Ai Fukuhara, Japanese Olympic ping pong payer, who contributed a lot in the just-wrapped-up Rio De Janario Olymopcs, recently got married to a a Taiwanese ping pong player, who also competed in the same Olympic games. Their press conference on their marriage held in Japan can be seen below.
I like the guy. Generally, I think marriage is for the birds and, to be honest, I have no interest in people getting married. But this Taiwanese guy seemed so honest and sincere. He seemed to be a genuinely nice guy. Because of that, I went so far as to wish them happiness. Man, what’s happened to me?
What got me curious about their press conference is this: they seemed to be communicating in Chinese fine without any problem, but how good is her Chinese really? I solicited opinions showing the video below in which Ai talks to the media in Mandarin, from a good friend of mine John, who is proficient in Chinese.
His assessment is as follows:
Her Chinese is excellent. I think she speaks Northeastern Mandarin. Anyway, her accent sounds pleasant. Perhaps that’s the reason Chinese media dotes on her along with her positive personality. BTW, local news reported on her marriage to a Taiwanese table tennis player.
The Japanese media talked to Taiwanese people to get their take on the marriage. One said, “I hope this will reinforce the two countries’ friendship.” So do I! I have also learned that she is often referred to in Chinese media as “愛醤” because the Japanese affectionate way to call her is “Ai-chan” and “愛醤” sounds similar. “愛醤” sounds like some sort of an (imaginary) seasoning made from some fermented sources, just like 豆板醤 and 甜麺醤, except that it is made from “愛” or “love,” which is her first name. I am very happy to know that she is well liked not just by Taiwanese people but by Chinese people too. I always think we really cannot afford to be at odds against one another; instead we need to be working together. If their marriage somehow makes it closer to reality, I couldn’t be happier.