Posts tagged as:

taipei

I wonder what the statute of limitations is for going on and on and on about a trip one took in the blogosphere. Bear with me here: there is an urgent whining I need to unload…

WTF ASIA?! What’s up with all the skinny bitches?

If you know me, you know that I’d be the last person on earth to reinforce/subscribe to any stereotypes knowingly. I am the self-proclaimed, kill-joy, party-pooper, stereotype police. But I have to say, I felt totally out of place when I was in that part of the world last week. Actually, I felt TOO MUCH OF ME was IN the place.

I left in 1993 and have not been living over there. Throughout the years, I have become complacent. I am 5’7″, so by all measurement, I am of medium height in the U.S.  I “carry my weight” really well and I have the advantage of living in the Midwest, to be more specific, in Chicago, the #13 Fattest City in the US in 2009. In addition, I often wonder whether being Asian automatically makes me look thinner, like, here’s my theory, people cannot believe that there are fat Asian women… When I renewed my driver’s licence last year, the man at the DMV refused to accept the number I gave him for my weight.

“You look like you weigh no more than 150 lbs!” So he put down that number. Hey. I was NOT going to argue with him…

As soon as I got on the plane from Washington D.C. to Tokyo, I felt like a giant. Not only was I taller, I needed more girth. I was in the middle seat, and both of my seat mates voluntarily surrendered the armrests to me. That is the kind of nice gestures you make for the overweightI looked: neither of them filled up their seats. I could see the blue seat cushions. Like the “air between thighs” test, they also passed the “visible seat cushion” test.

As soon as I got off the plane in Tokyo, I had the vision of Godzilla rampaging through the City of Tokyo in my head. Was I merely imagining the worst about myself? I wish.

“You are so fat now!” My nephew said as soon as he greeted me at the airport. With affection, mind you.

“Have you gained more weight since March?” My mom asked. “Look at your arms.”

When I saw my dad at home. “Oh, ha ha ha. Look at you. You seem to be bigger than last time.”

At the restaurant where I saw my brother and my sister-in-law, because that is really all we do: we get together, we eat, we talk, and we eat some more,

“You didn’t lose any weight at all!… Never mind. Eat eat eat. Eat now. Go on a diet when you return to the U.S.”

My entire trip I vacillated between feeling obese and stuffing my face. Often simultaneously.

“You need to lose weight. Now eat some more!”

I love my family.

So here is the chicken and egg question:

Did I feel the urge to get out of there because I knew I would not fit in, in more ways than one? Or did I let myself grow to fit the space that was afforded me, physically and figuratively?

More WTF moments came when I was at various restaurants, roadside stands, shops, stalls, surrounded by skinny women stuffing their faces heartily with delicious food. So fucking unfair…

One of the best beef noodle in Taipei. There is a line outside on a Monday night...

Deep fried anything tastes yummy

Big giant tapioca balls, oh, how I love thee... So much so that I had 6 of tapioca treats in 2 days...

Dan Dan Noodle - a tradtional Taiwanese dish; I had no desire to go to fancy restaurants. I craved the roadside vendors and night markets...

At the basement of any department store worth its weight, there is a tricked out food court lined with shops offering any style of Chinese cuisine (and Japanese and Korean) one can possibly crave. As if that is not enough to mock the overweight amongst us, on the other side of the food court, there are always fancy pastry shops and bakeries, tempting us with the mouthwatering, intricately decorated, baked goods.

Temptations! Tell me this is NOT a case for "f* unfair!"

Another pastry shop. How many pastry shops does one need? Apparently many.

Another fancy pastry shop? No. Wait... This is good ol' Dunkin Donuts! Upgraded!

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I have all these wonderful posts ideas for posts lined up for before the end of the year. Alas, I am in turbo-boost Catch Up mode: In less than 10 days, I had the wonderful experience of flying on 6 different airplanes. Not accustomed to being a road warrior, to rapidly adjusting to different time zones, or to packing/unpacking in quick succession, I feel like I am walking through a mist, on unstable ground. Or it could simply be I am walking through crap collected from my trips strewn on the floor in my house since I soon gave up on unpacking. Nevertheless, I do not want to miss my once-a-week WTF Wednesday feature.

(Naturally I am cheating by Backdating this post. Good thing Sarbanes–Oxley Act does not apply to blog posting…)

So here is a composition of random pictures taken at my random WTF moments:

Considering how you call yours a Chinese restaurant, I surely hope one of you are, or at least, the food is...



A question we will still be asking next year, and the next, and the next...



"The Dog and Bentley"

This picture may deserve some explanation: I was enjoying a nice bowl of frozen desert with large dark tapiocas aka “pearls” (which I am completely obsessed with and would gladly tell anybody that I had 6 bowls/cups of those in 2 days when I was in Taipei, on top of everything else I ate) at a sidewalk stand/shop. The shop owner during the day keeps his dog on the sidewalk, as you can see, with a makeshift cardboard-box doghouse. Just as I was admiring the very well-behaved dog, I saw that across the street is a Bentley dealership with a fancy showcase room. I found this an interesting juxtaposition. It says so much about Taipei.

