I’ve finally created a Gmail account where those of you who have questions about life in Taiwan (or just want to say “你好!” or “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?”) can reach me. My username there is “theflyingshu.” “shuflies” and “shu.flies” were both taken, oddly enough. My prior system of communication was just asking people to leave me a comment, which I realized doesn’t work for many different reasons.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to describe how to read an e-mail address in Mandarin. An at sign is called 小老鼠 (xiăo lăo shŭ), which literally means small mouse, and a period is called 句號 (jù hào) but of course no one says “gmail period com.” The period is called a 點 (diǎn), which just means “dot.”

Therefore, my new e-mail address read out in Mandarin is “theflyingshu xiăo lăo shŭ gmail diǎn com.” Of course, actually reading aloud is a bit more complicated than that. In Taiwan (and other Asian countries), you will see that a lot of e-mail addresses and MSN usernames are made up of long strings of numbers. That makes it easier to say in Mandarin (or whatever language is being used) and I’m sure people have their own meanings or mnemonics assigned to their addresses to make them easier to remember.

I’ll try to check that inbox at least twice a week. I often get variations on the same few questions and I am thinking that I might do a Q&A post one of these days. If you don’t want me to quote from your e-mail (I won’t slap your name on my post, unless you want it there), please tell me so when you write to me.