2019年4月29日 星期一

The Trouble with Paradise


Back when I was growing up in Seattle, my dad had a poster of a tropical beach on his office wall.  This poster was about as generic as you can imagine, with a white sand beach sitting beneath lazy palm trees.  Just beyond that beach was a blue, blue ocean, and somewhere off to the side there were huts constructed out of palm leaves.

I'm sure you've seen dozens of such pictures in your lifetime.  You might even have one on your computer desktop.  Or you might have one on the wall in the form of a calendar.  There are such pictures of paradise wherever we go.

Over the years I've drawn a lot of strength from such pictures.  This was particularly true growing up in Seattle, where I found the long, dark winters especially difficult.  When I was struggling through the short winter days I found a lot of hope in pictures of paradise, and from the idea that somewhere, far away, the sun was out and it was very warm.  Somewhere, in a place that wasn't Seattle, it was a good day for swimming.

It wasn't until after I visited Taiwan that I actually stepped inside one of those pictures.  This was off the coast of Malaysia, on an island I'd rather not name.  Looking down into the ocean there was like looking down into a well-stocked aquarium, and next to the beach were the lazy palm trees, the sunshine, and the white sand beaches.  That island even had huts like the ones in my dad's poster, and we stayed in one of these huts while we were there.

But what they don't tell you about those huts is that when night falls all kinds of insects come calling.  I have a particularly strong memory of a GIANT praying mantis found in our hut's bathroom, staring back at me from the toilet.  Another, similar thing happened on another island in Thailand.  Paradise looks amazing in a poster, but in the poster you can't see all the bugs that live there.

Yet aside from encounters with insects we had a great time on both islands.  We walked the beaches, we got sunburns, and we ate a lot of good food.  Both of those trips were moments when I realized how amazing life is, and how silly most of the things I worry about really are.  Paradise will always do that for you, if you let it.

I see the same effect on the faces of tourists who come to Taitung.  They emerge from cars and trains wearing those straw hats which for many people signify "vacation," and along with the straw hats they wear the flip-flops, tie-dyed dresses, and of course that expression that says: "I'm here.  I've arrived in paradise."  Soon after they're on their way up the coast, doing their damnedest to visit every tourist site between here and Hualien County.

Many of them, I'm sure, think it must be wonderful to live here.  But I wonder, have they thought about the times when paradise isn't paradise?  Have they thought about the times when living in that picture isn't all it's cracked up to be?

Because Taitung, for all its natural beauty, isn't perfect.  We have problems with garbage.  We have traffic jams on holiday weekends.  Our local government is at times corrupt, and at other times inefficient.  Those of us who farm sometimes contend with those of us who care about the environment.  Those of us after tourist dollars often contend with those of us who want to keep Taitung the way it is.  You'll find the same issues in any other version of paradise, and if you don't you probably just haven't stayed there long enough.  No place is perfect, no place is without its problems, and paradise is no exception.

I'm also reminded of the reason I left that island off the coast of Malaysia, many years ago.  The reason?  I was bored.  After several days of swimming and staring into the ocean I started to miss the markets and noise of Kuala Lumpur.  I started to miss the crowds and convenience.  Often when visiting paradise you'll find that you've brought the city there with you, and the hold any city exercises upon its residents is hard to break.

Any place - even paradise - will never satisfy you in and of itself.  You bring to that place your own insecurities, your own worries, and your own predilections.  If you're worried about your mother today, going to paradise tomorrow won't help.  If you obsess over hockey, a tropical island - however beautiful - probably isn't the place you want to be.  Paradise isn't one-size-fits-all, and for the wrong person paradise can even become a kind of hell.  I've seen it happen where I live many times.

All of which implies that paradise isn't the same for every person, and that sometimes the picture of the tropical island can be deceptive.  For a place to truly be paradise it has to have at least some of the things you already enjoy.  For some people New York City is paradise.  For other people the Gobi Desert is paradise.  For still other people sitting in a dark room playing Minecraft is paradise.  And who am I to tell them otherwise?  If that's what makes them happy it's fine with me.

In the end its up to each of us to find our own paradise, and in seeking out that paradise we have to understand that at least some modification is in order.  Either we change ourselves to suit paradise, or we try to change paradise to suit ourselves.  I think most would agree that the former is much easier than the latter, but I suppose that if any place had just one or two small things that bothered you, it would be worthwhile to try to change them.  You'd just have to ask yourself how close to paradise that place really is, and whether or not you're being realistic in your expectations.  It's an argument between pragmatism and idealism wherever you find yourself, and one should always ask oneself if they can be happy where they are, or if they'd be happier somewhere else.

Paradise.  Do I live in paradise?  I suppose that on certain days, when I'm sitting on the beach in my folding chair and drinking a beer on a sunny day, yes I do.  On other days my answer will be different.  On those other days I sometimes think that the city where I first glimpsed paradise, the city where I stared at that poster in my dad's office, was also paradise, if for a completely different set of reasons.

