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    Capturing Chinese

    Learn Chinese Through Stories Zhu Ziqing's My Father's Back

    Happy New Year! In 2011, Capturing Chinese will publish weekly Chinese stories to encourage our readers to tackle some of the best in Chinese literature.  We know it is hard to find the important Chinese authors and know which stories to read so each week we will post one story on our website.  These stories will be picked from a range of authors that have had a large influence over China.  We will pick out some short stories as well as some longer ones. Our first author is Zhu Ziqing (朱自清) who was a native of Shaoxing and was a contemporary with Lu Xun.  He studied a Beijing University between 1916 to 1920 during the New Culture Movement (the May Fourth Movement) and joined the literary revolution.  After graduation he became a professor at Qinghua University.  He wrote poetry in his early years and then moved on to writing mostly essays.  Zhu Ziqing died in 1948. The first essay we are introducing is known as My Father's Back in English and as 背影 in Chinese.  This essay is a very famous piece recounting the scene between a father and son at a railway station.  As the father sees his son off, he clumsily climbs up the train platform. Enjoy. Zhu Ziqing: My Father's Back - 背影

    Merry Christmas and a look into the year 2011 at Capturing Chinese

    Merry Christmas to all of our fans! Please let us introduce our plans for the year 2011. First of all, thanks to all of our readers for giving us the support to continue to grow and expand the Capturing Chinese series.  Due to the popularity of the Capturing Chinese series, we are publishing quite a few new books in 2011. In early 2011, we will publish Capturing Chinese: Lu Xun's A New Year's Sacrifice, which is one of Lu Xun's best stories from his second collection of short stories, Wondering. This book will be our shortest book and hopefully will allow more students to get a sampling of our books before tackling some of the longer volumes. In late 2011, we will be publishing a Spanish version of the Capturing Chinese series.  We have not yet decided which stories will be included in the Spanish version, but the format will be similar.  In addition, a Spanish translation will be accompanying the Chinese text. Also throughout 2011 and 2012 we will be publishing Capturing Chinese books using compilations of different authors.  Some that we have in mind are Zhu Ziqing, Zhou Zuoren, Mao Dun, Lao She, Zhang Ailing, and quite a few others.  As we put the works together we will be introducing a weekly short story on our web site.  Some of the these short stories will then become our next book.  Stay tuned in early 2011.  If you are looking for some great Chinese short stories to read then we have quite a few recommendations for you. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! The Capturing Chinese Team

    Capturing Chinese: The Real Story of Ah Q - Now Available

    We are pleased to announce Capturing Chinese: The Real Story of Ah Q is NOW ON SALE! Lu Xun's best work is now available from Capturing Chinese. Set in the Republican Revolution of 1911 in southern China, Lu Xun brings to light serious issues affecting rural China through the story of an average Chinese villager, Ah Q. Chinese readers at the time and even today related to the many tribulations that Ah Q faces. Hence, phrases such as 阿Q精神 are still used in China today. Enjoy The Real Story of Ah Q today with: * Original Text in Simplified Chinese * Pinyin for the Entire Text * Footnotes Detailing Historical Places, People, and Definitions * Beautiful Illustrations that Recreate the Scenes and Stimulate your Imagination * FREE Audio Files of the Story Read by Both a Female and Male Native Chinese Speaker Get your copy now on Amazon: Due to customer feedback, we made a few changes from the previous addition. Pinyin is no longer paragraph-by-paragraph. We have moved the pinyin to the end of each chapter to keep the text flowing better. We also have more illustrations by a new illustrator, Atula. He did an awesome job. Please keep the feedback coming as we have more books planned for next year. Visit the product page on Capturing Chinese. Thanks for everyone's support.

    Shanghai World Expo 2010

    Last week my wife and I headed off to Shanghai to visit the World Expo.  Before departing so many memories of previous trips flashed before my mind.  The very first time I headed to China was in 2003 right after the summer of SARS.  Notably the streets were empty.  Tiananmen Square was mine for the taking and the Great Wall was only our tour group of five people plus a few hawkers.  I didn't realize it wasn't crowded until my next trip when I was utterly shocked at how many people China can bring to events. My first trip was sponsored by Cornell University, where I received a check to travel in China for absolutely free.  That was a seriously amazing deal and I am absolutely loved the trip.  One condition was to write a paper about my experience.  At the time many classmates, newspapers, etc. were focusing on the negative stories coming from China.  I didn't lambaste the Chinese for their lack of manners or criticize them for the pollution, but instead wrote an essay comparing the positive in China with the negative in America. It was an essay quite critical of American policies. Seven years later, I find myself in a different perspective.  Maybe it is because I am now a working professional, or maybe I am just used to the finer things in life, but I couldn't help finding fault with many of the things in China. However, this blog is not another article from a Western perspective about what China should be doing.  This blog is about the purpose of the Expo and how the government is putting on a massive performance to excite Chinese citizens about their country's prospects in the century to come.  The Beijing Olympics was an event for the world.  The Shanghai Expo is an event for China. The government has made an event that millions of Chinese are visiting and is something the Chinese deserve to be proud of. On average 350,000 Chinese citizens from all over the country are storming into Shanghai to see the Expo every day.  Afterward, the bund is filled with tourist families from all parts of China taking pictures of Shanghai's awesome skyline in Pudong (as well as the occasional pictures of lao wai walking by, i.e. me).  The excitement on their faces is palpable. Lu Xun wrote in his preface to Nahan in 1922, "the people of a weak and backward country, however strong and healthy they may be, can only serve to be made examples of, or to witness such futile spectacles; and it doesn't really matter how many of them die of illness. The most important thing, therefore, was to change their spirit, and since at that time I felt that literature was the best means to this end, I determined to promote a literary movement."  I believe the Chinese government has reached the same conclusion.  However, they are changing the spirit of the Chinese through building a spectacular Shanghai skyline (an even taller building is now under construction so it is getting even cooler), a world-class Expo with amazing architecture, and a huge subway network rivaling the world's best. My wife and I headed to the Expo on August 11th entering from the Puxi side.  The Puxi side doesn't have very many pavilions so we took a ferry to the Pudong side where most of the pictures below are taken.  We only went inside the African and Cuba pavilions.  I am not a big fan of huge lines and the heat was raging in mid-August.  However, the sky was blue making it a great day for pictures.  Therefore, we have pictures of just about every country pavilion (from the outside).  If I am missing one, please send a picture and I'll add it. My favorite pavilion is the Luxemburg pavilion. I loved the rusty steel facade and the shapes. A few days after visiting the expo, I couldn't decide which was my favorite. One week later, the Luxemburg pavilion is leaving the strongest memory. Which is your favorite? Please leave your votes below!