By Yasuda Katsura
It has been 2 years since I moved to Taiwan from my hometown. I am a student of the Chinese Language Center of Fengcha University. Before I moved to Taichung City, I was a Japanese language teacher of a language institute near Hsinchu Scientific Park. Since this May, I have become a student again and started my life in Taichung City. This excites me.
For me, the major attraction of Taichung City is that I am exposed to a totally “Taiwanese” city. Taichung is situated in the center of Taiwan. I cannot speak Taiwanese at all. This perfectly matched my desire of living in an “exotic” city. If I were living in Taipei City, it is only slightly different than living in the other major metropolitan areas of the world. And, I believe my life in Tokyo would be dull. Living in Taichung City allows me to explore myself and discover new things about myself every day.
My favorite parts of Taichung City are the traditional market place. The vendor women of the stalls always bargain with me in Taiwanese. I only know the price when they gave me change after I gave them a 100 NTD bill. This is very interesting. There are many stalls selling a huge variety of unknown vegetables. The vegetables were piled up like hills. Sometimes I was shocked by the noise when the butcher slammed the pig head or chicken down on the meat stall hanging with pig’s organs. The most surprising is that there are even stalls selling underwear. In addition, there are soybean milk vendors, unpacked chicken eggs and clams sold by weight. Whatever you name, you will find in the market.
The other amazing place is the night market. I always walk along the same route back home after school. However, every day when I walk home, there are always attractive thing to make me stop by and I cannot help but to shop. The lovely products always catch my eye. If the price is around 100 NTD, I will always buy them without hesitation. I don’t know if night markets are good or bad for poor students like me.
As a foreigner, for example, I--a Japanese girl, Taiwan is a friendly place to live. Taiwanese are so kind. I feel so secure and happy to live here. I appreciate them. Even though I cannot speak Chinese fluently, I have many local friends who invite me to visit their homes or join their family trip. Many of them also kindly assist me in my daily life. I appreciate them and hopefully I can return their favors.
In the beginning, I came to Taiwan to teach Japanese. Now, I am learning Chinese to make myself a better Japanese teacher. In order to contribute my talent to my friends in Taiwan, I will try my best to be an excellent teacher to help my students in learning Japanese.
My dear friends of Taichung City and the people in the rest Taiwan•I will keep on working hard; please treat me like your family in the future.
Miss Yasuda Katsura was born in 1975 in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan.