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iamback
11-25-2005, 02:36 AM
Here's a little riddle for you all.

I bought something (edible) in China on my last trip which was labeled on the packge as:
CHOSEN
AMERICAN FRIED BEANS

Now those terms mean something to me that did not actually describe the package's content. But I may be mistaken...

What did I buy?

Solution to follow after you've had a try. <evil grin/>

Kelvyn
11-25-2005, 06:03 AM
Choice baked beans US style???

Cristen Gillespie
11-25-2005, 08:09 AM
Refrieds? Nah, that's too obvious.<G>

don Arnoldy
11-25-2005, 09:00 AM
What did I buy?The only edible substance that I can think of that even vaguely fits that description would be peanuts.

--don

George
11-25-2005, 07:00 PM
Here's a little riddle for you all.

I bought something (edible) in China on my last trip which was labeled on the packge as:


Now those terms mean something to me that did not actually describe the package's content. But I may be mistaken...

What did I buy?

Solution to follow after you've had a try. <evil grin/>

That's easy. Frijoles. Pronounced -- frige/jel/lees.

Regards,

George

iamback
11-25-2005, 11:00 PM
What did I buy?
Actually, I only just realized (inspecting the package a bit closer) that the "chosen" bit which at first I also thought would be Chenglish for "choice" could be a red herring: two Chinese characters appear above the English, and those same two characters are also elsewhere (top left) on the package: it might just be a brand name "cho sen".

That leaves us with just "American fried beans". See what you can make of this then - no, not peanuts! (see attachment) ;-)

Michael Rowley
11-26-2005, 07:50 AM
Marjolein:

that the "chosen" bit

'Chosen' is a place. It's probably not called that now, but for years was known in English by that name.

Those look like chick peas.

ElyseC
11-26-2005, 09:04 AM
They look a bit like peas and the only thing I can think of is wasabi peas, but that certainly isn't American!

ktinkel
11-26-2005, 11:04 AM
Actually, I only just realized (inspecting the package a bit closer) that the "chosen" bit which at first I also thought would be Chenglish for "choice" could be a red herring: two Chinese characters appear above the English, and those same two characters are also elsewhere (top left) on the package: it might just be a brand name "cho sen".I suspect it is a geographic reference, but it might also be some sort of trade name.

That leaves us with just "American fried beans". See what you can make of this then - no, not peanuts! (see attachment) ;-)Sure look like wasabi peas to me. Hard to think of them as American, but maybe those are the expert version. We have gotten them from Trader Joe’s — a semi-gourmet food chain in the U.S. — and from the Chinese market. The latter are much better, by a factor of three or four. And those are definitely for the Chinese market (only English text is on a sticker pasted over the label). Next time I get them I’ll look more closely.

fhaber
11-26-2005, 04:30 PM
Cho-sen is the old name for Korea.

ktinkel
11-26-2005, 04:54 PM
Cho-sen is the old name for Korea.Interesting. I thought it was a name the Koreans offered to foreigners, but not a name they themselves would accept.

But I did think it was geographic.

But then why would the package say “C H O S E N” and then “American Fried Beans”? This is odd, the more so if the Chosen referred to Korea, no?

Hugh Wyn Griffith
11-26-2005, 05:16 PM
As fhaber says Chosen is a place or region in North Korea, according to my on-line atlas and those characters on the package look more like Korean to me than like Chinese.

Steve Rindsberg
11-26-2005, 06:22 PM
Chosen is what the Japanese used to call Koreans but as I understand it, it was derogatory and should NOT be used.

Steve Rindsberg
11-26-2005, 06:32 PM
I can make out at least some of the characters, or at least tell you what they'd mean in Japanese. Some of them would have the same meaning, others would be more metaphorical in Chinese. Directly above "Chosen" are the characters for heaven, country (together in Japanese, they mean Heaven), something, then bean.

Below "American fried beans" you have a repeat of the two large characters at the top, followed by the two that mean roughly "food" and "goods". The company name, I'd guess, Something Foods.

Lower left and slanting up: the last two probably mean something like "heavenly flavor".

And WHY didn't you ask this when I'd read it before this evening; my Chinese sorta-son-in-law (too complicated to explain now) was staying with us for the holiday here. I could have asked him for a translation.

BTW, if it were Korean, there'd be at least some Korean phonetic characters; these are all Chinese characters and since it mentions Shanghai at the bottom of the package ... I'm betting against Hugh. <g>

Michael Rowley
11-27-2005, 07:55 AM
Cho-sen is the old name for Korea

Ah yes! I remember it now. And the beans may be Vigna sinensis, or bkack-eyed pea (US name) or black-eyed bean (in England).

