2013年12月1日 星期日

Blog Archive 28 很久很久以前的文章

1. Test #1 (November 2013)

Today is test week for me, so here's a test for you.  If you do well on this test, it is either because you know me or because you read this blog more than occasionally.  I'll not be providing the answers, so if you are uncertain about any of the questions, I would encourage you to relax, stop whatever else you are doing, and go take a nap.  The correct answers to all questions will appear to you in a dream.  I promise.

Name __________ Number_______________ Class _____

Test #1

I. Reading

Read the following story, then answer the questions.

What's my name?  My name is Timesthree Thehighest.  Not really.  What's your name?  Your name is Joe.  I think.  What's his name?  His name is Lisa.  He has some gender identity issues.  What's her name?  Her name is unknown at this time.

How old am I?  I'm 38 years old, but not in dog years.  How old are you?  I suppose you are as old as you are.  How old is he?  He's the square root of 33.  How old is she?  She's old enough to be trouble.

What time's my Chinese class today?  I don't have Chinese class today, thank you very much.  What time's your English class today?  I think it might be right now.  What time's his art class today?  I cannot say with any certainty.  What time's her computer class today?  Whenever it happens to be.

What do I play?  I play the guitar badly.  What do you play?  You play games with my emotions.  What does he play?  He plays with himself.  What does she play?  She sometimes helps him to play with himself.

1. What's my name?

a. Adam     b. Timesthree     c. both A and B     d. neither A nor B     e. a word of Hebrew or Latin origin

2. What does he play?

a. he plays a sinful game     b. he plays a spectator sport     c. he practices self-abuse

3. How old are you?

a. none of your business     b. too old     c. not old enough     d. old enough for trouble

4. What time's her computer class today?

a. at some time between the Big Bang and the Big Crunch     b. time does not exist     c. the answer will be relative, depending upon how many dimensions she occupies at any given time     d. I'm not stoned enough for this quiz

5. If his name is Lisa, does that excite you?

a. yes     b. no     c. I am too ashamed to answer truthfully      d. I am a homophobe, and I hate fags almost as much as I hate myself

6. Why are you bothering with this test anyway?

a. I had assumed that at some point it would begin to make sense     b. I still think that at some point it will make sense     c. I am in need of medication     d. all of the above

2. Music and Memory 2 音樂與回憶2 (November 2013)

I used to spend so much time looking for CDs.  Who would do that now?  Who would bother?  我曾經花很多時間尋找CD.  現在誰會這麼做?  誰會以這樣的方式找音樂?

At the present time, only people with money to burn would think of amassing a CD collection.  Everything can be downloaded now, and to find an actual CD copy of most albums would be either prohibitively expensive or altogether impossible.  It is not surprising that so many of the old CD stores have either closed down or changed their focus to DVDs.  In DVDs, there is at least a glimmer of hope.  目前, 只有很有錢的人會買那麼多CD.  現在從網路可以下載所有的音樂, 而且大部分的CD不是很貴就是很難找.  難怪很多舊唱片行封館或是改賣DVD為主.  賣DVD比較有可能賺錢.

But back when I first moved to Taiwan, at the end of 1999, the music-listening public was still very much interested in buying CDs.  Our internet connections were slow or non-existent, and the file sharing sites and software were a new thing, as yet undiscovered by most.  我1999年剛搬來台灣的時候, 大部分的人還是喜歡買CD.  那時候我們家裡不是沒有網路, 就是家裡的網路很慢, 而且P2P軟體跟網站還不是很受歡迎.

On the weekends, I would drive my scooter down to the intersection that leads into the Feng Jia Night Market in Taichung.  I usually did this late in the afternoon or early in the evening to avoid traffic.  There used to be a big CD store on Fu Shing Road, and another just up the street from there, closer to the night market.  周末時, 我常常騎摩托車到台中逢甲夜市前面的大路口.  為了避免塞車, 我通常選擇傍晚的時間去, 不然夜市開始後交通很亂.  那時福星路上有一家大唱片行, 靠近夜市的地方還有另外一家.

In the first store I could find newer music, though nothing too obscure.  I was 25 when I first discovered that place, so "new" was closer to what I was listening to back then.  There were also more girls in the first store.  At 25 and unattached, the presence of beautiful women was always a reason to go anywhere.  在第一間店可以找到比較新的西洋音樂.  我25歲的時候比較喜歡這種音樂.雖然說"新" , 但那是指我到台灣之前常聽的音樂, 這家店的美女也比較多.  25歲, 單身的我喜歡到這種地方.

The second store was more male-oriented, but they had more music that I liked.  Almost the entire second floor of that store was porn, but behind all the porn there was a wall dedicated to Western music.  Most of this Western music was rock-oriented, and some of it would have been hard to find even in the States.  I can remember buying a lot of Deep Purple there, and also a fair amount of other hard rock bands.  They didn't have a lot of metal, but their jazz and classical selections were pretty good.  第二家店比較適合男性, 可是它們有比較多我喜歡的音樂.  他們二樓到處都是A片, 可是A片後面還有很多西洋CD.  這些CD很多屬於搖滾樂, 也有很多CD連在美國都很難找到.  我在那邊買很多Deep Purple跟其他 hard rock樂團的CD.  他們那裡的heavy metal不多, 可是他們有很多jazz跟classical的CD.

When I think about it, those stores (especially the second one) introduced me to a lot of good music.  Because they almost never had my first choice - the easy, obvious choice - I usually ended up buying something that I didn't know existed.  These stores were the reason I started listening to artists such as Keith Jarrett, Strauss, and some of the more obscure prog-rock bands.  These stores were the reason I now listen to Sibelius and the Rolling Stones.  Sure, I would have discovered some of this music eventually - with or without these stores - but their selection (or lack thereof) - put them on my radar that much sooner.  現在想起那段時間, 我發現這兩家店介紹我很多我沒聽過的音樂.  因為他們常常沒有我要的第一個選擇, 最後我只好買我沒聽過的CD.  這兩家店就是我開始聽Keith Jarrett, Strauss, 和很多prog-rock樂團的原因.  我現在聽Sibelius跟Rolling Stones也是因為這兩家店.  就算這兩家店當時不存在, 我還是會發現這種音樂, 只是因為他們, 讓我比較早接觸這種音樂.

And besides all of this, hunting for CDs was a pleasant activity.  It was something you had to take your time with.  It was something that you could easily spend an afternoon doing.  It was, moreover, something you could also do in Taipei and Kaohsiung, if not Miao Li or Taitung.  找CD是一件好玩的活動.  它須要花點時間, 很容易整個下午就在找尋的過程中度過.  這個活動適合在台北高雄做.  在苗栗台東等鄉下地方則沒那麼合適.

I miss hunting for CDs.  For that matter, I miss playing arcade games, visiting libraries, and many other activities that computers have since obviated.  These are activities that have shaped me as a person, and I am sorry I have no reason to do them any longer.  我很想念尋找CD這件事.  我也很想念玩電動玩具,去圖書館, 還有很多因為電腦的存在而消失的活動.  這些活動都是養成我個人的重要養分, 我有點傷心, 因為我不再有從事這些活動的理由.

I often wonder what other activities I will grow nostalgic over, 15 or 20 years hence.  What other activities will become obsolete?  What other pastimes will fall by the wayside?  Will we still bother with laptop computers in 15 years?  Or will we only use mobile devices?  Will we still use cellphones?  Or will we have some as yet undiscovered technology that serves the same function?  It can be amusing to make predictions, but the truth of the future will undoubtedly be both more mundane and more fantastic than we, creatures of the present time, can imagine.  All we can do is gather bits of information from our own individual histories, review this information in light of recent developments, and make an educated guess.  我有時想15年, 20年過後我們會想念什麼活動.  哪些行為會令人懷念?  哪些活動會不見?  15年後人們還使用筆記型電腦嗎?  還是我們只用瀏覽器?  我們還使用手機嗎?  還是用什麼還沒發明的通話器?  這樣的想像很好玩,但是未來無疑地會比我們現在所能想像的更貼近生活也更精彩.我們所能做的就是收集我們自身以往的生活經驗, 藉目前的發展進步檢視這些訊息, 對未來的世界做一番推測.

Perhaps, in 15 to 20 years, I'll hear some younger man wax nostalgic about downloading music.  Perhaps at that point we'll have music piped directly into our brains, and we won't need to search for it anymore.  Or perhaps by then the recording industry will have completely collapsed, and the only way to find new music is by finding out about it the old-fashioned way - by seeing it performed live.  可能15或20年後, 我會聽到年輕人形容下載音樂這件事.  可能那時候音樂就直接輸入我們的大腦, 不用上網找了.  或是那時候已經沒有唱片公司, 所以要找最新的音樂就要回到以前的老方法---看現場演唱會.

I might like that future.  I only hope that in that future people still know how to play their instruments.  By that time, we might have all forgotten how.  我有可能喜歡那個未來.  我只希望未來的人知道怎麼彈奏他們的樂器.  到那時, 有可能我們都不知道樂器的彈奏方法了.

3. Racism in Taiwan (November 2013)

Is there racism in Taiwan?  Of course there is.  There is racism anywhere there are people.

The question is not whether or not racism exists in Taiwan, but what the nature of this racism is, and how prevalent it is in Taiwanese society.  For example, are certain racial attitudes obvious to the outsider?  Or are they obvious the minute you start talking to a Taiwanese person?  Are certain racial attitudes observable everywhere equally?  And how would a Taiwanese person define "race?"  Would their definition of "race" correspond to the Western definition of the term?  

These are just a few questions we might ask in the course of this discussion, though there are certainly many other, equally valid questions we could pose.

