Flame Tree Season in Taiwan!

There’s red everywhere!

Flame trees (delonix regia) were first imported to Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era, and have been named Tainan City’s official tree.

It’s flame tree flowering season ~ this is the one outside Advent Church, and even on a dull day, they still look amazing!


I just LOVE red!

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The No. 1 National Taiwan Museum 國立台灣博物館 Tour with Amanda Lai 賴盈伃 ~ YES!

Yes, introducing one of my most delightful former students, Amanda, who spent 2 years of her early life with us at St. James’ Kindergarten, Taichung ~ and she’s now a student of art history at Tainan National University of the Arts.  All grown up and going places!

This summer Amanda is an intern at the National Taiwan Museum in Taipei, another wow!  Her family are great friends of mine, and a few weeks ago, her mother took my visitors, Harriet and Nicky and me to visit the Rainbow Village in Taichung.  So with a bit of encouragement from Amanda’s mother, I popped in to see Amanda at the museum a few weeks ago.  And asked her if I could book her for an English Tour.  YES!


So here we are a few weeks later, and yesterday afternoon was THE tour!  I took along Tzu-Yang, Mark, our student from St. John’s University who’s been helping me these last few weeks with the English classes.  Mark has recently passed the government test in English to be a tour guide, so I thought this might be relevant to him too.  And it was!


As you can imagine, Amanda did an amazing job!  We had a whole 45 minutes of non-stop English, along with hand-drawn visual aids, explaining the history of the museum and the history of the building, which are 2 separate things. The history is here and says in the introduction….

The Museum, the oldest in Taiwan, was established in 1908. The Japanese government wanted to commemorate the opening of the North-South Mainline Railway and so established the Taiwan Viceroy’s Office Museum on October 24, 1908. In its early days, its collection boasted over 10,000 objects. In 1913, funds were collected to build the “Viceroy Kodama Gentaro and Chief Civil Administrator Goto Shinpei Memorial Museum.” In 1915, construction of the Museum’s new home was completed. It was one of the most noteworthy public buildings built by the Japanese colonial government in Taiwan.

So the building itself was not originally established to be a railway museum, rather a memorial to the previous viceroy and chief civil administrator of the Japanese colonial administration. So it oozes with Japanese colonial history mixed with European Classical style architecture and ancient Chinese tradition – outside are 2 massive bulls, there to help the feng-shui.

And here is Amanda in action!


Then when the KMT Government arrived from Mainland China in 1949, they removed many of the Japanese artifacts, including the 2 statues of the Viceroy and Chief Civil Administrator, so the statues are replaced by empty black vases.  Here’s one of them.  And us!


The building is quite impressive, really quite something.  You have to look up into the dome to appreciate it all.  In case you’re wondering how come it is built in such a classically European rather than traditional Japanese style, I gather the Japanese architects, Ichiro Nomura and Eiichi Araki had traveled widely in Europe and wanted to show the world that they could build something as impressive as all those European buildings they had seen.

These days, it’s the place to go to learn about Taiwan’s anthropology, earth sciences, zoology, and botany, but that section will have to wait for another day!

So a wonderful tour, and a wonderful tour guide, so full of knowledge, enthusiasm and confidence, well done Amanda and thank you, we’re so proud of you ~ YES!

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English Summer Camp @ Good Shepherd Church, Taipei ~ YES!

4 weeks of fun, 4 weeks of sun and heat (yes, not a typhoon in sight for 4 weeks, most unusual!), 4 weeks of u-biking along the river path from Tamsui to Taipei, and 4 weeks (well almost, Mondays to Thursdays, mornings only) of teaching a class of 20 lovely children, ages 7-10, lots of Bible stories, English and drama, ably assisted by one of our St. John’s University students, Tzu-Yang (Mark), who also traveled miles every day to get there.  Actually he’s just graduated and is awaiting notification of his 4-months military service, so he was free.  He brought along lots of energy, enthusiasm and youthfulness, as well as doing all the translating for me.  Ah yes, we had a great time!

