Thursday, August 9, 2018

Taipei, Taiwan


As a prize for the Osaka Sakura Campaign photo contest last spring the Osaka Tourism organization awarded airline tickets for the photography associated with this blog.

The following non-Kansai mega-post covers the 5-day visit to Taipei. 
Mountaintop view of the Taipei skyline.

An aerial view of Kansai International Airport (KIX).
Note the long bridge connecting the man-made island to Osaka.


Budaixi is a traditional form of glove puppetry in Taiwan. With the success of the Pili ("Thunderbolt") production company the traditional puppets which performed at local temple festivals have evolved to a larger and more spectacular form which appear nightly on television.
The stories seem to focus on the period martial arts hero stories ("wuxia"). The puppets look similar to those of Japanese bunrakku puppet theater. The televised programming involves numerous quick cuts to conceal puppets manipulations and CGI to add flashy magical effects and the genre has many examples of blood and gore.
While in Taipai, the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall had an exhibition of figures from the television program.
This statue is a chibi (cute mini) rendition of a character from the Pili Fantasy World of Puppet Art. 

Steampunk mech puppet?

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

A large park/museum is a large draw for visitors in Taipei. Within the hall there is a museum dedicated to national founder, Chiang Kai-Shek, showing his personal belongings.  
The largest item being the Cadillac Chiang Kai-Shek rode in.

Guards at the memorial statue standing as still as possible.
With temperatures being 37C (98F) staff had to help dab sweat before it runs into the eyes of the soldiers.

Note the Taiwanese sun emblem on the helmet.

Relief soldiers marching into the hall in front of a packed audience.

Synchronized motions in front of the Lincoln-like Chiag Kai-Shek statue.

Front left and right views of the uniform.

Polished rifles with tassles.

The reflective helmet of a Taiwanese soldier.

A better view of the bayonet.

A lower shot from behind the soldier's pedestal.

Soldiers standing guard.

A Taiwanese sun in the dome of the memorial.

Park gate with a Taiwanese flag.

An ornate garden.

A twin version of the opposing hall with a different style of roof.

Large adds for video games appear on many billboards. Gaming and e-sports seem to be popular here.

Xi-Men shopping district with anime-girl decorated columns.

A tray of food from a buffet near Xi-Men, drink servings were limited to tea or water with lime juice.
The sweet and sour chicken was really great.

Night market near Jiantan station. The balloon shooting booth has pneumatic versions of some serious looking military weapons.

Underground market at Jiantan.

A fruit stand filled with exotic fruits.
Including a huge watermelon, Taiwan fruit and dragon fruits.

Huge shrimp (prawns?)

Penis cakes.

Claw machines (UFO catchers) seem to be everywhere in Taipei.

A pork stand.

Durian fruit

Hot star food stands are a popular place to get giant pieces of fried chicken.

A large claw machine center.

Small claw machines.

Taipei 101

For a period of time Taipei 101 was the world's tallest building with the world's fastest elevator.
High-end brand shops at the base of Taipei 101.

The view from Taipei 101

An interesting building Taipei 101.

A building with some rooftop gardens.

A building with a spherical element. Similar to the NHK building in Osaka.

The 660 ton wind damper in Taipei 101 helps reduce the sway of the building by 40%.

A coral sculpture.

Jiufen Old Town Street

Jiufen is one of the popular sightseeing destinations for people to see old style buildings and examples of old Taiwanese culture. The narrow winding streets are a preserved example of a gold mining town, about a one-hour bus ride from Taipei.
Other examples of old towns in northern Taiwan include Sanxia and Shifen.

An old-town street. There a many souvenir shops, restaurants and claw games.

A chicken shop. Note the daruma doll on the back shelf.

A temple.
Many of the temples in Taipei have large LED ticket panels that make them look like train stations.

Temple lanterns.

The picturesque buildings overlooks the mountain side town.

Steep stairs in Jiufen.

A mural of gold miners from the active days of Jiufen mines.

A bus add featruing sumo wrestlers. An indication of the Japanese cultural influence as well as the demand products to cope with the hot/humid climate,

The Taipei Zoo

Taipei has an incredible zoo. The huge zoo has a special tram car available to convey visitors from the entrance area to the far side of the zoo which is over 1.2km away. The zoo is divided to group various species together based on continent.
The highlight of the zoo are the giant pandas which have their own impressive high-class enclosure.
The zoo is one of the 10 largest municipal zoos in the world an has about 700 species.

Shika deer. Similar to the type of deer that visitors can interact with in Nara.

A special exhibit if you want to smell deer poop.

A clouded leopard. This one seems to be heavily pregnant.

Monkeys lounging in the heat.

A monkey relaxing in the shade.

A taxidermy pangolin on display with an opening for visitors to feel the scales. 

A brown bear taking a swim.

A brown bear climbing out of the pool.

A cougar panting in the heat.

A large crocodile with minimal barriers keeping people out of the habitat.

A American bison.

A zebra

An African elephant raising its trunk.

A group of zebra.

Bactrian camels.

A giant panda.

Panda propaganda.

Rental bike racks.

The Gondola ride near the Taipei Zoo entrance is an impressive ride that lasts over 40 minutes and climbs more than 300 meters.

Taipei skyline as seen from the end of the gondola ride.

Lights seen through a snow-cross filter.

Taipei skyline.

Star Wars mural on a building near Beimen station.

A Japanese-themed area in the underground shopping mall near Taipei Main Station.

Promotion for a film about a megalodon with a beach theme.

Figures in front of a movie theater near Ximen. The Iron-Man Hulk-buster suit.

Optimus Prime from Transformers.

Rafael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.