February 2004


last night i finally found the time to watch the grace chang film mambo girl. in this film grace plays a high school girl who loves to sing and dance and is dubbed by her friends and family ‘mambo girl’. there is lots of great music in this film, most of it sung by grace, but a few numbers sung by others as well.

there’s even a nightclub scene showing chinese hipsters watching a scanitily glad young woman doing some sort of interpretive dance while the chinese tito puente supplies the musical backdrop.

peter and his siblings were pretty horrified by some of the music in the film, especially a scene i really loved where they sung happy birthday, which seemed to combine more traditional chinese pop music with the chinese answer to mambo.

the obligatory reconciliatory scene is accompanied by a great slap as well. how many times do we get a slap as the beginning of some sort of reconcilation?

next up on my list of grace chang films i want to see is air hostess. hopefully some shop here will get that one in as well. her films don’t seem very common here unfortunately.

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today is a national holiday which means i didn’t have to work. so peter and i decided to take the train to hsinchu and spend the day wandering around.

upon arrival, the first place we ended up at was the eslite bookstore. i ended up buying this book on old taiwan stores. basically, it’s jam packed full of pictures of old toys, movie posters, and other wonderful memorabilia. there’s even a list of places where you can see or buy things seen in the book. the book is in chinese, but it’s mainly pictures and a lot of the writing is brief so that i should hopefully be able to translate most of the book without too much trouble.

i also picked up this magazine devoted to things from the 50s to the 80s. it’s divided up into different sections: fashion, toys, comics, tv games, music, and bikes(as in scooters and motorcycles). there are lots of pictures of toys i’d love to have in here. thumbing through this magazine reminds me of thumbing through the sears catalogue when i was a child drooling over all the toys i hoped santa would bring.

after the bookstore we walked around a bit and stumbled upon the hsinchu image museum. a combination museum and movie theater. the museum area was pretty small. they had a lot of old posters on display as well as old film equipment. the staff were super friendly, and told us about the history of the theater. apparently it was built by the japanese and was the first theater to have air conditioning in taiwan. during ww II the roof of the building got blown off. they tried to get us to the go the film that evening, but sadly the film had no english subtitles so that was a no go.

i can’t seem to get enough of this game grow. depending on the order you add objects different things happen. so far my highest score has been 12,000 and i’ve managed to max out 11 of the 12 objects. odd thing is that maxing out the most objects doesn’t neccesarily mean you’ll get a higher score. via weblog wannabe.

this week’s photo friday challenge is status:

this was a very difficult challenge for me. this shot is one of the guards at the chiang kai-shek memorial hall. you have to have a certain status to be a guard there.

also, i’ve finished posting the shots from the 2004 taipei lantern festival. they can be found on photo action boy here.

yesterday i met up with my swedish friend jan who lives in japan. i know jan from the exoticalist. it’s rare for people i know to come to taipei, so i always enjoy showing them around when they do. if they are a foreigner like myself living in asia, it’s nice to compare notes on our experiences.

i took jan to the guang hua computer bazaar where he picked up some dvds, and i picked up season three of the simpsons which has finally been released in taiwan. after that we stumbled upon this gorgeous chinese restaurant i’d never seen before(pictured above from their pamphlet). it was a little expensive, but we couldn’t resist. the place was really nice and the service excellent.

unfortunately shortly after we left my stomach started to act up and i thought i was going throw up. as a result, i had to cut short the site seeing tour with jan, and cancel my classes for the night(this is also why there was no entry yesterday).

the robot art of eric joyner. via gordon.coale.

the decline of the magazine cover. via stone cold pimpin’. some interesting points made about the blandness of magazine covers. jean snow linked to this page of chinese glossies awhile back. upon seeing them i was disappointed that most of them seem to be chinese versions of western magazines, and just as bland. when i first went to mainland china in ’98 i was given some chinese magazines. the colour and style looked like something out of the 50s and they were appealing because of that. i somehow doubt you’d find things like that now though.

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