Maybe the whole world is - or could be - paradise.  Maybe we just need to open ourselves up to it a little more.  Or maybe we just need to start working to make it better.

Related Entries:

The Big Inside the Small (and Vice Versa) 小事中的大事 2
Guide to Taiwan for the Phobic 給恐懼症人的旅行指南
Ramen and Asahi, Sushi and Tempura 拉麵跟Asahi, 壽司跟天婦羅
Assorted Thoughts at the End of the Semester 2

2019年4月26日 星期五

What's Going On In My Neighborhood 我的里發生了什麼事

Taitung City is divided into several li, or neighborhoods.  I live in the Shin Sheng Neighborhood, which is close to the Taitung Train Station.  About a third of my neighborhood is taken up by the west end of Taitung's Forest Park, another third is farmland, and the remaining third is apartment blocks and houses.  台東市分成幾個里.  我住的里是靠近台東車站的新生里.  它三分之一是森林公園西邊的那一半, 三分之一是農地, 三分之一是大樓跟房子.

Oh, and for this entry I consulted my neighborhood's Line group.  The Chinese text below is from that group.  I thought it might give readers a bigger picture of what people in my area talk about.  為了這個文章我參考了新生里的Line群組.  下列的中文是從那個群組來的.  我希望這些討論能讓讀者產生一點對新生里的感情.



[貼圖 emoji, saying "So great!" 好棒喔]

A: "放在路邊的樹枝, 有里民要戴走, 但我問福康老闆, 他們要給朋友的, 所以我就作罷!  等樹枝都戴走, 就很乾淨了.  大家可以去走走.  The branches that were put next to the road, someone in the neighborhood wants to take them away, but I asked the owner of Fu Kang, and they want to give them to their friends.  So I just gave up!  Once the branches are taken away it will be very clean.  Everyone can go and walk there."

[貼圖 emoji]


A: "有勞里長了.  Hard-working Neighborhood Chairman."

B: "[名字] 有牽址私人土地確實是很麻煩, 不要說里長, 連議員, 縣政府都沒辦法, 除非土地所有人同意!  否則無解!  里長您辛苦了!  [name] This issue of private land is very troublesome, don't say the Neighborhood Chairman, the legislators, and the County Government can't get it done without the landowners' approval! This is the only solution!  Thanks to the Neighborhood Chairman [for his efforts]!" 

C: "我當然了解, 所以無法幫他.  Of course I understand, therefore there's no way to help him."

D: "我是更生路新生鄰的鄰長想請問一下里長現在很多地方都有房屋外觀整修補助想請問一下我們新生鄰的有補助可以整修嗎?  I'm the Geng Sheng Road, Shin Sheng Neighborhood Chairman.  I want to ask the Neighborhood Chairman, now in many places there is a subsidy for repairing house exteriors.  Does our Shin Sheng Neighborhood have a subsidy for repairs?"*


A: "該住戶閒置多年, 室內植物未修剪和整理, 已經攀爬到附近住戶家中, 附近住戶常常都會受到蚊的驚嚇和危脅, 夏季又要快到了, 真的擔心蚊又爬入住宅裡, 感謝里長和里長太太. That house has been vacant for many years.  The plants inside haven't been cut or tended to, and have already grown over into nearby properties.  The other households in this area usually suffer from mosquitoes, and summer is almost here.  [I'm] very worried that the mosquitoes will start to invade the nearby residences.  Thanks to the Neighborhood Chairman and his wife."

B: "好的, 多方面去尋找, 會早日查出那位住戶在那裡? Ok, [I] have looked in many places, and I'll soon know where the homeowner is?"

B: "午安: 十一點多接到省立醫院的 [名字] 志工打電話來要我幫忙協尋一位 [名字] 的家人, 我答應後立刻去... Good afternoon: after 11 o'clock a volunteer from Sheng Li Hospital called me, asking me to help look for a relative of [name].  I promised I would go immediately..." 


[照片 picture]

A: "午安: 家福中心正在招募寄養家庭, 報名時間為4月1日 - 6月30日.  必須領有育嬰執照, 月薪16000元.  有意者可前往報名!  Good afternoon: the orphanage is now looking for foster parents, the time to sign up is from April 1 to June 30.  Must have a childcare license, and the monthly stipend is 16000 NT.  Those interested can sign up first!"

[照片picture]


A: "...可以討論詢問, 但請查明, 不要誤傳誤導里民 We can talk about the inquiry, but please check carefully, don't mislead the neighborhood residents"

B: "晚安: 有關寄養家庭一事, 謝謝 [名字] 的告知!  清楚解釋.  其實我們社區理事來家裡拜託, 希望能在群組給我們里民知道有這份工作.  致於這區塊我不大了解是經陳理事告知才PO出.  想!  如有興趣這份工作可直接與家服或 [名字] 聯絡!  OK-- Good afternoon: as regarding the foster parent business, thanks to [name] for telling [me]!  It's much clearer.  Actually our community director came to our house to ask, hoping that we can spread word about this work among neighborhood residents using this group.  I really don't know much about this area and the director passed on the information.  I think?  Those interested in this type of work should tell the orphanage or [name] directly.  OK...

