Shipping a Package From the USA to Taiwan

Shipping a package from the USA to Taiwan means sending a package as far as it can go around the world before it starts coming back around the other way. The time difference between Washington, D.C. and Taipei is 12 hours.  Flying that distance takes 24 hours.  And shipping a package takes almost two weeks. I’ve shipped […]

Protected: At Least It’s Not Like China

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

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 […]

Who In The World Visits This Site?

After almost two years of running this blog, I’ve seen my hit-count rise along with the number of countries who have read what I have to say.  Of the 200-or-so nations on Earth, 153 have visited my blog over the last two years.  It got me wondering: what might that look like, if it were mapped out? So […]

“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 […]

Taichung Facebook Groups: Crucial Resources

Over the past few years, Taichung Facebook Groups have been popping up.  Most cities, it seems, have the same sorts of groups – information exchanges, swap shops, et cetera – but in a place where you are an expat (especially when you’re new) these kinds of resources can be invaluable.  So, if you’re moving 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 […]

Taiwan Students Take Over Legislative Yuan: Live Video Feed

Taiwanese students take over the Legislative Yuan (like Taiwan’s Congress/Parliament) March 18, 2014 and, as of March 22, refuse to leave until their demands are met. Live video streaming of the event (in English) can be seen here: Live streaming video by Ustream http://m.ustream.tv/channel/longsoneng Live video streaming of the event (an overhead view, in Chinese) can […]

Know Your Audience

Know Your Audience In high school, I had a teacher that always told us, “Know your audience.”  Most times, I act like I couldn’t give a damn about my audience, but I find that’s really not the case.  While I don’t write solely for my audience – this piece, for example, is far more for […]

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. […]

My Cool Taiwan Apartment

This is a video of my extremely cool Taiwan apartment. After living here for a little over a year, this is what my home looks like.   Check Out My Cool Taiwan Apartment   It’s 1100sqft (100sqm) and costs US$400 a month.     If the video doesn’t work embedded like that, click here to […]

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 […]

Moving to Taiwan: Avoiding Disaster

There are always people moving to Taiwan.  I talk a lot about it in what I write; I give a lot of advice on this site regarding moving to Taiwan, getting settled in Taiwan, and living in Taiwan.  One topic I haven’t addressed is moving back to The World. On July 22, 2013, I received […]

Taichung Apartment Rent Guide

2013 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 […]

Typhoon Soulik Taiwan

Typhoon Soulik Taiwan Typhoon Soulik Taiwan Typhoon Soulik started as a Category 2, but it quickly got augmented by other Pacific storms and became a Category 4. By the time it got to Taiwan, it was a Category 3. Here’s how it looks from my place:       Typhoon Soulik Taiwan

A Consideration of Happiness and Misery

Living in Taiwan often makes me think about ideas of Happiness and Misery.  Truth-be-told, it’s always a subject I’ve grappled with.  But recent years have brought greater understanding than my younger years.  Hunter Thompson, in his early 20s, wrote the following on the subject: “Happy,” I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it […]

Bystro Taiwan – Best Restaurant in Taichung

Bystro Restaurant Grill is the absolute best restaurant in Taichung.  [EDIT: was the best – they are now gone]  For me, it’s not just the best restaurant in Taichung, or even Taiwan: it is my favorite restaurant in the world.  And I have my reasons.  The husband/wife team of Patrick and Anita really have it […]

Riding in Taiwan: How to Avoid Dying

I began riding in Taiwan back in 2008.  Well, actually, it was a motorcycle.  A sweet ride called a Yamaha RXZ (or RZX) 135cc two-stroke.   A few weeks after getting Max, I got myself into an accident.  I had never ridden before I came to Taiwan and the principles of centrifugal force were very […]

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 […]

My Little Taiwanese Kitchen: A Beginning

Back in 2009, I had the idea for a web-based cooking show called “My Little Taiwanese Kitchen.”  At the time, I was living in a fifth-floor walk-up with a kitchen the size of many Americans’ closets.  While my apartment situation has improved significantly, the kitchen is around the same size.  To see what it looks […]

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 […]

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 […]

