Dong Shan Cai (Chinese: 董 杉菜; pinyin: Dǒng Shān Cài) 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.
Her mother and father married around twenty years prior. Sometime later, Shan Cai was born. She attended elementary school and junior high with her friend Chen Qing He, though they later lost contact. Shan Cai met her best friend, Xiao You in high school.
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 the tyrannical F4, who ruled over the school. Shan Cai befriended a fellow middle-class student, Li Zhen, who attended many of the same classes as Shan Cai.
Meeting the F4
After winter break, Li Zhen angered the F4's leader, Dao Ming Si. Shan Cai protected her and therefore took on all of his ire for herself. The student body of Ying De began bullying Shan Cai. The following day, she stood up to the F4 by declaring war on them. Si then hired some goons to scare her, though they actually attempted to assault her. F4 member, Hua Ze Lei, stepped in and saved her from them. Shan Cai confronted Si by punching him. Following the incident, Si became interested in her and kidnapped her from school. He brought her to his home, where he presented an offer for her to become his girlfriend. Shan Cai refused and told him she could not be bought.
Shan Cai later walked into her homeroom, where she found a rumor of her having had an abortion written on the blackboard. She first believed Si was behind the rumor. Her classmates, Bai He and Qian Hui, erased the message and invited Shan Cai to a party. There, they embarrassed her and revealed themselves as the actual perpetrators of the message. Before leaving, Shan Cai was able to humilate. The two later informed her about Lei's love, Teng Tang Jing, to get back her. Shan Cai was able to think of little else until Jing's arrival. Around the same time, Qing He transferred to Eitoku, which caused Si to send him a red card out of jealously. Lei saved Shan Cai from the bullies, angering Si. After the incident, Shan Cai fell ill from stress.
Si paid a visit to Shan Cai and offered to pay for her to go on the school trip to Hawaii, but she refused. She decided to go on a cruise with Qing He instead. They were both annoyed upon learning that Si had bought the ship. At Jing's urging, she and Qing He boarded anyway and attended a party that night. Shan Cai borrowed a dress from Jing and danced with Lei that night. The party took a horrible turn when she accidentally kissed Si. She later saw Lei confessing his feelings to Jing, which made her depressed. Back at school, she was attacked by Si, who became angry after seeing her with Lei. He forced a kiss on her, 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 increasingly 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]
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.
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. Her courage also disappeared after witnessing the way the F4 controlled the school. However, she became disgusted with herself for "playing it safe." Shan Cai began resembling her old self, after declaring war against the F4.
In matters of love, she was usually slow to understand. For example, her headstrong personality won the heart of her enemy, Dao Ming Si, but she failed to realize it. Even after Si confessed his feelings, Shan Cai did not comprehend the extent of his feelings. She was later slow to realize her own feelings for Si.
Like other Meteor Garden characters, Shan Cai's name is a transliteration of the character's original Japanese name. 杉菜 means "horsetail" in Japanese, which is also the origin of Tsukushi. In Chinese, the first character (杉) of Shan Cai's given name refers to "various species of pine and fir". It may be specifically referring to a type of tree known as "Taiwan fir" (Cunninghamia konishii). The second character (菜) means "vegetable, greens" or "dish, course".
Behind the scenes
- See also: Category:Tsukushi Makino portrayals
- Barbie Hsu portrays Shan Cai in Meteor Garden and Meteor Garden II.
- Shan Cai's allowance is the same as her manga counterpart. However, Shan Cai's is in New Taiwan dollars while Tsukushi's is in yen.
- She appears in one episode of Meteor Rain via archival footage from episode nine of the original series.
- In the upcoming Meteor Garden remake, Shan Cai will be played by Chinese actress, Shen Yue.