Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy New Year!


As 2009 comes to a close I'd like to thank everyone for making Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z the highest-rated and number one Taiwan travel book on amazon.com. I worked very hard putting this book together so I sincerely appreciate the positive feedback and support.

Have a safe, happy and healthy New Year's Eve and 2010. God bless.

--Scott

Monday, December 21, 2009

Obama-mania still Rages on Taiwan




Still Obama-crazy after all these… months.





You may still find “Barack the Vote!” t-shirts in department stores and night markets around Taiwan.
Together, can we find colorful, fluffy toothpaste-shaped Obama pillows in the Republic of China (Taiwan)? Yes, we can!








“Yes, We Can!” quit smoking! U.S. President Barack Obama inspires a national Taiwanese ad campaign to decrease tobacco dependency in the Republic of China.
Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day not only the highest-rated but also the NUMBER ONE highest-ranked Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

"Yes, We Can" Learn English from President Obama!

While a recent article depicted President Obama’s public approval rating as “positive, but just barely” as it dipped below 50%, supporters overseas are still fervent that the “Yes, We Can!” president can still inspire markets the way he had once inspired Americans. In fact, in Japan, English language book publishers are quickly printing Obama speeches and selling recordings of his speeches to tap into the $8.7 billion foreign-language teaching industry (see this article to learn more). While you’re more likely to hear candy J-, K-, or Mando-pop blaring at the local salon rather than the Obama Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Taiwanese English-language publications still fill many pages with Obama speeches and related material.

President Obama’s positive messages certainly resonate in this day and age of economic uncertainty, and his speeches are easy for most people to understand. The president also speaks in a clear, slow manner that many people, non-native English speakers, in particular, could understand. The simple, positive catch-phrase “Yes, We Can!” also translates well into many languages, such as Japanese (“Hai, dekimasu!”), Spanish (“¡podemos!” or “¡Sí, Podemos!”), and Chinese (“是的,我們可以!” or “是的,我們能做到!”). To be fair, President Obama took office with a faltering economy and record unemployment, but let’s hope the can-do president can turn the economy around and produce more than outstanding sound bites.

Back At One!


Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making
Taipei In A Day not only the highest-rated but also the NUMBER ONE highest-ranked Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z Thrashes Competition!

Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z has retaken the NUMBER ONE position in its category on amazon.com!
Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day not only the highest-rated but also the NUMBER ONE highest-ranked Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mello Marsh and the Magic Toilet


I've just published my first children's book, Mello Marsh and the Magic Toilet, Adventures in New York.


Mello Marsh and the Magic Toilet, Adventures in New York is an innovative way for children to learn about travel. Mello Marsh, a precocious yet somewhat obstinate boy, encounters an effervescent enchantress named Flushing Fairy, who, at the flush of a toilet, takes him from his home to Times Square and later, to the Adirondack Mountains and Niagara Falls! Join Mello Marsh and Flushing Fairy on an amusing, educational adventure that will have both you and your child laughing out loud. In addition to gleaning insight into the Empire State, you may never flush a toilet the same way again!

For more information please go to http://www.mellomarsh.com

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Taiwan Travel Book Slams Competition and Retakes #1 in Category on Amazon.com!


Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z has body-slammed the competition from the top of the third rope and retaken the #1 sales ranking in its category on Amazon.com!

Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z is the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide to thoroughly enjoy Taiwan. Discover relics and know where to stay and play by using the included maps, complete Taipei dining, hotel, museum, night market, parks, temple and pub guides. Active globe trekkers will appreciate the detailed Taipei Guide to Mountain Climbing. For a soothing spot of tea, find serenity at Tea Station. Names and addresses are also listed in Chinese, along with local phone numbers, so major attractions and interesting out-of-the-way locales around the island are readily found. Helpful communication tips, important vocabulary and useful phrases are at your fingertips. The encompassing "Taiwan From A To Z" section introduces local cues, customs and important cultural information so readers can be travelers rather than tourists. After reading Taipei In A Day you should be prepared for your visit, whether it spans a month, week, or weekend.


Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.


Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day not only the highest-rated but also the NUMBER ONE highest-ranked Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Taiwan Travel Book Highlighted in Leading Asia Trend Magazine

Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z Showcased in Florida's Leading Asia Trend Magazine!


Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-ranked Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Taipei In A Day Bests Amazon.com Competition Yet Again!

For the third time in two months, Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z has bested the competition on Amazon.com!

Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.
Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day not only the highest-rated but also the NUMBER ONE highest-ranked Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Taipei In A Day Includes:Taiwan From A To Z Retakes #1 Sales Ranking on Amazon.com!


Taiwan Travel Book Retakes #1 Sales Ranking in Category on Amazon.com!

Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day not only the highest-rated but also the NUMBER ONE highest-ranked Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Typhoon Morakot

Typhoon Morakot, a deadly tropical storm that slammed into Taiwan the evening of Friday, August 7, 2009, is one of the deadliest to have hit the island. With peak winds thrashing at speeds of 155 kilometers/hr, eqivalent to a Category 2 hurricane, the typhoon dumped over 80 inches of rain, causing Taiwan's worst flooding in history.

Photos are available here.

According to President Ma, "...the scale of damage caused by Morakot was more severe than a 1959 typhoon that killed 667 people and left around 1,000 missing."

Hundreds of residents in Southern Taiwan are dead and thousands are in need of assistance.
To make a donation please contact the Red Cross Society at 886-2-2362-8232.
The Society's mailing address is:

The Red Cross Society of the ROC NHQ
10F 276, Section 2, Chien Kuo South Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan, R.O.C.

