One of the most talked-about developments in our community over the past year has been the influx of Chinese residents—and investors—into the city. It’s a topic we explored last January, in a story about how purchases of both commercial and residential real estate are changing Seattle’s and the Eastside’s landscape and neighborhoods.
Last September’s visit from the president of China shut down Seattle in a way I don’t ever recall our own president doing, which demonstrates the degree to which the country is making an impact on our city. Of course, it’s not like the Chinese population is just arriving. We’ve always had a fairly large Asian population, but the latest wave is again raising interest in the Asian culture and lifestyle.
As we embark on celebrating 50 years of covering this community, we’re taking this influx as an opportunity to become better global citizens. This year, led by our vice president of custom publishing, John Spear, Seattle magazine produced its first publication in Mandarin. Seattle Luxury Living (or “Spectacular Luxury Living,” as it translates in Mandarin) focuses on Seattle’s Chinese newcomers, visitors and investors to help them navigate the city.
Part of the challenge of creating a publication like this, when no one on staff speaks the language, is that small detail of translating stories. We had many meta conversations about making sure we understood the translations of our translations. Of course we wanted it to read well but it was also imperative to avoid the cultural landmines that often happen in translation. We are grateful for our art director, Lou Maxon; our editor Teresa Kenney and her team of translators; and our partnerships with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, Nyhus Communications and others. You can find the magazine (it’s free!) at the Starbucks in Pike Place Market, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room on Capitol Hill, Great Wall Shopping Mall in Kent and in the international arrivals baggage claim area in Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
One of my favorite things about moving to Seattle almost 20 years ago was discovering the vibrant Chinatown/International District neighborhood. It was even better to discover that not only do we have a Chinatown, but we also have a Japantown, a Little Saigon and a melting pot of so many other cultures. This month, the Chinatown/International District’s Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration is on February 13, and it’s a fun (and loud, with all those firecrackers) time to be in that neighborhood. As writer and cooking instructor Hsiao-Ching Chou explains in her story on where to shop and how to throw your own Chinese New Year feast, the occasion is increasingly becoming a “gateway holiday” that leads to exploration of many other aspects of Asian—and other—cultures. Whether you’re throwing a party or not, Chou’s story is a great way to jump on in.