Some Stories

Life 26

landscape scarlet_(studioscr) shameimaru aya touhou

25,000 feet above the Pacific is a fun place to reflect a bit on the past two months.

cirno daiyousei flandre scarlet hakurei reimu hong meiling izayoi sakuya kirisame marisa koakuma remilia scarlet rojiko rumia touhou

I began my summer in Taiwan. As all good things eventually end, my brief retreat there is no exception. However, in this short period, I had a really incredible experience. While not everything is pleasant (regular trips to the hospital and other personal stuff can be pretty heavy), being able to spend some time with my parents and my family is invaluable. It was also really nice to meet my aunts, uncles, and other relatives, some of whom have only vague memories of me as a small child.

During my time in Taiwan, my family and relatives were all very eager to share stories. Stories about how my grandfather became educated elite during the Japanese occupation period, and how he started over when the war ended. How my mother was almost given away as a kid because many people wanted to buy her as a daughter. And how my sister, brother, and I had all gotten lost before when we were really young… Tidbits of fascinating stuff I never knew.

reisen udongein inaba monochrome

I also got to really experience the culture of Taiwan again. Convenience stores, cram schools, kiosks, night markets, and restaurants all have their own flavors that are just so different from North America. Moreover, I loved watching Taiwanese TV. Soap operas, popular media, Kung-fu movies, and even the news were all so entertaining. I remember seeing in the news a ridiculous story of corruption in the police force involving organized crime syndicates, and thought the story was just unreal. Then days later, I learned that the restaurant on the first floor of my building is a base for a syndicate that had something similar a while ago. I guess that explains why it is always in preparation, why it is still open without any business, and why on certain days, there would be many Mercedes parked outside.

It is little stories like these that really made my time in Taiwan memorable.

Black Rock Shooter figure

Of course, I visited all the hot anime spots. I did not get a chance to buy any figures this time, but I did finally get to hold the Black Rock Shooter figure I preordered and left in Taiwan in January. I also purchase several art books, including two oldies I bought for really low prices: Shimada Humikane Art Works and Kaen: Ito Noizi Art Collection II.

Well, I should be arriving in California in several hours. I hope I do not get really bad jet lag.

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50 Responses to Some Stories

  1. Swordwind says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. It must have felt very…nostalgic.

    I hope you can enjoy California, just the same.

    • Yi says:

      @Swordwind: Both have their charms, but I do miss the cheap prices and the convenience of pretty much everything.
      It’s kind of annoying in suburban California to have to drive just to get a meal.

  2. RyanA says:

    Sounds like you had a nice a soul tune-up (: It always seems intense but subtle when connecting back with family and homes we get to know again.

  3. Sounds like some fun times, especially as a way to unwind after graduation. Any new plans beyond med-school apps from here on out once you get back to Cali?

    • Yi says:

      @zzeroparticle: Yea, it was much needed after 4 years of Bezerkeley.
      Med school application process takes about a year (until April/ May), so in this year, I will probably look for a temporary job as well as try to become an EMT. Also, this is a rare opportunity that I have to really improve myself in different areas as I will have quite a lot of time on my hands. I’m quite excited.

  4. Xine says:

    I’m glad you had a great time visiting your family and friends. I guess it’s always fun to listen to family stories and reminisce on the good old times. ^^

    • Yi says:

      @Xine: It was really fun indeed. Although I think I missed out on a lot of stuff because my grandmother, aunts, and uncles slip in a lot of the local dialect in their stories, and I’m really bad at Taiwanese.

  5. Nopy says:

    It’s always cool to hear stories about your parents or grandparents, and even stories about yourself that you can’t remember. I know of some shady restaurants too. No business combined with fancy cars is always a sign that there’s something going on ^.^

    • Yi says:

      @Nopy: “No business combined with fancy cars is always a sign that there’s something going on ^.^”
      Haha yea. I always thought it was odd.

  6. Elineas says:

    Curse you, Yi, for reminding me of the convenience stores, night markets, and general ease of transportation in Taipei. The US just has none of those charming characteristics that make Taiwan (Taipei at least) so… convenient. I’ve been here in the States for less than a month and I already miss it :(.

    On the other hand, Taiwan TV news is… not really news. But you probably already knew that, judging by the entertainment value you derived from it. In unreal news that shows that Taiwan is a small world, there once was a stabbing near 101 around midnight, which my friends were quick to point out was the exact same place they had been fooling around at the exact same time… a day earlier.

