'Celebrating The Far East' - 1st February is Chinese New Year

“The Master said, “A true gentleman is one who has set his heart upon 'The Way'. A fellow who is ashamed merely of shabby clothing or modest meals is not even worth conversing with.” (Analects 4.9)” ― Confucius


This week's CST activities session focused on 'The Far East' - China, Japan and other countries in that region. The reason being 'Chinese New Year' will be celebrated on 1st February 2022.

We started the discussion by asking ...

Has anyone visited the Far East, for holidays or work?

Where did people go, what did they think about the country they visited, the people, the language and food?

Would anyone like to visit? What are the reasons for members' responses?

What comes to mind when people think about Asian countries?

Responses could range from polite and respectful people, clean streets, beautiful scenery and fantastic architecture to wonderful foods.

Next, we reminded members that 2022 is 'Year Of The Tiger'.

According to the Chinese calendar, the year you were born might determine your personality. That’s because each year is represented by an animal, called a Chinese zodiac sign, and legend has it that people born under that sign have similar traits to the animal.


People born in the Year of the Tiger were born in 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 & 2010

'Tigers' are powerful individuals: authoritative, brave, and self assured with a strong moral compass and belief system. They enjoy competition, or even fighting for a cause, but can sometimes struggle with their emotional and sensitive natures that allow them to be so passionate—sometimes becoming moody or intense. When crossed, the combination of sensitivity and authority can make for a terrifying combination! They can sometimes find the more lighthearted or fickle animals of the zodiac silly or tiresome.

Here are the other animals ...

And some more detailed information ... https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/celebrations/article/which-chinese-new-year-animal-are-you-like

How the 12 years of the Chinese Zodiac got their names

Many people have wondered over the years how it was that the rat, the smallest of all the creatures, was given the honour of having the first year of the Chinese Zodiac named after him.

A very long time ago, the Jade Emperor, who ruled the heavens of China, sent a message to all the animals asking them to come together so that he could give each of them a year, which would make it easier for the people of China to keep track of time. The cat and the rat were good friends and decided to travel to meet the Jade Emperor together.

When it came time to leave, however, the cat was taking a nap. The rat, realising that he would have to use all his cunning to be noticed by the Jade Emperor, left his friend sleeping, and set off on his own. This is why there is no year named after the cat, and also why cats have hated rats ever since.

When the rat arrived, the Jade Emperor welcomed him and the other animals and told them that they should all take part in a swimming race. Once again, the rat realised that he would have to be very clever if he wanted to win the race. He found the largest, strongest animal, which was the ox, and pleaded with him to let him ride on its head. The ox was kind and strong, and agreed that they would swim across together. The rat travelled safely across the river on the ox’s back, but, just before they reached the other side, climbed over the ox's head, jumped onto land, and reached the finish line first. The rat had proved its cunning, and the Jade Emperor named the first year after the rat and the second year after the ox.

The order of winning —— Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig

Here is a short animated video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVClAj8q_lY

The Tyger


Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies. Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand, dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain, In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp! When the stars threw down their spears And water'd heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Tyger Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night: What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


To get people thinking, we next asked members to complete the following idioms about China and Japan, as well as those which have been 'borrowed' from the region...

Not for all the tea in - CHINA (no way!) China - SYNDROME (Nuclear reactor meltdown) Made in - TAIWAN (A derisory term about product quality) Like a bull in a china - SHOP (A clumsy person) Slowboat to - CHINA (something that takes a very long time) China - DOLL (Something that is very fragile) China - PLATE (Cockney rhyming slang for 'mate') Chinese - BURN (children hurt each other in the playground by twisting each others' wrists)

To fall on your - SWORD (assume responsibility or blame, or more literally commit HARI KARI) Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for - A LIFETIME

We also thought about ...


Smell a - RAT (suspect foul play) As strong as an - OX (powerful) The eye of the -TIGER (song by 'Survivor') Pull a - RABBIT - out of the hat (come up trumps) Chase the - DRAGON (inhale opium fumes) SNAKE - in the grass (untrustworthy person) You can take a - HORSE - to water, but you can't make it drink (you can't force a person to do something) A wolf in - SHEEP'S - clothing (a dangerous person) Cheeky - MONKEY (mischievous person) Little red - ROOSTER ('Rolling Stones' song) As sick as a - DOG (extremely ill) Eat like a - PIG (eat messily and excessively)

Can anyone think of any other idioms to add to this list?



1. How many Tigers are left in the wild?

2. True or False. The Tiger is the largest of the cat species?

3. What does Tiger pee smell like?

4. Name the breakfast cereal?

5. Name the Tiger and book series?

6. Name the Tiger and the 1967 movie?

7. Name the Tiger and the 1994 movie?

8. Name the 2012 movie?

9. Name the Tiger?

10. Name the 'Girl From Tiger Bay'?

SONG BREAK - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPJPFnesV4

11. Who starred in the 'Rocky' movies?

ROUND 1. Around & About

1. China is known by which other name?

2. Japan is known as?

3. The capital of China is?

4. The capitol of Japan is?

5. What is the highest mountain in Japan?

6. What is the highest mountain in the world?

7. What is the name of this traditional sailboat you might find in 'Kowloon Bay', Hong Kong?

8. What is the name of this traditional Chinese mode of transport?

9. Where in London is 'China Town'?

SONG. 'China In Your Hand', T'Pau - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4sV3lqzKqQ

10. What might you see in 'China Town' on Chinese New Year? Who was the lead singer of 'T'Pau'?

ROUND 2. Food & Drink

11. What is the sweet Chinese biscuit with a good luck paper charm inside called?

12. What do Chinese people traditionally cook in?

13. What do Chinese people traditionally eat with?

Where is rice traditionally grown?

