Tian Yuan Talks 80s Chinese Authors at Kobe U. in Japan


While searching for when Hopscotch lead singer/actress Tian Yuan was going to release her latest album because last I head it was supposed to be this  “summer”, I came across the fact that she recently went to Kobe University to talk about 80s generations authors in China. She studied at the Beijing Foreign Studies University,  (the one that Happy Camp host He Jiong teaches Arabic at) and she’s put out books both in English and Chinese including Double Mono, which was recently translated and released in Japanese.

Kobe University Foreign Languages is one of the two top schools for foreign languages in Japan, and she was invited by one of the professors there, Mao Danqing.  Tian Yuan spoke of how smooth the talk went and how she was impressed by the students. She also talked about being an author and her thoughts when she’s writing, such as self-doubt.


Double Mono was published in 2007 to much discussion, and captured the attention of Japanese publishers, who after much collaboration, got the Japanese version ready this year. It’s Japanese cover differs from the Chinese cover in that it also has Tian Yuan’s own eyes peaking out from behind the entwined hands on the front. You can read it here in Chinese. I haven’t read it yet, idarklight just found it for me. I really want to read her first book, Zebra Woods, because that was in English, and I think I could judge it better. Anyone know where to get that?


For those unacquainted with her, Tian Yuan is pretty amazing. She used to be under the Modern Sky Label with her band Hopscotch, and they released an album in 2002, Wishful Way. I didn’t pay attention to it much when I first heard it, especially because it was in English, accented English. Then I saw the movie Gao Xing, liked Tian Yuan in it, went back and and watched her first movie Butterfly where she was she was nominated for Best Newcomer at Taiwan’s Golden Horse and won at HK’s Film Awards. The soundtrack used two of  Hopscotch’s songs and I fell in love with it. And her acting definitely merited those accolades. You can watch an edited versions of  it here with subs.

But I think they and Modern Sky  legal spat or something and now she’s supposed to be finally releasing a new album this summer under Dong Records (Zhang Yadong’s company). But still there’s no exact date. Although I don’t know exactly if I’m looking forward to it, after the mess producer Zhang Yadong made of the Shining Red Stars album, but all her work is sort of mellow anyway, and suited for his production style.

Her single from her upcoming album

I feel like there’s been a lot of people I liked, whether they be pop or rock, mainstream or indie, who were supposed to be releasing albums this summer, but simply haven’t. I seriously hope one of them do.


Pictures from Her Blog

11 thoughts on “Tian Yuan Talks 80s Chinese Authors at Kobe U. in Japan

  1. @idarklight: Thanks for the recommendations. Idunno but I was always a bit skeptical Guo Jingming’s work. Maybe it’s time that I give him a shot.

    Anyhow, I highly recommend 我把爱情煲成汤 (for the second time, LOL!) I have faith that you’ll come to love this novel.

  2. I don’t read as much as I used to, especially Chinese novels, so I profess no expert on Chinese novels. I only know a few, but I really love the ones I’ve finished.

    Simple and metaphorical:
    Zheng Yuanjie (郑渊洁) – His writing style is extremely simple. In fact, they generally come in forms of fairytales. But they’re also painfully real. The popular children’s cartoon series “Shu Ke and Bei Ta” came from him, but was eventually discontinued due to the metaphorical nature of them that was deemed inappropriate for children. His stories always leaves me uneasy. Perhaps because of the unwanted truth in them.

    Descriptive chick lit:
    Ming Xiaoxi (1. Summer of Bubbles; 2. the ancient one…mansion of fire?) I really like how she’s able to paint the mood with simple words. Her novels are definitely comfort novels that leaves you feeling light and pleasant.

    Guo Jingming
    (1. Cry me a sad river/悲伤逆流成河, 2. Rush to the Dead Summer 夏至未至)
    Guo Jingming’s style is relatively varied. Those two are my favorites because they’re the only two that belong in the same category. I adore the metaphors he uses in these two novels. Not extended, deep metaphors, but simple metaphors used to describe a certain action, certain emotion, or a certain scene. More clever than brilliant, but fascinating to read.
    Tiny Times and Never-Flowers in Never-land belong in another category, and are plot-based, fast-paced novels. Think Gossip Girl, with less craziness but more.
    Jue Ji and Ice City are set in fantasy. Both have beautiful descriptive language and harsh realities behind the flowery language.

  3. My level of Chinese is pretty decent. I understand and recognize more Chinese characters than I can possibly write. As of right now, I’m trying to improve my Chinese by watching more educational & meaningful films/series.
    I can tell you that I pretty much grew out of the whole chick-flick type of books, but sometimes it’s great to relax your brain once in a while and indulge in lighthearted/comedy novels. As of right now, I prefer something more deeper, descriptive and/or metaohprical of style.

  4. By the way, I was wondering if you can recommend me some Chinese novels. The last one I read was 我把爱情煲成汤, and that was like 1 year ago.

    Since I mentioned 我把爱情煲成汤 (aka 对不起,我是妓女), I really recommend it to anyone who knows how to read Chinese. This novel isn’t your typical love stories (ex. two guys fighting over for a girl, a rich guy falls in love with a poor girl etc..) I really loved this novel because it’s so different and have many unexpected twists.

  5. That was one of my favorite songs on that album of Zhang Yadong’s, even though there’s a weird way that she pronounces her words.

    Agh, these days I’m caught up trying to read too many things, LOL. Now I have something else on my mind to read.

  6. thanks for the post! tian yuan caught my eye with her acting in butterfly and it’s nice to hear how well she’s doing for herself.

  7. Thanks Kiwee! Wow, he has a wordpress blog. His English is off at times, but it’s quite an interesting read.

    ”People say the language is something that you acquire over time. I disagree. I think it’s something you suddenly come to master,” he said.

    Perhaps he is referring to Japanese specifically, but it’s something that could be said of other languages.

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