Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fung-wong is here.

It has been exactly a month since my last post on this blog, and the pace of school and everyday living in Taiwan hasn't slowed up one bit. I finally feel like I can really take some time and recount some recent events in Taiwan. Today I am like a giddy school boy because the Taiwan government has closed offices and schools due to Typhoon Fung-Wong. Everyone has been watching the Typhoon make it's way toward Taiwan for the past few days just waiting for it to hit, and hit it did. Hua Lien, and more southern regions of Taiwan are dealing with flooding up the waist and winds blowing at 160 KM/H. Here in Taipei it doesn't feel nearly as bad, but the rain is certainly coming down. Lucky for me my local breakfast shop doesn't seem to mind the weather, I still had a nice breakfast to start my day off right.

Well life here is going as usual. Lots of homework and lots of studying. In the beginning of July I started studying Gu Zheng, a Chinese musical 21 stringed instrument similar to the Zither, through Shida's culture classes. Every week I have one two hour lesson. Needless to say that is not enough time to really practice what we learn, but we are playing some simple songs and I have to say the Gu Zheng is a very beautiful instrument.
The Gu Zheng strings when naturally plucked make the sounds Do Ra Me So La, but the stings can be manipulated with your left hand to create a full scale.You play the instrument by sitting on the far right hand side of and using your right hands thumb, pointer finger, middle finger and ring finger to pluck the strings. Your left hand is used to bend the notes pitch. Even though there are only 5 main notes of varying pitch the instrument is very similar to a harp in the need for coordination and accuracy We will have a performance at the end of the quarter were we perform one or two songs we have been working on. I will be sure to have a friend video tape it for you all to see. Other than Gu Zheng Class and my normal one on one class I have just been busy trying new foods, and hanging out in new places.

I have been hanging out with a lot of friends on the weekends, seeing movies and walking around Ximen Ding, a kind of youth hangout shopping center, which is filled with all sorts of activities. Last weekend I went to my first MTV. It is basically a movie theater where you rent out a room and a few movies to hang out for the day. You get food, and drinks included in the cost of the room rental. A pretty cool idea, and a great way to spend a rainy day. It still astounds me at how much is going on in this city on any given day. Makes it fun to see something new every time you step outside. Last week Saturday I got to see a live break dance competition taking place on the streets. The kids, they must have still been in high school, weren't the greatest dancers, but there enthusiasm and attitude really got the the crowd into it. After checking out some break-dancing my friend and I headed over to an Arcade for some Air Hockey, and racing games. Other than hanging out in Ximen Ding I have also started walking home from school when ever I feel my feet can take it, and the weather isn't hot to the point of being dangerous. The walk takes me about 45 minutes, and although it isn't filled with anything too exciting, I still am seeing a part of the city I can't observe riding the MRT. That in itself is worth coming home covered head to toe in sweat. I am not sure what I will do with my last month here in Taipei, I think most of my routine will stay pretty normal, but there are still a few places I would like to check out before I leave. Well right now the Typhoon seems to really calmed down, it is just drizzling outside, looks like this is even better than a Wisconsin snow day. I can go outside and I don't even have to shovel!


Tom Gill said...

Nice blog, wanted MORE...guess I'm just missing you more as it gets closer to your coming back to the USofA. That you are walking home from school in temps/humidity that would make most of us miserable shows that Taipei and Taiwan has a good hold on you and that you are immersed and aware of your good fortune and opportunity to really soak it up your last month.

Glad that the Typhoon only landed a glancing blow to your area, 1 big natural disaster scare (when you were in Indonesia) is enough for parents half a world away.

Keep clicking (pics) and taking it all in--the memories you capture will be with you for your whole life. You've packed a lot of growth and experience into less than a year, and that momentum will take you far on your personal path.

- Dad

Aunt Carrie said...

Hi Jake,

I envy your strength and determination to push yourself as far as you can. It's not always easy to do that.

Yes, rain can be better than snow, except in the case of flooding. Snow can be shoveled away, but too much rain will sit there, closing roads and damaging property, as we saw earlier this summer. But at least you were able to enjoy your day off.

Things are very different over there than they are here. I can't see a place like an MTV working out for many different reasons. But it would be a nice idea...

Loved the instrument pics!

Looking forward to more delicious details about your trip.