Over a dozen academies across China are currently petitioning for UNESCO World Heritage status for the Long March route. Academics involved in this project hope that this will lead to greater awareness of the importance of protecting cultural heritage sites for posterity and help promote “red tourism” in some of the country’s more impoverished areas.
Hong Kong’slast Cantonese opera house has been saved thanks to Cantonese opera fan and feng shui master Li Kuiming (李居明). Li signed a four-year lease with the owner of the Sunbeam Theatre (新光戏院) and it is thought that the opera house will re-open for business later this year.
The residents of Nagoya (名古屋) have voiced their concerns over the local government’s plans to rebuild Nagoya Castle. While some believe that the proposal to demolish the concrete structure and rebuild the castle using traditional methods would boost tourism, others feel that the project would be a costly decision to make in the current economic climate.
The discovery of a wooden strip unearthed in Tsukuba (つくば) has led researchers to believe that the Heian and Nara government administrations based in western Japan also held sway in some of the islands’ peripheral areas. The strip bears the character hiro, which had been used as a unit of measurement in Japan’s Kinki region (近畿地方), and is the first such strip to have been discovered in eastern Japan.
Mongolia’s Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has recently published three books which catalogue the country’s cultural heritage. Ministry officials believe that the books will promote the protection of cultural heritage in Mongolia and will be useful tools for the country’s Customs and Border workers.
Chicago’s Field Museum is currently holding an exhibition on Genghis Khan which should dispel the myth that the Mongol leader was merely a bloodthirsty military warrior. The exhibition looks at the cultural impact that Genghis Khan’s armies made on the lands they conquered and explores Mongolian traditional culture and history.
South Korea :
Artisans are continuing their efforts to restore Songnyemun (숭례문), also known as Namdaemun (남대문), to its former glory. The gateway, which is one of South Korea’s national treasures and was almost destroyed by fire in 2008, has undergone extensive restoration work over the past two years and officials believe that the new structure will be completed by the end the year.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will be working with the Korea Tourism Organization and Cultural Heritage Administration to promote Seoul’s four royal palaces as hubs of traditional Korean culture. Numerous cultural and educational events have been planned for 2012 and visitors will be able to participate in late-night tours, sample Korean court cuisine and attend gugak concerts throughout the year.
Taiwanese railway expert Su Chaoyu has called for a national railway museum as a means of preserving the island’s rich railway culture. Su feels that more should be done to promote Taiwan’s unique railway culture on an international scale and he has even suggested that Taiwanese-Japanese ties could be improved through “railway diplomacy”.
It’s been a month since I embarked on my 101 Challenge so I thought it was time for a short update on my progress. I took almost two weeks’ break from my challenge whilst my mum was visiting me so my progress has been limited at best.
Learn one new chengyu/kotowaza every week - I’ve only tackled one kotowaza in the past month : 石の上にも三年. This kotowaza is quite relevant to my project as its translation is “perseverance prevails”. If anyone knows how I can use this kotowaza in everyday speech, feel free to let me know.
Read Bettine Vriesekoop’s “Duizend dagen in China” - I’ve read the first couple of chapters so far and am slowly making my way through the rest of the book. Dutch is not my native language so it’ll probably take me a few more weeks to complete this book. Despite my slow progress through the book, I think this is a great way for me to improve my Dutch reading skills and broaden my vocabulary, especially since the book is on a subject of personal interest (the book is about Bettine Vriesekoop’s time as China correspondent for one of the Netherlands’ most renowned national daily newspapers, the NRC Handelsblad).
Read at least 5 Japanese and/or Korean novels in translation - I’ve succeeded in reading one novel thus far, Kyung-Sook Shin’s “Please Look After Mom”. The book has sold over a million copies in South Korea alone so when a fellow blogger brought the book to my attention a few months ago, I added it to my “must read” list. I enjoyed reading this book, which was my first Korean novel in translation, and thought the author did a fantastic job of contrasting the traditional values of the missing mother with the norms and realities of modern-day South Korean society. To be honest, it’s a novel that I find quite hard to relate to given that I have a very good and close relationship with my mother but I was still able to understand the pain that each of the family members feels when they realize what they have lost. All in all, it’s a moving piece and a pertinent reminder of the importance of family even in this digital age.
That’s all for this month. I will continue working my way through that mammoth list of tasks and will post another update of my progress towards the end of March.
It’s been a wonderful and relaxing week and a half despite the fact I haven’t left the country and still had to go into the office while my mother was visiting me. Girly nights in, delicious home cooking and watching Swiss tennis champion Roger Federer win the ABN Amro tournament mens’ single title at the Ahoy in Rotterdam. What more could a gal ask for?
Seeing that there wasn’t a blog round-up last weekend (or the weekend before that), I thought I’d treat you all to a rare mid-week Eye on East Asia Blog Round-up. So here it is.
Ajumma’s Journal - The author talks about the benefits and challenges of trying to eat like a Korean Buddhist monk.
Just a short notice to let you all know that Eye on East Asia will be on a two-week break starting from tomorrow (10th February).
My mother will be staying with me for the next two weeks so there will be no news digests or blog round-ups until the weekend of the 24th/25th. I only get to see my mother every few months or so, so blogging will have to take a back seat whilst she’s here.
That’s all for this week. There will not be a blog round-up for the next two weeks as my mother will be visiting me, so the next Eye on East Asia Blog Round-up will be posted on Sunday 26th February 2012.