Hugh Wyn Griffith
11-27-2005, 01:50 PM
What makes you think they are not imported <g>

It was the ugliness of the characters that made me think of Korean script rather than Chinese / Japanese.

But I don't mind being wrong.

Have a look at:

http://times.hankooki.com/

fhaber
11-27-2005, 03:28 PM
>what the Japanese used to call Koreans

Oh, dear. Noted.

Scots cant's be Scotch, and simple whisky|ey is similarly loaded, even before you have a sip. So many minefields. I think I'll just crawl under the bed with a magnum of gin.

iamback
11-27-2005, 10:49 PM
Cho-sen is the old name for Korea.
Just hooking in somewhere...

What I found is "Chosen was the formal name of Korea when Japan ruled the peninsula" (http://www.fas.org/irp/world/dprk/chosen_soren/). It seems like this is either a Korean or Japanese word.

Alas, the two characters that I thought might represent "Chosen" in Chinese are something else entirely (see below) and in in my little desktop Chinese tool (dictionary and more) I cannot find "cho sen" at all.

I'm going back to my earlier theory that "Chosen" is just the Chenglish variant of "choice". ;) The two big characters do seem to represent the brand name though.

iamback
11-27-2005, 11:01 PM
It was the ugliness of the characters that made me think of Korean script rather than Chinese / Japanese.
No Korean script in sight on that package. Although I have more problems distinguishing Japanese and Chinese in (very) short texts, Korean really stands out.

"One of the more interesting characteristics of the Korean script is its syllabic grouping of the initial, medial and final letters. However, the Korean script is essentially different from such syllabic writing systems as Japanese Kana. It is an alphabetic system which is characterized by syllabic grouping."
http://www.asianinfo.org/asianinfo/korea/language.htm

Knowing how each character represents a syllable with initial, middle and final letters, you'll soon start to recognize that each Korean character does have a similar structure with two or three distinct parts in it (the individual letters).

I don't find Korean ugly at all, BTW. :)

iamback
11-27-2005, 11:38 PM
I can make out at least some of the characters, or at least tell you what they'd mean in Japanese. Some of them would have the same meaning, others would be more metaphorical in Chinese. Directly above "Chosen" are the characters for heaven, country (together in Japanese, they mean Heaven), something, then bean.

Below "American fried beans" you have a repeat of the two large characters at the top, followed by the two that mean roughly "food" and "goods". The company name, I'd guess, Something Foods.

Lower left and slanting up: the last two probably mean something like "heavenly flavor".

And WHY didn't you ask this when I'd read it before this evening; my Chinese sorta-son-in-law (too complicated to explain now) was staying with us for the holiday here. I could have asked him for a translation.I don't have a son in law (not even "sorta") but I do have a little program called "Chinese language tools" sitting on my desktop which includes a little dictionary. While nowhere near complete, it does help deciphering some (shortish) Chinese texts (especially after I've learned how characters are grouped by their "radicals" (for which there is a separate tab in the program).

I started with the two big characters. The first, the dictionary says, is "prefix to name, transliteration". The second is "MING" and means bright, light, brilliant, clear. No connection with "Chosen" there (which I cannot find in the dictionary either, neither "cho" nor "sen" seems to be a character or even a pinyin transliteration).

Looking at the little logo top left, the "MING" part is obvious in the Latin characters (see first attachment) although here we have an 'A' preceding it (why??). So back to the theory of the two characters representing the brand name (but not "Chosen").

Along the bottom (hard to read in my original attachment) is:
"SHANGHAI SANMING FOODSTUFF COMPANY" with a Chinese text above consisting of eight characters (see second attachment). The first two are "Shanghai", the second two is "SAN MING" (the same "MING" again, but now preceded by "SAN" which is the Chinese character/word for "three"); the next two characters stand for "foodstuff" (food + goods = foodstuff - which actually occurs as a word in my dictionary, translated with those two characters); the final two characters are "busines, company".

My guess is the first character of the two big ones is some sort of modifier then that announces "the following is a name"; within the longer company name at the bottom that is clear by context but not for just the name. (Pure guesswork here, but I've becone attuned to characters as modifiers for what follows - "read the following as" - by my recent study of Braille.)

