2018年12月28日 星期五

The Countries Next Door 鄰近的國家

Chinese New Year is on the way, and some of my friends are already talking about trips they're taking during winter break.  One foreign friend is taking his wife and son to the Philippines.  Another foreign friend is going back to the States.  A Taiwanese friend is going to the Maldives and Malaysia.  農曆新年快到了, 有幾個朋友已經開始討論寒假要去哪裡玩.  有一個外國朋友要帶他的太太跟兒子去菲律賓, 一個外國朋友要回美國,  還有一個台灣朋友要去馬爾第夫跟馬來西亞.

Me?  My family and I are going to the Kyoto/Osaka area for a little over a week.  We'll probably stay in Taipei on the way back.  We're coming back from Japan just before the Chinese New Year holiday, and a visit with my wife's relatives in north Taiwan seems likely.  我?  我們家要去京都和大阪一個禮拜.  之後大概會在台北幾天.  我們從日本回來時就快到春節了, 應該會在北台灣跟我太太的家人見面.

Thinking about my upcoming trip to Japan (and maybe Taipei), it's impossible not to think of all the other trips we've taken from Taiwan to nearby countries.  Thailand was the first, a country I've visited several times since.  After that I think we went to Malaysia and Singapore.  Still later, after my first daughter was born, we went to South Korea.  I'm not sure about the order of other trips we've taken, but we've also been to Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan (Okinawa), Hong Kong, and most recently Bali, in Indonesia.  Of course some of these trips were more fun than others, but I have good memories from all of them, and I wouldn't mind visiting any of those places again.  一想到要去日本 (跟台北) , 我就想起以前去過的鄰近國家.  泰國是第一個, 我們之後還再去了幾次.  泰國以後, 我們去了馬來西亞跟新加坡.   我的大女兒出生之後, 我們去南韓.  其他旅行的順序我記不清楚了, 我們也去過越南, 柬埔寨, 日本 (琉球), 香港還有最近的印尼峇里島.  當然有的國家的旅行經驗比較好, 可是每次旅行都有好的回憶.  我也願意再去這些國家旅行.

One of the great things about Taiwan is that you can visit all of these places in just a few hours.  They're all in the same neck of the woods, so to speak, and transit through Hong Kong or Kuala Lumpur makes even more destinations possible.  Countless international flights leave from Taipei and Kaohsiung, and I've even heard that you can now fly direct from Taichung to Siem Reap, in Cambodia.  台灣的一個好處就是去這些國家只要幾個小時的時間.  它們都在同一個地區, 在香港或是吉隆波轉機可以方便的去更多的地方.  無數的國際航班從台北跟高雄起飛.  我最近也聽說從台中可以直飛到柬埔寨的暹粒市.

I like sitting at work and thinking about all the places I could go.  It's nice to have that escape valve handy when life in Taiwan becomes repetitive, annoying, difficult and/or stressful.  Sometimes it's best just to press the pause button on Taiwan, and go mess around in the rest of East or Southeast Asia for a while.  It's not that hard to do, and in many cases it's not even that expensive.  我喜歡坐在辦公室想可以去玩的地點.  當台灣的生活變得很無聊, 很煩, 很困難或是壓力太大的時候, 能有逃開的機會真好.  有時候按一下臺灣的 "暫停鍵" 去東亞或是東南亞走走不是難事, 也不一定貴.

Not that anyone need feel too bad if they don't have the time or money to venture off the island.  Sometimes just leaving your city or county is enough, and Chinese New Year - aside from difficulties with local transportation - offers the opportunity to do just that.  Last Chinese New Year we didn't go anywhere, we just wandered around downtown Taipei and Keelung for a week, and that was fine.  Sometimes, I dare say, going to other countries is more trouble than it's worth.  Staying home is sometimes the better option.  我的意思不是時間太短, 錢不夠, 或沒辦法出國的人要覺得很失望.  有時候只要去外縣市就好.  春節 - 除了交通不方便之外 - 給所有人這種機會.  去年寒假我們留在台灣, 在台北和 基隆逛街.  有時候出國很麻煩, 留在家裡反而是最好的選擇.

Whether you're staying in Taiwan or headed elsewhere, I hope you have a good Chinese New Year.  Enjoy your family, if you'll be with them.  Enjoy your friends if you won't.  Try to do at least one stupid/embarrassing/dangerous/questionable thing, and if nothing else you'll have a story to tell.  Because that's all a trip really is, isn't it?  A story to tell, later on.  不管你是要留在台灣還是前往其他地方, 我想祝你有一個快快樂樂的春節.  跟家人在一起的人享受天倫, 離家人很遠的人要享受與朋友在一起的樂趣.  大家應該試著做一件笨笨/丟臉/危險/沒有意義的事.  這樣子才有好玩的故事可以分享.  因為我們都為了有故事才去旅行不是嗎?  有故事可以說就好了.

Happy 2019, by the way.  By the time your read this the four-day New Year's weekend will be upon us, and after that Chinese New Year is right around the corner.  The Year of the Pig (Boar) is coming, and having a good meal sometime this weekend would be a good way of getting ready for that.  最後祝2019快樂.  你看這文章時表示四天連假已經來臨了, 連假過後新年就快到了.  明年是豬年, 這周末吃大餐也可以算是為豬年做準備.

Related Entries 相關的文章:

Another Day in "Scenic Kaohsiung" 在風景美好高雄的一日
Hello Taitung Person 台東人你好 6
What's Going On the Seventh Floor of My Apartment Building  我大樓7樓發生了什麼事
10 Weirder Destinations in Taiwan 十個比較特別的台灣景點

2018年12月21日 星期五

Another Day in "Scenic Kaohsiung" 在風景美好高雄的一日

I'd like to think I know Kaohsiung pretty well.  I've never lived in that city, but during 19 years of living in Taiwan I've visited the place countless times.  It helps that my mother-in-law lives there.  It also helps that it's the closest big city to Taitung, where I live.*  我想我蠻了解高雄的,  雖然我沒有住過那個城市, 可是我在台灣的十九年內去了高雄多次.  我岳母住那裏, 高雄也是最靠近台東的大城市.

After parking our car near the Martial Arts Stadium we took the MRT to Shidzewan.  This picture was taken down the road from that MRT station.  Sun Yat-sen University is on the other side of that hill in the background, and the Old British Consulate at Takow** is on the ridge to the left.  我們把車停在技擊館附近之後坐捷運去西子灣.  這張照片是在捷運站附近的路上拍的.  中山大學在背景的山坡後面, 打狗英國領事館在山坡上的左邊.

During the Ching Dynasty Kaohsiung was just a sleepy fishing village.***  Later the Japanese modernized the port.  Later still a lot of factory areas sprung up in that area.  Nowadays it's one of Taiwan's largest cities.  清朝時候的高雄只是一個小漁村.  日治時期日本人將它建設成現代化的港口, 沒多久很多工廠在那附近出現.  現在高雄是台灣最大城市中的一個.