    • Yi says:

      @Elineas: The convenience is just so nice. I lived in Taipei, and literally anything one needs is within walking distance. Convenience stores, clinics, dental, restaurants, shopping malls…etc. It’s just so nice. I think one of the things I will miss the most is boba. So large, so cheap, and so good.

      Taiwan TV news is sensationalist and just so entertaining. It’s not news like news here though.
      “there once was a stabbing near 101 around midnight, which my friends were quick to point out was the exact same place they had been fooling around at the exact same time… a day earlier.”
      Kind of scary to think about. And Taiwanese news is full of these.

      Thanks for the comment. ^ ^

  7. Welcome back! Glad you enjoyed the trip/retreat ^^ Always nice to be back in your hometown… I haven’t been back for a long time now… But anyhoo, that’s a lot of interesting stories from your family there. Your mother must’ve been very pretty that a lot of people wanted to buy her. Heheh, I’m curious about that restaurant now. Must be straight out of the movies when those Mercs come by.

    Nice catch on the BRS original! I’m jealous!

    • Yi says:

      @lightningsabre: It was a different time when my mom was a kid and giving away children is a common thing. I think she was quite a loli though.

      “Must be straight out of the movies when those Mercs come by.”
      Sometimes there were even guys in suits standing around. It’s really kind of fun to think about.

  8. Mikoto says:

    “and why on certain days, there would be many Mercedes parked outside.”

    Ouch, that can’t be good.

    Interesting family history there. Kind of makes me feel like I should ask my parents what they were like when they were little more often. Maybe go to Vietnam during the summer, but that’s kind of too late. lol

    Congrats on the nice BRS figure! xD

    • Yi says:

      @Mikoto: Yea, it’s certainly nice to learn a bit about my own history.
      Anyways, I’d love to see Vietnam someday.

      “Congrats on the nice BRS figure! xD”
      Thanks! She’s lovely.

  9. phro says:

    I stayed at Taiwan for about a month before, and it was definitely a fun and horrifying experience for me. The food there was amazingly delicious, so much so that I got food poisoning for eating too much and was sick in bed for 1 week LOLOLOL! One thing that I will miss from Taiwan is “Family Mart”. Damn those convenience stores are legit.

    Welcome back to California! Not sure if you live in norcal or socal but in socal, it is SO HOT ugh…

    • Yi says:

      @phro: Haha, yea I love the delicacies. Crispy fried chicken, stinky tofu, and boba are some of my favorites. Anyways, the convenience stores are indeed legit. You can even pay your phone, internet, and utility bills there. It really takes convenience to another level.

      I’m in NorCal, so it’s actually kind of chilly, but it’s a nice break from the heat in Taiwan.

  10. Solaris says:

    LOl That restaurant story looks so much like our very Italian mafia affairs. I guess crime is just the same in every spot of the Blue Planet :/

  11. Canne says:

    So there is a crime syndicate command center at the first floor of your building!
    Well, if you hear gunfire, you won’t be so surprise ;P
    I’m glad you had a good time. 🙂

    • Yi says:

      @Canne: I don’t think it’s an actual command center. I think it’s more like a front where the people come to talk deals. I’m just guessing though.

      Well, I hope nothing bad ever happens there.

  12. kluxorious says:

    Where are you exactly at North America?

  13. Raph says:

    Welcome home, Yi, and thanks for the great stories! Glad you had fun, but it’s great to have you back. We missed you. ;D

  14. Shinra says:

    I really wanted to go Taiwan before but with all the free tickets to different places except Taiwan, really just dont have that chance even if its just a few hours flight from Malaysia to Taiwan. Sad…. :c

    I bet that u can c lots of variety TV showcast around Tai-chung (middle of Taiwan?) Sadly, unlike Taiwan, each time we see a celebrity here, we went TOTAL NUTS cause its soooo seldom. (Even the time SHE or Show/xiao zhu came…)

    The 1st thing I must do if I got the chance to go to Taiwan, Food!!! Best place to find food XD

    • Yi says:

      @Shinra: I’m surprised you know about SHE! Are you also a fan?
      Anyways, I don’t actually see many celebrities (or any) except on TV, even though I live in Taipei where most of them are.
      Taiwan is one of the best places for food. I already miss it.

  15. softz says:

    Lovely! It’s great to visit relatives and friends always. I’m happy to know that you have had a great time back in your home country, Taiwan. In addition, great to know that you actually P.O’d BRS (1st version). It’s a great choice! For me, I went for the anime version instead.

