X

British Ex-Pat Who Loves Taiwan Tattoos Its Name on His Forehead

Paul Ferrell, a British ex-pat who has been living in Taiwan for the last 13 years, recently decided to show everyone how much he loved the small Asian country by getting a tattoo of its Chinese name on his forehead and its green independence flag inked on his chin.

Ferrell became the talk of the town in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, where he owns a popular bar, after getting the unusual tattoos inked on his face. He claims to have made the “rash decision” after a night of heavy drinking and a passionate discussion about Taiwan’s independence. The British ex-pat recently told reporters that he was inspired by his love for Taiwan, but insists that he would not have gone through with his impulse, had he not been so drunk at the time.

Read More »

Taiwanese Sisters and Their Mother Stun the World with Their Incredibly Youthful Looks

Lure Hsu, a 41-year-old interior designer and fashion blogger, had already been attracting lots of attention online for her incredibly youthful looks, but people recently discovered that eternal youth runs in her family. Lure’s two sisters, 36-year-old Sharon, and 40-year old FayFay, both look like they are in their early 20s, and their 63-year-old mother looks like their older sister.

Just when people were starting to come to terms with the fact that Lure Hsu is actually in her 40s, photos of her sisters and mother starting showing up in Taiwanese media, and everyone lost their minds once again. The four Hsu women are now being called “the family of frozen ages” by the media in their country, while some people claim that they must be descendants of vampires. Truth be told, they do all look suspiciously young for their age.

Read More »

New Taipei Restaurant Uses Bikini-Clad Waitresses to Attract Customers

A hot-pot restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan, recently got a lot of attention online after photos of young bikini-clad waitresses serving and interacting with customers went viral.

The hot-pot restaurant business in Taiwan and mainland China is very competitive, and it’s very hard for newcomers to get an edge by relying solely on the quality of the food and impeccable service. So the owners of ‘Fresh Feast’, a new restaurant that opened in the Songshan district of Taipei, decided that they needed some extreme marketing in order to get the word out about their eatery and attract customers. For the grand opening, they hired five good-looking models and had them serve customers dressed only in skimpy bikinis.

Read More »

The Tragic Story of a Taiwanese Vet Who Euthanized Herself After Having to Put Down Too Many Dogs

Taiwan recently banned euthanizing abandoned animals in shelters, a law believed to have been prompted by the shocking suicide of a young veterinarian, in May 2016. 31-year-old Chien Chih-cheng injected herself with euthanasia drugs, after becoming extremely disturbed by the large number of animals she had to put down.

Chien Chih-cheng was the director of of an animal shelter in Taoyuan’s Sinwu District. She had chosen to work at the shelter because of her love for animals, and her colleagues remember that she “often worked overtime, rarely took a proper lunch break, and sacrificed her holidays to give the dogs more attention and make their lives better.” After graduating from one of Taiwan’s top university with the highest score in a civil service examination, Chien could have opted for a number of desk jobs, but she chose to dedicate her life to helping abandoned animals and getting them adopted by new families. But her job also required her to euthanize the animals that didn’t get adopted after a certain period of time, and this took a heavy toll on the young animal lover, especially after animal rights activists accused her of killing hundreds of abandoned dogs.

“Some animal welfare activists have unleashed relentless attacks on the Sinwu shelter and Chien was a target of those attacks,” Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu wrote on Facebook last year. “She was even described as a ‘butcher.’ For a young woman who chose to work at the shelter because of her love for animals and whose duties involved euthanizing stray animals every day, those abuses were like stabs to the heart.”

Chien-Chih-cheng Read More »

Fishing with Fire – A Mesmerizing Tradition of Taiwan

For hundreds of years, fishermen in Taiwan have been catching sardines with the help of fiery stick held over the edge of a boat. The fish are so attracted to the light that they jump out of the water and into the nets of the fishermen.

Fire fishing is as simple as it is mesmerizing. Fishing boats head out to sea during the night, and light up a bamboo stick covered with sulfuric soil at one end to create a bright flame. The sulfur dissolves in the water and the gas produced then flashes with fire. Drawn to the light spectacle, sardines jump out of the water by the hundreds at a time and end up in the fishermen’s nets. Sulfuric fire fishing was developed during the period of Japanese Rule and is now practiced only in the Jinshan sulfur harbor.

fire-fishing-Taiwan7 Read More »

Taiwan’s Betel Nut Beauties – Scantily-Clad Girls Peddling Nuts on the Side of the Road

If you ever happen to visit Taiwan, you might be greeted to the sight of scantily-clad women in neon-lit glass kiosks by roadsides, waiting for men to pull over. Well, they’re not what you think!

These women are ‘Betel nut girls’ who peddle small snacks of tasty, stimulative betel nuts wrapped in betel leaves. They dress provocatively to attract potential buyers, but nuts is pretty much the only thing they sell.

