As a part-time blogger who has lived in Taiwan (T'áiwān) 台灣 for much longer than I care to admit, I would love to blog on the many things that make this island so unique. Unfortunately, I can only think of two that make Taiwan stand out from its neighbors in this part of the world: its geopolitical situation vis-à-vis China; and the betel-nut beauties 檳榔西施 (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betel_nut_beauty). Even more unfortunately, Michael Turton and Tobie Openshaw cornered those respective markets a long time ago, so I’m left with beyond-the-fringe niche photos such as these:
Yume ユメ means "dream" 夢, which also would have made a good name for the jewelery store.
The juxtaposition of the graceful cherry blossom with the fermenting soybean.
I admit it – I’m a fascist. You may (or may not have) noticed that when it comes to writing place names and the such on this blog, I painstakingly insert macrons over long vowels in Japanese words (Tōkyō 東京, sumō 相撲 etc.), while for Taiwanese names, I take the reactionary road by insisting on using Wade-Giles Romanization 韋氏拼音, complete with apostrophes and tone marks. It’s my blog, after all, and I’ll do what I want to (despite, or even because of, the occasional nasty comment I get about it).
However, when it comes to public forums, I will use the accepted spellings, though admittedly doing so is more difficult on Taiwan-related forums due to the Romanization mess here. What annoys me, therefore, are those who insist on being “correct” when dispensing advice to questions on travel-related forums such as Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree (www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/index.jspa), where I’m a regular reader and frequent contributor. Why, for example, write "Tokyo" as “Toukyou”? Technically that’s correct, but virtually everyone recognizes the name of Japan’s capital without the long vowels. On the Taiwan side of Thorn Tree, you get posters who refer to places called “Taizhong” and “Gaoxiong” when answering queries from people looking for advice about things to see and do here. Again, those renderings are correct according to the rules of Pinyin 拼音, but the hapless OP (Original Poster) would probably have a very difficult time finding those places on his/her map of Taiwan.
And, for that matter, why do some so-called “helpful” posters insist on peppering their replies with examples of Japanese or Chinese words, without any corresponding English translations? One frequent contributor to Japan-related queries likes to throw in words and phrases like “keisatsu” or “shinpai shinai de”. Wouldn’t saying “police” 警察 or “don’t worry” 心配しないで be of more use to the person seeking assistance? People post to these forums because they are seeking advice and suggestions from those who have been there before them. They are not looking to be impressed with your language skills. Save your anal-retentive Romanization Nazi spellings for your own personal blogs, and use commonly-rendered terms and names when answering general queries on public forums.
That’s what this reactionary right-wing lunatic does.