[其他人傳同樣的訊息. Another person sends the same message]


[照片 picture]

A: "大家早: 一年一度的母親節即將到來, 為了慶祝這為大的日子.  新生社區發展協會, 定於5月4日 (星期六) 下午三點舉辦活動, 與社區媽媽共度一個溫馨的節日.  下午三點開始報到到四點, 節目開始進行.  誠摯的歡迎有加入社區會員的好姊妹蒞臨.  Good morning everybody: Mother's Day is almost here.  In order to celebrate this important holiday, the Shin Sheng Community Development Association will host an activity on May 4 (Saturday), to help the mothers of our community enjoy the [warm] holiday.  Arrive at 3 pm, and the program will start at 4 pm.  We sincerely welcome our good sisters who have joined the community association."


[照片 picture]

A: "早上7:10分就接到電話, 7:30就出門到仁七街跟泰安街口 (養樂多前) 修剪樹木.  這次有六棵以上的樹修剪所以到9:30才完成, 辛苦清潔員了 At 7:10 this morning [I] received a phone call, at 7:30 I went to the intersection of Ren Chi Street and Tai An Street (in front of the yogurt) to trim the trees.  This time there were more than 6 trees that needed trimming, so it wasn't finished until 9:30.  The cleaning crew were working hard."

[貼圖 emoji for "hard work 辛苦了"]


[貼圖 emoji]

A: "[名字]: 妳提報要修剪的樹 (仁二街300號對面) 之前已跟修剪班的人去看過.  他們回應是那棵樹的葉子已掉的差不多, 且前面在蓋房子, 屋主到時會把那棵樹移走或要修剪, 要由那位屋主做決定.  本來想!  去跟妳解釋, 現就利用群組跟妳解釋, 不是不幫忙!  確實有原因. [Name]: You mentioned trimming the tree (across from Ren Er Street No. 300).  Before I went to see them with the man who trims the trees.  They told me that the leaves that fall from that tree are about the same [?], and they're building a house in front of it.  When the time arrives the owner of the house will remove the tree or trim it, it's up to the homeowner.  It's as I thought!  I just wanted to tell you, using this Line group to tell you.  It's not that I don't want to help!  This was the reason."


[照片 picture]

A: "午安: 昨天上午我的里民在傳廣路 (我家附近) 發生了車子擦撞.  被A到的車子是車後的保險桿有裂痕.  而撞到他車的是我們的里民 [名字] 先生.  Good afternoon: yesterday morning my neighbor had a car accident on Chuan Guang Road (near my house).  The other car received a scratch on its bumper.  The man who hit the car was my neighbor Mr. [name]."


A: "上午忙完事後忙完事後打電話給 [名字] 先生, 電話不接害我緊張, 趕緊騎摩托車去仁七街看, 結果還在睡覺.  After I finished my work in the morning I called Mr. [name].  He didn't answer the phone and this made me worry, so I rushed over to Ren Chi Street on my scooter to see.  I realized he was still asleep."**

[貼圖 emoji]


[照片 picture]

A: "早上8:30工務課的工作人員來家裡, 陪同他們到中興路一段396巷9弄12號邊的地方填補下陷的空洞.  工作人員把整條都填好了.  真的感謝他們, 辛苦了. At 8:30 in the morning the engineering workers came to my [?] house, and I accompanied them to Jung Shing Road, Section 1, 396 Lane, No. 12 to to fill the hole.  The workers filled the hole completely.  I thank them heartily for their hard work."

[照片 picture]


[貼圖 emoji saying "Thank you." 謝謝您]

A: "一個漂亮的富婆脫下自己的衣服後...!  接下來發生的事情  *男人要看, 女人要懂*  你可能不知道吧, 我們能... After a beautiful rich woman takes off her clothes...!  What happens after *Men should see, women should understand*  Maybe you don't know, we can..."

[短片 video]***

Related Entries 相關的文章:

Nan Keng to the North Tai Ma Li River 南坑到北太麻里溪
The Big Inside the Small (and Vice Versa) 小事中的大事 2
What's Going On In Taitung 台東最近發生的事 10
Fu Shan to Shan Yuan 富山到杉原

*Not sure if there's a difference between 里 and 鄰, but from this conversation there seems to be one.  All I know is when I type 新生鄰 into Google Maps it gives me the exact same result as 新生里.

**There's actually a lot more drama between this message and the one before it, but I was encouraged to delete that part due to the fact that it could get someone in a lot of trouble.  My neighborhood is small, and I see no point in making enemies.

***Not as exciting as it sounds!  You'd think it would be porn, but instead it's a weird Powerpoint presentation on some sexual technique.

