mitcho Michael 芳貴 Erlewine

Linguist. Fifth year PhD student at MIT.

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Posts Tagged ‘Taiwan’

Report from Mozilla Party JP 10!

Monday, June 1st, 2009

On Saturday I went to Mozilla Party 10, a community event organized by Mozilla-gumi (もじら組). Mozilla-gumi has been an active community in Japan for the past 10 years, making it one of the oldest Mozilla communities around. Despite the cloudy weather in Shinjuku and the ever-present swine flu scare, we had over 100 people attending.1

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  1. All photos in this post courtesy of makoto

Doing your Taiwan Fulbright taxes

Monday, July 14th, 2008

So you received a Fulbright fellowship to teach English in Taiwan. Congratulations! And they’re even going to pay you! Great! But if they’re paying you, you’ll have to pay taxes… so here’s my guide to doing your Taiwan Fulbright English Teaching Assistant taxes.

Note: Many of the considerations here are specific to Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA’s) in Taiwan. If this exact grant doesn’t apply to you, you may be better off simply taking a look at the IRS’s guide for Fulbrighters and also the Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad. I am not a [[Certified Public Accountant]], tax advisor, nor [[Enrolled Agent]]1 so your mileage may vary. Consider yourself warned.

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  1. Highest (coolness of title)/(actual coolness of the job) ratio ever. 

My new scale

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

[[ANA]] has draconian baggage restrictions (checked: 20kg total, US$10/kg thereafter) and I don’t own a scale. Problem solved!

Verdict: suitcase 18kg, guitar 6kg. I think I’ll make one more box to send at the post office tomorrow morning.

I feel like a caveman. THAT IS ALL.

The Food I Ate

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Perhaps with increasing restlessness to find increased variety in my diet or perhaps by hanging out with Aaron more, I’ve been eating some great food recently. Here’s a documentation of some great food in Taiwan (Yilan and Taipei) and where to find it:

Best Curry Udon ever (Yilan)

I’ve been craving some good udon noodles, called 烏龍麵 (wūlóngmiàn) in Taiwan which originally confused me as those are the characters for Oolong tea.[^3] I haven’t found great soup udon in Yilan but I did find some fabulous fried curry udon.

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The Most Beautiful Word

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Purchased yesterday in Taipei at NET, the wannabe GAP of Taiwan.

Linguistics in 嘉義

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

A couple weeks ago I went to Chiayi (嘉義, pinyin: Jiāyì) to present a paper at the Linguistic Society of Taiwan’s National Conference on Linguistics.[^1] I got a chance to meet some wonderful and kind Taiwanese linguists, make friends with some linguistics students, as well as explore the city of Chiayi.

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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.

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Podcast Pick: The Bugle, the Audio Newspaper for a Visual World

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Now that [[Republic of China presidential election, 2008|the Taiwanese presidential election]] is out of the way, the already pretty boring Taiwanese news has hit a new high in boringness, today asking if closer ties to the [[PRC]] (with [[Ma Ying-Jeou]]’s promise to open up the [[Three Links]] (三通)) means we can have a panda now. No seriously. The people have been waiting.

This, together with my currently daily train commutes, have led me to further explore the world of podcasts. I’m now a proud subscriber of “The Bugle: the Audio Newspaper for a Visual World,” with [[John Oliver]] of [[Daily Show]] fame and [[Andy Zaltman]], distributed by [[The Times of London]]. Like a weekly audio Daily Show, except more British and thus more ridiculous. It’s fabulous fun, and perfect for those of us who hate reading.

Here’s a snippet from this past episode:

USA and Britain are once again at the top!, of the western world’s teenage pregnancies – also called the two countries most committed to the [[war on terror]]. … What it also suggests is, as nations, we get overexcited in the prospect of an easy conquest without really thinking about the long term consequences.

So true.

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.

