I thought I had the money thing figured out until I went to Beijing and found a coin that I didn't recognze. It took me at least a month here to get to the point where I got a handle on the money, though. The first night here, I didn't even know what to call the money, because I thought it was yen, but people here called it renminbi or kwai. So, I finally just asked what the difference was and found out it was all the same. I was further confused when coins of different sizes and appearances, as well as different colored bills, all had the same value. There are at least two different coins and two different bills that all equal one kwai. Once I got that figured out, I learned about the smaller denominations. There are one mao bills, two mao bills, and five mao bills, but they can also be called jiao instead of mao and there are also coins that have the same values as those bills. But, it only takes 10 mao to equal one kwai instead of a hundred, like we're used to in dollars. There's a coin they use (in bigger cities, maybe?) that's called a fun, and it's smaller than a mao. I tried to pay with it in Beijing for something that was 2 kwai, but it didn't work. I knew the characters didn't match, but I didn't know what else it could be. So, I asked about this too and found out that it was really small and I couldn't even use it in Yanji. Crazy.
So, I'm getting this money thing down. Now, when I go to the market, I can ask how much things are, tell them how many I want, and understand when they tell me how much it is. Usually, the merchants don't speak Korean, so I've learned how to do this in Chinese. Yesterday, I was getting beyond my very elemental Chinese limits and I started mixing Korean and Chinese. I was even confusing myself. No wonder the lady couldn't figure out what I wanted. Oh, well, a little progress is still a good thing.