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Four Seasons in my hometown

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Xiaowei Xiaowei | 10:53 UK time, Friday, 20 January 2012

Hello everyone!
Thanks for your comments and I like reading them, they've paint me pictures of many places around the world!

In the latest post Knickerbocker glory, Jennifer talked about her hometown South Shields in the north east of England. I enjoyed the scenes from the photographs, and it reminds me of my hometown, though it is not surrounded by coast and is a hilly land.

I came from a city called Anshan which is in the north east of China. It's awfully chilly in winter and that season lasts nearly 5 months of a year in my city! So in my memory I spent most of my childhood and teenage in snow - either in winter or in the preparation for winter-before I left my Anshan and went to university in another city.

Here are some photographs my dad recently took in my hometown (under his permission, I haven't been back to China for more than 1 year and a half!):

Snow on the bank

Tomatoes on sticks

Have you noticed the snacks in the second photo? It's called "Bing Tang Hu Lu" and I don't know why it's translated as "Tomatoes on sticks" in English, it's not tomatoes at all, it's traditionally made by hawthorn with icing syrup, in recent days people also use strawberries and oranges as an alternative as well. Anyway, it's one of my favorite snacks when I was a kid, the taste of sour & sweet never failed to satisfy my taste bud, the only sad truth is my fingers always froze before I finished eating it on my way home after school.

So...yes as I said, most of my early memories were held in winter. I was born in winter, learnt skating before learning calculating, and was once addicted to snowball fight as most kids did in my region. People in my hometown always seem to be able to find some ways to enjoy themselves in winter season, we hold Ice Carvings Display in deep winter, and ice-sports are popular all the time.

I don't have a clear picture of global warming, but in Anshan I could feel the climate changed since my childhood. When I was in primary school my favorite sport is to jump into the snow cover by the roadside on the way home, with mom's angrily rebuking "stay away from that!", at that time the snow could reach my waist. But that's becoming rarer as years went by. Definitely I grew taller, but I mean the snow isn't as big as before, and the weather isn't that cold either these days.

Having said that, there are still springs and summers in Anshan, though they are really short for me. As you could see in the following photos, the land turns into a totally different view, I really love this time of the year!


Summer temple

There are some well-known temples on the mountain called Qianshan in the countryside of Anshan, pilgrims from all areas around made the place lively in the warm season.

Autumn for me is just an overture for winter, it's getting chilly in my hometown! The land is preparing for its look in winter- here are lotus on a lake near my home in autumn:

Lotus on the lake

In the countryside, however, it is the most lively time of year- it's the harvest season! You always find something delicious and fresh to eat there in Septembers and Octobers. In rural region of northern China, commercial agriculture is developed, yet some peasants are still living on subsistence agriculture, selling their crops and fruits on the roadside near their houses.

Selling produce by the roadside

I'm beginning to miss my hometown! By the way, can you guess what the orange-color fruit is in the blue basket in the photo?


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Xiaowei!
    Thanks for your long article and also for your photos; I've enjoy it, especially the photo which represented the loto's flowers, I've got some "Ninfea" plants in my little pond in my garden and for this reason I really appreciate this thing. Where I live here in Noth-east of Italy the seasons are completly different in fact the winter is very cold instead summer is dry and warm. I like a lot the continue changement for the different colours of the nature and also for the different activities that you can do; for example in winter we go to the near mountains to ski and in summer we enjoy the swimming and the sea. I won't never live in a place all the time warm like Tropical Island or on the other hand always cold like a place near North pole.
    I'm looking forward your next blog

  • Comment number 2.

    This is my first comment.
    Please allow, if there are many defects, since it is not used to writing in English.
    I live in Saitama Prefecture in Japan.
    The year before last, I went to Paotou in the Nei Monggol area , and Yinchuan, and have planted trees to the desert of the neighborhood.
    It turned out that global warming is advancing so that you may tell.
    But green power is valuable.
    No less than 400 million trees were planted since 1990 and people's life is led.
    I am glad if the poplar and Chinese date trees planted at that time are growing vigorously.

    Now、I don't figure out what that fruit is.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Xiaowei,

    Thanks for your new post, it was really nice to read about your hometown, Anshan. I'm interested in every part of a different culture, but in fact, what attracts me most is the allure of a foreign food culture!

