Taiwan Culture Shock, Taiwan Food, and Most Importantly Taiwan Night Life

Posted on Updated on

It is a cold and rainy spring night here in “The Jongli.” My one bedroom apartment is on the 11th floor of one of the busier streets here by the name of Yanping Road.

It has the same feeling of a tiny New York city suburb.

The traffic is always going no matter what the time of day. The noises range from the 6 a.m. rooster, to the ambulance entering the hospital next door.

There is also the 7832 children that play outside at the school 500 meters from my house starting at 7 a.m.

Don’t forget the megaphone that the teachers use to talk to the students when they are outside. A rainy day never seemed so great.

I am shortly coming up on my 6 month anniversary here in Taiwan. I felt like it was time to reflect on what I have learned so far.

Losing Face

This is a somewhat mystical and bizarre concept to me still. Before I divulge my opinion, I will clearly admit that I am NO expert on this matter.

Before I came to Taiwan, I may have heard this concept a handful of times in my lifetime. I just heard that Asian people never want to “Lose Face”

I think I always just pictured some sort of bizarre old Asian guy putting a mask over himself to make sure he is never embarrassed.

It was also mentioned several times during my training class with Shane, that you never want to have an argument with a Taiwanese person in public. It is expected that they never show anger in front of others.

This is a very real standard that they are held up to. There have been times where I was in 7-11 buying dinner, and I had to put down my dirty gym bag, and go diving through my bag for money.

It holds up an entire line in a convenience store. Nobody once ever even blinked an eye at me, even including the store clerk.

I am learning that this also dictates daily life and conversations. I didn’t know why when I first came here if I asked a Taiwanese person for help that they would always try to assist even if they clearly didn’t have the information I needed.

It can get really frustrating. I really don’t know how to combat this. It is always extremely convincing if their English is ok.

When I first came to Taiwan, I was on a “positive thinking” high. I had been practicing Bikram yoga almost every day for 1.5 years. My mind was in great shape through the practice. I thought none of that stuff could possible ever bother me.

I still am excited to learn more about the culture. I know that there is a positive side with endless opportunity from both a business and social perspective once I learn more about how to use this to my advantage.

The Food-

Taiwan is considered by people from all over the world as one of the greatest places to explore new tastes and delicious entrees. My experience with the food can be summed up in two words.

“IT SUCKS!!!”

I try to be respectful as I can about the food, especially when I find myself in the company of Taiwanese people.  But, it is actually getting to the point where I am afraid I will soon be gagging when I see another blade of rice.

Everything tastes the same to me at this point. It is just, RICE, RICE, RICE, and more RICE. And then, if you want desert, there is normally RICE in the dessert.

Sorry Taiwan people, but I had a two week stint where I liked the food.

Besides that, I FUCKING hate it!!

Nightlife

This part also comes with a small disclaimer. I am in a much smaller area than some of Taiwan’s bigger cities like Taipei, Taichung, and Tainan.

But, drinking doesn’t seem to be a very big part of the culture here at least in Jongli. The bars are normally pretty empty. Jongli has one main street with all of the bars. You may find about 20-30 people in each bar if you are lucky even on a Friday or Saturday night.

The girls are far from waiting at the door for Americans. It doesn’t mean they are not friendly once you get to know them. But, it is definitely a part of being in a much calmer society.

Culture Shock

My first two months were nothing but a breeze for me. I loved every second of it. Everything was so new and fresh to me.

It kind of pissed me off. After a while, people started to warn me that culture shock just hadn’t set in yet. Many of the veterans would tell me that I would soon be just as depressed as they were there the first year. Sure enough, a few weeks later is started to set in.

I just brushed it off with a “Yeah” like I always do with the majority of my 2 a.m. conversations.

But, then I started noticing suddenly that eating an egg rice and cheese sandwich for dinner 6 days in a row at 7-11 wasn’t as magical as it once was.  Or, maybe the papaya milk wasn’t quite as delicious as it was yesterday.

Everything seemed like “Oh shit, I have already done this 400 times already, and I have only been here 60 days!”

This wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I am “Josh Dent” after all. Why would being 15,000 miles away from home in a land that is one million times different than your own have an effect on ME, of all people?? Can you tell I am using sarcasm?

The first round of culture shock taught me that if I was really going to make Taiwan a long time residency for me, I better start learning Chinese. I registered for a class shortly after that. The communication gap shortening definitely alleviates some of the pain.