It might be useful to begin with the racial makeup of Taiwanese society.  Taiwanese society seems fairly homogeneous at first glance, but like anywhere the groups competing for power, influence, and status are numerous.  Some of these groups are divided from one another by linguistic/cultural characteristics, others by place of origin, still others by (perceived) physical attributes.

At the center of Taiwanese society are the Han Chinese, or ethnic Chinese, regardless of what part of China they come from.  This group represents 98% of Taiwan's total population.  This group can also be divided into Hakka (15%), Taiwanese (70%), and Mandarin-speaking Chinese who arrived with the Kuomintang (12%).  Do prejudices exist between these groups?  Certainly.  Could this prejudice be defined as racism?  I don't think so.  These groups hold too many characteristics in common, and the shifting nature of modern Taiwanese society has not really placed them into conflict.

Beyond the Han Chinese, there is the aboriginal population, some of which shares ancestry with the Han Chinese.  The aboriginal tribes make up a little over 2% of Taiwan's total population.  They are concentrated in the central and eastern portions of the island, though of course they often migrate towards places where opportunities are more plentiful.  Do prejudices exist between the Han Chinese and the aboriginals?  Oh yes.  Could this prejudice be defined as racism?  Certainly.

You won't notice this on the west coast of Taiwan - where the aboriginals aren't as numerous - but on the east coast there is plenty of racism toward the aboriginals.  I often hear (Chinese) people complain about the aboriginals - how they're all alcoholics, how they're lazy, how they have unfair advantages when it comes to certain things, etc., etc., etc.  It is not an unusual thing.  All one has to do to hear such stereotypes is to ask most people on the east coast what they think about the native tribes. 

Some of these stereotypes do, unfortunately, have some basis in reality, but people's attitudes can be a powerful barrier against breaking these same stereotypes.  I know plenty of aboriginal people who aren't drunks, or lazy, or less intelligent, but those aren't the people used as examples.  Our attention is often drawn to the worst that any culture has to offer, fair or not.

Then there are the foreigners.  Of foreigners - in many Chinese people's thinking - there are two types: the Western variety and the "workers."  The "workers" are the people from places such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and other countries poorer than Taiwan.  They are the people who come here to work in factories and hospitals.  They are the people who take care of senior citizens, who are employed by Taiwan's struggling manufacturing industry, and who live in dormitories.

As far as Western people go, is there racism?  I would say yes, sometimes, there is.  But it's usually not harmful racism, and therein lies the confusion.  Taiwanese society, being very insular, is loaded with stereotypes regarding Westerners.  But I don't think that these stereotypes represent the same kind of barrier that other minority groups have to contend with.  Yes, Taiwanese people assume a great deal when interacting with Westerners, but these assumptions don't prevent Westerners from getting married, getting a job, or getting a place to live - at least, not most of the time.

The one exception to this, for non-white Westerners, is employment.  Many schools do advertise and discriminate based upon race, and Caucasians are often preferred for many positions.  To be fair to these "racist" employers, many of them are attempting to screen out Taiwanese, or other nationalities that are truly unqualified for the positions offered.  Yes, they are discriminating, and yes, it's not right, but I don't think that it's always for the assumed reasons.  The owners of such schools must constantly guard against the suspicion that their teachers aren't really native speakers of English, and there are many foreign, non-native speakers of English that are working as if they grew up speaking the language.

For the "workers," however, life in Taiwan can be hard.  Attitudes toward them vary from the tolerant, to the exploitative, to the antagonistic.  They are regarded as poor and uneducated, and often as a source of dissension in Taiwanese society.  Many Taiwanese dislike them for "stealing" jobs from Taiwanese people, even if the jobs "stolen" are jobs that most Taiwanese would refuse to do.  One need only think back to Taiwan's recent argument with the Philippines to discover other examples of this kind of thinking.  During that argument I was reminded, more than anything, of my own country's attitude towards Mexico and Mexicans.

Are Taiwanese people racist?  Some are.  But then again everyone is racist some of the time.  We tend to think in categories, and we often (mistakenly) apply these categories to people.  So of course you find racism in Taiwan, especially considering that Taiwan originates from a larger, Chinese culture that divides the world into "China" and "Everything Else."  Taiwan is a traditional society, and tradition often makes racial thinking a part of everyday life.  In other words "Us" vs. "Them" becomes a question of continual importance.

But I wouldn't grow despondent over this.  I think the attitudes of most Taiwanese people are quite tolerant.  If they are racist, it is only because they haven't had the same chances to interact with those from different countries - not on the scale which one sees in the US, Canada, or even Hong Kong.  They often want you to point out their misconceptions, and this is a good thing.

To me, it is a situation far preferable to what I encounter in America.  In America people are obsessed with race, to the point where society is breaking down.  In attempting to erase barriers, Americans have limited their ability to communicate and to function together.  In attempting to "get to the root of the problem," Americans are making mountains out of molehills, and reviving old quarrels that are probably best forgotten.  In the American dialogue on race, one sees a society that is increasingly trapped in the past, and not looking towards the future.*

Society is, I think, something that should transcend race and racism, not something that should be defined by it.  No, we cannot walk around saying "We are all the same," but neither can we walk around saying "We are all different."  A society functions best when we achieve a balance between these two attitudes, and I think Taiwan is fairly close to achieving that balance.

That's my opinion anyway.  You might have another point of view.  If you do, I would be glad to hear about it.  We all have our differences - whether real or imagined - and it is good to talk things out.

4. Taiwan by the Numbers: People (November 2013)

While I was writing that "Racism in Taiwan" entry I came across a lot of interesting numbers.  I will be discussing these numbers here.  Most of these numbers have been rounded off, and should be treated accordingly.

You might find that my numbers conflict with Wikipedia, Google, or other sites.  This is because the information provided by those sights is not up-to-date.  More current information is available at the Monthly Bulletin of Interior Statistics 內政統計月報 Site in Chinese and English.

Taiwan's Total Population (as of October 2013):
23.36 million.
Taiwan's Area (Including Islands):
36,193 square kilometers.
Population Density of Taiwan (as of October 2013):
645 people per square kilometer.

In relative terms, this means that Taiwan's population is roughly the same as Australia's.  You could fit more than 200 Taiwans inside of Australia.  My home state, Washington, is more than five times larger than Taiwan.

Or, to put it another way, Taiwan is slightly smaller than Switzerland and slightly larger than Maryland, with around four times as many people as both places.  

According to Wikipedia, Taiwan ranks 16th worldwide in terms of population density, though their number for Taiwan's total population is off by about twenty thousand.  Assuming that the other countries on their list are also off by the same amount, Taiwan's higher rate of population growth may have put it higher on the list.

Percentage of Population 0-14 years old (as of October 2013):
Percentage of Population 15-64 years old (as of October 2013):
Percentage of Population 65 and over (as of October 2013):
Average Age in Taiwan (as of October 2013):
38.7 years old
Rate of Yearly Population Growth (as of October 2013):

These numbers should come as no surprise to teachers.  People in Taiwan are having less children, and the result is a relative increase in the 15 to 64 age group.  I have heard it said that Taiwan's population, along with many other countries, is moving from "young" to "aging."  This trend has had numerous repercussions on Taiwanese society.  As time passes, we can expect to see the 65 and older group grow to represent a much larger segment of the population.

The average age in Taiwan is my age, 38 going on 39.  I am thankful for this statistic, because it makes me feel less OLD.  I live in a rural place, where the average age is probably lower that national average.

The rate of yearly population growth is 0.27%, which is at least still growth.  Many countries in Europe are experiencing negative population growth.  The government of Taiwan is working towards arresting the trend towards lower or negative population growth, though it's too early to tell if these efforts have been successful.

Populations of Each City/County, From Largest to Smallest
(As of September 2013)*:
1. New Taipei City新北市: 3.95 million
10. Jia Yi County 嘉義縣: 801 thousand
2. Kaohsiung 高雄市: 2.78 million
11. Yunlin County 雲林縣: 709 thousand
3. Taichung City 台中市: 2.7 million
12. Miaoli County 苗栗縣: 565 thousand
4. Taipei City台北市: 2.28 million
13. Nantou County 南投縣: 518 thousand
5. Taoyuan County 桃園縣: 2 million
14. Yilan County 宜蘭縣: 459 thousand
6. Tainan City 台南市: 1.88 million
15. Keelung City 基隆市: 375 thousand
7. Changhua County 彰化縣: 1.3 million
16. Hualien County 花蓮縣: 334 thousand
8. Hsinchu County 新竹縣: 957 thousand
17. Taitung County 台東縣: 225 thousand
9. Pingtung County 屏東縣: 854 thousand
* I have omitted the outlying islands.
**I have combined Jia Yi City with Jia Yi County, and Hsinchu City with Hsinchu County, which were separate in the original document.  Separating them just seems weird to me.

No real surprises here.  It is common knowledge that New Taipei City, Kaohsiung, and Taichung are the most populous counties/cities in Taiwan.  I was a bit surprised that Changhua has more people than Hsinchu and Pingtung, but this is perhaps the effect of recent industrial growth in that area.

The county where I live, Taitung, has the smallest population of any county on the main island.  I like that.  I sometimes miss Taipei, but fresh air and less traffic are good things.

Racial/Cultural Makeup of Taiwan
Taken from the Chinese Wikipedia Article
Chinese - Taiwanese
Chinese – Hakka
Chinese - Mainlander
Taiwanese Aboriginal
Foreign Residents
No Reliable Data

The percentages listed above are VERY rough estimates.  The Chinese Wikipedia article cites the Republic of China Yearbook from 2008.  I doubt, however, that the percentages have changed much since then.

For those less familiar with Taiwan, "Taiwanese" in the chart above refers to people whose ancestors immigrated here from the Fujian region in China, and who probably grew up speaking Taiwanese/Minnanese as a first language.  "Mainlander" primarily refers to those who immigrated to Taiwan along with the Kuomintang forces after the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.  "Taiwanese Aboriginals" are an Austronesian people whose presence in Taiwan predates any of the Chinese immigrants.

