Monday, June 27, 2016

Shock of the Day

This is for yesterday, June 27, Day One

Well, it's not surprise that lugging around heave luggage is more than cumbersome.  What I didn't anticipate was the fact that I wouldn't have a place to put them.  My suitcase and backpack are substantially big and I was hoping to do as we did in Japan - place it in a locker for a day and forget about it.  

Well, it didn't quite work out that way and I was hauling all my crap with me everywhere I went.  I still hate looking extremely out of place, i.e. walking into a mall with huge bags that weigh a ton!  

....So, I didn't.

I had 3-4 hours to kill at me meeting point with my couch surfers and I stayed there and just waited.  It brought me back to the time when I was CSing in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and I had to do the same thing only...all day long.  That wait back then was brutal but I didn't mind.  I did a lot of people watching and sat waiting for my host.  This time around was a piece of cake and I also had my computer but didn't really use it.  

I met my host and then they were nice enough to drive me back to their place and we chatted, ate and I walked around trying Chinese Pancake - I can't remember how to say it - but it was delicious!  I need to start taking pictures of these things.

Shock of the day:  Taiwan is like Japan...only with Mandarin and Taiwanese language :P

It's immaculate and orderly and clean.

OH!  And they drive on the same side of the road as we do in the US.  Everything is so orderly and nice that even I - I don't enjoy driving like I used to - would feel comfortable jumping in a car and driving.  Hooray!

Had a great time see new things and meeting my hosts.  I stay with them again this evening and then head to Tainan.  

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Preparing for Two Months of Exchange in Taiwan

I'll be leaving for Taiwan on Monday and it's funny, even though it's only two months, I'm more nervous about this temporary displacement when compared to my first international move from US to Thailand and even my upcoming move from Thailand to China.

Granted there are a few uncertainties with this move, finance - not having income or a job for the time being, so I have to budget well - new setting, new language and new set of friends to make on my own.

Probably the aspect of being on my own for the first time in a long time with out a network of people I've never met is a bit daunting but I guess it will be the first time since I was on my own in 2007-08 when I was in Japan.

I'm also preparing to move out of the apartment since we will be staying with friends when we move from Thailand to China so packing has also become a purge of sorts.  Luckily we live in a tiny apartment and I've only been here 6 months so I haven't really had the chance to really hoard many things.

Thailand's cost of living is rather cheap, and apparently so is Taiwan but seeing as I don't have any steady income, I'll have to budget and really plan out the next two months.  Maybe I'll be fine after the first week, but I'll be curious to see if I'm still pretty nervous about the situation or not after that point.

I do look forward to seeing a new country and location but at the moment, it's not at the forefront of my mind and once I get over the initial shock of being on my own (sorta), I'll should be fine.

For the time being, I will try and do what I did during my last trip of posting shocks of the day in Taiwan because I realize it's a great gauge on my own expectations as well as how my view of living and culture around me may change over time.

Until next week when I post my first shock of the day, I'll be posting from Taipei and hosted by a couch surfer.

See ya then!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I Hit 150 Posts! WooHoo! Favorite Movies List

I've compiled a list of movies that I love to watch and recommend to other but it's hardly a complete list.  

Animated: The Little Mermaid or Ningyo Hime (Mermaid Princess) by Toei Animation NOT Disney
Disney: Aladdin

Book made into Movie: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Book Made into Cartoon: The Last Unicorn (ITC)
Computer-Animated: How to Train Your Dragon

Puppet Movie: The Dark Crystal 
Muppet Movie: The Muppets (2011)

Anime Movie: Sailormoon R (Romance)
Studio Ghibli: Spirited Away or Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
Fantasy Movie: The Fall (2006)

80's Fantasy: Legend
Holiday Movie: The Muppet's Christmas Carol

Cartoon and Live Action Massup: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? / Anchors Aweigh
Disaster Movie: Twister
Parody: Spaceballs
Alien Invasion: Independence Day
Superhero Movie: The Dark Knight
Horror Movie: Exorcist
Spy Movie: The Man of U.N.C.L.E

Bond 007 Movie: Skyfall
Comedy Movie: Dogma
Science-Fiction Movie: Bladerunner

Adventure Movie: Indiana Jones (all by the last one)
Musical: Little Shop of Horrors

Zombie Movie: Zombieland

Mafia Movie: The Godfather
Coming of Age: The Breakfast Club
Crime: Snatch
Suspense: Momento
Mystery: Bone Collector
Thriller: Silence of the Lambs

Based On A Video Game Movie: 
Comic into Movie: Deadpool
Action: True Lies
Romance: Anne of Avonlea 
Western: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance / The Quick and the Dead

Spaghetti Western: Once Upon a Time in the West
Biography: The King's Speech / Kundun / Elizabeth

French and Indian War: Last of the Mahicans 

Revolutionary War: The Patriot / 
World War I: ...???  Need to find one 

World War II: The Way Back / The Flowers of War
Korean War: My Way
Vietnam War: Apacolypse Now

Modern Warfare: Hurt Locker
Historical: Doctor Zhivago

Samurai: Seven Samurai or Shichinin Samurai

Monday, June 13, 2016

Found Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant

I finally found it!  I heard about Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant from a guide book but it's actually a fun little place to check out.