Here is a link to Liberace playing 'Chopsticks' in Carnegie Hall - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jruN-ZTIdak

14. What is the Japanese dish of raw fish wrapped in seaweed with rice called? (Has anyone tried this dish, which is becoming more popular in the UK?)

There is a link here to the HILARIOUS 'Sushi Sketch' by Miranda Hart - https://vimeo.com/161043332

15. Which native East-Asian plant is the richest natural vegetable food? (They make a sauce used in everyday cooking from it!)

16. What is the name given to Chinese dumplings?

17. What whiteish/pinkish fruit do Chinese people enjoy for dessert?

18. What colour tea is the most popular drink in China?

(Can anyone think of any UK brands of tea?)

19. What is rice wine called in Japan (you can have it hot or cold)?

(Has anyone tried it?)

20. SONG. 'China Girl', David Bowie - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK6gAbZdhDc

Can members think of any Chinese sauces you might have in a Chinese take away?

(Has anyone got a favourite Chinese dish?)

ROUND 3. Culture & Tradition

21. How long is the 'Great Wall Of China'?

22. What figures were discovered in 1974, buried nearby Qin Shi Huang's (First Emperor Of China) mausoleum?

23. What is the name of this famous Japanese train, one of the fastest in the world?

(How fast do members reckon it can travel at?)

24. What do Pandas eat an exclusive diet of?

There is a link here to a LOVELY sketch of a Panda playing in the snow - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGpYs8Bexak

25. Which dog of Chinese origin has a name which translates as 'Lion Dog'?

(I'm sure there is a Christmas Cracker joke associated with this dog!)

26. Which ancient tile game is still popular in China?

27. What is the Japanese art of sculpting miniature trees called?

28. What is the Japanese art of arranging furniture in tune with energy lines to harmonise people with environment known as?

29. What is the traditional Japanese art of folding paper to make 3D objects called?

30. What are Japanese female entertainers and hostesses dressed in traditional costume known as?

What gowns do they wear?

31. What Japanese warriors had a sword named after them?

32. What is this form of Japanese wrestling known as?

How do wrestlers win a game?

33. SONG. 'Turning Japanese', The Vapors - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx3HA-F8iVE

What was the biggest selling Japanese game of 2017?

ROUND 4. People

34. Who is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism and a voice for world peace?

35. Who was the first person to conquer Everest and in which year?

36. Which fictional monster might you meet in the Himalayas?

37. Name this famous British/Chinese fashion guru, who knows 'How To Look Good Naked'?

38. Name this famous Chinese/American chef?

39. Which world leader did Donald Trump call 'Little Rocket Man'?

Which country is he dictator of?

40. Which character did George Takei play in the original 'Star Trek' series?

41. Who was Inspector Clouseau's Chinese manservant in 'The Pink Panther' films?

42. Who starred in the 1987 American war comedy 'Good Morning Vietnam'?

43. Which martial arts TV show did David Carradine star in?

What was his character's name?

SONG. 'Kung Fu Fighting', Carl Douglas - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmfudW7rbG0

44. Can anyone name any Asian martial arts? Has anyone practised a martial art, or been awarded a Belt?

ROUND 5. Music

Maybe ask members to choose just a couple of these to play by way of finishing?

'We Are Siamese', Lady And The Tramp - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG5mOd8Ubsk 45. What breed of dog was Lady?

'Hong Kong Phoey', TV Intro - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n91lSO0wJQ

46. What job did Hong Kong Phoey have?

SONG. 'Three Little Maids From School', The Mikado - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXWkIZUPmDY

47. Who wrote this comic operetta?

SONG. 'Madame Butterfly', Maria Callas - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLcbfF9ypmM

48. Who wrote this renowned opera?

SONG. 'Getting To Know You', The King And I - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vlx6gQWfjp0

49. Who starred in the 1956 musical film 'The King And I?

What is Siam known as today?

SONG. 'One Night In Bangkok', Murray Head - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgc_LRjlbTU

50. This song is from the musical 'Chess'. What are the pieces in a chess set?

SONG. 'On A Little Street In Singapore', The Manhattan Transfer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaO93JXJook

51. What was their only number 1 hit in 1977 (it had a French title)?

SONG. 'Hong Kong Garden', Siouxsie And The Banshees - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-l9GQJRl9Y

52. What is the luckiest number in China?

(Does anyone have a lucky number?)

SONG. 'Nine Million Bicycles', Katie Melua - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHQG6-DojVw

53. What do you call a bicycle made for two?

Does anyone ride a bicycle? Who never learned?

SONG. 'Year Of The Cat', Al Stewart - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i46s52JAUE

54. Back to where we started, name the twelve animals in the Chinese calendar?

'Chinese Girl' is a 1952 painting by Vladimir Tretchikoff (see above). It became one of the world's most popular when made into prints in the 1950s and 60s. Who has seen this painting before? Or had it hanging in their family home?


Bring some food and drink items to taste, including prawn crackers, spring rolls, vegetarian sushi and tinned lychees.

To make the session more fun give people chopsticks to try eating with.

Offer flavoured iced teas and give everyone a fortune cookie to open.

Help members to make some Origami. Most will be familiar with this one from childhood -

'Make A Paper Fortune Teller' - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAhiIlTxUYA

Or you could get members writing their names in Chinese, using calligraphy pens and card. You can find an English to Chinese name translator here https://chinese.gratis/names/

Here is Simon ...

Or you could download some adult colouring templates from the web. There are loads of Koi Carp to choose from.

Or, you could get members to practice some simple Thai Chi moves? Perhaps, following this introductory video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHBR5MZmEsY