台湾加油!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z NUMBER ONE in Category on Amazon.com!





In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day not only the highest-rated but also the NUMBER ONE highest-ranked Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Taiwan to Fine McDonald's, Domino's Pizza

In Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z I write in-depth about Taiwan's local culture so readers have a solid understanding of what to expect prior to arriving. I mention that, at times, visitors will find a land of stark contradicitons. Here's a case in point:

The news has been heavily covering the fact that McDonald's and Domino's Pizza will be fined between NT $60,000 (approximately US $1,800) to NT $300,000 (US $9,000) for not changing their cooking oil enough. In fact, one can't turn on the TV and watch the local Chinese news or open a newspaper these days without seeing a headline containing the phrase "tainted oil." The fines, which would hardly hurt these firms' bottom lines, are clearly to send a message to other chains that they should ensure that their cooking oil is changed more regularly. While it's prudent for Taiwan to be taking measures to ensure its citizens are safe, is this seemingly haphazard slap-on-the-wrist really the right approach?

Apparently, the Department of Health (DOH) decided to randomly test and subsequently fine these two chains "in a move to quell consumer fears over the safety of cooking oil used by eateries across the island." How is fining two U.S.-based chains going to make cooking oil used by eateries across the entire island more safe, especially considering that most people on Taiwan eat at small road-side stands? Wouldn't it be more practical for government inspectors to visit night markets around the island and test cooking oil used at these locations, considering that many, if not most, Taiwanese people eat foods prepared there?

Everyone knows too much of anything is bad for one's health. How about cutting the Golden Arches a little slack for once? What do you think?

Expect more random large chain testing and fines to come.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jiufen (九份)


In Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z explore the accommodations, attractions, eats, history and unique trinkets rife in Taipei County’s Jiufen (九份), located high above the northern Taiwan port city of Keelung.

Although the name of the restaurant/hotel (bed & breakfast) “Chiu Chunt Dint” may sound funny, the outstanding food, exemplary service and somewhat small yet cozy accommodations are not. Prices for meals are reasonable, ranging from NT $250 (approximately US $7.50) to $550 (US $16.50) for an entree, soup and a beverage. (My suggestion: try the curry chicken with hearty vegetables and cheese for NT $300.)
The hotel is currently running a special, NT $880 (approximately US $26.40) per person for an overnight stay plus two meals, a very reasonable price for a comfortable overnight visit. For those who’d prefer not to trek back into Taipei or beyond after a sojourn to Jiufen consider staying at Chiu Chunt Dint. Or, stop in for a meal, your tastebuds shouldn't be disappointed.







Looks bizarre? Try it!





Ice cream and imported German beer, what was this vendor thinking? It's the perfect combination... for diarrhea!


An enterprising Jiufen stall owner attracts customers dressed as a human sunflower!


Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com!

It has been a pleasure helping countless travelers to Taiwan enjoy their travels with greater ease.  Thank you to everyone who has provided a positive review of my guidebook and custom "Taipei In A Day (台北一日遊)" tour  based on my best-selling Taiwan travel book, Taipei in a Day: Includes Taiwan from A to Z,  I sincerely appreciate it.  

Have fun and enjoy your time on Taiwan, and if you need a personal Taiwan guide, I provide custom "Taipei in a Day (台北一日遊)" tours based on my best-selling Taiwan tour guide!  Feel free to contact me via www.taipeiinaday.com for details.  --Scott

Neihu MRT Opens to Fanfare and Delays

The Neihu line of the Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) metro system is operational but currently plagued by electrical problems. During the first few months of operation expect heavy crowds and delays. One article mentions “a series of service disruptions.” Those heading to Miramar Entertainment Park would be wise to depart at Jiantan Station and take the free shuttle bus instead.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Cape No. 7" Movie Review Showcased in Taiwan's Leading Bilingual Travel Magazine



In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Japan's "Grass-Eating Men" Dilemma

Decided to post another article related to Japan, this one in Slate deals with how many Japanese male youth are turned off by how preceding generations defined success through bigger, better, faster and more material possessions. They're called "grass-eating men" (soushoku danshi) (literally "grass-eating boys") because they'd rather spend their time gardening, playing video games, taking walks or engaged in more solitary acts to find solace rather than, say, strolling around department stores searching for the latest imported brand name products.

"Grass-eating men" are a product of the times. They don't know whether they'll have a job in a month so they're not prone to splurge to impress friends or the opposite sex. Their rejection of the decades-old keep-up-with-the-Suzukis behavior in Japan's capitalist society is considered a "dilemma."

What do you think?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Green Tea Coca-Cola To Debut in Japan

This article pertains to Japan and not Taiwan, but with "Beer Flavor Green Tea" for sale at convenience stores and supermarkets throughout the Republic of China (Taiwan), tea-flavored Coca Cola, if tested sucessfully in Japan, can't be too far off. Also, looking forward to trying some of that basil-flavored cola from Pepsi! The article appeared here.


Enjoy your life trying a wide variety of unique products in
the Republic of China (Taiwan), including Beer Flavor Green Tea!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

"2009 Summer Rock Summit" Article Featured in Taiwan's Leading Bilingual Travel Magazine









Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Exuberance" Over Warming Mainland Ties?

A well-written but decidedly one-sided article published in today's New York Times delineates how many Taiwanese show "exuberance" over Taiwan's markets opening to investment from Mainland China. While it's true that President Ma has been pragmatic in his efforts to engage the Mainland both economically and politically, not everyone on the island, as the writer may lead you to believe, is thrilled about recent increased cooperation between Taiwan and the Mainland.

