1. Eating in Taitung City 台東市裡的餐廳 (December 2009)
Any list of "good restaurants" in Taitung City is bound to be almost entirely subjective. Even so, any list of "good restaurants" will at least steer people away from the unquestionably bad restaurants, of which Taitung has not a few.臺東任何的餐廳的排名都有很強的主觀性,就算如此,還是可以幫我們過濾掉一些被公認為難吃的餐廳.
Lately my favorite restaurant in the Han Guan Curry Restaurant on Jong Shing Road. This restaurant is on the way to RT Mart, near the Naruwan Hotel. Their curry is excellent, and they are very friendly. Most curry restaurants are very sparing with the vegetables they put inside their curry sauce. Han Guan is not, and I appreciate that.最近我最喜歡的餐廳是中興路上的涵館.它位在去大潤發的路上,靠近娜路彎飯店.那裡的咖哩很好吃而且服務也很親切 ,很多餐廳的咖哩都很稀淡,但是涵館的真是料多實在喔!
For good vegetarian food, I go to the little restaurant on Jeng Chi Road, the one not far from the intersection of Jeng Chi Road and Chuan Guang Road, just across from the vocational high school. I'm sorry, but their name completely escapes me at the moment. Their food is very reasonably priced, and also very good. The only thing I don't like there is the "Thai style noodles," which are so spicy they don't really taste like anything except hot peppers.如果是素食餐廳,我通常去正氣路上跟傳廣路交叉口附近的一家小吃店,它們的名字我真的記不起來 ,但是你只要到臺東商專對面就可以找到,它們的食物中,我唯一不喜歡的就是泰國酸辣麵,因為真的好辣,完成吃不出辣以外的味道.
If I had to pick a third favorite restaurant it would be the Lao Lin restaurant on Jung Hua Road. This restaurant is just across from Taitung University, and right next to the big hot pot restaurant. Their "ma-po" tofu is wonderful, and I have been going there for years. There's not a bad or indifferent thing on their entire menu.另外,我還喜歡東大前中華路上的老林,他們的麻婆豆腐真的很棒,我常常去吃,除了麻婆豆腐,他們菜單上的其他餐點也都很值得一試.
Which might leave you wondering: "Doesn't this guy ever eat western food?" My answer to that is "Not really." I go to KFC maybe once a month, and that's about it. I cannot stand McDonald's. If that makes me strange, so be it.可能你會好奇我吃不吃西餐,答案是:很少.我可能一個月去一次肯塔基,而且我很不喜歡賣當勞.
What follows are some honorable mentions:以下這些餐廳也很不錯:
1. The "Peace" restaurant, near the intersection of Bo-Ai Road and Shin Sheng Road. Good spaghetti, and not expensive."布蕾斯"位於新生路上,靠近博愛路,那裡的意大利麵很好吃而且平價.
2. "Tai Shr Fu", or the big red place on the corner of Tie Hua Road and Jung Hua Road. A good place if you're in a hurry and want to eat fried chicken."太師傅"位在中華路與鐵花路交叉口,是一個快速而且有好吃的炸雞腿的地方.
3. "Hakka Cuisine", just up Gung Sheng Road from the Tong Guan Supermarket. Cheap and good!"客家小吃"在更生路往火車站的路上,那裡有兩家,一家靠近新生國小,一家靠近四維路.新生國小旁的板條很讚,另一家的魯肉飯好吃到不行,兩家都是好吃又便宜.
4. The Vietnamese restaurant on Da Tong Road, across from where the movie theater used to be. I love their rice noodles.越南餐廳當然就要去大同路的,它在舊戲院前,他們的河粉真是讓我想到就流口水.
5. Lin Family Dumplings, on the Coastal Highway and Da Tong Road. Their dumplings are without a doubt the best in the city."鄰家蒸餃"也是在大同路上,只是它靠近海岸線,我覺得他們的蒸餃是臺東市區最棒的.
And that's about all I can think of for now. Typing this has made me very hungry, and I am sorry that it is still so long until lunch!這些是我目前想得到的,寫到這裡已經讓我覺得很餓!!
2. Tests 考試 (December 2009)
People in Taiwan love tests, or it least it seems that way. Every time I turn around someone is taking a test, or studying for a test, or correcting a test, or even wishing they didn't have to take another test. In big cities like Taipei this is especially true, in places like Taitung it is only slightly less so. 臺東這裡的人喜歡考試,在每個角落都可以聽到人們談論考試的相關事情,這應該是都市中人們的的共相.