From the ferry terminal you can take a ferry to Chijin Beach, which is the mildly scenic spit of land on the other side of the port.  I've been there a couple times, and I feel the need to warn you that it's NOT awesome.  Want a somewhat interesting interesting place to eat seafood?  Sure, go to Chijin.  Just DON'T go there expecting Kenting.  從輪碼頭可以坐船到漁港另外一邊的旗津, 那裡風景不怎樣.  我去過二次, 我覺得那裏不怎麼好玩.  想去不一樣的地方吃海鮮的話, 你大概會覺得旗津不錯.  不要期待那裡像墾丁就好了.

Look at that smog.  Kaohsiung certainly has its share of air pollution, though the local government has been working on the problem.  Some of this smog may originate in Xiamen, across the Taiwan Strait.  看一下那邊的空氣.  高雄的空氣品質不好, 可是當地政府很勇敢的面對這個問題.  有可能部分的空氣污染是從台灣海峽的另外一邊的廈門來的.

I love boats.  There are hundreds (thousands?) of them around here.  我超愛船.  這裡到處都有.

Looking south.  If you're ever lost in Kaohsiung just look for the 85 Skytower, that building in the center.  Pretty much everything interesting in Kaohsiung is located within a few MRT stops of that building.  往南邊看.  如果你在高雄迷路的話, 只要找照片中間的85大樓就好了.  高雄大多數有趣的地點都在85大樓附近的捷運站旁.

This is the ferry terminal.  To the left of the entrance, down the street there are a few good restaurants.  One of these restaurants was selling "coffee fried rice."  I thought about eating it, but my courage failed me.  這是輪碼頭.  大門的左邊附近有幾家很不錯的餐廳.  有一家也賣咖啡炒飯, 我考慮過要不要吃, 最後不敢.

Shidzewan is not a bad area to walk around.  The hill at the end of the street is Shou Mountain, where the Kaohsiung Zoo is.  I STRONGLY recommend not going to the Kaohsiung Zoo.  It's second-worst zoo I've been to, the worst being a weird "zoo" I went to in Thailand where people hit monkeys with sticks.  在西子灣散步不錯.  馬路盡頭的小山坡是壽山,  高雄的動物園在那裏.  我強烈建議不要去高雄動物園.  那邊是我去過的動物園中最慘的第二名.  第一名是在泰國的 "動物園", 那裏的管理員用棍子打猴子.

In Shidzewan there are many interesting temples tucked behind houses and stores.  Aside from the smog, it wouldn't be a bad area to live in.  在西子灣有很多有意思的廟被房子和商店藏起來了.  除了空氣污染之外, 住在這個社區大概不錯.

After Shidzewan we went to a few department stores.  FE (Far Eastern) 21, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi and Sogo.  This picture was taken in the Jung Shing Night Market, close to the San Duo Shopping District MRT Station.  在西子灣之後我們去逛百貨公司,  大遠百, 新光三越跟太平洋百貨.  這張照片是在三多商圈站附近的中興夜市拍的.

I've spent more hours in this FE 21 than I care to think about.  Next to it is the good 'ol 85 Skytower, which looks ready to transform into a giant robot any day now.  我花過無數小時在這棟大遠百.  在百貨旁邊的建築是85大樓.  85大樓好像隨時準備變形的機器人.

And this is what the Kaohsiung MRT looks like at 5:30 pm on a Saturday.  So many people you have trouble breathing.  To be fair this is the Formosa Boulevard Station, where the two MRT lines intersect.  這是禮拜六下午5:30的高雄捷運.  人多到呼吸困難.  這是紅線跟黃線交會的美麗島站.

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*It's a 3.5 hour drive from Taitung City to downtown Kaohsiung.  Hualien City SHOULD be faster, but lately I'm finding that the trip there is closer to 4 hours.  Some people will of course say they can drive these distances in a shorter amount of time, but there's no way they're abiding by speed limits.

**"Takaw" is another spelling of Takao or 打狗.  Takao is the old name for Kaohsiung.  I believe it means "forest refuge from pirates" or something to that effect in one of the aboriginal languages.

***To be fair, it was also a trading port.  Check out this fun picture of Kaohsiung First Seaport 高雄一海港 in 1871.

2018年12月19日 星期三

民族復興節 "National Revival Day"*

The following was taken from the book "Chinese Holiday Stories 中國節日故事."  This book was published by ACME Cultural Enterprise Co., Ltd. 世一文化事業股份有限公司 in 2000.

"National Revival Day"
December 25

民國十六年, 日本軍人田中義一組織內閣, 執掌政權; 自從那時候起, 便積極展開對中國的侵略, 故意製造各種事端, 公然挑釁.  In the 16th year after the founding of the Republic of China, the Japanese military officer Tanaka Giichi** formed a cabinet, and took control of Japan.  From that time [Japan] was a continual threat to China, and the [Japanese] manufactured various "incidents" and publicly provoked [the Chinese state].

先總統  蔣公深深明白 "攘外必先安內" 的道理, 因此, 積極致力於國內的統一於安定.  The first President, Chiang Kai-shek, deeply understood the importance of "first achieving domestic [internal] tranquility before dealing with external threats."  For this reason he actively pursued domestic stability.***

在政府軍的努力下, 到了民國二十四年, 共黨勢力已被大為削弱, 國內逐漸呈現穩定狀態.  Thanks to the efforts of the military, in the 24th year of the Republic of China, the strength of the communist party was greatly diminished, and the domestic situation slowly stabilized.

不料, 民國二十五年十二月, 西安駐軍將領張學良, 楊虎城受到共黨的煽動, 竟挾持當時的軍事委員長  蔣中正先生, 並提出聯合蘇俄, 容納共黨, 推翻政府等八項極為荒謬的主張.  政府軍立即派兵北上征伐, 雙方僵持不下, 但在同時, 和平營救的努力也不斷在進行著.  In December of the 25th year of the Republic of China, the generals Jang Shui-liang and Yang Hu-cheng of the Xian Garrison somehow fell under the sway of the communists, and they held Generalissimo Chiang kai-shek prisoner for some time.  They wanted to align with Soviet Russia, and make accommodations to the communist party.  They wanted to overthrow [the KMT] government, and put forward eight absurd claims.  The government then ordered troops north to oppose them, and the two sides fought to a standstill.  At the same time, efforts at peacemaking were ongoing.

最後, 在宋子文等人的奔走勸導, 及張學良看了  蔣委員長的日記及文件後, 終於良知發現, 親自護送  蔣委員長回南京.  那一天, 正是民國二十五年的十二月二十五日.  In the end Song Dze-wen and others came to the rescue, and after seeing Generalissimo Chiang's diaries and other writings Jang Shui-liang finally came to his senses and personally escorted Generalissimo Chiang back to Nanjing.  The day [of Chiang Kai-shek's arrival in Nanjing] was December 25, during the 25th year of the Republic of China.

由於  蔣委員長的脫險, 才得以在次年領導抗戰, 復興中華; 因此, 後來政府便定那天為民族復興節.  Thanks to the Generalissimo Chiang's escape from danger, during the following year he was able to lead the battle to recapture China [from the Japanese].  Afterward the government declared this day National Revival Day.

