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Trevor Crookston @BlazingDragon

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Going to Asia for eight months!

Posted by BlazingDragon - June 3rd, 2014

Hey guys, major news update: I'm going to China! 

I received a full-ride scholarship to intensively study the Chinese language in Xi'an, China this Fall. Between that and other scholarships, my airfare, tuition, room, board, and all other expenses will be covered. After the program, which lasts from September through December, I'm planning to spend the following four months backpacking through Asia to practice my newfound linguistic skills.

As awesome as this is, it means that I probably won't be on Newgrounds or making music between September 2014 and May 2015. That's seven - eight months...I'm going to try composing and uploading more music this Summer before I go.

Are you from that region of the world? Or do you have any suggestions having been to Asia yourself? Let me know in the comments. :D

Comments (14)

Lucky you :(. China is one of the top 5 countries I wanna travel to before I die XD.

What are the other four?

lotsa hot chicks in china mate

That's what everyone has been telling me!

As someone who's lived in China for quite a while now and has been to Xi'an multiple times, I'd advise you to LOOK OUT. Chinese culture is extremely different from Western culture. I'm sure you knew that already, but you really do have to change your behavior and expectations enormously. Most members of the public are absolutely ruthless. No more polite gestures from strangers, no more friendliness from employees. I'm half convinced the national sport of China is spitting on the streets.

However, that's not saying you shouldn't have a good time. If you learn to ignore China's weird underbelly (which more often than not is the people), you'll find that it has a charm that you can't find anywhere else. It's got amazing scenery, a rich history, and is not that bad of a place to live in if you can get used to some of its flaws. There's always more to explore.

PS: The first few days of learning Chinese is probably going to test your patience. It wasn't rated the second-hardest language to learn (second only to Arabic) for nothing. Speaking from experience, the first push into Chinese was definitely the hardest. Good luck and have fun!

Hey LunacyEcho, thanks for the advice. I've recently left China and had an amazing stay there. You were right about the spitting and culture shock, and many people were quite rude (cutting in line, shoving, etc). But I also meet a lot of great people (mostly fellow university students and faculty).The language was tricky, but I think I did really well. I can hold basic conversations, write a couple hundred characters, and get around the country on my own.

I don't think I'll go back for a few years, but it was certainly a life changing experience.

Awww C: you're awesome bae
Love you so much boo dont let them get to you always stay true to your dreams <3

Ok? Haha

Thats awesome man! I always wondered how it looks the Forbidden city, theres also the temple of Heaven, the well know Great wall and the Terracota army. I wish i could go to China, though i was born in Taiwan :(

But anyway, Enjoy your trip!

Those are all great sites, but go to Jiuzhaigou if you ever have the chance. One of the most beautiful places I've ever been! Hua Shan is also fantastic and has historical significance to Taiwan.

Hope the smog isn't gonna kill you by then... I'm kidding. Well, not really. Just don't stay in the city, you should travel to rural areas because these where the beauty is. Don't get so comfy in the place because you're gonna encounter shit tons of weird things, if it's gonna be your first trip in China/Asia. Also, Watch Out for pickpocket at crowd places, they have some very shady tactics, especially in Southern China.

I'm a former expatriate for several East Asian countries including China. I'm also a backpacker. Dependind on which region you want to travel to. For example, S Korea and Japan is all about modernity, while Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Philippines is all about simplicity, oldness and hustle culture. China has both of these. If you're seeking for place with a lot tourist locations such as ruin beauties or landscape; I suggest you visit Vietnam, Cambodia and/or Thailand. A lot of locations from those countries worth every penny to visit.

China is special. About landscape, Southern is all about the richness of fields and natural, and rich of people's culture, Foshan is an example. East is forest and coast, Hangzhou is an example. West and North is mountain, desert and tundra. Xinjiang is ideal for the wilderness that you're looking for similarity as Alaska (kinda) and Tibet is where the epicness is.

I'm an open book for a lot of stuff in East Asia. From how to take transport, where that worth going, to cheap and economic living places. Including what to watch out and what to avoid... :)

Thanks for all the great info! I'm now in Seoul and might message you with some questions about Japan and South East Asia (probably my next destinations).

