China’s has a very unique, interesting, fun, and awesome culture. Much of their history and ancient ways of doing things are filled with color and lovely expressions. When most people think of China, I think they think about this part of Chinese culture, at least I did before coming to China.
That bubble of a dream is slowly bursted when you step in China’s mega cities and see everyone wearing normal clothes and the city is a nice “cement color”. Although, China does still has tons of interesting and fun culture.
I just want to share in this post about a part of Chinese culture that sticks out to me because I am a foreigner, and that is when Western culture meets China. China has a love/hate relationship with foreigners and foreign culture, but now in China there is a lot of foreign culture…with their own “spin” on it.
I think most of this comes from understanding the basic idea of the foreign culture and then just fitting it into their own system.
Here are a two fun examples:
Christmas: China “unofficially” celebrates many holidays that we do in the USA, such as Christmas. Christmas here has nothing to do with the birth of Christ (even though the name does) and they have abstracted the commercialism side of Christmas from America and added valentines day to it. So you might be going in to buy a Christmas gift and walk out with a heart shaped box of chocolates.
Ikea: We visited Ikea and it was ridiculous. There were people everywhere. I observed. On the “display” floor people weren’t just looking at how the rooms were setup, they were using the display items. There were kids sleeping in the bunk-beds, people eating food in the dining room display and a man with his shoes off asleep on the couch. Then as I approached the snack area looking for a hotdog, I noticed another clash taking place: cheap food and unlimited drinks. People would buy a cup of coffee or a drink cup and stand buy the machines, drinking and drinking and drinking. The hotdogs and ice-cream were so cheap I was amazed, so people were buying handfuls at a time. Then they would take the hotdogs over to the ketchup and mustard stand. Stare at these pumps for awhile and since it was unlimited self-serve, pump globs of mustard and ketchup on their hotdog until the hotdog was swimming in sauce.
Question: For those who have visited China, what are some other “Western Culture in China” things or situations that you have found interesting?