Tag Archives: Taipei

YIPPEE, SNOW!

Yes, finally, at long last, after 10 days of non-stop rain and more rain, and getting colder by the hour, today the rain has finally stopped, people’s moods have lifted, the skies have sort of cleared and in the far distance on Yang-Ming Shan Mountains 陽明山, just above Taipei City, there is SNOW!  YIPPEE!  The grey snow-laden sky is kinda merged with the white snow, but hey, check it out.  Ha ha, it’s there, honest. And just in case you’re still not sure what you’re supposed to be looking at – check out the arrows below!

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There’s no snow down here at sea-level of course, but still it’s freezing cold and we’re all bundled up with gloves and scarves and hats and coats etc etc.  Been dressed like this for several days now, it’s cold cold cold.  But today’s different, cos we are all so excited to see Real Live Snow! YES!  Albeit in the distance, 15-20 km away, but visible to the naked eye, even if not very clear on any camera.  So we’ve all been up on the 8th floor library building rooftop at St. John’s University gazing endlessly out at that distant view.  FYI, the altitude up there is about 1,000 m.

The last time this happened was exactly 2 years ago, and the time before that, well, was about a decade ago.  Before my time.  Hey guys, this is supposed to be a subtropical country.  We don’t have no central heating.  Or any heating come to that.  Only hand warmers, hot water bottles and extra layers of clothes.  And a few have those small electric fires in home or office, although there’s none here – our SJU chaplaincy opens onto the outside, where the wind howls and blows in all directions.  Ah, we just grin and bear it!  But forget the cold, today we’re all super-excited.  Just look at us all standing up on that 8th floor rooftop….  even though actually the photo doesn’t even show any snow!

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And in case you really want to see what it’s like up there in those mountains, these 2 photos below were taken yesterday up at Erziping 陽明山二子坪步道, by our good friend, Mr. J. C. Chen, who has kindly let me share them with you….a bit slushy by the looks of it, but oh so beautiful.

Yippee,  SNOW!  Happy Snow Day everyone!

And this is the view from Sanzhi late this afternoon!

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What a great view eh?!  And yes, plenty of snowmen being built up there, but so far, none down here!

Four Four South Village 四四南村, Taipei

There’s no escaping Taipei 101 ~ it towers over everything in the Xinyi District of Taipei ~ including the old military dependents’ village of Sisinan 四四南村 (Four Four South Village), which is high on the list for tourists, who love taking photos of Taipei 101 and in front of the coloured doors.

The buildings have a lot of character….

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But it’s really hard to get all of Taipei 101 and the old buildings in the photo – diagonal is the best!

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Ah yes, blue sky, warm temperatures, what a great autumn so far ~ and Taipei’s looking great!

Street Art @ Ximending 西門町, Taipei

Ximending has long been THE trendiest area of Taipei for night life and street fashion ~ and of course Street Art.  I was there yesterday checking it out….

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Just outside the main shopping area, down the back alleys of Kunming Street ~ and the walls are covered in graffiti of every kind.  Sometimes it’s just a section of the wall….

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And sometimes the whole length of the wall….

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It’s constantly changing, there’s new stuff appearing all the time, so what was there last year may have long gone by the time you get to go there again.

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Actually, I’m very fussy when it comes to Street Art.  Demons and devils, skulls and skeletons are just not my scene.  I don’t actually like this one below, for that reason, however colourful it might be ~ but it’s so big and in yer face that I have to include it here….

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I don’t like cartoons much either or the manga comic book stuff – though I love the 3D dinosaur!

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What I love is positive stuff, colourful stuff and meaningful artistic stuff, like these….

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So get yourself down to Ximending on a regular basis ~ and check out the great street art, it’s fun, it’s colourful and it makes the area really interesting and special!

Ju Ming Sculpture Park and Museum 朱銘美術館, Jinshan, Taipei

A sunny Saturday afternoon in September and what better place to go than Ju Ming Sculpture Park, officially known as Ju Ming Museum and only 20 km from here round the northern coast, with stunning views over the sea and mountains.   This was the main entrance today…

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My first visit there was in November 2016 (see my blog post here) ~ and I was very impressed.  It houses all the incredible art work of Ju Ming 朱銘, the world famous Taiwanese sculptor, born in Miaoli, Taiwan in 1938.

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The park is big – and on a sunny day, it’s a bit hot out there. But definitely worth seeing and wandering around and looking at the far distant views!

Ju Ming’s sculptures come in different ‘series’, on different themes.  This time I’ve only taken photos of sculptures I particularly like, so the armed forces theme is a bit under-represented.  But there’s soldiers and sailors and air force figures all over the place, here’s some….

And then there’s the Taichi series, which are huge and mostly black and mostly beautiful!

And then there’s the Living World series which are of all colours, all styles, all materials, all fun, and all over the place ~ I love ’em!  Every seat around the park has a figure sitting on it, every corner has a sculpture, it’s great!

Some of the Living World series are inside, this is a huge mural on the wall….

and these lovely lines of ladies….

and sunbathing metal figures – with others trying to stay awake in a meeting!

And outside there’s an amazing tree called a ‘Common Screw Pine’ with huge fruits…

And a few other sculptures which are nice but I’m not sure what series they belong to!  This one is a horse up above the trees…

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Ju Ming Museum is one of those must-see places, it’s a great afternoon’s outing. And one last view of the main entrance as I was leaving, these sculptures look like what everyone feels like after a day at a museum ha ha!

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Ah, I love it!

