Archive for April, 2012

Announcing 2018 Nu Wa Delegation to China AND Korea!

China Korea 2018Build Story bridges of Peace!

Again we announce the NEXT Asian storytelling delegation, this time building TWO “bridges” of storytelling: China AND Korea!  Of course, building upon our past journeys, this will be our seventh cultural exchange to China seeing not only the splendor of the famous sights but also the experiencing the  universe of stories held in the tiny cultural microcosm, a rural storytelling village of Gengcun.  In addition, inspired by Eth-Noh-Tec’s India project (2008) we will journey to Korea to meet and hear traditional Korea storytellers and be introduced to the many story-based performing art forms of music, dance, and theater.

Our Journey to a Chinese Storytelling Village

Following our sightseeing in Beijing, we will be visiting the traditional storytelling village of Gengcun. This is the center, this is the heart of our tour.

“It was absolutely wonderful.” – Charlotte Blake Alston

There, a plethora of tales and myths will meet us amidst a tradition so grand, that the researchers have deemed this rural farm community…“An Ocean of Stories.” This year we will be participating in their annual Geng Festival that lasts several days. Music, dancing, special foods and storytelling will celebrate the founder of the village—General Geng, the step-father of an Emperor.

What is the Gengcun Storytelling Village?

“The high point was, I think, the warmth and welcome we got in the village…That was an unforgettable experience.” – Jay O’Callahan

We will be welcomed by this story-loving village, home to over 134 storytellers capable of recounting age old yarns, legends, personal histories, folk tales and myths drawn from the communities’ centuries old legacy of listening and telling. This ancient village was once along a major merchant trade route and within the walls of many a tavern and inn. Along its alleys and rest stops at the watering holes, the Chinese storytelling traditions were fostered, nurtured, and preserved as these farmers, goat shepherds, and brick factory workers maintained its rich narrative heritage.

Telling Between Two Worlds East and West

The master tellers of Gengcun are well-versed in over 500 stories, mid-level tellers may know 200-300 stories, and yes, even the children tell stories! Eth-Noh-Tec brought tellers of all levels with them as these Chinese storytellers invited their Western visitors into their homes and in their “Hall of Stories” to not only share their Chinese lore, but listen to stories from other parts of the world. Children peak in, listen, some tell, and then scoot out with giggles.

KOREA! Meet the Storytellers & Artists of Story-based Arts

Still in the planning stages we are currently building our community connections with storytellers, educators, and story-based performing artists in the cities of Kangwon, Seoul, and Chunchon.  We are planning a series of story swaps in community sittings, people’s homes, schools and churches.  In addition we will explore the rich heritage of Korea through it’s historic sites, the stories, legends and lore connected with their thousands of years old history. We are also planning “hands on” workshops in music, masked dance and theater, puppetry and other art forms.

Team Leaders

This delegation will be hosted by the Nu Wa Team: Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo of Eth-Noh-Tec (San Francisco) China Journey 2014 will be the sixth visit to the village lead by Eth-Noh-Tec. Previous delegations took place in 2002, 2006, 2007,2010, 2011, 2014.

Join us in 2018!

Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of a lifetime!


Filed as: At the Moment, China 2014, Programs, Tours  

This Satuday, Salon! You’re On!

On Saturday, April 28 at 7:00pm, join Eth-Noh-Tec and our special guests for a fresh, new Salon! You’re On!

Eth-Noh-Tec Kinetic Story Theater
Nancy Wang tells the Siberian Tale, “Which One to Choose?” Three young lads magically save a maiden’s life…but which is worthy of her hand in marriage?

Armando Castellano Composer
Excerpts from Voices of the Desert / Voces del Desierto, a performance that honors the unnamed immigrant who crosses the US/Mexico border in search of a better life.

Lilia Aguero Spoken Word
Long-standing arts advocate has set the stage and opened the page for many performers, painters, and writers in arts education — now it’s her turn to spin the words, with her own cadence and Latina riff.

El Shop Film/Mixed Media
with Tricia Creason Valencia (filmmaker) artist Pilar Agüero-Esparza (visual artist) and Hector Dionicio Mendoza that tells the story of Agüero-Esparza’s apprenticeship at the shoe repair shop of her father, a 72-year old third-generation master cobbler.

