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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Two Essential Chinese Sauces

Cooking Chinese food, I find myself using two sauces above all others: a Szechuan sauce and a Sweet and Sour sauce. Living in Taiwan, it’s hard for me to find the kind of Chinese food I like: the kind of Chinese we eat in the USA.  American Chinese food is very Cantonese, with thicker sauces, […]

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 […]

Jheng Jin Copy – 偵晉影印 – Best Taichung Print Shop

I need to tell you about my friend Ann.  It’s entirely possible that Ann hates my guts (I may be her most anal-retentive client), but I consider her an amazing asset and hope that someday I can repay her for all the help she’s given me.  There is no one else that I would trust to […]

My First Ride In A Police Car

I was driving north on WenXin Lu, Monday, August 20, 2012, at 10:45am, on my scooter.  Coming off the traffic light at Daye Lu, heading towards Dalong Lu, I attempted to merge right (from the right-hand lane into the scooter lane).  I felt something hit the right rear of my scooter and turned my head to see […]

Caught With My Pants Down

Taiwan has a pretty significant amount of earthquakes.  Most of them are pretty mild, but usually I can feel one or two each month – just enough to notice I’m not dizzy and that the room is, in fact, vibrating.  But every now and then, something a little bigger comes along, and you’re faced with the […]

Traffic, Shopping Carts, And Saving Face

It has always fascinated me that a culture so aware of public perception can also be so completely self-absorbed.  In Taiwan, there is a great emphasis on “saving face,” and yet, it only applies to certain facets of life.  I have yet to fully grasp the concept, but I have made some observations. Generally-speaking, Taiwanese people prefer […]