In Taiwan, strawberries are a winter fruit. Miaoli County, which sits south of Taipei, is the center of the strawberry universe. Every weekend dozens of tourist busses leave from Taipei Main Station filled with agro-tourists ready to strip the farms bare of anything with even the slightest red tinge followed by a stop off at the center of Miaoli City for some strawberry wine, strawberry ice cream, strawberries over shaved ice drowned in condensed milk, strawberry smoothies, strawberry candies, … you get the idea. There are even strawberry-flavored corn dogs and Taiwanese sausages.
What do you do if you are the village one train stop down from a very popular tourist-trail village? You come up with a hook to snag some of that tourist traffic. In this case, Houtong Village sits on the next stop past where anyone going to Pingxi to float some paper lanterns or Shifen to see the waterfall would exit.
The hook they came up with? Cats.
Ximen Market (a.k.a. Hsimen Market, Ximending, ???, Hsimenting, etc…) has been a shopping center in Taipei since before Taiwan was a country. It was first designated as a shopping district by the Japanese during their rule of the island prior to World War II. For Chinese or Japanese-language linguaphiles this explains the ding character, which doesnt make a ton of sense in a Chinese context because it is a direct transfer of the same character in Japanese (cho), which does make sense. There have been shopping or entertainment venues in Ximen for over a century including the Red House Theater, which has been standing since 1908 and still stands.
A few months ago, one of the dogs I take care of developed cancer and passed away. She wasnt my longest-lived pet (Spree is still alive & kicking) but special in that she was rescued when my children were infants. My intention was for my twins and the dog, Kiki, to grow up together. Her death was soon, sudden, and was especially hard on my now 7-year old twins. After some discussion in which there was no dissension, we decided to have Kiki cremated and her ashes mixed into the soil of a tree at a relatively nearby pet cemetery.
Like many urban parks in the US, many city parks in Taiwan serve as a gathering place for neighborhood residents to play board games. In many cases this means Chinese Go. I guess the best “Western” comparison to Go would be to Orthello…Orthello is like a “special needs” version of Go
That’s right, there’s only a week left until the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, which we all know will harbor the apocalypse just like October of this year was supposed to…and 2000 was supposed to…heck, just read this National Geographic article and know [...]
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