April 7, 2008
Last year I wrote about my progress in my guzheng lessons. The news now is that there has been no progress at all recently. Last spring I lost my steam after the long bout with bronchitis, and the little engine never got going again.
However, I still love the instrument. To whet your appetite, I’ve uploaded a couple of YouTube videos to my blog. They’re on the main page.
Like a trained dog, I also have a new trick. I learned how to do a google search using chinese characters. You just type them in! To do this, you need to know the word at least in pinyin (phonetic spelling) but I’m going to help you out. Here are the two Chinese characters for GU and ZHENG. 古筝 . To find videos or web pages about guzheng, uploaded in Chinese, input these characters into your search on YouTube or in Google. I’ve also fallen in love with the Er Hu 二胡 . If you have time, you may as well try a peek at that instrument, too! (The word er hu means "two strings" — you will be utterly amazed at what someone can do with two strings and no frets.)
If you’re feeling really brave, try this same search on Toudou! C’mon try it! The search box for Toudou is on the upper right hand side of the main page at http://www.tudou.com . What have you got to lose? Sure, it’s all in Chinese and so a bit confusing if you don’t read any Chinese, but hey, look at it this way: If you make a mistake nobody is going to jump out of the computer screen and bite you!
In fact, here’s another suggestion. If the Chinese on Tudou is still too overwhelming, use Babelfish to translate the page! Here’s how: Copy the address for the main Tudou web page, and then (after you’ve copied the address onto your clipboard) go to http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr . At Babelfish, copy the Tudou address into the link to "translate the page," and direct the program to translate from simplified Chinese into English. It works pretty well! On this side of the world, Tudou is faster and has a lot more videos. In fact, did you now that according to something I just read, Tudou is bigger than YouTube? Ya, just remember, there are more cell phones in China than there are land lines in the USA! [Though I understand that at the moment many of them (along with computer and telephone lines) in the more restive provinces are not working. ]
Have fun and HAPPY HUNTING!
*You may need to go to the Microsoft web site and download simplified chinese characters in order to cut and paste the Chinese Characters. But the good news is that you don’t have to type the characters yourself, because I’ve already done that for you! Just cut and paste. 😉 It’s very easy to download "simplified Chinese characters" for your OS (in my case, from http://www.microsoft.com ).