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Taiwan’s Yellow Journalism Strikes Again

The early morning of May 5, 2015, saw an article posted to The Huffington Post regarding Taiwan and tourism; as you can see from the original link, it’s been removed.  There’s not even a redirect: just a blank page.  It’s as if The Huffington Post wants absolutely nothing to do with the article. If you’re curious why, you […]

Foreigners in Taiwan Can Forget About Civil Rights

In recent news, a 25-year-old Spanish national living in Taichung was accused of sexual assault by an unnamed 17-year-old Taiwanese girl. As with many democratic nations, Taiwan has laws that are designed to protect those within its borders to ensure fair and just treatment.  Taiwan has a variety of customs (backed up by various laws and traditions) that protect The People.  It’s one […]

“Taiwan Should Be More Like Singapore”

A lot of people in Taiwan talk about how they want to be like Singapore.  “Taiwan should be more like Singapore.”  But the truth is, it’s much better to be Taiwanese than Singaporean, and Taiwan is better than Singapore for most people who live in either.  An average person lives a higher-quality life in Taiwan […]

Taiwan Has the Worst Culture

It’s not just the sociological issues or the political obnoxiousness, but the deep resentment they harbor for each other that hits you in the face like your first whiff of stinky tofu.  After living in Taiwan for only a short time, it becomes clear to anyone who moves here that Taiwan has the worst culture many people will […]

Taiwan Has Reasons for Banning South Park

Taiwan Has Reasons for Banning South Park South Park is a pretty popular cartoon internationally; despite this, South Park in Mandarin Chinese is Banned in Taiwan (and for good reason).  It’s known in Taiwan as 南方四賤客, which roughly translates into Four Jackasses from the South Side. I say this because Mandarin Chinese can be a very […]

Taichunger’s Guide: Four-Star HK Visa Run for TW$7000

I’ve written all about visa runs.  Visa runs for under NT$10000.  The worst visa run you can do.  While stigmatized for a variety of reasons (most notably for their being used by English teachers to teach in Taiwan illegally, which I do not advocate), there are all sorts of people who use visa runs.  There […]

Why Every Expat Should Have a YouTube Channel

I believe that every expat should have a YouTube Channel. Expats who don’t simply confuse me, for many reasons, the first of which being   What You Are Doing Is Cool I don’t care if you’re going hiking in Nepal or getting coffee in a small town in Paris or just walking down the street […]

“This Is Taiwan”: A Dangerous Taiwanese Excuse

A few months have passed since I wrote “It’s Our Culture” – Taiwan’s Go-To Excuse, but a friend of mine the other night brought it up and made an interesting point: before “It’s our culture” is uttered, “This is Taiwan” is sure to escape their lips first. As I stated in my other piece, “It’s Our Culture” is often said […]

Costco Taiwan Beef Scandal

Of the many food scandals in Taiwan’s recent history, the scandal surrounding Costco Taiwan butchers’ practices with USDA beef is the most recent. Taiwan has had a number of food scandals in recent years, ranging from the food scandal of 2014 to the food scandal of 2013 to the food scandal of 2011.  Basically, if you […]

Simple Stir Fry Sauce Recipe: From Scratch

One of the most important things I keep in my fridge is a sauce I’ve developed that mimics typical simple stir fry sauces I’ve tasted in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the USA. I’ll keep it all as basic as I can, using ingredients you may have in your kitchen already.   Simple Stir Fry Sauce Recipe: Ingredients 1pt corn starch 1pt […]

“It’s Our Culture” – Taiwan’s Go-To Excuse

Every culture has it’s throwaway language.  The English language, for example, explains away many things with the word “Whatever.”  Taiwanese often use the Chinese phrases “There is no reason why” and “There is no solution” in similar ways.  They all essentially mean “I’ve got nothing for you; I’m done talking about this.”  But when it comes […]

What It’s Like Living In Taiwan Without Health Insurance

I haven’t had health insurance since 2008, which is a pretty crazy thing to say, given that I live in a country with some of the most affordable and high-quality medical care in the world.  National Taiwan Health Insurance, while expensive for the Republic of China (ROC) government of Taiwan, is incredibly cheap for Taiwanese […]

Those Moments of Culture Shock in Taiwan

Everyone that’s spent some time here knows all about those moments of culture shock in Taiwan. The truth is, most people who live in a place far from where they consider “home” will have significant moments of culture shock.  These feelings can creep up on you or simply blindside you, whether you’ve been here a […]

Waiting in Line: It’s Different in Taiwan

A few years back, I commented to a friend of mine about how Taiwan has amazingly long lines and how willing Taiwanese seem to stand in them for long periods of time.  For many who first come to Taiwan – and even those who live here for years – the “Line Culture” seen in Taiwan […]

Taiwan Work Visas: Pros and Cons

A lot of people ask me about the pros and cons of having a Taiwan Work Visa, colloquially called an “ARC” (Alien Resident Card).  In reality, these are two separate things – one is a visa and one is an identification card.  But a question I often get from people is, “Do I need an ARC to […]

Free McDonald’s In Asia

Free McDonald’s In Asia   If you live in many parts of Asia (including Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong), there’s a good chance that McDonald’s wants to give you free food every day. I know that McDonald’s doesn’t have the best reputation, for a variety of reasons.  While I certainly wouldn’t advocate eating at McDonald’s […]

Taichunger’s Guide: Classy Overnight in Hong Kong for Under NT$10000

by Joseph Fritz  all prices listed in New Taiwan Dollars   (NT4:HK1 / NT30:US1 / NT40:EU1) For many expatriates in Taiwan, leaving the country every 60-to-90 days is a normal part of life, and it can be a frustrating part of it.  I handle these blasé-but-necessary overnight trips by traveling at as high a standard as possible, […]