I think that pins down the brand name and the two big characters standing for it. And I'm back to my theory of "chosen" being Chenglish for "choice" but that English word does not occur in the dictionary; "chosen" does but the two characters for that do not appear in the package at all...


When I look up "heaven" in my little dictionary, it comes up with a few possibilities, but I recognize none of the characters on the package. (The second option is "tian1 tang2" in pinyin, meaning "paradise, heaven" which I'm pleased to recognize since we visited the 'Tiantan' temple and park around it in Beijing, in English "Temple of heaven").

I'll try my dictionary with a few more characters/words but does your Chinese sorta-son-in-law have email? if so, you might send him over here to look at the images. :)

BTW, if it were Korean, there'd be at least some Korean phonetic characters; these are all Chinese characters and since it mentions Shanghai at the bottom of the package ... I'm betting against Hugh. <g>I'm definitely with you there - no Korean in sight!

iamback
11-28-2005, 01:10 AM
I suspect [chosen] is a geographic reference, but it might also be some sort of trade name.
I'm back to "chosen" being Chenglish for "choice" now - see other posts...

Sure look like wasabi peas to me. Hard to think of them as American, but maybe those are the expert version. We have gotten them from Trader Joe’s — a semi-gourmet food chain in the U.S. — and from the Chinese market. The latter are much better, by a factor of three or four. And those are definitely for the Chinese market (only English text is on a sticker pasted over the label). Next time I get them I’ll look more closely.Ah, Trader Joe's - good memories there (except when they wouldn't sell me beer on Sunday - but that was in Cambridge). :)

I originally discovered this snack on a trip three years ago when shopping for munchies to take on a long train ride in China. I thought they were peanuts! We have tons of different kinds of snacks made of peanuts with a spicy coating here, and it looked (more or less) like that to me; besides, it was grouped with other spicy snacks on the supermarket shelves. When I tried it though, I found they were green peas but I liked the taste, and since then when I wanted a snack in China I've been looking for this (along with a few others that I've found I like). But the package I bought then definitely didn't have any English on it, let alone "American fried beans" which would have given me a clue; pity I didn't keep the packaging then. I found it again last year (more Chinese train rides) and this year (again), remembering that last year's package also had "American fried beans" on it which I found curious then, too. So the first time was either a different brand, or they just changed the packaging, making it more fashionable.

So: not peanuts, or chick peas (although the color in my original scan did look somewhat like that but I think the scanner has a consistent color cast, the bright green came out as brownish yellow, only partly corrected for in the image I posted); not black-eyed peas either. Green peas - with a coating.

Now I'd never heard of "wasabi peas" so I looked that looked that up. They definitely look like this; except all descriptions I find mentions that they are "hot". I found these only mildly spicy, but that may be because I often eat really spicy food, and some other Chinese snacks are definitely a lot hotter than this!

Of course "fried beans" makes some sense in that peas technically are beans, and such coated snacks (including peanuts) are deep-fried. "American"? Still a riddle what that has to do with these "wasabi peas" - but when I look up "American" in my little dictionary it comes up with two characters that I immediately recognize from the package! (The first two characters below the big two that are the brand name.) So it's not just in the English text that "American" appears (as I assumed at first): it looks like they really call these "American fried beans" in China... but WHY?

(And why do I always end up with more questions than I start with?)

ktinkel
11-28-2005, 05:15 AM
I don't find Korean ugly at all, BTW. :)Me either. In fact it is an interesting language, having been created rationally relatively recently, so it supposedly has fewer irregularities than “natural” languages.

Since I do not speak it, I have no idea, personally.

ktinkel
11-28-2005, 05:23 AM
I'd never heard of "wasabi peas" so I looked that up. They definitely look like this; except all descriptions I find mentions that they are "hot". I found these only mildly spicy, but that may be because I often eat really spicy food, and some other Chinese snacks are definitely a lot hotter than this!I find they vary dramatically (unless you get one with a little pocket full of wasabi, of course — those can be shocking!).

But we also eat a lot of spicy food, and do not consider these in that class. Just a nice something to nibble with a glass of wine before dinner.

There are also so-called spicy rice crackers from China that are pleasant, but never spicy enough to matter (to me, anyway). They are pretty, though.

We are out of all these things; really need to get to the Asian market. Besides, I need some pressed beancurd, XO sauce, and a few other things.
Maybe today, and if so I will look at the various dried snacks to see how much variety there is. I think the wasabi peas we liked best were actually from Japan (which would make sense).

iamback
11-28-2005, 10:00 AM
I find they vary dramatically (unless you get one with a little pocket full of wasabi, of course — those can be shocking!).

