Taipei, Taiwan Day 2: Ying Yang Sea, Jiufen, and Chiufen

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May 2, 2018: 34 degrees Celsius/~88 degrees Fahrenheit and 80% humidity

I learned a lot about Taiwan’s history while on this trip, especially about significant landmarks along the northern coast of this beautiful country.  For example, this photo of multicolored dolosse is actually a picture of the Ying Yang sea, which is two different colors, hence the name.  This duo is because of the minerals that leak out from the old gold mining factory just up the mountain behind this lovely fisherman.

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This is the view from the factory where the Chinese and Japanese worked extracting all the gold they could find.  They worked in tunnels as well and were searched before they exited to make sure no one stole any gold for themselves.  They even searched inside the tunnel to see if anyone hid any in secret hiding spaces.

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The pollution was also deadly because of the sulfuric acid fumes used to extract metals so they built all these tunnels that lay in the ridges of the mountain as a ventilation system leading to the top and over the peak where no one lived before to release such exhaust.  These tunnels lead us to the gorgeous city of Jiufen!

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Although the sign points to the right, the touristy destination lies to the left.  Jiufen is the beautiful city where the setting for the anime movie, 千と千尋の神隠し, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi in Japanese, or “Spirited Away” in English was inspired.

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Here is Haku and “No-Face” in front of the tea house that is in the movie.  If you haven’t seen the movie, please watch it!  It may be a little creepy but I really enjoyed it.  It’s about a girl named Chihiro who is traveling with her parents who come across this seemingly abandoned amusement park where mysterious, supernatural creatures come to escape.

The entire city is in the mountains so no matter where you live, you get a beautiful view…

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All of the miners who worked at the factory lived here and still do as do their families.

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Last stop, Chiufen: Chiufen is a beautiful little town that is lined with these lantern making businesses and souvenir shops since this activity has become so popular amongst tourists.  Visitors from all over the world come just to release their hopes and dreams and wishes that are painted on thin tissue paper into the air.

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I got to participate in this special ceremony where you make your own life-size lantern and paint your wishes (or pictures if you’d like) on each side of your lantern!

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After following specific instructions on how to construct your wish vehicle, you stand on the train track as you release your wishes toward the sky and hope they don’t burn into thin air (like some lanterns did *sad face).

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This all day tour is available on TripAdvisor for 100.00 USD and is highly recommended. My tour guide, Ting, was very friendly and informative and shared a lot of history behind each destination we passed by.  Her English was impressive and I would do it again!  See you all again next week for another post about Taipei!

A hui hou ❤

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Taipei, Taiwan Day 1: TPE

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So I finally arrived to Taiwan at 8:30 in the morning but I can’t check into my Airbnb until 3…what should I do for the next 4 hours? First, I decide to charge my phone and text everyone who matters that I’ve arrived safe and sound. Then, I read my only book I chose to bring with me, which is a fat literature anthology, and next my stomach starts complaining that it’s empty.

I see a Subway literally right next to me but I think, “is there any Taiwanese restaurant in here?” But no, unfortunately my first meal I had in Taiwan was Subway…I know, sad. But now it’s been about an hour and a half leaving me 2 and a half hours left to kill.

I went to the convenience store to buy travel sized toiletry products because I totally forgot about personal hygiene in hot weather…yeah I’m gross. So now what do I do? I was connected to the airport wifi so I watch an episode of “Orange is the New Black” by the bus terminal ticket stalls next to the exit of the airport. It’s actually a really good show haha. I kind of doubted it before but I was completely wrong. I watch a couple episodes which ate maybe 2 hours.

For the last half hour I go on social media and brush my teeth in the bathroom next to me and think “screw it” I’ll find a restaurant for lunch by my Airbnb and chill there until check in time. So I did just that.

An hour and 20 min bus ride later…

I get to my Airbnb! But my host gave the wrong code to the lockbox to access the key…so I was a bit stuck with no wifi for 30 minutes with the security guard who didn’t speak a word of English nor understand it…but it all worked out. I get settled in and connect to the world again via cyberspace and do some research on where to eat for dinner that night.

I went to this Taiwanese restaurant called “Shin Yeh” near my place and I ordered maybe 4 different things on the menu. Mind you, it was a la carte style for the dishes were a bit big but my fat ass ate it ALL! It was sooooo tasty. And the total came out to roughly $25.

For those of you wanting to visit Taiwan, it is very cheap and they have amazing food there! I know this first post was maybe a little boring but I will post an entry for each day I was there, which was 6 days for Golden Week! (This one being number 1).

A hui hou ❤

As I write when I’m drunk…

I’m currently playing a  movie that I downloaded at a starbucks on a Monday or Tuesday because those were my only days off within the last 10 months given the exception of Golden week here in Japan.  It just reminded me ofhow I started out 10 months ago. Don’t mind the errors that Im well aware of in this text because I just frank a whole bottle of Chardonnay beforehand. I can’t even see the text that clearly but I know how to type which is fascinating to me.

