(Yay for being awake at 2am, huh?)
Today (or yesterday, rather) after class we went to Ximending. Ximending is an area in Taipei that is likened to Tokyo's Harajuku district. This is apt. It is also the closest you'd get to Japantown here. Japanese pop culture influence is EVERYWHERE. There was even a maid cafe!
We basically just walked around for awhile. Our mission was to find the eslite bookstore, which was quite the feat, as apparently eslite owns several mall-type buildings in the area, so we kept ending up in those. And then when we finally DID find the eslite, they didn't have what I was looking for (MUSIC), or what Lisa was looking for (manga that wasn't in Chinese). We did, however, amuse ourselves by looking at the magazines. It's interesting, because all the magazines are plastic wrapped, which is, I guess, so people won't read the magazines while sitting in the bookstore. (But OMG there were some NICE magazines. Mike He is on the cover of Men's Uno, Joseph Chang is on another magazine, Wu Zun and his utterly flawless face were on yet another, and finally there was one with Cheryl Yang!!!)
We ended up at a Daiso, a store I know of from when I was all into bento-ing. In Japan they're 100 yen shops. In the US they're $1.50 shops. In Taiwan, they're NT$39 shops (~ $1.18 USD). There was much amusement to be had at these shops because the engrish is just amazing. I haven't seen a LOT of amusing engrish (or rather, chinglish) in general here. Japan seems to be the master at engrish, as I saw more in Daiso than I have in my entire time here so far.
We also visited a music store that DID have the Big Bang CD I was looking for. However it was weirdly wrapped in paper, and it was kinda sketchy, so I decided against buying it because seriously, wtf?! I'll just wait to buy it... (Seriously, though... Why does Taiwan hate Korea?! Again the only Korean music I could find was SuJu, SS501, the Boys Before Flowers OST, and a random Kim Jeong Hoon "John Hoon" album.) Also, interestingly, we found an alley of tattooists.
Walking around Ximending was amusing, mostly because I kept stopping to take pictures of ads. Because, hello, FAMOUS TAIWANESE PEOPLE ARE MY FAVORITE. (Speaking of! I keep seeing this ad in the subway of a guy hugging a golden retriever while advertising for mooncakes, and I swear to God it's Eric Tsang
, but why the hell would he be advertising mooncakes while hugging a dog on a subway advertisement?!) Ximending is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Taipei that I've seen so far.( More pictures, including highly amusing engrish, scary shop buildings, fun ads, and what Ming Dao does in his spare time )
Other awesome tidbits from Ximending!
- There's a restaurant there called "Cola Forest" that is American themed. They have a HUGE drink menu, and some interestingly named food, notably the "chicken naggets"... (NOW the chinglish is starting to rear it's head!)
- Apparently Show Luo is a spokesperson for EVERYTHING. I saw him in ads everywhere. I only really remember the Edwin Jeans ones though. I still prefer Brad Pitt
- Have I mentioned how awesome Taiwanese Haagen Dazs' are? The one in the 101 has these awesome ice cream mooncakes that I'm dying to try!
- We were apparently around an area that is famous for it's corn and peanut ice, but we didn't try it. Sometimes I wonder about the preoccupation they have with corn here.