Dong Shan Cai (Chinese: 董杉菜; pinyin: Dǒng Shāncài) was a student at Ying De Academy. She was the only child of her father and mother. Shan Cai worked part-time at a bakery with her best friend, Xiao You. At school, she became acquainted with the F4. She later fell in love with F4's leader Dao Ming Si, despite hating him initially.
Shan Cai was born in 1982, about a year after her mother and father were married. Sometime later, Shan Cai was born. While attending elementary school, she became friends with Chen Qing He. During junior high, Shan Cai was beat up by a girl whom she stood up to for bullying her friend. She continued protecting her friends well into high school, during which she met her best friend Xiao You.
Her mother worked hard for Shan Cai to be able to enter into the prestigious Ying De Academy. However, Shan Cai quickly grew to dislike the school, because of the tyrannical F4. The group ruled over the school and were the cause of all of the bullying going on. Despite being against the F4's behavior, Shan Cai did nothing and stayed quiet, perhaps fearing that she would become their target next. She also befriended Li Zhen, a girl of a similar background, during this time.
Meeting the F4
After winter break, Shan Cai witnessed another student being forced to leave by the F4. That night, her mother was upset when she asked if she could leave Ying De. The next day, Li Zhen dropped a box on the F4's leader Dao Ming Si. When he refused to accept her apology, Shan Cai stood up for her which caused her to get a red slip instead. After a whole day of being bullied, she gave the F4 her own red slip and declared war on them. Later, she was attacked by two guys who attempted to assault her. Hua Ze Lei ordered them to let her go, despite them claiming it was Si's orders. The day after the incident, she punched Si. She then went to thank Lei, who acted gruffly though she was not put off by it. Si later had Shan Cai kidnapped and brought to his home, where he asked her to become his girlfriend. She refused and told him that she could not be bought.
Later, Shan Cai discovered a rumor being spread about her. She believed Si to be behind it and confronted him. Shan Cai later found her classmates, Bai He and Qian Hui, erasing the message. They acted friendly towards her and invited her to a party. There Bai He and Qian Hui embarrassed her and revealed that they were the ones responsible for the rumor. Shan Cai was able to humiliate Bai He before leaving the party. The next day, the girls told Shan Cai about the girl Lei loved, Teng Tang Jing, to get back her. Shan Cai was unable to think of little else until Jing's arrival from France. Around the same time, Qing He transferred to Ying De, which made Shan Cai happy but nervous that he could become a target. Si later sent him a red slip. She confronted him, but he only claimed that it was "[her] fault." After being chased by bullies, Lei saved her which then angered Si.
The next day, Shan Cai stayed home with a fever and Si paid a visit. He offered to pay for her to go on the school trip to Hawaii. She refused, having decided to go on a cruise with Qing He already. On the day of the cruise, they learned that Si had bought the ship. At Jing's urging, Shan Cai and Qing He tagged along anyway. That night, she borrowed a dress from Jing to attend their party. While dancing with Lei, Shan Cai felt like "Cinderella." The lights turned off suddenly, causing Shan Cai to accidentally kiss Si. The next day, she was devastated after witnessing Lei tell Jing his feelings. She was cheered up by Si when he started an impromptu dinner. They later returned to school. After talking with Lei on the roof, she was attacked by an angry Si. Shan Cai tried to run away, but he caught her. Si kissed her and ripped her clothes, but stopped once she began to cry.
Growing close to Si
- Shan Cai: "Have you ever liked someone? If you like someone, you should curb your feelings and set the person free. Let them do what they want. Maybe with time the feelings will fade away and it will end."
- Si: "Don't be stupid! Isn't that as good as not having the feelings in the first place? What if you died tomorrow? Won't you have regrets? I would go all out to fight for happiness! Why did you ask me such a stupid question?"
- — Si answers Shan Cai's question, which is actually about Lei[src]
Shan Cai attended Jing's birthday party with Xiao You and Qing He. She felt awkward around Si and had several drinks with Mei Zuo. After Jing announced her plan to return to France, Shan Cai threw up on Si, who ended up taking her home. She and the F4, sans Lei, said goodbye to Jing at the airport. When Lei arrived, Shan Cai yelled at him to go after Jing, which he did. Si then asked Shan Cai to go on a date, which she failed to understand. She showed up nearly four hours late and took him for tea to apologize. However, they were trapped in a stairwell, while arguing about where to go. Si, who had developed a fever, and Shan Cai were stuck there until morning.
Photos of Shan Cai and Si on their "date" were posted on the school's notice board. Everyone believed that they were dating and acted nicer toward Shan Cai. Bai He and Qian Hui even took Shan Cai and her friends dancing that night. Shan Cai passed out drunk at the club and brought to a hotel by a DJ named Thomas. She had no recollection of the previous night, but was later informed by Thomas that nothing had happened between them. The following day, photos of Shan Cai with Thomas were spread around school. At first, Si was devastated and allowed the others to bully her again. However, he saved her from bullies the following day. He then brought her to his house, where he confessed his feelings and kissed her.
