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7 very Chinese things in the eyes of non-Chinese

When 7 uncaptioned photos of very Chinese things, phenomena, and traditions are sent to BuzzFeed offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, London, Toronto, Russia, Spain, Mumbai, and Australia, the non-Chinese asked them to write down the first thing that came into their heads.

7张未附文字但颇具中国特色的照片,发送到了BuzzFeed在纽约、华盛顿、洛杉矶、多伦多、俄罗斯、西班牙、孟买和澳大利亚的办事处,让老外写下他们对这些有关中国现象、中国传统和中国事物照片的第一反应。

lanxiang.png

Foreign friends guess:

老外说:

"Those are graves for the dinosaurs from China's Jurassic Park."

“这是中国侏罗纪公园的恐龙墓。”

"It's the monthly Excavator Anonymous meeting, where excavator enthusiasts can dig to their hearts' content."

“这是月度匿名挖掘机会议,挖掘机发烧友可以尽情掘地三尺。”

"Trying to dig to Australia."

“努力一路挖到澳大利亚。”

The truth:

真相:

Students of Shandong Lanxiang Vocational School are trained to drive excavators. Each year, 30,000 mechanics, barbers and welders are trained by the massive Shandong Lanxiang Vocational School, whose overadvertised slogan "Meet the king of (excavator maneuver), find Lanxiang in China Shandong" was turned into a popular internet catchphrase.

山东蓝翔高级技工学校的学生在接受挖掘机驾驶训练。每年都有三万名机修工、理发师和焊工在山东蓝翔高级技工学校接受培训,该校的广告标语铺天盖地,“挖掘机学校哪家强,中国山东找蓝翔”很快就成了网络流行语。

yehu.png

Foreign friends guess:

老外说:

"You put a boiled egg on top and then crack it with a spoon and eat it out of the shell like you are in Downtown Abbey."

“你把煮鸡蛋放上面,然后用勺子磕开蛋壳再吃,就像你在唐顿庄园一般。”

"This is most definitely a him-and-her pair of cups for the loving couple's morning coffee."

“这绝对是情侣杯,爱侣早晨煮咖啡用的。”

"Storing the remains of loved ones?"

“存放恋人遗体的?”

The truth:

真相:

These delicate pieces of porcelain are chamber pots, and even today are an essential part of southern Chinese dowries for weddings. Just 20 years ago, pumping toilets were still not in every Chinese house. Further back, these pots were used for Chinese women to deliver babies, so they remain good-luck charms for couples to conceive lovely babies.

这些精致的陶瓷是夜壶,即便今天也是中国南方人结婚嫁娶重要的嫁妆之一。20年前,抽水马桶也还不是家家户户都有的。再早些年,这是中国妇女生孩子用的,所以夫妇们认为,这东西能为他们孕育可爱宝宝带来好运。

biang-1.png

Foreign friends guess:

老外说:

"Pickles."

“泡菜。”

"The red dragon sleeps under a very ornated window."

“红色的龙睡在装饰花哨的窗下。”

"It means 'simple'."

“这个字的意思是‘简单’。”

The truth:

真相:

This is "Biang" — the most complicated character of all time — and it contains at least 56 strokes. Well, Chinese themselves still have arguments over how to write it correctly, understandably. It's an unofficial word created to represent a popular Shaanxi noodle, Biang Biang Noodle.

“Biang”这个字是有史以来最复杂的字,笔画有56笔之多。当然,中国人本身也对这个字的正确写法争议颇多,这也可以理解。这个字不是正式的文字,造出来是为了代表陕西颇受欢迎的一道面点,叫“biang biang面”。

laoganma.png

Foreign friends guess:

老外说:

"She is a celebrity chef who all Chinese people aspire to cook food like."

“她一定是中国的明星厨娘,人人都渴望像她那么会烧菜。”

"Her face is the logo for something ubiquitous. Is it eggs? Is it Chinese eggs?"

“她的脸是某样无处不在的事物的标志。是不是鸡蛋?中国鸡蛋?”

The truth:

真相:

She's Tao Huabi, the woman who invented China's most celebrated chili sauce, Lao Gan Ma.

她是陶华碧,中国最知名辣酱“老干妈”的发明者。

changsheng.png

Foreign friends guess:

老外说:

"She is ascending to a higher plane of consciousness and waving goodbye to these mere mortals."

“她正上升到更高的意识层面,正对尘世的凡人挥手再见。”

"Chinese people can fly? This changes everything."

“中国人会飞?这样就一切皆可改变了。”

The truth:

真相:

Chinese jump rope can get extremely intricate and physically demanding, yet it's about teamwork and rhythm. Chinese kids in the 1980s were obsessed with it, especially the girls.

中国长绳可能会极其复杂而且对体力要求很高,这是项需要团队合作和节拍的运动。20世纪80年代的中国孩子痴迷其中,尤其是女孩子们。

dashuhua.png

Foreign friends guess:

老外说:

"Obviously Chinese people have mastered the art of making gold out of thin air."

“显然中国人掌握了把稀薄空气变黄金的技艺。”

"The sun is leaking and the Chinese people are covering up this secret."

“太阳漏了,中国人在掩盖这个秘密呢。”

The truth:

真相

In reality, this is a gorgeous — but dying — form of Chinese fireworks. Poor blacksmiths in the town of Nuanquan, in Hebei, found that if they hurled molten iron at the old city wall, it exploded in a shower of sparks in the cold night air. They donned sheepskins and straw hats to protect themselves, and used spoons made of hard willow wood to hurl the iron.The practice is called "dashuhua (打树花)," which means "throwing tree fireworks."

事实上,这是绚丽的中国式烟花,现在濒临灭绝。河北省暖泉镇的铁匠们发现,要是把熔融的铁水挥向古老的城墙,铁水便会在寒夜的空气中如火花般绽放迸溅。铁匠们披上羊皮,戴上草帽来保护自己,用坚硬的柳木勺来挥洒铁水。这一习俗即“打树花”,意为“投掷树木烟花”。

xiyangyang.png

Foreign friends guess:

老外说:

"Those look like sheep and cats, but my real question is why there's poop in the title."

“这些形象看起来又像羊又像猫,但我真正想问的是,为什么标题里有便便?”

"The joys of getting a perm."

“烫发的乐趣。”

"It's about some sheep that are bad at surfing and regularly get ridiculed by cats."

“讲的是冲浪水平很差的羊群一直被猫嘲笑的故事。”

The truth:

真相:

So this is actually a cartoon called Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf. It tells an absurd ongoing story about how Grey Wolf fails to please his wife Red Wolf by catching a single sheep in 1,342 episodes but hasn't starved to death, miraculously. Red Wolf is smarter but never bothers to hunt. The sheep have even been thrown into boiled water repeatedly but of course came out unscathed. And the poop? WE HAVE NO IDEA.

其实这是部卡通片,名为《喜羊羊与灰太狼》。1342集的剧集里不断讲述着灰太狼总是抓不到那只羊,因此无法取悦老婆红太狼的荒诞故事。奇迹的是,它们至今都没饿死。红太狼更聪明些,但从来不用捕猎。羊群多次被扔进沸水中,但次次毫毛无损。至于便便?我们也不知道。

2016-06-23

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