May 28, 2012

At Longshan Temple

When I got to the station and took a train, I changed my plan and decided to go to Longshan Temple first. The square inside the gate of the temple was filled with smoke, offerings, and voice of people who were reading a sutra. I got an impression that compared to Japanese temples, Taiwanese temples look gorgeous because of lots of decoration. I walked around the building, and watched people. People's voices actually sounded like as if they were singing, and it calmed down my mind while I was there. After spending time for a while, I left there and walked toward a historical street that locates beside the temple.

On my way, there was a small happening. I still haven't gotten what I did wrongly, but when I was walking, a monk came up to me and was behaving like he was gonna hit me with a nail puller held in his hands. He was shouting something at me, and I had no idea what he was talking about. Then, a local guy said something to him, and told me to ignore him by gesture. The monk left once, but when I was passing in front of him, he came close to me again and raised the nail puller and said something again. It was shocking for me, but I didn't escape (I do not know if it offended him again), just ignored and passed there. Since there were a lot of people, and it was obvious I was a tourist who didn't understand the language, I just felt that it wouldn't be the worst case. I wonder if it was too optimistic, but fortunately, he didn't hit me with the thing and I passed there without getting injured. I still wonder what it was and maybe I could get an idea if I were with my host at that time.

May 24, 2012

I Realized That I Was Welcomed...(T_T)

Next morning, I woke up at 6:00. Rubbing my eyes, I came out of the door and went to the living room...He was there; The guy who shouldn't be there was there!! I was like, "Oh my god, why are you here? Aren't you already late?" He handed me a piece of paper and told me the food on the table was mine and it surprised me. I remember the shocking and warm mixed feeling came into me all of a sudden and I naturally gazed at his face (I didn't care how I looked without even washing my face, lol). I could only say thank you and didn't know how to express my appreciation. After he left, I read the paper piece he left and following things were there;

● An apology for being not able to come to the museum with me
● About the breakfast on the table
● He wants me to contact him at noon because he is worried if I get lost
● Even if I can not contact him, we will meet up at a MRT station in the evening and go to the night market together
● He already caught a friend who will drive us to Chiufen next day so I don't have to worry about how to get there
● Which bus to take to the station from here, his address and phone number

What do you think? If you think it's normal, maybe it's normal for you. For me, it was too much. He even left another tiny piece of paper and it told me there is another choice to get to the station; he already negotiated with his room mate and he would drive me to the station if I knock his door. Plus, he left coins, which is one way fare for the bus in case I don't have enough money in my card for MRT. You never know how much these things moved me. I was about to weep (really) and felt I was welcomed to stay there. Usually, I don't really want to be bothered by anyone on my journey while traveling alone. I do wherever I want to do at the time I feel like, and the plan is not clearly settled in advance. I expected staying there at night and probably will hang out with him for dinner or something if our time matches, but didn't think we would spend such a long time together (Going to Chiufen takes long time). And believe me, I haven't accepted such an offer even I had some chances before. Basically, I there was a line and if I think it's too much, it naturally turns me off (The 3rd, 4th, and 5th thing on the paper have a high possibility to turn me off and even about the 1st one, I may get relieved that I can go alone and don't have to be bothered by anyone) and I always feel it wont't be so comfortable but awkward. I don't know why, but this time was irregular. For some reason, I didn't think it would be awkward. Even I didn't know about him so much (I can't say I know about him well yet), but things I'd seen about him and the atmosphere he has was enough to let me feel I let things happen as they happen. So, I decided I would just ride on the waves that are coming if they were made by him :)

Anyway, I ate the breakfast he left, and prepared for going out. I left a letter for his room mate in the living room that I was taking a bus to the station, but I really appreciated his kindness. Thus, I left there and walked to the bus stop.

May 23, 2012

The First Day Ended

We took a taxi from Jingmei station to his place (When we came back to the station, I noticed all the way we went to that tapioca tea area was because of his sweetness; letting me try the best one). He bought two bottles of water at convenience store, and leaded me to his place. When we got there, he showed me how to open the entrance and gave me the keys!! (I do not think I'd ever do it to a stranger that I met today for the first time!!!) He showed me my room, bath room, living room and gave me another small key for my room. The room was simple, but there were enough things for a short stay and I saw a lot of leaflets for sightseeing on the desk...Naturally, I felt this person has a warm heart and always treats his guests nicely...Leaving the water bottle and a glass on the desk (it was for me! Oh my...), he asked me where I was going next day.

To be frank, it was not settled and everything was "Maybe" for me. The only sure thing was that I was going to the palace museum and it was "Probably" in the morning. So, I told him about it and also where I MAYBE go after museum and he had some suggestions. At this point, I kind of felt he didn't have to do such a thing because I would be alright without such a suggestion. Transportation in Taipei is quite convenient. However, it was nice of him that he took me to the bus stop near house and told me which bus to take :) While we were talking, his room mate came back from work. I told him that I wanted to be introduced to his friend because I thought that it wouldn't be not comfortable staying there without saying hi to someone living I got a chance to say hello to him.

Since my host told me he was going to climb a mountain with his friends and leaving at 5:30 next morning, I said he should take a shower and go to bed soon. It was already sometime passed 0:00 and I didn't want him to be exhausted because of me and also thought that it would be tough and also dangerous if he didn't get to sleep well. So, the first day ended like this.

