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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Takeng No. 5 大坑5番

For the first time in over a month, I was able to get up early enough on a Saturday to get myself over to Tak'eng (Dakeng) 大坑 to do some hiking. The last time (back on April 28, I climbed up the No. 2 Trail, then walked counter-clockwise along the No. 5 Trail, before returning to the No. 2 and the descent down to my parked scooter. I did the same route today, only in reverse. Here a few photos I took along the way...

There were a number of caterpillars 毛虫 to be seen at the beginning of the No. 2 Trail.

Despite some threatening clouds, it didn't rain the entire time I was in Takeng. The air was clear this morning, making for good views of T'aichung (Taijhong) 台中(たいちゅう). The green area in the picture above is a golf course.

Many Taiwanese work on the first and third Saturdays of each month, so while there were still a lot of people in Takeng this morning, it wasn't as busy compared to the last time I went. I, on the other hand, work every Saturday 毎週の土曜日仕事してしまっている

Looking out at Taichung city from the top of the No. 1 Trail, which I passed on my way to the No. 5.

The routes are well-signposted in both Chinese 中国語 and English 英語. This picture was taken at the No. 1. I had just come from the No. 2, and was on my way to the No. 5-1.

I cheated a little bit by going down some stairs. These led to a narrow lane 小道 which took me to the entrance to the No. 5-1 Trail, passing some farmhouses and orchards along the way.

On the left is a map showing all the hiking trails in the Takeng area. You can see the route I took this morning: 2 - 5 - 5.1 - 2. The 5/5.1 loop took about 90 minutes to walk. There were a number of cars parked along the side of the lane by the No. 5.1 trail head. I took a picture of this license plate ナンバープレート not because it was interesting, but because it occurred to me this morning just how boring they are in Taiwan. In the USA and Canada, license plates come in different colors and designs, depending on the state or province in which they were issued. Even in Japan, they have different names on them, referring to the prefecture or area in which the car was registered (eg. 品川, 三河). In Taiwan, however, all car license plates read "T'aiwan Sheng (Taiwan Sheng)" 台湾省, or "Taiwan Province" (as in "Taiwan is a province of China", which was official propaganda 中華民国の宣伝 in Taiwan for so many years). Or USED to read, I should say, as the government recently announced that new license plates will no longer carry this ridiculous name on them.

An abandoned property site along the 5-1 Trail.

The sign on the left explains how a lot of work went into repairing the trails after the Chi-chi (Ji-ji) Earthquake 集集大地震 of Sept. 21, 1999, and therefore we should take care of them while walking. On the right are some mushrooms キノコ

In Takeng, civilization is never far away.

For most of the way on the No. 5 Trail, you can see what I always assumed was a military base in the distance. However, Michael Turton thinks it might be a jail or a prison 刑務所. He's probably right. Just below the correctional facility is a small town, most likely Chunghsingling (Jhongsingling) 中興峰

At the end of the No. 5 Trail, I made a new friend.

A group of people enjoying a picnic ピクニック at the top.

More insect 虫 life.

A panoramic shot I took on the way down the No. 2 Trail.

And now for something completely different. Several stories related to Taiwan have appeared in the Japanese English-language media over the past few days. First up is an article from the Daily Yomiuri on Lin Wei-chu 林威助, a Taiwanese outfielder with the Hanshin Tigers 阪神タイガーズ of Japan's Central League. There are several Taiwanese players plying their trade in Japan, and it's nice to see one of them getting some attention. Here is Lin's profile on the Tigers homepage

Then on Friday the Japan Times carried this article, "Name game toughens Taiwanese parties", by Frank Ching. On the surface it appears to be a balanced account on the attempted renaming of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 中正祈念堂(ちゅうせいきねんど)in T'aipei (Taibei) 台北(たいほく)to "Democracy Memorial Hall". But Ching is a regular contributor to the China Post (which originally carried this article), a newspaper which often goes to ridiculous lengths to try to justify Chiang Kai-shek's 蔣介石 murderous rule over Taiwan from 1947 to 1975. Ching himself often writes overly-simplistic columns on the "rising threat" of "Japanese militarism". Never mind the fact that Japan has by far consistently acted as the most responsible nation in East Asia since the end of the Second World War.

Finally, this morning the Times ran this ridiculous article by a so-called professor at a university in Nagoya 名古屋 entitled "Lee should avoid Yasukuni" The gist of the article is that if former ROC president Lee Tung-hui 李登輝 pays a visit to Yasukuni Shrine 靖国神社 to pay respects to his dead brother, he will provoke China and the USA. How, the writer doesn't bother to explain. Rather, she goes on the usual rant about Yasukuni, and the "threat" Taiwan poses to China, and neglects to mention that Lee, during his time as president, brought to an end an authoritarian system of government and established a vibrant democracy in Taiwan. Lee is a private citizen. He should be extended the same courtesies and privileges as any other visitor to Japan from Taiwan. If I can visit Yasukuni (and I have on several occasions, despite the fact that I strongly disagree with how history is displayed there), then why can't Lee?

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