8 things that I never saw until I went to Taiwan

Hey everyone! Today's post is short and sweet. I just wanted to share with you all some of the more unique and interesting things that I have seen durring my stay in Taiwan. Enjoy and share your experiences below!!!


1. People washing clothes in a stream











2. A person go into a trance as they were possessed by a god





















3. 3 people on the same scooter, or a woman with 3 dogs on a scooter(okay, so that's two things!)























4. Parks full of elderly people performing choreographed dancing to music, or subway terminals equally full of breakdancing youths.















5. Two cars trying to fit through the same alley(approximately 1 car width wide), but different directions, oh and a scooter or two as well.

















6. A cab driver hit a pedestrian and then blow her off when she complained(both my wife and I have been hit by cars too)









7. A whole roast pig(think Hawaiian style, minus the apple in the mouth)











8. This!



10 Scary Chinese Foods!


The most popular articles I have ever written are… and…. So today, I'm going to keep the food theme, but add a bit of a twist, so keep reading and find out about some of the most unique(and disgusting!) Chinese foods!

1. 皮蛋 pídàn- Thousand year-old eggs











The rumor is these bad boys were marinated in horse piss to give them their distinctive flavor and smell way back in the day. This just shows you the reputation they have! These days they are soaked in salt, and a mixture of chemicals to give them their distinctive salty, ammonium flavor.

2. 臭豆腐 chòudòufu- Stinky tofu










I've written about this dish before, but I'm going to include it in this article as well, because foreigners really do think it's Disgusting(I capitalized and bolted the D for emphasis!), but come on! It's not that bad, especially compared to one of the other items on this list!

3. 豬腳 zhūjiǎo- Pigs feet


I can't tell you how much I love these! My mother in law makes the BEST marinated pigs feet in the world! The meat is so tender, it melt in your mouth! Just goes to show, that great food ain't always pretty!

4. 豬血糕 zhūxiěgāo /鴨血 yāxiě- Pigs blood cake/ duck blood

\"Zhu_xie_Gao\"Pigs blood cake and duck blood are often served with other dishes or in hotpot to compliment the other flavors, as they absorb the flavor of soups, sauces, etc. It's really not that bad, though the idea of it is kinda gross, you might think Chinese people are vampires!

5. 烤章魚腳 kǎozhāngyújiǎo- Grilled octopus tentacle


What's better than a delicious, rubbery octopus tentacle on a stick? A GIANT delicious, rubbery octopus tentacle on a stick, that's what! When I first moved to Taiwan, I remember thinking to myself "What the heck I that?" as I strolled through the night market one night. Little did I know that I would come to love this weird food, and so will you!

6. 豬肝 zhūgān- Pigs liver


Not usually eaten on their own, pig livers are adding in to many dishes to make for a hearty meal! They are eaten, because in traditional thought, they are believed to increase the blood count in your body.

7. 雞腳 jījiǎo- Chicken feet

\"OLYMPUSChicken feet are especially popular with Chinese women, as they are thought(because of traditional Chinese medicine) to be good for the skin. These are pretty good, but I'd take pigs feet any day, because chicken feet have barely any meat on them! They're great if you like cartilage, skin and tons of tiny bones though!

8. 魚下巴 yúxiàba- Fish jaw



This dish is pretty scary looking when the waiter brings it to your table, I mean, come on! Do people actually eat that! As a matter of fact, they do! The meat tastes pretty good, though it can be difficult to get at all the good parts. Hey, try it before you judge!




9. 魚卵 yúluǎn- Fish eggs



In Taiwan, when you order a fish at a restaurant, you get a fish, head and all. In America, you get a fillet! In Taiwan, when you get a fish with a belly full of eggs, you consider yourself lucky as you chow down on your bonus. In America, you yell at the waiter, send the fish back and mot likely empty the contents of your stomach. It really is amazing how different our taste buds can be!



10. 豬舌頭 zhūshétou- Pigs tongue


Last but not least, is pigs tongue! We've eaten pretty much every other part of the animal, so why leave the tongue alone? These are shaved into thin slices and grilled, and both look, and taste like pepperoni! They are awesome, so make sure you try this one before dropping the hammer!




That's our list, and I had to cut it short because my hands are getting tired from typing. I could easily go on! It just goes to show how much of the animals we eat in the West go to waste! I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you did, please join my mail-list! Until next time….


