My hometown is Uonuma City in Niigata, a place where snow falls for almost half the year. When I first time arrived in the warm city of Taichung, 25 years ago, it felt great and I began to know Taichung. The first time I came here for business; in May, the weather in Taiwan was very hot and I took a taxi from the airport; at that time, air-conditioner was rare in cars. Because it was so hot, the driver asked to take a short break to relax in a cool area under an exchange route along the way; what an interesting experience that was.
Twenty-five years ago, Taichung had fewer straight, wide roads than today, and fewer skyscrapers. At that time, our dormitory was located on Cunjhong Street. The neighboring area of Wu Chuan W. Road was all green farmlands and standing there, looking into the distance, I could see the just-completed Hotel National Taichung very clearly. Our company was located in Tanzih and because Huan Zhong Road did not exist at that time, it was a great circle to access the Super Highway, which was very inconvenient. Of course, the present convenience of the new and modern 7th Redevelopment Zone was in the middle of nowhere then.
Then, 12 years ago, I was designated to return to Taichung, where I found that everything had changed greatly. The urban areas had been rapidly extended, with tall buildings competing and public infrastructure newly upgraded. The only thing that had not changed was the honest and sincere friendliness inherit to this area. Previously, I felt like a passer-by during my short time in Taichung; however, I have now stayed here for more than 12 years, second only to my hometown in Hokkaido. Another journey of my life had hence begun when I began my career here, married, thus becoming a Taiwanese son-in-law, which produced two lovely children.
This is a strange, yet familiar, foreign land. I am, by nature, a person with strong curiosity and can adjust myself to various environments, and I had no difficulties in adapting. The one exception is that some Chinese characters are quite similar to Japanese Kanji in font, but totally different in word meanings, which often confuses me.
Taichung is a city in Taiwan that is vnery friendly to Japanese. I have many friends here, and we often get together or play ball games. I think that Taiwanese’s zeal allow themselves to make good friends with others quickly, which is a characteristic that Japanese lack. For Japanese, even though living together, people seldom have conversations.
We often go abroad for traveling and I have been to many places and I think Taichung is a very good place, with numerous humane features and landscapes. When coming to Taichung, many of my friends ask me to take them to have Bubble Tea in a traditional night market. If there was a night market around a five-star hotel within the city catering to forgein needs, I believe that it would attract foreign tourists. Japanese prefer places with “old-time flavor”, such as the Jhonghua Night Market or the Jhong Siao Night Market. In Japan, few night markets exist, except when temple fairs offer temporary congregation during festivals.
I live in an urban district in Taichung and it takes less than 1 hour to reach the golf club and for a person, like me, who likes to “meet friends through golf” this is very lucky. The golf club in this Taichung suburb not only boasts great facilities, but also offers inexpensive fees. I often have the thought of settling down here forever if it were not for my mother, who still lives in Japan, because I am very happy living here.