Tests, tests, tests - all the time, and after a while you wonder if there is any aspect of Taiwanese existence that doesn't depend on or relate to a test in some way.有時會懷疑是否有任何臺灣人可以跳脫考試的壓力.
Which is not to say that people like me aren't occasionally part of this problem. I am a teacher, and I am both required and encouraged to give tests. These tests, of course, can serve an important diagnostic function. They allow me, the teacher, to know at least something about what my students have learned, and by the same token they allow my students to measure their own progress against both the goals of the class and the progress of other students.我也是考試網絡中的一員,因為我是個老師,需要對學生考試而且也被要求這麼做,考試可被用來了解學生的學習狀況,也可以讓學生了解自己的學習成效.
This said, tests aren't the end-all-be-all of any class. In a language classroom, for example, testing speaking and listening can present significant problems, especially with regard to accents being used, time allowed for responses, authenticity of responses, and other limitations imposed by a classroom setting. If I have 60 or more students, for instance, accurately gauging both their listening and speaking ability is going to be an enormous task. Furthermore, if I was to test them individually in the context of a two-hour class, how much time does that leave me to test each student? Two whole minutes?在語言教室中,聽力與口說的測驗可以了解學生的口說正確性,也讓學生有時間直接與老師對談.但是在時間的限制上很難達到預定目標,例如我有六十個學生好了,在進行英聽與口語測驗時就會是一個很大的工程 ,因為在兩小時的一對一測驗中每個學生實際分到的時間只有兩分鐘而已,另外就只剩下兩分鐘的時間學習.
Or in two classes, four whole minutes. In three classes, six whole minutes, and so on. Given a university semester of ten class sessions, that would give me a total of 20 minutes per student - were I to turn the ENTIRE SEMESTER into a giant listening and speaking test.如果整個學期都以這樣的方式進行,那每個小朋友分到的總學習時數就只有二十分鐘而已.
And sure, I can use one of the abstract sort of listening tests, wherein students respond in written form to the spoken word. But how accurate is that? How often have you been asked to respond in writing to what someone has said?當然我也可以利用其他的考試方法,就讓學生考聽寫,但是這樣對他們的口語表達實在沒多大幫助,因為沒機會講.
I can also ask students to speak into microphones, and record their verbal responses for later use, but this is only slightly more authentic than having them respond in writing. After all, it takes two people to have a conversation, and having students respond question-by-question without really providing any input of their own falls short of a true exchange between individuals. It is not a conversation. How then, is it a test of conversational ability?對話的進行需要兩個或兩個以上的人,對著麥克風錄下答案就只是單方面的說,沒有另一方的回應,所以說到最後的問題是對話是否適合列入考試之一.
Comparatively speaking, reading and writing are much easier to test. Hence the emphasis on these skills throughout Taiwan. Unfortunately, the overemphasis on these two skill leads to a kind of "lopsided English" divorced from any real capacity to understand and respond to the spoken word.英文的讀寫考試是較簡易的考試方式,這應該也是現今會這麼盛行的原因吧!
I suppose what I am trying to say is that tests can't measure everything, and this is especially true in the case of languages. I can give you a math test and your score on that test will be a fair measurement of your level of accomplishment in math, but any "conversational" test is likely to fall very short of the mark. Tests can be useful when used with discretion, and they can also be the gateway to promotions, schools, and new jobs, but they are not necessarily a reflection of how much you know. I know many people with excellent English who would probably test poorly in this subject, either because they possess a skill-set that is not being tested or they are just poor test-takers.考試的好壞不能完成代表能力的好壞,尤其在語言的考試上更是如此,我認識的一些朋友當中有的英文能力很好,但是考試成積就不理想,這可能是他自己不適合考試或是考得剛好是他不在行的.
It is also worthwhile to reflect on the difference between knowledge and wisdom. There are many knowledgeable people who are not wise, and many wise people who are not knowledgeable. Knowledge is just being smart: it is the ability to retain and recall information. Wisdom is being wise: it is the ability to live in harmony with oneself, others, and the world at large. In many contexts tests are good at measuring knowledge, but they are less-than-adequate indicators of how much wisdom one possesses.知識與智慧是有區別的,知識是指一個人處理訊息的能力;智慧則是處世的能力,考試能測的主要是知識的部分.
