Thursday, April 12, 2007

Little Things

Yesterday, Danielle and I went to the tea house for lunch. The usual, really. We usually hit it twice a week, and this was a particularly good day--sunny, warm and bright.

Well, it was busy. We had to physically take a table from inside to outside, but there I can practice my drums. Well, at the picnic table was a woman with about 6 kids. They had tea and snacks. It's amazing, the cultural differences...

In Taiwan, it's very common to go and sit at a tea house for an hour or two, chatting or reading, and sipping cold tea. And here was this lady, with these six kids, aged about 6 to maybe 10, all sitting there sipping tea, reading.

Kids reading. Voluntarily. For fun.

They sat for about half an hour, reading. Then they got up and went and played for a bit. Then sat down and read some more. The read individually, all together, in total silence.

This is Asia...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Unbridled Hedonism

Ah yes. Marie's drunken post has reminded me of something. Last week Nella and I took part in a real cultural milestone for Taiwan (and Asia as a whole). And it was an entirely unpleasant experience at that...

Well, let's start off at the beginning: we had a record sales month for Tutor. Yea for us. I'm hoping it had at least something to do with the new Demo that Nella and I developed for the sales department. I got the employee bonus this month, so kudos to me, I guess.

Anyways, the Dr. (our boss, Dr. Yang) decided that we had to celebrate by going to the KTV. If you don't know, it's karaoke. We went to the Golden Jaguar, the most ornate and expensive KTV in Taichung (the Vegas of Taiwan). Incredibly expensive, and incredibly tacky, just like Vegas. This is the kind of place that supplies the girls and the whiskey. And for a little extra, you can buy the services of the ladies for the evening. Even our servers were little Taiwanese girls dressed in Japanese schoolgirl uniforms, doling out the whiskey in jugs. You get the idea....

Anyone who knows me knows how well I deal with lots of people and loud cheezy music (not even real recorded music, but MIDI music recorded to CD...blech!). After half an hour, I was about to lose it. It was louder than any show I've ever played. It was some sort of Dionysian karaoke orgy. Just hedonism run amok. An utter assault on both my senses and my sensibility.

It's funny. Themes appear from time to time, what you learn you like and dislike. I know what I dislike about Asia. It's something that was easier to avoid in Canada (since I also disliked it there as well). It's the overabundance of noise, and loud, tacky music. Many shopping experiences here are mired in that sort of thing. Well...I guess it's a small price to pay, and not a big issue, if you know when to shop! It's confirmed. I'm not a party animal. I'll leave that to the office crew.
The enjoyment had by James is inversely proportionate to the product
of the number of drunken partiers and the decibel level of the music.

On a brighter note, one word: swag! For any Taiwanese reading this blog, swag is free stuff you get from other people who get it free from their company, usually as promotional or marketing material. Nella and I were the lucky recipients of a good amount of semi-swag (big discounts) because one of our clients designs for New Balance Taiwan. Danielle got some Yoga wear, and I got a sweet pair of runners/drumming shoes.

I love swag (hint, hint). I miss swag, not working at the music store....

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tomb Sweeping Day

Happy Tomb Sweeping Day, everyone.

An unexpected holiday for us, so no complaints. We're gonna take it easy, cause it's cold out. Maybe have some delicious food....

Enjoy your life!

And on a funnier note, here's Danielle on Youtube....

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Life's Guide Updates

Just a quick heads-up that I've updated the Life's Guide site. It continues to grow little by little. Someday it may be a book. But for now, it's just for us.

I'm very open to comments, so I've added comments to the site. Please, feel free to comment. I'm looking for input and suggestions.