Journey to the West is one of the ‘four great Chinese novels’ and even though it was published five hundred years ago, it’s still incredibly popular and you can see hints of this epic tale all over China.
This ‘Buddhist’ story is really a comedy. In scope and significance this story is like Lord of the Rings but WAY older and more detailed. It’s a story ALL Chinese kids should know – and in fact, it’s a compulsory part of the Chinese National curriculum.
Did you know? Journey to the West already existed as an oral tradition/folklore long before it was turned into a book and in June 2021, a new movie adaptation is being released globally. Its ongoing appeal is undeniable!
Our May 2021 boxes feature 正岩茶 [zhēng yán] tea. Zheng yan is a sweet tea with a nice aftertaste. This is a type of Wulong tea so it should be brewed at boiling temperature, for 1-2 minutes. You can re-brew these leaves multiple times, just be sure to brew for longer each time to get the most flavour out of the leaves! Take a pinch of the tea leaves and add them to your re-usable tea infusing bag [included in the box].
This tea tastes much better if you first rinse the leaves. Use water that’s been left a minute or two after boiling to brew your tea – these leaves taste better brewed at around 190f.
For more detail on how to brew different types of Chinese tea, see our simple guide:
Journey to the West DIY puppet theatre
Your box includes this 3D mini-theatre and Journey to the West characters so you can act out the story yourselves!
As well as the book included in your May box, there are so many adaptations of the story available on Youtube and even a very brief summary on this kids ‘wikipedia’ page.
The main characters in Journey to the West are:
Tripitaka: [Tang Sanzang] A monk sent on a mission to India by the emperor to collect Buddhist texts to help spread Buddhism in China. He finds three supernatural friends who protect him – Monkey King, Pigsy and Sandy. They become his disciples.
Monkey King: [Sun Wukong] He’s a supernatural being born from a magic stone but is selfish and entitled. He’s a strong fighter who can take on different forms. He earns the title “Victorious Fighting Buddha” for his service to Tripitaka.
Pigsy: [Zhu Bajie] A scary looking character; part human, part pig. He’s always getting into trouble and is lazy, selfish and greedy. By the end of the novel he’s ‘promoted’ to being a cleaner.
Sandy: [Sha Wujing] Originally a god who was banished to the desert for breaking a vase. He’s an intelligent but scary character who ends up being loyal and kind to his master, Tripitaka.
White Dragon Horse： [Bai Longma] He was originally a dragon prince but, like Sandy, was banished to earth for wrongdoing. He eats Tripitaka’s first horse not knowing who the monk was and decided to serve the monk to make amends. He protects the monk well and is allowed to become a dragon again at the end of the journey.
Bilingual comic-book style adaption of Journey to the West
This book covers ALL of the main parts of the original, classic novel so reading this book gives a really full and accurate understanding of Journey to the West. The comic book style format also appeals to older readers and reluctant readers.
Important note: In one or two places, the english translation chosen by the publishers would be considered curse words. We recommend parents read ahead and obscure any words they find inappropriate.
Additional Journey to the West items include:
- Monkey King mask. This mask is available to buy in almost EVERY park we’ve ever visited in China!
- 5 mini-figures of the main characters. Can be used as keychains or toys.
- Small colouring book [Chinese text only]