Category Archives: Other Writing

December 26

Movie Review: Tangshan Earthquake: Aftershock

  Aftershock, released on July 22 in over 4,000 Chinese movie theatres has a lot of hopes riding on it: The film cost around 100 million yuan to produce, it’s helmed by Feng Xiaogang, the nation’s most commercially successful director, and it’s the first IMAX-quality film to be produced outside the United States. The film has […]

December 26

The Gaokao

Articles by western writers about the gaokao, China’s annual college entrance examination, always lead off with anecdotes; stories of parents crowding around schools in nervous vigil, of cities enforcing two-day long construction suspensions and noise-pollution bans, of tearful late arrivals begging on their knees to be let in, of taxi drivers given special right-of-way dispensations if carrying test-takers test-centers, of criminal […]

December 26

What’s the Matter With Chinese Football?

        Type in “China football why bad” on Google and a slew of answers quickly present themselves. Among the first hits are news articles detailing sex scandals, corruption prosecutions, and lopsided game losses. There aren’t a lot mentioning victories. The question remains why? Message boards are full of theories—mostly ignorant or racist—that don’t hold up […]

December 26

Tattoos in China

On hot summer nights, you can look around and see oceans of flesh. Tables along the street are packed with shirtless men munching away amid a clutter of empty beer bottles. A decent amount of this flesh is covered in tattoos—it’s in summertime that you truly realize the popularity of body art in modern China. […]

December 26

Ma Nuo-ism: The Controversy Surrounding China’s Most Popular TV Show

[This first appeared in China Grooves magazine] It may come as a surprise to many living in China, but, apparently, money and material possessions are of vital importance to young Chinese. More shocking: Such things are high among the criteria used to choose romantic partners! If such details are unknown to you, then watching Fei Cheng Wu Rao (If […]

December 26

Street Food

Without a doubt, my most pleasurable moments in Xi’an have come, sitting on little plastic stools at less-than-entirely-sanitary tables, savoring a plate of noodles (5 yuan) and watching the whole madcap nighttime drama of the city unfold around me. I seldom feel more connected with my fellow city-dwellers than I do crowded around a chao bing cart, […]

December 26

“A Kingdom Set Aflame”: Diego de Almagro and the Struggle for Spanish Peru

  For ten months in 1536 the city of Cuzco had been under siege: The Spaniards who had only recently seized control of it now found themselves facing a revolt. Manco Capac, a member of the Inca royal family whom they had elevated to the position of “Great Inca” in the hope of placing a […]

December 26

The Conservative Moment: Japan, 1954-60

Looking backwards on the course of Japanese history, it becomes clear that the premiership of Yoshida Shigeru served to establish the course of both foreign and domestic policy for decades to follow. Yet such an observation was far from obvious in 1954 when Yoshida was forced to resign his position. Yoshida could easily be explained […]