Fateful Beginnings


Jared Turner, how I looked as a China noob. Notice the life and vitality in my face.

On our About Us page, I mention how one day John and I met in Shanghai on the bus (#96). I was a China noob, only having been in Shanghai for less than a year, and was heading to my job at a Chinese company. I had only started learning Chinese when I arrived in China and it wasn’t even good enough to fool my parents into thinking I could speak. When I got on the bus, it was full with only one empty seat next to the only other foreigner on the bus. “Double bonus!” I thought to myself, “I get a seat AND I can actually speak to this guy.”  As I sat down, he looked up and we gave each other the “greetings, fellow-foreigner” head nod.


John Pasden, the seasoned China veteran. He must have given me this look when I tried to talk to him.

He was listening to music on his iPhone and seemed to be content not talking to me as I tried to strike up a conversation. I asked where he was from; “the U.S.” he replied, not really looking over. After a couple more questions, he must have realized he wasn’t going to get rid of me that easy. His short-cut hair must have bristled with slight inconvenience as he took his earphones out and we started chatting. We quickly found out that we lived just down the road from each other. He told me about his job at ChinesePod and had recently started his company AllSet Learning. I got off a couple of stops later but not before getting his card.

Who would have guessed years later we would have teamed up to create Mandarin Companion? Fate, some might say, or 缘分, as the saying goes in Chinese. We hope you are the direct beneficiaries of our fateful meeting and that extensive reading does for you what it has done for me and millions others.

We are very reachable and encourage you to get in touch with us via email, Facebook, or Twitter. Join our newsletter to stay up-to-date on our newest releases and news. Tell us what you’d like to know about graded readers, Mandarin Companion, or any related topic. You can expect to see a lot more from us in the future. Keep in touch!

Jared Turner


  • KC Posted February 19, 2014 1:51 pm

    When will you be coming out with Traditional editions?

    • Jared Turner Posted February 19, 2014 4:50 pm

      Hi KC, we plan to have them available this Spring of ’14. We’ll keep you posted!

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