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Friday, September 23, 2011

Watch for falling rocks

It hasn't been a good week. Starting on Saturday, and lasting for several days, I had a bad case of diarrhea, with resultant stomach cramps. On Monday I started having dizzy spells, which were strong enough to keep me off balance much of the time, and frequent enough that I ended up not going to work on Monday evening. Tuesday was better, but then yesterday my chest was bothering me throughout the day. Combined with the general feeling of exhaustion I've been having for over the past year or so, the result of feeling tired every night but unable to go to sleep, and I've been rather irritable these past few days. Life as usual in Taiwan, in other words.

On Tuesday, however, I was feeling good enough to go for a hike. I did a four-hour round-trip walk (slower than usual due to my weakened condition) on Huoyanshan (Huǒyánshān) 火炎山, that badly-scarred mountain located just to the left of the No. 1 Freeway (Zhōng​shān gāo​sù​gōng​lù) 中山高速公路 if you're driving north from T'aichung (Tái​zhōng) 台中 to San'i (Sān​yì) 三義:

The mountain's appearance is most likely the result of having been stripped for the materials to manufacture concrete. There are several points along the hiking trail where we look right down into the abyss:

Half the fun of hiking Huoyanshan is being able to start several small rock slides. I just don't want to be up there the when the next large earthquake strikes.

The Beautiful Hair Salon. Many Taiwanese hair salons use Japanese script on their signs, an indication of how much influence Japan has on fashion and style in this country.

Business is another area in which the Japanese influence can be easily seen here. Japan Today posted an AFP article this morning on the signing of investment pact between Japan and Taiwan:

"Taiwan and Japan signed an arrangement Thursday to bolster mutual investment despite their lack of formal diplomatic ties.

The deal comes amid steadily improving ties between the sides. Relations hit a trough at the beginning of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s 馬英九 term in office, but have blossomed in recent months, particularly after Taiwan extended substantial aid to Japan in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in March.

Taiwanese Vice Economics Minister Hwang Jung-chiou said the arrangement is expected to help Taiwan lure more investment from Japan, including from companies considering moving production overseas to avoid supply chain disruptions caused by the March disaster.

'Japan has been the biggest source of technology for our industries,' Hwang said. 'Many of the big Japanese corporations have already invested here, but with the arrangement, we can attract those who were not as enthusiastic before, such as makers of machinery components, chemical materials, and biotechnology.'

Taiwan’s East Asia Relations Commission Chairman Peng Run-tsu signed the new agreement with his Japanese counterpart Mitsuo Ōhashi 大橋光夫, chairman of the Japan Interchange Association 財団法人交流協会.

The deal is not expected to draw protests from China, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan but has improved its own ties with its rival in recent years. The two sides split amid civil war in 1949.

Last year, China signed a landmark deal to offer tariff cuts for hundreds of Taiwan-made goods. Taiwanese officials say Japanese corporations may be lured to invest on the island to get access to the same preferential tariffs when exporting to China.

Hwang said Japanese investment in Taiwan has increased over the past two years, and that bilateral trade totaled nearly $70 billion in 2010.

Under the arrangement signed Thursday, companies from the two sides can enjoy the same benefits as local counterparts when investing in each other’s territories.

Both governments will be obligated to assure the free movement of money by their companies to the other side. Investment disputes can also be resolved by international arbitration agencies.

Tōkyō 東京 switched recognition from T'aipei (Tái​běi) 台北 to Beijing (Běi​jīng) 北京 in 1972.

Hwang said the two sides will also consider the signing of a more comprehensive free trade agreement, which would involve liberalization of the service sector and removing remaining import and export barriers."


Another clip joint

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