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*This is NOT an official holiday now.  It previously fell on the same day as Taiwan's Constitution Day 行憲紀念日AND Christmas, but you won't find it on any recent calendars.  I already translated the entry for Constitution Day and you can read it here.  Christmas?  I think we're all familiar with the story!

**The description "military officer" diminishes him quite a bit.  He became Prime Minister in 1927, or year 16 according to the Republic of China calendar.  The Republic of China/National Calendar (國曆) began with the founding of the Republic of China in 1911.  Just subtract 1911 from any subsequent date and that's the date on the National Calendar.

***Which included ordering the murder of suspected communists and other political opponents.  He wasn't the nice, selfless guy this entry would lead you to believe.  He's often criticized for pillaging southern China while the Japanese were overtaking the north.  He received his military training in Japan and he dabbled in fascism early on.

2018年12月13日 星期四

Hello, Taitung Person 台東人你好 6

In the Hello, Taitung Person entries I'll be interviewing local residents.  They decide what kind of biographical information to include.  Some people are more private individuals, and I respect that.  Others are happy to make their presence known, and I respect that too.  在 "台東人你好" 這些文章中我會介紹當地的居民.  這些資訊是他們同意分享的.  有的人比較重視隱私,  有的人則開心地讓他人更認識自己.  我尊重這二者不同的做法.

All numbered questions were chosen randomly from a list of 51 questions.  下列編號的問題是隨機由五十個問題中選出來的. 

The thoughts and opinions expressed below belong to the person offering them, and may not be shared by the person writing this blog.  下列是被訪問者的想法與意見, 與寫這個blog的我不一定一樣.

First Name 名字: Jeff
Last Name 姓: Pike
Chinese Name 中文名字: (It's a secret! 這是秘密!)
Employment 工作地點: English Teacher 英語教師
Country of Origin 國家: USA 美國
Age 年齡: (It's a secret! 這是秘密!)
Length of Residence in Taiwan 居住在台灣的時間: 9 years 年
Place of Residence in Taitung 住在台東地區: Across the Beinan River 卑南溪的另一邊
Favorite Colors 最喜歡的顏色: blue 藍色

1. Q: What do you like to do?  你喜歡做什麼?

A: "What do I like to do..."  Uh, wow, I like to play with my son.  Um, I like to exercise, like ride my bike.  I like to hang out with my friends and play music.  And sometimes I really like to teach!  "我喜歡做什麼..."  嗯, 我喜歡跟我的兒子玩,  我喜歡運動, 我喜歡騎我的單車,  我喜歡跟朋友一起聊天跟玩音樂,  有時候我真的很喜歡教書!

2. Q: What do you like to eat?  What do you not like to eat?  你喜歡吃 什麼?  你不喜歡吃什麼?

A: Um, I like to eat vegetables and fruits.  I'm mostly vegetarian, but I do eat fish.  Uh... I don't like to eat fried food... or like, pigs or cows, you know.  嗯, 我喜歡吃蔬菜跟水果.  我通常吃素, 可是我也吃魚.  嗯... 我不喜歡吃炸的東西... 並且像豬肉和牛肉.

3. Q: What do you like least about Taiwan?  你不喜歡台灣什麼?

A: "Least about Taiwan..."  Uh... I miss being in an English culture where, for instance this is a small town and maybe like if I lived in a college town in the U.S. I could join a theater group or something.  Where... and my Chinese skills are very poor, so I know I'm missing out on a lot of cultural, you know, happenings.  So I kinda miss that.  "不喜歡的部分?"  嗯... 我想念以英文為母語的文化裡.  比方說, 如果我在美國住在大學附近的小鎮的話, 我可以參加戲劇社團或其他的活動.  在... 我的中文很差, 所以我知道自己錯過了很多文化活動.  我有點想念參與活動的快樂.

4. Q: What is best in life?  生命中最美好的事情是什麼?

A: "What is best in life?"  Well being alive!  I think special moments. Like waking up to the present moment I guess.  Playing music with your friends.  Having fun with my son.  Just being in the moment, being truly alive.  Doing what you love.  "生命中最美好的事情?"  當然是活著這件事!  我想就像覺知當下.  跟朋友玩音樂,  跟我兒子玩,  就是享受當下, 真正的活著.  做喜愛的事.

5. Q: Are you self-employed?  And if not, would you like to be?  What type of work?  你自己開業嗎?  如果不是, 你想要嗎?  哪一種工作?

A: No, I work for the government, so I guess I'm a Democrat Socialist, huh?  I'm a teacher, for the public schools.  I enjoy my job, so...  I'm fine with being employed by the government.  我在公家機關上班.  我大概算是民主社會主義者, 對不對?  我在公立學校當教師.  我喜歡我的工作, 所以...  我對政府的工作很滿意.

6. Q: How could Taiwan be better?  台灣哪裡可以更好?

A: Oh gosh.  Well I think Taiwan is great.  Glad I live here.  "How could it be better?"  Uh, maybe you know - we're pretty good here - some of the big cities - bad pollution, so if we could get off the coal plants and get more into, you know, alternative energy, stop burning ghost money, stuff like that.  It's slowly happening, but I think Taiwan could be better environmentally.  Less air pollution.  哇.  我想台灣很好.  我喜歡住這裡.  "哪裡可以更好?"  嗯, 有可能 - 我們這裡的狀況不錯 - 有的大都市 - 污染的問題很嚴重, 所以如果不再使用煤電廠, 多利用替代能源, 不燒金紙等.  這些事情慢慢的改變了, 可是我想台灣的環境還可以更好.  要減少空氣污染.

7. Q: Where are you going after this interview?  這個訪問結束之後你要去哪裡?

A: [Laughing]  You can put that laughing.  Not sure!  Where am I going?  I've gotta go fill up my water container.  Get some filtered water.  I'm either going home or going to the store.  [在笑]  你可以寫我在笑.  不確定!  我要去哪裡?  我要去把水桶裝滿.  買濾過水.  我不是回家就是去買東西.

8. Q: What countries have you visited?  你去過哪些國家?

A: Oh jeez.  About 14.  Which ones?  You want me to list all of them?  Well, I've lived in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Germany, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia. Lao, India.  Is that 14?  What is that?  Is that it?  ...thought it was more.  Throw in Japan, too.  I forgot about Japan.  Actually I've been to Philippines, too.  I've lived in Taiwan, the U.S., and Japan.  天啊.  十四個左右.  哪一些?  你要我說全部的國家嗎?  好, 我住過美國, 加拿大, 墨西哥, 危地馬拉, 德國, 台灣, 泰國, 越南, 柬埔寨, 寮國, 印度.  總共十四個嗎?  是不是?  還有嗎?  我想還有其他的...  日本也算.  我忘記了日本.  其實我也去過菲律賓.  我住過台灣, 美國跟日本.

9. Q: What do you like most about Taiwan?  你最喜歡台灣哪一個部份?

A: What do I like most about Taiwan?  People are very friendly.  It's a beautiful environment.  We live in a beautiful place, Taitung.  Beach and the mountains.  The food is good.  I'm mostly vegetarian, vegetarian food is great here.  So, I mean the people, the environment, the food.  Yeah, those three.  我最喜歡台灣哪一個部份?  這裡的人很親切.  環境很美.  我們住在漂亮的台東.  海灘跟高山.  食物很好.  我通常吃素, 這裡的素食餐廳很不錯.  所以, 我的意思是這裡的人, 環境, 食物這三樣都很好.