2019年4月23日 星期二

三字經 The Three Character Poem 5

The first part of the Three-Character Poem can be found here.  The second part can be found here.  The third part, with an introduction, can be found here.  The fourth part can be found here.  The Three-Character Poem (or "Three-Character Classic") consists of 1071 characters arranged in three-character sentences.

What you see below is the last part of the poem.




三字經 The Three Character Poem (5)

道咸間
In the time of Ching emperors "Dao" and "Shuan," (1)
變亂起
Rebels rose up.
始英法
England and France arrived,
擾都鄙
Menacing from afar.
同光後
After "Tong" and "Guang," (2)
宣統弱
Came Puyi the weak. (3)
十二傳
Twelve emperors,
滿清歿
And the Ching Dynasty was finished.
革命興
The revolution came, (4)
廢帝制
And ended the reign of emperors.
立憲法
A constitution was written,
建民國
Establishing the Republic.
古今史
The old and new histories
全在茲
All end here.
載治亂
[Times of] war and peace are recorded,
知興衰
[So that we can] understand the rise and fall [of empires].
史雖繁
Although there are many works of history,
讀有次
They should be studied in order.
史記一
Study the "Shr Ji" first, (5)
漢書二
And the "Han Shu" second.
後漢三
The "Hou Han" third,
國志四
The "Guo Jr" fourth.
兼證經
At the same time check what you read,
參通鑑
Using the "Tong Jian."
讀史者
Those who study history,
考實錄
Should study from accurate sources.
通古今
Understanding ancient and modern things,
若親目
Is like witnessing them yourself.
口而誦
Attentiveness in study,
心而惟
With all one's being.
朝於斯
From the early morning,
夕於斯
To the evening.
昔仲尼
Before Confucius,
師項橐
Taught Shiang Tuo.
古聖賢
This ancient scholar's,
尚勤學
Devoted study should be emulated.
趙中令
Jhao Jong Ling,
讀魯論
Studied the Confucian Analects.
彼既仕
He was already an official, (6)
學且勤
And studied diligently.
披蒲編
Opening a scroll made of fronds, (7)
削竹簡
Or carving characters into bamboo.
彼無書
They had no books,
且知勉
But they were diligent.
頭懸梁
With their head suspended from the roof beams, (8)
錐刺股
Or an awl poking their legs.
彼不教
They were not taught,
自勤苦
But they forced themselves to study.
如囊螢
Like fireflies in a sack, (9)
如映雪
Like light-reflecting snow.
家雖貧
Although one's family is poor,
學不輟
One studies continually.
如負薪
Like those who carry wood, (10)
如掛角
Like those who hang [books] from horns.
身雖勞
Although their bodies were tired from labor,
猶苦卓
They still excelled in study.
蘇老泉
Su Lao-chuan, (11)
二十七
Twenty seven years old.
始發憤
When he finally began in earnest,
讀書籍
To study literature.
彼既老
He was already old,
猶悔遲
And started too late.
爾小生
But you younger generation,
宜早思
Can learn [the value of study] early.
若梁顥
Like Liang Hao,
八十二
At eighty two years old.
對大廷
Advised the imperial court,
魁多士
And inspired many others.
彼既成
He achieved his goal,
眾稱異
And everyone reveres him.
爾小生
You the younger generation,
宜立志
Should have similar aspirations.
瑩八歲
When Ying was eight years old,
能詠詩
He could recite poems.
泌七歲
When Mi was seven years old,
能賦碁
Could play Go. (12)
彼穎悟
These talented people,
人稱奇
Everyone thinks are special.
爾幼學
But those beginning study,
當效之
Can aspire to their achievements.
蔡文姬
Tsai Wen-ji,
能辨琴
Could distinguish notes on a zither.
謝道韞
Shie Dao-yun,
能詠吟
Could recite poetry.
彼女子
These two girls,
且聰敏
Had agile minds.
爾男子
And you young men,
當自警
Should take heed [of them].
唐劉晏
Liou Yan of the Tang Dynasty,
方七歲
When he was seven years old.
舉神童
Was considered a brilliant child,
作正字
And was appointed an official. (13)
彼雖幼
Although he was young,
身已仕
He was already a minister.
有為者
He had the ability,
亦若是
And so it was.
犬守夜
With the dog guarding the door at night,
雞司晨
And the rooster announcing the dawn.
苟不學
If you don't study hard,
曷為人
How can you develop as a person? (14)
蠶吐絲
Silkworms make silk,
蜂釀蜜
And bees make honey.
人不學
He who doesn't study,
不如物
Isn't even as good as an animal.
幼而學
To study in youth,
壯而行
Ensures a forceful middle age.
上致君
Revere those above you, (15)
下澤民
Respect those below.
揚名聲
Honor others' stations,
顯父母
Glorify your parents.
光於前
[Also] glorify your ancestors,
裕於後
For the good of your descendants.
人遺子
People leave behind for offspring,
金滿籝
A great fortune.
我教子
But I teach students,
惟一經
There is only this Three Character Poem. (16)
勤有功
Diligence is rewarded,
戲無益
Games are without merit.
戒之哉
So take heed,
宜勉力
And work your way to the top.

Related Entries 相關的文章:

美術節 Arts Day
11 More Tang Dynasty Poems 二十首唐詩
The Three-Character Poem 三字經 4
民族復興節 "National Revival Day"

Notes:

1. These are abbreviations of their names, referring to the years in which they took power.

2. More abbreviations.

3. This is Puyi from Bernardo Bertolucci's film "The Last Emperor."  He is referred to in this poem as "Shuan Tong," which is an abbreviation like those above.

4. This part refers to the founding of the Republic of China (R.O.C.) in 1911.  I can't quite call it "the end of the reign of emperors" given the fact that Xi Jinping was recently elected President (cough cough emperor) for life.

5. These are the names of books/treatises.  Their names also have dynastic connotations.

6. An official in the sense of being a member of the mandarin or gentry class.

7. This is a reference to historical figures during the Eastern Han dynasty.  These figures were so poor they had to construct learning materials out of leaves and bamboo.

8. More historical references.  One person during the Jin Dynasty tied their hair to a roof beam as a means of staying awake, while the other poked their own thigh with an awl.  Good thing we have coffee now, huh?

9. These two lines refer to two separate historical figures.  One was so poor he had to fill a sack with fireflies in order to have light to study by.  Another used the moonlight reflected off snow.

10. More historical figures.  One cut wood for a living, and had to hang his books from the ends of firewood.  The other was a shepherd, and hung his books from the horns of an ox.

11. Refers to both a famous scholar and his descendants during the Song Dynasty.

12. Pretty sure this is what it means.  A little confused by this line and don't feel like looking into the historical anecdote.

13. There's actually more to it than this.  His post had to do with the curating of documents and called for a deep understanding of ancient and contemporary literature.

14. More literally, "become a person."  This is a pervasive belief in classical Chinese culture, that education makes you into a person.

15. Confucian concepts.  If the correct relationships are observed between people, social harmony will be the result.  "All will be well under heaven."

16. What the author means is the precepts set out in this poem, not the poem itself.  His point being is that a fortune left behind for future generations is not as useful as the wisdom contained in this poem.

2019年4月19日 星期五

Nan Keng to the North Tai Ma Li River 南坑到北太麻里溪

Nan Keng Village is just south of San He Village.  It's also west of the big highway ramp that leads to downtown Tai Ma Li.  Both Nan Keng and San He Villages are to be found in Tai Ma Li Township, about a half hour south of Taitung City南坑村位於三和村南邊,位於台9線上坡的西邊太麻里市區.  南坑村三和村都屬於太麻里鄉.  從台東市區到那裏大概要半小時左右.



This is looking south.  That's Nan Keng Village on the right.  The train tracks lead to downtown Tai Ma Li, Da Wu Township, and eventually Pingtung.  To the left of the train tracks is Highway 9.  朝南方看.  南坑村在右邊.  中間的鐵路通往太麻里市區, 大武鄉, 還有屏東縣.  鐵路左邊的道路就是台9線.


A steep road leads into Nan Keng Village.  It's a very quiet place.  一條往南坑村的陡徑.  這裡很安靜.


The bridge in the background is Highway 9.  They're doing some kind of construction at the bottom of the hill.  後面的大橋是台9線.  有人在山坡下施工.


This is the hill above Nan Keng.  I found a snake there, but it escaped before I could take its picture.  南坑的山坡.  我在這裡看到一條蛇, 可是牠不要讓我拍照.


This is near the bottom of the hill, close to the ocean.  在山坡下, 靠近海邊.


This is the bottom of the hill, leading to the beach.  Aside from tire tracks, this is one of the cleanest beaches around.  Not many people come down here.  山坡底靠近海邊.  除了輪胎痕跡之外, 下面的沙灘滿乾淨的.  來這裡的人不多.


The top of the hill again.  To the left is a sugar apple orchard.  又是南坑上的山坡.  左邊有釋迦園.


Dai Tian Temple.  This is probably the best known place between San He and downtown Tai Ma Li.  Even so, its view of the ocean is cut off by Highway 9.  代天宮.  這所廟大概是三和太麻里市區中間最有名的地方.  但是從這裡可以看到的海景被台9線擋住了.


The Dawn Park, just north of downtown Tai Ma Li.  This park is fairly big, but there's nothing especially memorable about it.  The "Bikini Beach Run" is held near here on New Year's Day.*  太麻里的北邊的曙光公園.  這個公園很大, 可是比較沒有特色.  元旦的時候會在這附近舉辦比基尼路跑.


This is looking north.  That's Dulan Mountain in the background.  往北邊看.  最後面是都蘭山.


Someone tied prayer flags to many of the trees in this park.  How's your Sanskrit?  公園裡的樹有很多的旗幟.  您的梵文如何?


This is looking west, toward Jin Feng Township.  往西邊看是金峰鄉.