Anyway… The movie I chose to buy and download was “Waiting” featuring Ryan Reynolds, Anna -somtheing, ad various other characters you ,ay know from the movie. It was a great movie made in 2005??? I think… Idk, Im not quipped to research at the moment…

Anyway, I’ve learned and gone through so much in the past 10 mothnhs that it took watching this movie to make me realize such…

I hope none of this bafoonery has ( I was gonna say influenced you in a negative way but I realized thats not accurate…) made you repel my blog, i just hope it brings a little chuckle to your day and that even a drunk person can type semi-okay…

A hui Hou <2

Views from the Tokyo Tower

The first view was from the outside 150 meters below the main observatory. After going to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (observatory located at 202 meters high), which is basically the Tokyo Sky Tree except the TMG building is free, this experience was like eating leftovers from Thanksgiving (not as fresh but still good). Although the tower has a special observatory at 250 meters, it’s more expensive than the main observatory. And the views are just as beautiful.

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At the entrance, there’s a little flower alley where you can take selfies or artistic close-ups with these pink beauties.

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And this was just one side from the main observatory 150 meters high.

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They have these little posters spread out on the countertops to show what you can see from that point of view from the tower.

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And they have open floor windows where you can even see the view under you! It definitely gave me anxiety standing over clear glass 150 meters high. That same feeling you get holding your cell phone over the edge of the railing.

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If you want to see beautiful views from the top of the Tokyo Tower, head to: 4 Chome-2-8 Shibakoen, Minato, Tokyo 105-0011. But if you want the same views but a bit higher off the ground for FREE, I recommend going to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building located at: 2 Chome-8-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 163-8001. Happy travels everyone!

A hui hou ❤

Killin for Kirin

A 50 min train ride and a 17 min walk later we arrive at the Kirin Brewery in Yokohama, Japan! There’s a little exhibit at the back of the lobby where you can learn about the different techniques they use and the science behind the creation of Kirin beer.

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The FREE tour starts with an introduction in a theater showcasing the history behind the beer and the dedication behind the process of its evolution. After the short film, a tour guide takes you through the factory with its first stop at the malt and hops.

I swear the picture on the left isn’t what you think it is…but I learned a lot about finding the right kind of malt and hops to flavor the beer we all love and appreciate. The malt tasted just like what a grain of wheat should taste like: mild, dry, and a little nutty. The hops on the other hand slaps you in the face a bit at the very end with bitterness. Although these flowers aren’t the prettiest, they sure had a fragrant, refreshing scent almost like peppermint when you grind them in your hand to smell.

The second, third, and fourth stops are seeing the actual process of making the beer.

The top left picture shows these large barrel type machines, which is where the magic happens. This is where the water, malt, hops, and yeast become beer. As most of you probably know, the sugar is extracted from the grains and the yeast turns that sugar into alcohol. After that happens, it’s filtered so only the alcohol is left. This is called the first press, which is what they use for the premium beer, thus a stronger flavor. Then, they rinse the filtered grains with water and this is called the second press, which is like a watered down version of the first press (kind of like a Budlight consistency). Next, they mix in the hops for flavor. And finally, is filtered so only the liquid gold is left. The other two pictures map out the rest of the factory where the beer is put into the cans.

And finally, the pièce de résistance…the moment we all waited for…a FREE beer tasting.

They offer three types of beer at the counter: original brew, premium beer, and 100% malt beer. My absolute favorite was the premium beer. It had the most refreshing and strongest flavor of the three. You only have 20 minutes for the tasting but they offer 12-ounce glasses my friends…or you have the option for the 4-ounce (I think it was 4) if you don’t want to get tipsy.

Of course, I had a 12-ounce for two of the three beers and it was amaaazing. The Kirin Brewery in Yokohama is a must-see if you ever visit Japan. They offer English speaking guides on certain days/times so please schedule accordingly but since I happened to go on a day where an English guide wasn’t available, they accommodated me with a hard copy of the tour in English as they spoke Japanese. It was still a fun, fascinating, delicious tour and I would go again any day.

Kanpai!

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A hui hou ❤

Mom and Dad come to Japan

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It was an exciting moment for me when I found out the two best people in the world who help me grow into the person I am now were coming to Japan to visit. One of the many reasons it was a great time for them to visit was my dirty apartment. It was time for a serious cleaning, especially the bathroom…but I’m not going to get into that because that would be way too graphic.

They arrived on April 8th and left on the 20th, which was yesterday. It was a very sad day to see them leave after having such an amazing staycation with them. I did a lot of “firsts” while they were here. I’ll be writing posts this week about the Kirin Brewery in Yokohama and the Ishikawa Sake Brewery. But I also went to Asakusa for the first time, enjoyed a drunken Izakaya night a couple times (that was a first to get very hammered in the presence of ma and pops with ma and pops), and we went to Tokyo Disneyland for the first time!

I really can’t explain how much I enjoyed them being here with me. I literally had a piece of home with me for the last week and a half here in Japan. A little stressful, unforgettable, fun-filled piece of home.

A hui hou ❤

#9: Hana Yori Dango 花より団子

I dream then drool then chew to eat
You dream then drool then see to eat
But who’s to say my method is right?
And why would yours be better than mine?

You and I are full and satisfied
But you and I are subdivided
And you and I have appreciation
But you and I have different opinions!

I may have a palette to cleanse
But we both have an itch that meets no end
You may have tangible evidence
But we also have no precedence

I taste notes, ratios, proportions, consistentcy
You taste color, dimension, proportion, calligraphy
I see potential, improvement, advancement, a name
You see aperture, focus, spotlight, a frame

But through all the wonder and debate and fame
We both write history our audience craves
And in the process you and I have self proclaimed
That you and I are one of the same.