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Sunday, February 4, 2007

Terracotta Army 兵馬俑

Today we went to the Natural Museum of Natural Science 国立自然科学博物館「グオリーズイーランコエージュエボーウーグアン」 in Taichung (Taijhong) 台中「タイヂオン」 to see an exhibition on the Terracotta Army of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang (Chin Shih Huang). If for some strange reason you are not familiar with the Terracotta Army, you can read it about it here. Although the English labelling was minimal, it was still very interesting to see some of the figures up close. Even Amber was excited to see the terracotta horses. I'd like to visit Xian (Hsian) 西安 someday to see the entire army.

Amber outside the museum 博物館の前

Photography was forbidden in the exhibition rooms, so we had to make do with these pictures

After seeing the Terracotta figures, we checked out some of the other sections of the museum. Here's a ghostly image of Pamela and Amber seen through a fish tank

I've visited the science museum several times, usually on field trips with kindergarten students, and I'd always found the science displays to be disappointing. Today, however, I discovered a section of the museum I'd never seen before. In the rear are several rooms devoted to Chinese culture, with displays on traditional medicine, agriculture, scientific inventions and the origins of the Chinese people, as well as a section devoted to Taiwan's aborigines. We weren't able to see it all due to time constraints, but one exhibition I really enjoyed was "Chinese Spiritual Life". There were models of various gods, scrolls depicting the various hells and so on. The Chinese Science wing definitely merits another visit.

Amber waits outside while her father is in Caves Books

On the way home we stopped off for dinner at a place called Zen Curry. At least that's what the sign says in English. In Chinese it's called "Chan" 纒, with "curry" written in the Japanese katakana script カレー. The name could be translated as "Wear; Wrap; Tie; Follow Around; or Collect Curry". Not very zen-like

Inside the restaurant there is a large mural on one wall, a reproduction of a 1794 world map. My attention, of course, was drawn to the Japanese in the top center

スパイス大船海図 refers to a sea chart for large spice boats (though I had to substitute 図 for the last Chinese character in the photo, as I couldn't find the kanji), while カレーに使われるスパイスの原産地 (kare ni tsukawareru supaisu no gensanchi) means "the places of origin for the spices used in curry".

I think I'll go watch the DVD I rented from Blockbuster, "Snakes on a Plane", before it gets too late. おやすみなさい

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