A little less than half the population (currently around 40%) supports the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) (民主進步黨). Opposition candidates and "pan-green" citizens that support the party are grumbling that "President Ma Ying-jeou and the KMT are giving everything away to the Mainland..." Just ask your neighborhood taxi driver. The writer takes a decidedly pro-business slant and interviews notables in the investment community rather than candidates or supporters of the opposition political party.

To illustrate my point, Taiwan Premier Liu Chao-shiuan, in an article published the following day (Thursday, May 14), struck a far more cautious tone : "The government prefers to adopt a more conservative approach in the initial stages to allay public concerns."

Regardless, let's hope that Taiwan's markets improve along with its international relations.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Taiwan Readies for 2009 Summer Rock Summit


Taiwan Readies for 2009 Summer Rock Summit

Experience a Rock Revolution with Linkin Park, Hoobastank and All-American Rejects
















By Scott B. Freiberger





It’s not often this native New Yorker hears a new recording more unique than fruit pizza, more bold than former Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian and more honest than Abraham Lincoln. However, California natives Linkin Park (聯合公園) prove on their latest live effort “Road to Revolution: Live at Milton Keynes” that rock and roll is not only surviving but boldly thriving in the new millennium. The album is a real gem for hard rock fans, from the crunching guitar riffs and infectious grooves of opener “One Step Closer” and ambulance-like intensity of “From The Inside” to the somber synth-laden melodies on “Crawling.”



The crowd goes wilder than a Texas rodeo when the music to “Numb” starts and when lead crooner Chester Bennington belts, “I'm tired of being what you want me to be.” Unlike Emenim, whose latest effort falls flat and makes the rapper sound blander than stale white chocolate, Linkin Park slams the musical perfection bulls-eye mark with its electrifying rock jams. Punchier than Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, the disc doesn’t disappoint. There are myriad musical milestones energetic enough to knock your socks off and leave you fumbling around aimlessly for your new Converse sneakers. In all seriousness, you may want to consider trading in your iPod earphones for a sturdy set of boxing gloves for, as die-hard, fist-pumping fans can attest, the band’s choruses pack poignant, powerful punches!




Linkin Park rocked out 40,000 R.O.C. fans at Zhongshan Soccer Stadium on October 17, 2008 in front of the largest crowd the band has ever performed in front of on an Asian tour. During a Taipei press conference Bennington explained that he wore a shiny crimson “futuristic-looking” cast since breaking his arm on tour in Australia. He joked that he’d “managed to get by” and that it hadn’t affected the band’s solid, sold-out performances. When asked if he’d tried any local delicacies such as stinky tofu he remarked, “I probably wouldn’t eat anything with the name ‘stinky.’” When later asked how he felt being nominated for awards he replied, “We really focus on the music that we make and then playing that music for our fans.”




Multi-talented musician Mike Kenji Shinoda had previously performed on Taiwan with his hard-rocking side project “Fort Minor.” He commented that although he was busy penning new material, the members of Linkin Park did have time to sight-see, and he and the band had the opportunity to visit the National Palace Museum (NPM). While in town the band had secretly recorded new material at a Taipei studio and appeared somewhat surprised when asked by the media if this material would later appear on a Linkin Park album with the “made in Taiwan” label. “We can’t tell you anything,” responded Shinoda.



Joe Hahn, band DJ/video director, commented that his visit to the NPM was “a lot of fun” and that he was intrigued by the “stone cabbage” and “stone piece of pork.” He mentioned half-jokingly that while the cabbage looked “very delicious,” the stone pork made him lose his appetite (one would imagine that pink-painted pork rocks don’t exactly get the salivary glands going…) Referred to as the “daredevil of food” by bandmates, he informed the media that the group was delighted by the sensational spread they later encountered at a local Taipei Buddhist vegetarian buffet.



When the mic opened to the media the band was congratulated on the success of their latest album on Taiwan. When asked how they felt returning to the island Shinoda commented, “I was excited about coming back not only for the concert, but I [also] remember that this was a great looking venue.” He then added, “We had a great time and after the concert, we went out into the crowd and hung out a little bit.” Taiwanese audiences made such an impression that he’d talked with the band for several days afterwards about how much fun performing on Taiwan was.


When asked how they’d feel competing with planes landing at nearby Taipei Songshan Airport during the concert he joked, “We won’t have a problem.” Since the soccer stadium is currently undergoing renovation the concert this summer will be held in Banchiao, Taipei County. Judging from the group’s previous adrenaline-pumping Taipei performance, the trek across town should be worth it.


Linkin Park’s albums have sold over 50 million copies and they’re excited to be returning to rock Taiwan’s Banchiao Stadium (台北縣立板橋體育館) on Thursday, August 13, 2009. Power performers Hoobastank and The All-American Rejects will be opening. The address and phone number are No. 8, Zhongzheng Road, Banchiao City, Taipei County (台北縣板橋市中正路8號) (02) 2966-5329. Tickets start at NT $1600 (around US $48.00) and top at NT $4500 (around US $135.00) and can be purchased at any Rose Records shop or 7-Eleven convenience stores.
Leading up to Thursday’s kickin’ climax, Japan’s power imports Vamps, Hyde (L'Arc~en~Ciel singer) and K.A.Z. (岩池一仁 Iwaike Kazuhito), will be rocking Nangang, Taipei on Tues
day, August 11 and Wednesday, August 12. They’re slated to appear at Taipei World Trade Center Nangang Exhibition Hall (台北世界貿易中心南港展覽館), No.1, Jingmao 2nd Rd., Nangang District, Taipei City 11568 (台北市11568南港區經貿二路1號) (02) 2725-5200.




