By Fujimura Miki
Four and half years ago, when my husband told me that we had to move to Taichung for his new position, I went to a bookstore and bought some tour books about Taiwan. Each of them mentioned that Taiwan was an interesting and beautiful island. I was curious to explore Taiwan after reading about the island. From the beginning, I have enjoyed my life in Taiwan. Taichung is a place I am happy to call home.
My favorite activity is shopping. I love to shop on Yi Chung Street and at the Feng Chia Night Market. The night market is a popular place with various trendy commodities and food stands. Each time I visit, it is always crowded. It reminds me of the stands in Matsuri, Japan. In particular I like the sugared guava. Normally, the Japanese only eat ripe guava. But in Taiwan the fruit stands sell green guava which is crunchy. Guava dipped in plum powder is my recommendation to first time visitors. During the summer, yoghurt smoothies are a popular treat. In Japan, the taste is quite different. Visitors should also try mixed soy snacks called Lu Wei. There store I frequent serves special soy snacks, which are especially delicious. My favorites include: vegetable, pork blood cakes, pork blood jelly and instant noodles. The soy snacks look like Oden but taste very different. They are unique to Taiwan.
On weekends, we like to travel. We often go to the Sun Hot Spring Resort in the Dakeng district of Taichung. Dakeng is situated north of the city. Patrons visit this tourist attraction to escape the city and enjoy nature. In Dakeng there are 10 hiking trails. Some of them offer smooth terrain which is good for the elderly and children. Our family most often visits the #8 trail. There are plenty of flowers and birds. It is possible to look down over Taichung City from some spots on the trail such as the Evergreen Pavilion, Guan Yin Pavilion and Wind Moving Stone. Afterwards hikers can relax in a hot spring. There are a number of different types of hot spring pools. The hot spring fish pool is the most special; the fish in the pool are harmless and will exfoliate dead skin by pecking at your body.
In 2007, I received a most wonderful present, my youngest daughter. My first child was born in Japan. Taiwan provided a very different experience. During my pregnancy in the summer, the weather was very hot; I wanted to eat mango ice milk, but my friend told me that eating ice is a taboo in Taiwan. Locals believe it is not good for the baby and that mango would make the baby darker in skin color. Chinese culture looks down on dark skin. So, I avoided mango and ice milk. After my baby was born, I found that there were even more old wives tales. In Taiwan, the postnatal care center was a totally new experience for me. The most unbelievable superstition is that mothers cannot their wash hair or take baths during the month after childbirth. The mother is only allowed to wipe her body with a hot towel. I could not stand being so unsanitary, so I took a hot shower and washed my hair the first day after my baby was born. This shocked my Taiwanese friends. With the exception of the superstitions, the pregnancy was a wonderful experience.
Taichung is my second home. The city will always be near and dear to my heart.