Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cultural tour in Taipei / 台北文化之旅

攝於田園城市書店.台北 / photo taken in Gardencity Bookstore, Taipei 


Since coming back to Taipei from London, I have felt the urge to know more about my city. Thus, when I discovered the cultural walking tour held by Taipei National University of the Arts, I was rather thrilled. The tour of December is about the bookstores and cultural and creative industry in Datong and Zhongshan Districts in Taipei, which used to be the major business hubs. 


The first stop is Gardencity Publishers and Bookstore near exit 1 of Shuanglian MRT Station. The owner, as you can see in the middle of the photo, focuses on publishing books written by Taiwanese authors and about Taiwan. Then they are translated into other languages and promoted abroad. There are also illustrated publications in the form of picture books more for adults. If you are interested, why not take a try? 


The basement of the bookstore is a small but tasteful exhibition room. The publisher emphasizes that they are particularly interested in works that center around people or handmade feel. The upcoming exhibit, starting from Jan. 5, is about love letters in the form of visual images by several photographers. 


During our stay in this bookstore, I recalled the trip to Nobrow in London half a year ago. Back then I had the idea that there wouldn't be so many resources in Taipei. Now I am glad that I have taken a step forward, thus realizing that many Taiwanese are actually working hard for art and culture. 

攝於台灣好.店 / photo taken at Lovely Taiwan Shop 


The second stop is Lovely Taiwan Shop near Zhongshan MRT station. The foundation Lovely Taiwan was founded by several entrepreneurs who were brought together by their common goal to protest against the construction of freeways in the east Taiwan. Later, they decided to turn their opposition into positive contribution. Their ideal is to do something for the cultural industry of Taiwan. 


Apart from promoting artworks by Taiwanese artists, the foundation also cooperates with the minority groups in Taiwan. They stress the importance of stories behind every product. In this way, customers  get to learn more about Taiwan. In the shop we sampled chocolate made by female prisoners in Taichung. Also, we tasted black tea planted by farmers who would like to be on their own feet again after the famous 921 Earthquake. Most of all, I was surprised to hear that now international tourists make it a point to experience Taiwanese culture on their trips here, in which the creative industry plays an important part. 


I bought one of the white mugs shown in the photo above, designed by a Taiwanese artist two months ago. It not only brings me great joy at work but also attracts the attention of many colleagues. 

攝於日星鑄字行 / photo taken at Ri Xing Type Foundry  


I was most looking forward to visiting Ri Xing Type Foundry on the walking tour. Since reading about it in the newspapers two months ago, I had wanted to take a look at the shop in person. Ri Xing is the only type foundry left in Taiwan now. It is more than a shop; in fact, there is much historic significance to it. 


There are English and Chinese typefaces in various sizes, and the customers can take their time to select the words they are looking for. 


It has occurred to me how to make use of these resources. Next time I'll go back to the foundry, with a BIG budget! 


Julian Murmur said...

好想知道那些店在哪裡,下次換你做我的台北tour guide!! :)

Weichuen You said...

No problem!