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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just another day in Toyohara

I was standing in line at a 7-Eleven this morning when an old man turned to me and said "背が高いですね". I wasn't expecting to be addressed in Japanese, and certainly not at a corner convenience store in a small, provincial city like Fengyuan (Hōgen/Toyohara) 豊原, but I quickly pulled myself together to agree with a "そうですね". He then asked "どこの国ですか", to which I replied "アメリカから来ました", before apologizing for having to leave. At no point in our brief conversation was the old gentleman at all surprised that I was using Japanese to speak to him. Had I not already been running late to get to work, I would've liked to have chatted with him some more - opportunities to use 日本語 don't happen often in these here parts. What I really wanted to know was why he chose to speak to me in Japanese in the first place. Could it be my looks? :)

Following work this morning, I rode over to the Tak'eng 大坑 area to do some hiking. The mountains looked great in the warm weather and clear skies, but my plans to try out the new camera's ability to take scenic shots had to be put on hold due to the layer of smog covering T'aichung (Taichū) 台中 down below. As I was returning to my parked scooter at the end of my walk, a large Formosan Rock Macaque タイワンザル crossed the trail in front of me before climbing up into the trees. I tried to get a good shot of the monkey, but this was the best I could do, with the camera's zoom on maximum:


Coming home from a private lesson this evening, I noticed that the moon looked especially beautiful this evening. My old camera took terrible night shots, but tonight seemed like a good opportunity to see what the Casio カシオ could do. One of the extras that had been thrown in when I bought the camera was a small tripod. Setting everything up on the ledge of our apartment building's rooftop, this was the result:


That's life in central Taiwan.

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