Why fishing? (frozen edition)

Ever since we showed up here, I’ve wondered what these guys think about while they fish (usually) alone all day. Turns out, they apparently aren’t thinking about much of anything – on purpose. They’re doing this for their health.

(Click either photo to see a bigger size. You can see our apartment in the second photo’s far left edge. We’re on the top corner of the building closest to the camera. The guy in the middle is Mr. Lu, our neighbourhood bike repairman.)

We had an awesome culture lecture about how to celebrate Chinese New Year from an older man who does calligraphy, and also teaches foreigners Chinese and Chinese English, among other things. Aside from providing a lot of enthusiasm and good information, he tried to teach us how to use a Chinese yo-yo.

He also talked about the old men who fish all day, and why they do it. He says it’s not about the fish; it’s about their health. When they fish, they just sit. They only look at and think about one thing: the floater in the water right in front of them, tuning out everything else. They try to clear their mind of all the worries of life. Traditional Chinese medical perspectives see more relationship between physical and emotional health, this de-stressing, non-worrying, mentally and emotionally calming experience is thought to improve their health and lengthen their life.

So, fishing is healthy.

You can see more ice-fishing photos here (now with slideshows!).

6 thoughts on “Why fishing? (frozen edition)”

  1. Is the canal the one right outside the campus of University of Tianjin? I remember it well if it is. It used to be an almost open sewage, it stank during the summer, no fish could possibly survive there back then. They cleaned it up around the late 1970s. It was such an eye sore, really glad to see people can fish there now.

  2. My bad, the canal is probably the “Ocean River”, which is located pretty far away from the campus of UT. That big tower in the picture was not there when I was growing up in Tianjin.

  3. That’s the 天塔 (aka TV Tower – i don’t know the full name in Chinese). It’s right by 八里台 interchange, near 天大 campus. If you followed the canal past the tower, you’d have 天大 on your left.

    That canal is not the 海河 (though we have photos on the blog of that, too). It’s named 卫津河, but I’ve never heard anyone actually use its name in conversation.

    Where in Tianjin did you grow up?

  4. I grew up inside the campus of UT and lived there until 1985. Both of my parents taught there. My father, who lives in Hong Kong now, still goes back to Tianjin from time to time. It’s true they rarely use that name for the canal. It was Li Ruihuan, who was the mayor of Tianjin at the time, cleaned up the canal. It was really disgusting back then. Hope you have great time in Tianjin.

Leave a Reply