Thursday, March 18, 2010


Ok, so I'm not REALLY a pirate, but I feel like I've been attacked by them! I've been fighting off a cold practically since I got here and the last 2 days (minus today) have been pretty rough, to say the least. I bloody hate colds, flus, fevers, and that bum feeling of being sick. But I am finally back on my feet, found some vitamins (Good 'ole B6, B12, C and added minerals) and some Theraflu type stuff. Hopefully that'll do the trick!

But I have found out some interesting stuff recently. I will share one of those things with you now:

In America and Western culture, we have a strange belief that the number 13 is unlucky. Buildings don't usually have a 13th floor and all. Friday the 13th is another example. Well I found out that in Asian culture (Chineese, Japaneese and Korean) the number 4 is like our 13. The number 4 is pronounced much like the word "death" in Mandarian. Like really close.

IRONICALLY enough, I live on the 4th floor in my apartment complex. No wonder the rent is so cheap! Gotta love taking advantage of superstitous situations!

Also, a local Taiwaneese friend of mine recently recommended me a book to read. He said it was spot on. The book is called Taiwan A to Z: The Essential Cultural Guide by Amy Liu.

I have gotten about a third of the way through the book and have found it very interesting and helpful on certain things. I will definitly be sharing things from this book from time to time. One thing that I would like to share from it now. Normally I will just paraphrase, but this section seems hard to paraphrase. This comes from the Chopsticks chapter:

Good etiquette when using chopsticks
Never wave chopsticks to point at things or 'direct traffic' in the restraunt.

Pick food up with the chopsticks; don't spear it - only small children are allowed this infraction.

Put your chopsticks down before picking up a cup or bowl.

Never suck or chew the tips of the chopsticks.

Don't stick chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice. This is only done at funerals, when the sticks resemble incense sticks lit for the dead. This is probably the one things most likely to offend the Taiwaneese.

Never use chopsticks as drumsticks to tap on the rice bowl. That's a beggar's gesture.

Don't use chopsticks as a hair decoration, even though in the past women used them as decorative hairpins.

Don't pick up an item and put it right back in the dish. You should aim before raising your chopsticks. Once you touch it, it's yours.

It may be a polite gesture to pick up the best piece of food from the dish and send it to your guest's bowl or plate. If there are serving spoons or communal chopsticks on the table, use those to get food. If not, reverse your chopsticks and use the other, clean ends to pick up the food.
--P. 38


Caroline said...

Lesson learned? Request the 4th floor wherever you go and get cheaper prices! So random. Wonder where the whole idea came from?
Hope you feel better soon! Is this the cold that you still had when you left?

RJ said...

Yeah, I think it's the 3rd generation of the Cold-I-Had-When-I-Was-In-Columbia. It's been in me so long, I heard it's constucting a museum for its ancestors...

Caroline said...

haha :)