Category Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post: Mandarin Phrases and Tradition for Chinese New Year

Today it is time for the first Guest Post of the year on this blog. As there is so much talk all over the other blogs about one certain topic we shall join the party and thus this Guest Post will be all about the Chinese New Year!

Of all Chinese holidays, Chinese New Year, sometimes referred to as the Spring Festival, is the most important.  It is a celebration of prosperity, tradition, family, and good will.  If you want to learn Mandarin, the following phrases are a good start.

Mandarin Chinese_1


(1)恭喜发财/恭喜發財(gong xi fa cai) “bless happiness, and prosperity”

This wish for prosperity is typically only used during Chinese New Year.  The greeting is offered before gifts or lucky money is given by the host.

(2) 新年快乐/新年快樂(xin nian kuai le“Happy New Year”

This is the same generic greeting that is used during New Years in the West.  It can be used as a greeting, a parting phrase, or both.

(3) 学业进步/學業進步(xue ye jin bu)- “”Progress in Studies”

This greeting is offered to students of all ages to wish them well with their studies.

(4) 生意兴隆/生意興隆(sheng yi xing long-“Prosperous Business”

This greeting is offered to business owners for prosperous business in the year to come.  It is typically reserved for business owners that you know personally.

(5) 龙马精神/龍馬精神(long ma jing shen)-“Spirit of Dragon and Horse” This greeting is used to wish an elderly person the energy of a horse and the longevity of a dragon.

(6) 万事如意/萬事如意(wan shi ru yi-“10,000 Things According to Will”     

This greeting is a wish that the year to come will go according to the desires and plans of the recipient.

(7) 心想事成(xin xiang shi cheng)”Accomplish That In Your Heart”

This greeting is a wish that the person will achieve anything they want.


Chinese New Year Traditions

There are a variety of traditions observed during the Chinese New Year.  These vary by location, though there are a few traditions that are nearly universally observed among Chinese people the world over.

Mandarin Chinese_2


Spring cleaning – Before the holiday, people thoroughly clean their homes and change their ritual decorations.  Red paper bearing 4 character auspicious sayings are hung in pairs surrounding the doorway.

Dinner – The night before the holiday calls for the extended family to sit down together for a large meal.  Traditionally, the meal is hosted at the home of the family’s oldest living patriarch.  This is such an important meal that some Chinese will travel long distances.

Visiting – Many Chinese people spend the New Year holiday visiting relatives and close friends.  Gifts are typically exchanged and lucky money may be given in small red envelopes.  Parents give the envelopes to unmarried children, and in some regions, lucky money may be given to extended family or unmarried friends.  Children or others who may receive lucky money will greet the host with gong xi fa cai (bless happiness, and prosperity) while clasping their hands and moving them vertically.

Remember different areas have their own special New Year stories and legends. Wish you have a happy Spring Festival. For more Chinese learning tips, you are welcome to visit our blog Learn Mandarin Now.


How will you spend this New Year?

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Guest Post: How to get by in China

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems that people the world over are far more adventurous than ever before.

Maybe it’s the availability of cheaper flights or the greater knowledge of foreign places that people now have owing to the vast amount of data on the internet, I’m not sure.

Whatever it is, China is now a favoured destination and, for some, still remains a country shrouded in mystery; an exotic land of diverse culture, adventure and excitement. More and more, especially younger people, are travelling there, maybe for a short holiday or, increasingly, to work and settle down.


Therefore, we spent some time thinking how we can best help travellers in China and came up with some ideas. Firstly, if you are one of those people thinking mid to long term and are planning on looking for Chinese friends, or are just interested in learning more about mainland Chinese or Taiwanese women in general, you can take a look at our website.

Pic_Chinese Girl

Secondly, we came up this infographic! It was created by one of our writers from and its aim is to help the newcomer or even people who have been in China for some time assimilate and blend in easily with local people. We hope it will help them get familiar with the right ways to do certain things and also offer caution about the wrong ways!

Using our infographic will make it that much easier to get by and enjoy your life in the country as it provides 10 of the top tips for getting by in China with pointers about social and business practices.

Much thanks to Timo for letting us to share the infographic at his blog. Take a look and see, we’re sure you’ll be glad you read it!


