Category Archives: Taiwan

Mainlander Finishing School

A friend once told me that “if you wish China was more like Japan, you’d really like Taiwan.” I won’t attempt to touch on the myriad of problems with that statement, but I think I know now a bit of what he meant. Our first stop on this little two week family trip is in the capital city of Taipei. Something a little different for this jaunt is that we’re traveling with our 5-year-old niece and her parents, who are all visiting these places for the first time. To that end, Taiwan has been very visitor-friendly. As Americans, we didn’t have to be concerned with any visas. The capital city is clean, with great public transit, and no internet firewall shenanigans. I certainly don’t appreciate all the cultural and political differences between Taiwan and (People’s Republic of) China, but I do understand that they both try to hold the claim to being the “real” China. That’s nothing I can comment on meaningfully. However, if I had to throw in for one side, for purely selfish reasons, I am finding Taiwan to be a vastly more polite and civilized place to visit. As far as comparisons to Japan, I know there is a history of intermingling going back to colonial times, and you can see the influence in the present day as well. There is a lot of culinary and cultural overlap insofar as I can appreciate as a foreigner. Continue reading Mainlander Finishing School