A wise person takes tests because they may prove useful to him or her. A wise person gives tests with an understanding of their limitations. Tests, it should be remembered, are not the ends in themselves but merely a means to an end. In this I try, at least, to be wise.有智慧的人接受考試是因為知道它有所用,而且也清楚自己的能力到那裡,考試應該只是一種學習的過程而不是學習的終止符.
3. Foreigners I Know (Besides Me) 我認識的外國人 (January 2010)
Living in Taiwan, and especially living somewhere like Taitung, I get asked a lot of strange questions by a lot of very curious people. These questions range from things like "Do you eat McDonald's every day?" to "If you live in America, how do you have the time to take the airplane here all the time?" Naturally, it is usually kids asking me these kind of questions, but you'd be surprised what kinds of questions also come out of the mouths of adults.住在臺灣,有時朋友問我很多奇怪的問題,例如:你每天吃麥當勞嗎?你住在美國怎麼有時間常常坐飛機來臺灣?通常這些問題是小朋友問的,但有 時大人們也有這些疑問,這就讓我很訝異了.
I suppose that one of the questions I am asked most frequently is whether or not I know some other foreigner. I can understand this sort of question coming from someone in Taitung - it's a small place, and the odds are good that just about any foreigner living here has crossed paths with me at some point. Even in places like Taipei, however, someone will say something like, "I just came back from Texas to visit my friend Rick, do you know him?"最常被問的是:你認不認識那個Peter還是John.......我可以了解為什麼他們這麼問,因為在臺東很容易認識或聽過某人,畢竟地方就 這麼大,只是有時在臺北這樣的城市也會發生,例如:我剛剛才從德州拜訪我的朋有Rick回來,你認不認識他?
I'm sure part of it is nervousness. There are many people in Taiwan who never really talk to someone from another country, and when they finally get the chance they're at a loss for something more intelligent to say. I imagine that if I lived somewhere like, say, Omak in Eastern Washington, and I met someone from Taiwan for the first time, I'd probably say a few ignorant things myself.我想他們可能太緊張了,很多人都沒有機會跟外國人接觸,等到他們有機會時,真的會不知道說什麼好,也許我如果住在美國很鄉下的地方,第一次 見到臺灣人也會說這樣的話.
So with this in mind I have to say (politely), that I don't know Rick from Texas. Neither am I acquainted with Lisa from Canada, Bobby from South Africa, nor Rex from England. Even if they live in Taitung. Honestly, I don't really talk to that many other foreigners, and having counted the other foreigners that I know, they would amount to about 10. It's not that I don't want to meet them, it's just that I'm not going out of my way to do so. Between work and family I just don't have that much time to seek out other foreigners, nor do I have an overriding desire to seek them out. 碰到這樣的情形,我還要附帶說明自己也不認識德州的Rick,加拿大的Lisa,南非的Bobby或是英國的Rex,就算他們住臺東,我也不大有可 能認識他們,不是不想,而是除了工作和陪伴家人,我已沒有那麼多時間再去認識其他人了.
The world might be growing smaller and smaller all the time, but we are still surrounded by many strangers. I am am glad to meet new friends, but I cannot know everybody!這個世界越來越小,但是我們每天還是會接觸到許多陌生人,我喜歡認識新朋友,只是我認識的人還沒有多到建立起一個龐大的網來含蓋所有 的臺東的外國人.
4. Working for Taitung University在東大教書 (January 2010)
If you are a foreign resident, finding work at Taitung University is fairly straightforward. Just send your resume to the English Department.如果你想在臺東定居,到台東大學應徵外語教學的工作是一個不錯的選擇.
The only problem is that there a stack of resumes - many very similar to yours or mine - sitting in the English Department.只是競爭者應該很多.
A lot of foreign residents want to work at Taitung University. A lot of foreign residents want to work at ANY university, and aside from the small matter of actually being qualified, the universities have no shortage of job applicants for any given position.很多外國人想在大學裡教書,相對的,在職缺不多的情況下,你就需要具備特定的學位條件.
I think a lot of people want to work at the University because it is perceived as being a "higher status" kind of job, and more intellectually challenging. This is sometimes true.很多人認為在大學裡教書比較有挑戰性,並且職稱也比較響亮.
Other people want to work at the University because they think they will be making a lot of money for very little work. This is most definitely NOT true. They might be right about the "very little work" part, but no one is getting rich teaching at Taitung University. I know from experience!有的人認為大學薪水較高,事實上並沒有想像中的好,在工作上或許比較輕鬆,因為每位外籍老師的排課時數並不多.