May 15, 2012

Dinner, Tapioca, Live Music!

So, let me tell you how things went before we went home.

We took MRT to Jingmei station. There is a night market, and we walked around there for a while. He took me to a small restaurant (actually a stall?), that he recommends. We had dinner there, and we enjoyed the conversation. Since I knew he was learning my language, I'd already decided to keep talking to him in Japanese as long as he doesn't feel uncomfortable about it. As I talk with native speakers in English sometimes, I probably know how it feels like to him, especially when he doesn't understand what I speak. However, I think our conversation went well and moreover, it was enjoyable. When he didn't understand words, I just wrote them on my small notebook and showed him. He understood the meaning in most cases because we share the same/similar characters in our languages.

When we finished eating, I suddenly felt like having a tapioca tea! I thought of grabbing one just somewhere, but he took me to a place that is popular about it. We went back to the station and took a train to go there. (Don't you feel it troublesome if you were him? Probably you just take me to somewhere near by? I had no idea when we were going there at that time, but noticed that it was really nice of him that he did it when we actually came back to Jingmei station later). And he even bought me one because I couldn't find my wallet quickly (T_T). Oh my...

So, grabbing the tea, we walked around the area and I found a school. He told me that is the best university in Taipei and I wondered...if I can come in♥, lol. It's always fun to take a look of what local people do :P So, we entered the gate, walked there (didn't go inside of the buildings of course!) and reached to a hall that some people were playing music inside. He told me its a very popular artist group in Taiwan, and we were lucky to get to listen to their music by chance (and it was free!).

We stopped there and sat down. We talked abut random things while listening to music and I found myself NOT FEELING AWKWARD AT ALL being with him (I swear, it's a rare thing) and even enjoyed it. At that time, my sleeping place was settled finally:)

May 14, 2012

To Taipei Main Station And Seeing My Host

"Getting to Taipei Main Station." It was my first mission in Taiwan. I arrived at Taoyuan International Airport on time, passed the immigration counter smoothly and walked to the bus stop which I can take a bus for HSR station. It was a recommended way from my host and I sent him a message quickly while walking there. It won't be such a short story to follow the line why I was hosted by him, but in short, it was the result of my instinct for what happened by chance. I knew that it would be convenient just to stay at a hotel or somewhere around Taipei main station, but I let it be a backup for the case if I don't choose staying at his place. Even I hadn't seen in person nor talked via phone, I had a positive impression from his profile and some information I had, and exchanging messages with him, it made the impression stronger; I probably will get along with this person and maybe we can be good friends.

Walking for a few minutes, I got to the bus counter and bought a ticket. There were people mostly who look locals in the bus, and the floor was filled with luggage. I got a seat there and enjoyed the bus ride to the station. Bus ride and HSR, after 1~1.5 hours, I finally got to Taipei Main Station which was our first meeting point :)

The station was huge and I was a kind of lost there. I wandered for a while and finally got to the floor he appointed. However, I wanted to go to the tourist information desk firstly to get an account and address for a free wi-fi. After getting those information, I went to the meeting point. There was a funny happening before get there; I was spoken to by a local guy in Japanese and he almost handed me a candy and wanted to take me somewhere, lol. Anyway, soon after reaching there, I found who I was searching for. He looked a little bit surprised because I didn't carry a "luggage" but just a backpack which is not so big. He asked if I was hungry and I said yes. So, we decided to stop by a night market near by house on our way home.

It was actually good for me to find out if I'd feel comfortable staying at his place. As I mentioned before, there was a possibility that I wouldn't stay and choose a back up plan. In the end, it went to a positive direction. For the present, I decided to stay there during my journey...unless something uncomfortable happens later.

May 13, 2012

Why Taipei?

If you say life is like a box of chocolate, I definitely say my short trip to was one of the small ones. I may find out in the end that it was a big one, but can't tell it now because I never know what will happen in the future until it actually happens. Before flying there, I didn't know almost anything about Taiwan (Probably I still don't), just have heard of a great museum in Taipei. So, why I picked up that country was just because I wanted to escape and breathe in fresh air, which is just translated as "I wanna go somewhere far and experience something unusual." as I feel daily, and also because of my schedule availability. Luckily, it worked amazingly in a way which I never expected and I really feel like going there again whenever I get a chance. I start talking about it!

* * * * *

I'm sorry to say this, but I didn't know about the country so much. It was one of those countries that I thought I would probably visit sometime in the future when I have time because they are not so far from Japan. Even after I got tickets for Taipei, I didn't really know where to go nor which season is actually good to visit. (I found out it was one of the perfect seasons to go some days after booking tickets, and felt I was lucky!) For some reason, I got to stay over at a locals place (Probably I'll post about it when I get a chance), but except that, I didn't so much ideas but having a few locations I shouldn't miss in my mind. Even about the place to sleep, there was a possibility that I wouldn't stay there. Actually I copied some information about cheap hostels and carried it on me for the case.

So, it was a trip that
● There was a few place that I probably I visit but not sure when (I thought it would depend on the weather and situation).
● There was a place that I possibly stay, but not sure if I would really stay because of the security reason.
● I wanted to follow my instinct and let things happen as long as I like it.

Packing my stuff and some souvenirs for the person I would meet in my smaller backpack, I left Japan for the short journey. And telling the truth, at that time, I had already started feeling something fun would happen there...So from here, my story in Taiwan starts :)