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♪ It’s my birthday, it’s my birthday. Imma spend my money ♪ 
I am in China and have my birthday. Of course, a visit to karaoke is a must to celebrate the day!

The Chinese are very compassionate!

When I entered the school, I was greeted with lots of hugs. The Chinese were all so compassionate: although they hadn't known me for long, they bought me presents for my birthday. That touched me deeply, because they didn't have much themselves and yet they gave so much. That was so sweet of them and I am very grateful to them all.

Chinese writing

Through today's workshop, we had the opportunity to learn some calligraphy from a calligraphy teacher. However, this workshop was also intended for us Germans to learn more about Chinese culture and the origin of the characters. Chinese writing is one of the oldest scripts (alongside cuneiform and hieroglyphics) and is a logographic script, i.e. the written form is based on graphic images of things. This is why there is no alphabet in Chinese.

Calligraphy

Die Kalligraphie ist eine Art Schönschrift, welche mit einem Pinsel geschrieben wird. Sie ist ein wichtiger Bestandteil der chinesischen Kultur und wird in jeder chinesischen Schule gelehrt. Wir lernten wie man den Pinsel hielt und wie man ihn zu bewegen hatte. Unser Kalligrafie-Lehrer zeigte uns, wie wir die Striche zu zeichnen hatten und in welcher Reihenfolge alles überhaupt ablaufen würde, um das gewünschte Wort zu schreiben. Nach den Übungen hatte der Lehrer unsere Namen sogar ins chinesische übertragen und für jeden auf einem Extra-Blatt aufgeschrieben, damit wir es mit nach Hause nehmen konnten. Manchmal frage ich mich, ob Chinesen ihren Namen in lateinische Buchstaben umwandeln lassen und es dann an die Wand hängen.

PTV or KTV?

Afterwards, we continued working on our surveys. We were so engrossed that we didn't even realize it was getting late and time for the karaoke bar. The karaoke bar is abbreviated to KTV (Karaoke TV). Irritatingly, the KTV we went to was called PTV. No comment xD I love to sing and I love karaoke, like many other Asians. So I was really excited to see what it would be like. The building looked completely unremarkable from the outside, but inside it was really flashy and colorful.

Karaoke with a buffet

So if you go to KTV, it means that your whole group will get a room with 4-6 microphones and up to 3 screens (which of course all display the same thing). There are of course many Chinese but also Western songs, which you could choose and then enter into a list. The list then runs automatically and whoever felt like it could grab a microphone and sing or shout along. But there was one thing that really surprised me: there was a buffet on another floor. And it definitely wasn't bad. There were both savory and sweet dishes.... if not for the karaoke, then I would come just for the large selection of food.

A surprise

When I went to the bathroom and was done, I couldn't open the door at all. Because when I got it open, I was greeted with a happy birthday song. As someone else from the team had already had birthday the day before, there were two birthday cakes. A chocolate cake and a...wait a minute...what...tomato cake?! Yep, a cream cake decorated with little tomatoes. A totally crazy combination that I still don't understand today. Tomatoes apparently count as fruit in China, and fruit with cream and chocolate is normal...so why not tomatoes with cream! Unusual taste, but edible.

The end of the karaoke sessione

If you then realize that you can't choose another song, then it's clear: your karaoke time is up. Before you even get a room to do the singing, you choose the number of hours you want to spend in the room and pay for it. When the time is up, nothing works. And that's how we learned when we needed to go back to the hotel. I had so much fun, it's a real shame that there are hardly any karaoke bars in Germany.

Three things I learned today:

1) The Chinese are very compassionate!
2) A karaoke bar can be called KTV or PTV
3) Chinese people put tomatoes on a birthday cake ?! 

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