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Monday, February 1, 2010

Those schooldays...

Shanchiao Elementary School in the Miaoli County 苗栗縣 town of Yuanli 苑裡 is much like any other Taiwanese primary school, with one difference. Tucked away in one corner of the expansive school grounds is a collection of four wooden Japanese-style buildings dating from the 1930's. Originally constructed as dormitories 寮 for teachers, it's great to see they have been preserved. And not just as relics from the past, either, for these buildings are still being used by the elementary school as classrooms. The tatami 畳 mats are long gone, but the interiors still retain their original floor plans, and the flooring is made of beautiful wood. Kudos to whichever authorities made the decision not only to retain these beautiful structures, but to keep them in service to the local schoolchildren. There are lessons to be learned in Yuanli - will other locales in Taiwan pay attention, please?

Some requisite family photos on what was a family outing this afternoon. The expression and posture of yours truly is what happens when ancient knees complain about being forced to sit seiza 正座 -style:

There were a lot of people taking photographs of the buildings while we were there, but thankfully not in overwhelming numbers. This is one unknown "tourist attraction" that I hope remains unnoticed by snack-eating, souvenir-buying tour bus hordes.

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