Monday, August 4, 2008

Basketball at the KTV

Friday night, some of my schoolmates and I went to a KTV, or Karaoke TV. KTVs are ubiquitous throughout China and I will probably do a post later on about the, but unfortunately I forgot my camera this time around. For the uninitiated, KTVs are basically places where groups reserve private rooms and sing karaoke. Anyway, after coming out of the bathroom at the KTV, I noticed there was a TV playing basketball and that there were a couple minutes left in a close game between Argentina and Australia. I'm a big basketball fan and I couldn't resist watching the end of the game. As I was watching, I realized that a crowd was slowly forming around me. For those who haven't been to China, I should mention that Chinese people are often curious about foreigners and will usually say hello and smile at you when you walk down the street. So it seems that concept was also working here. One by one, guys would be leaving the bathroom, look at me watching basketball, point to the game, and try to say something to me in Chinese or English. At this point I had been studying Chinese only one week, so it was a prime opportunity to practice what I had learned so far, even though I'm sure my pronunciation was terrible. Most of the Chinese guys had English skills equivalent to my Chinese skills, so we had several conversations about what each others names were, where we were from, etc. in both languages. Everyone wanted to shake my hand multiple times, so eventually I had to show them the "snippity snap" handshake and the "blow it up" fist pound, both of which were hugely popular. Toward the end of the game, Manu Ginobili, in characteristic fashion, hit a big 3 and all the Chinese guys were chanting something, but I couldn't understand at first. I finally realized they were chanting Ginobili's name, but saying it roughly like "Gee-no-bill-ee." I'm pretty glad I decided to stop and watch because it ended up being a fun experience and a good chance to practice some of my Chinese. Chinese people seem to really like basketball and knew a lot of the NBA players who were playing in the game. Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian obviously have increased popularity in China, with an estimated 200 million people watching the Yao vs Yi game this past February. For comparison, an average 97.5 million people watched the Super Bowl this year (143 million total saw at least part of the game). Watching this game made me want to find some basketball courts somewhere here in Hangzhou and see if I can play a little pick up. Hopefully I'll be upgraded from "too short to play" like I am in the US to "still short, but good shooter" here in China.


david wei said...

snippity snap is dope.

i balled against a hangzhou dude way back in the day. those guys can game. you better watch out.

Edward said...

I was not even aware that another method of shaking hands existed aside from the snippity snap immediately followed by the blow-it-up fist pound.