10. Q: Does Taiwan's history interest you?  Why or why not?  你對台灣的歷史有興趣嗎?  為什麼?

Yes, it interests me.  But especially the recent history, and the aboriginal history.  How the aboriginals... I've learned that the aboriginal culture came here first, if you go way back... and it spread out all through Austronesia, right?  So that's very fascinating to me.  You know how we have 13 tribes here.  And the recent political culture too.  How it's gone to democracy.  From a one party rule to a vibrant democracy.  對, 我有興趣.  特別有興趣的是近代歷史跟原住民的歷史.  原住民怎麼... 我知道原住民文化很久以前最先來到這裡... 然後發展傳到南島區不是嗎?  所以我認為很有趣.  你知道, 有十三個原住民族對不對?  還有近代的政治歷史.  如何成為民主政治.  從一黨制到現代化的民主國家.

Related Entries 相關的文章

What's Going On the Seventh Floor of My Apartment Building  我大樓7樓發生了什麼事
10 Weirder Destinations in Taiwan 十個比較特別的台灣景點
Unpopular Opinions
Hello Taitung Person 台東人你好 5

P.S. I'll be doing these until I run out of questions.  I ask every question on my list three times, which means I'll be interviewing 15 or 16 people.

2018年12月9日 星期日

What's Going On the Seventh Floor of My Apartment Building 我大樓7樓發生了什麼事

The garbage truck is coming.  垃圾車快到了.

Oh, wait.  I'm sorry.  That wasn't emphatic enough.  喔! 等一下.  不好意思,  我說的太小聲.


There, that's better.  好,  這樣子好多了.

...and, aside from the garbage truck coming, what else is going on the seventh floor of my apartment building?  除了垃圾車快到了之外, 在我們大樓七樓還發生了什麼事?

Well, for one thing, the nice lady that lives down the hall isn't home yet.  She works at Chu Lu Ranch, and she usually gets home right after the garbage truck arrives.  What does she do with her garbage, I wonder?  Does she store it in her house?  Does she consort with other garbage trucks, on other roads, at other times of day?  How does she do it?  我在想走廊另外一邊的公寓的小姐還沒到家.  她在初鹿牧場上班, 她通常在垃圾車走掉之後才回到家.  我不知道她怎麼處理她的垃圾,  她把垃圾儲藏在家裡?  她在不同的時間丟? 在其他的馬路丟? 或丟在其他的垃圾車嗎?  她到底怎麼處理她的垃圾?

By the smell of frying fish I know that "Weird Guy," her next door neighbor, is home.  Weird Guy lives all alone, except for the "special days" on which his "special lady friend" comes to visit him (for a fee, I think).  Everyone in our building hates Weird Guy, and Weird Guy hates everyone in our building.  Weird Guy used to be a taxi driver, but now he's in construction.  Weird Guy used to walk around his apartment nude in the summer, with only the screen door to partially conceal his nakedness.  If Weird Guy is waiting for the elevator and sees anyone coming, he'll pretend he wasn't waiting for the elevator at all, and he'll start walking around the downstairs courtyard.  聞到炸魚的味道, 所以我知道初鹿牧場的小姐的鄰居(Weird Guy)在家.  Weird Guy自己一個人住那間公寓, 但偶爾會有一位 "特別的小姐" 來他的公寓 (應該是要付費的那種小姐).  我們大樓所有的住戶討厭Weird Guy, Weird Guy也很討厭我們大樓所有的住戶.  以前Weird Guy是計程車司機, 現在則忙著建造業的工作.  以前夏天的時候, Weird Guy在公寓裡沒穿衣服走來走去, 只隔道紗門遮掩他的赤身露體.  如果Weird Guy在一樓等電梯並看到其他住戶走近電梯, Weird Guy就假裝不等電梯, 只在一樓大廳散步而已.

On the other side of Weird Guy there's a nice man who I sometimes talk to in the elevator.  Yes, after dumping the damn garbage in the damn truck.  This man is nice but he's extremely shy, and we never have that much to say to each other.  I have the feeling he is or was a college professor somewhere, but I'm not sure if this is only an impression or because of something someone told me.  Weird Guy的另外一邊有一位很客氣的先生.  我有時候在電梯裡跟他講話.  對了, 在把可惡的垃圾丟進可惡的垃圾車之後,   這個先生很客氣, 可是他非常害羞,  所以我們二個人對彼此都沒什麼好說的.  我想他曾經或者現在是哪裡的教授, 可是不知道這是我的感覺或是其他人跟我講的.

Next door to me there's a couple with a dog.  The woman is nice, but she seems like the kind of person with low self-esteem.  Her husband (boyfriend?) seems to be doing his military service.  Either that, or he just likes wearing camouflage.  They have a thin neurotic dog that lives in their doorway, and this dog is very curious about the cats that live in our apartment.  The nice woman with the seemingly low self-esteem works in one of the Taitung County Government offices, though I'm not sure which one.  I don't know if they're home now or not.  我們家隔壁是一對男女和一隻狗.  那位小姐很客氣, 也像有點自卑的那種人.  她的先生 (還是男朋友?) 好像在當兵.  他如果不是當兵就是喜歡穿迷彩服, 我不知道.  他們二個的狗又瘦又怕人, 也很好奇我們家裡的貓.  這位很客氣的小姐在縣政府某一個處室上班, 我不知道是哪一個, 我也不知道他們現在在不在家.

A family lives down the hall.  I don't know them at all.  They just moved in not long ago.  They have small children, and an older girl who I see in the elevator during THE TIMES WHEN THE GARBAGE TRUCK IS COMING OH MY GOD THE GARBAGE TRUCK IS COMING.  有個家庭住在走廊的盡頭.  我不認識他們.  他們剛搬進去那間公寓.  他們有小孩, 我在"天啊!垃圾車快到了的時候"在電梯裡見到年紀比較大的女兒.

And that's just my half of the building.  There's a whole other half that you can only reach by going over the roof, or going downstairs and taking the other elevator up to the seventh floor.  這些人都住在我這一半的7樓.  還有另外一半.  到那一半的7樓要上去屋頂或是下樓坐另外一邊的電梯上7樓.

But I don't know any of the people living on the other half of the seventh floor.  At least I think I don't.  I might have talked to one of them while... waiting for the garbage truck.  但是我不認識7樓另外一邊的住戶.  至少我覺得是這樣子.  很可能我等垃圾車的時候跟其中一二個講過幾句話.

Which reminds me: THE GARBAGE TRUCK IS COMING.  講等垃圾車這件事讓我想到: 垃圾車快到了!

I'd better go.  我得走了.

Related Entries 相關的文章:

Unpopular Opinions
What's Going on in Taitung 台東最近發生的事 8
Goodbye to Old Friends
Lego Flash and the Three Wishes 樂高閃電俠跟三個願望

2018年11月29日 星期四

10 Weirder Destinations in Taiwan 十個比較特別的台灣景點

What's that, you say?  You've been to the 101 already?  You've visited Taroko several times?  You're bored of Sun Moon Lake?  你說什麼?  你已經去過台北101了嗎?  你去過太魯閣好幾次?  你厭煩了日月潭?