But we also eat a lot of spicy food, and do not consider these in that class. Just a nice something to nibble with a glass of wine before dinner.

There are also so-called spicy rice crackers from China that are pleasant, but never spicy enough to matter (to me, anyway). They are pretty, though.
Heh, I was going to mention spicy rice crackers as an example of a snack more spicy than the "American fried beans"... We discovered those last year and after we'd learned to appreciate them, found a variety of them on the market in Turpan - unpackaged and presumably produced locally. We were allowed to taste before buying, too! We bought two bags full, one with green herbs and spices, mildly hot and fragrant, and another that was *very* hot (you really needed to take a gulp of fresh Chinese beer after each small mouthful!).

Pretty? Yes, the ones I know are. Sort of rectangular wavy wafers. This year I found them in several supermarkets (different brands, one brand even had jumbo bags of them); I brought an (empty!) package back to put on the scanner. ;)

I love to try new snacks, so every time I'm in China (especially when faced with another long train or bus ride) I not only buy things I already know I like but some unknowns as well. Best finds this year were not savory but a sort of 'health food' crackers and cookies - very tasty and good in place of a meal when you're non-stop on a bus for 20+ hours - and a kind of huge (and pretty) radish.

Must inspect the one supermarket in our Chinese quarter to see if they have stuff like that! (I keep forgetting.)

Hugh Wyn Griffith
11-28-2005, 11:48 AM
When I said "ugly" I was referring to the appearance of the fonts on the package and my general reaction to Korean writing in comparison to the elegance of Chinese and Japanese -- but in the latter I may be visualizing calligraphy more than print.

ktinkel
11-28-2005, 12:17 PM
When I said "ugly" I was referring to the appearance of the fonts on the package and my general reaction to Korean writing in comparison to the elegance of Chinese and Japanese -- but in the latter I may be visualizing calligraphy more than print.Was that you? I thought it was Steve R.

I am only familiar with printed Korean, and find it kind of bold and blackletter-ish. Not sure I would recognize it in script.

Steve Rindsberg
11-28-2005, 01:30 PM
Ah. Those two characters are America? An oopsie at this end. The first isn't "heaven" it's "beautiful" or "beauty", so "beautiful country" for America.

And wasabi peas come in different strengths. I like the Japanese ones, which are only mildly hot. We got some US-made ones recently, though; really vile green coating and hot enough to make the steam from your ears condense and make rain on your shoes.

Oh, btw, wasabi is something like horseradish in taste. Ground up, it's the green stuff you get alongside your sushi. If you go in for sushi. ;-)

Steve Rindsberg
11-28-2005, 01:33 PM
Checked the site, and of course that's all Korean. Which in turn isn't the same as the characters on the package. I can't fathom a bit of Korean, but can sometimes pick out a bit of Japanese (which uses many of the same characters as Chinese)

Hugh Wyn Griffith
11-28-2005, 02:24 PM
I suppose if you like Rockwell .... ?

Steve Rindsberg
11-28-2005, 02:59 PM
Oh, and after "beautiful country" there's two more characters; the first means "fried" or probably "roasted" and the second is "bean".

I don't know about Chinese but where we have roasted, baked, fried, broiled and heaven only knows how many more words to describe various ways of heating up food, Japanese only has one or two.

>>I started with the two big characters. The first, the dictionary says, is "prefix to name, transliteration". The second is "MING" and means bright, light, brilliant, clear. No connection with "Chosen" there (which I cannot find in the dictionary either, neither "cho" nor "sen" seems to be a character or even a pinyin transliteration).

I'm betting they're read "aming" -- given the roman lettering in the logo above. My resident Japanese interpreter tells me that in Japanese the first character is only used in names; the second has the same meaning as in Chinese.

The characters for "chosen" in Japanese are entirely different from anything on the package, but how's this for another shot at it:

Here, the same package might say "Select" or "Selected" beans/peas to indicate that only the best have been ... er ... Chosen. Or, if you had a dictionary but not a fluent command of English, "Chosen, to indicate that only the best have been selected."

>>I'll try my dictionary with a few more characters/words but does your Chinese sorta-son-in-law have email? if so, you might send him over here to look at the images.

I've sent a printout off with one of the other sortachildren, who's going to check it out with her Chinese friends. Handy, having a university with a large-ish foreign student population nearby.

Handier still to have a brain; if I did, I'd have taken the printout with me to the Chinese restaurant where I meet friends for lunch every Monday. Duh.

