Japan Cherry Blossom Season 2016: Himeji Castle

In Taiwan, April 5 is a public holiday to celebrate the traditional Chinese festival of Qingming, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day. This year the holiday fell on a Tuesday, which gave us a four-day long weekend. Like many families, we swept the tomb a week early so we could

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Anti-Nuclear Protests Mark Anniversary of the Fukushima Disaster

Thousands of people braved the cold and rain around Taiwan today, Saturday March 12, 2016, the day after the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster to protest against the continuing reliance on nuclear power, the plan to develop a fourth nuclear reactor, and the use of Orchid Island as

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The Great Ugly Monkey Controversy

Taipei residents are somewhat embarrassed, and slightly disgusted by the Taipei City Government’s choice of mascot for this year’s lantern festival. The ‘monkey-gourd’ uses the monkey theme to celebrate the Year of the Monkey, and the shape of a gourd to symbolize fertility. Artist Lin Shu-min (林書民) was inspired by

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The Tainan Earthquake: who is to blame?

It’s a little over 12 hours since a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rattled the southern area of Taiwan and wreaked destruction on the City of Tainan: the oldest city in Taiwan. It’s a relatively short time for those of us observing from afar, even just a few miles away, where buildings

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Macau: City of Saints and Sinners

As you land in Macau, it feels as if the plane is going to touch down on water. The airport, like a lot of the newer developments on the tiny enclave is built on reclaimed land. The sight of hundreds of cranes topping buildings under construction suggest a booming economy,

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Pro China Party Ousted: Taiwan Votes for Democratic Peoples’ Party

As expected, the long awaited election for a new president and legislature has seen a resounding defeat for the pro-Chinese-reunification party. After many years of a lame-duck presidency, and a parliament marked by corruption scandals and in-fighting among the ruling Chinese Nationalist Party, the people of Taiwan have decided its

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Bon Jovi Woos His Chinese Audience with a Taiwanese Love Song

It has generated great publicity for Bon Jovi’s upcoming Asian tour, and a fierce debate between Chinese speakers on both sides of the strait. At the time of writing, the song has enjoyed more than 1.2 million views, 11,462 likes, and over one thousand comments on youtube. One point of

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Voices in the Clouds

Watch Now A documentary by American Tony Coolidge about his personal journey discovering and exploring his Atayal roots in Taiwan. Tony is the founder of atayal.org. Voices in the Clouds explores issues of personal and cultural identity. Tony’s documentary is interesting because he is, from the perspective of mainstream, ethnic

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Man of the People: Taipei’s Quirky new Mayor

The Taipei Mayoral election is always an intense contest between Taiwan’s two main political parties, the Chinese Nationalist KMT, and the Democratic Progress Party (DPP). The seat is considered a stepping stone to the Presidency. Former Presidents Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian, and incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou, all served as Taipei

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Taipei Embarrasses Beijing in Washington

January 1, 2015, Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington marked the new year by doing something that hadn’t been dared since Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979: it raised the flag of the Republic of China. This of course immediately raised the ire of the People’s

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