10 differences between Chinese and Western culture

Today I'm going to share with you several of the insights that I have had into the differences between Chinese and Western culture. These points are based on my own personal experience living in Taiwan and being married into a Taiwanese family. Enjoy and share your experiences below!


1. Children live with their parents for much longer…even after they're married!

2. Western people are more "in touch" with their feelings and talk about them, Chinese people keep them bottled up inside.

3. Food is eaten family style, with everyone sharing dishes.

4. Activities are often dictated by religious belief and the lunar calendar, such as, "when is a good time to open a business?"

5. Families will have an altar in their home for them to make offerings and pray at.

6. Grocery shopping is still commonly done in outdoor markets, with different people selling meat, vegetables, etc. if you want something, you often need to go to a store that sells that thing specifically(but not always).

7. People are warm with family and friends, but somewhat cold to strangers. People often bump into you In a crowd and move along like it never happened, and they don't hold the door for people.

8. Whereas people in America(especially women) want to have nice, tan skin, Chinese people would rather have pale, white skin.

9. Alcohol is sold 24 hours a day, and people can drink in public as much as they like as long as they behave themselves.

10. When someone gives you a red envelope at your wedding, you will count the money out and write it down(often in front of them!) so you know how thankful to be(someone will have this specific job delegated to them).


P.S. I wanted to remind you guys about the group Chinese webinars that I alluded to recently, stay tuned for a BIG update on this over the next week!

10 Chinese words that sound like English words

Here's a list of ten words in Mandarin whose pronunciation is similar to words in English. Making an association with words you already know can help you to remember new vocabulary. I want to stress, this is only one tool, don't abuse it and make her you have more tools in your language learning toolbox.

1. 豬 sounds like "zoo"
zhū- pig
2. 牛 sounds like "Neo" from the Matrix!
niú- cow
3. 不可 sounds like "book"
bùkě- cannot, mustn't 
4. 我們 sounds like "woman"
wǒmen- we, us
5. 襪子 sounds like "what's", as in "what's up?"
wàzi- sock(s)
6. 好 sounds like "how?"
hǎo- good, fine
7. 買 sounds like "my"
mǎi- buy
8. 你的 sounds like "need"
níde- your, yours
9. 位 sounds like "way"
wèi- measure word for people(polite)
10. 頭髮 sounds like "too far" 
tóufa- hair(on your head)
The list goes on and on, these 10 words barely even scratch the surface. Most importantly, remember to have FUN with your Chinese learning! Stay tuned for our next installment in this series, and in the meantime make sure to follow along with all of our lessons and articles. 洗牙。。。sounds like "see ya!"

Guest post on Chinese-tools

Hey guys, I just wanted to let y'all know about an article that I wrote as a guest post for chinese-tools.com earlier this week. It has some pretty powerful ideas for how you can keep from plateuing in your Chinese learning. And it will also remind you what is really important, and why you're learning Chinese to begin with. 

Check out my lastest article 5 Ways to Motivate Yourself When Chinese Gets Hard HERE!!

Let me know what you think.

Which idea was the most helpful?

What do you do when the going gets tough to keep progressing?

Share with us below!!!


Exciting News For All of You Chinese Learners!!!

Hey guys, how was your Labor Day weekend? Did you go anywhere, or do anything exciting? I went on a road trip with my family. We got up bright and early Friday morning and piled in the car, where we would stay for the next 8 hours! My legs were cramping big-time by the time we arrived, but it was all worth it though, as we found Hotsprings, Arkansas to be a really interesting place. In fact, it may sound weird, but my wife and I both felt like it was almost like we were back in Taiwan! Well, not really, but the similarities were there: mountain views, tightly packed streets with plenty of store-front shops, and even hotsprings! It was a lot of fun, and I recommend you go there and check it out for yourselves!

Anyway, on to business! 

The biggest factor in sucessfully learning a language is whether or not you actually spend an adequate time speaking it. You could memorize vocabulary flashcards until your blue in the face, but it won't really help you in the long-run. You need to engage other people in real-life conversation if you want to achieve any level of proficiency. Period.