Foreign Resident* Population in Taiwan
Census Taken by National Immigration Agency, 2011
Total Foreign Resident Population: 485,308
United States
South Korea
*Please note that the above table lists foreign residents, which I am assuming means those who possess a resident visa.  Those on work or study visas are, I assume, not listed above.  

The above information was obtained from the English Wikipedia article, but the numbers are pretty close to what I found at the Department of Immigration site.  The most recent information provided by the Department of Immigration is for this year, and lists the total number of foreign residents as being over 506,000.

It is worth noting, however, that the citation on Wikipedia does not refer to the source document used.  Just the same, determining the number of resident foreigners in Taiwan is a difficult business, owing to the fact that people overstay their visas, never register as residents, etc., etc., etc.

It might be a shock for many Westerners to learn just how small the population of resident foreigners from Western countries really is.  We are vastly outnumbered by people from other countries in Asia, and we are not even represented in the top five.  Foreign laborers are the largest group of resident foreigners in Taiwan, and there are about twice as many foreign men as there are foreign women.

Foreign Nationals Entering Taiwan (Land and Sea) in September 2013
Mainland China
Hong Kong/Macau
All Other Countries

Foreign Nationals Leaving Taiwan (Land and Sea) in September 2013
Mainland China
Hong Kong/Macau
All Other Countries

These numbers are for tourists and other short-term visitors, and are taken from the Department of Immigration site.  Most of these tourists arrived and left through the airport in Taoyuan, but a considerable number also arrived and left through the Kaohsiung Airport, through Taipei's Song Shan Airport, and through other airports and seaports.  The number who arrived by sea is only a fraction of those who arrived by air.

Of course the total number of arrivals/departures for 2013 isn't out yet (it's only November, after all!), but I can tell you that almost 3 million foreign nationals arrived and departed from Taiwan last year.  As you can see from the chart above, the number of visitors from Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau approaches the number of all other nationalities.

There are of course many other statistics I could list here, but the above statistics were the ones that really interested me.  I feel obligated to mention the fact that many of the statistics found on the Monthly Bulletin of Interior Statistics (mentioned above) sometimes disagree with those offered by the Household Registration Office, which I also consulted.  As to which office is offering the better statistics, your guess is as good as mine.

5. My Grandma, Kathleen Johnson 我的外租母 (November 2013)

It's the end of November, and it's getting cold. The colder it gets, the more I think about Home.  When I start thinking about Home, I also start thinking about my childhood.  When I start thinking about my childhood, I can't help but think about my grandma.  12月快到了, 天氣開始變冷.  天氣越來越冷時, 我就越想念我的家鄉.  我想念家鄉時,  也想起我的童年時光.  更是強烈地思念我的外婆.

My grandma lived in an old house on a hill.  Her house was in Bay City, Oregon, not far from Tillamook, where they make the famous cheese.  I used to spend summers in that house, up until I entered junior high school.  By the time junior high school arrived, I was just getting to old to go down there.  我外婆以前住在一間山坡上的舊房子 .  那個房子位於美國俄勒岡州Bay City村, 離做起司的Tillamook不遠, 它們的起司很有名.  我小時候都在那裡過暑假, 直到我念國中後才停止,  因為我上國中後就覺得在鄉下地方沒有意思.

My grandma was a strange person.  Anyone who knew her would have said this.  She kept to herself most of the time, and she liked to argue more than anyone I ever met.  If the sun was shining outside, she'd try to convince you it was raining.  If the clock said noon, she'd try to convince you it was night time.  She brought me close to tears many times, but I sure did learn how to argue.  我外婆是一個蠻奇怪的人.  認識她的人都會這樣形容她.  她常常自己一個人在家裡.  也喜歡跟人吵架.  如果外面出太陽, 她會跟你說是下雨天.  時鐘的時間指是中午,  她會跟你說是夜晚.  她好幾次跟我吵架吵到我快哭了, 可是也因為這樣, 我真的很會跟別人吵架.

She drove this rusting Dodge around, and in the back seat of this Dodge was her dog, Tasha.  When I was little, that dog seemed enormous.  As I got older, that dog just seemed enormously stupid.  Tasha was quite possibly the stupidest dog I have ever seen.  她開一輛生鏽的車, 車子後座坐她的狗.  我小時候覺得那隻狗超大.  我長大一點卻覺得那隻狗超笨的.  那隻叫Tasha的狗真是我碰過最笨的狗的其中一隻.

When I wasn't running around in the woods behind my grandma's house, she'd be driving me around coastal Oregon.  She'd drive me up to Astoria to buy comic books, or down to Newport to visit the aquarium.  She'd drive me to rivers for a swim, or she'd drive me to cafes in Tillamook and Garibaldi to eat.  我不在她房子附近的森林冒險的時候, 我外婆就會開車帶我去很多俄勒岡州的海邊.  她有時候帶我去Astoria買漫畫書, 有時候帶我去Newport的海洋館.  她也會帶我開車到附近的河游泳, 或是開車去Tillamook和Garibaldi的小餐廳吃飯.

At night my grandma and I would watch television together.  My grandma was a huge fan of Johnny Carson and Benny Hill.  After Benny Hill finished, I would go into the living room and watch TV by myself.  My grandma's house was very scary at night, and I would try not to think about monsters waiting outside the house, staring at me.  夜裡的時候我跟我的外婆一起看電視.  她最喜歡看的是Johnny Carson跟Benny Hill的節目.  Benny Hill看完後, 我會自己一個人去客廳看電視.  我外婆家在夜裡有一點可怕.  我在那邊看電視都一直想著外面有魔鬼看著我.

My grandma died when I was in college, but I still miss her.  I miss her when I'm in Oregon, I miss her when I see Tillamook cheese, and I miss her when the weather turns cold.  She was a strange person, and she was often hard to be around, but she was my grandma and I loved her.  我念大學的時候我外婆就去世了, 但我還是很想念她.  我在俄勒岡州的時候想念她.  我看到Tillamook起司的時候想念她.  天氣開始變冷的時候我就想念她.  她是個蠻奇怪的人, 我有時跟她在一起很難過, 可是她還是我外婆.  我還是愛她.

6. Water Running Up 水往上流 (December 2013)

"Water Running Up," better known as 水往上流 (Shuei Wang Shang Liou), is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Taitung County 臺東縣.  It is in Dong He Township 東河鄉, about a half hour north of Taitung City, and just south of Dulan 都蘭.

As tourist attractions go, it's quite pathetic.  It's only a field with canals cut into it, and these canals give the water the appearance of flowing upward.  Really.  That's all that it is.  And I would estimate that dozens, if not hundreds, of people visit that place every day.

Then again, I'm not sure if most of the visitors are really there of their own free will.  Most of them are hauled in there along with countless other tour groups, as part of a circuit that Mainland Chinese, Japanese, and Korean tourists complete every day.  They fly into Taipei 台北 or Kaohsiung 高雄, they get on a bus, they are taken to a succession of bad restaurants and gift shops, and then they go to "Water Running Up," where they are treated to the miracle of water defying the forces of nature.

I visited "Water Running Up" in 2006, when I first moved to Taitung.  I haven't been back since.  Back then it was devoid of Mainland Chinese tourists, but this lack of crowds did not make "Water Running Up" more enjoyable.  My wife, daughters, and I walked in, quickly realized how lame it was, and left, never to return.

One thing I can't figure out is why more people don't try to sell things in that place.  There are a few people near the parking lots selling fruit, but I can't help but think that other people could also make a lot of money there.  A coffee cart would make a fortune.  With so many tourists getting off and getting on buses in that spot - every single day - someone's going to make money.

"Water Running Up" is quite boring, but at least they don't charge money to go in there.  If you take this into account, it's actually better than Chu Lu Pasture 初鹿牧場.  Chu Lu Pasture might have a better view, but it's just a glorified gift shop, and they charge an entrance fee to boot.

Maybe there are some people out there who truly like "Water Running Up."  I can't grudge them their opinion.  Just the same, there are much better tourist attractions on Taiwan's East Coast, and one need not bother visiting "Water Running Up" if you're in the area.  Anywhere north of Dulan is prettier, less crowded, and more interesting.

7. Code Breaker! 2 (December 2013)

According to the article on Wikipedia:

"The American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) is a character-encoding scheme originally based on the English alphabet that encodes 128 specified characters - the numbers 0-9, the letters a-z and A-Z, some basic punctuation symbols, some control codes that originated with Teletype machines, and a blank space - into the 7-bit binary integers."

I have converted a series of letters into ASCII code.  Once you have converted the numbers back into letters, use the code provided in the "Code Breaker!" entry to convert the code into a message.

0110001   0111000
0110001   0110001
0110001   0110100

0110001   0110101
0110001   0111001

0110001   0111001

0110010   0110001
0110001   0110010
0110010   0110000

0110010   0110001
0110010   0110000

0110010   0110000

0110001   0110100


0110001   0110011
0110010   0110001
0110001   0111001
0110001   0110100

8. Goodbye to San Shang 三商再見 (December 2013)

As most people in Taitung City are aware, the San Shang Department Store on Shin Sheng Road is closing.  They are in the midst of selling everything in the store, right down to the clothes hangers, the racks on which these hangers were hung, and whatever else can be carried or carted away.  大部分的台東市民應該都知道新生路上的三商百貨要封館了.  他們現在正封館清倉,包括衣架跟吊衣架和任何可以搬走的東西都一件不留.

