What China gets right about relationships
When Westerners come to Shanghai, their first impression is often that Chinese people are assholes. Passengers crowd around the subway doors to board first. Cars speed through crosswalks on red lights. Public urination is common.
There are many theories for this rudeness. Shanghai natives blame migrant laborers from the countryside, while Westerners blame “Chinese culture” — although the “Chinese” in Taiwan and Hong Kong are more polite. But there’s a deeper psychological reason: in-group / out-group effects are stronger in China. If you are my friend, I will empty my bank account for you; if you are a stranger, I will cut you in line. Rudeness to strangers is the flipside of deep bonds with loved ones.
Of course, none of what I say can describe 1.4 billion unique human beings, whom we crudely label “China.” My conclusions come from a few friends I met in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Boston. But whether they’re a representative sample or not, I’ve learned a lot from them. So what can a Westerner, especially a Northeastern American like me, learn from the Chinese about relationships?
In 1972, I needed a new registration for my first motorcycle and, since the law in Pennsylvania was that you had to be over 21 to own any sort of vehicle, my trusty Yamaha 250 was “owned” by my brother. I went into a Notary Public in West Philadelphia and told them my sad story—how my brother had hitchhiked to Mexico City to watch the World Cup of soccer and I needed to get the bike legal since I was riding 30 miles a day at 5am to a dye factory in North Philadelphia and got pulled over about once a week.
I remember the woman behind the counter giving me a very deliberate inspection. Decision made, she pulled open the second drawer down in her desk and turned on the light bulb that was already wired in to the drawer. Then a flat piece of frosted glass came out and was placed crosswise on the drawer. I gave her the original registration with my brother’s signature and she placed it on the glass, lined up the new application, and traced the signature.
It couldn’t have taken 2 minutes and I think I had to pay an extra 10 bucks.
The important aspect of this tiny transaction was how it typified so much of my life in the 70’s—a time when both the government and the people simply didn’t have that much respect for the law. In Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo’s police force under was a black-leather jacketed gang that was in the process of simply killing Black Panthers. In Chester, they were a part of the McClure Political Machine—the oldest in the nation.
When I sold ice cream in South Philly, real mobsters would make sure that I was safe so that the kids on their street would get their double-scoops. I got run off the road on my bike by a car with Jersey plates and, I swear to God, the guy who got out was wearing a black patterned shirt with a black tie and dark jacket and had his .38 in a belt clip. In the end, all I had to undergo was 10 minutes of extremely inventive cursing but when I called the police, the desk officer asked if I was willing to make my name public. After about 10 seconds of thought, I said “no” and the officer just laughed and said, “Smart boy.”
I worked as a truck mechanic for the ice cream company and was paid in ice cream to avoid taxes, I watched Harley riders just walk away from police cruisers and then lose them in the turns. One of my friends from the gas station where I worked in the winters told me about how “everyone would come out and salute” when the Pagans would ride through town. He said it was “a feeling of pride.”
I hitchhiked across country once and back and forth to New York City and Florida dozens of times. I slept in abandoned motels, under cars, and just rolled in a green plastic tarp under a hedge. In the Keys, there was a campground called Fiesta Key where $5 got you a space on the grass for your tent, and all the scenery you could stand. I worked as a busboy in the old Stardust on the Vegas strip and watched as a waitress almost fainted when she spilled some glasses on the men seated in the “special table” in the corner.
In 1973, I moved to DC and became a motorcycle courier. First off, this required going through traffic like a crazed banshee and considerable inventive lying if you got caught. One of my friends had two drivers’ licenses—his dad had made a mistake on the birth certificate—so the police were always calling and threatening one of his alter egos with jail for the thousands of dollars in fines he’d racked up. Up and down 13th and 14th Streets, the burlesque clubs, gay baths, and stripper bars were lined up and the working girls did the stroll out front. And finally, yes, Eddie the Monkey Man was real. I would see him on his wheeled board outside the downtown Woodward & Lothrup begging for money and, when he passed away, the Washington Post ran an article about how he spent his winters in Florida as the high-living owner of two hotels—even dancing in his prosthetic legs.
It wasn’t a story or a magazine that gave me the sense of noir I try to put into my books. Life was really like that—the law and the lawless were almost in competition. J. Edgar Hoover ran the FBI as his personal Praetorian Guard—judge and jury in one. That feeling of paranoia you felt in the peace movement turned out to be COINTELPRO and very, very real. Richard Nixon ran the Federal Government as an arm of his re-election committee and entire police forces were on the take.