    The candy stick made of thorn apples in your picture looks really tasty! It is no wonder that the candy used to be your favorite sweet in your childhood. I've never seen thorn apples in Japanese supermarket, but I've once tried a liquor made of them. It was quite sweet-and-sour as you mentioned, and definitely tasty.

    By the way, let me guess what is the orange fruit in your last picture. First I thought it was the famous "Nanguo pear" from your hometown. However, I realized that the color of Nanguo pear looked rather red than orange when I checked it on Anshan city's website, so maybe it's not a pear. I'll make a wild guess that it is an apricot!

    Finally, thank you for your compliments on my writing. But it's not really something worth praising, as I went it over at least three times before posting my comment! And I want to say that I'm also learning a lot from your blog, Xiaowei.

    My favorite way of studying English is to read. The point is, you have to read the sentences "aloud" when you practice. My English teachers adviced me to do that because they believe that the process of reading sentences aloud in English make it easy for the student to remember how to make sentences which are grammatically correct, and also keep some of the phrases and vocabularies in his/her mind anyway.

    I don't like to read newspapers so much for some reason, but I do love to read books or my favorite actress's interview on the web aloud. If you have some books, magazines or online articles you're interested in, why not try reading them aloud?

    I'm looking forward to your another post!

  • Comment number 4.

    Hello Xiaowei... and happy new year everybody.
    I like your pictures and I read your commentary about of each one, I really would like to travel to China. Over all for the food jajaja, yes I love eat.
    I'm sorry if I don't write a lot but I'm new in this blog, and this is my second commentary.
    I hope that you can visit your hometown soon, and also my country =).
    I'm from México the weather in this month is strange jajaja, because sometimes it's cold and sometimes warm. But the food is also so delicious, jajaja Do you see? I like so much the food.

    Well thank you so much for your post and take care of yourself.
    I hope to became your friend. See you.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Xiaowei
    First of all let me say happy new year to you as tommorrow is Chines new year Eve.
    You story telling is fantastic and enjoyed reading all the story about your home town and immediately looked for it on google map to get a clear imagination of it as you are talking about.
    I see a variety of colours on the photo from "Bing Tang Hu Lu" What is the yellow one ?
    Anshan is really beautiful city, let me guess the first photo is from the lake Laodonghu in 219 park. I also hope you to visit you hometown and family very soon.

  • Comment number 6.



    My friends who have both Chinese and Japanese nationality were working restless today and pressed me for New Year's present of money " yasuiqian".

    Are those orange-collered fruits Chinese lantern for medicinal purposes?

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Xiaowei,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. While I was through it, I realized how much I miss asian cultures. I stayed in Asia for almost 5 years, but I have never been in China though. Thanks to your dad for the beatiful pictures. And happy new year again (Chinese new year this time). I do no have any idea about the orange fruit!!!

    Looking forward your new post!

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Xiaowei,

    It's really nice to read about your homtown and to see those wonderful photos.
    Especially the photos of street sellers reminds me of my own trips to China. I liked to get some tasty snacks from them when I was walking. There were too many stuffs to draw my attention though, fruits from local were always the best choice for me. Well....If only I could try all the fruits in the baskets, I am sure I could tell you what the fruit is...^^

    Now here it is winter season. Not that chilly or snowing though....I am enjoying the crisp cool day. We have for seasons as you have in your hometown. I like the change of weather and each productions that brought by the different nature.

    Thank you for bring your homtown here. It helped me to recall all those beautiful natures of China where I've been to with my friends. And I hope to travel Anshan one day as well.

  • Comment number 9.

    Your post is really fantastic.The photos are beautiful and the fruits are mouth-watering. When I was reading your post I remembered my childhood. When I was a child, the snow was heavy and I and my brother played in snow and made snowman. I am agree with you that snow is not heavy as before. About ten years ago in Tehran, I and my father went to roof and shovelled snow onto the road. But nowadays, snow fall is light and only two or three times in winter.

  • Comment number 10.

    halo everyone...
    the article is good, i sorry if me have mistake to comment in here, cause i'm bengginer in writting, i'm from south sulawesi in indonesia. i want to study engglish.
    mybe your confusse to read, what is my write?. but i really want to learning about engglis. please help me..