This closure is company-wide.  San Shang Deparment Stores, which could once be found all over the island, are now confined to Taiwan's east coast, counties in central and southern Taiwan, and offshore islands.  In all, there are only 9 stores left.  台東分店封館是他們公司全省僅剩的九家百貨封館的一部分.  之前台灣到處都有三商百貨, 可是現在僅能在台灣南部及東部看到他們的身影. 
The reasons for San Shang's falling profits should be obvious to anyone living in Taiwan.  In urban areas, San Shang just can't compete with larger stores like Shin Kong Mitsukoshi or Geant, and even in rural areas there are other, more attractive options.  San Shang occupies an unfortunate "middle position" in the department store market.  It's not big enough, new enough, or shiny enough for those with money to burn, and not cheap enough for those looking to save money.  三商利潤下滑的原因大家應該都知道.  在大城市裡, 三商無法跟新光三越或愛買這種大賣場比, 連在比較鄉下的地方,人們購物也有比較好的選擇.  處於百貨公司和大賣場之間的尷尬位子,  有錢的顧客喜歡比較大, 比較新, 比較高級的百貨公司.  想省錢的顧客還是會去比較便宜的賣場.

All of which is very depressing for San Shang, but not so depressing for me.  My family visited San Shang more often when we first moved to Taitung, but back then their only competition was RT Mart, far outside of town.  Things have changed quite a bit since then.  這對三商百貨來說是個不好的消息, 可是對我來說沒什麼影響.我們剛搬來台東時比較常去三商  , 因為當時台東的三商百貨的競爭者只有市區外的大潤發, 只是現在有比較多的選擇了.
I did find one neat thing at San Shang Department Store.  Because of their imminent closure, I was able to purchase a Sega Mega Drive for only 600 NT.  This was marked down from the original price, which was more than 1000 NT.  可是我最近在三商找到一個好東西.  我在那邊買了一個600塊的Sega Mega Drive.  這個Mega Drive原來的價錢不只1000塊呢!

And what is a Sega Mega Drive, you ask?  It's a little blue thing that plugs into your TV, and with it you can play many of the Sega Genesis games that I loved as a kid.  My version (there are different versions) has Golden Axe, Altered Beast, Shadow Dancer, FOUR different Sonic the Hedgehog games, and several other less famous, unquestionably less interesting other games.  很多人應該沒聽過Sega Mega Drive這個東西.  它是一個小小藍色的電動玩具.  裡面裝了我小時候最愛的Sega Genesis遊戲.  我的這種Mega Drive (有很多種) 裝了Golden Axe, Altered Beast, Shadow Dancer, 四種Sonic the Hedgehog遊戲, 還有其他沒那麼有名的遊戲.
I've been playing the Mega Drive every weekend for a few weeks now.  My younger daughter and I have already spent hours playing Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Sonic and Knuckles.  It is, as my younger daughter likes to say, better than doing homework.  我已經連續幾個周末玩我的Mega Drive.  我跟我的小女兒也花了好幾個小時玩Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 還有Sonic and Knuckles.  她說玩這些遊戲比寫功課有趣多了.

If you live near a San Shang Department Store, I would encourage you to head over there, and check out all the stuff they're trying to get rid of.  At this point, they are almost giving stuff away.  That Mega Drive I paid 600 NT for?  As of yesterday it was marked down further to 400 NT.  That's probably less than the store paid for it.  你如果住在任何一家三商百貨的附近的話, 你應該去看一下他們要清倉的商品.  他們最近的商品價錢超低的.  我以前花600元買的Mega Drive?  現在變成400元.  那個價錢應該比成本價還低.

Or perhaps, for reasons of nostalgia, you might just walk in there to say goodbye.  也許因為懷舊的原因, 你也可以進去說個再見.

9. Merry Christmas (Sort of) (December 2013)

Christmas is next week, December 25, and I'll be taking the day off work.  I make a point of doing this every year, because working on Christmas makes me sad.

Not that I'll be doing much that day.  This year Christmas falls on a Wednesday, and my wife has to work for half the day.  I'm letting both of my daughters stay home from school, but at most we'll go for a bike ride together, or go see a movie at the movie theater.

As those who know me are probably aware, I am not a particularly religious person, so I won't be spending Christmas thinking about how Jesus died for my sins, or how the three wise men followed a star to find him in a manger, or how I should go to church more often.  My family has never celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday.

I also won't be sipping eggnog, or opening a lot of presents.  I hate eggnog, and my wife and I have decided to forego presents this year.  Instead, we are taking our daughters to Kaohsiung on the weekend just before the holiday, and once there we will be selecting our own presents from whatever Dream Mall has to offer.  My mom and dad did send some presents over, and we'll be opening these on Christmas Day, but these presents will be opened in the absence of any Christmas trees, any snow, and any Christmas carols.

Sounds kind of sad, right?  Such is Christmas in Taiwan.  After a while it tends to lose its meaning, especially if you're surrounded by a predominantly Buddhist population which doesn't place much importance on the holiday.  Chinese New Year in Taiwan can be a blast, but Christmas?  Kind of a non-event.

And I might try harder with regard to Christmas, except my daughters don't care much about it either.  They are almost as Taiwanese as other kids, and their attention is focused elsewhere.  They have fond memories of the few Christmases spent in Seattle, when it REALLY meant something, but by now they're largely oblivious to it.  Of course they're happy to get presents, and they're happy to take a day off school, but for them Christmas is nothing compared to other, louder, more Chinese holidays.

Just the same, I try to keep Christmas alive in my family.  It's important to me.  I consider Christmas my time to rest, and my time to remember the importance of family and friends.  I also want to celebrate Christmas because it represents the culture I come from.  Christmas is Home, no matter how far away Home might be.

Here's wishing you a merry Christmas.  It might not be Chinese New Year, but it is worth remembering. 

10. Intro 6 (December 2013)

Yesterday I asked an adult class to respond to a series of questions in writing.  I have added my own responses to the questions.  Keep in mind that they only had 7 minutes to answer these questions, and they were responding in a second language.  I have corrected spelling and grammar where necessary.

1. What is important to you?

A: Family is most important to me.
B: Health and family are important to me.
C: Money is important to me.
D: The most important thing is to teach well every day.
E: To always improve myself is important to me.
G: My family
H: My family is important to me.
I: All of the above.  I would only add "fun" to this list.

2. What do you like?

A: I like to create activities and curriculum for children.
B: I like to read and cook.
C: I like my children.
D: When I have free time, I like to watch TV.
E: I like to study English, cook, and work out.
F: I like studying English.
G: I like eating food.
H: I like watching TV.
I: I like running, eating good food, swimming, reading good books, and exploring new places.

3. What do you NOT like?

C: I don't like my work.
D: I don't like to take care of my children every day.
E: I don't like to feel bored, and to deal with jealous people.
G: I don't like watching TV.
H: I don't like running.
I: I don't like excessive amounts of rain and mosquitoes in my room when I'm trying to sleep.

4. Where do you live?

C: I live in Taitung 台東.
D: I live on Jung Hua 中華 Road, section 3.
F: I live in Taitung.
G: Taitung
H: I live in Taitung.
I: In Taitung, of course.

5. Do you like where you live?

A: I like the city where I live.
C: I would like to live in Japan.
D: I like where I live.
E: I like where I live.
G: Yes, I do.
H: I like to live in Taitung.
I: Yes, I do.

6. Who is in your family?

D: There are six people in my family.
E: My brother-in-law, his family, my husband, and me.
G: My husband, myself, and our two daughters.
H: My father, my mother, my wife, and my two sons.
I: Me, my wife, and my two daughters in Taitung.  We have other family all over the world.

7. What is your favorite animal?

A: My favorite animal is the owl.
C: My favorite animals are dogs.
D: Rabbits are my favorite animals.
E: My favorite animal is the dog.
G: I like horses.
H: I don't like any animals.
I: I like otters, because they always seem to have a good time.

8. What is your favorite color?

A: I like white.
C: My favorite color is green.
E: My favorite color is purple.
F: My favorite color is red.
G: Purple.
H: My favorite color is blue.
I: I like green.

9. What do you want to be doing in five years?

B: I want to be living in a big house.
E: I want to be a very rich woman.
F: I plan to retire and travel the world.
G: I want to join more running and bicycling events.
H: I want to travel around the world in five years.
I: I would like to be living on a piece of land somewhere in Taitung County.

10. What is a memory from your childhood?

E: My childhood memories are very happy.
G: I cried every day.
H: I don't remember anything from my childhood.
I: I remember being near the ocean with my mother and my grandmother.  I was holding these comic books, but the wind blew them away.  The comic books fell into the ocean, or else disappeared altogether.  I remember being very sad about this.

11. Do you enjoy your work?

A: I enjoy my job very much.
B: I like my job because it's interesting.
C: Sometimes I enjoy my work, sometimes I don't.
E: I enjoy my work.
F: I enjoy my work every day.
G: Yes, I do.
H: Yes, I enjoy my work.
I: Yes, most of the time.  Sometimes people make me mad, but I think that's normal.

12. Do you have any plans for Chinese New Year?

B: I will be cleaning my house during Chinese New Year.
C: I will travel to many places with my family during Chinese New Year.
F: I will be with my family during New Year.
G: I will go to Taipei and Taichung.  I will eat, sleep, and play well.
H: I will go to Taipei on Chinese New Year.
I: I will most likely be in Ji Loong 基隆 again, and from there I'm sure we'll venture into Taipei.

Related Entries:

Blog Archive 27 很久很久以前的文章
Blog Archive 26 很久很久以前的文章
Blog Archive 25 很久很久以前的文章
Blog Archive 24 很久很久以前的文章

2013年10月1日 星期二

Blog Archive 27 很久很久以前的文章

1. Hello Again (August 2013)

Back from my LONG vacation in Seattle.  I'll probably be writing about this vacation AT LENGTH next time, but before then I thought I'd post something here, in case readers of this blog were beginning to wonder whether or not I was still alive.