The public reacted with flagrant disregard of whatever laws they felt were just silly. You smoked everywhere, dope was a mainstay of every party, and you could dance all night in Adams Morgan if you knew where to go. Non-violent protests turned into riots and then real riots made the protests look like picnics. I used to fuel up my motorcycle at 3am at the station where the pimps stopped—that place had gas even in the depths of the fuel crisis.
Oh yeah, and we were in that blessed decade between The Pill and AIDS.
Damn but it was a fine time to be young!
“Things are getting better. It’s almost safe to build a children’s playground within 500 yards of a Catholic Church. Not yet, but they’re getting there.”
Constantine’s real-life origin is as arbitrary and silly as the character is constant and dour. The major players in his creation give slightly different accounts of the specifics, but everyone agrees on one thing: He was supposed to be like Sting for some damn reason.
When Nixon Met the Press
Just because he was paranoid doesn’t mean the media wasn’t out to get him.
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My new separate Book Blog!
Japanese cooking class tokyo
Author of this blog – Mari Nameshida
・Japanese cooking instructor
・Chinese herbal medicine Advisor
・Chinese herbal medicine dishes Instructor
・Public Health Nurse
If you are interested in our Japanese cooking class in Tokyo, please visit this link:
I learned about the basics of Japanese cooking from my mom at a young age and also went to cooking/baking school. I really love cooking and I have just kept cooking for a long time. I also love traveling and I noticed that there were few chances to immerse yourself in the local culture and taste. I thought it would be very nice if there was a place that travelers could go to the local people’s homes and learn how to cook local cuisine and as a result learn more about the local people. That is why I started my cooking classes.
In addition, I have decided to start writing about Japanese food, ingredients and recipes here–this blog.
I know that there’re many blogs about Japanese food or recipes everywhere but I also want to introduce and inherit our beautiful cultures through our dishes that nowadays most young people don’t care nor cherish so much here. I always believe that Japanese dishes have variable meanings more than just delicious food.
Here’s another reason, I love eating and traveling. And I noticed that there were few chances to immerse yourself in the local culture and taste when you go to foreign countries. Sometimes, when I learned the food I ate had some meanings, like cultural backgrounds or local people’s habitants, I was so excited and can understand that country more deeply always. I thought it would be very nice if there was a place that non-Japanese people could learn how to cook local cuisine and as a result learn more about the local people. That is why I started my blog.
I hope you will enjoy my recipes and know our cultures a little bit more through local dishes or life.
It’s getting so hot and humid from July in Tokyo, Japan.
I love cooking a lot but I don’t want to cook with heat sometimes because of this humidity- I guess you know what I mean if you’ve been to here!
Today I share one of my favorite dish, it’s really good especially for summer
We have Shabu-shabu (pork hot pot) a lot in winter, but this one is Rei-Shabu- it means cold Shabu-Shabu, it’s not hot pot, more like cold salad.
Cooking time is very short, about 10 minutes, and It’s really delicious light dish even when you don’t have appetite in summer, or for your appetizer.
(Cold Shabu-Shabu with sesame sauce)
Ingredients (2 servings)
200g of thinly sliced pork (If you can get Shabu-Shabu pork, it’s preferred)
4 leaves of lettuce
Or you can use any kinds of vegetable you like for the salad! J
Today I want to introduce one of my favorite restaurant in Tsukiji (fish market) area.
Tsukiji fish market is the biggest fish market in the world and many tourists come here to see many kinds of seafood or enjoying Sushi- There’re a bunch of Sushi restaurants.
Sushi is very nice there since they use fresh ingredients of course, but I recommend you to have Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant in front of the market sometimes because you can get good Sushi everywhere in Japan !
Restaurant’s name is Bon Marche (ボンマルシェ) and they serve mainly Italian food like pasta, but use a lot of seafood including Sashimi pieces.
I and my husband went there for Lunch on the other day, and we ordered Lunch A (regular pasta) and B set (fresh pasta) .
They served us assorted appetizer, pasta, dessert, and tea/coffee/green tea.
It cost 1700-1800JPY per person. (about 10 EURO) There’re other menus as well, so you can order the other menu if you want to have Tuna steak or some more main dishes plus basic Lunch course!
Really really nice focaccia with black salt