This is the North Tai Ma Li (Wen Li) River**.  To the left is where downtown Tai Ma Li starts, and to the right is the long climb back towards Taitung City.  這是北太麻里 (文里) 溪.  左邊是太麻里市區, 右邊是台9線上坡往台東市的地方.


Statue of local aborigines.  No, they aren't that short.  Or made of stone.  Not sure what tribe these statues belong to, but Google Maps tells me the Sapulju Tribe lives across the river.  當地原住民的雕像.  他們當然沒有長得那麼矮,  也不是石頭人.  我不知道這二個雕像代表哪一族, 可是Google地圖說溪的另外一邊是撒布優部落.

Related Entries 相關的文章:

What's Going On In Taitung 台東最近發生的事 10
Fu Shan to Shan Yuan 富山到杉原
What's Going On On My Street 我的住家街道
Mei Nong Terrace 美農高台 / Ss Ge Mountain 四格山

*Believe me, this event isn't nearly as fun as it sounds.  And who the f*&k wants to get up that early on New Years Day?

**This is a tributary of the Tai Ma Li River further south.

2019年4月12日 星期五

The Big Inside the Small (and Vice Versa) 小事中的大事 2

What's on your bookshelf?  Do you even have a bookshelf?  Do you even read books?  你有書櫃嗎? 你收藏了什麼東西在你的書櫃?    你喜不喜歡看書?

Assuming you read books, and have bookshelf to put them on, and that you put things besides books on your bookshelf, you might wonder what these things on your bookshelf say about you, and whether or not they have a story to tell.  假設你喜歡看書, 也有書櫃藏書, 並且在書旁放置一些小東西, 書櫃上的東西透露出什麼樣的你, 它們是否有自己的故事可說.

I have several bookshelves in my living room, and the items below are what I found on one of them.  我客廳裡也有書櫃.  我在其中一個書櫃上發現這些東西.



1. A Souvenir of Osaka Tourist Sites 大阪景點的紀念品

I bought this in Osaka Castle last winter vacation.  We visited Osaka and Kyoto for about two weeks and had a great time.  I'd go back to Japan in a second if I had the opportunity.  我寒假在大阪城買的.  我們去大阪京都二個禮拜.  有機會我一定要再去日本一次.

2. A Mariners Baseball 水手隊的棒球

For those who don't follow baseball, the Mariners are Seattle's baseball team.  I'm from Seattle, and I usually see one or two Mariners games when I'm visiting there in the summer.  One of my daughters bought this as a souvenir.  對棒球沒有興趣的讀者大概不知道水手隊西雅圖的棒球隊.  我暑假回去西雅圖的時候通常會去看水手隊比賽一二次.  這顆球是我女兒買的.

3. A Bottle of Lauders Whiskey 一瓶Lauders威士忌

I drink whiskey from time to time.  I bought this bottle at the local RT Mart.  It's a blended scotch, it was cheap, and I don't think it was worth the money.  It got cut out of the picture, but there's a bottle of Bacardi (aged) rum sitting next to it.  The rum is much better.  我有時候喜歡喝威士忌.  這瓶是在當地大潤發買的.  它是比較便宜的blended scotch, 可是我覺得這個牌子不值這個錢.  這瓶威士忌旁邊也有一瓶照片裡看不到的Bacardi蘭姆酒,  那瓶蘭姆酒好多了.

4. A Set of Marvel Superhero Toys 一些Marvel的超人玩具

Taiwanese 7-11s were giving these away just after the first Avengers came out.  I just had to have them.  They don't seem like a big deal now, but one of my Taiwanese coworkers just about killed herself getting me that Hulk.  第一部復仇者聯盟剛上映的時候, 台灣的Seven在送這些東西.  那時候這些玩具是我很需要的.  現在看起來沒那麼重要了, 可是那時一位台灣同事花很長的時間幫我找到那個浩克.


5. A Copy of a Coin from the Ching Dynasty 清朝末年的硬幣

I can't remember the name of the guy in the coin.  I used to know.  The Chinese above his head reads 中華民國三年 or "the third year of the Republic of China."  That would be 1914 on the Western calendar.  我以前知道硬幣上的人是誰,但我現在不記得了 .  這是中華民國三年的硬幣.中華民國三年是西元1914.

6. A Set of Canadian Coins from 2002 一盒2002年加拿大的硬幣

I bought this when I was attending graduate school in Seattle.  Vancouver, Canada is only a three-hour drive from Seattle, and we often went up there when we were missing Taiwan and wanted better Chinese food.  I must have bought these coins on one of those expeditions.  這是我在西雅圖念研究所的時候買的.  從西雅圖開車到加拿大溫哥華只要三個小時, 所以想念台灣和要吃比較好吃的中國料理時會去那裏.  我應該是溫哥華的時候買的吧.

