I moved to Taipei friom Tucson, Arizona a classic western US city layed out on the grid system, I was totally unprepared for Taipei's geography. It always baffled me how after walking through the campus of the neighboring Veteran's General Hospital to get to Tian Mu Rd. bus stops that I could get on the bus which made a short left and a long right, or the other bus that made a longer right and then a long left. Either of them would take me to almost the exact same spot miles away down in ShihLin by Ming Chuan College (formerly an all-girl college now a coed university). Ah, Ming Chuan college, the fond memories of all those cute girls in all those different grades/seasonal uniforms.
One night I was on top of my friend's appartment building which was then the tallest building in Shihlin, when I observed how the 2 previously mentioned roads (Chung Shan & Wenlin) traveling from Tianmu into Taipei were squeezed by Yuanshan at the Grand Hotel. The Grand is where I spent my first night in Taiwan and where this long and interesting adventure began.
Let's see-it'd been around 17 years since I lived in Taipei. I probably lived in Taipei during the worst time of it's modern history(1987-89). They were digging up the city for the mass rapid transit system forcing the scooters, buses, handful of cars, and scant Mormon missionairies on old beat up bicycles to fight for the little bit of asphalt remaining. Uhh, the taxis ended up with most of my paycheck. I've seen all kinds of taxi themes from rolling karaoke parlors with the funky garish colored lights on board to little mobile movie theaters. Most of them having exotic sacramental looking bottles of air freshener on the dashboard. Well enough said. I have plenty more on this score but am saving it for upcoming podcasts.
Ahh, ok-I was in one cab. The driver had a strange and vacant look in his eyes. My Chinese was passable at that point but eveything I said to him he would repeat with this weird zombie-like grin and stare at me in the rearview mirror. This reminded me of that scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen is talking with Diane Keaton and car is being driven by Christoper Walken(plying Dwight-Diane Keaton's brother). Then Dwight asks Woody Allen's character if he ever dreams about driving on the road at night and having a desire to steer the car into oncoming headlights with a somewhat crazed look on his face, to which Allen replies,"Gee Dwight-I need to be getting back to earth right now! Been there-done that.
Here in Taiwan this bag which, yes Virginia in Newcastle, looks very much like toiletry kit bag, is used as man's purse and carried around. While we are on the subject of memories, when I first came to Taiwan almost 20 years ago, many of the small food shops would leave a roll of toliet paper on the table for….,eh. wiping, eh,… your hands. That's right. At that time this was one of the forms of towels/napkins provided.Their rationale, well it's all paper… On that score they are right.
Well here we go folks- Taiwan Pop Culture, products, Engrish, gizmos and other oddities innagaural posting. First from top left to right-synthetic reversible rubber keyboard covers to protect from moisture. An alarm clock with changing color LED, and tiny mp3 player that can accept memory cards. This mp3 player retails for US$20 here. All 3 of these items ofered in Yahoo Taiwan's online store.
photo by robby-T
Let's face it folks-I have so many opportunities to photograph examples of "Engrish" here in Taiwan it's not even funny. Well what's stopping me you ask? The old "time" enemy, and not owning a small enough digital camera I can take with me as I move about. I really have a plan to post more and more offerings of this wonderful "Asian" pop-culture phenomenon.
Photo by Azlan Nache
I've been living in Asia and eating japanese food for over 30 years and I never knew these things. What a hoot. Check out video here.
July '78 19 years old-back from the "sticks" of Arizona in NYC the town that roars and devours you like a lion. Going to see one of my favorite bands-Wire of Pink Flag fame. Like the Ramones a whole album under 30 minutes, but what intensity and exuberance. Minimalist and exciting from start to finish. Not getting the big press or attention, but those that know, know.
Show up at some theatre in Manhattan in the Village? East Village-it was for a live broadcast by some local FM station. The band was screwing around: stop start, stop start, play. It seemed the band is oblivious to us waiting to hear a show and the clock ticking down to close to the hour when the broadcast would begin. Some hippie Dj type from the station goes over to Colin and whispers (what must have been the equivalent-do you know you're going on the air live in 8 minutes? or something like that). Colin snaps to attention-the power from heaven fell on him and instantly the band do a song from beginning to end with electric tension and perfection. The marching orders are in-they are ready to project out over the airwaves-from chaos and sniping amongst band member's- Colin to Robert, in snotty English accent "Aren't you so fuckin' stupid" to thunder of the god's intensity like I've never seen or heard. All within seconds-punk epiphany for the city boy home from the sticks.
2nd night more of the same seeing the boys in CBGB punk mecca-place of legend music of dreams-the intensity-energy, sonic assault,passion fulfillment.
Photo by Sugar Cain
Living here in Taiwan our media has always been more time-shifted particularly for English language programming., I just watched the final episode of Project Runway produce by some of my favorite Hollywood( via New York) bad boys-the Weinstein Brothers. I was very pleasantly surprised when Jay McCarroll very creative and somewhat flamboyant young desiigner won over the favored and more seasoned Kara Saun. Even jay was expecting Kara to win. I eally got the feeling that Jay's surprise at winning was as genuine as my own. Glad to see he won based on his creativity over Kara's better technique.
Photo by Shinya Omachi
2 big corporate entities embattled in a match of the venal and inane. Apple Corps. and Apple Computer square off over who can leverage the ubiquitous fruit as their proprietary appelage.
Apple Corps Ltd., the Beatles' record company and guardian of the band's musical heritage and business interests, is suing Apple Computer, claiming the company violated a 1991 agreement by entering the music business with its iTunes online music store.
For link to complete article.
I can't explain why I get such a wonderful feeling when I sip from my blue glass tumbler. The little blue world within , the deep blue sheen of the liquid. Kind of like the feeling the dope dealing neighbor(Wes Bentley) of Kevin Spacey in American Beauty, would get when the empty baggie got caught up in a little whirlwind. I don't want to quantify or intellectuallize only enjoy.