Ok then, allow me to suggest a few weirder destinations.  These are places absent from most tourist literature, and also places which may or may not agree with your personal sense of "fun."  好吧!  那我來告訴你一些奇怪的地方.  這些地方在大部分的觀光雜誌找不到, 也不一定每個人都會覺得這些地方 "好玩."

Be warned, however, that I am a weird person.  I happen to think Jojo's Bizarre Adventure is the best comic series ever written, I happen to like bands that give other people headaches, and I happen to think that corn on pizza is... ok.  然而你要有心理準備, 我是一個奇怪的人.  我覺得Jojo冒險野狼是世界上最好看的漫畫書, 我也喜歡大部分人聽了會頭痛的樂團, 我也認為披薩上放玉米粒......還好.*

By the way, I've linked many of the places discussed here to Google Maps, and there are some notes after the "Related Entries" below.  對了! 我把以下提到的景點連結上Google地圖, 並且在下面的"相關文章"之後還有些建議.

1. Jin Luen Hot Springs, Taitung County  台東縣的金崙溫泉

The Jin Luen Hot Springs lie about 45 minutes south of Taitung City, in Tai Ma Li Township.  Most tourists are familiar with the Jer Ben Hot Spring Area just outside the Taitung City limits, but few people make the trip down to Jin Luen, which boasts many smaller (and weirder) hot springs.  Weirdest of all is the saltwater hot spring next to the graveyard.  金崙溫泉位在台東市以南四十五分鐘的車程的太麻里鄉內,   大部分的觀光客比較認識離市區不遠的知本溫泉區, 可是較少人去過比較小的金崙溫泉區, 那裏有多個小一點(和奇怪點)的溫泉, 尤其是墳墓旁邊的鹹水溫泉. (1)

2. Shr Ti Ping ("The Stone Ladder"), Hualien County 花蓮縣的石梯坪

Shr Ti Ping is on Highway 11, not far from the Taitung County Line.  It's a set of stone "wells" eroded into the coastline by the sea.  You can also embark on whale-watching tours from the port near here.  石梯坪在台11線上, 靠近台東縣的邊界.  海邊有許多個慢慢被海水侵蝕出來的石"井".  你也可以在附近的漁港參加賞鯨活動. (2)

3. Nan Fang Ao Fishing Port, Yilan County 宜蘭縣的南方澳漁港

I like boats and I like seafood.  The Nan Fang Ao Fishing Port has both of these things, and it's an interesting place to walk around besides.  The beach near there is unimpressive, but the drive down from the south is very scenic, and it can be a fun place to people-watch.  我喜歡船跟海鮮.  這二樣南方澳都有, 它也是一個適合逛街的地方.  雖然那附近的海灘沒有什麼特色, 可是在公路上從上往下開去的風景真是美不勝收,  也是個看人們工作的有趣的地點. (3)

4. Old Academies 書院

These are essentially the Confucian version of one-room schoolhouses, left over from the Ching Dynasty.  I've been to a few of them, and they range from ominous abandoned structures to tourist-friendly places, full of statues that look like they were imported from the nearest amusement park.  The Feng Yi Academy in Feng Shan District, Kaohsiung City is probably a good place to start.  這是清朝遺留下來的學校建築.  我去過幾間書院,  有的像鬼屋, 有的像遊樂園一樣有可愛的人偶.  如果你沒去過這種地方, 從高雄市鳳山區的鳳儀書院開始最適合. (4)

5. Keelung Island, Keelung City 基隆市的基隆嶼

North of Keelung Port there's a little island (more like a piece of rock) sticking out of the water.  If you want, you can take a boat over there from the port.  Is it an idyllic subtropical retreat?  Nope.  But after you go, you can have a fun time asking people if they've been to Keelung Island!  基隆港北邊有一座小島 (比較像塊大石頭).  你可以從基隆港坐船過去.  它是個美麗的亞熱帶小島嗎?  當然不是, 可是你去過以後就可以神氣的問親戚朋友: "你去過基隆嶼嗎?" (5)

6. The Coca Cola Museum, Taoyuan City 桃園市的可口可樂博物館

This is part of the bottling plant in Taoyuan.  I have to say I haven't been in there yet.  We drove down there from Taipei, and after arriving found out that you need to make reservations beforehand.  It's in the middle of an industrial area, there's absolutely nothing else interesting around there, but if you're passing through that part of Taoyuan it MIGHT be worth a look.  這是可口可樂桃園的裝瓶場.  我還沒進去過, 因為上次從台北去時, 管理員跟我們說要先預約才能參觀.  它位在工業區中間, 附近沒有其他的景點, 可是如果你碰巧經過那個地區, 應該可以看一下.

7. Shuei Ba National Park, Hsinchu County 新竹縣的雪霸國家公園

Shuei Ba National Park is my favorite national park in Taiwan.  It can be an ordeal to get to, but the scenery up there is glorious.  I visited it a couple times when I lived in Hsinchu, and I'd say it compares favorably to Jade Mountain and Taroko National Parks.  雪霸國家公園是我最喜歡的台灣國家公園.  去到那裏真是一項考驗, 可是風景令人讚嘆.  我住新竹的時候去過兩次.  那裏的風景跟玉山及太魯閣國家公園一樣好. (6)

8. Beigang Municipality, Yunlin County 雲林縣的北港鎮

A strange little town around a really old temple.  The temple is seemingly the only thing keeping the town alive, but during temple festivals (of which there are many) this place can be a good time.  There's also an old sugar refinery in this town which has been converted into a tourist destination, but if I were you I wouldn't bother with it.  可愛的小鄉鎮擁簇著古老的廟宇.  廟的存在好像為鄉鎮注入了活力, 有廟會的時候這裡很熱鬧.  這裡也有一座成為觀光景點的舊糖廠, 可是朝天宮真的比較有趣. (7)

9. Bu Dai Port, Jia Yi County 嘉義縣的布袋漁港

Again, I like boats and I like seafood.  There's a fun seafood market near the fishing port, and walking around the empty roads away from the center of town can be interesting.  While you're in this area you could easily drive into Jia Yi City and visit the City God Temple, which is my favorite temple of that type in Taiwan.  再一次重申我喜歡船跟海鮮.  這個好玩的海鮮市場靠近漁港, 走在市區附近空曠的道路很有趣.  你在這附近的時候也可以順路往嘉義市區的城隍廟走,  那是我在台灣最喜歡的城隍廟. (8)

10. The Northeast Coast of Pingtung County 屏東縣的東北部

You can approach this area from two directions: from Highway 26 to the south or from Taitung County to the north (via Highway 199 Alternate).  There's NOTHING famous here, but something about its weird, mournful character always draws me in.  I especially like the village of Shu Hai, which boasts one of the saddest hot springs you'll ever see.  你可以從二個方向開車到這個地區: 一是從南邊的26公路或是二從北邊的台東縣199甲縣道.  這個地區沒什麼有名的景點, 可是那裏怪異, 悽悵的特色一直都吸引著我.  我特別喜歡那邊的旭海村,  那裏有著全島最可憐的溫泉. (9)

Related Entries 相關的文章:

Mei He / San He 美和 / 三和
What's Going on in Taitung 台東最近發生的事 8
Shiao Ye Liou 小野柳 / Jia Lu Lan 加路蘭
Ruei Suei (Rawseed) Ranch 瑞穗牧場

1. My personal favorite is the "Beautiful Shore" 美之濱 hot spring, but the "Eastern Sun" 東太陽 is also good and has the best view of the river valley.