Penny Sharp Sky reads from “Jubilee Day” by Michael Sky
The political thriller by Michael Sky offers a solution to the economic discrepancy between “haves” and “have-nots”: “Six will die, every day, until you start sharing wealth and power — Jubilee.” Will that actually change anything?

Gary Lapow Songwriter & Visual Art
Known for his original songs for the past 40 years, he now not only uses his personal form of songwriting to journal daily life, reflecting the experience of aging, but also will share his latest passion as a visual artist sharing his enigmatic collages.


Eth-Noh-Tec Studio
977 South Van Ness Ave map »
(between 21st & 20th Streets;
close to 24th Street BART)
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 282-8705

Tickets at the Door

$8 – $20 (sliding scale)

Filed as: Programs, Salon! You're On!  

5/19: “Tales of Pangu: Lifting Up the Sky”

May 19 at 8:00pm
“Tales of Pangu: Holding Up the Sky”
at CounterPULSE, San Francisco

Buy Your Tickets Now!

“Pangu, China’s Creation God, spent 18,000 years separating the sky from the earth. Finally, exhausted, he laid his body down, and the parts of his body sculpted the earth and the fleas on his body became the humans…”

Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo of Eth-Noh-Tec present “Tales of Pangu: Lifting Up the Sky” as part of AAWAA’s Literary and Performing Arts Project and APICC’s United States of Asian America Festival.

Together Eth-Noh-Tec and the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Men’s Chorus create a montage of the Asian American experience: Nancy Wang’s “Red Altar” and “What’s Up, Hapa?” by Kenji Oshima.

“Red Altar” is the true story of Nancy’s ancestors who took to the high seas, leaving China in 1850, crashing in the Carmel Bay, and starting the fishing industry in Monterey. The Men’s Chorus will provide the musical score behind this historic journey through all the anti-Chinese violence to her family’s ultimate triumph.

The Men’s Chorus will then present several musical pieces followed by Kenji Oshima’s story “What’s Up, Hapa?,” his exploration of his multi-ethnic experience in America.

Story, music and multi-media will satiate the mind and soul in this exciting concert experience.

“Tales of Pangu: Lifting Up the Sky”
May 19 at 8:00pm at CounterPULSE

1310 Mission Street at Ninth Street, San Francisco

Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Storytelling Network, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation for their support of this project.

Buy Your Tickets Online


Filed as: Programs, Tales of Pangu  

Our Final Week in China, Part 2

Did we view into a portal? Brigadoon?

The other day, in the taxi, we passed by a park nearby where we saw people doing tai ji, badminton, social dancing, and fan tai ji. Waiting until our last day when there will be no class, we hope it won’t be another lost attempt to actually be amongst them like in Beijing when we couldn’t find the same at the Temple of Heaven.

So, with the first day of blue sky and our last day here, we eagerly walked to see China’s ordinary citizens being healthy and socializing with their friends and colleagues. We were not disappointed!! It was full of people young and old. Lush with tropical greenery and magentas and deep reds, we walked from one lovely activity to another: graceful ladies floating with Chinese dance movements, Chinese opera scenes by elders, women and men taking turns singing popular Chinese traditional songs, badminton, tai ji sticky (push) hands, croquet, waltzes and tangos, ping pong amidst the bamboo trees. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday — or every morning for some of the retired persons. Next time I’m here, I’m joining the ladies to learn some of the graceful Chinese dances!

Swaying, swirling, bowing, singing — it's Arts in the Park!

After a wonderful experience there, we left the park toward a very busy alleyway, where we found rows and rows of wood sellers for making all sorts of beautiful crafts, then rows of antiques, then jade, then books, furniture, odd and ends, beautiful plants — all grouped together by items being sold — some items presented for blocks on end.

Whittled crafts, collectibles, and... Bamboo Christmas trees?

