me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Goluptuous biscuits

Bought a package of sweet red bean crackers whose Chinese name had been translated as "Goluptuous Biscuits." I can only assume they meant "voluptuous," which anyhow is not a word I'd use for crackers, myself. On the one hand, this is a typical and typically hilarious Chinese free-style translation. Sometimes you can guess what they're getting at, sometimes you don't have the first clue. "Don't drive tiredly" is self-evident; "Turpan Rehabilitation Traveling Place" is a little tougher. Behind the humor of it, though, is an arrogance that's hard to describe without sounding culturally insensitive. A lot of this rotten English is literally carved in stone on the information tablets of monuments and historic sites, places tourists go. Most of these stones have been placed in the last five years, some very recently. It's hard to believe it wasn't possible to find someone in whatever bureau is responsible for cultural affairs and tourism who speaks good enough English to edit these markers. It's much easier to believe no one considered it important. It's good enough, the end. This is the Middle Kingdom, halfway between Heaven and Hell: China, center of the universe. There's a faint disdain for everyone else that resounds through 5,000 years of Chinese history, sometimes loudly, sometimes softly, but always there, that's echoed in these laughable translations.

The biscuits, by the way, are good.

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