  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Xiaowei!

    Your photos and the description of your hometown is so wonderful and peaceful! I feel a wish to travel and see it. I have never been to Asia and don't know too much and too good information about China.
    I'm from Hungary. And all in my childhood my parents told about their childhood with big and cold winters with a lot of snow. I was always envious, because in the 1980's there wasn't so much snow. But sometimes I feel that this winter is the warmest in my life. There was very little snow and it melt within few hours. I don't like this warm winter. I love walking in snowfall and I miss it very much.
    The fruit in the blue basket is maybe strawberry ...
    Please write new blogs, because I'm very curious about China.

    Have nice days,

  • Comment number 12.

    Hehe, so you from Anshan,liao ning province .I've never been there.

    I guess the orange-color fruit is in the blue basket seems like Caribbean chilli------Scotch bonnet ,I only guess it.

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi everyone,

    the orange color fruit is winter cherry. It is a special local product in the north east of china and has a lovely name in our dialect:"gu niang er" which means young girl.If you google "winter cherry" to see the pictures of fruit inside, perhaps you'll find they look indeed as lovely as young girls. It tastes sweet, a little sour when it's still green.

    Haha, it's amazing to see the guesses. The photos are too small anyway, my apologies.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Saki,

    It's amazing that you mentioned "nanguo pear", it's indeed a tasty fruit from my home city, but not that well-known outside of China I guess. You must have done some research.

    And thanks very much for the suggestion. I think it's a brilliant idea to build linkage between words and sounds, in this way we may remember word groups and sentences more effectively. I will try your method next time when I get do the reading.

    Have a nice day!


  • Comment number 15.

    Hello Chely,

    Thanks for your comment and very nice to meet you! I've never been to Mexican before, but I like Mexican food very much, although they are a quite hot for me. When the Mexican chicken wrap was first introduced in China several years ago, it soon won a big number of young fans just like I...Jajaja.

    All the best,


  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Ali,
    Thanks for your interesting comment!
    The orange "bing tang hu lu" are made of mandarine and is very juicy. I like it.
    You find out the lake is lake Laodonghu in 219 park! Such a good guess really demands some talent.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hi kishino,

    XIEXIE NI! And your friends are funny.

    The fruit are Chinese lantern indeed, a good guess! or they are called winter cherry in English as well. they can be used in medicine, yet mainly we just buy a bag of them and eat them as snacks when walking in the street, they are sweet.

  • Comment number 18.

    hi Xiaowei
    thanx of ur fantastic and interesting post,after reading i felt that i was born and grew up there!
    i wish snow and coldness come back in ur hometown ,i agree with u i can feel that winter in my town isnt like old times
    waiting for ur next blog

  • Comment number 19.

    (wo tai gaoxing le !!) I am very very glad to like to run about all over the world indeed!!
    I very like wild grass.
    Also when I went to China,I pictured some of them.
    Especially ,beaty of having scarity plants in the desert moved me greatly.
    That impression made me buy any illustrated plants books at Yunchuan to check those names early.
    Anyway,"gu niang er",this name perfectly satisfied my image of it.
    How beautiful name !!
    Thanks again,Xiaowei.

  • Comment number 20.

    Thank you for you blog i have been readed your posts since a week , I'm trully glad to share you in a conversation , in fact the season in my country a little differn so you draw for me brightly picture i wish i had been there speacially in winter becaus my country is so hot and people lost thier appetite as well as people is became lazy but when winter al thought short but little bit an intersting i eat greadly and people is work an enthusiaticlly and the general moods in thoroughfare or in transport is better than in summer. so far we had tow seasons in my home , i wounder if we could stay tow or changing . the climate change is a serious disaster and it had grave implication .

  • Comment number 21.

    I feel very familiar with your post because I come from Taiwan. I envy of winter in your country.You can see and play in snow easily. However, in my country, to see snow is very uncommon.
    "Tang Hu Lu" is one of my favorite snacks,especially with tomatoes.
    I really want to go China, a big, beautiful and fertile country. Now, your post make me more yearn to being there.

  • Comment number 22.

    woww dear Xiaowei after reading your story or seeing your countries picture i felt in sadness because of my past and childhood you have very peacefull country and very beautifull pleases to go and for enjoy the each steps of life may god bless you...


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