2. If you go to the port, I would suggest not eating there.  I've haven't had good food there in a while.

3. Nan Fang Ao is near the municipality 鎮 of Su Ao 蘇澳.  If you wind up going to Su Ao, I would recommend NOT visiting the cold springs 冷泉.  There's an interesting trail on the ridge above the city, but the cold springs are lame!

4. If you find yourself getting interested in these kind of places, there are also many old streets 老街 and temples to investigate.  Again, these vary in quality.  Tainan 台南 is a good place to start exploring old streets and (very) old temples.

5. The Keelung Temple Entrance (?) Night Market 基隆廟口夜市 is one of my favorite night markets.  It's within easy reach of the port.

6. I say above that this national park is in Hsinchu 新竹, but it's actually stretched between Hsinchu and Miaoli counties 苗栗.  I've been to both the Hsinchu and Miaoli entrances to the park.  It just always seemed that the Hsinchu entrance was more convenient.

7. Beigang (#8 on this list), and Bu Dai Port (#9) are also really close together.  There's little traffic in that area, so if you're exploring by car it's easy to visit both during the same trip.

8. I also like Jia Yi's night market 文化路夜市.  It won't blow your mind or anything, but it feels very "local."

9. The link used above is for Mudan Township 牧丹鄉, which was about as close as I could get with Google Maps.  What I'm really talking about is the stretch of coast that begins where Highway 26 meets the coast and ends with the village of Shu Hai.  Besides this stretch of coastline Mudan has a lot of other great/weird places, but nothing beats that coastal part for weirdness.

Unpopular Opinions

How are you feeling about the last election?  I'm feeling kind of depressed.  I'm not nearly as depressed as I was during the last U.S. presidential election, but I do find myself wondering just what direction Taiwan is headed in.

This said, I think I'll leave the reasons for my depression out of this entry.  They are somewhat personal, and I feel like including them will only trigger people.  These reasons are also in this instance somewhat beside the point, because what I really wanted to talk/write about is unpopular opinions, and why it might be good to have a few.

Let's start with Facebook, which we all know and which some of us still love.  Let's say you post something there, expecting some kind of response or affirmation.  Someone likes your post.  Someone else shares your post, and then it's seen somewhere else on Facebook, where it's liked by others.  After a while you feel pretty good about what you posted, and you also feel that the response to what you posted reflects on you, the original poster.  "I'm worthwhile," you might think to yourself, "What I think - as reflected in what I post - matters."

You could do the same on Reddit, a more anonymous forum for thoughts and opinions.  Let's say you post something there, also expecting some kind of response.  Someone upvotes your post.  Someone else crossposts your post, where it's seen on another subreddit, and then upvoted by others.  As with Facebook, you feel pretty good about what you posted, and you might even think your upvoted post reflects on your worthiness as a person.

The opposite is of course also true.  Returning to Facebook, let's say that you post something and no one likes it.  Let's say that no one bothers to share.  After a while you might feel somewhat depressed about what you posted, and you might come to think that you posted something "wrong," or expressed yourself poorly, or that the lack of likes reflects upon your worth as a person.  "What's wrong with me?" you might think, "No one cares enough about what I say to like it!"

It could just as easily go the same way on Reddit.  No upvotes for you, my friend.  Nay, even a few downvotes!  Suddenly people are attacking you on a personal level, and you spend the next few days in a black depression, waiting for the storm of downvotes and negative comments to subside.  Then, after those trying few days, everyone on Reddit miraculously forgets about the whole thing, and you're left to ponder the gravity of your next post.

The reality being that we often over-identify with our online selves, and also with the social media our online selves inhabit.  We come to see people's ("friend's?") online responses to us as a reflection of our true worth as a person, and we come to see social media as an all-encompassing reflection of the world around us.  What we are online matters to us.  What we say to each other about our online world also matters.

We get into trouble, however, when we fail to realize that there are limits to our online selves, and that they are at best pale reflections of who we really are.  We get into trouble when we fail to realize that a lot of the outside world isn't reflected in our social media, and that attempts by social media to measure that wider reality always fall short of the mark.

Politics is one example.  Much has been made in recent weeks about how Facebook "radicalizes" political discourse, with more likes given to increasingly extreme points of view.  In such situations it is virtually impossible to reach any kind of consensus, the very thing that political discourse ought to be trying to reach.  Such "radicalizing" conversations also take a toll on the individuals participating in them, in that prejudices become hardened, and opposing views are increasingly viewed as threatening.  

It's in the nature of Facebook to do this to people.  It increases participation.  It generates clicks.  You don't need some team of hackers to break in and spread "fake news."  Given enough time we'll do it to each other, all for the sake of likes.

I've had similar experiences with Reddit.  You might think the anonymity of most Reddit users would tone down the political rhetoric, but in many cases the opposite occurs.  Hungry for upvotes, the two sides of any discussion argue points they don't really believe in with increasing vehemence, merely to win an ephemeral kind of community approval.  I've even had people tell me I was "wrong" simply because I didn't have the most upvoted comment, as if that kind of approval signaled a greater degree of correctness, or was more reflective of a larger reality.  Let me put it this way: if it was 1939 and the Nazis had a Reddit group, you can be sure that all the nationalistic and anti-semitic comments would be getting the most upvotes.

What worries me most is when this kind of thinking bleeds out into the world beyond the Internet.  When people continually assume that the most popular opinion is the right opinion for everyone, we're in real trouble.  What people justify with likes and upvotes can be just as easily justified by actual votes, in actual elections, where actual issues matter.  Say for example gay marriage.  Or the name your country's sports team uses.  Or whether nuclear power has a place in Taiwan's future.

Just because something is popular doesn't make it right.  Just because something is good for most people doesn't make it good for everyone.  This is why someone coined the phrase "tyranny of the majority," and why protections extended to minority groups (and minority opinions) are important in any democracy.  We need to remain on guard against the fact that popular opinion often goes the wrong way, just as it did in Nazi Germany in the late 30s and early 40s.  Most people are perfectly capable of believing any number of ridiculous things, and we only protect ourselves from this fact by allowing dissent, and learning from opposing points of view.

With this situation comes another fact of democratic life: the need to make your voice heard.  Participants in any democracy have a responsibility to translate their thoughts and interests into political activity, especially if these thoughts and interests are unpopular.  It is through the dialogue thus engendered that change occurs, and it is through this dialogue that a democratic state comes to reflect present values.  If people don't participate, and if they don't make their voices heard, then the nation as a whole suffers, and our laws and institutions less accurately reflect our society.