We left Seattle on August 27, and despite it being 3 PM, despite our flight being 10 hours long, we arrived in Japan (where we changed planes) almost the same time we started.  Apparently this has something to do with the International Date Line, but I prefer to think that somewhere over the Pacific we crossed into a parallel universe.  This parallel universe - to all intents and purposes identical to our own in almost every respect - is inhabited exclusively by people who love and adore me, so that I never need be sad, lonely, or angry again.

Anyway, after a lot of foolishness with buses, taxis, and other vehicles we pulled in front of my apartment building, where I was glad to finally empty all my luggage and take a long, well-deserved rest.  The same day I had a meeting at work, which seemed very surreal due to an advanced case of jet lag.

All of which brings me to the present time, during which I sit here typing and drinking my terrible 7-11 coffee.  I am glad to only have two classes today, and I am glad that it's Friday.  If it was Monday, or if it was a day with more classes, I would be in trouble.

Hope you had a good summer, wherever you went and whatever you did.

2. Our Seattle Summer 在西雅圖的暑假 1 (September 2013)

Greenwood Car Show, Seattle

My wife, my two daughters, and I went back to Seattle this summer.  We were there for a little over two months, from the end of June to the end of August.  As I write this I have just returned to Taiwan, after a very stressful return trip through a typhoon. 

今年暑假我和我太太及女兒回去西雅圖。 我們六月底離開台灣八月底回來總共在那裡兩個多月。  我寫這篇文章的同時我們才剛回台灣不久, 雖然有颱風的阻撓還是安全地抵達台東。

Carkeek Park, Seattle

Going from Taitung to Seattle is generally not fun.  It involves taking either a train or a plane to Taipei, and from Taipei taking a flight to Seattle.  This sounds easy, but in practice it can grow quite complicated.  During my recent trip back, for example, I rode in two cars, two planes, two taxis, and one train.  There are also those in-between moments in which my daughters argue, in which I'm forced to wade through long lines, or in which I'm the surprise victim of random security checks. 

從台東到美國西雅圖的路程很遠 。 不是搭火車就是飛機到台北之後再搭機飛往西雅圖   聽起來很簡單實際上卻不是如此。例如這一次我們從美國回來我們坐了二次汽車二班飛機二次計程車和最後的火車。 除了交通工具之外還要歷經我兩個孩子吵架的時間很長的排隊的時間和被隨機攔下進行安全檢查的時間。

Green Lake, Seattle

But of course it's all worth it when I finally get there.  During this trip the weather was excellent, and I had the chance to visit many new places.  I can only think back to a couple days when I was truly bored, and this was because I was anxious to go camping. 

雖然去美國的過程很累可是到達目的地的時候就覺得很值得 。 那一陣子西雅圖的天氣很棒而且我們有機會去很多沒去過的地方。  期間只有兩三天覺得很無聊因為那兩三天我等著去露營。

Gordito's Mexican Restaurant, Seattle

We spent the first week hanging out in Seatttle, and visiting places that we missed when we were in Taiwan.  On the first day I walked around the local Fred Meyer in a daze, wondering how most Americans can make a decision when confronted with so many kinds of everything.  During the same day we visited my favorite Mexican restaurant, and also spent time catching up with my parents. 

在西雅圖的第一個禮拜我們都在西雅圖市區去我們在台灣最想念的地點。  第一天我走到我父母家附近的Fred Meyer, 那家店裡的每樣商品的選擇性多到讓人很難決定要買什麼 ,真懷疑大部分的人如何抉擇﹖同一天我們到我最喜歡的墨西哥餐廳吃飯並跟我父母聊天。

Discovery Park, Seattle

At the end of June we went to a lot of Seattle parks, especially Green Lake and Discovery.  The weather was terrific, but unfortunately it was still too cold for swimming.  We also visited the waterfront a couple times, wandering through the Pike Place Market and taking in the view from the piers. 

六月的最後那個禮拜我們去好多西雅圖的公園最常去的是Green LakeDiscovery。 雖然西雅圖的天氣很棒但還是沒辦法游泳因為那邊的水太冷了。  我們也去了二次西雅圖的海濱跟Pike Place市場看風景。

Museum of Flight, Seattle

In June I also visited the Greenwood Car Show, which was very crowded.  I visit this car show every time I go back to Seattle, mostly because my dad is obsessed with cars.  It is a very masculine event, and my wife and daughters had the good sense to remain home, watching television. 
六月時我也去熱鬧的Greenwood Car Show 。我每次回去都會參加這個活動因為我爸爸超愛汽車。 這個活動沒有很多女人參加我太太跟我女兒也不想去。 她們三個留在家裡看電視。

Money Creek campground, Washington

Then July arrived.  In July my brother came up from Oakland, and my sister came up from Los Angeles with her husband.  While my brother and sister were up in Seattle we didn't go out much, but we had a good time talking, remembering, and catching up. 

七月的時候我弟弟從Oakland回來我妹妹和妹夫也從加州開車到西雅圖 。 他們在西雅圖時我們很少一起外出大部分時間做的事昰聊天。

Money Creek campground, Washington

In July we also went camping three times.  During the first trip we drove up Highway 2 to Skykomish, and from there on to Leavenworth and the Lake Chelan area.  We had a great time, even though my daughters were suffering from TV withdrawal.  Shortly thereafter my friend from Taiwan stayed with us for about a week, and we took him and his wife camping in the same area.  After they went back to Taiwan, I ran the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon. 

我們在七月時去露營三次 。 第一次我們開車從第二公路到Skykomish, 之後到LeavenworthLake Chelan這個地區。  我們玩得很開心可惜我的孩子想回去看電視。 後來我台灣的朋友也到西雅圖跟我們住一個星期 ,我們也帶他們到這附近露營。   他們回台灣之後我參加了Tacoma Narrows半馬拉松。

Columbia River, Eastern Washington

The beginning of August was probably the highlight of our trip.  During this week we drove to Yellowstone, and camped between Washington, Idaho, and Montana.  This was my first visit to Yellowstone, and I was understandably impressed by the scenery.  I still think that Glacier National Park is a better choice for those first visiting Montana, but Yellowstone is certainly worth the drive. 

八月的第一個禮拜應該是我們暑假最棒的部分。  因為我們開車到黃石國家公園去一路上在華盛頓州愛達荷州跟蒙大拿州露營。這是我第一次去黃石國家公園所以我對那裡的風景印象很深刻。 我覺得Glacier國家公園是第一次到蒙大拿州的人的較好選擇只是黃石國家公園的景色值得你一路上開車的辛勞。

3. Our Seattle Summer 在西雅圖的暑假 2  (September 2013)

Pike Place Market

We spent A LOT of money in Montana.  Most of this money went toward gas and restaurants.  We usually cooked our own dinner in whatever campground we were visiting, but it was difficult not to eat lunch out every day.  I must add that I also spent a large sum on beer. 
我們在蒙大拿州花了很多錢, 大部分是油錢和去餐廳吃飯。 我們通常在露營區煮晚餐但是在外面煮午餐不方便 , 而且我也花了很多錢買啤酒。

Seattle Waterfront

Before we knew it the end of August was approaching, and it was hard not to count the days until we got back on the plane.  I found myself wishing for more time, especially because I could see that leaving would be hard on my mom.  She only sees us every two years or so, and no sooner are we reacquainted than we are in the airport - yet again - saying goodbye. 
八月快要結束時我越來越覺得回去的那一天快到了。 我開始希望在西雅圖的時間可以變長一點因為我知道我們離開以後我媽媽會很難過。她每兩年跟我們見一次面我們在一起的時間很短 一下子我們又在飛機場再一次說再見。

Chuck E. Cheese, Alderwood

During our last week in Seattle I attended my first Mariners game in Safeco Field.  I went to see Black Sabbath at the Gorge the day after.  To my surprise, I enjoyed the Mariners game more than the concert.  This might have been because I got falling down drunk at the Mariners game.  This might have been because I also saw Sabbath back in 1999, just before I first moved to Taiwan. 
八月的最後一個禮拜我第一次去Safeco Field看西雅圖水手隊的棒球賽 ,  我也去了Gorge AmpitheaterBlack Sabbath樂團表演 。 讓我驚訝的昰我喜歡棒球賽勝過於樂團表演 ,  可能是因為看棒球賽時我喝得很開心 ,  也可能是因為我在1999年看過Black Sabbath的表演了 

I-90, Eastern Washington

All in all it was a great vacation - maybe the best ever.  Of course it wasn't cheap to stay in Seattle for so long - even though we stayed with my parents - but I think the expense was worth it.  By the time August 27 finally rolled around, we had actually spent less money than we'd originally anticipated. 
這個暑假可能是我們有史以來最棒的假期了 ,當然去美國那麼久旅費不便宜 (就算是住在我父母家 ,但是還是很值得的 。 直到827我們在美國的旅費不如我們想像的多。

Lolo National Forest, collecting firewood

My only real complaint about our vacation is the traffic in Seattle.  We often encountered gridlock where I-5 meets I-90, and the combination of 520 closures, Highway 99 closures, and various sports events made for stressful drives.  There were a lot of drivers in Seattle with predictably short tempers, and one had to be careful when crossing the street. 
我暑假最討厭的事情就是西雅圖的交通 。 我們常常在I-5I-90交會處碰到塞車或是520或是99公路停用還是其他的運動比賽讓西雅圖的路況很糟糕 。 那裡的駕駛很容易生氣,  在那邊過馬路要很小心。

Gallatin National Forest

It's funny, looking over them now, how little the pictures here convey.  When I remember our trip, it is all the things that aren't in these pictures that I miss.  I miss the smell of the trees in Montana.  I miss the smell of beer in the breweries.  I miss the sound of people talking, and the taste of the food.  Mostly I miss the warmth of times spent with my family, and the excitement of driving off into the unknown.
我現在看這些照片覺得很奇怪 ,我最想念的東西都不在裡面我想念的是蒙大拿州的樹香啤酒廠的味道人們講話的聲音還有食物的味道。  我最想念的是跟家人在一起溫暖的感覺和開車前往陌生地方的興奮心情 