Trying to Better Understand SEO as it Relates to My Content

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I do a lot of compiling/analysis of data.  Usually, it’s not directly related to me, personally: today, it is. I have my blog, which you’re reading, as well as my YouTube Channel.  Feel free to check it out. My blog has been active since May of 2011, but […]

Making Soup in Taichung: My Minestrone Recipe

I don’t eat soup, but I know a lot of people do.  Without a doubt, my favorite soup is a minestrone.  It’s hearty and flavorful; it’s rare to hear someone say they dislike minestrone, so it’s a very safe bet. One fun thing about Taiwan is getting ingredients – for example, I couldn’t find celery […]

Pizza Rock: Best Pizza in Taichung

Until today, I barely knew about Pizza Rock, but I am happy to say it’s the best pizza in Taichung.  I had heard a friend mention it two months ago, but I had no idea where it was.  Imagine my shock as I drove through my old neighborhood to find a (relatively) new pizza joint […]

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, […]

Honey-Almond Granola Recipe

I live in Taiwan, where cereal is expensive.  Beyond that, cereal is not particularly healthy.  I took an old family recipe for baking granola and modified it to what I can acquire here in Taiwan and what I enjoy, in terms of flavor.  Enjoy. Ingredients List Oats Wheat Germ Shredded Coconut (unsweetened) Chopped Almonds Sunflower […]

An Expat’s Guide to Staying Connected with Skype

I’m an American who has spent three of the last five years living abroad in Taiwan, a relatively small island off the coast of China.  Up until two months ago, I was one who refused to get a smart phone.  I’d never had a real reason to have one beyond the novelty of it.  But, […]

Taiwan Strip Clubs and Lady KTVs

I’ve written before about how my blog is disgusting, but I’ve pretty much gotten over the fact that the vast majority of people who find my blog through Google are doing so to find some kind of sexual service in Taiwan or the Philippines; so it’s time to talk about Taiwan Strip Clubs and Lady […]

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.  […]

Teaching in Taiwan – The Basics, Before You Come

There’s many routes to take, regarding teaching in Taiwan.  Since there are a lot of outdated resources out there on the subject, I thought I’d write about a few of them, to give people some idea what to expect in 2012 Taiwan. First of all, I live in Taichung – that is my perspective on […]

Foreign Drivers in Taiwan: More Fun Dealing With the ROC Government

As I wrote yesterday, dealing with the government in Taiwan can be a little absurd.  Today’s example is their motor vehicle regulations. First of all, unless you have a Resident Visa (ARC), you can not register a vehicle in Taiwan.  Nobody can explain why.  The funny part is, if you register a vehicle under your […]

Visa Extensions in Taiwan – Another Example of Asinine ROC Bureaucracy

There are a lot of great things about Taiwan.  But this isn’t gonna’ be about those.  This is about how annoying Taiwan’s Bureaucracy is. You have to understand that the concept of “majority rules” goes haywire here.  Nails that stick out are hammered down or, as the Taiwanese put it, the fattest pig is the […]

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 […]

Rice Cooker Banana Bread: A Recipe

I adore banana bread; while this is a recipe for my banana bread, we’ll see a unique baking option, too: rice cooker banana bread. First, I’ll show you how to make banana bread, traditionally, in an oven; then, we’ll get to rice cooker banana bread. Ingredients 2 sticks butter, softened/melted 2 cups white sugar 4 […]

My Marinara Sauce Recipe for My Friends In Taiwan

  Ingredients 1 7-pound can of tomato paste 6 tablespoons of Italian seasoning 6 cloves of garlic 2 cups of red wine Water Materials Measuring spoons Rubber scraper Large pot (with a lid)   Remove the tomato paste from the can and add it to your pot – use the rubber scraper to get it […]

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 […]

Say Cheese Restaurant Review – Taichung City, Taiwan

I am fortunate to live on the outskirts of “Little Europe,” here in Taichung.  I have the best of both worlds – close enough to access the coolest part of the city while at the same time living in a relatively quiet and relatively affordable apartment.  But the best part about my neighborhood are the […]

Selling Children In Taiwan

While I no longer work with educational institutions in Taiwan, I do like to share my experiences with them. I have a unique knowledge in that I have been in both the education side as well as the managerial side; this allows me to have a perspective that is rarely gained and even less-commonly shared. […]

