Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Due to the Great Firewall of China making life for Chinese based blogspot bloggers too difficult, my blog has now moved to


Hope to see you there.


Tuesday, 3 April 2007

We got goat!

On my walk to my part time job these days – a pleasing 5 minute stroll to what Chris "Eyes East" Amico has described as "one of the nicest office buildings I’ve ever seen. Not in China, mind you. Anywhere. This place holds its own" – I have been bemused by the sight of a freshly severed goat’s head set proudly atop a blood bespattered fleece on a ledge outside one of the little shops that line the side street leading to my swanky corporate tower. I know it is a freshly severed head because the blood has not congealed (much) and it is definitely a different goat every day because I have been carefully inspecting the horns.

I'm not really squeamish about this because, if you’ll forgive a little wander down memory lane, back when I was a very little Kim growing up in the South Downs of Sussex our family kept goats. Two nannies called Emily and Suzy and a dangerously stupid billy called Charlie. Charlie was so dumb that one day while tethered to a tree he walked round and round until the rope bit into his neck and then kept on trying to go the way he’d been going until he fainted, fell over, and throttled himself. Quite a feat to strangle yourself, but Charlie pulled it off. Good country instincts of waste-not, want-not meant that when my brother and I got home from school we were confronted by the flayed corpse of a billy in the bath. It was, I recall, a little alarming and weird but our parents assured us that Charlie was soon to be turned into lots of very tasty curry and that we were not to worry. So we didn’t -and he was- and since then I’ve not been much troubled by butchery.

But anyroad, I was nonetheless a little baffled about why exactly these grisly goats' heads were grinning at me from the shopfront. So after about a week I did as all good foreigners should when confronted with the mysteries of the east and asked a local, in this instance my wife. She winced at the description but immediately had the explanation. Apparently a few kebab shops are under suspicion of catching cats and dogs for their skewers (chuan) and so the goat is there to vouch for the authenticity of the wares. Of course! And how much more persuasive than a certificate from the Health and Safety!

I wonder how this sort of customer assurance would go down in my hometown of Brighton? I guess a few people would faint, a few would vomit, and a few would think it was connected to satanic rituals and call their village priest/try to get a piece of the action. Health and Safety officials (fascists!) would froth at the mouth and have a stroke before shutting the place down, or maybe the whole lane down. England doesn’t do that sort of advertising any more, although Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall might be allowed to do it in his River Cottage on the telly. In any case, there would be no end of bleating about it – though not from the goat of course.

Anyway, it's a nice snapshot of the new/old China cheek by jowl. The gleaming skyscraper next to the medieval alley. Of which more soon…

Anyone coming for a goat kebab in downtown Dalian this weekend? I can promise it's fresh.

yours aye


Why come to China?

Forgive me...my third post and I haven't explained myself to the occasional non-friend who may stumble upon this blog. Well, I'm an English English teacher who's lived and worked in Hungary, Japan, Thailand, England, and now in Dalian, North-East China. Why did I come to China? Eyes right please. Yes, like many a western man these days my significant other is from the east. We met in Tokyo and lived together in Thailand and England before coming to her home town of Dalian. Life seems good here and we will probably bring up our daughter here. A decade of Dalian beckons, more than likely.

In about 3 weeks my wife is due to deliver unto us a baby girl.

But this blog is not the place for baby photos! Only adult content here.

All the honourable raw fish you can handle

I lived in Japan for 3 years and took to the cuisine like a fish to water, so I get sushi cravings from time to time. The Japanese like to give an honorific "O" prefix to important (honoured) aspects and things in their culture and hence you have "O-ka san" (honourable mother) "O-yu" (honourable hot water - it makes sense when you go to a Japanese hot-springs resort) and of course the honourable "O-sushi". This pretty much sums up the way I feel about sushi.

After Japan I worked in Thailand for two years and finding good sushi in Bangkok was easy, and -This is Thailand! - quite cheap. But being back in Brighton, Britain, for a few months last year was a shock. My 15 pounds an hour English teacher wage would get me about 8-10 pieces of (Yo!) sushi, which would make me about one quarter full. And most of the sushi I ate in "Brighton-by-the-sea" did not look fresh and did not taste right. I didn't go often.

I'm now living in Dalian, North China. It's a city famed for its seafood throughout the land but the Chinese, by and large, do not do raw fish. Maybe it's too Japanese and would stick in a nationalist's craw. Maybe it's because the average Chinese still doesn't like to stray outside of the Chinese kitchen that often. But a few do, and there are also a lot of Japanese living and working here, so sushi can be hunted down. The high end Japanese restaurants in Dalian serve the real McCoy, but still and all they are aimed at Japanese businessmen so they bump up the price...why not? But compared to Britain they are more than reasonable.

It took me a while to find the cheap and cheerful sushi places around town and the best find, without doubt, is on the fifth floor foodcourt (why can't Britain do foodcourts?) at NewMart. It's welcoming, clean, does very decent sushi, and between the hours of 5 and 9 it has an "All you can eat" (tabehodai) sushi buffet for 58 yuan . That's 4 British pounds, and my hourly wage here is 8 pounds an hour.

So you can see that Dalian well and truly trounces Brighton on the "quality-of-living-as- measured-by-a-bellyful-of-O-sushi" benchmark and is just another point to prove how richly deserved is the tag of "Rip-off Britain".

That's all for now honourable reader.

With Respect


noodle blog

Hello everyone!

I am an English teacher in Dalian, North-East China. I am going to blog about my day2day life and about random topics that come to mind.

First of all here is an English teacher blog...

My students have funny English! Some of them make me laugh! One of them said the other day that they wanted to "apply a job" and I couldn't help laughing when I had to tell her she meant "apply for a job"!!! Ha ha! And the shops around here have some great names! One of them has a sign above its door "Smoke Wine We Are Making Tea". Ha ha!

People stare at me! People sure do spit a lot! Chinese is kinda tough to learn, but I am going to make a real effort to start learning it soon though! I have noticed that after 77 days here most of my foreign friends here get really cynical about China, but I want to keep my heart open for the Chinese to enter!It's so cheap here! I had a bowl of noodles the other day for the equivalent of 20p! And they serve Donkey Dumplings at the place round the corner for next to nothing!

Well, it's been a pleasure reaching out a blogging hand to shake with all of you, and here's hoping those lackeys encharged with keeping out the filth from the glorious Middle Kingdom won't block my brand spanking new innocent English teacher's noodle blog.

yours aye