How many people in the US and elsewhere in the world have ever sat down at a Chinese restaurant and saw a simplified version of the Chinese zodiac on their placemat or menu? I know I have, especially when I was little and Google was yet to be. In fact, I seem to remember this placemat specifically from my childhood. I knew I liked this foreign culture the moment I saw the placemat (even if my palate had yet to develop a taste for the cuisine).
But how many other people had that same fascination? Did they all go searching for more information on just why this zodiac was the way it was? Or, more likely, did they just order the kung pao chicken and pay no notice?
I know I’m probably in the minority when it comes to US interest in the founding myths of China (especially since my ancestry is as white as it gets), but let’s get real. China is the US’s biggest trading partner, and our diplomatic ties could go south at any moment for a myriad of reasons (Taiwan and Tibet immediately come to mind). We need to have a better cultural understanding of this nation and part of that understanding is based on their myths and legends.
“But I don’t want to go looking through Wikipedia and old books in obscure parts of the local library!” Well, the intent of this blog is that you no longer have to (although that’s still a good idea)! Or at least, you no longer have to be bored stiff by all the info. After all, this is the age of TVTropes and internet video reviews! Making it funny and accessible is the name of the game these days.
So prepare to be educated and amused! Hopefully.