Any spiritual guru would tell you that culture shock would be something that is made up in our own minds, and it comes from not staying in the moment. It just takes a tremendous more amount of practice, patience, and diligence when you are in a land so unique and far away.

The culture shock still seems to come in small waves every two months. I am thankful that when I start getting easily agitated I normally have the ability to realize it has to be something going on with me. After all, we can’t change a culture that is millions of year old, right?

Conclusion

Coming to Taiwan has not been all easy. It has been HUGE periods of UPS. It is only natural that a down time or lag time will follow after that. I am thankful for so many reasons for having this opportunity.

I have met people from Thailand, Viet Nam Indonesia, Spain, Guatemala, and even Tazjikistan while I have been here. It definitely helps you to see the world from a much bigger picture than our own little shell.

I am learning from each person I meet. All of this will make me that much stronger in the long run.

I am learning Chinese. I already know Spanish. I can also even communicate a little bit in the Filipino native language. (Tagalog)  That puts me at being able to order a meal in 4 languages.

Although I told my current employer to go fuck themselves on Saturday this week, I am still hopeful for continued success here in “The Taiwan.”

The River of Lost Souls

Posted on Updated on

8/13/12

How many times have you dreamed of an epic soul-searching mission winding through valleys, mountains, and coast-lines throughout the magnificent USA? I dream of the same by car, bicycle, and even by foot more times than any man could imagine.

Any Hunter S. Thompson, or Jack Kerouac fan will tell you that the land of Colorado offers no greater place to let your soul run wild and care-free like a child.

After one of the more dreadful weeks in Phoenix, AZ, summer histories that I could remember, I found myself gasping for any sort of rejuvenation in the game of life. Four consecutive days of the 115 plus temperature range was the cutting edge in leading me to a new path.

This was a path that was full of risks and uncertainties. But, I realized the biggest loss for me personally was to continue not exploring what existed outside my own bubble of comfort that I had worked so hard to create since 2001 in Phoenix.

This is a brief, unedited, and truly magnificent moments as I was in a foggy-minded haze of glory on Sunday morning in Durango.

The writing takes quick and abrupt left turns many times in a short period of time. It becomes evident quickly that even though I had technically slept a few hours. I am certain I was still really wasted.

But, it did leave me with a powerful sting of excitement for the rest of my trip

Josh’s Journal 8:55 a.m.

As I sit here down by the river in my bare feet and lacking a shower for the last 3 days, I realized that maybe this is not a soul-finding mission. Maybe, it’s creation of the power that there is nothing to find. Think about the greatest marketing campaign of all time. “It was just do it.” There was nothing deep or hypothetical about that. One of the greatest acceptances or awakenings any man could have is in regards to their body. I spent the last 3 years just slaving away trying to find the perfect condition. Oh Shit, I literally think I saw one of the hottest girls I have ever seen in my life here in Durango, CO, on this absolutely blue-sky and perfect temperature morning in Colorado. I just can’t efing do another Phoenix summer. It cripples and suffocates my entire soul. I am hung over as shit. Time to take a nap!

You Have What You Need

 

I had not a clue or care in the world what river I was sitting in front of. I knew it was absolutely beautiful to look at.

After being deadened by the unbearable temperatures in Phoenix that week, I needed no further excuse of inspiration than reasonable temperatures and running water to let me sit and become as present as possible to my surroundings.

Eight months later when I later looked up the information of my setting and backdrop, an ironic discovery was made. I was sitting in front of one of the most famous and historic rivers of the beautiful Southwest.

The Animas River is the name that traces the trail of the river bed on a US map. But, it does have a short name of “The River of Lost Souls”

Before that particular moment of clarity, I was feeling as lost as they come. I left my house on a one week vacation without even packing a bag. My frustration level with life’s situations could not have possibly been any higher. I flipped a coin when I got to Flagstafff, AZ, on whether I was going to San Francisco or Colorado. Granted, I did do best out of 7 to make sure I got to go to Colorado. But, I am certain you can see my point.

But, I am truly fortunate and thankful for the power that my pen and paper have given me since I started writing again in 2011. I had an amazing realization on this morning. I stated that there is nothing more powerful in this world that there is nothing to find. I could wander the planet for years searching for the right place, and the right time. But, the River of Lost Souls helped remind me that I have everything I do need.