Archive for June, 2013

What’s my age again? (East Asian age reckoning)

Just like a lot of Taiwanese people have 2 names (their REAL one that westerners have a rough time pronouncing and their FAKE English one to be able to deal with wai guo ren), they also seem to have 2 ages.  One is calculated by the standards westerners are used to.  After one year of life, you are 1 year old.  The other is a bit different.

Commonly known as East Asian age reckoning – I’ve discovered how the traditional Chinese determine age.  Age begins from the time one is conceived, not born, so you are already 1 year old when you come screaming into this world.  You are considered a living being from the time of conception. Continue reading ‘What’s my age again? (East Asian age reckoning)’

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Furor with a foreigner on the MRT

While this story is hardly newsworthy, it does serve to highlight one of the implications of being a foreigner in Taiwan.

On June 5th 2013, a woman (Shen) was on the MRT (subway) when she saw a foreigner get on and take up 2 seats – one for herself and one for her bags.  A few stops down, an elderly couple got on, and as good manners dictates, Shen got up and offered her seat to the woman.  At this point, Shen also asked the foreign woman to give up her seat so that both members of the couple could sit down.  And then shit hit the fan. Continue reading ‘Furor with a foreigner on the MRT’

Tait and Company merchant house, Anping, Tainan

When someone first suggested visiting a “merchant house” I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down with anticipation.  Really, what could be so interesting to see in a place where business was conducted?  Dragging my feet, I went anyway because it was close by, and we had nothing else to do.  Upon seeing the place, I was pleasantly surprised, and glad I went.

The Tait and Co. old merchant house is situated right beside the Anping tree house in Tainan.  This building was built in 1867 and has served many functions over the years – the current one being a museum of early Taiwanese life and life with the Dutch.

When they first set up shop (1867), Tait and Co. dealt in tea, camphor and opium.  Yes – legal drug dealers.  Business was booming, until the arrival of the Japanese in 1895.  At this point, the Japanese took control of the opium and camphor, leaving only the tea.  Profits fell, and good times dwindled.  Then in 1911 all the foreign traders were given the boot out of Taiwan, and the Tait and Co. building was converted into a salt company.  Finally, in 1979, it was converted into the museum it is today. Continue reading ‘Tait and Company merchant house, Anping, Tainan’

Island time

One thing that continues to surprise/bug me about Taiwan is the fact that Taiwanese people  are constantly late for everything.  Ok, I know this is an island, and one should expect island time on islands, but when I think of island time, I usually think of the Caribbean – more like vacation destination islands.  Places where life is intentionally slowed down and siesta is a fact of life.  Places where arriving an hour and a half late for dinner is expected.  Places where I can sip a pink drink with an umbrella and appreciate the bikini clad eye candy walking around.  Places where people intentionally go to be lazy. Continue reading ‘Island time’

Once Upon a Hike in Korea

This guy is a fantastic writer, and here is one of his many journeys. Check out his blog, The Green-Walled Tower.

The Green-Walled Tower

Once upon a time, in the far-off country of Korea, lived a man named David who liked to hike. One Thursday, the government said that there would be a holiday to honor soldiers who died in war, so David decided to go hiking. The weather was hot, but he decided to go on a course of four mountain peaks. First he assembled his inventory.

He brought:

– 3 liters of drink (+4 to Life)

– a Snickers bar (+2 Energy, +2 Yum)

– triangle kimbap (see blog post on Tuesday) (+2 Health)

– peanut butter jam sandwich (+1 Health, +1 Cheap)

David also brought his trusty Staff of Walking (+2 Hiking, +3 Attack versus spiderwebs) and put on his magical Boots of Hiking. They were 16 years old, so while this gave him +2 to Nostalgia, they also made him -3 resistance versus blisters forming. You can’t have everything in…

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Awkwardness at a Taiwanese sex shop

I’m not talking a bawdy house or dirty movie cinema here.  I’m talking one of those shops that couples can visit and buy toys/lingere/costumes to spice up their sex life.

I was skyping with a friend from home a while back, and the subject of sex shops came up.  When asked what a Taiwanese sex shop was like, I realized that I had no answer (this not being my top priority in a land where it’s hard for me to order food), but as I was the sole ambassador here, I felt it my duty to find out.

I’d been to sex shops (Stag shop) occasionally back home.  They offer your standard selection of sex toys, dildos, costumes, movies, condoms, ointments, gels etc etc.  After committing to find one here, I was excited to see what the mysterious East would offer up.  I mentioned this “research project” to my gf, and surprisingly she was up for it (generally being typically Taiwanese shy around sexuality if it’s on public display).

So we found a shop of interest and went there at around 8:30 pm on a Saturday evening.  Turns out, it was a pretty awkward and weird experience. Continue reading ‘Awkwardness at a Taiwanese sex shop’

Construction scarecrow man

It seems that, for some reason, Taiwan loves to have constant road construction going on.  As a result, the areas that are being worked on are cordoned off and detours for traffic are pretty common.  Usually, traffic cones and tape are used to mark off these areas.  A typical sight on the roads in Taiwan:

IMAG1209 Continue reading ‘Construction scarecrow man’



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