Millions in Asia experience the cultural odyssey that is Ypsilanti

Do you remember hearing earlier this winter that a representative of the Voice of America’s China branch was going to be visiting Ypsi? Well, it apparently happened. A Chinese correspondent by the name of Sean E Liu not only visited Ypsi after covering the 2011 North American Auto Show in Detroit, but he interviewed a number of people here with the intention of using the footage in an internationally distributed program called “Cultural Odyssey.” Here’s the video, as it was broadcast throughout China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macao on the Voice of America network. The coverage of Ypsi, which includes stops at the world’s most phallic water tower, the Sidetrack, and the Firehouse Museum, starts at the 3:30 mark.

So, can anyone help translate? I’m particularly interested to know whether or not they made any off-color jokes about the water tower.

[Speaking of the water tower, when I saw the guy being interviewed at the base, I couldn’t help but think of this.]

update: A reader by the name of ENGB was able to translate a bit:

I didn’t get a chance to watch the whole video, but it seems like pretty straightforward travel expo type fluff. But, at around 4:06-4:12, during the pan-out shot of the water tower, the narrator comments that the overall image projected is that of “valiance and spiritedness” — the phrase in Chinese is “雄赳赳气昂昂”. The Chinese character 雄 usually signifies masculinity, as well as power and might. Later, at 4:46, when the water tower is shown again in its entirety, the narrator says something about its appearance being too masculine — “太雄性”. Finally, at the end of that segment, 5:20, the woman in the studio says “My goodness, what a uniquely shaped water tower!” (天啊!真是一个造型独特的水塔.)

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10 Comments

  1. Mike Shecket
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    You can hear them say 伊普西兰提 a lot, which sounds like “Ee poo shee lahn tee”.

  2. roots
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Nice! I will ask one of my students to translate!

  3. Edward
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Please post the translation here, Roots.

    It’s not really related, but I think I saw three people protesting outside the Chinese grocery on Washtenaw yesterday afternoon. Does anyone know what that was about? Maybe they weren’t protesting. They were standing by the front door with signs, though.

  4. John Galt
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad that they like us in China. Maybe we’ll be given extra food rations when they take over.

  5. Chaely
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I especially love the banjo music that plays during all of the Ypsi footage. I guess anything in the Northern US is Fargo as far as they’re concerned in China.

  6. dragon
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    “I’m not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work, there, Chaely.”

  7. Shi Huang
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Chaely we know well of Ypsitucky and our admiration for your history. Banjo is for a symbol for united principles! You will be center spectacle of power in your future of cooperation with mutual concern. The people of China invest much in your well being and glorious profound monuments.

    Dragon is a false title and bad mistake of symbol. Dragon is no dragon and has no place like the worm after hard rain drowns on hard ground. When the spring worm dies, silk comes never to the summer road.

  8. EGNB
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    I didn’t get a chance to watch the whole video, but it seems like pretty straightforward travel expo type fluff. But, at around 4:06-4:12, during the pan-out shot of the water tower, the narrator comments that the overall image projected is that of “valiance and spiritedness” — the phrase in Chinese is “雄赳赳气昂昂”. The Chinese character 雄 usually signifies masculinity, as well as power and might. Later, at 4:46, when the water tower is shown again in its entirety, the narrator says something about its appearance being too masculine — “太雄性”. Finally, at the end of that segment, 5:20, the woman in the studio says “My goodness, what a uniquely shaped water tower!” (天啊!真是一个造型独特的水塔.)

  9. K2
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I wish someone had warned me. I really didn’t need to see the Sidetrack’s grill.

  10. DRich
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    More like a travel expo fluffer piece, with how the camera repeatedly caresses the water tower at different angles.

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