Lei's return to Taiwan
- Shan Cai: "I forced myself to stop thinking of you, but I couldn't do it. You are always on my mind. Why can't you find happiness?"
- Lei: "Why aren't you the one I'm in love with?"
- — Shan Cai finds herself drawn to Lei[src]
Afterwards, Si began acting like her boyfriend, despite Shan Cai not agreeing to date him yet. Si found the address of the person who took the photos of her and Thomas. Shan Cai was saddened to learn that the culprit was her friend, Li Zhen. Meanwhile, Lei returned from France, confusing Shan Cai with his new flirty behavoir. Si later took her and the F4 on a trip to Okinawa. She and Si shared a room and she was unable to sleep. On a walk, she stumbled upon Lei at the beach, and lied about the encounter to Si. Shan Cai returned the next night, and kissed Lei. Si saw them and punched Lei. After being ousted from the F4, Lei asked her on a date. She found herself thinking of Si throughout the date.
Si announced his intention to expel Shan Cai and Lei from college, but was thwarted by his sister, Dao Ming Zhuang. Zhuang suggested a basketball match to determine their fate. Shan Cai's team consisted of Lei and Qing He, while Xi Men and Mei Zuo were on Si's. The final score was close, but the match ended on a draw when Si ended up quitting at the last second. Everyone, except Si, went to celebrate at his house. Xi Men and Mei Zuo locked her and Lei into the guest room, so they could have some alone time. They talked the whole night and informally ended their relationship. Sometime later, she was furious at Si for deciding to move to New York without telling her. However, she did nothing to stop him and refused to see him off.
Xiao Shun incident
About two days later, Shan Cai found Si waiting for her outside her house. Her mother insisted for him to come inside and spend the night to recover from his jetlag. In the meantime, her father had lost his job and the family had moved into a small apartment. Her father then borrowed money from a loan shark. Shan Cai asked Si for the money and promised to repay, though he only asked her to meet him later. That day, she was forced to babysit a neighbor's child. The "date" went well, until Shan Cai asked a question that annoyed Si. Looking for a second job, Shan Cai went to a model tryout, which turned out to be sketchy. She was rescued by Xiao Shun, who got her a job at a fast food place. They became fast friends, making Si incredibly jealous.
After a photo of Shan Cai with Xiao Shun appeared in a magazine, a red note appeared in her locker. She was then kidnapped by three men and tied up in a warehouse. Xiao Shun then revealed himself and explained his grudge against Si. He ordered Si to come alone. Shortly later, Si allowed himself to be beat up in order to protect Shan Cai. Si and Shan Cai then passed out, before being taken to the hospital. Xiao Shun later apologized Shan Cai to, but she replied that it was "too late." After being released from the hospital, Shan Cai struggled to figure out her feelings for Si. He later invited her to his birthday party with intentions to introduce her to his mother.
Befriending Xiao Zi
- Shan Cai: "Initially, I thought she was very unreasonable, but I later discovered that she's rather thoughtful and kind. And she's tall and charming, a very attractive girl."
- Si: "All it takes to win you over is an outfit? I can buy clothes for you too! Why accept her gift and speak for her?"
- Shan Cai: "Don't use it as an excuse to pick a fight! What's important is that Xiao Zi is serious about dating you. Your families are compatible and your mother likes her. I think you two make a perfect couple. Go and date her!"
- — Shan Cai encourages Si to date He Yuan Zi.[src]
At Si's birthday party, she accidentally caused a scene in front of Si's mother, Dao Ming Feng. Feng asked Shan Cai to play an instrument with the intent to embarrass her, but Shan Cai was able to play a song. Si and Shan Cai then escaped the party with the F4's help. The next morning, Si's mother visited Shan Cai's home and offered her ten million dollars for her to leave Si alone. Shan Cai's mother refused the offer by pouring flour on her head. Feng later arranged for Shan Cai to be there when she introduced Si to his fiancée, He Yuan Zi. Xiao Zi developed a crush on Si and visited his school, where she met Shan Cai. They became friends. Shan Cai ended things with Si and encouraged him to date Xiao Zi.
After Xiao Zi and Si began dating, she often asked Shan Cai for dating advice. Shan Cai asked Lei to tell Si to be nicer to Xiao Zi. However, he told her that they "should stay out of their affairs." After they saw Si and Xiao Zi kissing, Shan Cai refused to admit that the display bothered her. She later met Lei outside a cafe after school. Coincidentally, Xiao Zi and Si arrived a few minutes later. Xiao Zi then invited Shan Cai and Lei to stay at her family's villa. That night, Shan Cai caught Xiao Zi and Si in a moment, after going to investigate loud noises. On the way home, Shan Cai was finally able to cry. Xiao Zi visited Shan Cai a few days later to tell her that she and Si had broken up.
