mitcho Michael 芳貴 Erlewine

Postdoctoral fellow, McGill Linguistics.


Posts Tagged ‘Nanao’

Exploring Nanao, part 3: sports day, hot springs, Sayun’s bell, and 高峰

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Sports day

Three Mondays ago, Nanao had their annual sports day.[^1] The sports day reminded me of the years of Japanese school sports days I used to go to, complete with the representative student’s pledge of sportsmanship, a three legged race, and concluding relay, though it was only half a day.[^2] It also was billed as the Nan’ao town and school joint sports day (村校聯合運動大會) and indeed many parents, families, and other miscellaneous townspeople were there to join in the festivities.


Co-schooling in Dongshan

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

The Fulbright program sets up an extra “co-school” to work at for a small period of time in the spring, as a means of giving us ETA’s increased variety and different school experiences, as well as letting us touch more students’ lives. For the month of March, I will be at Dongshan Elementary in Dongshan (冬山).

Teaching at Dongshan every day involves taking the train every day, and I’m fully psyched about that. I was first quite worried as there are, according to the online trip planner, only three trains a day that go directly from Nan’ao to Dongshan but this has turned out to be false. It still does mean at least an hour a day on trains, but I’ve got my [[iPod]] with wonderful podcasts, and I’m pretty sure my class schedule lets me avoid transfers.


The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Christmas in Yilan just keeps on trucking. Two days ago I wrote about my Christmas lessons and the special event at Penglai. But Christmas didn’t end on Christmas… I’ve continued to take part in festivity after festivity.


I’m Seriously Dreaming of a White Christmas

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Today we finished up all our Christmas lessons at school, spread over the past week. The lesson involved some basic Christmas vocab, making Christmas cards, and my retelling of [[The Gift of the Magi]].


Family in Taiwan

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

As all my visitors leave, I should take some time to document all the adventures of the past month or so: here’s a quick post on my family’s visit to Taiwan last month.

Day 1: Shilin night market

I met my mother, father, and sister at the Cosmos Hotel where we were staying Friday night. I took them out to the [[Shilin night market]], a Taiwanese tradition. We bought t-shirts, ate lots of things on sticks, saw a man pushing a cart full of guava, and people picking up their stands and running from the cops (technically, the “I’m going to set up a table on the street and sell stuff” part of the night markets are illegal).


Day 2: Exploring Taipei

We went on a Japanese bus tour of Taipei, led by this older Taiwanese guy with great Japanese, though sometimes just a bit off (Bailey would have called him “precious”). We visited:

[[Longshan Temple]] (龍山寺);


[[Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall]] National Taiwan Democracy Hall;


a market with various traditional foods;


a Taiwanese tea demo and explanation, which was really interesting;


the changing of the guard at the National Martyr’s Shrine (kind of like [[Yasukuni Shrine]]), where the guards aren’t allowed to move or blink (I think) for about 40 minutes at a time, and then a guy comes up and covers their face and says some spell so they can move;


and of course the [[National Palace Museum]], where we weren’t allowed to photograph anything. After the tour we went to the top of [[Taipei 101]] and got to enjoy a great night view of the city.


Taipei 101 features an open view of its [[tuned mass damper]], which they’ve named “Damper Baby.” It’s neat, actually, how they took something that is normally only interesting to engineers and tried to make it cute and sexy. It even has a bio, complete with blood type (O, in case you were wondering).


Day 3: Rainy day in Yilan

On Sunday we went to National Center for Traditional Arts (國立傳統藝術中心) near Luodong. We saw some crazy show with all different sorts of animals which I’m sure made more sense if you understood what they were saying and an exhibit on paper craft of all different sorts, including origami. The main attraction there is the traditional arts street, a red brick street with all sorts of stores selling traditional food and crafts. The leather shop had a pig mask.

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We then had dinner in central Luodong: some delicious hot pot while sitting on a glass floor above koi fish.


We got some deserts and took them back to the hotel they were staying at. Naomi was excited by the 苺大福 (traditionally, mochi with strawberry and red bean paste inside) from 85°C.


Day 4: Nanao and Jiufen

On Monday I took the morning off from school and showed them around Nanao a little bit. The weather kept getting worse as typhoon Mitag came rolling through. My family still got to see where I live, one of the schools I work at, and have a nice lunch before heading out.


On the way back out to Taipei, my family (without me) stopped in [[Jiǒufèn|Jiufen (九份)]], a touristy town atop a mountain on the northeast coast of the island. The town, originally populated due to a gold rush, has some beautiful mountain alleys and tea houses. The city is now popular with Japanese tourists, as some parts of the city were used as models in [[Spirited Away]]. My family went to one tea house and enjoyed the tea and atmosphere.


My family went back to Japan Tuesday (Day 5), with my parents leaving later back to the US. It was really nice to be with all of them, even for such a short time.

Exploring Nanao, part 2: hot springs, waterfall, and beach

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Yesterday (Saturday), Katie came over to Nanao and we explored more on my scooter. We first went to the Nan-ao hot spring (南澳溫泉). Wang laoshi took me a while back, telling me you can’t really find it with a map—you just have to go. It really is a hole in the wall—er, ground. There are three “tubs” of concrete and rock built into the ground by this local retired guy in his spare time (whom I only know to refer as “Joe”). While we were there for maybe an hour and a half, three or four groups of people came through to dip their feet in: some college kids from Yilan, some women in their thirties from Taipei, a guy from Taipei who apparently comes often to walk up rivers (?), and finally a group of 15 or so tourists from someplace. And of course a couple locals (you can tell because they come wearing slippers, a swimsuit, and a jacket). Quite the social scene!


We also drove around and found the Jin-yue waterfall (金岳瀑布). There isn’t much of a big drop or anything, but there were some neat rapids and the water was so blue! There was also some construction around, apparently some agricultural engineering.


Finally we stopped to check out the beach. Unfortunately the tide was rolling in and I had a run-in with the waves.


Exploring Nanao, part 1

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

This past Sunday Michelle came to Nanao and we explored some sights together on my scooter. Here’s a beautiful photo of the port of Nanao. It’s a small little fishing port, and you can fish right there too, as Wang laoshi once took me there to do. The building there is a coast guard building.


Right by the port is a small gravely beach, covered with driftwood.


Walking down the beach, there were some interesting and beautiful geology. First, we found a portion of the mountain that was eroded in the recent typhoon. The red dirt had rolled off and solidified on the beach, leaving some interesting ground.

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Next, we saw a number of points where the sedimentary rock of the coastal mountain had been cut out over and over by waves, leaving some interesting sheets of rock exposed.


There were also some natural caves here. The ceiling looks kind of like slabs of wood, but it’s all rock! We also found a stream.