And we spent this final week practicing a drama all in English ~ the story of Jesus calming the storm (Matthew 8) which involved all the kids speaking at least one English sentence, plus all the adults leading the actions.  After hours and hours of rehearsals, we were finally ready for 2 performances, each one lasting all of 3 minutes ~ one each on Wednesday and Thursday, watched by Keith and Sindy, our new Good Shepherd Church rector and his wife, Linda the kindergarten principal, and Mrs. Lily Lai, kindergarten supervisor.  Plus we had awards presented to students who did particularly well or tried extra hard.

The children’s faces in the drama photos are deliberately blurred, but you can still get an idea of them all sitting in the boat, while those standing in the back row are the winds and the waves, and then Jesus gets woken up and springs into action, bringing great calm on the water.  Ah yes, it was very meaningful, relevant to the children’s lives, and of course great fun to do!

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On one day the children wrote some prayers of blessing for themselves and others ~ this was one of the ones that made me smile!


Good Shepherd Church is not exactly on my doorstep, and this year, repairs to the church rectory meant it was better for me to travel in every day from Sanzhi – in previous years, I’ve stayed in one of the rooms overnight.  So to fit in a little exercise, and make the most of the bicycle path along the river, off I went from Tamsui to Good Shepherd Church by u-bike, about an hour’s ride, with a few variations of route.  The scenery is beautiful.  Tamsui – ZhuWei – Guandu – pass by Shezi Bridge – Shilin.

A few photos of the early morning highlights…

Meanwhile Tzu-Yang, Mark, came in every day from Yingge, having had a 6:00 am driving lesson before he left each morning!

We were delighted to finish the summer camp classes yesterday with lunch hosted by Chao Mama, member of Good Shepherd Church and also mother of our good friend, Ms. Chao Wen-Yi, who served in the St. John’s University Chaplain’s Office for so many years until her retirement last year.  Chao Mama invited Mark and I to her home for lunch, cooked by her wonderful helper, Hasna.  Hasna took this photo of us, enjoying Chao Mama’s kind hospitality!  Thank you!


So a big thank you to all at Good Shepherd Church and Kindergarten for your very warm welcome these past 4 weeks.   ‘Warm’ in temperature – wow Taipei is hot in the summer ~ and very warm in welcome and hospitality!

And please pray for the Good Shepherd Summer Camp children who start their new school year and new semester next week, and especially for Rev. Keith Lee’s son and daughter, age 7 and 10, who came to the English Summer Camp for the final week – they are just starting their new school in Taipei, so it’s a big change for them.  Ah, such a lovely family, a great church and we wish them all well as they settle in ~ YES!

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Garbage trucks disrupt classical concert – Taipei Times


Garbage trucks on Saturday inadvertently disrupted a performance by the New Japan Philharmonic World Dream Orchestra in the National Taiwan University Sports Center when they started loudly playing prerecorded tunes that signal waste collection, sparking outrage from classical music fans attending the event.

Source: Garbage trucks disrupt classical concert – Taipei Times

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Coffee Stand @ Good Shepherd Church, Taipei!

Actually Coffee Stand is 3 doors along from Good Shepherd Church, Taipei at 台北市士林區中正路519號 and stands out – of course for the coffee – but also because it is built into a half-demolished building. The building used to extend right up to level with the white line down the middle of the road in front, but 20 years ago the end of the building was removed to make way for the road. So the upstairs of the building has a half-demolished look about it, but hey, that’s the attraction!


Y’know, I’ve been walking past this building for years, and never noticed the upper floors before.  Check it out, it’s quite something!

Art in the Ruins! And of course very excellent coffee, and a very nice coffee man, and enough seats for only 6 people, but worth sitting down as the view is of the main road junction outside, and all the traffic whizzing past – but as it’s a little distance away, it’s not noisy, and it’s quite a place.

Must go, must see, must try the coffee!

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Pokémon Go May Have Just Shown Us What the End of the World Looks Like | TIME

It’s all happening in Taiwan lol!

Thousands-strong crowd races through streets in surreal but unauthenticated clip

Source: Pokémon Go May Have Just Shown Us What the End of the World Looks Like | TIME

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Sticky Tape Wall Art!

Check this out!  This wall art at Tamsui Sports Center is made of lines and lines, rows and rows of black sticky tape!

Amazing eh?!

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