In Taiwanese terms, this means coming into conflict with others and/or embarrassing yourself.  I know many Taiwanese people who fear nothing more than disagreement and the airing of unpopular opinions, primarily because disagreements and unpopular opinions seem to endanger social harmony.  A lot of this thinking goes back to Confucian ideals, but it contradicts the principles on which democracy is based.  A fully-functioning democracy demands your participation.  A fully-functioning democracy demands that you risk pissing off friends, relatives, and strangers.  A fully-functioning democracy demands that you fight for what you think is right (within legal limits of course).

It's not so different on Facebook or Reddit.  You can be popular on either platform by saying either bland things or by agreeing with popular opinion.  You can do so, and over time you'll feel loved.  But over time you have to ask yourself, are you really speaking for yourself, or are you speaking for others?  Are you controlling social media, or is it controlling you?  Are you a reflection of Facebook, Reddit, or existing institutions, or are you determined to make Facebook, Reddit, or existing institutions reflections of yourself?  Of course some people, rallying behind the cry of "realism" will always urge you to conform, but is that always the best course for everyone?

A lot of people didn't vote in the last election.  Maybe they were busy.  Maybe they forgot.  I don't know.  But I hope more of us vote the next time, and I hope more of us vote with our hearts and with our consciences.  I can't blame anyone who conscientiously voted against issues I care about - at least not in this instance - but I can blame those who voted, or didn't vote, because they feared disapproval.  After all it's not about likes, upvotes or social censure, but about matters much more important.

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"Taiwanese," or Something Like It

2018年11月26日 星期一

20 Tang Dynasty Poems 二十首唐詩

Every Taiwanese person studies at least a few of the Tang Dynasty poems at some point in their life.  Either they study these poems in a collection, or as part of their Chinese curriculum.  Many people also study these poems again, much later, in college.  Depending on how deeply you want to understand the poems, you can opt for either a children's collection or one of the more scholarly editions aimed at adults.

The importance of these poems to an understanding of Chinese culture cannot be overestimated.  They inform Literature, parts of them have become idioms, and you'll even find them written into the corners of famous paintings.  They cast a long shadow, but there's no need to feel intimidated by them.  Most of them are actually easy (and fun!) to learn.

The introduction to the poems below was taken from 華一兒童啓蒙文學2: 唐詩 ("The Hua Yi Guide to Children's Literature 2: Tang Dynasty Poems").  This book was published by 華一書局 (Hua Yi Books) in 1982.  I have the feeling that this particular guide is long, long out of print.

唐詩的世界 The World of Tang Dynasty Poetry

在進入 "唐詩的世界" 以前, 先讓我們來了解一下, 詩是怎麼產生的?  Before entering the "world of Tang Dynasty poetry," let's learn a little bit about how the poems came to be.

在我國古老的時代裏, 人與人交往, 除了自己的親戚以外, 很少有見面講話的機會.  尤其在還沒發明文字以前, 人們要完整的表達心裏的話, 更是困難重重.  可是人跟其他動物一樣, 生下來就有啼叫的本能.  因此, 我們聰明的祖先, 便利用工作, 遊戲的時候, 把一些令人感動的想法, 編成有節奏的短歌, 歌詞非常簡單, 有時還一直反覆不停.  就這樣一人唱大家和的情形下, 慢慢的聯絡起眾人的感情: 另一方面也建立起 "詩" 的形式, 奠定我國文化的根基.  In ancient times, people in our country had few opportunities to communicate with those outside their family circle.  This was especially true before the invention of writing, and during that time expressing one's deepest thoughts and feelings was very difficult.  But people are just like other animals, born with the ability to communicate.  For this reason our wise ancestors preserved heartfelt sentiments in short songs that they would sing during their work or leisure activities.  The words to these songs were very simple, and sometimes involved repetition.  In this way people shared their emotions through song, and communicated these emotions to other people.  They also established the forms of poems, and provided a basis for our nation's culture.

這種利用詩歌來表達心裏感觸的方式, 不但符合我們中國人溫文儒雅的個性, 而且也充分的發揮了中國地大物博的文化特色.  於是, 儘管朝代不停的轉換, 詩的生命卻始終不斷.  This way of expressing one's feelings through poetic songs not only suits the gentle and elegant personalities of we, the Chinese people, but also demonstrates an appreciation for China's geography and cultural heritage.  Poems have a life of their own, extending beyond the duration of any dynasty.

到了唐朝, 詩人們在富足, 安樂的生活下, 創作了許多不巧的詩篇, 同時也把中國詩的領域, 帶上最顛峰的境界.  今天, 只要我們提到 "詩", 就會馬上聯想到唐詩.  難怪現代人常說: 熟讀唐詩三百首, 不會吟詩也會吟了.  With the arrival of the Tang Dynasty, poets wrote many classic Chinese poems, and pushed the boundaries of the art during more prosperous times.  Today, we need only mention "poetry" and the Tang poems immediately come to mind.  This is why modern people usually say: "Read 300 Tang Dynasty poems and you will not be disappointed."

那麼, 唐詩的世界到底是怎樣的呢?  So what is "the world of Tang Dynasty poems," really?

我們都知道, 詩的句子很短, 字數一定, 可是所表達的意思卻很完整.  在這本書上, 我們選的詩有絕句, 律詩, 古詩和樂府四種體裁.  古詩和樂府是唐朝人學漢, 魏以前人的作法寫的詩.  相傳本來古詩和樂府都是配有歌曲的詞, 後來因為沒有留下歌譜, 現代的人也不知怎麼唱了.  不過唐朝的時候, 仍然有人會吟唱這些曲調, 只是後來漸漸受到冷落, 詩人們也不再寫古詩和樂府詩了.  本書上選的這幾首, 都是很有名的.  例如: 陳子昂的登幽州臺歌和孟郊的遊子吟, 相信小朋友都曾聽說過.  As we all know, the sentences in the poems are very short, and the number of words/characters is set, but the meanings within them are expressed fully.  In this book we have selected quatrains, "lu" poems, [more] ancient poems, and "yue fu" poems.  The [more] ancient poems and the "yue fu" poems were written by Tang Dynasty scholars studying Wei methods of writing poetry.  The [more] ancient and "yue fu" poems were traditionally used as lyrics to accompany music, but because the music to them was lost modern people don't know how to sing them.  Nevertheless in Tang times these poems were often sung, it's just that they slowly fell out of favor and later poets stopped writing the [more] ancient and "yue fu" styles of poetry.  The few examples of these kinds of poetry found in this book are all very famous.  For example: "Chen Dze-ang's "Song of Arrival in a Peaceful Province" and Meng Jiao's "The Wandering Child Sings."  [We] believe that every child has heard of these poems.