Best known for their eponymous Top 40 smash hit “The Reason,” Hoobastank, named after a small road in Germany called “Hooba Street,” became more popular than synthetic underwear when that song was released in 2003. Their second album sold over 10 million copies. Since then the band has been working tirelessly to promote “Every Man For Himself” (2006) and “For(N)Ever” (2008). Unless rhythm guitarist and vocalist Doug Robb croons horribly off-key, which isn’t likely, expect Hoobastank to emit bursts of pungent rock fragrance rather than stink up Taiwan’s airwaves.


Since forming in Oklahoma in 2001, The All-American Rejects have released three full-length albums, three EPs and nine singles, several of which have sped up the Billboard Hot 100 chart faster than Lance Armstrong. Apparently many people have a “Dirty Little Secret” that moved along (“Move Along”) quickly yet ended shortly thereafter (“It Ends Tonight”). Their second album “Move Along,” released in 2005, went double platinum.



Considering that the last packed stadium concert prior to the arrival of Linkin Park was Michael Jackson, Taiwan has been badly in need of some particularly good live performances. Thankfully, Taiwanese audiences have shown progressive proclivities and thrive on hip new Western music. 2009 Summer Rock Summit promises to offer a phenomenal musical climax as thrilling as skydiving naked from a helicopter above the Grand Canyon or as invigorating as driving a zero-emission electric-powered car. See you at the show!

What: 2009 Summer Rock Summit (Linkin Park, Hoobastank and All-American Rejects)
When: Thursday, August 13, 2009
Where: Banchiao Stadium (台北縣立板橋體育館), No. 8, Zhongzheng Road, Banchiao City, Taipei County (台北縣板橋市中正路8號) (02) 2966-5329.


Copyright © 2009 Scott B. Freiberger All rights reserved.



No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except brief extracts for the purpose of review, without the written permission of the author and copyright owner.




Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z, First Edition is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Taiwan Joins World Health Assembly (WHA)

Taiwan has been invited to participate in the World Health Assembly (WHA) this year as an observer (no voting rights) using the name "Chinese Taipei." This could be viewed as a victory as the WHA has failed to allow Taiwan to participate, even using a different moniker, for the past 12 years. President Ma Ying-jeou's flexible, moderate pragmatism and warming ties with Mainland China could be credited for the long-awaited invitation. Critics, however, fear that Taiwan has "downgraded" it's international status by not using the name "Taiwan" or "Republic of China." President Ma today contended that "Taiwan will enjoy the same rights and will have the same obligations as other WHA observers," and noted that the island is called “Chinese Taipei” in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and joined the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) in 1991 also using that name.

"This shows that harmonious and amiable cross-strait relations complement rather than conflict with Taiwan's goal of international participation," President Ma explained.

Taiwan's membership in the WHA should help the island establish closer ties with member nations "at a time when the world is facing a possible swine flu outbreak...and improve its preparations for emergencies." The health and safety of Taiwanese citizens "should not involve any unnecessary confrontation to highlight some specific ideology," the president reasoned.

More information is available here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Taipei to Fine Public Park Smokers

In a bid to reduce pollution and increase public health, twenty-four Taipei parks have been designated "smoke free" zones since 2007 and violators will receive fines starting Saturday, July 11, 2009. People caught lighting up may be fined between NT $2000 (approximately US $60.00) to NT $10000 (approximately US $300.00). The new measure comes as a result of a four-year poll taken between 2004 and 2008 on attitudes towards public park "smoke free" zones. The news was announced here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Updates

The rides at Taipei Municipal Children’s Recreation Center (兒童育樂中心) are closed for approximately a year and a half and are slated to reopen September, 2010. If you were planning to take the kids it's a good idea to make other arrangements.

For those that prefer to dance daringly together rather than cuddle with a comic book, popular Taipei nightclub "Mint" is now "Spark 101." The club's address and phone number remain unchanged: Shifu Road, #45, B1 (台北市信義區市府路45號B1樓) (02) 8101-8662.

Plush at the Core Pacific Mall has closed.

Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com!

It has been a pleasure helping countless travelers to Taiwan enjoy their travels with greater ease.  Thank you to everyone who has provided a positive review of my guidebook and custom "Taipei In A Day (台北一日遊)" tour  based on my best-selling Taiwan travel book, Taipei in a Day: Includes Taiwan from A to Z,  I sincerely appreciate it.  

Have fun and enjoy your time on Taiwan, and if you need a personal Taiwan guide, I provide custom "Taipei in a Day (台北一日遊)" tours based on my best-selling Taiwan tour guide!  Feel free to contact me via www.taipeiinaday.com for details.  --Scott

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chung Tai Chan Monastery (中台禪寺)

Q: Scott, aside from Fo Guang Shan in the south, are there any monestaries near Taichung worth visiting?

A: Chung Tai Chan Monastery (中台禪寺) is the second-largest Buddhist monestary on Taiwan, it was completed in 2001 and draws tourists from around the world due to its avant-guard, ultra-modern architectural style. According to the temple's website, this marvelous monastery was built by "Grand Master Wei Chuan" to create a space for disciples' "spiritual cultivation and refuge." When lit up at night the monestary appears more like a grand 5-star hotel than a placid place of worship.