Taipei Transforms Subway Cars to Mimic Sporting Venues for Upcoming Summer Universiade | Colossal

To spark interest for the upcoming 2017 Summer Universiade, the city of Taipei has employed a fantastic marketing strategy that sees the city’s subway cars turned into realistic backdrops of several popular sporting venues. The floors of each car have been replaced by laminate overlays of track lane, grass turf, basketball courts, and baseball fields—though by far the most popular car is the swimming pool. The Universiade begins August 19th and involves 22 different sports across 70 venues. ….

Source: Taipei Transforms Subway Cars to Mimic Sporting Venues for Upcoming Summer Universiade | Colossal

Update on July 24, 2017:  I found this train today (greatly helped by staff at one of the stations) and here we are!

Fun eh?!

The Cattle of YangMingShan 陽明山, Taipei

Yes, at last, I’ve found them!  The cattle of YangMingShan are smelt long before they are seen ~ the smell of ‘cow’ is everywhere in Qingtiangang especially on the grasslands, and there’s cowpats and muddy trails and hoof-prints all over.  But often the cattle themselves are nowhere to be found.  I’ve been up there twice recently and not a cow in sight.  But yesterday, there they all were, taking it easy – with the egrets perched on their backs, chewing the cud, yes!

YangMingShan is the mountain range on the northern side of Taipei City, highest point 1,120m above sea level, all volcanic in origin, with lots of sulfur deposits, fumaroles, hot springs, and in spring, cherry blossom.  From 1895-1945, Taiwan was under Japanese rule, and in 1937, the Japanese government declared the western part of YangMingShan around the Datun Mountain area as a national park.  Much of the area was already being reforested, and the trails that we all use today were established at that time running along in-between the firebreaks.  And beautiful trails they are too!

The eastern part of YangMingShan, around Qingtiangang and further east to Fenggueikou, was used for tea-growing and grazing cattle.  In 1934, the Farmer’s Association of Taipei established a cattle ranch there, covering about 2,000 hectares, with about 1,600 cattle. This was disrupted during World War II, and even though farming was continued under the Chinese government after the war, it continued to decline. In 1985, Qingtiangang became part of the national park.  This was the site of the old farm office, near the Juansi Waterfall (‘Silk Waterfall’, because the water looks like spun silk) now derelict….

The cattle of YangMingShan today are of 2 types, Taiwan Water Buffalo and Tajima Cattle (a strain of Japanese Black).  In January 2017, former president of Taiwan, Lee Teng-Hui, who has a PhD in Agricultural Economics, announced a project to produce Japanese-style beef using Taiwanese cattle through experimental breeding techniques, using Tajima cattle from YangMingShan – though the report says the Tajima were underweight when they arrived at the research station.  No wonder, living up there, especially in winter!  There’s one Tajima in the centre of this group….

The water buffalo are black in colour with large curved horns, in a crescent shape. The horns of the Tajima are smaller and shorter and straighter.  They all hang out together, and due to the heat can often be found sitting around taking it easy, chewing the cud or indulging in a bit of mud-bath therapy, keeping cool.  This is how they were yesterday!

The cattle area and grasslands extends for miles all the way along the ridge to Fengguikou. Beautiful scenery all the way and glorious views!

And how’s this for the view north towards the coast…. that’s the sea in the distance!

Great place, and those cows are something else – the ones in the mud-bath could be heard long before I could see them, wallowing and blowing bubbles.  Just like hippos in the Serengeti!

Rixing Type Foundry 日星鑄字行 ~ the last Traditional Chinese Character Letterpress in Taiwan

Down a tiny little backstreet in Taipei City surrounded by hardware stores is just what you don’t expect to find ~ a shop full of rows and rows of tiny little Chinese characters!

This article titled, “6 Things You Didn’t Know About Rixing Type Foundry, The Last Traditional Chinese Letterpress In Taiwan” on the City 543 website says,

“The Rixing Type Foundry (日星鑄字行) is home to the last remaining collection of traditional Chinese movable type character moulds in the world, plying its trade for more than four decades with techniques that have been recognized since the Song Dynasty in 1040s…  In the 1960s, Taipei alone was home to 5,000 printing presses churning out a seemingly unquenchable deluge of work. Forty years later, only 30 establishments remain, and Rixing is the last print foundry in the capital….

Chinese script has no alphabet. Instead it consists of words made up of one to two characters, one of which can comprise of up to 25 strokes. Rixing has one of the largest collections of three-dimensional Chinese characters in Taiwan, with 120,000 moulds of different characters and more than 10 million lead character pieces.”

Apparently the world’s largest collection of traditional Chinese movable type. Wow!

There’s another article here from the Taipei Times in May interviewing the owner, Chang Chieh-kuan (張介冠),  son of the founder, who is worried about the future of the foundry. He was busy working out the back while I was there today.

This is one of the old letterpress machines – made in Taichung no less….

There’s another article here form Neocha Magazine with lots of artistic photos…..

And a Facebook page at Ri Xing Type Foundry …

The characters are all organized of course, this one happens to have 聖 ‘sheng’, meaning ‘holy’ right in the middle….

This one has the numbers at the top, going right to left…

And there’s 3 fonts and 7 different sizes…

So if you have a spare 30 minutes in Taipei, do check this place out ~ it’s fascinating! They make Chinese stamp seals, so I got one for my name (李凱玲 Lee Kai-Ling – the big character on the left is the ‘Lee’)…. this is it!

And this is the very unassuming main entrance…. there’s hardly even a signboard!

A great place, even if the temps in Taipei today were 36°C but feeling apparently like 40! Wow!