Michael Rowley
11-28-2005, 03:44 PM
Steve:

which uses many of the same characters as Chinese

Japanese uses at least twenty thousand characters of the Chinese set; I worked with a man with a Japanese mother and two men with a Chinese mother for years, and none of them could recognize Japanese or Chinese on sight: they first had to read a bit and see whether it made any sense to them.

As to your point about Cho sen being the old Japanese name for Korea: I think it was the name everyone used, at least until 1895, when China abandoned its suzerainty over Korea.

iamback
11-28-2005, 09:43 PM
When I said "ugly" I was referring to the appearance of the fonts on the package and my general reaction to Korean writing in comparison to the elegance of Chinese and Japanese -- but in the latter I may be visualizing calligraphy more than print.
Sounds like you haven't been exposed to much Chinese print (or packaging) then. This package is quite typical. They'll often use more "calligraphy-like" fonts for things like a title or a name (say, a hotel name on a business card or the name of a historical site on an admission ticket) but regular text is normally simple, sometimes "blocky"; rarely like calligraphy. Title fonts can be quite fancy as well, what we'd think of as "fantasy" fonts.

I think of it a bit like we'd use a nice serif font for a title and headings and a sans-serif for body text on a web page. Of course, Chinese "serif" fonts are used as body text, too, but they don't look like calligraphed brush strokes, just varying weights on the strokes of the letters (which is why I think of them as equivalent to "serif" even though there aren't any real serif, of course). Just like we have "nice" and "ugly" sans serif fonts, they have nice and ugly ones as well - in our eyes at least. ;)

Chinese typography is so different from ours... They often mix and match typefaces to the point that we'd think of as ugly - but they have quite different taste as well. But they can do things we can't: Chinese can be written both horizontally and vertically, and they can combine the two for typographical effect. (I have at least one example of that, too.)

Once I have scanned all of my "objects" and integrated them as illustrations in my travel blog you'll be able to get a better idea. That will take a bit though since scanning the three-dimensional objects (like this snack bag) is actually quite a challenge, so I'm concentrating on those first. And then I have to build the bit of software to integrate the illustrations with the text on my site.

iamback
11-28-2005, 09:51 PM
Japanese uses at least twenty thousand characters of the Chinese set; I worked with a man with a Japanese mother and two men with a Chinese mother for years, and none of them could recognize Japanese or Chinese on sight: they first had to read a bit and see whether it made any sense to them.
Which is why I almost never can tell Japanese from Chinese in short texts - unless I have more context than just the one text. When I can tell them apart it's usually because there are characters in Japanese the Chinese don't use.

gary
11-28-2005, 11:15 PM
Opening my 1994 copy of "Read and Write Chinese" I cannot find anything similar to what I can best describe as the "BoJ" word, but the following word (sun moon => bright) is definitely "ming". Couldn't find my chinese-english dictionary.

The "o" in the middle of "BoJ" appears to be the grapheme for "mouth", but the "B" and "J" don't appear in my rudimentary text and once you start combining graphemes...

Note that Cantonese three (approximately "sahm") is drawn as three stacked horizontal strokes. You can see this at the bottom just above the "SAN" in SAN MING". In Hong Kong I lived at 38 (3-10-8, sahm-sup-baht) Tai Tam Road.

gary
11-28-2005, 11:47 PM
And, just because I know Ms K will love their site - http://www.sanming.com is the website for Shanghai Sanming Foodstuffs. (No, haven't a clue what is on the site since I don't allow flash)

iamback
11-29-2005, 02:53 AM
Oh, and after "beautiful country" there's two more characters; the first means "fried" or probably "roasted" and the second is "bean".

I don't know about Chinese but where we have roasted, baked, fried, broiled and heaven only knows how many more words to describe various ways of heating up food, Japanese only has one or two.
I could not find the character after "American" at first but did find the last one meant "bean". I tried many English cooking-related words to see if it could be "fried" but my dictionary came up blank (it's handy, but neither perfect nor complete). But the Chinese kitchen being what it is, I could not imagine them not having many different words for cooking processes. (I don't know about Japanese.)