The monastery is located in Puli, Nantou County, so if you're interested in religious life and plan to be in central Taiwan you may want to set aside a few hours for a visit.

More information is available here.

Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com!

It has been a pleasure helping countless travelers to Taiwan enjoy their travels with greater ease.  Thank you to everyone who has provided a positive review of my guidebook and custom "Taipei In A Day (台北一日遊)" tour  based on my best-selling Taiwan travel book, Taipei in a Day: Includes Taiwan from A to Z,  I sincerely appreciate it.  

Have fun and enjoy your time on Taiwan, and if you need a personal Taiwan guide, I provide custom "Taipei in a Day (台北一日遊)" tours based on my best-selling Taiwan tour guide!  Feel free to contact me via www.taipeiinaday.com for details.  --Scott

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Taipei In A Day (台北一日遊) Includes: Taiwan From A To Z Featured in Taiwan's Leading Bilingual Travel Magazine!

Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A to Z
Featured in Taiwan's Leading Bilingual Travel Magazine!



The book is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com.

In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99, Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS) (台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Donovan’s Coffee (杜坊咖啡)

Taiwanese have a keen interest in lifestyle trends popular abroad, and modern cafés and coffee shops now line the road along Danshui River (淡水河). Less than a two-minute walk from the MRT you’ll receive a warm welcome and superb Irish coffee (NT $110/160 iced) at Donovan’s Coffee (杜坊咖啡), Gongming Street, #10-1, 2F (淡水鎮公明街56巷10之1號2樓) (02) 2625-6234. Jovial expat owner Tim hails from Limerick, Ireland, known for its sedate River Shannon and King John's Castle, and the homey décor jogs memories of historical walking and boat tours. This cozy corner café boasts delectable drinks, free Wi-Fi to get you wired (along with the caffeine) and a balcony with a view. Open 11 am to 9 pm (10 pm weekends) Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesdays).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Saturday, March 21 TAS Book Signing!

I'm doing a book signing for Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z, First Edition (台北一日遊) at Taipei American School (TAS) on Saturday, March 21, 2009! The book is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at No. 800, Zhongshan North Road, Sec. 6, Tienmu, Taipei (opposite Taipei Japanese School).

Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com!

It has been a pleasure helping countless travelers to Taiwan enjoy their travels with greater ease.  Thank you to everyone who has provided a positive review of my guidebook and custom "Taipei In A Day (台北一日遊)" tour  based on my best-selling Taiwan travel book, Taipei in a Day: Includes Taiwan from A to Z,  I sincerely appreciate it.  

Have fun and enjoy your time on Taiwan, and if you need a personal Taiwan guide, I provide custom "Taipei in a Day (台北一日遊)" tours based on my best-selling Taiwan tour guide!  Feel free to contact me via www.taipeiinaday.com for details.  --Scott

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Boy Wins Taiwan Island

No, not the entire island of Taiwan...

In a recent lottery draw, four year-old Yeh Chien-wei (葉千維) won the rights to visit an uninhabited islet on Taiwan's outlying Penghu (澎湖) island five times for three-day visits from May to September, 2009. According to various news repots, Sianjiaoyu (險礁島), an uninhabited Penghu island, has running water, electricity and apparently a cabin, enabling the boy and up to seven family members to enjoy the island's pristine blue sea and white sandy beaches.

Many municipalities used lottery drawings to entice citizens to use their NT $3,600 vouchers recently distributed by the Republic of China (ROC) government. The family has since decided to auction off their winning vacation prize.

The story was reported here and here.

Taipei In A Day is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293. Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com!

I look forward to meeting some of you at the Taipei American School (TAS) Spring Fair on Saturday, March 21! --Scott

Taiwan to Establish "Think Tank" With Mainland Chinese Military

Taiwan is currently in the process of setting up a think tank at a Taiwan university to create a dialogue with the Mainland Chinese military. It is hoped that the think tank will continue to reduce tensions on both sides of the Taiwan strait.

During his campaign, Ma Ying-Jeou Ma called for increasing dialogue and economic ties with Beijing; after being elected and sworn in as president on May 20, 2008, he reversed many of the policies instituted by his predecessor, former Taiwan president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), including opening Taiwan to Chinese tourists, instituting direct weekend charter flights between Taiwan and China, and, most recently, accepted China's "gift" of two pandas. While Ma has been praised for taking prudent measures to improve Taiwan's economy, he has also been criticized by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) (民主進步黨) for eroding civil rights during his tenure.

The story was reported here.

Taipei In A Day is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293. Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com!

I look forward to meeting some of you at the Taipei American School (TAS) Spring Fair on Saturday, March 21! --Scott

Friday, February 13, 2009

Taiwan Travel Book Showcased in Taipei Travel Magazine



Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com!
 
It has been a pleasure helping countless travelers to Taiwan enjoy their travels with greater ease.  Thank you to everyone who has provided a positive review of my guidebook and custom "Taipei In A Day (台北一日遊)" tour  based on my best-selling Taiwan travel book, Taipei in a Day: Includes Taiwan from A to Z,  I sincerely appreciate it.  
Have fun and enjoy your time on Taiwan, and if you need a personal Taiwan guide, I provide custom "Taipei in a Day (台北一日遊)" tours based on my best-selling Taiwan tour guide!  Feel free to contact me via www.taipeiinaday.com for details.  --Scott

Monday, February 2, 2009

"Eddy's Cantina" (艾迪墨西哥餐廳) Article Published in Taiwan's Leading Bilingual Travel Magazine


For truly outstanding Mexican food on Taiwan be sure to stop by Eddy's Cantina in Danshui, your taste buds won't be disappointed. Eddy’s Cantina (艾迪墨西哥餐廳) is only a ten-minute walk from Danshui Station, you'll find it at the intersection of Zhongshan North Road (台北縣淡水鎮中山北路) and Tsongjian Street (重建街) at Zhongshan North Road, #151, Danshui, Taipei County (台北縣淡水鎮中山北路151號) (02) 2628-2638. See you there!

