Chinese Wisdom: The Best Bits

The Chinese are a strange bunch. After travelling for two weeks in China, I still have no idea what goes on in their heads. But I saw much to admire there, so I have chosen 5 aspects of Chinese wisdom to adapt into my own life back in Tokyo.

Escaped Terracotta Army soldiers pose by wolf skins

1) A proper breakfast Halfway through my trip, I joined the locals for breakfast. We all had lamb stew with pitta bread. Filling, cheap and healthy, it was an inspiring meal. After lamb stew at 8am, you’re ready for anything.

2) Green tea This is controversial, mainly because it’s not very nice. But green tea is cheap, healthy and easy to make, and I have to be realistic, a good cup of tea with milk is not going to happen over here.

3) No more queuing People from Japan and England are fantastic at queueing. In both countries, people seem to queue up to queue up. But why? It’s such a waste of time. Pushing in, as the Chinese do, is quicker and more fun. 

4) Not sorry anymore Saying sorry makes you look weak. It’s better not to say it. I was told this by a Chinese girl. It’s easy to follow, and because nobody apologises, nobody expects you to apologise.

In Japan it’s the opposite. You should start off by apologising, “toriaezu sumimasen”, I am told by Japanese friends.  They believe whether it’s your fault or not, it’s best to apologise.

The Japanese way is time-consuming and frustrating, so risking my career and personal safety, I’m going to try the Chinese method. 

(Watch Chinese footballers ploughing through Japanese players without a sorry here. The fouls get worse and worse, and there’s no hint of remorse)

5) No more goodbyes A Cantonese couple bought me dinner. At the end of the evening, I wanted to thank them. Midway through saying thank you and bowing, I realised the couple had disappeared, without a word or a wave. It is a novel but brilliant way of finishing an evening.

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