No, not really.
Occasionally when I read stories from The Guardian via Google, I have a look at some of the other sites which I’ve added. They’re mostly blogs and quite a number are on blogspot (added when I’ve been in a country where the government is not irrationally paranoid), which means that if you try to click on that particular feed, the system gets completely buggered.
I happened across a post on the China Law Blog about something called noodle blogging. According to the post, this “describe[s] China blogs (often written by ESL teachers) that focused mostly on the blogger’s personal impressions of China”. Chris’s blog gets a very honourable and quite up-to-date mention.
But the feeling is that such blogs have largely slipped into history with a few exceptions such as a blog called Seeing Red in China, which is also on (or powered by?) WordPress. I did use to have quite a few China blogs bookmarked, but with various blog hosts being blocked, unblocked, blocked etc. (including ESWN), I probably gave up a little. Also, most of those blogging do tend to end up going back where they came from. I still have Matt Schiavenza’s site bookmarked, but he’s back in the States as far as I’m aware and I only visit the site once in a while. Another point which has just come to mind while I’ve been making my tea is that even when I did tend to read expat China blogs, I’d already been here several years, had seen it, and had bought the T-shirt.
I suppose at times I’ve been a noodle blogger, but I’ve never tried to be an anthropologist or sociologist about China to the exclusion of almost all other topics. My agenda has never been to blog about China so that others might gain some insight into life here. That’s merely coincidental and some of what I’ve seen and done may be of some interest to others. Nor am I here to go native and get all integrated. If you think of all the annoyances here and you think about how long I’ve been here (nearly nine years), you’d be sorely mistaken if you believe that I now regard the annoyances as a mere nothing. They aren’t and they never will be a mere nothing.
I also think that a noodle blogger might tend to be someone who comes here in their twenties, is probably straight out of college, and isn’t, as I’ve always been, a cynical old bastard. But the first wave of bloggers has been and gone (if you think in terms of the history of blogging), and I can’t help but make a connection between someone like Ben Ross and Peter Hessler. I think I’ve wondered before where the Peter Hesslers of the first decade of the 21st century are. (Don’t look at me. I don’t have that journalistic knack like Bill Bryson and other hacks for spinning an entire book out of next to nothing.)
All right. let’s finish with a noodle blog tale. I was on my travels this morning, heading to 远东百货 to buy lunch from Yamazaki and some more bread. There’s a dog-leg crossing at the side street where I turn off to go to the 红豆 Building. There was someone on en electric scooter ahead of me, and a woman was crossing the road on another electric scooter. Neither was going especially fast, but Mrs Pays-no-Attention still managed to hit Mr Straight-ahead-Regardless. It was a slight knock to his rear wheel, and Mr Straight-ahead-Regardless started yelling. Probably the argument ran: “Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” Why don’t you watch where you’re going. (Repeat ad naus. without irony.) From my perspective, while Mrs Pays-no-Attention was principally to blame, Mr Straight-ahead-Regardless was little better as he swept recklessly in front of his adversary.
For the most part, my strategy is to go round behind so that the likes of Mrs Pays-no-Attention get home saying to themselves, “A foreigner? What foreigner?”