- Si: "Shan Cai, let's date officially."
- Shan Cai: "What if my love for you is only one-tenth of your love for me? I feel that it's better to make things clear from the start. Because I have no confidence in loving you as much as you love me."
- Si: "All right. When we're together, I'll try my best to make-up for the nine-tenths."
- — Si asks Shan Cai to date him.[src]
Shan Cai's parents moved to a fishing village and left her behind for her to continue her studies. Lei, Mei Zuo, and Xi Men later visited to check up on her. Feng arrived shortly after and a huge fight ensued. That night, Shan Cai's landlord gave her two hours notice to move out. Si found her and brought her to stay at his home. Feng, who had gone to London, left her employee Yu Sao to supervise Si. In order to stay there, Shan Cai became Si's personal maid. Si later arranged to show Shan Cai a meteor shower, before giving her a necklace. They began a relationship on a two month trial basis. Shan Cai later asked Si to go on a double date with Xiao You and her boyfriend, Zhong Ze. The date ended up being a disaster, after Si punched Zhong Ze.
After seeing Zhong Ze with a girl, Shan Cai punched him, while Xiao You ran away. Shan Cai then called Si for help finding her. He informed her that Xiao You was with Xi Men, before the two made up. Later, Shan Cai learned about Xi Men and Xiao You going on a date and tried to convince Si to follow them. Si sent someone to tail them instead and the person reported that they were at a hotel. Shan Cai demanded to go rent a room and the two accidentally ended up having a romantic dinner. After leaving in a huff, Shan Cai glimpsed Feng for a second. She rushed home to pack, but was caught by Feng anyway. Yu Sao stopped Feng from throwing her out by threatening suicide. The next day, Si suggested for him to move out, but Shan Cai disagreed.
- Shan Cai: "Dao Ming Si, your mother said unless I break up with you, both Xiao You's and Qing He's fathers will lose their jobs. I've decided to have a clean break with your family. I've made up my mind to stop seeing you."
- Si: "I can't accept it! Is that why you're leaving me? How can you do this? Shan Cai, have you ever loved me? Putting aside my mother, my family and all else, tell me whether you've loved me."
- Shan Cai: "I've never loved you. Otherwise, I wouldn't be leaving like this."
- — Shan Cai breaks up with Si.[src]
Si's mother ruined Qing He's and Xiao You's families financially to hurt Shan Cai. She then made a deal with Feng and agreed to break up with Si. That night, Shan Cai ended her relationship with Si. When Si asked "have you ever loved me?", she answered "never." However, she revealed that she was in love with him to Yu Sao, before moving in with her parents. By this time, her parents were in debt and often bragged about having a "rich son-in-law". Shan Cai did not have the heart to tell them about her break-up. The first night, Shan Cai met Ah Song, who drunkenly mistook her for his ex-girlfriend. They met again the next day at her new job, but he did not remember her. The co-workers became friends.
The townspeople soon confronted Shan Cai's parents about their debts. After deciding to face the music, Lei and Qing He arrived to pick up Shan Cai. Lei paid off their debts and Shan Cai returned to Taipei with them. Shan Cai was given a place to stay from Lei and re-enrolled at Ying De. Si later told Shan Cai, "from now on, we'll go our separate ways." Shan Cai agreed and returned her necklace, which Si threw into a fountain. She ran into the water and was able to find it with Lei's help. Shan Cai and Lei then began spending much of their free time together. One night, Lei walked her home and told her that she would regret "giving up" her relationship with Si. When they reach her home, they found lights strung up in the shape of her necklace.
Meeting Ya Men
- Ya Men: "You're sure you won't regret it?"
- Shan Cai: "I'm not sure if love will fade, so I'm going to find out."
- — Shan Cai decides to be with Si again.[src]
The following morning, Lei left for Japan. Xiao Zi talked Shan Cai into meeting several blind dates the next day, including Qing Yong. He later claimed to be Si's cousin. When she tried telling Si about him, he became upset, thinking she was making up an excuse to avoid talking. Si later apologized, after learning he did have a cousin. In the meantime, Qing Yong and Shan Cai became friends. He tried telling her he was not Si's cousin. She did not believe him, until Si confirmed it the following day. Qing Yong then revealed that he was hired by Feng to seduce her. Shan Cai wanted to confront Feng, but was unable to since she was in New York. Shan Cai, having calmed down, then asked Qing Yong his real name, which he answered, "Ya Men."
