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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Images of Fengyuan 豊原のいろいろな写真

Here are some pictures I took this morning while walking and riding around Fengyuan (Fongyuan 豊原). 

Two things I didn't take pictures of: 1) the guy I came across sunning his private parts on top of a hill overlooking the city; and 2) the woman who gave me a derisory laugh (not the embarrassed giggles that some Asians get when faced with the uncertainty of dealing with a foreign customer) at the tea stand when I ordered a milk tea without ice, then walked away to make the drink before I could give her the second part of my order (a green tea without sugar for Pamela). I wish I could've seen the look on her face when she turned around to give me my tea only to find out that I had ridden off in anger to go a less-contemptuous tea stand. I don't want to abuse the power of the Internet by naming names, but I certainly won't be buying anymore teas from the Balance stand on the corner of Hsian (Sian 四安) and Juihsing (Rueising 瑞興) Roads.

A stand of betel palm trees:

I don't think anyone will be picking this fruit anytime soon:

Many foreign bloggers here in Taiwan have commented on the beauty of Taoist temples 醜い寺:

Ornamental carp コイ:

A love hotel nearing completion. I guess you can never have enough sleaze in even the smaller cities:

I once dated an attractive Japanese woman for a year-and-a-half who, unfortunately, was a dedicated follower of Soka Gakkai 創価学会. She tried to get me to join, and gave me a lot of English-language materials on the group and its leader, Daisaku Ikeda 池田大作. What I read was enough to turn me off very quickly. For those of you who don't know, Soka Gakkai is a lay Buddhist organization that has been around long enough, and has enough members (not to mention its own political party, Komeito 公明党) that it no longer is referred to as a cult, though it remains widely distrusted by most Japanese. SG is very aggressive when it comes to recruiting, and is very active outside Japan, with the result being that many of the Westerners you may come across in life who claim to be Buddhists actually belong to Soka Gakkai International. 

With Soka Gakkai, it's salvation the easy way! Centuries of Buddhist theological debate is stripped away, so that all a member has to do is chant "Namu myoho renge kyo 南無妙法蓮華経" everyday, and everything will be A-OK. Soka Gakkai preys on those in Japanese society who don't belong to any social groups, so that a high percentage of the membership is made up of housewives, the self-employed, vocational school students and workers in the night-time entertainment industry 水商売. I recently discovered a Soka Gakkai flag flying from the roof of a house near the cram school where I work afternoons. Time to break out the Gohonzon 御本尊 and start chanting - Nam myoho renge kyo, nam myoho renge kyo, nam myoho renge kyo... 

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