Yellowstone National Park

I wish that I could take you there.  Not only to Seattle, but to the moments spent in that place.  I wish I could explain how the sky looks from Orondo Beach, but these things have to be experienced, and words fail to express them.  Hopefully you can get out there yourself some day, if you haven't been already. 
我很想帶你們一起去 不只是西雅圖 而是我們旅程中去過的所有地方 ,我希望可以跟你們介紹Orondo Beach的天空可是這是文字或圖片都形容不來的感覺 ,  希望你們有一天可以去那裏親身經歷。

Cape Disappointment State Park

I wonder when I'll get out to Seattle again.  Two years?  Three?  However long it is, I hope it's sooner rather than later.  I still want to get out to Grand Teton National Park, and I'd like to spend more time around Grand Coulee.  I will also be missing my Seattle family and friends, and I look forward to a day when we can talk again. 
我不知道什麼時候可以再回去 ,  兩年還是三年﹖ 我希望不用太久 ,  我還想去Grand Teton國家公園也想再去Grand Coulee  , 我當然也很想念美國的親戚朋友,  我期待下次的再見。

Mariners Vs. Angels

Time goes by so fast.  I can't believe it's already September, and that I am typing this in Taiwan.  It's good to be back in Taitung, but I can't help but feel a little bit sad, looking at these pictures of places that I won't see for at least two more years, if not longer.  The world might seem small at times, but it's still a long, expensive way from here to there.  I don't think having good times in Taiwan will be a problem, but we all miss our hometowns now and then. 
時間過得很快 ,  不敢相信已經九月回到台東是很快樂的事情,  只是覺得在台灣的感覺很奇怪 看到上面的那些照片想到最快還要兩年才有機會回去我就開始有思鄉情懷 。 世界有時候看起來很小可是到西雅圖還是又貴又遠  。我在台灣的生活是美好的只是有時想念我的家鄉.

4. Taitung's New Movie Theater (September 2013)

It feels strange to write this, but as of this summer Taitung 台東 has a new movie theater.  This new movie theater is near the corner of Shin Sheng Road 新生路 and Guang Ming Road 光明路, in downtown Taitung.

The new movie theater, Showtime 秀泰電影城 by name, is the second cinema to open in Taitung.  The first cinema was on Da Tong Road 大同路, not far from the Seashore Park 海濱公園.  The old movie theater was about the size of my living room, and it burned down two or three years ago.  Some locals have fond memories of it, but I can’t say that I miss it all that much.

In the interim between the burning down of the old movie theater and the opening of the new one, they showed movies at the Cultural Center 文化中心 on Nan Jing Road 南京路.  This, in my opinion, was the best place to see movies.  It was never crowded there, the screen was huge, and the tickets were cheap.  The Cultural Center didn’t have the best selection of films, but wandering down there to see the latest blockbuster was enough for me.  I always felt that the ease of seeing movies in that place far outweighed the poor picture quality.

But of course not everyone felt that way.  A lot of people wanted Taitung to have a “real” movie theater, primarily as a way of attracting tourists.  The Taitung County Government, ever responsive when it comes to business, went out of its way to make this happen.  Almost before anyone knew it, they were digging up the old Guo Gwang Bus Station 國光客運, and laying the foundations of what was to be Taitung’s first true multiplex.

After I returned from Seattle this August, I had my chance to see this multiplex for myself.  My wife and I snuck out to see “Elysium,” and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I never imagined something so big and so modern sitting in the middle of Taitung City.  There were stores and restaurants on two floors, escalators that worked flawlessly, and on top of the building there was the multiplex itself, with more screens than I could readily comprehend.  Not only were they playing “Elysium” in this multiplex, but also several other films at the same time.  Not only could I see a movie there, but I could also visit Mister Donut, buy clothes at Uniqlo, or enjoy the most expensive hot pot yet seen in Taitung.  It was all a little hard to process.

And as you might imagine, most of the people there were tourists.  There were tourists from Taipei, tourists from Japan, and (I'm sure) at least a couple of tourists from China.  As I stood there, waiting for the movie to start, I reflected on the growth that Taitung's tourism industry has experienced, and how much things have changed since I first moved here in 2006.  Back in 2006, if anyone had tried to build this kind of multiplex they would have been laughed out of the county.  Back in 2006, it would have been a no-win proposition.

Yet then again, it might still be.  I can’t help but wonder how many people frequent this multiplex during the weekdays, and I can’t help but wonder what their business will be like from September to January.  It will take a lot of money to keep that theater open.  It will take even more money to keep those clothing stores and restaurants profitable.  Can the tourists really sustain that place?  The 200,000 or so people in Taitung City sure can’t.

I guess we’ll just have to see.  Similar places stay open in Hualien City 花蓮市, but then Hualien City has at least three times as many people as Taitung.  It might be that the place is closed before next summer.  It might be that the whole thing was a scam from day one.  In Taitung you never know.  Often a building project like that starts out with the best intentions, and then someone higher up gets their hands on it, and finds a way to launder cash through the project.  I’m not saying this is the case with the movie theater, but one never knows.

I kind of hope the place stays open.  It will be nice to see the big blockbusters on the day they come out, and to have another shopping center with air-conditioning.  At the same time, I wouldn’t be so sad if it closed down.  In the event, I could just go back to Kaohsiung’s Dream Mall 高雄的夢時代, a place where I prefer seeing movies anyway.  No matter what stores Showtime has, it will never have screens as big as Dream Mall, or as many stores and restaurants to choose from.  You can easily spend a day in Dream Mall, while half a day in Showtime is already pushing it.

I realize that the attraction of a place like Taitung is the slower pace of life, and the lack of development.  With this in mind, the idea of a multiplex in Taitung can be kind of depressing.  It helps to remember that one person’s “east coast paradise” is another person’s crushing poverty, and there were a number of economic reasons behind building this movie theater.  While I can’t say that I favor this kind of development, at least it’s not another coral jewelry outlet, or something even worse for the environment.

Wherever you are, happy Moon Festival 中秋節快樂.  Perhaps I’ll be seeing you at the movies.

5. Moon Festival/Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋節 (September 2013)

Happy Moon Festival!!!  中秋節快樂!!!

The Chinese here was written by 張青史, while the English was written by me.  This version of "Taiwanese Holiday Stories" (台灣節日故事) was published by Windmill Illustrated 風車圖書 in 2012. 


Mid-Autumn Festival

(15th Day of the 8th Lunar Month)

農曆八月十五日是我國傳統的中秋佳節.  這時候是一年秋季的中期所以稱作中秋.  農民曆裡一年分為四季每季又分孟季三期因此中秋也稱作仲秋.  八月十五日的月亮又比其他月分的月亮更圓更明亮所以也稱為秋節仲秋節八月節女兒節或團圓節是全國眾多民族共同的傳統文化節日也是僅次於春節的第二大傳統節日.  The 15th day of the 8th lunar month is the Mid-Autumn Festival, our country’s traditional holiday.  This time falls within the middle of autumn every year, so it is called Mid-Autumn.  In the lunar calendar, a year is divided into four seasons, and each season is divided into periods called “Meng,” “Jong,” and “Ji”.  Because of this, Mid-Autumn Festival is also called “Autumn Jong.”  During the 15th day of the 8th lunar month the moon is fuller and brighter than in other months, so this day is also called Autumn Festival, Autumn Jong Festival, 8th Month Festival, Daughter’s Festival, or Reunion Festival.  It is a holiday unique to our country’s people and culture, and after Chinese New Year it is the most important traditional festival.

這天夜晚人們仰望天空玉盤般的明月自然而然會期望與家人團聚.  遠在異鄉的遊子也藉此寄託對家人和故鄉的思念之情所以又稱為團圓節”.  During the evening on this day, people look up to the sky, and see the moon hanging like a great jade plate.  During this time families are also reunited, and those living in the most distant places return home to enjoy their families and the memories of the places where they grew up.  For this reason Mid-Autumn Festival is also called “Reunion Festival.”

中秋一詞最早見於周禮一書而真正形成全國性的節日則是在唐朝.  周代在中秋夜要舉行迎寒和祭月.  祭品中月餅和西瓜是絕對不能少的.  在月下將月亮神像放在月亮的方向點燃紅燭全家祭拜燃後由當家主婦切開團圓月餅.  切的份數要先算好全家的人數不論在家裡或在外地的都要計算在內不能多切也不能少切大小也要一樣.  The earliest record of the phrase “Mid-Autumn” occurs in the book “Jhou Li,” and the earliest description of this nationwide holiday goes back to the Tang Dynasty.  During the Jhou Period they held a “welcome the winter and worship the moon” activity, and during this activity they made numerous offerings of moon cakes and watermelons.  During the following month, it was thought that the moon god was present on the moon, and they lit red candles, the whole family made offerings, and afterward the family was reunited and the women would cut the moon cakes.  Before they cut the cakes they had to calculate the number of people in their family, regardless of whether these people were in the house or in some other place.  Everyone had to be counted, it was not permitted to cut too many or too few pieces, and the pieces had to be the same size.

在北宋八月十五夜不論貧父老少都要穿上成人的衣服焚香拜月祈求月亮神的保佑.  南宋時民間以月餅相互餽贈.  清以來中秋節的風俗更加盛行許多地方形成放天燈走月亮舞火龍等特殊的風俗.  During the Northern Song Period, on the night of the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, no matter one’s wealth or age, all had to wear adult clothes, make offerings to the moon, and seek the moon god’s protection.  During the Southern Song Period, people gave moon cakes to each other.  After the arrival of the Ming and Ching dynasties, the customs surrounding Mid-Autumn Festival became more firmly established.  In many places they hung lanterns, strolled beneath the moon, engaged in the “fire dragon dance” and other special customs.

