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Friday, February 2, 2007

In the park

I often go for walks in the hills overlooking Chung-cheng (Jhong-jheng) Park 中正公園 in Fengyuan (Fongyuan) 豊原. This morning, for a change of pace, I walked up and along a small hill that is inside the park itself. Riding along Chung-cheng Road 中正路 heading towards the park, I stopped to take a picture of this sign, for the Fengyuan branch of a Taiwanese bakery chain called Pao Chuan (Bao Cyuan) 宝泉. The cursive script at the bottom is in Japanese, and reads "Tsuyu no ka" 露の菓, "Dew's Cake". The Chinese at the top of the sign informs us that the confection in question is a snack eaten (literally "used") by the Japanese emperor 日本天皇 - "Jihpen t'ienhuang yuyung tienhsin (Rihben tianhuang yuyong diansin)". In the top left-hand corner, almost impossible to see from the street below, the Japanese reading of "Pao Chuan" is given in katakana ホウセン, "Hosen".

Two views of Fengyuan taken from the trail

A house that has stood abandoned at least since July 2002 (the date on a calendar that could be seen on the wall in the kitchen), roughly about the time I first came across this place. There's a story here, I'm sure. Did the previous owners give it up because of crushing debts? Or did a tragedy occur here? If I have the money, I wouldn't mind buying it and fixing it up.

The "Chung-cheng" in Chung-cheng Park, Chiang Kai-shek 蔣介石. In Taiwan, he's known as Chiang Chung-cheng (Chiang Jhong-jheng) 蔣中正. Every city in Taiwan has a Chung-cheng Park and a Chung-cheng Road named after the former dictator of the Republic of China, the man who lost China to the communists, and whose government imprisoned or executed 140,000 Taiwanese during the martial law era. Statues of the man unaffectionately called "Peanut" by General Joseph Stillwell used to be ubiquitous in Taiwan, but many have been removed in recent years. It appears Fengyuan, unfortunately, hasn't gotten around to doing so yet.

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