Taipei In A Day is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.
Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Guards, Original Name Returns to CKS Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂)

Taiwan's Legislative Yuan voted to replace the name "National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall" in favor of returning to its former name, "Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall" (中正紀念堂). However, the four-character inscription at the entrance alluding to Chiang will remain "Liberty Square." Former President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) caused a political uproar in 2007 when he formally changed the memorial's name and original four-character inscription at the entrance.

The name change is pure Taiwan politics, as members of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) (民主進步黨) view Chiang as a dictator while the current ruling Kuomintang (KMT) (中國國民黨) overlooks Chiang's harsh rule, arguing that he saved the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan from communism.

Hopefully the return of the Chiang monument "honor guards" will draw more tourists back to Taipei attractions and help spur the economy. The story was reported here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hello Kitty Hospital

I devote a section about Hello Kitty in my Taiwan travel book Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z, First Edition, as there's a plethora (to put it mildly) of merchandise on Taiwan related to the famous Japanese cat with no mouth. To demonstrate how popular the famed feline is in East Asia, from Taiwan you could even fly on a plane devoted entirely to the cat and her friends to a popular Hello Kitty theme park in Japan.

Expecting moms on Taiwan who are Hello Kitty fans have a big reason to celebrate: Yunlin (雲林), Central Taiwan, known for its agriculture and fishing industries, as well as for livestock farming, now has a hospital devoted entirely to the iconic cat! Everything from the elevator doors to posters, blankets--and birth certificates--is adorned with cuddly images of the famous feline. People are even greeted at the lobby door by a giant "Hello Kitty doctor." A new father said he and his wife chose the hospital for the birth of their son because of the "warm and fuzzy" atmosphere. One has to wonder, however, how boys born there are going to feel looking back at their baby pictures... The story was reported here and here.

Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z, First Edition is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Vouchers Distributed On Taiwan

In an effort to boost spending in a lagging economy, each of the 23 million citizens on Taiwan were eligible to receive a government voucher worth NT $3600 (US $108.00) (sorry expats, you have to be a citizen to receive one). Many headed straight to department stores, supermarkets and retail outlets to spend the "free" money, while others held onto it for rainier days that may lie ahead. To lure consumers, one town in Taichung County is even offering a raffle draw with a chance to win a luxury apartment or car if citizens spend their vouchers there.

Now who says it doesn't pay to be a Taiwanese? The story was reported here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cape No. 7 (海角七號)

Cape No. 7 (海角七號)
Light-hearted cultural fare or clarion call to preserve Taiwanese identity?
By Scott B. Freiberger

At its core, “Cape No. 7” (海角七號) is a dramatic love story laced with ample Taiwanese humor and a chart-topping Mandopop soundtrack. The plot weaves a modern bicultural relationship with events that transpired sixty years ago between a Japanese national forced to leave Taiwan at the end of the occupation (1895-1945) and the Taiwanese woman he had promised to spend eternity with. On the voyage home we hear “Teacher,” voiced by Kageyama Yukihiko (蔭山征彥), composing seven letters to his beloved “Kojima Tomoko,” played by Rachel Liang (梁文音 Liáng Wényīn). Teacher deeply laments his country’s loss, his personal cowardice and their star-crossed fate; he wishes her the best that life has to offer and pledges to always cherish the time that they had shared. After he passes away, his daughter mails a package containing these heart-rending letters, as well as a photo captured in her youth, to his long lost Taiwanese love. The address is marked, “Cape No. 7.”

While viewers learn more about these lovers from a bygone era, a modern romance develops between Taiwanese singer/guitarist A-Jia (Van Fan) (范逸臣 Fàn Yìchén) and Tomoko (田中千絵 Tanaka Chie), a Japanese manager at a talent agency. It’s clear that writer/director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖) took painstaking effort to ensure that the two stories were dramatically interwoven so that the protagonists, A-Jia and Tomoko, would not fall pray to the same fate of the earlier couple, and that the audience would cheer on their budding romance. It’s also clear that, with his superb cast of both young and old and hit soundtrack that includes dulcet ballads, traditional Taiwanese folk songs, and melodic, fast-paced power pop rock, he intended to target audiences of all ages on Taiwan. The lovelorn letters, recited in Japanese throughout, also helps the film appeal to a broader audience.

From a socio-political perspective, Taiwanese strongly identify with the film because it embodies local characters of all ages that they could relate to. And unlike blockbuster Chinese movies filmed on the mainland by Taiwan native Ang Lee (李安), “Cape No. 7” was filmed entirely on the island; in addition, most dialogue in the film is the local dialect of Taiwanese (閩南語 milanyu), rather than Mandarin. The heart-rending historic love story and Japanese interspersed throughout also reminds Taiwanese people that their past, however painful, is theirs alone to reflect upon and learn from.

