Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Tale of Two Temples

It's Tomb Sweeping Day today, so a day off work. We spent much of it with our friends in Tian Tan Park which is where the Temple of Heaven is. It's actually a hall not a temple, and there's not one hall but several, built in the early 1400s under Emperor Yongle who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City. He used to make the short journey to Tian Tan to perform various ceremonies, especially praying for good harvests. Gorgeous day, beautiful architecture, colours & symmetry.

In the evening Renzo and I experienced another kind of temple - the Workers Stadium - for my first Chinese football match. It was quite a big one actually: an Asian Champions League tie between Guoan FC v Tokyo AFC - the equivalent of say Man Utd v AC Milan. Interesting cultural experience. We were a multinational bunch, including three Americans whose grasp of the finer points of soccer left something to be desired but whose fluency in Chinese enabled us to fully understand what was being chanted throughout. To say the crowd was partisan would be putting it mildly. The only adversary more loathed (by die-hard Chinese fans anyway) would be Shanghai Shenhua. Anyway, it ended 1:1 leaving Tokyo at the top of the table and Guoan with an uphill struggle to qualify for the next round.  

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