Armed with a bowl of jellybeans and a pair of chopsticks, New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd has been preparing for his trip to Kunming.
"It's a little slower than I like to eat my jellybeans to be honest, I had to resist just taking handfuls," he said.
Mastering the art of eating with chopsticks is only one of many tasks Judd has set himself before he lands in New Plymouth's sister city on Monday.
Ahead of officially opening the $90,000 New Plymouth Garden in Kunming's Golden Temple Park, he has been studying Chinese etiquette and has seven key phrases to master in Mandarin.
"I'll be reading and rereading during the whole 12-hour flight."
Among the protocols he must adhere to is how to treat business cards.
When he gives out his card he must hand it over with two hands, with the card facing the recipient.
Any business card he is given must be treated with respect and should be laid out in front of him if he is at a table.
His guide book says many business dealings have gone belly-up because someone inadvertently put a business card in their back pocket and then sat on it.
"The nearer it gets, the more nervous I become."
The mayor will be joined in Kunming by deputy mayor Heather Dodunski, the council's chief cultural adviser Trenton Martin, Pukekura Park curator Chris Connolly and internal relations co-ordinator Julie Straka.
The four-day trip is expected to cost the council about $14,000, with the money set to come from the council's existing international relations budget.
Judd is paying his own costs.
- Taranaki Daily News
Have you signed up to stop smoking?