Serisouly. How much do you want to discuss your menstrual cycle?

This is the “Menstrual Care” section at a drug store. I have not “lived” in Taiwan since 1993 and I am intrigued by the resurgence, modernization, and popularity of herbal medicinal health culinary supplement drinks dedicated to menstrual care. This belief has been around for thousands of years, that beauty (read: SLENDER FIGURE, YOUNG-LOOKING, GOOD and PALE SKIN) needs to be cultivated from inside. Not the “inner beauty” crap, y’all. You need to take the herbs. And you need to take care of your menstrual cycles. THAT is what I have been missing for living abroad. Seriously. Mine is all out of whack. Only I did not realize that until I was confronted with shelves of herbal drinks. Nowadays it seems to be OK to openly talk about the “condition”, and though I am far from being a prude, the “openness” caught me off-guard. The WTF yet heart-warming moment came when my nephew, who is only 9 years younger than I am, brought me a case of these drinks, telling me, “These are very effective! My girlfriend takes these. They taste really good, she said, and she does not suffer from menstrual cramps any more. Her skin has also improved a lot. You need to start taking these yourself!”

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I bet’ya that I was given the best Christmas present this year. Hands down.

I will be flying home. Today. By myself.

A while ago I wrote about how I wish I could go home and see my parents. Many of you commented that I should just take the trip… Before it’s too late. I want to thank you all for bringing me to my senses. Really. I asked myself: What’s stopping me? All the “I can’ts” are just excuses. Excuses. Excuses.

After the plane rides and time spent waiting at the airports, I will only have two full days over there. But I am content. Because I will be home. BY MYSELF. I don’t have to translate for anybody and feel being pulled on by both sides. Feeling guilty towards all involved. Feeling schizophrenic.

My mother, who is almost 80 and still behaves like a school girl sometimes (Seriously. At one point, one should just admit to the fact that anti-aging cosmetic creams are just not going to do anything for you any more, no matter how expensive… But, yes,  of course I have 3 jars in my luggage that I am bringing home for my mother) told me over the phone,

“Just don’t sleep when you are here. Sleep on the plane!”

I wish she could speak English because I wanted her to say, “Sleep is overrated anyway.”

“I will not even bother with my jet lag. We will hit the night market as soon as I land. And I can sleep during the day.” I replied.

She fully approved of my plan.

The trouble is: I haven’t even left yet and I am already dreading saying goodbye to my folks. I know already that on the day when I come back, I will be a crying mess, because my dad will cry for sure, he’s such a softie, and when he cries, I cry too. Once we get it going, there is no stopping us. Very annoying… On account of that, I am having an early start on my own already…

Seriously. Me. WTF.

* Miles calculated according to United Airline’s mileage display. 14 hours + 4 hours.

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SOGO Department Store in Taipei : There is a recession here in Taiwan?

April 2, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet From what I was told, yes there is.    This is inside the SOGO department store in Taipei.   So who is buying the Hermès, the Louie Vuittons, the Tods, and the Cartiers? I guess it is the same everywhere you go. The top of the pyramid is not really affected despite the global […]

I finally saw it with my own eyes! Sound machine inside public toilet to mask the embarrassing noise…

April 2, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet I have heard about this along time ago: Japanese women often flush the toilet as soon as they enter the stall to mask the embarrassing noise people naturally make when in the bathroom. This act of civility turned out to waste a lot of water resource. At first, they tried sound machines with music, […]

Don’t know why, but we think turtles are adorable

March 30, 2009 through the looking glass

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A great yet little known Taiwanese-style restaurant in Taipei

March 26, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet I did not know about this tiny gem of a restaurant until my girlfriend from college took me there last night. Lu Sang restaurant in Yongkang Street may strike you as yet another roadside Japanese restaurant in Taipei from outside because of its bamboo-focused decor, but a quick peek inside, the modernized traditional-style tables and chairs […]

Best scallion pancake in Taipei

March 26, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet When you are in Taipei, you need to seek out scallion pancakes no matter where you are.  Chances are, they are good. But if you are adventurous and are a foodie, then you need to make a track to 永康街 Yongkang Street.  This stand is at the corner of a building, on the first floor […]

“Gashapon”, cheap souvenirs for kids, sort of like pressed pennies…

March 18, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet Ok, maybe not really like Press Pennie. But in spirit, just like pressed pennies, these "toys in a plastic egg" thingy are low-cost souvenirs that get my kids motivated.  They are called Gashapon in Japanese and are everywhere we go, and the varieties are impressive, so is the quality.  Only that, as you could see, some of […]

Corporate Sponsorship at Its Finest… Microsoft invading school?

March 18, 2009 through the looking glass

Tweet Saw this sign outside of a high school that we past by and was amused.  Folks are probably simply happy that their kids are using the latest computers at school, but I cannot help but feel mildly concerned…  (That's also a sign I spent way too much time reading the anti-MS talks on the bulletin […]