'Celebrating The Far East' - 12th 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 focused on 'The Far East' - China, Japan and other countries in that region. The reason being 'Chinese New Year' will be celebrated on 12th February 2021.

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 2021 is 'The Year Of The Ox'.

Having an honest nature, Oxes are known for diligence, dependability, strength and determination. These reflect traditional conservative Chinese characteristics.

Women Oxes are traditional, faithful wives, who attach great importance to their children's education.

For male oxes, they are strongly patriotic, have ideals and ambitions for life, and attach importance to family and work.

Having great patience and a desire to make progress, Oxes can achieve their goals by consistent effort. They are not much influenced by others or the environment, but persist in doing things according to their ideals and capabilities.

Before taking any action, Oxes will have a definite plan with detailed steps, to which they apply their strong faith and physical strength. As a result, people of the Ox zodiac sign often enjoy great success.


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?


ROUND 1. Around & About

1. China is known by which other name?

2. Japan is known as?

3. The capital of China is?

4. And Japan?

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 it 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 -