After talking to Ya Men, Shan Cai decided to stay away from Si and ignored him at school. Ya Men later invited her over to his apartment, where he scared her by forcing a kiss on her. The next day, he apologized for his actions, before walking her to work. They were then accosted by Si, who begged Shan Cai not to go with Ya Men. She got onto a bus with Ya Men, but soon disembarked to go after Si. She embraced him and they began dating soon after. She requested to keep it a secret because of his mother. Si, despite being mad at first, agreed. He later rented the home next to Shan Cai's, after her home was broken into.
Dating Si again
- Shan Cai: "Dao Ming Si, we agreed on a time limit. If we still can't get along, we will give up. And you will accept your family's plans. Remember?"
- Si: "Why must we give up? If I could give up, I would've done so the first time we broke up. I don't want to think about it. We will definitely be together."
- Shan Cai: "I get it. We will definitely be together."
- — Si convinces Shan Cai to continue fighting.[src]
Meanwhile, Xiao You moved to Canada and told the news to Shan Cai by phone. Shan Cai grew lonely without Xiao You and Si, who rarely went to his new home. He later revealed to her that he had been spending only a few hours a night there. They went on a date, which turned to a "commoners' date" when all of Si's credit cards were declined. They made plans to meet at lunch the next day. However, Si did not show up. Mei Zuo and Xi Men went to Si's home and found out that a wedding between Si and Xiao Zi was being arranged. Lei returned from Japan and helped orchestrate a plan to save Si. After the failed rescue, Xiao Zi asked Shan Cai to convince Si to start eating again.
Feng allowed Shan Cai to speak to Si on the condition that she would end things with him. She attempted to do so, but was persuaded by Si to keep fighting for their relationship. Shan Cai began waiting for him outside his home and also stopped eating. In the meantime, Si's sister Zhuang arrived in Taiwan to put a stop to her mother's plans. Zhuang's words combined with Feng watching Shan Cai wait in the rain eventually lead Si's mother to leave the couple alone. In the morning, Shan Cai collapsed from exhaustion after seeing Si. A few days later, Shan Cai and Si went on a date. Much to his happiness, Shan Cai finally voiced her feelings for him.
Shan Cai had an overall likable appearance, despite some of her rich classmates calling her "plain". She had a round face with symmetrical features, including her almond-shaped, dark brown eyes. Her most distinct characteristic was her long, black hair, which Jing described as "straight and silky". She wore her hair in a variety of ways, including leaving it down, braiding it into pigtails, and putting it up into a ponytail or bun. Shan Cai also wore a varierty of hair-clips. Her wardrobe typically consisted of casual and simple clothing, such as t-shirts, jeans, and long skirts.
Shan Cai had her ears pierced, but usually wore just one earring in her left ear. She also had three tattoos, one on the back of her neck of a six-pointed star, the other on her left hand of a flower, and another small one on her left ankle.
Personality and traits
- "Well, she and I have been classmates since elementary school. She's someone who will never let anybody bully her. Neither will she let anybody bully her friends. Once in middle school, she was beaten up by a big bad girl for standing up for a friend. But she did not even shed a tear. That's what she was like."
- —Chen Qing He praises Shan Cai to Dao Ming Si[src]
Before university, Shan Cai was generally well-liked and popular among her peers. Qing He described her as kind, cheerful, and courageous, as well as the kind of person that always stood up for her friends. At Ying De, Shan Cai's kindness was lost on her rich, spoiled classmates who only seemed to care for money and status. Her courage was diminished after witnessing the way the F4 controlled the school and bullied other students. However, she became disgusted with herself for "playing it safe." Shan Cai was able to regain some of her old self after standing up to the F4.
In some matters, Shan Cai was naïve especially when it came to relationships or love. For example, it took her a while to realize her own feelings for Lei and then a much longer time to understand Si's feelings for her.
For the Taiwanese translation of the manga, Tsukushi's name was transliterated to Shan Cai (杉菜). Both names either are a reference to or mean "horsetail" in Japanese. The name Shan Cai was carried over to Meteor Garden, during which her name is described as meaning "a kind of weed which no matter how trampled upon, it will still grow." In Chinese, the first character (杉) is used for "various species of pine and fir," while in Japanese it refers to a specific type of cedar. The second character (菜) means "vegetable, greens" in Chinese and Japanese.
Behind the scenes
- See also: Category:Tsukushi Makino portrayals
- Barbie Hsu portrays Shan Cai in Meteor Garden (2001) and Meteor Garden II (2002).
- Hsu appears in Meteor Rain (2001) via archival footage from episode nine of the original series.
- In the Meteor Garden remake (2018), Shan Cai is played by Chinese actress, Shen Yue.
- Shan Cai's allowance is revealed to be 3000 New Taiwan dollars, which is the same number as her manga counterpart albeit in yen.
|Meteor Garden (2001)|
|Meteor Rain (2001)|
|Meteor Garden II (2002)|
|Meteor Garden (2001-02) characters|