Day 73 - Chinese Gyms Are New

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
Smog Level: 0/3 Mountains

I see another guy at the gym today with a curved back. He's doing heavy weights and it pains me to watch. Again, he’s one of the more fit guys. What’s the deal!? I point this out to a friend back home, who asks if there are lots of old men with hunchbacks. Well… yeah, but their generation here didn’t work out.

2000 Gyms

Actually, the advent of gyms are fairly new. Even now, they aren’t really a thing in small towns. They started sprouting up somewhere in the early 2000’s, so I’ve gathered from asking around. Even the nomenclature around it changed: first it was duàn liàn (exercise). Since gyms started popping up, it’s more recently been called jiàn shēn, while gyms are simply jiàn shēn fáng. fáng means place/house… so, “work out place.” A lot of the translations are literal like that.

Anyway, all this might explain why there’s no real gym etiquette surrounding that sphere, and why misinformation like “spot reduction” still rears its head. Spot reduction: working out a specific part of your body to reduce the fat there.

Chinese History

The audiobook I'd been downloading (as suggested by Agatha), Jonathan Spence’s “In Search of Modern China,” just finished downloading, which should help explain a lot of the cultural background. He’s an American-British author, so I’m hoping it will avoid the propagandist slant. After this, I’ll probably look into confucianism, and any other spin-offs that the book mentions.

Mild disappointment when I realize that “Modern China” begins waaaay back in the 1600’s. I was hoping we’d just start with the end of the last dynasty and how they moved from there. Late 1800’s to the beginning of the 1900’s, y'know?.

Falling Behind

I’m afraid I fell behind on today. I didn’t take notes and it’s now Saturday morning when I’ve found time to catch up on the logging. As far as I can remember, I went to school, taught the classes, and had to go home immediately after class because Josh and I are alternate being there for the cleaner on Wednesday nights - the night of my 1-on-1 mandarin tutoring. This pushes it back to Thursday, which is packed enough.

One notable thing: The café staff stared at me while I tried to focus on learning the mandarin words. Instead of writing these days, my focus went on organizing my mandarin notes. Like I said, I’m generally scrambling just to write everything down in my book, planning on organizing it later. Aurora says this is a form of “no zuo no die.” It’s a phrase that I still don’t fully get.

No Zuo No Die

It's a Chinglish phrase with only one Chinese word in it. Zuò means "to do," so the phrase means "No do, no die" in English. Aurora tried explaining it by saying that "if you plan on sneaking up on someone and try to scare them, but fall over and hurt yourself in the process - that's no zuo no die." I... sort of get it.

In this case, I am taking a class to learn the language faster, but it’s sort of slowing me down because of how disorganized my notes are… I guess.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
To Use
e.g. Kěyǐ yòng zhè ge ma?
[ke-yee yohng je ge mah?]
(Can I use this?)

To Have 
e.g. Wǒ yǒu yī ge xīguā
[woah/wah yo EE guh she-gwah]
(I have a watermelon)

Editing Music
Bistro Fada 
Stéphane Wrembel

Bonus Pic: Our drain goes straight to the floor now

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