(Ir)regular viewing – Week 19

Due to personal issues, in the past two weeks I haven’t watched Chinese on most days. From May 22 to June 1, I watched Mandarin videos on only 4 out of 11 days. However, I watched 3 movies (2 on one night), so my average time did not go down too much. I’m still at an average of close to 35 minutes per day at the 136th days of my experiment.

Still, I’m slightly frustrated because I think the best strategy (within the parameters of my experiment) would be to watch some Mandarin every single day, and Qiao Hu on most days. I’ve actually done the opposite recently—watched subtitled movies sporadically—and I don’t feel like I’ve progressed much.

Here’s a picture of me watching Qiao Hu with Camila Daya using me as a sofa so that she could watch, too.

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She likes to watch videos in the oddest positions, and she really got a kick out of using me as a piece of furniture. I’ll often catch her upside down, with her head on the sofa seat and her legs up in the air, while watching TV. It’s hilarious.

As I’ve commented before, a huge upside to watching movies is that I feel like I’m becoming more and more familiar with Chinese culture. Of course I’m just barely scratching the surface, but I thought about writing about my insights thus far in this post. My general idea was to single out certain characteristics of Chinese culture that are either similar or different from Western culture. However, even if I were explicit about these “findings” being preliminary, I think this would be hugely premature. I just don’t have much to say as yet.

I’m very hesitant about coming to sweeping conclusions even about the culture of countries I’ve lived in for a decade or more (Brazil and the United States), so commenting on even preliminary findings about the culture of a country I’ve never even visited or studied, but only caught glimpses of by watching a handful of subtitled movies, would probably be downright silly.

Instead, I’d like to ask my readers to begin the discussion. For those of you who have lived in China or otherwise had contact with the culture, what are your impressions? Are the Chinese essentially different from or the same as Europeans, Americans, Latin Americans, other nationalities, etc.? In what ways? I will give you my own impressions, however superficial and limited they might be, when I get farther along in my experiment.