台灣早期在中秋節流行吃月餅柚子闔家團圓賞月最近十多年來則盛行在這一天夜晚舉行烤肉大街小巷香味四溢令人垂涎三尺.  說不定哪一天人們會把中秋節稱作烤肉節”.  From the earliest times it has been fashionable to eat moon cakes in Taiwan during Mid-Autumn Festival, and also to eat pomeloes and walk with one’s reunited family beneath the moon.  In the past few decades it has become popular to barbeque during the evening on this day, and from every street and alley comes the mouthwatering smell of food cooking.  It may be that one day people will call Mid-Autumn Festival “Barbecue Day.”

台灣從前流傳著偷著蔥嫁好尪偷著菜嫁好婿的諺語因此未婚女子會在中秋節晚上去別人的菜園偷拔蔥或蔬菜只要成功了表示很快會嫁個如意郎君.  這種說法其實沒有科學根據而且偷拔菜是違法行為所以現在已經不流行了.  In Taiwan has also persisted the “steal an onion, marry well, steal a vegetable, marry a good husband” superstition.  Because of this, on the evening of Mid-Autumn Festival unmarried women will sneak into other people’s gardens and steal onions or [other] vegetables.  If they succeed, it means that they will soon marry their “Mr. Right.”  This superstition has no scientific basis, and it is also bad to steal vegetables, so this behavior is not so fashionable now.

6. Moon Festival and Typhoon Usagi (September 2013)

How was your Moon Festival?  If you spent it in Taiwan, hopefully it was suitably festive.  If you spent it outside Taiwan, hopefully you had some kind of fun.  I'm not sure how big a deal Moon Festival is in China, Singapore, and Hong Kong, but perhaps it was equally festive in those places too.

Those of us in Taiwan spent most of our Moon Festival indoors.  Typhoon Usagi arrived last weekend, so Moon Festival for most Taiwanese people was WINDY.  The rain didn't really start until Friday, the day after Moon Festival, but it was still difficult to get barbecues started with the wind whipping around like that.

On Moon Festival my mother-in-law came over from Kaohsiung 高雄, and she stayed with us for the entire four-day weekend.  There are certain contexts in which I enjoy my mother-in-law's company, but it is definitely a love/hate relationship.  She has a way of asking the same questions over and over, and being stuck inside with her for three days started to wear on me.

We did manage to barbecue on the roof of our apartment building Thursday night.  We have a pretty good view of Taitung City and its environs from our roof, and aside from the wind it was a pleasant place to barbecue.  The weather was very cool that night, and I got pleasantly drunk while I was eating.

Friday and Saturday, however, were beset by rain.  We weren't really able to go out on either of those days, though we did manage to visit the new (old) steak house on Friday night.  This is the former "Bulls" 公牛隊 steak house, which has recently been renamed and reopened under new management.  I was never fond of "Bulls," and I think their food is much better now.

Saturday was a journey into the darkest heart of boredom.  It rained and rained and rained, and the wind was very strong all day.  I spent most of this day reading Frank Herbert's "The White Plague," which is a truly awful book.  I would have read something else, but "The White Plague" is the last of Frank Herbert's novels I had yet to read, and I was determined to get through it.  I enjoy reading as much as anyone, but getting through that book was like cramming for a particularly unpleasant exam.

By Sunday the typhoon was subsiding, and I was able to get out a bit more.  My mother-in-law also left on Sunday morning, so there was less tension in the house.  We ate hot pot at this place on Shin Sheng Road 新生路, and I was surprised at how good it was.  I also had a chance to go swimming in the Flowing Lake 活水湖, and even though another thunderstorm rolled up at the time it was still great to be in the water.  Swimming in the middle of thunderstorms isn't the safest thing to do, but I found it exhilarating.

By Sunday night Typhoon Usagi was on the way to China, and the weather was growing calm.  I got into bed at a reasonable hour, thankful for the four-day respite from work.  I felt very refreshed and ready for the coming week.

Hopefully you had other good experiences on your last weekend.  It is good to take a break now and then.  Taiwan's next holiday is Double Ten (10/10), and I'll be getting the day off for that one as well.  Have yourself a great week - or at least have yourself a better week.  Perhaps I'll see you during the next barbecue, holiday, or typhoon!

7. Sporting Events in Taitung County 臺東縣: Fall 2013 (October 2013)

I went swimming in Taitung's Flowing Lake 活水湖 last Sunday, and watched some of the "Beauty of Taitung" 台東之美 triathlon.  I think it was the "sprint" competition.

I joined this event two years ago.  Can't say it was the best triathlon I've ever been to.  At the time a typhoon was on the way, and the whole thing was a mess from start to finish.  Hopefully they've learned how to do it better.

The Runner's Market* 跑者廣場 site says there's a Super Ironman coming on 10/12.  I don't attend "super ironmans" myself, owing to the fact that they are incredibly exhausting.  I do enjoy watching them though.  You've never seen Tired until you've seen the LAST guy to finish one of these things.  It's late, maybe eight hours or so after he's started, and he's in serious pain.

There are also many local soccer, table tennis, and badminton competitions during this time.  Most of them will be held in Taitung's Athletic Center 體育場.  These are primarily directed at elementary, junior, and high school students.

On 10/20 there's a running activity in Taitung's Forest Park 森林公園.  To join you are required to bring receipts for charity.  It would best be described as a 3K "fun run."

On 10/26 there's a strange "Dentist's Race" in Hai Duan Township 海端鄉.  I didn't study the rules all that closely, but I think you need to be a dentist to enter.  They have a marathon, a half marathon, and a 10K.  10/26 is also the day that the Taitung Urban and Rural Association 台東城鄉運動協會 hosts the third leg of a round-Taiwan bicycle race in Taitung's Forest Park.  There is also  an associated bicycle activity during this day.

The Taitung Open of Surfing is from 11/15 to 11/17.  I'm not a surfer myself, but I have heard many things - both good and bad - about this competition.

On 11/17 Chr Shang Township is hosting the Taitung Lohas Marathon 樂活馬拉松.  I'll be joining this one for the half marathon.  There are also marathon, 10K, and 5K divisions.  This race will be held on the scenic "Mr. Brown" road 伯郎大道, just south of downtown Chr Shang.

On 12/1 there's the Super Marathon in Chr Shang.  333 KM!  In six days, they run from Chr Shang to Hualien City 花蓮市, then from Hualien City down the coast to Taitung City, and from Taitung City back to Chr Shang, averaging 56 KM a day.  Lord knows why anyone would want to run that far, but I'm sure someone will show up for it.

There's also another, more reasonable marathon in Chr Shang on 12/7, the following weekend.  This marathon also features a half marathon and a 10K.  It starts from the Papago Resort 日暉度假村 in downtown Chr Shang, not far from the train station.  I'll probably go if I'm free that weekend.

And after this marathon there are no races scheduled until March 2014.  Perhaps I'll see you in Chr Shang!

8. Double Ten Day 雙十節 2 (October 2013)

The Chinese here was written by 張青史, while the English was written by me.  This version of "Taiwanese Holiday Stories" (台灣節日故事) was published by Windmill Illustrated 風車圖書 in 2012.

Double Ten Day (Taiwanese Independence Day)
(National Calendar, October 10)

滿清自入關統治中國以後, 對漢族採取婒酷的壓迫政策.  到了清朝末年, 官府腐敗無能, 官吏肆意搜刮人民的財物, 百姓生活痛苦不堪, 因此內亂四起.  加上列強不斷的侵略中國, 清廷屢戰屢敗, 只得割地賠款, 堂堂的中華民族受到如此的侮辱, 不僅使國人的自尊心大受打擊, 甚至連國家也面臨覆亡的命運.  After the Manchus* took administrative control of China, they imposed very oppressive policies upon the Han people.  By the end of the Ching Dynasty, the officials had become very weak and without ability, and these officials wantonly plundered the private property of citizens.  The lives of many people were difficult, and for this reason there was unrest in many places.  Added to this were the incursions of foreign powers into China, and the many reversals suffered by the Ching army.  The Ching court was forced to either partition the country or pay reparations, and the noble Chinese people were insulted by this.  It was not only a heavy blow to the people's pride, but the country also faced extinction.

國父孫中山先生看到這種情形, 知道民族已經面臨存亡關頭, 如果不推翻滿清政府, 中華民族將會陷入萬劫不復的地步.  於是毅然決然的集合許多愛國同志, 秘密進行革命工作.  When Dr. Sun Yat-sen witnessed these developments, he knew that the people faced a life-threatening crisis.  If the Ching Dynasty was not resisted, the Chinese people would approach a point of no return.  For this reason he gathered many patriots together, and secretly planned a revolution.

公元1894年, 中日爆發"甲午戰爭", 結果清朝戰敗, 被迫簽訂不平等的"馬關條約", 將台灣與澎湖割讓給日本.  在這件事情上, 滿清政府的腐敗無能展露無遺.  於是孫中山先生組織興中會, 倡導國民革命.  從那時起, 轟轟烈烈的革命行動便一次接一次的展開.  In 1894, the Sino-Japanese War erupted between China and Japan.  The Ching Dynasty lost this war, and was forced to sign the unfair Treaty of Shimonoseki, thus ceding the islands of Taiwan and Penghu to Japan.  In this matter the corrupt and inefficient nature of the Ching government was made obvious to all, and at this point Dr. Sun Yat-sen convened the Revive China Society, advocating a nationwide revolution.  From that time, revolutionary activities increased.