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Lantern Festival

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

The [[Lantern Festival]] (元宵节) is annually on the 15th day of the lunar year, this year February 21, 2008. Yesterday my Fo Guang friend Aaron and I, after buying textbooks for our upcoming [[classical Chinese]] course, met up with Michelle and Jerry in Taipei to check out the lanterns at [[Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall]]. Jerry took us first, though, to a casual but very authentic Japanese restaurant, famous for their eel. (Here’s Michelle and Aaron, below:)

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新年快樂! Chinese New Year with Andy

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

It’s been two weeks now since Chinese New Year—I suppose it’s about time to write up the final adventures of my New Year break. My friend Andy from college who is Taiwanese-American came back to Taiwan to celebrate the New Year and invited me to tag along.

Day 1: New Year’s Eve

The adventure began now three Wednesdays ago, when I took the [[Taiwan high speed rail|high speed rail]] down to [[Kaohsiung]] (高雄). Andy showed me around the city a little bit (including the nearby temple with the European-looking knight) and we had the traditional New Year’s Eve dinner, which is one of the most important parts of the New Year. We all stayed up watching TV (and the adults playing Mahjong), then Andy and I then set off some fire crackers at midnight.

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Going to China just got more expensive

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Here we are in [[Hong Kong]], on part one of K80 and mitcho’s haphazard trip to China. Let our mistakes give you wisdom.

We were coming in from [[Taiwan]] a.k.a. the [[Republic of China]]. If you’re a Republic of China national1 you can get a visiting permit from Taiwan. But if you’re a foreigner in Taiwan, you have to stop in some other country to apply for a Chinese visa. (China can’t have an embassy in Taiwan, because Taiwan is part of China! Duh.) Thus, we’re spending this weekend in Hong Kong.

Lesson 1: If applying in Hong Kong, give yourself a good weekday or two

Here’s the deal. You can apply for a Chinese visa at China’s Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong SAR. They’re open Monday through Friday and, for express service, you need to get the visa to them before noon (1:30 at some travel agencies) and pick it up in the evening—you can’t pick them up, either, on the weekend. You may have heard that you can get a Chinese visa even on the weekend: this is only if you have a longer layover in the Hong Kong airport, and you can get the visa in transit—you can’t get the visa on the weekend just by going to the airport.

As our flight to China is scheduled for this coming Sunday, that means we need the visa today. In our case, as our flight came in around 11 this morning, this meant an adrenaline rushing couple hours to apply for the visa before a travel agent’s 1:30 deadline. When we finally applied for our visas, though, we encountered another surprise.

Lesson 2: China just raised visa fees for US citizens. Because they love us.

Normally a single-entry visa to China costs HK$150 for most countries, plus whatever expediting charges. Fine. But going to China just got more expensive. As of January 20th, 2008, the base fee for US citizens went up to HK$1020. Not for everyone—just for US citizens. Because they love us.

Now you know.


  1. or, as China calls it, “Taiwanese resident”—this does not mean foreigners who have ROC resident cards like me… they just can’t say Taiwanese citizen. 

Midyear conference in Hualian and Taroko

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

I just got back from the Fulbright Taiwan Midyear Conference, this year in [[Hualien]] with a day trip to the nearby [[Taroko National Park]]. Here’s one for the travelogue. I had a great, stimulating trip with lots of talk of linguistics (mostly about Classical Chinese), religion, economics, and politics—some of my favorite subjects. This being a Dr. Wu gig, there was also of course ample food, and Taroko was absolutely stunning.

Day 1: Trains, buses, and talk

I met up with everyone in the morning at the Hualien train station. Living in Nanao, I actually live really close to Hualien (about 40-50m) so I just elected to take a local train and meet the crew there. We then drove around to a couple interesting coastal points. (The one taking pictures below is Dale… I’m sure his blog will soon have photos more beautiful than mine.)

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Obama for Taiwan 2008

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

I just saw this logo near Yilan station and felt like I’ve seen it before…

Obama for Taiwan 2008

Oh my god, it’s Obama! The banner is actually for the [[Taiwan Solidarity Union]] party, one of the third-parties here in Taiwan (but it’s part of the [[Pan-Green Coalition]]).

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新年明けまして御めでとうございます!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

ネズミ

Happy New Years to all!

I greeted the new year in Yilan with some friends from Fo Guang. We cooked some Thai food and [[raw food]] and ate at one of our teachers’ apartments. We had a great time.

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I hope your New Years was just as great!