The main roads are filled with around 60,000 such phone booth-style kiosks; they’re so much a part of the nation’s identity that they’re actually featured on old tourist guides. The women who operate the stalls are usually from poorer families, but according to news reports, the job pays more than housekeeping, waiting tables and other conventional jobs.

betel-nut-beauties6 Read More »

Taiwanese Man Has Been Waiting for His Date to Show Up for the Last 20 Years

Unwilling to accept that he was stood up, a Taiwanese man has reportedly been waiting for his date to show up for the last two decades! 47-year-old Ah Ji is now a permanent fixture at Tainan train station, where the love of his life promised to meet him all those years ago. It’s unclear whether the girl in question was his lover, or if they had arranged to meet for their first date, all we know is that he went to the station expecting to see her, and has never left since.

In the initial years Ah Ji was always seen hovering over a large staircase, as though ready to greet someone. After a few years of waiting he moved to a side door next to the exit station, from where he stares at passengers’ faces every day. The man is so heartbroken that he has taken to a life of hunger and homelessness at the station.

Ah-Ji-Tainan-station

Read More »

Dogs with Perfectly Square or Round Haircuts Are All the Rage in Taiwan

A bizarre new dog grooming trend in Taiwan has dog owners giving their pet pooches square or round haircuts. Canine hairdressers all over Taipei are up to date on the special technique required for these eccentric makeovers.

“It came about because people were always looking for more impressive haircuts, and somebody came up with the idea of shaping the dog like a hedge,” parlour owner Tain Yeh says. It started with a few people opting for these haircuts and sharing their pets’ photographs online, after which the trend caught on. Thousands of pet owners are now approaching salons, asking for their dogs’ hair to be cut in geometric patterns. Some are actually doing it simply to gain more likes and shares!

square-dog-haircut

Read More »

Taiwanese Man Left with Almost No Memory Keeps Notes of Everything So He Doesn’t Forget Who He Is

Chen Hongzhi, from Hsinchu county, in north-western Taiwan, suffers from a unique condition – he can’t remember anything for more than five minutes. The 25-year-old literally has to start his life from scratch every day. So he writes down every single thing about himself in a diary, in order to keep track of everything that goes on around him.

Hongzhi’s amnesia is the result of a serious head injury sustained during a car accident when he was 17 years old. After spending months in intensive care, his body finally recovered but the span of his memory was reduced to only five minutes. This means that he continually forgets pretty much everything that has happened between five and ten minutes ago.

five-minute-memory

Read More »

Man Sues Mother for Breaking Promise to Let Him Marry Her 8-Year-Old Daughter When She Came of Age

A heartbroken Taiwanese man is suing a teenage girl’s mother for breaking a promise she made 11 years ago. The man, a 32-year-old school teacher at the time, had fallen in love with his 8-year-old student. He became so obsessed that he managed to extricate a promise from the child’s mother that he could marry her when she came of age. Believing that the mother would keep her end of the deal, he spent several years supporting the girl’s family financially. And now that she hasn’t, he’s taking the family to court.

Over the years, the man has spent over 900,000 Taiwanese dollars (that’s about US $30,000) on the girl and her family. He completely covered her tuition and living expenses, and took her out on various occasions. He also paid off the mother’s outstanding debts. Some news reports also provided photographs in which the girl and the man appear to be quite close. It looks like he truly considered her to be his future wife (although they looked more like father-and-daughter). But nine years later, when the man checked the 17-year-old’s Facebook profile, he was in for a very rude shock.

marriage

Read More »

Taiwan’s Notoriously Dangerous Beehive Rocket Festival

When I light a firecracker, I make sure to run at least 10 yards away before it pops. That’s how terrified I am of the noise and sparks. So when I watched a video of Taiwan’s Beehive Rockets festival, I was quite shocked. These crazy people deliberately run into bursting firecrackers. They dance in clusters as hundreds of crackers go off, allowing the sparks to rain on them. Like I said – crazy!

The Yanshui Beehive Rockets Festival is one of the oldest folk festivals in Taiwan and the third largest in the world. It has been celebrated for over 180 years in the southern district of Yanshui. Its origins date back to 1885, when a cholera epidemic had gripped the district. Due to primitive medical facilities, the disease consumed thousands of victims. Locals lived in a state of fear and prayed to Guan Di, the god of war, to save them.

So what exactly is a Beehive Rocket? Essentially, it is a multiple launcher of bottle rockets. Thousands of bottle rockets are arranged in rows in an iron-and-wooden framework that looks like a beehive. When the contraption is ignited, the rockets shoot out rapidly in all directions. A deafening, bee-like buzzing sound fills the air. The dazzling explosives whiz and whirl across the sky and into the crowds of dancing people surrounding the beehive.

