January 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
For those of you that are scratching their heads in confusion, let me back up a few. Doraemon is a Japanese comic series about an extremely intelligent robotic cat (Doraemon) from the future, that travels back into time to help a rather miserable, often bullied young boy named Nobi. Doraemon owns a magical pocket, which allows him to conjure up thousands of different gadgets, tools and potions. Most of these special tools are used to help get Nobi out of his sticky situations that arise in his daily life.
This year, 2013, marks Doraemon’s 100th pre-birth year.
Though Doraemon originated as a Japanese Manga, he’s been a staple part of many Taiwanese childhoods. It wasn’t uncommon to find the neighborhood kids swapping the comic books, watching the tv show before dinner, and eagerly saving up our allowances to watch the latest Doraemon movie.
One of my favorite gadgets was the Dokodemo door, which allowed you to travel ANYWHERE by simply passing through the entrance. The door had a mind of itself, figuring out where the user wants to go without so much of a hint. It’s perfect for any quick escapes.
The other equally badass gadget is the Time Machine, which is located in Nobi’s desk drawer. You use the knobs to pick a time and travel through a time vortex. In the comics, Doraemon, Nobi and the rest of the crew would go on epic journeys into space or back into prehistoric times when dinosaurs still roamed earth.
Besides time travel, the capabilities of the gadgets and tools available would boggle your mind ! There was all sorts of things such as creating a clone so you don’t have to go to class, magical pens that can automatically writes down the correct answer on tests, a cloth that can reverse or fast forward time, gravitational paint that allows you to walk upside down, a phone where you can call and order anything…the list goes on and on. Anything your mind can think of, Doraemon will most likely have it in his pocket.
December 9, 2012 § 2 Comments
Recycling vans are not uncommon while walking on the streets of Taipei, but this particular van made me do a double-take. It reminded me of the garbage truck in Toy Story 3, with all the stuffed animals lashed in the front of the truck.
I wonder why people put cute cuddly stuffed animals on trucks and vans? Is it to attract attention from passerby’s (it was quite successful)? Or maybe the owner of the van wanted to give these toys a second chance at life.
Bet there is a great story behind the driver and his furry companions.
September 9, 2012 § 2 Comments
The Power of Color is this awesome annual festival that promotes the creative art scene in Taipei. Works from both Taiwanese and international artists are showcased in different venues around the city, and also includes a variety of events and activities over a 2 month period.
I accidentally stumbled upon the Da-an 56 exhibit this past Saturday. Da-an 56 is an old red brick house with a large courtyard, nestled in the bustling shopping district of Taipei’s East area. I’ve passed it several times in the past, but this is the first time it’s been opened to the public. It’s very rare to see a standalone western styled house in Taipei. Except for the super-rich, most of us live in apartment buildings in Taiwan.
Though the date of when the last owners moved out is unknown, the house looks as if it has been frozen in time, about 40 years ago. The wallpaper peeling, the floor boards creaking and the unmistakable musty odor of old houses. From the living room to the bathroom, each room and area of the property has been transformed into individual exhibit rooms for the artists.
The first exhibit you see when you step foot into the house is the eye catching piece “Thank You” by Heidi Volt.
At the start of the exhibit, all the watches are set to the same time and beeps at each hour. As time goes by, the cheap digital watches start walking to their own pace of time. If you take a close glimpse, the time on each watch is off by a few seconds or some by a minute or 2 (or more). The beeping at each hour slowly loses its synchronization and creates a cacophony of digital noises. Time really is relative isn’t it?
I loved the 3D world created by Akika Ikeda’s pop-up cut outs of books, magazines and other media. The scenes seem to come to life when popping out of their paper home.
Finding a gigantic pink flower in the bathroom caught me off guard completely. Upon closer inspection, you can see that the piece is created by facial masks, which is very popular among Asian women. I interpreted it as sacredness of the bathroom for women and their quest for beauty.
The Rotators was a sound sculpture assembled by various different objects, mostly motor-driven appliances. Besides creating a rhythmic sound, the lights also go on and off! Also, were you creeped out by this picture? My friend was taking a closer look at the exhibit just while I took the picture. So no, that isn’t Ringu (ahhh, I’m getting the creeps already) but in all honesty, Da-an 56 can definitely be considered for a haunted house venue. It has that old, eerie feel to it that comes with the aging house. *goosebumps*
This is what I would imagine would happen if a graffiti artist gets locked into a white room for a week.
“Erebus” didn’t seem that interesting at the first glance. However, if you look at the frames closely enough, you’ll see dim outlines of the artist’s family. It was kind of like a magic eye, where you have to stare at it long and hard, and even at different angles. The first image I saw was an elderly grandma and I freaked out completely. It’s interesting how the artist manipulated the photos and her statement about the piece is worth a read.
