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seals cutting

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One Day Experience

Names: Deborah Chesser, Megan Sadler, Zoe Bollinger, Jonas Hill, Kate Contad
Nationality: American

I am Deborah Chesser, my Chinese name is 常旦明 (one of my friends chose this name for me). These are my friends: Megan, Zoe, Jonas and Kate - they’re also from the States, and although we haven’t met before Shanghai we are now good friends. I’m leaving Shanghai in two weeks so we’re all looking forward to learning and eating together at the Chinatown Culture Centre.

I am a devout vegetarian, so I’m super happy to try out this restaurant- organic veggies, no MSG, no frying, no meat, just real pure vegetarian cuisine, which also encourages people to respect nature. The vegetarian hot-pot concept sounds fun, plus we heard there’s a Cultural Center here and we arranged for a full day learning and food experience.

So the plan for today is to have lunch and 3 classes: Embroidery, Chinese Calligraphy and Go, and finally tea and hot-pot for dinner. We really look forward to start!

OK. So we walked inside the restaurant and were immediately served with tea cups to brew our own cup of tea. There’s an antique chinese cabinet with lots of drawers, each for a different kind of tea.

PART 1 - Lunch (organic veggie lunchboxes)

Lunch is ready! Each person gets a different lunch set and all of it looks delicious. Bon Appetite!

Here’s the store’s business card: made from bamboo with Chinese knot, it can accessorize a cell phone – perfect for Megan (the more, the better!)

Wow, the menu is very cool! Its handwritten and illustrated by hand! The staff tells us that the menu is updated regularly, and each time different people volunteer to handwrite a part of the menu. I want to do the English version next time!

Wow! Really Yummy! We totally devoured the food!

After practically cleaning our plates we order extra baked potato. D-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s! Next time I visit. I’ll have that again. twice.

PART 2 Embroidery experience

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Tranquility and Tea Ceremony

Name: Sheila Connelly
Nationality: American

I recently travelled in Hangzhou where I fell in love in the wonderful LongJing tea. Upon returning to Shanghai I searched for a place to learn me how to brew my own cup of Chinese tea. A friend has recommended me the ChinaTown Cultural Center and I signed up for the Tea Ceremony class.

In the States, when you’re invited for a tea party, you should bring cookies or biscuits, so I bought some on the way here.

Feeling a bit awkward at first, I quickly relaxed into the peaceful atmosphere around me.

I’m taught that the most important things necessary for a great cup of tea (besides having great tea leaves of course) is the water quality, temperature and the brewing time.

Then there are the five basic steps: warming the cup, adding hot water, making the tea, brewing it and finally, the tasting.

Take a look at the teacher’s hand gestures - very elegant and pleasant, and the whole atmosphere was very calm and pleasant. Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese Paper-Cutting Experience

Names: Claudia Hahn, Christopher Clark, Cole Ranze, Susie
Nationality: Germany, United States, China

Hi, my name is Claudia Hahn, I’m from Germany, and will be celbrating my first Chinese New Year soon!

I’m an industrial designer, and always pay attention to the local streets and very interested in local crafts and arts. Paper Cutting should be amazing for me to learn.. just using scissors and creations such beautiful and complicated works.. I’ll see what I can do.

My friends Chris, Cole and Suzie are joining me for this class (-: we share the same interests when it comes to design and crafts, so it should be a cool thing for us to do together.

OK, so at first the teacher gives us the paper and special scissors and tells us its popular to put paper cuttings on the windows, during New Year Festival, but of course we can also frame and hang it on the wall.

I tell the teacher my birth year, and it’s the year of Monkey! HeHe (didn’t know that)

The teacher cuts in moments an image of a super-cute pig.. sooo fast!

Now we practice some paper cuttings, following the printed patterns

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Names:Alon Mendel with his parents Adi and Dikla ,and Aunt Julie

Hi H! my name is Alon Mendel.. I’m 9 months old. I came to do this class with my Mommy Dikla and Daddy Adi and my Aunt Julie. My parents and I are from Israel and Julie is my Mommy’s friend from France.

I’m still drinking milk, but since I recently got new teeth(!!!) Mommy started to give me other good things to eat! I’m so excited and am tasting anything I can get my hands on..

Mommy and her friends heard of the “Wu Guang Tang” vegetarian and organic restaurant, and we already went there for lunch a few times (together) and now Mommy was invited to try and learn Chinese Cooking by herself .

Its a great chance for me to leave the house and enjoy the trip in my stroller!

Julie hasn’t arrived yet, so till she comes Mom and Dad enjoy a cup of tea. What about me?!

The teacher is the Chef of the restaurant – and that’s very exciting!

The lesson includes two dishes. One stuffed sweet pepper (with ginger, carrot and pumpkin puree) and the other is a cold dish. My Mommy checks all the ingredients and approves: I can eat this! Woo hooo!!

the Chef shows the sauces and explains about each one.

look at my mommy! She’s clearly paying attention.

I get a quick taste already, half-way through the dish preparation.

And now to work! Everyone puts on their aprons and cooking hats, even me.

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Painting Peking Opera Masks

Name: Jean-Mark
Nationality: French

Hi! I’m Jean-Mark, I’m a choreographer and fashion costume designer. I’ve lived in Shanghai for a few years and love it! I’m inspired from my life in China, and from Chinese Culture elements.

I’ve seen quite a few Chinese Opera performances, and have been looking for a place to study about Peking Opera. The look of the costumes and masks is very unique and I look forward for the inspiration.

The classroom is already decorated with several beautifully painted masks, and also white ones to work with.

An important element of Chinese Culture, the Peking Opera has evolved through the years, with the decorations and different colors helping to signify the nature of the characters. Originally the mask has been painted directly on the face, but continued to evolve as a mask also, to allow the decoration patter and design to signify the different meanings. Each color has a different meaning, and they’re quite different in China then in France, so its very important for me, when I try to give a certain feeling – what color to us.

The teacher is great, he explains the history, then the significance of the masks and then the important points of painting on one.

i first do the lines, and then the black painted fillings. The eyes were pretty hard.

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First allow me to introduce ourselves. My name is Yoshiyuki Kondo, from Japan. I came to JiaoTong Universit to study Chinese two years ago. Next to me, in the same black sweater is my good friend 中本真理, also from Japan. 中本真理 came to china 6 months ago, but has studies Chinese in Japan for 7 years already. And the other three girls 丘燕妮,吴文瑄, and 王珊娣 are our classmates, from Indonasia.

We’re all into arts and crafts, especially traditional ones. Actually, this is 中本真理 b-day, and I wanted to sneak out of class, just one day to make a present for her .. but we ended up coming here all of us =_=

The teacher tells us the history of Chinese knot and its Cultural meanings. There lots of types of knots. They all look quite complicated, and we ask to learn the easiest version, first of all. Its cute, small and fun and can be hung on a cellphone, a gift box, or anything else..

The teacher is soft-spoken and easy to understand and follow her instructions.
Step by step we make small figurines.

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