It was when I was age 5, even before elementary school when my grand mother gave me this cartoon book called "Sai-Yu-Ki" - Travel to West-. That was the cartoon book about adventurous trip of a Chinese priest to Afghanistan and India to obtain Buddhism Book to China. In this book, of course more than half fiction, other than this priest existed in Chinese History and he traveled to India to get Buddhism book to localize Buddhism to China.
In the story, this priest accompanies three monsters guards, Monkey Monster, Pig Monster, and Sand Monster assigned by Buddha. They all have special fighting powers and skills. This was the story of Monkey Monster exercising his miraculous fighting power and skills, fighting against all odds and evil monsters to protect his master priest to safely bring Indian Buddhism Books to China.
This Monkey Monster grows in protecting his master priest, learning from his master, and practicing Buddhism. Going through all the fighting and adventure helping the priest's safety, he brings himself closer and closer to Buddhism principle and finally became Monkey God, as one of Buddha's protective guards, after he finished his mission to send his master priest to India.
In addition to this "Monkey God" story, there were a lot of Chinese Historical Books in junior and senior high school days, such as "3 Countries History" whereas 3 countries kings fight for unified China, "Sui-Fu" -Story of Private Organization fight against old and corrupted government-, so on and so forth. In this way, in addition to the fact that China is my wife's home country, I did not feel China to be foreign country for long time.
In that trip to China, my wife took me to Beijing, Great Walls, Anshan, Sheng Yung. I visited China several times since then. But, I have not visited there for more than 3 years now. My wife and I are planning to go to China coming summer. I am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to see my wife's family and friends.
While my wife's favorite city is Shanghai, my favorite is Beijing. Beijing is old castle city. Its history goes all the way back 3000 years ago, when it was originally called Yan Jing. It is not just history, the food there is excellent and reasonably priced. It was my 3rd trip while waiting for our table is ready in world famous Peking duck restaurant, my Chinese friend offered me and almost forced me to eat Scorpion fry. It was weird, but it was not as bad as first felt. It tasted like shrimp.
In there, I can feel exactly how Japanese people before World War II felt so eager to get out of Japan to go and live in China. China has dynamism that Japan does not have. The country is definitely one of my favorites.
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