Thursday, May 17, 2012

Taiwanese years

Another thing you notice in Taiwan is that it's the wrong year. I had trouble buying meat when I first arrived because I could never find an expiration date. The numbers looked almost right, but the year was 101. This is because Taiwan started counting the years from the founding of the ROC, or 1911. So some products use this format for their expiration dates. Of course, not using Common Era dates isn't unique. Those of you who have lived in Thailand have seen the same thing (I had a Thai friend once try to slip me some expired Cashews, hoping I wouldn't figure out what the real expiration date was). I believe the same is true for Israel, Ethiopia and parts of the Middle East (and possibly Myanmar).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Taiwanese processions

Today is 繞境, or RaoJing, a national Taoist festival here in Taiwan. I've always said Taoism is to Buddhism what Catholicism is to Protestantism. The Taoists get the cool decorations in their temples, the many gods (or saints), and the interesting processions. This one was no exception, and since the participants took their lunchbreak outside my apartment, I got to take some pictures. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I realize I haven't updated in a while, so I probably should. I've been in Taiwan for the past month, and I've been studying Chinese, traveling around Taiwan, and basically fulfilling my first New Year's Goal in every which way. It's been awesome and I have 2 more months of this before wondering if I can prolong it at all.

Hopefully I can update more often with news from Taipei.

Monday, January 09, 2012


In case you're wondering, the people at the front desk of my apartment have given me an Ozone machine. Apparently I leave this on in my apartment and it gets rid of malicious odors. I'm not sure if the "Ozone" in the machine's name has anything to do with the one that's depleting the stratosphere, and I chose not to ask, since I don't want to risk feeling guilty until I've gotten rid of this non-dead-person smell.

No dead people

When I first moved into this apartment there was a smell which I attributed to lack of air circulation, so I kept the windows open and tried to give it some time. This was over a month ago and the smell never left, so I asked the front desk if someone could look into it. When the maintenance guy came he said "Well, if you were on the sixth floor I'd know what it was, since a guy died there and it was a while before they found him, but I don't know what this is." I thought it was possible someone else might have died in the meantime, but I didn't mention it. I'm not really sure what a dead body smells like, but from the reactions I see in movies to people opening car trunks with dead bodies, I don't think it's a dead body.