“Cape No. 7” opens with a Taipei alley shot of a frustrated A-Jia, on a dimly-lit street, boarding his motorcycle. After a decade of striving for rock stardom in Taipei, he packs up what’s left of his belongings and high-tails it out of the capital in the middle of the night, but not before smashing his electric guitar against a street pole. Director Wei does a wonderful job of capturing capital landmarks in these opening scenes. We view Taipei 101, currently the world’s tallest completed building, from a street in A-Jia’s Taipei neighborhood, and Shinkong Mitsukoshi Life Building, now the second-tallest building on Taiwan (across from Taipei Main Station), in A-Jia’s side-view mirror as he bitterly heads south and races away from his angst-ridden past.

The next few scenes, shot in Hengchun Peninsula, Pingtung County, introduce Tomoko, a talent agent/publicist representing her company on Taiwan. Her dissatisfaction is also immediately evident, as a former model she only reluctantly manages events for the company. The opening world-class cinematography briefly decreases a notch as viewers see a handful of foreign bikini-clad models tailed by a frustrated foreign photographer. A brief scene with Tomoko arguing with her boss would have sufficed to inform the audience of her profession and willful personality; instead, we view what appears to be a cheesy excuse to throw foreign faces into a local movie.

The van driver transporting the models, photographer and Tomoko becomes distracted by a foreign fanny and accidentally forces A-Jia’s grandfather, “Old Mao,” a motorcycle-riding postal delivery worker brilliantly portrayed by Johnny Lín Zōngrén (林宗仁), off the road. As a result, after arriving in Hengchun, A-Jia must assume the role of local postal delivery person. He fails to deliver a plethora of letters, including the mysterious coffee-colored, rope-tied package addressed to “Cape No. 7.” Curious, he opens the package, carefully examines the contents and comes to realize that it must be delivered to its rightful owner.

At the film’s outset we’re also introduced to A-Jia’s stepfather (馬如龍 Mǎ Rúlóng), a bellicose local Taiwanese politician, literally referred to as “Mr. Representative.” With his brash demeanor, quick wit and trailing cronies, Ma truly captures the essence and irony of local politics. A local hotel manager, played by Zhāng Kuí (張魁), devises a scheme to make Hengchun Peninsula more international by inviting Atari Kousuke (中孝介), a Japanese pop star, to perform. Wanting to stress the importance of Taiwan’s cultural heritage, the representative won’t allow the event to take place unless a Taiwanese band opens the show. The hotel manager agrees, Tomoko is assigned to manage the event and, after a humorous audition process, A-Jia reluctantly becomes the band’s lead singer and guitar player. Let the romance, and mayhem, begin!

Throughout the film, viewers are introduced to a distinctly motley ensemble. The lively Malusan (馬念先 Mǎ Niànxiān) is an avid plum wine salesman-turned-bassist, and Dada, played by Joanne Yang (楊蕎安 Yáng Qiáo'ān), is a timid ten-year old church pianist-turned-band keyboardist who heartily concludes each piece with “Amen.” Hoppy-go-lucky mechanic-turned-drummer Frog (應蔚民 Yīng Wèimín) secretly desires to be with his boss’ wife, and hot-headed aboriginal police-officer-turned-band guitarist Laoma (民雄 Mín Xióng) initially rages because his wife has recently left him.

Rebellious hotel housekeeper and seemingly hard-hearted single mother, Shino Lin (林曉培 Lin Xiao-pei), gives a credible performance in her debut film role as Dada’s mother and, ultimately, Kojima Tomoko’s granddaughter. Much of the film’s humor derives from Old Mao, from lecturing his grandson to involuntarily trading his traditional Chinese lute to learn how to play bass, which he admittedly can’t do after being selected to join the band. With his straight-talk and dead-pan humor, Mao clearly demonstrates impeccable delivery and timing. Add a splash of scenic southern beauty, a smattering of drama and a healthy dose of humor and Taiwan, you’ve stirred up a hit movie.

“Cape No. 7” has recently been released on DVD (just in time for Chinese Lunar New Year), the movie truly captures the song, spirit and colorful essence of Taiwan. The movie has also turned little-known actors into overnight celebrities, who are eagerly capitalizing on their newfound fame. Van Fan currently tops the Mandopop charts and can be seen performing in arenas while Japanese pop singer Atari Kousuke’s music could also be heard regularly at area KTV parlors and live at large venues. Tanaka Chie stars in a 7-Eleven® commercial and “representative” Ma Ru-lung recently appeared before the President of the Republic at a concert (his appearance was also broadcast on the news for the island’s 23 million residents to view). Audiences also went wild when Chie appeared beside Fan during a recent performance (also shown on the news). And “Old Mao” and “Malusan” now hawk everything on TV and billboards from telecommunications services to insurance.

Since A-Jia and his grandfather were both postal employees and a handful of scenes were shot at a local Hengchun Peninsula, Pingtung County post office, Chunghwa Post Co., Ltd. (中華郵政公司), the official post office on Taiwan, is also capitalizing on the film’s success with “Cape No. 7” stamps (NT $399) and commemorative postcards (NT $250). Chances are Shino Lin would also be appearing more in the spotlight if not for a fatal DUI crash she had caused on June 7, 2007.

“Cape No. 7” raked in over NT $400 million domestically, becoming the second-highest grossing movie in Taiwan’s history, second only to “Titanic,” and the highest-grossing Chinese-language film in Taiwan's box office history. Pride over the film reached such a fever-pitch that pirated copies open with a message imploring those watching to view the film in theaters. It was the first movie to roll at the 10th Taipei Film Festival, won NT $1 million and three awards at the event, the grand prize at the 2008 Asian Marine Film Festival and an award for Best Cinematography at the 2008 Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival. The film also took home the Best Narrative Film Award at the 2008 Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival, as well as nine nominations and six awards at the 2008 Golden Horse Awards.