Working at Taitung Univeristy is strictly a part-time affair. The most hours I ever heard of anyone getting there was 18. The pay is also not that high - there are many bushibans and private kindergartens in the city that pay more.在臺東大學上班比較像是兼職的工作,一週的上課時數大概18個小時,所以薪水跟私立學校無法比.
If you are looking for a very relaxed place to work, however, you might give Taitung University a look. Just don't send your resume to the English Department. Find someone there to talk to, and be prepared for a long wait!如果你只是想找一個舒適的工作環境,那麼這裡是一個對的地方,但是最好找到系所的負責人直接談,不然你可能要等很久才有回音.
5. Cats Vs. Dogs 貓和狗哪個好 (January 2010)
I have been in many arguments about whether or not cats are better than dogs. I don't know if Taiwanese people have this argument as often as Americans, but I do know that every time I go back to Seattle someone starts it up.我常常捲入狗和貓那種寵物比較好的爭論,不知道臺灣人是否也和美國人一樣 ,會為了這樣的事爭辯,但是我知道在西雅圖這是個熱門的話題.
Previously I would have sided with the cat lovers. I have owned many cats, both in Taiwan and in America. I still feel that cats are much smarter than dogs, and also much easier to take care of. Yeah, cleaning out their litter is a pain, but it's not half as unpleasant as waking up on a winter morning and taking a dog for a walk.通常我跟愛貓人士聊貓時會提到我自己的貓,我始終認為貓比較好照顧,而且貓比狗聰明,只是清理貓砂的工作不是很好玩,但是比起要帶狗散步這一點是好多了,因為冬天的早晨很冷呢!
Most people who love dogs cite their loyalty before anything else. Cats are very self-centered, dog lovers argue, and dogs are more emotionally responsive. Dogs, they say, are much better companions than cats, and dog lovers can produce many examples to prove this point.大部分的愛狗人士會強調狗的忠誠度,認為貓較自我中心,而且狗會和你互動,是一個很好的伴等......
As said above, until recently I would have sided firmly with the cat lovers, but since owning my first dog I'm not so sure. I still think cats are less work than dogs, but then again, when I come home and my dog is so happy so see me I'm not sure if cats are really all that much better. Yes, dogs are loyal. And yes, dogs do make you feel more loved. In their way they are a higher-maintenance kind of pet, but then again you can't take cats along on car trips, and cats really don't appreciate being included in swimming expeditions.通常我會站在愛貓人士那一派,但是自從我有了第一隻狗後,我的態度就不那麼絕對了,我依然認為貓比較好照顧,但是當我下班回到家,看到我的狗那麼興奮地迎接我時,我就不認為貓比狗好了,而且出遠門時可以帶狗一起,貓就不行,並且貓也不喜歡任何與水有關的活動,例如游泳.
We found our dog on the road near Li Yu Mountain. She is a bit crazy, but as long as we don't let her into our living room the eight of us (4 humans, 3 cats, and 1 dog) live in relative harmony. She loves car trips, and when she sees you after a long time she'll do a back flip and let you touch her belly. She loves to eat garbage found along the road, but she also loves us more than any other creatures - I am sure of that.我們是在鯉魚山附近撿到我們的狗的,牠有點瘋狂,但是只要我們不讓牠進客廳,基本上,對我們八個(四個人,三隻貓,一條狗)是沒什麼影響的.牠很喜歡坐車,如果牠一段時間沒看到我們,當牠見到我們時會後空翻,倒在地上要人摸肚子,牠也很喜歡吃路上的垃圾,另外一點,我相信牠最愛的生物應該就是我們一家四口.
If you are thinking about getting a dog, I would encourage you to adopt one from a shelter. They need your love, and after they are fixed they become much calmer. For that matter there are also many cats waiting for owners, and if you are more of a "cat person" (as I am), there is no shortage of kittens waiting for people to take care of them.如果你考慮要養狗,我會建議你去動物收容所認養,狗狗結紮後會比較溫馴,而且那些動物們真的需要一個愛牠的家,當然除了狗之外,還有貓也在排隊等著人們帶牠們回家.
Just don't buy them from pet stores. More often than not, those animals are a bit in-bred, overpriced, and prone to a host of health problems. There are plenty of pets you can get for almost nothing, and you will get so much love in return!請不要在寵物店買賣動物,牠們通常是人們特意繁殖的, 除了貴之外,也有許多的健康問題.只要你願意,有很多不用錢的可愛動物可供你選擇, 並且最主要的一點是:你會得到滿滿的愛作回報.
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