Passing in Between was by far the memorable, as you had to personally enter the exhibit. As you can see from the picture, it’s an enclosed wooden staircase with a normal human sized door but then decreases until only a mouse can make it to the end. As a human, you get stuck half-way into the staircase as you try to make it to the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Doughnut in Alice’s Wonderland” was by far the most popular piece. It’s a beautiful piece that is created completely out of bamboo. I love the reference to Alice in Wonderland as the whole Da-an 56 was by far a mind-bending, stimulating trip out of reality. But in a good way.
I almost missed the “Dispatchwork” by Jan Vormann but luckily for me, I caught it on the way out. I think this is my favorite piece because it reminds me that if you look hard enough, there are bits of creative sparks all around this city, fueled by color. Those sparks are subtle but they are there. They act as reminders that even in our mundane daily lives, you can always find something little that can bring a small on your face.
August 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
Walked past the beautiful Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall after a rainy day and snapped some pictures of the reflections in the puddles.
July 23, 2012 § Leave a Comment
While most of my travel companions made the decision to conquer the nearby outlet malls, I opted out of the Prada sales and made a solo trip to Pisa instead.
Many people were surprised that I made the trip alone; apparently small Asian girls are often discouraged from travelling by themselves. Keeping that in mind, I made sure to keep a tight grasp on my bag and tried to give off the airs of a black-belt karate master. Travelling alone might be dangerous but people are more likely to approach you if you are alone. I met a lovely Canadian couple who were on their 35th anniversary Italy trip. They were very charming and decided to keep an eye on me during our ride to Pisa.
The Piazza del Duomo (“Cathedral Square”) is situated at the heart of Pisa, home of the famous leaning tower of Pisa. You can also find the Duomo, the Campanile (bellow tower), the Baptistry and the Camposanto and the Piazza del Duomo, all surrounded by lush patches of green lawn. The weather was absolutely perfect, 75 and sunny. All I wanted to do was pass out on the lawn with some lunch and enjoy the beautiful architecture around me.
Besides checking out the beautiful and historical architecture, the bountiful supply of tourists from all around the world made for some fantastic people-watching moment.
You’d think the leaning tower of Pisa wouldn’t be leaning anymore, with the amount of tourists pushing it straight.Though I didn’t get a cheesy picture of myself pushing the Pisa tower (one of the cons of travelling solo), I took way too many pictures of others capturing that exact moment.
July 1, 2012 § 3 Comments
All the stress and tension that has been building up in my body from the months of unbearable overtime melted away the second I stepped foot in Italy. The sun was shining and the weather was impeccable; 75 degrees and clear blue skies each day.
Anyone that’s been to Florence can’t possibly question why Forbes ranked it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The rich history, art and culture oozes out of every corner. Everywhere you look is a visual feast for your eyes.
Firenze is a city flooded with tourists. In fact, it felt like tourists outnumber locals by 1:5, easily pinpointed by the DSLR camera around the necks and city maps in their hands. The locals must get tired of all the visitors all the time.
In addition to taking a million pictures of all the famous sites such as the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, I also spotted some cool street art along the way. As always, I love seeing the new urban art settling in and coexisting with all the classics.
It was probably the weather, but the colors of Firenze were so vivid! Everything appeared so sharp and bright. Taipei doesn’t quite emit such radiance (it’s been mostly grey and rainy).
If you plan on going to see Michelangelo’s David, please remember to book ticket in advance or pay a visit early in the morning. I neglected to do either and ended up waiting in the longest line ever. One hour later and a bitch mood to boot, I was still flabbergasted when I set my eyes on David. A lot of masterpieces aren’t really that amazing in person (ahem, Mona Lisa) but it really is worth seeing this in person. It’s unbelievable that a man can create such a masterpiece of a sculpture, without forgoing the intricate details. You can see the veins in the thighs and the tension in the face.
Hiking up to Piazzale Michelangelo and watching the sunset was by far my favorite part of the Firenze leg (Pisa, San Gimignano, Pienza and Orvieto pictures will come shortly!) The atmosphere was relaxed and cheerful, everyone seemed happy to be there in the moment. Lots of people brought snacks and a bottle of wine. If you forgot to pack something (like me), there are food vendors selling sandwiches and a variety of alcoholic beverages. What more could you ask?
I wonder what it’s like to live in this city, with such beauty around all the time. Do people ever get tired of it?
May 2, 2012 § 2 Comments
When I stepped foot into my somewhat health-obsessed university in Virginia 5 years ago, I was genuinely shocked to learn that people ran as a hobby – even more bewildered that people actually enjoyed it! None of my family or close friends ever just…ran. Running belonged in high school gym class and my worst nightmares. I automatically assumed that people who ran were athletes. It’s boring. And exhausting. No one in their right mind would want to run when they can sit around and eat cookies.
It’s safe to say that my stance on running has change drastically since then. I ran my first official 6k this past weekend at the 2012 Nike Be Amazing Run! It took a while, but I’m so thrilled to have made it through that god-awful journey to get where I am now.