Well, that might be a problem. You might find yourself without anyone to practice with, and while talking to yourself is usually discouraged in most circles, it can help…to an extent! So with that in mind, I have decided to provide a new service to you, my loyal readers, as I want nothing more than for you to succeed in learning Chinese, which is why I have decided to host weekly webinars(1-1.5 hrs in duration) at various pre-set times(feel free to attend as often as you like, the more frequently you do, the faster your Chinese will improve!) to give you all the chance to come together as a community and speak Chinese. During this time, I'll be offering some instruction, but the overall focus will be on conversation, as the only way to get better at something is to do it…a lot.

Stay tuned for more updates on the webinar sessions, the first of which will be taking place later on in the month.

I really and truly aim to get you speaking Chinese, not just learning it, using it! So let me know what you think, and let's get a conversation going! 




Lesson 15: Five Essential Chinese Phrases

These five phrases are essential, especially if you ever plan to visit a Chinese speaking country as a tourist, or even live in one. Armed with these phrases, you will come across as a very polite, respectful and well-mannered individual, and I wouldn't be surprise if you found the local people going out of their way to help you. So pay attention! Also, let me know how this lesson helped you, and if there are any other phrases that you just have to know. Study hard and I'll see you next time!




jiè guò yī xià 。

Excuse me.



duì bù qǐ 。

I'm sorry/excuse me.



qǐng wèn

Excuse me, may I ask?



zhè lǐ yǒu rén zuò ma 

Is there anyone sitting here?



。。。zhōng wén zěn me shuō ?

How do you say….in Chinese?




5 things you should expect from your language exchange partner

In a perfect world, you wouldn't have to waste time thinking about things like how your language exchange partner should behave, because they'd be perfect! If that's the case, then good or you! If, however, you're stuck down here on Earth like the rest of us, then pay attention. This article may save you some headaches, and heartbreaks, lol!

1. Patience

This is super important, because when you first begin speaking a new language, it's very difficult to make yourself coherent, and chances are you are going to have to repeat yourself A LOT in order to get your meaning through. Don't let this discourage you, is part of the learning process! If you have a language exchange partner that is immediately or reacting you, not trying to understand what you are trying to say, or sort of all, laughs at your attempts to peak their language(unless they explain a joke of some sort, maybe a lingual mishap on your part, I've had some!), then you should kick them to the curb, they aren't helping you learn!

2. Equality

This might seem like a no brainer, but make sure that the time spent speaking Chinese is equal to that spent on English. Don't be surprised if your LE partner tries to monopolize on the time, especially if their English is more advanced than your Chinese. It may not be intentional, they may not really know what to teach you if you just started learning and everything is new, but that's no excuse, your time is valuable too!

3. Reliability

Nobody likes arranging to meet with a friend, going out of your way to accommodate them by meeting in a place that's convenient for both of you, just to have them call and say they can't make it, or worse, just not show up! Everyone should have a chance to explain themselves, and life does happen. But if your LE partner makes a habit of it, then you need to let them know that it's not going to work. You need someone to actually show up in order I practice your Chinese with them!

4. Honesty

If you can't trust someone, then how are you going to trust them to teach you? Your LE partner should be a man/woman of his/her word. And so should you! If they say that they will do something(like meet you to practice) then they had better do it, though as I previously mentioned, life can get in the way. If you find them lying to you to protect themselves after ditching you, or constantly making excuses, or even cutting out after you just spent an hour on English, because something "came up", then you should find someone else to practice Chinese with!

5. Passion

Your LE partner should be just as passionate about learning English as you are about learning Chinese. They need to be committed to showing up, week after week, and talking with you until they're blue in the face. That's the only way either of you are really going to learn. If they don't really even like learning English, but just see it as a necessity for furthering their career(the two aren't mutually exclusive, by the way), then they won't keep up with it in the long run, and sooner or later you'll be stuck without a LE partner!

So how does your LE partner stack-up? Tell us in the comments below, let's get a discussion going!




7 Reasons to Learn Chinese

There's no doubt about it, Chinese is the biggest "fad" language around. Everyone wants to learn it(or should!), and for good reason. In today's article, I'm going to break it down for you and give you my top seven reasons to start learning Chinese today!