Beehive-Fireworks-Festival

Read More »

Taiwanese Ice Cream Shop Sells Pig’s Feet and Tofu Flavored Ice Cream

Snow King, an ice cream shop located in Taipei, capital city of Taiwan, serves more than 70 flavors of fresh, homemade ice cream. There’s nothing unusual about that, I agree. But wait till you hear what these flavors include.

The shop, in business since 1947, boasts of carrying the most unusual of ice cream flavors. Over here, you can get a lick of Sesame Oil Chicken, a dollop of Pig Knuckle, and even a scoop or two of Taiwan Beer. The family-owned business is now being run by the third generation – 33-year-old Kao Ching-feng. “At Snow King, you get the tastes that Taiwanese know,” said Kao. According to him, customers keep coming back for the local flavors and old-fashioned style. They like visiting in large groups, so they can sample a scoop each of all the flavors.

The most famous specialties at Snow King are Red Bean and Watermelon, preferred by the locals. Tourists from Japan like to try exotic flavors like Lychee and Peach, while customers from Hong Kong want Curry and Wasabi. All these unusual ice cream recipes are the brainchild of Kao’s 87-year-old grandfather. He had founded the business out of his savings from selling ice cream on the streets of Taipei. Kao says that his grandfather liked to challenge himself and spent years tweaking flavors to his satisfaction. Some of his best flavors came from trying to accommodate his older, diabetic customers. That’s how he invented with Snow King’s range of savory ice creams.

Snow-King-ice-cream

Read More »

Ultimate Latte Art: Taiwanese Cafe Prints Your Portrait on a Cup of Coffee

If you’ve ever wanted to drink your own face, now’s your chance. Taiwanese cafe chain, Let’s Cafe, uses a special latte printer that creates portraits of customers directly on their delicious caffeinated drinks.

Let’s Cafe is a chain of small kiosks offering “fast but good coffee” to shoppers on the go all around Taiwan. Faced with the challenge of competing with larger more established cafe chains, they had to come up with a truly original gimmick in order to attract customers. Let’s Cafe needed something not even big players like Starbucks could compete with, and they found it in the ridiculously accurate coffee printing machine. All users have to do is upload a photo from their mobile phone to the coffee dispenser machine and after the cup has been filled with the caffeinated beverage of their choice, the incorporated printer uses edible ink to sprinkle their photo on the milk foam. While talented latte artists do a great job of creating beautiful designs using rudimentary tools and a steady hand, there are certain limitations to their techniques, whereas this coffee printer is able to produce photo-realistic images.

coffee-printer-latte

Read More »

Military Kindergarten Toughens Up Preschoolers with Marine Drills

At the Albert Kindergarten, in Taichung, Taiwan, children aged three to six don camouflage outfits and take part in a mandatory exercise program modeled after marine drills. Their parents hope the rough training will prepare them for the hardships of life, but there are those who criticize the preschool for pushing the kids too hard and exposing them to injury.

For one to two hours a day, the children enrolled at Taichung’s Albert Kindergarten perform a series a series of physical exercises inspired by military drills. Principal Fong Yun believes Taiwanese kids lack confidence and courage compared to youngsters from other countries, so over 10 years ago she teamed up with pediatric professor Chen Yi-hsin to develop a special program that combined military drills and gymnastics to boost their physical and mental strength. Yun is convince her training will help the students deal with hardships like tough college admission exams, job hunting and even marriage. Many Taiwanese parents seem to share her beliefs, as all the classes at Albert Kindergarten are full and parents drive from over half an hour ever day just to drop their kids off here. The children climb ladders, do handstands, backflips and all kinds of other exercises that even hardened marines sometimes find difficult. In order to graduate, they must prove they’ve mastered the entire routine by passing a challenging test.

military-kindergarten

Read More »

Houtong Cat Village – How a Few Purring Felines Saved a Dying Community

This is the story of how a few dozen cats managed to save an entire community just by purring and looking pretty. Houtong was just another dilapidated mining town in the mountains of eastern New Taipei City, but everything changed when the felines came and livened up the place.

Houtong used to be one of Taiwan’s most important coal extraction sites, up until the 1970s. Then, oil and electricity took the place of coal, and the town suffered a steady decline. At one point it was reduced to a train stop along the Yilan line, one that most travelers ignored, and that forced many of its younger residents search for better opportunities elsewhere. The population of this defunct mining town dwindled from around six thousand inhabitants to a couple  of hundred, who struggled to survive. But their fortunes changed in 2008, when a cat lover who goes by the name “Palin88” organized a series of cat photography events in the mountain town. He and his friends posted the photos online, and got an overwhelming response from fellow feline enthusiasts. As they shared the photos on forums and social media sites, Houtong welcomed more and more tourists eager to photograph the cats themselves, or simply watch them roaming through the town. Nowadays, Houtong is known as the Cat Village, or Taiwan’s Cat Mecca.

Houtong-Cat-Village

Read More »

Page 1 of 3123