至於被稱為近體詩的絕句和律詩, 除了押韻和對仗的要求外, 它們的字數都有一定的限制: 不是五個字, 便是七個字.  絕句每首四句, 律師每首八句, 甚至可以八句以上, 不過那又稱為 "排律" 了.  Modern poems like quatrains and "lu" poems, in addition to rules about rhyming and apposition, are restricted in terms of the number of words/characters in each line.  These are not 5 word [poems], but rather 7 word poems.  Quatrains consist of four lines, while "lu" poems consist of 8 or lines or more.  "Lu" poems longer than 8 lines are referred to as "pai lu."*

知道這個分別以後, 我們才能輕鬆欣賞唐詩.  為了讓小朋友對整首詩有一個完整的認識, 在 "詩意" 裏, 我們把該首詩的精神和意思, 用非常淺顯的文字, 有連貫的表達出來.  然後再在 "詩話" 裏, 把這首詩的內容, 作法, 意義和欣賞的方法, 簡單扼要的解釋一下, 希望能幫助大家在欣賞的時候, 不致於找不到頭緒.  為了追求原詩的韻味, 我們特別將一些字的念法, 用讀音標示出來, 以方便同學在朗頌的時候, 更能體會詩的 "音響".  例如常見的有: "白", "斜", "綠", "我", "北", "百", "誰"....  Now that we understand the differences between types of Tang Dynasty poems, we can begin a relaxed appreciation of them.  In order to provide children with the fullest understanding of each poem, under "Meaning of Poem" we've highlighted the spirit and meaning of [each poem] in plain text to make their import clear.  After this, under "Commentary on Poem," we explain the contents, form, [deeper] meaning and method of approaching the poem.  It is our hope than in thus assisting everyone in an appreciation of the poems we won't confuse you, and [students] will be able to enjoy the poems as they were originally intended.  [For this reason] we have included phonetic symbols indicating the original pronunciation of certain words/characters, so that students can read the poems aloud with the correct intonation.  For example, commonly seen forms of pronunciation [in the poems] are: "白"(bo), "斜"(shia), "綠"(lu), "我"(uh), "北"(bo), "百"(bo), "誰"(shui)....

唐詩的內容包羅萬象, 除了抒情, 寫景, 詠史和描寫各種事物外, 也用來寫信和對話.  不僅心中難過要寫詩, 心情愉快要寫詩, 甚至看到花落, 下雨, 風吹也要小提大作一番.  這種無微不至的寫作方式, 確實留給我們許多模倣的對.  小朋友!  熟讀這些唐詩以後, 希望你也能夠信手寫上一首好詩!  The content of Tang Dynasty poems is far-ranging.  Aside from lyricism, depictions of landscapes, history and descriptions of various [other] things, they were also used as letters and [attempts] at conversation.  Some poems were written in a time of sadness, others were written in a time of joy, some were written while watching the petals fall from flowers, or during the rain, or in the midst of a great wind.  Their unparalleled method of execution can engender in us many different emotions.  Children!  After reading these poems we hope you will write a poem of your own!

[Twenty Tang Dynasty Poems 二十首唐詩]

春曉 Spring Dawn     孟诰然 by Meng Kao-ran

Spring sleep insensible of dawn,
Everywhere the chirping of birds.
With night came the sounds of a storm,
How many flowers have fallen?

雜詩 Miscellaneous Poem     王維 by Wang Wei

You've just arrived in our hometown,
You probably know the hometown news.
When you arrived I looked out my window,
How many flowers blossomed on the plum tree?

竹里館 The Bamboo Grove     王維 by Wang Wei

I sit within the lonely bamboo,
Playing a zither and singing loudly.
No one knows I'm in this forest,
There is only the bright moon shining upon me.

相思 Affinity     王維 by Wang Wei

The red bean tree grows in the south,
With spring it grows new branches.
I hope you pick a few and bring them back to me,
They represent our affinity.

新嫁娘 Newly-Married Wife     王建 by Wang Jian

After three days she enters the kitchen,
Washes her hands and makes a stew.
She doesn't know what flavor her mother prefers,
So she first asks her sister-in-law to try it.

小松 Little Pine Tree     王建 by Wang Jian

The little pine shoots up a few meters,
But has yet to grow other branches.
I relax, standing next to it,
Noticing how slowly it grows.

登鸛雀樓 Ascending the Guan Chue Pagoda    
王之渙 by Wang Jr-huan

At sunset the sun sinks behind the mountains,
The Yellow River flows toward the sea.
If you want to see farthest of all,
You must ascend to a higher floor.

夜宿山寺 Spending the Night in a Mountain Temple     
李白 by Li Bai

The tower teeters at a hundred meters,
My hands can almost touch the stars.
I fear to speak loudly,
Afraid to alert heavenly spirits.

夜思 Nighttime Thoughts     李白 by Li Bai

At the foot of the bed the moon appears,
Making the earth look frosted.
I look up to the moon,
And look down to recognize my hometown.

獨坐敬亭山 Sitting Before Jing Ting Mountain     李白 by Li Bai

A flock of birds ascend the heavens,
Clouds drift lazily across the sky.
Looking back at me unperturbed,
There is only Jing Ting Mountain.

憫農詩 A Poem for Longsuffering Farmers     
李紳 by Li Shen

Every hot day around noon,
Their sweat drips into the earth.
Who knows that the rice in our bowls,
Grows from the hard work of farmers.

渡漢江 Crossing the Han River     李頻 by Li Ping

I lived abroad in study,
Two winters and springs passed by.
As I approach closer and closer to my home,
I fear to greet those coming up the road.

登樂遊原 Arriving at the Chariot Fields     
李商隱 by Li Shang-yin

As evening approaches I grow sad,
And ride my chariot to the old fields.
The setting sun is glorious,
It has almost disappeared.

問劉十九 A Question for Liou Shr-jiou     白
居易 by Bai Ju-yi

I have here a fresh pot of wine,
Red clay warmed upon the fire.
It will snow in the evening,
How many cups will we drink?

秋夜寄     邱員外 Sent from the Official, a Fall Night     
韋應物 by Wei Ying-wu

Recalling you during a fall night,
The coolness of our walks.
The pine cones fall throughout the mountains,
I doubt you're sleeping.

江雪 River Snow      柳宗元 by Liou Dzong-yuan

In the high mountains with no sign of birds,
Nor signs of other people.
A lone fishing boat upon the water,
Fishing the snowy river.

終南望餘雪     祖詠 by Dzu Yong

The mountains to the south are especially beautiful,
Their peaks float above the clouds.
Even though the sun shines brighter beyond the forest,
The city is still much colder.

尋隱者不遇 A Missed Meeting     賈島 by Jia Dao

I ask the child under the pine tree,
He says his teacher has gone to pick medicinal herbs.
He is somewhere on this mountain,
The clouds are thick and I don't know where.

答人 A Reply     太上隱者 by Tai Shang Yin Je

I happen upon a pine tree,
And rest my head upon a rock in sleep.
There is no calendar in the mountains,
The cold reaches its height and I do not know the year.

涼州詞 A Song for Liang Jhou     王翰 by Wang Weng

A cup of grape wine at night,**
The sound of a pipa intrudes upon my reverie.
If in my stupor I fall asleep here, on the battleground, don't laugh,
How many warriors have returned from ancient battles?

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*Of the 20 poems included here, the first 19 are 5-word quatrains, and the 20th is one of the "more" ancient poems.  I felt obliged to add the "more" because the Tang Dynasty poems are already ancient by our definition.

**It's not really grape wine, but grape is one of the ingredients.