7. A Clay Man 泥土人

One of my daughters made this in school.  She brought it home and told me it was me.  I strongly doubt this, due to the fact that my hair's not black and I've never worn glasses.  我的女兒在學校做的.  她帶回家說泥土人是我.  我的頭髮不是黑色的, 又沒有戴眼鏡, 我想這原本應該是其他人.

8. A Police-Themed Clock 警察的時鐘

Another gift from one of my daughters.  The battery died a few days after she brought it home, at around 2:35.  這個也是孩子的禮物.  她帶時鐘回家幾天後電池就沒電了,  就是2:35的時候.


9. A Souvenir from Pingtung County 屏東縣的紀念品

I bought this in the National Taiwan Aquarium in Pingtung.  When my daughters were smaller we went to that place more often, but now we're down to about once a year.  It's hard to see in the picture, but inside the plaque is a map of Pingtung tourist spots.  我在屏東縣的國立海洋生物博物館買的.  我二個女兒比較小的時候, 我們比較常去那裏玩, 可是最近大概一年一次.  照片裡看不出來, 可是紀念品上有屏東縣的觀光地圖.

10. A Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Fan Jojo冒險野狼的扇子

One of my Taiwanese friends gave me this after he returned from Japan.  We're both fans of the manga series.  一位台灣朋友從日本帶回來送我的.  我們兩個人都很喜歡這套漫畫.

11. A Set of Metal TRA Tickets 一盒金屬的台鐵火車票

This is the most recently purchased thing on my bookshelf.  The metal tickets were purchased in the TRA gift shop in Nan Gang Station.  Each ticket represents a particular trip on a particular type of train.  這是我書櫃上最新買的東西.  這些金屬車票是在南港車站裡的禮品店買的.  每張車票代表著特定的火車種類和特定的鐵路路線.

12. A Flash Statue 閃電俠的雕像

Another gift from the same Taiwanese friend.  When I was growing up my favorite superhero was the Flash.  I'm still hoping that they make a Flash movie before someone sends me to an old folks' home.  這也是同一位台灣朋友送我的.  我小時候最喜歡的超人就是閃電俠.  我還是希望我變老以前有閃電俠的電影上映.


13. A Wooden Goat 木頭的羊

We bought this on Orchid Island years ago.  My wife paid way too much money for it, and the only reason it hasn't disappeared into the garbage can is that she loves it so much.  It originally had four legs, but our cats destroyed the other three.  我們幾年前在蘭嶼買的.  我太太付太多錢了.  我想丟掉它, 可是我太太超愛這個東西.  它以前有四隻腳, 可是我們的貓咪把另外三隻腳拿走了.

14. Policemen, Firefighter, and Postman Banks 警察, 消防局人員跟郵差的存錢筒

Our house used to be full of these things, but then I realized how cluttered they made our living room look and I dumped them with the rest of the recycling.  A lot of Taiwanese people like to collect this type of memorabilia.  我們家以前充滿了這類的東西, 可是我後來覺得這讓我們的客廳看起來很醜, 就把很多存錢筒放資源回收.  很多台灣人喜歡收集這種存錢筒.

15. A Model from the Cartoon Space Battleship Yamato 2199 宇宙戰艦大和號的玩具

When I was little I was obsessed with this cartoon.  A new hobby shop opened on Shin Sheng Road, and I purchased this model there.  I would have bought the Yamato instead but they didn't have it.  Will I ever actually assemble this model?  I have no idea.  我小時候超愛這個卡通.  新生路上開了一家新的商店.  我在那裏買的.  我比較想買大和號, 可是店裡沒有.  我會完成這個嗎?  不知道.

16. A Clay Something 泥土的什麼東西

One of my daughters made this in school.  I don't know what animal it's supposed to be.  You can throw away all the plastic banks you've collected, but throwing away your daughter's clay gift will make for bad feelings.  我女兒在學校做的.  我不知道這是什麼動物.  可以把所有的存錢筒丟掉, 可是把孩子做的泥土禮物丟掉會讓人很傷心.

17. A Souvenir of Historic Places in Tainan 台南古蹟的紀念品

I'm not sure where I bought this.  It definitely wasn't An Ping Fort.  Maybe the Tainan History Museum?  Really not sure.  我忘記在哪裡買這個東西.  一定不是安平古堡台南歷史博物館吧.  我不是很確定.


18. A Souvenir from Jin Gua Shr 金瓜石的紀念品

Jin Gua Shr is in north Taiwan, not all that far from the more famous Jiou Fen.  There's a gold museum there, and also a trail that leads from the museum into the mountains.  金瓜石位於台灣北部, 很靠近比較有名的九份.  那邊有黃金博物館, 博物館附近也有一條通往山坡的步道.

