#Taiwan Journal 8: Speaking Chinese

April 24th, 2014, 9pm

In this small restaurant, the “kitchen” was in front of the shop, and all the necessary ingredients and prepared foods were laid out for customers to see and choose. Many restaurants here had a similar set-up. Sitting in the back where the tables were, I listened to their exchange. From the tone of her voice, I could tell that he was a regular. He was asking her what was good tonight. She spoke fast like a rolling dice on a hardwood floor, and he spoke slowly in a deep voice.

Before this trip, I had a misconception about Chinese language being unmusical, but being surrounded by spoken Chinese on the streets for a week, my perception changed. I carried a phrase book with me all the time and did my best to speak as much Chinese as I could. To my surprise, it was a lot of fun to speak this language.

Chinese language resembles a ukelele, a happy instrument. Maybe you can’t play Mozart with it, but who cares? It has its own playfulness and musicality. Even after coming back to Tokyo, the sound of Chinese were still reverberating in my ears for two or three days.

Christine, Jared, Philippe, Gould and 5 others said thanks.

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Shu Kuge

Woodcut printmaker

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