This morning I tried 'bake' and found four words, each of which had radical 86 ('fire') on the left. Then I finally learned that a radical can be at the bottom and that radical 86 can have an alternate form: the for little strokes at the bottom of that character are radical 86 as well. So... I tried looking up radical 86, and got 454 results, at least 39 of which mean some kind of cooking or baking, etc. (not counting the characters for which the dictionary doesn't have a translation but which come up when you search by radical!). Interestingly, some words even have both forms of the 'fire' radical in one character! Sure enough, there's the sought-for character as well: JIAN1 JIAN3 JIAN, fry in fat or oil, boil in water. I guess in this context it means "deep fry". So we have "American (deep-)fried beans".

The characters for "chosen" in Japanese are entirely different from anything on the package, but how's this for another shot at it:

Here, the same package might say "Select" or "Selected" beans/peas to indicate that only the best have been ... er ... Chosen. Or, if you had a dictionary but not a fluent command of English, "Chosen, to indicate that only the best have been selected."
I assumed something like that - but have not found any equivalent on the package so far. (It may not be there at all: using English words on packaging - or clothing - is fashionable, and often not aimed at foreigners at all!)

I've sent a printout off with one of the other sortachildren, who's going to check it out with her Chinese friends. Handy, having a university with a large-ish foreign student population nearby.
Great! (I assure you I can come up with enough material to keep them busy for a while. ;))

Handier still to have a brain; if I did, I'd have taken the printout with me to the Chinese restaurant where I meet friends for lunch every Monday. Duh.LOL!

iamback
11-29-2005, 03:25 AM
Opening my 1994 copy of "Read and Write Chinese" I cannot find anything similar to what I can best describe as the "BoJ" word, but the following word (sun moon => bright) is definitely "ming". Couldn't find my chinese-english dictionary.

The "o" in the middle of "BoJ" appears to be the grapheme for "mouth", but the "B" and "J" don't appear in my rudimentary text and once you start combining graphemes...
The 'B' is actually radical 170 which my dictionary says means "hill". But the whole character seems to indicate that what follows is a name (no pinyin given) - I'm not sure it is actually pronounced at all, although "AMING" in the logo is suggestive.

Note that Cantonese three (approximately "sahm") is drawn as three stacked horizontal strokes. You can see this at the bottom just above the "SAN" in SAN MING". In Hong Kong I lived at 38 (3-10-8, sahm-sup-baht) Tai Tam Road.
I knew that character means three - but my dictionary says the pinyin for it is SAN - which fits with "SANMING" as the company name below.

iamback
11-29-2005, 03:34 AM
And, just because I know Ms K will love their site - http://www.sanming.com is the website for Shanghai Sanming Foodstuffs. (No, haven't a clue what is on the site since I don't allow flash)Hehe, I don't do Flash either - normally. But I have Opera which installs Flash without even asking you (but keeping it limited to that browser) so if I really want to look at a Flash site....

The web site address is actually on the back of the package. ;)

I just had a look and it's interesting in several respects. Above all since it's the first time for me to look at what is obviously a Chinese corporate site. It starts with a (rather nicely done) Flash movie, with a link that presumably means "enter" containing an invalid address... but just replacing the backslashes with forward slashes does the trick and you can enter the site. There are pages about (obviously) history, even an organigram. One section is about their products (though these peas don't get a mention); especially interesting is that these pages have some pictures of the products ... and several (though not all) of the packages also have the big "CHOSEN" on it.

Apart from "choice" or "selected" I now tend to think it might also mean something like: popular, favorite. I.e., selected not by the manufacturer but by their customers.

There's also a page with all their rewards and diploma's and such - with pictures of the framed documents. :)

ktinkel
11-29-2005, 06:32 AM
And, just because I know Ms K will love their site - http://www.sanming.com is the website for Shanghai Sanming Foodstuffs. (No, haven't a clue what is on the site since I don't allow flash)I might have loved it if I could get in. But even though I have Flash turned on and even though I optimistically clicked on what looked like links, finally got to a place where I was expected to download an HTML file, so I bailed.

The little animated movie at the start, replete with music, was very cute.

Michael Rowley
11-29-2005, 07:46 AM
Marjolein:

I have Opera which installs Flash without even asking you . . . so if I really want to look at a Flash site

I haven't got anything other than IE, and I can look at the site without trouble (though it takes a while to download all those pictures); perhaps I have got Flash. Rather a nice site, but of course more interesting if you can read Chinese. I wonder if the pretty girl illustrates the effect of eating their food.

iamback
11-29-2005, 08:36 AM
I might have loved it if I could get in. But even though I have Flash turned on and even though I optimistically clicked on what looked like links, finally got to a place where I was expected to download an HTML file, so I bailed.