How Carrefour in Taiwan Hates Foreign Customers

While the people of Taiwan are often the nicest and warmest in the world, their cultural indoctrination leads to a dependence on bureaucracy, often to the point where people are unable – or unwilling – to make any decision without it being written as law or being directly authorized by a superior.  As a culture, […]

Paid To Entertain – How A “Talking Bar” Works

Asia’s a unique place, for a variety of reasons.  It’s also a huge place with a variety of culture, both indigenous as well as adapted.  This is to say that while you will find “Lady KTV” in Taiwan and China, you will not see “Gogo Bars” like you do in the Philippines and Thailand.  To […]

Missing Macaroni

One of the things I miss from back in The States is Kraft Blue Box Macaroni & Cheese.  Yes, I know it’s processed crap.  I don’t care.  And I’m willing to bet a lot of people reading this right now feel the same.  After being served it since children, we develop the taste for it, […]

The Reality of Living In Taiwan: An Introduction

Living abroad in a land where I don’t speak the language very well, questions abound and answers are not forthcoming.  It’s my own fault, obviously; you should become literate in the language of the place you are in, not simply as good manners, but also as common sense.  What happens when you need to find […]

Pesto, As Promised

You have one big problem making a legitimate pesto sauce here in Taiwan: pine nuts.  Everything else is so easy it makes my marinara sauce recipe look difficult. To make a pesto sauce, you need nothing more than basil, olive oil, Parmesan, and garlic…and that elusive pine nut. I’ve only seen pine nuts at Costco and, […]

The Long Winter of My Discontent

I talked before about peaking in high school, and that I could never be accused of such a thing.  University, however, is a different story.  It was one of the best times in my life and I had major accomplishments.  I served all four years in student government and, along with my best friend at […]

Eating Italian In Taiwan

Taiwan has a lot of great food.  But both Italian and Mexican food are not on the list of things they do well. Traditionally, the Chinese like noodles served in a much more broth-like sauce – even their Italian versions of cuisine are noticeably loose.  Think when you go to a bad Italian joint in the USA […]

Addicted To Crack

After a few days of undergoing “intensive chiropractic therapy,” including daily half-hour-long treatments plus eating the most disgusting Traditional Chinese Medicine (a blend of 7 herbs/roots) three times a day, I feel better than I have in years.  I’m still waking up with a slightly sore neck, but this man knows what he is doing.  After only three […]

Three In Twenty-Four

The human vertebral column has 24 bones called vertebrae. A few years back, I managed to somehow move three of my lower cervical vertebrae (C5, C6, and C7) out of position.  It has resulted in chronic pain, mostly in my left trapezius.  It’s not uncommon for me to turn my head suddenly and feel as if […]

這是我絕望的呼籲台灣的司機 – My Plea To Drivers In Taiwan

Yesterday, I got to drive to-and-from Taichung City and Chungli City.  It’s around a 120 kilometer (75 mile) drive, each way, and involves around an hour of highway driving and a half hour of city driving.  Before leaving, I made sure to treat my windows with a generic product identical to the very famous Rain-X. […]

A Brief History of My Life on Two Wheels

I haven’t been much into machines, in terms of my lifetime.  There wasn’t much exposure to me – my dad wasn’t into them – I didn’t hang out with any gearheads.  I’ve always been great behind the controls of most anything that can be steered, but it wasn’t until I moved to Taiwan that I […]

I Need To Write Every Day

I’m going to try to start doing that more, like I did in college. Back then, I was impressed when I would pound out 8000 words in an all-nighter.  Now, I can do 2000 words an hour without breaking a sweat. So, why don’t I write more? As I age, am I becoming more jaded? […]

This Blog Is Disgusting

This blog has been operational for about a year.  Last spring, I decided to put all my old work on here, for people to read – everything from when I was in high school up until my late 20s.  I put a lot of academic writing on there and a lot of personal writing from […]

Whoring Around Asia

to learn about Taiwan Strip Clubs and Lady KTVs, click here Ever since I came to Asia, I noticed that prostitution was different here than what I was used to back in The States. The differences are almost too many to count, but in this article, I’m going to briefly discuss a few things, focusing […]