Old Section of Hai Kou, Hainan

Hours later we caught a cab to the ‘old section’. Again blocks and blocks, actually miles and miles of narrow crowded streets and alleyways lined with shops — again grouped together. So for blocks on both sides there would be shops selling light fixtures, or red fancy paper decorations, or Santa objects, or tools, or cloth, or frame shops. The Santas looked decidedly Chinese…

Turn down an alley and blocks of every imaginable dried meat or sea animals including sea horses and star fish; turn down another alley and there are the live sea animals — turtles, cobras and sea snakes, every kind of fish, then down another alley and it becomes the live rabbits, chickens, and OMG cats, and yet another with dead cleaned fish and squid to take home to cook.

Cobra for medicine, dried Skate Fish for a dish…and kitties too?

Every narrow alley is crowded with people walking, people selling, people buying, people on bikes, people on scooters, people pulling loads on 3 wheel carts of piled garbage or boxes of goods, people people people!

We finally found a place to eat in one of the alleys — amazing food! Turnip pancakes with green onions, carrots, and egg. It was also a bakery! Fresh out of the oven, we tried the most tasty, light and sweet bun with coconut flakes sprinkled on the top while the middle had been rolled lightly in sweet red bean paste. There were so many kinds to savor, but we were too full! Later, we mourned that we hadn’t bought a variety of pastry for later or on the plane.

Where we’ve been staying seems to attract the young, and so at the old section, it was wonderful to finally see the wizened faces of elderly women and men eating, playing mah jong, fan tan, cards, and shopping for fresh meat or fish. Unfortunately, we also noticed that it was often the poor and the old women and men who dragged the heavy wooden three-wheel carts loaded with bags of garbage or other discards. Strong and wiry, but where are their children who should be taking care of them? Still, we heard later that Hainan has the highest population of elders over 100 years old. There are 48,900 citizens of China that are over 100 years old most of whom have lived and worked in the countryside all their lives. One couple just celebrated their 90th wedding anniversary!!

Here we saw people engaging with people — hardly anyone on cell phones, texting, or playing computer games. People were in relationship to each other in a myriad of ways — cooking together, eating together, playing together, running a business together… We felt like we were in a sea of humanity flowing in a current of vital life energy.

Finally, we headed home, our feet and legs tired, but happy for the experience of old and new China in Hainan.

Flying Home

Well, we spent one last night in Beijing in a hotel near the airport. And behold! A mattress like home sweet home!

We hired a driver after some swift price bargaining to take us to the houtong district where we stayed the first nights so we could shop shop shop!

We took our sweet time roaming the alleys and stores looking for any last minute desires. Though back in the freezing weather, we were able to just take our time, savoring the sights and sounds of this last night in China. We once again saw chefs rolling the dough to make fancy dumplings, lovely ladies offering little cups of tea for sampling, the silk shop, the plaza store of everything under the sun to buy, life size bronze statues of Chinese of a past era visiting, reading, trying on new shoes, and so on, depending on what the store was selling.

We ended up eating in the Taiwan district (which is interesting given the relations between the two countries) at a Korean restaurant of all things. However, not after we had two long sticks of roasted garlic lamb from a street vendor. Of course this meant we had left-overs because as usual Robert ordered many dishes. But with the left-overs plus a packed roast duck, we were assured we wouldn’t starve on the United flight home. We remembered they didn’t serve dinner, just lunch when you got on the plane and dried up egg and nasty sausage for breakfast before landing. That’s 9-11 hours in-between! (This is a warning if you are considering traveling to China on United).

One Last Glimpse of Great Chinese Food!

Here’s a peek at several photos we took of great food, the varieties, the flavors and the cheap prices — all will be savored in salivating memoirs and flavored by photos.

Zhongguo cai hen hou chi = "Chinese food is delicious!"

We waved goodbye to China and thanked her for an extraordinary month of so many different experiences and places. China is so huge and has so many different kinds of terrain and cultures, we can’t but wonder at the amazing thrill it must have been for Marco Polo, who spent 24 years in China and still didn’t cover it all. (Ironically, when he returned to Italy, his published journal accounting all the cultural wonders, inventions, architecture and science he saw was nicknamed “The Millions” — which his critics implied — millions of lies. He was sent to prison.) As we now know, he was an exceptional friend of China and reported the absolute truth of China’s treasures.

Home Sweet Home

Still, we were ready to come home. And so it is that we close this part of our adventure and hope you have enjoyed sharing it with us.

Filed as: China 2011, Programs, Tours