1. More people speak it than any other language:


China is the most densely populated country in the world. Seriously, there's over a billion people in China. That's around a fifth of the world's population. Granted, not all of them speak Mandarin(there are soon many dialects of Chinese, almost as many as there are people!) but more and more do, and eventually they all will. Take Hong Kong for example. In the past, people from, say Taiwan, would be unable to communicate with Hong Kongers. Now, more and more of them are learning Mandarin(since being reunited with China), enough so that when my wife and I run-into them here in Texas, we can communicate with them. Mandarin is growing like crazy, and there's never been a better time to learn it.


2. Those billion people make up a huge market for any corporation:


Chinese people love everything and anything having to do with the West. Just take a look at how many Taiwanese kids spend their life savings on a pair of Timberlands and you'll start to see, that these people want what you have to sell. Really, anything with ties to America, be it McDonald's, KFC, PizzaHut, Levi's, Nike, Apple is extremely desirable to the Chinese youth, and the list just goes on and on and on.


3. Business opportunities abound:


I mentioned previously that the Chinese present a huge market for international sales. China/Taiwan also presents a lot of opportunities to the business-savy entrepreneur looking to make some money. There are so many Chinese companies that would love to have a presence in the American market, or to otherwise cooperate with American businesses in joint-ventures. Many of the CEOs of these companies will be versed in at least rudimentary English, but learning Chinese will deepen your relationship with them, and enable you to get the most out of your investment.


4. Learning Chinese will make you smarter:


Without a doubt, learning Chinese, especially to read and write it, will make you smarter. Written Chinese consists of characters, each of which can have many different meanings and, more often than not, alternate pronunciations. While this makes learning Chinese difficult for foreigners, it also forges a powerful mind capable of processing logic/puzzle based information much more efficiently than the average mind. Ever hear the stereotype that Chinese people are good at math? Well, not all are, but there is some truth to this statement. Studies have been done linking the ability of Chinese speakers to process mathematical problems, and they have been shown to have an aptitude  for it. Learning Chinese also gives you a sharp memory, as you need it to correctly recall all of the characters when reading/writing. Of course, that is assuming that you went about learning it the right way.


5. Two is better than one:


Being able to speak two languages is becoming more and more essential in today's world. Consider the following scenario: Two otherwise equally qualified  applicants applied for a job, one was bilingual, the other only spoke their mother tongue. Who do you think got the job?


6. Your own secret language:


No doubt about it, being able to speak Chinese with my wife in "public-privacy" has been extremely useful since we moved back to America. We call Chinese our 秘密,or "secret language". It allows us to discus things that we'd rather not have other people overhear, whether unintentionally or otherwise. It allows us to say things to eachother that would otherwise be embarrassing in public, such a "your fly is own" etc.


7. It's just plain fun!:


Chinese is a beautiful language, with an unbelievable amount of depth; I myself am "fluent", but I'm still constantly learning(hey, I don't even know every word in English, my native tongue!). Furthermore, learning Chinese will help you to understand Chinese culture, something that is completely impossible to learn otherwise, and will allow you to befriend Chinese people, and really get to know them. I could go on, but I think you get the point!


There you have it, my top 7 reasons for you to start learning Chinese today, NO, immediately! It doesn't matter which reason on this list got you to commit to learning, it just matters that you get to it!


If you liked this article, checkout these related articles HERE and HERE!!!


Also, don't forget to join my mail-list and get started with our free Chinese lessons NOW!


Lesson 14: More or Less


Today I'm going to teach you how to use 一點 in Mandarin. This is useful when talking about how you want something, or how you want it done. Such as bigger, smaller, more, less, etc. follow along with the video and make sure to pay close attention to the sentences below. This one lesson will help you to really make your Chinese sound more complete. Enjoy!


多一點: 我要喝多一點茶。

duō yī diǎn : wǒ yào hē duō yī diǎn chá 。

More: I want to drink a little more tea.



shǎo yī diǎn :mā shuō wǒ yīng ài chī shǎo yī diǎn líng shí 。

Less: Mom said to eat less snacks.



kuài yī diǎn :kuài yī diǎn guò lái !

Quickly: Come over here quick!



màn yī diǎn :qīng kāi màn yī diǎn 。

Slowly: Please drive slower.



xiǎo yī diǎn :xiǎo shēng yī diǎn !wǒ bù yào tā tīng dào wō 

Smaller: Quiet! I don't want her to hear!



dà yī diǎn :wǒ xiǎng chī dà yī diǎn de niú pái 。

Larger: I want to eat a bigger steak.