The little animated movie at the start, replete with music, was very cute.
You probably stumbled over the bad link at the end of the Flash movie - IE would automatically "correct" that. Which browser did you use?

Try this URL:
http://www.sanming.com/html/zhici.htm

Now that I've seen their range of products I might try to find a few more when(ever?) I'm back in China. ;) Some time, surely - so much more to see.

ktinkel
11-29-2005, 10:17 AM
You probably stumbled over the bad link at the end of the Flash movie - IE would automatically "correct" that. Which browser did you use?Firefox. That link works. I suspect I have seen some of those products. Have to see I notice any at our Asian market.

Steve Rindsberg
11-29-2005, 12:11 PM
>>Japanese uses at least twenty thousand characters of the Chinese set;

Ah, but could it possibly be so simple? Of course not. There are several Chinese sets, Simplified, Traditional and perhaps other variants. And some of the characters in the Japanese set were simplified after the war. The character used for "country" on Marjolein's package is one of the simplified ones; the older one is much more complex.
>>I worked with a man with a Japanese mother and two men with a Chinese mother for years, and none of them could recognize Japanese or Chinese on sight: they first had to read a bit and see whether it made any sense to them.>>

That's rather odd. Perhaps they couldn't tell you whether a given character or set of characters was Chinese or Japanese (or one of the characters used in both) but Japanese is inflected and uses the native Japanese syllabary (hiragana) to express verb/adjective endings. In anything but the shortest phrases, it'd be fairly obvious which is Japanese.

Michael Rowley
11-29-2005, 01:43 PM
Steve:

Japanese is inflected and uses the native Japanese syllabary (hiragana) to express verb/adjective endings

Of course the presence of hiragana or katakana gives the game away, but quite long strings of kanji can occur. The various sets used in Chinese or Japanese are neither here nor there for someone whose parents were born in the nineteenth century. I don't think 'obvious' is quite the word to use, though I have to bow to superior knowledge, for my own is very limited. It all looks very complicated, and in the case of Japanese, unnecessarily so.

Hugh Wyn Griffith
11-29-2005, 02:20 PM
You might be surprised.

<< This package is quite typical. >>

Doesn't mean it is beautiful in the eyes of the beholder, me in this case.

<< to the point that we'd think of as ugly >>

Which is precisely the point I was making -- thank you!

PS I was in China on a couple of UK Trade Missions longer ago than I like to remember; even was invited to dinner at the home of the President of the Technical University in Shanghai when this was unheard of. Not that this makes me an expert <s>

Paul
11-30-2005, 02:37 PM
I live in the middle of the largest Korean community outside Korea, and the Korean on signs doesn't look anything like Chinese or Japanese to me. But since I know that the businesses are Korean (i.e., Koreatown is not Chinatown or Little Tokyo, neither of which is anywhere nearby), I'm primed to expect Korean.

On the other hand, I have no idea what most of it means; at the end of my street there is a restaurant where the only English on the sign is "NO MSG."

Steve Rindsberg
11-30-2005, 04:14 PM
Kayo has taken the printout to her Chinese friends and returned with ... not much.

According to them, they'd read "Chosen American Fried Beans" as one sentence, which argues for the "Chosen" as in "Selected" reading.

Steve Rindsberg
11-30-2005, 04:20 PM
>>Of course the presence of hiragana or katakana gives the game away, but quite long strings of kanji can occur.

True, but if it's a complete sentence, it's hard to imagine it passing entirely under the bridge w/o our being able to spot a kana or two, either as verb/adjective endings, "particles" (syllables that mark the subject and object), or conjunctions.

>>The various sets used in Chinese or Japanese are neither here nor there for someone whose parents were born in the nineteenth century.

Good point. I don't know whether the Japanese and Chinese characters were identical before WWII and earlier.

I'd be interested to hear your daughter's take on it.

It all looks very complicated, and in the case of Japanese, unnecessarily so.

iamback
12-01-2005, 01:59 AM
Kayo has taken the printout to her Chinese friends and returned with ... not much.

According to them, they'd read "Chosen American Fried Beans" as one sentence, which argues for the "Chosen" as in "Selected" reading.
Hmmm - thanks for trying at least... But why can't I find the "chosen" (in whatever semantics) in the Chinese text? It does say "American Fried Beans" so I'm still puzzled why the "Chosen" isn't right there. (And as I noted, it appears on packages of some other snacks of the same firm, but not all.)

I am also still mystified why they call it "American" (even in Chinese) but maybe only someone living in China could explain that. I'm considering sending an email to the company...

