Gods Rush In at the King Boat Festival

A swath of fireworks exploded simultaneously. The drums began banging together, joined by gongs and cymbals. A thousand balloons were suddenly released from a spot on the southern end of the beach as people clapped. The drumming stopped. Those still possessed began to come out of their trances, all at once, and reverted to being human. Red sashes were shed.

The Thousand Year Grandfather had arrived!

Read More

Firewalking in Taiwan for Beginners

Six years ago, I walked over a bed of hot coals. While I didn’t burn myself that night, I’ve been raking myself over the coals since.

Read More

Sushi Express: A meditation on love and dating in Taiwan

Eric Lin was not merely my first Taiwanese friend – we’d actually met on the flight that brought me to Taiwan. He was trying to start a business with his friend based on a design idea they’d come up with in their spare time for better packaging of fragile items, which would enable him to quit his monotonous engineering job. He was great fun to talk to, and I was drawn to his complicated shyness: just awkward enough for it to be apparent, but not enough to stop him from ringing me up to have coffee.

Read More

From the Island of Women to #MeToo

Not long ago, when news of rich and powerful men finally being called to account – dethroned as a comeuppance for sexually predatory behavior – was still rolling in, my friend Darice Dan Chang wrote about how the movement had barely touched Taiwan. Although I’m usually upbeat about life in Taiwan as a woman compared to the rest of Asia, she had a point.

Read More

Traveling in Taiwan as a woman (but not only)

Too often, a female traveler cannot experience a place in the same way as a male counterpart. There are always added dangers, prohibitions, assumptions, expectations and just those extra things women notice because experience and necessity have trained us to do so. If an exception exists, it might well be Taiwan.

Read More