For a while now, I’ve been thinking about the Chinese textbooks I used in college 25 years ago and how outdated they must seem now. I knew I’d kept at least one, and had looked through some bookshelves but it wasn’t until this evening that I found one. And next to it was a Chinese translation of Jane Eyre that I attempted to read one summer. It cost a whopping 6.60 renminbi. That’s less than US$1.
I didn’t get very far.
When I opened Jane Eyre, I found several photos from 1990 and 1991 that I hadn’t seen in decades. I imagine they’ve been in this book for a quarter of a century. Here’s one of me in Yokohama at the very beginning of 1991.
And these are from Hong Kong with Japanese students on my study abroad program. Michiyo was a good friend I met up with in San Francisco a couple years after our program ended. We used to write letters, but that tapered off and ended sometime before or after I moved back to Hong Kong. This was taken somewhere on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Here we are with a couple other Japanese students on our program. We used to eat lunch together after three hours of Mandarin (or Cantonese, in some of their cases) every morning, four days a week.
And I have no idea where this was taken other than in Hong Kong. I’m with my roommate Ling and another friend, but her name escapes me now. The clowns in the background are a huge mystery to me.
As for that Chinese book, this is the cover. Not very exciting, but that’s the way they were back then.
And this is what the interior looked like. The romanization is the Yale system and it’s amazing I could deal with that. I started learning Mandarin with pinyin in 1989 and switched over to Yale in 1990 because that’s what the program in Hong Kong used. Although I got B-/Cs in this class, my writing was a lot cleaner than what I remembered.
It’s always fun to find lost items from the past, even if I didn’t know they were missing.