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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day 父の日

This might come as a surprise to those based in Taiwan, but, yes, today is Father's Day, at least in those countries that observe the occasion on the third Sunday of every June. On the island of Formosa, however, dads have to wait until August 8 before they can receive their once-a-year recognition for all the hard work they put in taking care of their families. Why the eighth day of August, you may wonder? Well, the words for both the number "eight" and "Father" sound like "ba" in Mandarin 中国官話, and with August being the eighth month, 8/8 can be read as "Baba" 八八, which is a homonym for "Baba" 爸爸, or "Dad". All of this sounds pretty nifty at first, until the realization sets in that the Chinese cultural obsession with auspicious signs means that in five years out of seven, Father's Day in Taiwan falls on a weekday. And as the day is not a holiday, most of the time Taiwanese dads have to work on the day set aside to honor them.

When it comes to self-serving holidays, I'll take the good ol' American way of doing things every time, and so while today was just another Sunday in June for most people in Taiwan, the Kaminoge household thanked Dad. There are fewer pleasures in life than to be awakened in the morning by one's daughter bearing not one, but two bottles of imported beer - a German brew called Krombacher Weizen, and a golden ale from Belgium, with the English name of Buccaneer Beer (11% alcohol volume!). I suppose not receiving a necktie in appreciation of my efforts to try to be a good father reflects the fact I don't have a professional, white-collar occupation (and the income that goes with it), but I'll take the beer anyway. This year's Father's Day may fall on a Saturday, but I won't feel left out while the rest of Taiwan celebrates on that day.

I had planned on spending Father's Day at the beach, but an approaching typhoon put a quick end to that idea. So instead, Amber and I did the next best thing, and enjoyed an afternoon at Diore, an indoor pool in Fengyuan (Hōgen) 豊原. Joining us was my friend Steve and his two children, Zoey and Eli. The best present of all on this 父の日 was getting to see my daughter thoroughly enjoy playing in the water with her two good friends.

On the way home following the afternoon at Diore: a rainbow spotted in the sky while getting out of the car, and a quick trip to the apartment building's roof to check out the sky as the edges of the typhoon passed by.

At home, the Krombacher awaits consumption:

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