    • Yi says:

      @softz: I really like the BRS original since I bought her. The other versions are all very nice as well. The anime version looks lovely too. It’s really too bad that my budget is so low I could only get one BRS.

  16. Fabrice says:

    SH**t man i feel bad reading what happened to your grandma expecially..
    nearly got sold???! D:

    Anyway im glad you had fun in general and enjoyed your stay, Taiwan is on my visiting trip list =)

    • Yi says:

      @Fabrice: It’s actually my mother, but it’s in a different time. Trading children, giving away children, and even selling children is pretty common. It’s nothing nefarious. If it happened, it would be more like giving your child up for adoption to family friends or neighbors who do not have children.

      Anyways, if you get a chance, Taiwan is a pretty cool place.

  17. Mira says:

    Syndicate? Sounds really badass hah, really love those class black Mercedes.
    Family stories are always intriguing to listen to, nice to hear you experienced some connection during your trip~

    • Yi says:

      @Mira: Yep yep. It was definitely nice to connect.
      As for the syndicate, it’s actually not as badass as it sounds. On days with the Mercedes, it is pretty intimidating, but on usual days, the restaurant owners are actually quite delightful. They even treated me to a small dessert once from their way overpriced menu.

  18. phossil says:

    Nice to have you back and that you enjoyed the trip to Taiwan. ^^

  19. AS says:

    Sounds like you had a great time in Taiwan. It’s always nice to hear things about relatives and yourself when you can’t remember them. Interesting that the syndicate prefers Mercedes. Hopefully nothing bad ever happens at that building.

  20. enri says:

    It’s great to talk with you’re relatives about what was going on when they were young.
    My granddad was deported by the soviets to Siberia, but my grandma got away with my mom and aunt.
    Anyway, here syndicates drive BMWs and Audis aswell as Mercs, hehe.

    • Yi says:

      It was certainly a very rewarding experience.

      “My granddad was deported by the soviets to Siberia, but my grandma got away with my mom and aunt.”
      That sounds like a really tough ordeal, but it must have been really interesting listening to your mom recount that.

      Hehe, high end black cars just seem so right for the mafia.

  21. Ningyo says:

    Wonderful. I can really feel that, marooned in Hong Kong right now with the folks. As you age, they seem to become more willing to talk to you. The first time back home is really something. Strange though; when your parents become your friends you can’t dick around and leech off unconditional love anymore. But I guess that’s still the boy talking. Time to man up.

    Chinese soaps are hilariously bad, so they’re fun to watch while doing some menial task. Still haven’t visited the ani-goods hotspots though – been too busy mothering a dozen people at the special needs’ nursery.

    Plane rides are insane. No more effective a stamina vampire.

    • Yi says:

      You’re in Hong Kong right now? Enjoy your time!

      “Strange though; when your parents become your friends you can’t dick around and leech off unconditional love anymore. ”
      Haha. Doesn’t mean the unconditional love isn’t there though. ^ ^

      Chinese soap operas may be hilariously bad, but they’re also ridiculously addicting. I remember two days in Taiwan, I was already fervently following two shows daily.

      And plane rides are terrible… The worst part for me is not being able to raise my feet when sleeping. It’s so tasking.

  22. Reltair says:

    Welcome back to the Bay Area!

    It’s nice to hear you had the opportunity to spend time with family members. There’s nothing more important than family. ^^;

    • Yi says:

      Thanks! Family’s really important to me, so it was nice to see my parents, grandparents, and others.
      Still, it’s nice to be back in Bay Area. The weather’s so nice here.

  23. lovelyduckie says:

    If I ever got rich (we’re talking independently wealthy for life rich) I would love to travel at locations all over the world, and just live there for a month or two. Taiwan would definitely be one of the places I would visit on my long list.

    • Yi says:

      That’s my dream if I ever win the lottery. Travel to places and spend enough time to absorb its culture and move on. It’d be amazing.

  24. Yu says:

    I always felt so guilty returning to Asia when I couldn’t remember half of the relatives I saw. Still, there’s nothing like the feeling of being at a huge family gathering especially when you haven’t seen most of them for a long time.

    Good luck with med school!

    • Yi says:

      I had a similar experience. It was really awkward at first for me two years ago. No one recognized me at all at the family gathering because I’d been away for s long. But everyone’s still so nice!

      Thanks for the good luck. It means a lot. ^ ^

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