Taipei (now and some years before…)

Rob and I just made our journey back to Taipei for the week. I will be meeting with a Schoenhut toy piano dealer from Taiwan tomorrow! Check out their site here.

I have quite a lot of memories coming back to Taiwan to visit family throughout my childhood. I still remember the long flights I would take with my brother while we excitedly anticipated the great home-cooked meals we would have of our Grandma’s. It was also customary for us to make an additional trip to southern Taiwan to visit my father’s family for several days. Back then, there wasn’t a high-speed train, so it would sometimes mean taking a 14-hour bus ride. Some years later, my father came back to Taiwan while on sabbatical and the entire family came back to live for six months. I attended fifth grade  at Chiang-Kai Shek Middle School right outside of Taipei city. I still remember having a hard time grasping the disciplinary acts of teachers. On Fridays, my brother and I would go to Taiwan University for our traditional chinese bamboo flute lessons. This was probably the only period of time I studied Chinese music whatsoever. Years following, our lives became busier and the visit back to Taiwan became less frequent. When I was younger,  I felt there were so many cultural differences–not just the language, but the way of life, the way people dressed, acted and bought.  The traffic driving behavior was always daunting. There use to be a lot more bicyclists also. I don’t know whether it’s because I have grown more accustomed to some of the differences, or if it’s the result of a rapidly changing country, but Taiwan doesn’t seem so distant or foreign to me any longer. My relationship with the country has changed significantly since my parents moved back here seven years ago. Since then, the eating part of our visits are still highly anticipated, but now I am getting more of a chance to know modern Taiwan.

Just starting last year,  I have started looking for more of the new developments in the music and arts scene from the younger generation. (The web has helped tremendously and also the number of Taipei websites that are in English.) I was pleased when someone contacted me last year through facebook to set up a toy piano concert for me. It was just a chance happening and a kind act of strangers who wanted to bring a toy piano concert some place in Taipei.  It turned out to be a joint effort between a student at National Taiwan University (Timmy Chen) and the curator of a music and movie series (Taven Huang) at a cafe. Though this was just a small glimpse into the younger music-goers, I was touched and excited to see a generation of people curious about experimental music in Taiwan.

Anyone know of good shows happening in Taiwan this week? We are open to suggestions!