革命行動前後共有十一次 , 其中以第十次的廣州起義最壯烈, 犧牲也最慘重; 不過, 促使滿清皇帝退位, 建立中華民國的則是第十一次的武昌起義義.  因為這次起義是發生在辛亥年, 所以又稱作"辛亥革命".  There were 11 revolutionary activities in all.  Listed tenth among these activities was the most heroic of all, the Guangzhou Uprising.  This uprising was also the most costly, but it led to the abdication of the Ching Emperor and the establishment of the Republic of China.  The Wuchang Uprising was the eleventh revolutionary activity.  Because these uprisings happened during the same year as the Shinhai Uprising, they are called the "Shinhai Revolution."

清宣統3年(公元1911年)8月19日, 駐守在武昌的新軍工程第八營熊秉坤等人首先發難.  接著, 各營相繼響應, 革命軍氣勢如虹, 人人奮勇向前.  武漢三鎮首先光復, 不久, 各省也陸續被革命軍佔領.  清朝皇帝見大勢已去, 只好宣布退位.  During the third year of Emperor Puyi**(1911) on August 19, the eighth battalion of the new army was ordered to Wuchang.  The revolutionary army met the Ching forces, and everyone fought courageously.  Wuhan municipality was the first to be liberated, and the other provinces were slowly occupied by the revolutionary forces.  After the Ching Emperor saw these these disasters unfold, the only thing he could do was to abdicate.***

武昌起義是在農曆的8月19日, 換算成陽曆正是10月10日.  這是一個特殊而且直得紀念的日子.  因此, 政府特別訂定這一天為"國慶日", 又稱作"雙十節".  The Wuchang Uprising occurred on the nineteenth day of August in the lunar calendar, which is October 10 in the solar calendar.  This is a special and worthwhile day that ought to be remembered.  Because of this, the government has proclaimed that this day is "National Celebration Day" [Independence Day], and it is also called "Double Ten Day".

現在, 每年雙十節, 總統府前廣場都會舉行盛大的慶祝活動, 有時還會舉行閱兵典禮.  At the present time, during Double Ten Day every year, there is a big celebration in front of the Presidential Manor.  Sometimes there is also a military ceremony.

9. Hualien County, Fu Li Township 花蓮縣富里鄉 (October 2013)

Fu Li Township is in Hualien County, between Chr Shang in Taitung and Yu Li Municipality.  It is sparsely populated, and there are no cities in Fu Li, only towns.  The largest of these towns is Fu Li Town, which is the major transit point for the area.  富里鄉位於花蓮縣, 在台東池上鄉與花蓮玉里鎮中間.  富里的人口很少, 其中並沒有城市, 只有鄉村,  富里鄉最大的村莊是富里村. 它也是富里鄉最大的交通運輸點.

We have driven through Fu Li many times, while we were on the way to Jade Mountain National Park, An Tong Hot Springs, or places further north.  It is a very pretty area, relatively flat, and good for bicycling. 我們往玉山國家公園, 安通溫泉, 和其他較北邊的地方時都會經過富里, 所以我們開車經過富里好幾次.   這個地區很美也很平坦, 很適合騎腳踏車.

The church above is in Fu Li town, near the Fu Li train station.  It is probably the most interesting building in Fu Li.  There are many interesting old churches in this part of Taiwan, and Christianity is particularly strong within the aboriginal communities here.  上面照片中的教堂在富里村, 靠近富里車站, 應該是富里村最有意思的建築物.  台灣東部地區有很多特別的老教堂. 而且基督信仰在原住民社會中很強烈.

Aside from this church, there's really not much to see in Fu Li town.  The tourist information placards in the train station list several historic sites (an old fire engine, various temples, and a few old buildings), but none of it looked especially old or important.  除了這所教堂之外, 富里村的景點不多.  火車站有些地圖跟海報介紹富里的歷史遺跡(一輛消防車, 廟宇, 和其他的舊建築物), 只是所有文化古蹟的年代看起來並不久遠或重要.

This is the view from Fu Li High School, which lies on a hill behind the church.  As you can see, Fu Li is a very rural place, and very undeveloped.  It was Sunday morning, and it seemed like the whole town was either inside their homes or inside the church.  上面的照片是在富里國中拍的.  富里國中位在提到的教堂後面.  你應該看得出來, 富里是個很鄉下的地方, 沒什麼城市發展.  我們去到那裏的時間是星期天 , 感覺好像大部分的人不是在教堂, 就是在自己家裡.

Fu Li is probably best known for the rice it produces.  Like Chr Shang to the south, it has its own brand.  The facility where they package this rice can be seen from Highway 9, though I'm not certain whether or not there is anything for tourists to see within this facility.  I have already visited a similar facility in Guanshan, so I was less than interested in exploring another such place.  富里最有名的產品是富麗米.  他們跟池上一樣有自己的米.  從台9線可以看到他們的米廠, 可是我不知道觀光客可不可以參觀米廠.  我已經參觀過關山的米廠, 所以我對富里的米廠沒有興趣.

After entering Fu Li from the south, the first thing you will come across is the Luo Mountain Scenic area.  In my opinion this is one of the nicest places in east Taiwan, and I have already visited this place more times than I can count.  Taking a right off the highway, a wide road leads you to the Luo Mountain Visitor Center, where the above picture was taken.  I didn't visit the building in the background, but I know they sell lunchboxes and local products within.  從南邊進去富里之後, 你會先經過的地點是羅山遊憩區. 我去過好幾次.  我覺得羅山是東部最好的景點中一個.   從台9線右轉進去以後,順著寬大的馬路開,  你會經過羅山遊憩區遊客中心.  上面的照片就是在那邊拍的.  我沒有去過稻田後的建築物, 可是我知道他們裡面賣便當跟當地的名產.

The highlight of this area has got to be the waterfall and the river below it.  Signs tell you not to enter the water, but everybody does so anyway.  On a hot day this place is wonderful.  They also make tofu in this place, and just below the trail leading to the waterfall there is a restaurant that sells food.  羅山最棒的部分是瀑布跟瀑布下面的小溪. 那邊的牌子警告遊客不可以下水, 但是還是有很多人下去.  天氣熱的時候在這裡很舒服.  羅山這裡有泥火山豆腐.  在步道的起點也有個餐廳賣臭豆腐跟便當.

This is Luo Mountain, from a pond further south.  You can just make out the waterfall in the top right corner.  I have yet to see any tour groups from Mainland China here, and it is largely the haunt of Taiwanese people.  I have never seen any other "foreigners" here.  這是從羅山下的魚池看到的羅山. 羅山瀑布就在右邊山坡後面.  我在這裡沒看過大陸的旅行團, 也沒看過其他的外國人士.

Just up the road from Luo Mountain there is a sign directing you to Luen Tien Conservation Area, but this area was damaged during the last typhoon.  We asked a local policeman about it, and he said not to bother going there.  從羅山往北開, 有個指示牌標示崙天遊憩區, 只是當地的警察說那裏有點荒廢了, 因為之前的颱風把路吹壞了, 所以不用去了.

The most famous place in Fu Li has to be "Sixty Stone" Mountain, at the northern end of the township.  I wish I could put some pictures of it here, but we didn't go up there that day.  We were tired, and the sky was too cloudy.  I've been up there twice before, and I can tell you that the view - on a clear day - is stunning.  富里最有名的地點應該是北部的六十石山.  我很想把六十石山的照片放在這裡, 可是我們那一天沒去那裏.  我們很累, 而且當天也是陰天.  我去過六十石山兩次, 晴天時, 那裡的風景真是超棒的.

Just before you cross into Yu Li Municipality (before the rainbow bridge), there is a sign directing you towards the Yu Chang Highway, which connects Jade Mountain National Park with Chang Bin Township in Taitung.  Along this highway lies the An Tong Hot Spring Area, which I have written about elsewhere.  The picture above was taken there last year.  快到玉里鎮(那個彩虹橋前面), 你會看到玉長公路的路牌.  玉長公路是從台東縣的長濱鄉貫穿到玉山國家公園的南安遊客中心.  玉長公路的介紹是在另外一篇介紹安通溫泉 的文章. 上面的照片是去年在那裏拍的.

10. My New Car (October 2013)

A couple weeks ago we bought a Nissan Tiida.  This is the first new car I have owned.  Prior to buying the Tiida, we were driving a Ford Festiva.  This Festiva was very, VERY old - so old, in fact, that after buying the Tiida we sold it for scrap.

It makes me both happy and nervous, owning a new car.  I am happy because the Tiida is a real pleasure to drive - especially compared to our rusting Festiva, which could barely make it over the next hill.  It has a lot of room inside, and it gets great mileage.

I am nervous, however, because I am continuously worried about speeding, or just plain wrecking the thing.  It is very easy to speed in the Tiida.  I also worry about leaving it in parking lots or on city streets, where it would be easy to scratch.  After the Tiida is paid off, I will have spent more than 400,000 NT, and I'd like to keep it in good condition.

I love the Tiida.  This might sound ridiculous, but it's true.  I was driving that broken down Festiva for so long that I almost forgot what a pleasure driving can be.  As it is, I can only drive it once or twice a weekend, but I look forward to those one or two times every day of the week.

I'm sure that after a while I'll get bored of the Tiida.  It will become just another thing that I own, even if it is the most expensive thing I have EVER owned.  I'll drive it around and forget how much it cost me, or how much worse the Festiva was, or how nice it is to have a place to put my legs.  It will be like any other possession - and then, one day, hopefully far in the future - it will get worn down and I'll have to think about buying yet another car.

But for now I love the Tiida, and I am happy to think about the Tiida as I sit here, typing this.  If I have the time I'm going to drive the Tiida to a hot spring this weekend, and as I sit in the hot spring I'm going to think about the Tiida, and how pleasant it was to drive the Tiida around.

Ah, my Tiida.  I should have bought a new car much sooner.

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