You were right about the smog. I was getting terrible headaches toward the end of the semester. I never got pickpocketed though, and I got to see many amazing places. So the trip was great despite the pollution. :)

If you go to any of the bigger cities, I'd say that good restaurants and cultural highlights should be your target. Beijing is the epitome of this, with the Forbidden City and vast numbers of restaurants.

Also, a bit on the Chinese language: grammatical cases are built up by adding words, and it's very different. Plural pronouns are made by the singular noun + "mén" after. There's a shitton of individual symbols, and a certain order each part of them are written. Also, when pronouncing Chinese words, you must have the right intonation, speaking monotonically will break any sense you're trying to make of your sentence.

I think that my music background helped me to pick up on tones and accent very fast. I actually had little problem communicating once I learned enough vocabulary. It helps that the grammar is, in my opinion, very forgiving. The hardest thing was memorizing how to write characters. If I was learning on my own, I would have slowed down and focused on radicals, but I ended up memorizing characters very fast for tests and not retaining them. :/

The food was incredible! I already miss it, especially baozi, paomo (a Xi'an specialty), and anything with eggplant. Man, the Chinese know how to cook that stuff!

That sounds awesome and I'm completely jealous! I have friends who went to Hong Kong to study for ten weeks, and they made a lot of "jokes" about avoiding the Triad--especially at night.

Have fun, dude!

Thanks, it was as an amazing time! Really opened my eyes to a lot of things.

wow.........make as much as you can before you go!

This sounds fantastic for you man.

The first step into learning Chinese (to be more specific, Mandarin) is the most frustrating one. It took me around a year to grasp the basics - although I was unwilling to learn it, as it was forced upon me. Now I can speak fluent Mandarin after learning it for 6 years. Hopefully you can manage to master the basics in a few months time. Learning Chinese will be one of the greatest linguistic gifts you can hope to get, it's really useful.

And a few things to put in mind. Try not to use sarcastic remarks while in China, because most people cannot understand sarcasm - they take words literally. The Chinese language isn't designed to make sarcastic remarks like Germanic languages (English, etc). Also, some dialects of Chinese will be hard to understand or nigh impossible (Guang Dong Hua, per example).

Last, be careful of the people there. There are some citizens who disrespect foreigners just because they are not Chinese. And if you can't understand Chinese, they will sometimes make insulting remarks on you while you remain oblivious to their words. Of course, not everyone is like that, and some Chinese people like foreigners. Also, if you see beggars, do not give them money. I'm not saying it because I'm heartless, it's because most of the beggars are fake. I've seen many blow their cover on some occasions.

I've lived in Beijing for six years and been to Xi 'An on one occasion with my classmates. Xi 'An will be pretty HOT, and the air there is pretty DRY. I got sunburned in just 3 days while visiting there. And, of course, a moderate level of pollution (although not as bad as Beijing and Shanghai). Prepare yourself, both mentally and physically.

r u back yet im getting impatient grr

Sorry, still a few more months! I just arrived in Seoul, South Korea. I'll be traveling this country for a month and then will probably go to Japan for two or three months before heading home.

Oh, I wasn't expecting a response! Glad to hear from you, bro. :D Enjoy South Korea and Japan, then!

I am so sorry about the late response here, I am sure you are back by now, I am from Singapore, trust me, Singapore food is the best and you should try it.
One thing from me:
I went to China, Qingdao, for a cultural exchange for my school, it was fun and we could communicate well, I am Half-Taiwanese/ Singaporean, but learning their language is fun and you could enjoy the joys, the spitting in their is way worse than any other countries I went, so be careful of it. And you should go to Taiwan and their food is nice, like, smelly tofu and the like, so if you do ever read this comment, I will be grateful!
By the way, I like your music and hopefully you could create more like your classical music Tears of Remorse. It is awesome!
From: Kasendra

Regarding about my previous comment, you can also ask me about Taiwan or Singapore if you are going there, I am an expert on it!