Yuko will be travelling to China in a week's time, and during dinner Angela wanted to know where she'll be staying for her trip. The reply was that she'll be in Kunming (昆明), the capital of Yunnan Province, which led to Angela's boyfriend - an international student from Japan - asking if that wasn't near Angela's home city. Angela pointed out how Yunnan is in the southwest of China while she lives in the southeast, and after I brought up a question on whether Yunnan was one of the provinces with a sizable Miao (苗) population in China she looked pleasantly surprised and teased her boyfriend about how I knew more about 'her' country than he did.
However, this also raised my curiosity, so I asked where she lived in the southeast. It turns out she's from Shenzhen (深圳), and my positive acknowledgment that I knew of the city was enough to make her ecstatic with delight. She mentioned how I was the only non-Chinese person she'd met who had heard of her hometown, and her mood improved even more when she heard that I was familiar with the city through Chinese Super League side Shenzhen Jianlibao (深圳健力宝), as apparently she used to go to games all the time when she was living at home. Whoa!
Angela and I must have spent at least the next thirty minutes discussing football together - both within China and on the international stage - with some participation from Yumiko before the rest of the Japanese students directed our conversation to other subjects. Still, her dad is a season ticket holder and I'm supposed to go visit them to see a game in Shenzhen at some point in the future. I'm certainly looking forward to the experience.
Oh yeah, and we did eventually get around to playing mahjong.