19. Medals from Various Athletic Competitions 運動比賽的獎章

These are only a few of them.  Every time I join a triathlon or marathon I get one of these, regardless of whether I did well or not.  The star-shaped and the square-shaped ones are from the Puyuma Triathlon, the round one above it is from the Loving 197 Bike Race, the circular one out of frame is from the Guanshan Marathon, and the one at the top is from the Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon in Tacoma, Washington.  A lot of races, a lot of memories.  照片中只有一小部分.  我參加鐵人三項, 馬拉松的時候都會得到, 不管最後的表現.  星形跟正方形的是普悠瑪鐵人三項的.  上面圓形的是戀戀197單車競賽的.  右邊圓形的是關山馬拉松的.  最上面的是華盛頓州塔科馬市的Tacoma Narrows半馬拉松.  很多運動比賽, 很多的回憶.

Related Entries 相關的文章:

Guide to Taiwan for the Phobic 給恐懼症人的旅行指南
What's Going On On My Street 我的住家街道
Ramen and Asahi, Sushi and Tempura 拉麵跟Asahi, 壽司跟天婦羅
Jo Jo Lion, Comic Books, and Comic Book Rental Shops

Note 1: The first "Big Inside the Small" entry is to be found within Blog Archive 24.  Hard to believe that was six years ago.

Note 2: I hope entries like this one don't seem too egocentric.  It's just that after a certain point writing about Taiwan becomes personal, and things specific to the person doing the writing come into play.  I write this kind of thing as an example of how Taiwan has become part of my own life, not as an exercise in self-magnification.

2019年4月3日 星期三

Hello, Taitung Person 台東人妳好 9


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 44 questions.  下列編號的問題是隨機由四十四個問題中選出來的. 

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.




Chinese Name 中文名字: (It's a secret! 這是秘密!)
English Name 英文名字: Joyce
Employment 工作地點: Teacher 老師
Country of Origin 國家: Taiwan 中華民國
Age 年齡: 50 歲
Place of Residence in Taitung 住在台東地區: Taitung City 台東市
Favorite Color 最喜歡的顏色: purple 紫色


1. Q: How do you feel about temple festivals? 妳對廟會有什麼意見?

A: 很熱鬧, 也很吵鬧.  有時候喜歡, 有時候不喜歡.  Very lively, but also very noisy.  Sometimes [I] like [them], sometimes [I] don't like [them].

2. Q: In what ways is Taiwan better than other countries?  台灣哪裡比其他國家更好?

A: 人情味.  便利商店.  水果是全世界最好吃的.  風景很優美.  Kindness.  Convenience stores.  The fruit here is the best in the world.  The scenery is very beautiful.

3. Q: What time do you usually go to bed?  Why?  妳通常幾點睡覺?  為什麼?

A: 十二點到一點吧, 因為很累的時候有工作要做.  等到做完該睡覺就睡不著了.  Between 12 and 1, because sometimes [even though] I'm very tired I still have work to do.  By the time [I'm] finished find it difficult to sleep.

4. Q: What do you usually do after work?  妳下班之後通常做什麼?

A:  接送小孩, 弄晚餐.  當然, 是一放學先把學校的事做完.  Pick up [my] kids and make dinner.  Of course, once the school day is over I first [need to] finish my work at school.

5. Q: How would you like to see Taitung develop (or not develop) in the future?  妳對台東未來的發展有什麼看法?

A: 我覺得不要太繁榮, 保持比較原始的狀態, 但是這樣很多人是不同意的, 因為很多人想要有工作機會.  I think it's better that [the county] doesn't become too prosperous, and its original character is preserved, but many people would oppose this idea because  many people want more job opportunities.

6. Q: When you were a kid, what was your favorite subject in school?  妳上小學的時候最喜歡哪一個科目?

A: 數學, 音樂, 體育.  (因為以前很少科目.)  Math, music, PE.  (Because there weren't so many subjects before.)

7. Q: What other parts of Taiwan have you lived in?  For how long?  除台東之外妳還在台灣住過哪些地方?  住多久?

A: 台北市.  我想一下...  二十二年.  Taipei City.  Let me think a moment... 22 years.

8. Q: How do you overcome some Taiwanese people's fear of talking to foreigners?  一些台灣人和外國人交談會害怕, 妳是如何克服這問題的?

A: 你是指我嗎?  對啊!  我也很害怕!  因為不會講英文啊!  我是如何克服喔?  只要外國人講中文的時候我就不怕了!  Are you talking about me?  Yes!  I'm also afraid!  Because I don't speak English!  How do I overcome this fear?  I'm only not nervous when foreigners speak Chinese!

9. Q: Is it better or worse to be a homosexual in Taiwan?  Why?  住台灣當同性戀的人比較好嗎?  為什麼?

A: 不好.  因為別人會用異樣的眼光看他們, 然後家裡長輩比較沒辦法接受.  [It's] bad.  Because [even though] other people will see them differently, the older members of their family will not be able to accept them so easily.

10. Q: How could Taiwan be better?  台灣一部分可以更好?

A: 政治.  不要吵吵鬧鬧.  環境可以更乾淨.  如果更富有就更好了.  Governance.  [They need to] stop arguing.  The environment could be cleaner.  If [Taiwan] was richer it would be better.