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Cross-border ramblings

Chinese myths

Recycling the trash

In Japan, and several other countries, household trash needs to be separated into various categories and those categories of trash are put outside for collection on predetermined days. Common categories may be metals, plastics, glass, combustible, noncombustible, etc. The main reason for this is to increase the amount of recycling and decrease the amount of trash that ends up in landfills. Here in Qingdao though, all trash can be thrown out together on any day of the week. That makes life much simpler for the average household, who probably wouldn’t separate it anyway, and means that the trash is collected daily. But, what about recycling? How can glass bottles, metal …

People who speak your language

Probably the most common factor in the mistakes I’ve seen people make in China is them trusting the first person they met that happened to speak their language. This is more common with Japanese who go to China and meet somebody who speaks Japanese and then goes on to be their best friend introducing them to people who can do anything and solve all their problems. Hah! Imagine you are in a room of 100 people, all equally qualified to do a certain task, or to introduce you to other people, but only one of the 100 speaks your language. Who are you more likely to end up speaking with, …

Cheated in China?

Here in Japan, I am constantly being told stories of how people went to China on business, either to buy or sell something, or to establish a company, and ended up being cheated. While I won’t say that nobody is ever cheated in China—people are cheated every day in all countries—I can say that almost all of the stories I have heard can be explained by greed on the part of the person going to China, or a total misunderstanding and/or lack or even wanting to understand the Chinese people, language, or how business is done in China. Basically, they went there with their own set of preconceptions and common …

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