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Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary to us ぼくたちの記念日

This Tuesday will be our eighth wedding anniversary, so to celebrate we went out with Amber to have lunch this afternoon at Zion here in Fengyuan (Hōgen/Toyohara) 豊原. The restaurant is located in a beautiful wooden building dating from the Japanese period. I believe it originally housed the headquarters of a local textile company, but now it has been converted to an establishment serving Western-type meals. Good ones, too, judging from the pork and squid set I enjoyed today. It's great to see these grand old buildings being preserved (and not just as museum pieces), instead of being torn down in order to erect yet another of those concrete monstrosities that blight Taiwan's urban landscape.


Following our celebratory lunch, we drove into the Fengchia (Hōkō) 逢甲 area of T'aichung (Taichū) 台中 to do some shopping at the Carrefour hypermarket there. Now I've been accused at times by certain anonymous cowards (as judgmental jerks almost always are) of being some kind of "neo-colonialist". These trolls can think whatever they like, but it seems to me that a great many Taiwanese harbor both a nostalgic look back at the colonial past and an envious eye towards their former colonial masters. Either that, or Japan is just plain cool in the eyes of many people here, especially the young. It certainly isn't me that's exhibiting "neo-colonialist" tendencies!

In the wake of the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement 両岸経済協力枠組協議 between Taiwan and China, the government is making a push to sell the benefits of the ECFA to its neighbors, according to this AP article from today's Japan Focus ("Taiwan, Japan to develop broadband technologies" http://www.japantoday.com/category/technology/view/taiwan-japan-to-develop-broadband-technologies):

"Three big Japanese corporations may join Taiwan in developing cutting-edge broadband technologies that will allow them to jointly tap China’s vast telecommunications market. Fujitsu Ltd 富士通, NEC Corp 日本電気 and Mitsubishi Corp 三菱商事 have expressed an interest in the offer to develop WiMax technologies together with Taiwanese firms, said Yiin Chi-ming, a Taiwanese state minister. Yiin said he expects to sign a memorandum of understanding with the three Japanese firms to set up a company involved in WiMax system integration when he leads a trade mission to Japan next week. WiMAX - short for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access — expands broadband wireless access over longer distances of up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) and reduces the cost of implementing broadband. Taiwan has sought foreign investment in the wake of a landmark trade deal the island signed last month with China, under which the mainland would slash tariffs on goods produced in Taiwan. The trade pact, known as Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, will also cover a broad range of services, Yiin said. 'Foreign firms can benefit from Taiwanese companies’ knowledge of the Chinese market and their strengths in product innovation and commercialization,' he said. The trade group will also visit other Japanese firms to discuss joint projects in electric car, electronic components and energy-related technologies, he said."

The Taipei Times has a similar, and more detailed, article here: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2010/07/25/2003478797

In one final bit of Taiwan-related news from Japan's English-language media, Wayne Graczyk, in his weekly Japan Times ジャパンタイムズ column "Baseball Bullet-in" had this to say today:

"Retired but keeping a Japan connection, former Seibu Lions 埼玉西部ライオンズ and Hiroshima Carp 広島東洋カープ third baseman Scott McClain is now working as a scout for the Chicago Cubs, helping to cover the Pacific Rim with Steve Wilson. A one-time pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers who was on the 1993 Dodgers postseason tour to Fukuoka 福岡, Wilson later played in Taiwan, married a Taiwanese woman and decided to settle there."
("Death of 'The Boss' huge news in U.S., not in Japan" http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/sb20100725wg.html)

Wilson is (was?) the owner of Willy's Second Base, a bar and grill in T'ainan (Tainan) 台南 that's listed in both the Lonely Planet and Rough Guides Taiwan guidebooks. His Wikipedia entry can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Wilson_%28baseball%29.

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