My Frustration With the Taichung MRT

My Frustration With the Taichung MRT   I live next to a road called Wenxin Lu (said “When-Shin Loo”), in Taichung City, Taiwan, and I’d like to discuss my frustration with the Taichung MRT.  Wenxin Lu was a six-lane road with multiple intersections with each intersection having formerly included a turning lane.  Before we go […]

The Cost of Living in Taichung, Taiwan

One of the most important things to understand when living somewhere is the cost of living there: this is my report on my cost of living in Taichung, Taiwan, as of November 2013. I think the best way to look at your cost of living is yearly, because months can vary quite a lot, sometimes. […]

Taiwan’s Child Culture

Something that always fascinates me (and also often frustrates me) is something I like to refer to as “Taiwan’s Child Culture.” The most important thing to understand about any culture is the way they raise their children.  Without question, the key to any culture is education.  Education is indoctrination: it’s where we learn what society […]

This Day and Age

I think people have been saying “this day and age” forever. Even Ancient Romans were disappointed in the way things were headed, even though we now know that their dismay at perceived degeneration was actually substantial progress, in the long run. It’s easy to become disillusioned with it all. For me…I write people off as […]

Detailed Taichung Population Density

This Is a Simple But Detailed Taichung Population Density Report If you’re moving to Taichung, you’re probably looking online to find a detailed Taichung population density information.  Officially, Taichung has 2.6 million people spread out over 1500mi2 translating into a population density of around 1800 per mi2, but that’s pretty misleading.  90% of the population lives in […]

Taichung Apartment Rent Guide

Taichung Apartment Rent Guide   I spend a lot of time thinking about real estate in Taichung, so I’ve made a simple Taichung Apartment Rent Guide.  I wanted to share what I’ve found about the cost of living here in Taiwan.  Costs range quite a lot here in Taichung, but this should give you some […]

jsphfrtz’s How-To Guide to Taiwan Visa Runs

When you live in Taiwan, chances are you will have to do a “Taiwan visa run” at some point. A lot of the information in this piece is outdated. I recommend you look at my February 2014 piece about Visa Runs.   I’ve lived in Taiwan, off-and-on, since January 2008.  My total time in Taiwan clocks in […]

No Taiwan ARC? No problem!

If you’ve read my past blogs, you know that I talk about all kinds of random trouble in Taiwan, from banking to shopping to dealing with the government of the ROC.  One of the most common frustrations with people without a Taiwan ARC is hearing the words, “No ARC?  No…no…”  Because of the way Taiwanese bureaucracy operates, […]

Traffic Deaths in Taiwan: Know the Truth

Many of us wonder about traffic deaths in Taiwan; statistics are difficult to find (most of what’s reported is in Chinese).  One of the only decent raw resources can be found here, and it’s from 1993. So what was Taiwan like twenty years ago? A study was done of 4,329 traffic injury reports and the […]

Thinking About the Tienanmen Square Protests

The Tienanmen Square protests in 1989 always make me think. If you mention the Tienanmen Square protests to anyone in China, no one has any idea what you are talking about, and it can get you arrested.  If shown a picture of the Tienanmen Square protests or “Tank Man,” all assume it’s a parade.  

My Taiwan Apartment in Taichung City

Taiwan Apartment I moved to Taiwan in January 2008; after almost two years, I went back to the USA.  Then I moved back in October 2010.  And then I moved back to the USA in December 2011.  And, now, I’m back in Taiwan, again, since this past August.  I have always lived in the City […]

Simple Global Energy Consumption Analysis

Simple Global Energy Consumption Analysis   Here’s a look at how the energy generated on this planet gets consumed: Our planet creates around 500 Exojoules of consumable energy, each year. While only encompassing almost 32% of the overall global population, China, the European Union, and the United States of America use over 50% of its total consumable energy. […]

Meitian Hotel, West Pudong, Shanghai Review

I’d never been to Shanghai before.  My parents were staying at the Waldorf-Astoria (which is as nice as you’d expect), but my brother and I weren’t looking to spend quite so much money for our accommodations.  The problem that I found – and, likely, you are finding, if you are trying to find budget hotels in […]

Walmart Syndrome: Why Americans Don’t Recognize Internet Censorship

If you ask the average net-savvy American about internet censorship, they’ll often reference the Epitome of Internet Censorship on our planet: The People’s Republic of China.  The PRC blocks so many sites, it’s freaky.  We all know how things like Facebook and Twitter and YouTube are blocked, but they often block benign sites, too (like […]

ChinaTrust Banking Policies

I recently had some issues at ChinaTrust bank, finding information that would be relevant to foreigners in Taiwan.  Hopefully, conveying what I learned can save you some time. My situation is a common one: I wanted to know how much money I could withdraw from my Bank of America account using one of ChinaTrust’s ATMs.  […]

Who Are You Voting For, or, A Realistic and Simple Breakdown Between Obama and Romney

So, I get into a lot of historical and political discussions with people.  I find most of them excruciatingly frustrating.  Most people have no idea what they are talking about and, really, I need to find the will-power to just stop talking to them about this stuff.  People don’t argue to share information: they argue […]

No Escaping The Information Superhighway

For those unaware, BTJunkie closed down a few days ago, “voluntarily,” which is to say they closed down before the US government could close them down. The more I look at it, the more I see it all as innevitable. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief a month ago, thinking there was some victory over […]