Category Archives : Taipei

Articles and thoughts on the city where I spend most of my hours.


Streets Saturday for Week 21

Another week of shots off the mobile. Its just so darn convenient and faster to reach for something in my pocket than in my bag. Also, its a lot less conspicuous in a hospital where a couple of these were taken. Yes, Im fine. I was just there for a blood screening and MMR vaccination.

Did you know vaccinations fade after a couple of decades?

I did take advantage of some Taipei MRT construction that I came across with a proper camera, but since the photos are related theyll be posted under the Random Encounters banner next week.

Here we go.

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The First Maker Faire in Taipei 1

The first Maker Faire in Taipei (well, in Taiwan really) happened at Huashan park this past weekend, May 18-19. Entry was free for all-comers and it was awesome. As one would expect, there were plenty of robots wandering around and there were even robot boxing events. There were also plenty of demonstrations of Rasberry Pi and Arduino-based projects (along with a number of Arduino clones, my favorite being Motoduino which was apparently created by a maker fan of those Hello Moto mobile phone commercials).


The Barbie Cafe, Taipei, Taiwan 9

The Barbie Cafe in Taipei, Taiwan is not the first Barbie-themed restaurant in the world but it is the first Barbie-themed restaurant in the world officially licensed by Mattel H.Q. In El Segundo, California. The obvious question is Why Taipei?. Themed restaurants are very popular in Asia in general and seem to be especially popular in countries like Japan, China, and Taiwan. In China, enforcement of intellectual properties and trademarks is ridiculously lax making it a poor environment in which to open a business that relies on its branding as a selling tool. In Japan, the market has matured (and might even be called glutted). While theme restaurants are popular in Taipei, there is still room for new players here. It also helps that one of the most popular restaurants in the city is the Sanrio-approved Hello Kitty Sweets, which has remained popular for some time. In demographic terms, they appeal to the same pie. And guess where the Barbie Cafe is located? Its less than a block from Hello Kitty Sweets, so Mattel is well aware of the demographics.

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Random Encounters: Pictures of Ximen Market

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.

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