As a testament to his unrelenting belief in this picture, Director Wei mortgaged his home and ran up a personal debt of NT $30 million to cover the film’s NT $50 million budget. Since the movie had a limited budget and most actors had little formal training, the film’s success is evidence that dreams, however small, could become reality with timing, luck, and persistence.

The movie is slated to open in Mainland China on Valentine's Day.

Copyright © 2009 Scott B. Freiberger
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except brief extracts for the purpose of review, without the written permission of the author and copyright owner.

Taiwan Allows Casinos

After 15 years of repeatedly banning casinos, the Republic of China (Taiwan) is set to allow casinos to be built on its outlying islands of Kinmen (金門), Matzu (馬祖) and Penghu (澎湖).

The change comes as Taiwan lawmakers look to boost its economy as exports and domestic consumption slows. Hopefully after the casinos are built, crime won't become a hotbed issue as is reported on Macau, which is an East Asian tourist destination known for gambling. (Singapore is also reportedly opening its first casino this year.) The story was reported here.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Drift to Danshui (流浪到淡水)

Two blind performers, guitarist Jin Men-wang (金門王) and his accordion-playing musical cohort Li Bing-hui (李炳輝), left an indelible print on Taiwan.

Jin, whose real name was Wang Ying-tan (王英坦), lost his left hand and eyesight on the island of Kinmen at the age of fourteen when a package he found turned out to be an explosive device. Undeterred, he turned down government assistance and performed various jobs, including telephone operator, to support himself; due to his passion for music, he strapped iron sheets onto his left arm and taught himself how to play the guitar. Danshui native Li heard Jin crooning by the river and the two began performing together, rising to stardom with their unique brand of Taiwanese folk songs.

This dynamic duo is well-known on Taiwan for their Taiwanese karaoke super-hit, “Drift to Danshui” (流浪到淡水), ("You've come to dance, I've come to sing, whatever our fate may be, everyone come together and raise a glass, cheers!") Unfortunately, Jin passed away from a heart ailment at the age of 49 on May 5, 2002.

Li, who had once supported himself by giving massages, now runs a successful chain of local parlors. Many of his employees are also blind, as seeing-impaired masseuses are known for their preciseness. You could still hear their music and spot photos and other memorabilia of the two performers around Danshui.

Watch the video for “Drift to Danshui” (流浪到淡水) here.

Taipei In A Day: Includes Taiwan From A To Z is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com. Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com!

It has been a pleasure helping countless travelers to Taiwan enjoy their travels with greater ease.  Thank you to everyone who has provided a positive review of my guidebook and custom "Taipei In A Day (台北一日遊)" tour  based on my best-selling Taiwan travel book, Taipei in a Day: Includes Taiwan from A to Z,  I sincerely appreciate it.  

Have fun and enjoy your time on Taiwan, and if you need a personal Taiwan guide, I provide custom "Taipei in a Day (台北一日遊)" tours based on my best-selling Taiwan tour guide!  Feel free to contact me via www.taipeiinaday.com for details.  --Scott

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Taipei In A Day (台北一日遊) Showcased in Taiwan's Leading Bilingual Travel Magazine







The book is available here, Amazon.com and at Barnes andNoble.com.

In Taipei the book is available at Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99,Tienmu, Taipei (behind TAS)(台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Thank you again for making Taipei In A Day the highest-rated Taiwan travel book on amazon.com! --Scott

Republic of China (Taiwan) Passes Public Non-Smoking Law

Taiwan has passed legislation that will ban smoking in most public areas. The sweeping law takes effect at the stroke of midnight on Friday, January 11, 2009.

In the Republic of China, smokers will no longer be able to light up in offices (defined as workplaces having three or more people), in taxis and on all public transportation, which includes tour buses as well as in bus and train stations. Smoking will also not be permitted in entertainment venues including theaters (and movie theaters), KTV parlors, Internet cafés, hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and retail outlets. Customers could receive a fine up to NT $10,000 (approximately US $300.00) while owners could fare substantially worse, with fines ranging from NT $10,000 to $50,000.

Non-smokers are rejoicing. However, before uncorking that bottle of champagne left over from New Year’s, consider this: while signs on buses forbid smoking, many bus and taxi drivers leave the driver's side front window open and smoke during their breaks in-between shifts (and fares) so passengers inhale second-hand smoke afterwards, and smoking on Taiwan will still be permitted outdoors.

That means after January 11, 2009, smoking will still be permissible in clubs and restaurants with outdoor seating or a patio, and it’s often difficult to escape the waft of second-hand smoke if one is even remotely nearly. If second-hand smoke irks you, forget about dining at choice mountain barbeque or hot pot restaurants, most seating is outdoors and patrons light up as if it were their last evening on earth.

However, one has to think that after January 11, 2009, the air on Taiwan will become a little more breathable. According to one recent survey, more than half of all companies started enforcing a non-smoking policy at the office in 2008 in anticipation of the upcoming law. Ads and billboards have also been springing up around the island from companies selling nicotine chewing gum and patches, and self-help groups and other types of organizations that charge for helping to break the nicotine habit are likely to follow.

More information about the non-smoking law is available (in Chinese) here.