(I never cease to be amazed by the very creative use of English by the Chinese - they're developing their own brand of English!)

I'm working on a better scan of both front and back of the package - I'll post them somewhere when done. (I'm on a very steep learning curve for how to scan 3D objects - lots of fun but an enormous time sink. :))

don Arnoldy
12-01-2005, 08:44 AM
I am also still mystified why they call it "American" (even in Chinese) but maybe only someone living in China could explain that. I'm considering sending an email to the company...Maybe for the same reason Americans call French fries, Russian dressing, and English muffins what they do!

iamback
12-01-2005, 09:28 AM
Maybe for the same reason Americans call French fries, Russian dressing, and English muffins what they do!
Hmm - do they think Americans invented this snack?

BTW, I've seen several other snacks in China that are made of peas -- so that is not in itself "American", I think. (Some are recognizable as such because there's a picture of "peas in the pod" on the package.)

ktinkel
12-01-2005, 11:02 AM
Hmm - do they think Americans invented this snack?Seems unlikely — it is a traditional Japanese snack, I’m pretty sure. You’d think the Chinese should notice that!

Perhaps, though, America is this Chinese company’s target market.

iamback
12-01-2005, 01:09 PM
Seems unlikely — it is a traditional Japanese snack, I’m pretty sure. You’d think the Chinese should notice that!

Perhaps, though, America is this Chinese company’s target market.Actually, I doubt it: there's precious little English text on the package - certainly no ingredients listing as I would expect with a product intended (partially) for export. And now that I've seen their website even more so: not a word of English there except on the (tiny) images of other bags of snacks.

Then again, Japan isn't all too popular with the Chinese at the moment: I guess calling it "American" rather than "Japanese" is more political for the home market. :^) Maybe there's even a little pun there with "American" ("beautiful country") and "beautiful taste" (lower left corder). (Do Chinese pun, I wonder?)

ktinkel
12-01-2005, 01:17 PM
(Do Chinese pun, I wonder?)I wouldn’t be surprised.

don Arnoldy
12-01-2005, 01:43 PM
Hmm - do they think Americans invented this snack?Nope--and french fries, russian dressing and english muffins were not invented in the countries whose name they bear. What i was suggesting is the "American Fried Beans" may be a better marketing strategy in China than would be "Japanese Fried Peas".

--don

iamback
12-01-2005, 01:53 PM
I wouldn’t be surprised.
Actually, given how creative the Chinese are with the English language I wouldn't be surprised if they punned in their own language either.

One example: Learn a bit of English and you soon cotton on to the fact that the prefix "un" is a negation. So while in many hotels you find a tray or basket in the bathroom with items like bathfoam, shampoo, toothbrush, comb and soap (all free, or "complimentary") in one or two there was a little display in the other corner with fancy fragrant stuff to put in your bath. The display made clear it was "uncomplimentary".

iamback
12-01-2005, 01:57 PM
Nope--and french fries, russian dressing and english muffins were not invented in the countries whose name they bear.While that may be factually true, I wouldn't be surprised many people actually think so.

What i was suggesting is the "American Fried Beans" may be a better marketing strategy in China than would be "Japanese Fried Peas".Exactly my thought! (Plus a possible pun.)

Hugh Wyn Griffith
12-01-2005, 02:48 PM
I don't know about puns, but, like other countries or regions, they certainly have their own "Polish" jokes -- I remember on my first trip there our interpreter telling us which part of the country was the butt of them but no longer remember which it was.

Steve Rindsberg
12-01-2005, 05:30 PM
> do Chinese pun

It's apparently a staple of classical Chinese art. Paintings of animals, for example, might seem innocuous on the surface but have a sharp political edge to them when you combine characters that represent the animals and other features of the painting. One of the curators at our art museum is working on a show that will concentrate on this sort of thing; as interested acquaintances and sometime volunteers, my wife and I get progress reports from time to time. Can't wait for the show!

iamback
12-01-2005, 11:05 PM
> do Chinese pun

It's apparently a staple of classical Chinese art. Paintings of animals, for example, might seem innocuous on the surface but have a sharp political edge to them when you combine characters that represent the animals and other features of the painting. One of the curators at our art museum is working on a show that will concentrate on this sort of thing
Oooh! I'd like to see that!

Steve Rindsberg
12-02-2005, 08:12 PM
Oooh! I'd like to see that!
Well, if ever you're in Cincinnati/OH/US give me a yell. <g>