Blog Archives

Life in Taipei: this and that

I’ve been back in Taiwan for a few months now, and most of what I’ve put on the blog has been new & updated hiking content (see here). But obviously I’m not hiking every day (just once a week usually), so here’s a bunch of random photos of this &

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Taipei hiking: a dozen views of Taipei 101

Apropos of nothing much, here’s a bunch of views of Taipei 101 all taken during hikes I’ve done in the 3 months since coming back to Taiwan. The weather’s generally cloudy here in spring so most of them weren’t taken on the best of days, but anyway you can see how well Taipei 101 serves as a reference point from the mountains all around the city.

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Life in Taipei: hiking updates

I recently came back to Taipei and have been getting some hiking in before the insane heat & humidity properly kicks in (already starting to do so).

Main focus has been to redo a bunch of hikes I did last time I was living here, when I didn’t have a camera and was using a beatup old iPhone 3 for most of my pics –

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Life in Taipei: the old city wall

Beimen, the North Gate of the old Taipei city wall

Taipei was only founded in the late 1800s when Taiwan was part of the Qing Empire, and the city walls were pulled down a short time later in the early 1900s when Taiwan was part of the Japanese Empire. The Japanese administration did this to make way for the wide boulevards which are still there today,

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Life in Taipei: Stumpy the Lizard

Fucking bugs. Fucking cockroaches, fucking flies, and fucking, fucking, fucking mosquitoes; one thing you’re always going to have to put up with if you go live in the Far East is all the damn bugs.

If you’re in Korea or Japan then at least it’s only a summer thing,

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Life in Taipei: the Taiwan Receipt Lottery

If you’re travelling in Taiwan, you may notice that shop staff seem particularly keen for you to take your receipt; you may even notice members of public scrambling to scoop up discarded receipts from the floor.

The reason is the rows of digits printed near the top,

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Life in Taipei: a Stroll Around Zhongshan

Street art in Taipei's Zhongshan District

This little bit of public art in Taipei’s Zhongshan District depicts a scene from a Chinese proverb, which tells us that though a hare may be faster than a snail, a snail will still win a race up the wall.

Street art in Taipei's Zhongshan District

Zhongshan is one of Taipei’s central shopping areas,

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Life in Taipei: Remnants of the Empire of the Sun

Rinzai Zen Temple, Yuanshan, Taipei

As a former resident of Japan who moved to Taipei, it was fascinating to see the Japanese influence on this originally Chinese culture, Taiwan having been colonised by the Qing Empire in the late 1600s and then the Japanese Empire for 50 years from 1895 to 1945;

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Life in Taipei: Qilou Buildings

A typical qilou street in Taipei

I’m not sure why I stopped and snapped this picture at the time, but it captures a really typically Taiwanese scene – the guy doing the dishes in the gutter after the restaurant’s closed for the night, the lanterns, the other guy about to get on his scooter,

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Life in Taipei: Xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung

Xiaolongbao (小籠包, literally ‘little basket buns’) are a specialty of both Shanghai and Taipei – small dough parcels of pork and soup, they’re like bite-sized explosions of delicious joy in your mouth.

A basket of xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung, Taipei

Originally from Shanghai, xiaolongbao became a local staple in Taiwan with the wave of mainland immigrants that fled there in 1949 at the end of the Chinese Civil War,

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Ghost In The Shell: chasing ghosts in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan

This week saw the release of Ghost In The Shell, a live action Hollywood remake of the classic (1995) Japanese anime movie (itself based on the original manga by Masamune Shirow). The casting of Scarlet Johansson in the lead role caused some controversy (as her character –

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Taipei Night Market Guide

Taiwan‘s night markets (夜市, yeshi, pronounced “yeah she”) are popular with locals and tourists alike, and you should definitely try to visit at least one while you’re there. Every night market is a good place to sample lots of different Taiwanese dishes and street snacks,

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Snake Alley, Taipei: Then and Now

Cobras on display in Snake Alley, Taipei

Snake Alley is an infamous covered shopping arcade attached to Taipei’s Huaxi Street Night Market (華西街夜市, Huaxijie Yeshi) which was notorious for prostitution (before it was outlawed in the 90s) and is known for being the place to go if you want to boost your vitality by eating the body parts of various animals –

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