Guest Post: 5 Tips for Tricking your [Japanese] in-laws into liking you

Meeting the in-laws is one of those monumental steps for any relationship. If all goes well, months later, you can start cracking jokes at their expense to your significant other. If things doesn’t go well… you know what happens.

Your goal as the “girlfriend” or “boyfriend” is to trick your future (or current) in-laws into liking you. Fight dirty – do whatever you can so they end up gushing to your significant other about how much they love his/her partner [you].

I’m sure it’s different for everyone. Spending time with your Chinese in-laws is much more different than with your Japanese in-laws…

But in any case, I think some things are the same. Here are my 5 tips for dealing with your (Japanese) in-laws.

(back when my husband and I were “just dating,” my father came to Japan to meet his family)


1. Read up (and research) the culture before you arrive

Think of meeting/staying with the in-laws like a job interview. Question your significant other about their parents. What are their likes? What are their dislikes?

If you are going to spend the afternoon or the night at your future (or current) in-laws house, make sure to read up on the culture before you arrive (this isn’t just for Japanese in-laws, this can be any nationality).

Should you wear shoes in-doors? What about socks? Is being barefoot, wearing slippers considered rude?

If you have any food allergies or preferences, make sure your in-laws know well ahead of time. If you don’t like a specific vegetable, if you are vegetarian, or if you have a very small appetite, make sure everyone know that ahead of time.


2. Compliment everything.

Some of my favorites that I like to keep in my “sucking up to the in-laws” arsenal are:

“You have such a lovely house.”

“Wow, this tastes so delicious. You could be a professional chef.”

“It is so peaceful and comfortable here. The countryside is the best (only applies if they live out in the middle of nowhere)”

“Thank you for always treating me so wonderfully.”

You get the picture. Compliment and compliment often. However, people can pick up an insincere compliment from a mile away… so try to find things you genuinely like to compliment.



3. Keep your hands (and your opinions) to yourself

Trust me, you would much rather be labeled a “quite pushover” than a “bossy, rude” foreigner.

And if you’ve spent any time on the internet, you know that foreigners (doesn’t even matter where you’re from) have a bad reputation. It’s so easy to draw conclusions and look for stereotypes (that don’t even exist)… don’t give your future in-laws any excuse to disapprove of your relationship.

If you’re from a non-Asian country, make an extra effort to keep your hands to yourself. I will still hold hands and hug at my in-laws house, but my husband’s lips aren’t allowed anywhere near mine. American girls have a pretty nasty reputation that I don’t want to reinforce.

Along those lines, stay on your best behavior. Even though I firmly believe that arguments are an essential part of any healthy relationship (and they provide a great way to broaden your horizons and re-evaluate your priorities), I would never EVER start (on continue) and argument in front of my in-laws.

Lastly, keep it simple. If they ask for your honest opinion about anything (however unlikely) for the love of God, don’t give them your honest opinion!


4. Don’t complain about anything

This one is pretty self-explanatory and expected. Even if you’re tired, cold, and hungry, don’t let the in-laws know.

You can always pull your significant other off to the side and tell them you’re not doing so good. They can make some sort of excuse/request to their parents, saving your “face” and protecting your image.



5. Pretend to be interested in the same things

I go gardening with my father-in-law every time I visit. I don’t particularly enjoy gardening, but my father-in-low loves it. He loves introducing my husband and I to his old gardening friends and he loves talking about how tall his plants are growing. Sometimes when we call the house for our weekly phone chats, he talks about what vegetables are in season.

That’s his “thing.”

He likes me because I show interest in his “thing.”

Everyone has some “thing” they love; find it, become interested in it, and the in-laws will love you.



Author Bio:













Grace Buchele Mineta is a native Texan, founder of the blog “Texan in Tokyo,” and author of the autobiographical comic book, “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy.” She lives in Tokyo with her husband, Ryosuke, where she blogs and draws comics about their daily life.

My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book” is the autobiographical misadventures of a native Texan freelancer and her Japanese “salaryman” husband – in comic book form. From earthquakes and crowded trains, to hilarious cultural faux pas, this comic explores the joys of living and working abroad, intercultural marriages, and trying to make a decent pot roast on Thanksgiving.