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Friday, January 6, 2012

Perspective

Downtown Fengyuan (Fēng​yuán) 豐原 on a chilly, drizzly Friday evening

My day got off to a bad start this morning when I realized that I couldn't find my bank book or ATM card. Despite an extensive search of the apartment, not the mention the scooter and car, neither item could be located. In the end, I had to give up a morning of work (along with a mornings' worth of pay) in order to go downtown to the bank, and apply for new ones. Not the best way to begin the day, but in the grand scheme of life, it was an extremely trivial and minor annoyance. From Japan Today came this story of two Taiwanese women who were stabbed to death in their apartment in Tōkyō 東京 to things into their proper perspectives:

Two Taiwanese women were found with stab wounds to their necks in their 2nd-floor apartment in Tōkyō’s Taitō Ward 台東区 on Thursday morning, police said. The two women, aged 21 and 23, were taken to hospital where they were confirmed dead.

According to Fuji TV フジテレビ, the two women were Japanese-language students at the nearby Intercultural Institute of Japan. The apartment building was rented by their Japanese language school as a dorm for the students. 

One of the women was supposed to leave for the school with two male Taiwanese friends at 9:30 a.m., but when she didn’t show up, the two alerted school authorities, Fuji reported. A teacher used a duplicate key to get into the apartment where he found the two women, and alerted police. 

A tragic story with a local angle such as this one has naturally attracted a lot of media interest here in Taiwan, though this morning's TV news programs were devoting a lot of coverage to Chen Shui-bian's  陳水扁 temporary release from prison in order to pay his respects to his recently-deceased mother-in-law. NHK News (Channel 107 in my area) also gave the story prominent coverage. To become a parent who has outlived his/her child is a terrible fate that I would never wish on anybody.

Returning to things that don't really matter...
Pictured above is a 330ml bottle of Strawberry Beer. According to the label, it's "The Best Fresh Strawberry Beer in Taiwan Which is Brewed with Local Non-toxic Natural Strawberry". AFAIK, it's the only strawberry beer brewed in Taiwan. When I first saw it at the Yumaowu Capita'n Supermarket 裕毛屋開福登連鎖超市 on Chongde Road 崇德路 in Taichung (Tái​zhōng) 台中, I had hoped it was a rare example of a Taiwanese craft beer. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a new product from the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation 台灣菸酒公司, the state-owned behemoth responsible for the Budweiser-like Taiwan Beer 台灣啤酒. Still, I bought a bottle anyway, as one should keep an open mind about these sorts of things. Strawberry Beer turned out to taste more like strawberry cola, and despite the 9% alcohol content figure printed on the label, it had the same effect as a soft drink. At NT150 ($5/¥380), it was a waste of money, but I suppose credit should be given to TTL for at least trying something different.

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