Category

Voices From Taiwan

Category

Taiwan Culture Blooms at InBlooom, Taipei’s hippest fabric art shop

Dadaocheng is a busy neighborhood on most days, especially in the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year holidays. But even on the busiest days things are usually a bit quieter on two blocks west, which is where you’ll find InBlooom, a shop specializing in both selling print goods and in teaching Taiwanese printing art to locals and visitors alike. Taiwan Scene sat down with InBlooom co-founder Ama Shen to talk about the elusive nature of Taiwanese art and culture, the transformation of the Dadaocheng neighborhood, and the idea of art and culture as tools in Taiwan’s soft power arsenal. Ama Shen is a slim woman, with a short bobbed hairstyle mildly evoking the style of the flappers in the roaring twenties and the flowing, colorful garments one would expect from someone whose stock in trade is beautiful fabric. But behind her style lies deep questions about what it…

A British Barber in Taiwan

Taiwan has attracted foreign talent for decades, but to our knowledge Daniel Bullivant is one of a select few Englishmen to make his name as British Barber for Gentlemen in Taiwan. Though he came here six years ago to travel, fate had other plans. After meeting his wife in Hualien, Daniel opened up a barber shop in the charming east coast city. In the process, he’s created a most unique experience for himself and thousands of satisfied customers. Taiwan Scene sat down with Daniel for a chat about his Taiwan experience. On why he chose Hualien: Hualien was just on my list as a tourist, as a place to visit in Taiwan. So my friend lent me his bicycle and I cycled over Hehuan (mountain) to Hualien, and it was here that I met my wife and settled down. On the pros and cons of working in Taiwan: On…

Traveling in Taiwan as a woman (but not only)

Too often, a female traveler cannot experience a place in the same way as a male counterpart. There are always added dangers, prohibitions, assumptions, expectations and just those extra things women notice because experience and necessity have trained us to do so. If an exception exists, it might well be Taiwan. During an eye-opening semester in India, for example, I found myself not only experiencing it as another culture, but also as a country where I found myself sexually harassed multiple times. “What a lot of people don’t get,” I typed furiously to a friend after one such occurrence, “is how a woman traveling can’t see a place the same way as a man. It’s different in a certain way, though, it’s a not only, but also kind of different.” Later, I took the lead in arranging travel in Cairo, I enjoyed it not only as a vibrant city where…

The Taipei Tai Chi Experience

If you’ve spent any time at all in Taiwan or China, you’ve probably seen Tai Chi being practiced in parks, usually in the early morning by anything from single practitioners to large, semi-choreographed groups. For the past month or so I’ve been practicing Tai Chi myself three mornings a week, and I thought I’d use this week’s column to share my experience. As I’m not an expert (indeed, after four weeks of practice I feel as if I know less about the subject than I did before I’d started), I’ll clip a quick paragraph from  Wikipeida’s Tai Chi page before getting into my own humbling (and yeah, sometimes humiliating) insight about Tai Chi. Tai chi (taiji), short for t’ai chi ch’üan (taijiquan; 太极拳), is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. The term taiji refers to a philosophy of the forces of…

Henry Rollins is in Taipei

Photo Credit to Danny Liao Earlier today I was having a conversation with my colleague, April, Social Media Manager for MyTaiwanTour. She’d noticed that there had been a sharp uptick in recent weeks to people searching for the term DaDaoCheng, and was curious about why. She also noted that the area’s been increasingly packed with foreign travelers. “I don’t understand why.” She said. “There’s no current festivals happening in the neighborhood.” “There doesn’t have to be.” I replied. “DaDaoCheng is cool. People know it’s cool, and want to just hang out there. Like Times Square, in New York City. People just go there.” At the time, it seemed like a decent analogy. Being from New York, I never went to Time Square unless I had some reason, and never really “got” what the appeal of the neighborhood was. But to travelers, Times Square represents the quintessential New York Experience -…