyland visitor Francesca Timbers.

It is in Changzhou. Yes, I totally am thinking of going there to check it out.


I’ve spent a little more time with the beginners’ lessons on ChinesePod, which confirms my view that my spoken Chinese, grammar and ability to read pinyin are all way ahead of my Hanzi. I need to keep working on that. After doing that, I watched Confucius, written and directed by Mei Hu (2010). It was great! The story of Confucius’s life is involved, even when simplified for the big screen, and I might watch it one more time to properly understand the train of events that take place between the warring kingdoms that by turn employ him as a political adviser and then drive him into exile. It’s visually spectacular. I didn’t know it was going to be so gorgeous.

The costumes are breathtaking.




The architecture is impressive.


There are big landscapes.


And the battle scenes are absolutely epic. Here a castle is being defended by cauldrons of oil which are lit on fire and then poured down the sloping walls of the castle to consume the invaders.


All in all, a much more thrilling and spectacular movie than I anticipated. I was pleased that I could understand occasional words in the Mandarin dialogue. I might make a point of trying to watch Chinese language films regularly. It’s more fun to hear people say dramatic things than it is to listen to ‘learn Chinese’ recorded lessons where all anyone ever talks about is ordering noodles and directions to the airport.

Heisig’s Remembering Simplified Hanzi, Book 1, Lesson 4

Hey there, Chinese-learning readers. I am still with the programme and have just completed Heisig’s Lesson 4, meaning that I’ve now got 100% recall of 72 characters (this pathetically small number makes me lol). In Lesson 4 we get to learn about some characters that use a hook shape that can be used to enclose or bind other elements within the character. Look:

sháo  ladle

yún  uniform

jù   sentence

We also learned some words that sound the same but look different:


员  employee


元  beginning (primary, first)


I am using Mnemosyne, which is a very sophisticated online flashcard system that tracks your progress as you learn the vocabulary of  your choice. I love it and am using it to test myself on the characters that I’m learning using the Heisig method.

I haven’t looked at any vocabulary exercises for a few days and in theory I’m up to 50 characters now so it will be interesting to test myself and see how I get on, which I’m about to do.

Something Awful

It pleases me no end that Something Awful, widely known as, at best, a comedy website and, at worst, an internet cesspit, has a user population so educated that its China Megathread would put reputable textbooks to shame, while there is of course a separate SA forum thread on Chinese language because even a thread that mega could not contain all of their enormous brains. I’ve put stacks of new links in the sidebar thanks to their resourcefulness.

SA, I love you. Longtime readers of the sister blog, The Life You Want, might be shocked to learn that Gloria Startover is a horrible SA goon but you see how the truth comes out.



I think it’s important to start this blog on the right note. I have a number of Chinese children’s books that I’d like to learn to read and this one is nothing if not quirky. I will let you know how I get on as I start to decode it. As you can see, we will be taking an interest in great works of literature here at THYW.

尿尿     niào niào     piss, wee-wee


Heisig’s Remembering Simplified Hanzi, Book 1, Lesson 2

I love the Heisig mnemonics, my brain soaks them up thirstily. I’ve just completed Lesson 2 meaning we’re now up to 32 characters. So I am 1% of the way to my goal of 3,000 characters, yay.

Here’s my favourite character of the day. It is three little suns, sparkling like diamonds, and ‘jīng’ makes a pretty sound.



ChinesePod: Newbie: Good Morning

This post is to record that I’ve studied the lesson titled Good Morning. I’m new to ChinesePod and liking it, the recordings are really clear. I can understand the spoken dialogue no problem but I’m less confident about my ability to reliably recognise all the characters.

Words to remember:

早上        zǎoshang            morning

下午好    xiàwǔ hǎo           good afternoon

晚上好    wǎnshang hǎo    good evening

怎么样    zěnmeyàng         how about