Archive for August, 2013

Shane school, Toufen

I don’t usually write about teaching English or my job simply because there is a lot of information out there on the subject, and I doubt I will say anything that hasn’t been said before.  That being said, since I am leaving my current job, I feel that I should leave a review of the school for anyone considering coming to work here in the future.

Note: Franchise schools are run VERY differently, depending on the owner.  Toufen and Zhunan are in close proximity, and each have a Shane school.  This is about the Shane in TOUFEN.  I’ve never worked at the Zhunan Shane, so cannot comment on it. Continue reading ‘Shane school, Toufen’

Giant red god temple, Toufen, Taiwan

For the casual observer, once you’ve seen a few temples in Taiwan they all start looking similar.  Intricate carvings, wall and ceiling paintings, statues of ferocious warriors and gentle deities – I started getting used to them.  Obviously, once one starts studying Taiwanese worship and religion, different temples take on different meanings and one can appreciate them more, but I’m not there yet.  So, now I generally drive by them without marvelling at these conspicuous looking structures in the otherwise drab small town landscape.

That is until I drove by this fierce looking specimen:

Big red god in toufen Continue reading ‘Giant red god temple, Toufen, Taiwan’

Happy Birthday, islandside chronicles!!!

Wow!  It’s been a year – Aug. 4, 2012 saw the debut of islandside chronicles.  Time has flown by – I still remember wondering how long this project would last, never expecting it to go on for this long.

I started out just wanting to keep track of my life in Taiwan, as well as let people back home know what’s up here but things have evolved.  Blogging started getting more and more addictive and I found myself viewing everything through the eyes of islandside chronicles.  Now I don’t just want to record it, but want to be able to give people reading a sense of taste and smell and experience of Taiwan.

Besides watching the stats bean counter going up (and crying when it went down), one of the most rewarding/interesting things about having islandside chronicles has been the interaction that I’ve had with other blogs.  It’s great (and sometimes irritating/frustrating) to see how different people view the world.  We can all look at one thing and have a million different reactions to it.  Being introduced to this variety has only been possible because I started blogging, and I’m grateful for it.

Something that was totally unexpected was being asked for advice.  I’ve been contacted by people who have asked me all sorts of things about Taiwan, and although I’m no expert, by far, it’s gratifying to be able to help in whatever way I can.  I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate Taiwan immensely, and I hope that I can help others come here and experience it as well.

Up to now, islandside chronicles has been written with a focus on small town life in Taiwan.  This is all about to change because I will be moving to Kaohsiung (Taiwan’s second largest city) in a month.  I hope to broaden my horizons, and have more stories about city life in Taiwan.

Finally, a HUGE thank you (with hugs and kisses) to you guys and gals.  Your responses, comments and interactions with islandside chronicles has made it a pleasure for me to ignore other pressing things (girlfriend, work, money, life etc.) and keep sharing my stories.  The biggest reason islandside chronicles has lasted this long is because of your support and readership.  My ego thanks every one of you!

If you want to read more about Taiwan from other perspectives, here are some bloggers that I like to follow.  Check them out and come join the party:

My Kafkaesque Life

This guy is from Eastern Europe.  He met a Taiwanese woman and moved to Taiwan to be with her.  His blog covers many topics, and is a fountain of information about Taiwanese culture, life and places.  Great reads.


Unlike some foreigners who come to Taiwan for a short term but end up staying, this Aussie moved here with the intention of making Taiwan a permanent home.  An avid cyclist, he brings you a lot of blogs from very local places.  A unique, critical view of Taiwan.

The Betelnut Equation

A long time resident of Taiwan, this UK blogger gives a sense of life in Taiwan (for a foreigner) through his stories about interactions with other foreigners and Taiwanese.  Hilarious and insightful.

Once again, thanks for jumping on board, and here’s to another year!

Ghost Month in Taiwan

Religion and belief in Taiwan are a mish mash of Buddhism, Taoism and traditional Chinese folklore.  From what I’ve learned so far, some of the things that play a big role in traditional Taiwanese beliefs are ancestral worship, luck and ghosts.  Like everywhere else, the younger generations are slowly letting go of a lot of the older beliefs, but Taiwan still has a lot of people who hold on to the traditions that they’ve grown up with.  One such thing is Ghost month. Continue reading ‘Ghost Month in Taiwan’

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