Monday, June 16, 2008

Temple Merry-Go-Round

So, with a Catholic upbringing, I have no room to talk about church extracurriculars (BINGO!), but a lot of temples around here tend to make an amusement park out of their most beloveds...

For example, at this Daoist temple in Keelung, families can ride go-karts, play ring-toss, and line up to bang the 20 foot religious bell, all under the merciful eye of Guanyin and playful smile of a jolly-fat Buddha.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Diligent Property Exploitation

Yilan County (宜蘭縣) is becomingly an increasingly popular tourist destination in Taiwan, and with fresh air, stunning coastlines, well maintained hiking trails, affordable and luxurious hot springs, a wealth of culture (from the National Center for Traditional Arts 國立傳統藝術中心 to aboriginal communities abound), and great food, quite rightfully so.
In addition to tourism, building up-scale houses nestled in rice paddies with mountains and Turtle Island 龜山島 in the background is also all the rage. Friends who lived here just a year ago have told me they are surprised at the changing scenery, once flat, now speckled with houses.

Well, so it goes with any kind of development. When is too much too much? Not for a while I'd imagine if the business philosophy and mission statement of this real estate company really have any relationship to their English name: Diligent Property Exploitation.
Thanks to Meg for documenting this one for us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sin House

This advertisement for an overnight stay is posted on the wall of my favorite Stinky Tofu shop in Luodong (羅東).

新 or 心 or 信 (new, heart, true/letter - all positive or neutral things) can all be written as "xin" in Pinyin, or "sin" in another romanization system.

Clearly unintended, but the website is definitely preventing me from booking a night for my family when they visit.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

God Is Lonely Too

This idea has popped into my head a few times over the years: if gGod is everything, all-knowing and all-being, then there very well can't be anything outside of it (sat and asat), so he must be a lonely bugger (life that is).  

Thus the breakdown of all-being into multiple forms, and these forms necessarily complex, and limited in knowledge (the tree, the dog, the human) to it's own condition of existence, in order to mask the inherent oneness from which gGod can't separate itself. We call this life.

So, gGod as all-being is a lonely toddler with no playmate,

and too, gGod as all beings are as confused as toddlers, mesmerized by their own existence and intentionally made to live alone and unaware of their limitless connectivity,

in every form, needs snack food. Thus 浪味仙, or "Wave Flavor God." My Chinese isn't good enough to tell you if it's "a God that Tastes like Waves" or "a God who Brings Waves of Flavor", but either way he's just "Lonely God" in English. (re: the Chinese, I'd opt for translation 2 based on the chips being 泡菜口味 or "Kimchi Flavored", so no point in naming the chip flavor twice.

Thanks to Julie for this submission.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

North or South?

Road signs in Taiwan are pretty tough for foreigners. There are numerous romanization systems used to translate (pinyin, zhuyin, tongyin?) a street name, so your map may say Lotung, and the sign read Luotong, and your friend's note read Luodong.

That's tough enough, but what do foreigners do to differentiate "North" from "South" in this picture from Erik Bashaw?

Fortunately, if you are driving in Taiwan, you should know that 南 is South, and 北 North, making it a no-brainer.

Sunday, April 6, 2008


On the whole, I would say the average Taiwanese loves their cutsie dog oodles and oodes and tons of cuddles more than is safe for keeping me from gagging. I have heard from a number of friends "He doesn't know he's a dog" or "she thinks she's a person."

Thanks to Julie for sending in this submission, which makes me think otherwise about the motives for love.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


This isn't so much "Shenme the H: Taiwan" as "Shenme the H: Kids"

3rd grade Ping Pong Class (yes, there is a separate class for the ping pong kids) drawing.

Somewhere out there, there is an angry mouse king with a grass-colored fire-breathing dinosaur chasing you and your sibling. Somewhere out there, evil is just waiting on the playground.