 When you walk in, the front door actually has cabbages growing out front but also mannequins as well as various other items of decor armored in condoms.

From what I gather, the original intent for this place was to promote safe sex as well as planned parenthood.  The owner wanted make planned parenthood (PP) available to all in Thailand and so a portion of the proceeds go to PP organizations and clinics around the country.  He also wanted the availability of prophylactics like condoms to be as common as cabbages so after every meal, patrons of the restaurant will get a condom instead of a breath mint.

LOL, this is one of the first things you see when you walk in

I remember walking in and wondering what the heck that was and realized that the lamps and teddy bears were lined with condoms.  We didn't eat there because we were on our way to Terminal 21 (I'll write a blog about that place) but I definitely want to come back and see how the food is.

Have fun but stay safe!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Rant about Rape Culture Around the World

Yeah, Brock Allen Turner is a rapist without remorse

Let me just start of by saying this is a rant so if you don't want to read me ranting, don't.

There's been a buzz about the this guy, Brock Allen Turner after he was leniently sentenced to jail for 6 months.

Yes, I'm upset about the judges ruling not only for his sympathies towards Turner, but many societies and cultures blase look at rape and assault towards women.

Reading the victim's statement was hard to read through because many women can empathize with her frank vulnerability and anger at what had happened to her and her loved ones during this trial that is obviously backed by Turner's money and the judges bias.  To be let off so leniently with 6 months in jail when 12 jurors unanimously found him guilty on 3 counts of sexual assault : "assault with the intent to commit rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an intoxicated person and sexual penetration with a foreign object of an unconscious person".

There is definitely something wrong with our society when a judge will cut his sentence short because he "A prison sentence will have a severe impact on him" is pretty fucked up when not considering what his victim went through all the while.  After reading about Turner's father and how he tries to make his son seem human despite his son's monstrous act, I can't help but feel 'why are you defending his actions?'  People will say, as a father, he sees only the good in his son and whatnot but there comes a point where your kid fucks up so bad, there is no going back and you DO NOT support them.  He's not the innocent one and actually ruined this young woman's life by raping her, which people are not getting.

I view rape on the same scale as murder because granted, you've not killed the person but you've taken the life the victim would have had away from them forever, and changing its irreparably.  Don't believe me, read the victim's statement.  If not that, read other victims comments in various articles relating to this case and how they relate and feel exactly as she does - their lives forever changed.  One such commented that she is 58 and it happened to her over 30 years ago and she is still affected after all these years.

It doesn't go away folks.

This type of assault does rear its head back when you least expect it.  Victims may not even be talking or thinking about that horrific event but something minute like a touch or a train of thought can trigger the painful memory and no matter how they try to bury it deep down to be forgotten, it never is and it's always there.

1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men are raped at some point in their life in the US.  That stat is from the CDC in 2012, a bit old, but I guarantee you that number hasn't changed much in the past 4 years.  Though more women are getting assaulted when compared to men, it happens to both genders and the numbers may not be accurate because a lot of victims do not report it but it gives you an idea about how prevalent these things happen.

The reason this number hasn't changed is because there is an underlying rape culture within our and many other societies in the world today.

You'll hear stupid things like :

  1. They had it coming to them because ___insert any fucking inane reason___
  2. It's our culture/it's been done for generations - I will get back to this one
  3. I thought they meant yes because __insert fucked up excuse__
You name it, it's been said but bottom line, there is no excuse for such behavior.  


If people actually think there is ever an excuse for such deplorable behavior, it's because they are raised with a fucked up sense of values and our society doesn't help to change.

Now, let's go back for #2 on that list above

This is the most disturbing thing I've heard perpetuated in this day and age and it's barbaric.  Like Romulus and his army raping the Sabine women that formed Rome back in the day barbaric but a lot of the older generation encourage it as well as use the old adage, "It's tradition."  Someone may say, oh, but that's someone's culture and tradition but I don't care.

It's fucked up, is what it is.

There are many stories about how women are kidnapped and married off against their will and that's that!  WTF?!  It's a version of Stockholm.  Some of these women don't want to get married and it's okay for a man to come and take her away from her family and the life she already knew because a guy likes her enough.  Women kill themselves after being subjected to this.  I don't care how far this tradition goes back, there is a reason that certain traditions die off and I'm quite shocked that this is still prevalent.

(at this point, I lost my first draft and so I had to rewrite most everything below here but my rant mellowed out and was directed at how shitty Blogger was for losing half of my blog.  Oh well :P)

Recently in the news, there has been work about another story of kidnap and rape happening.

The Chibok girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram are an example of kidnap and forced marriage and conversion in faith.  Many of these girls have stockholm syndrom and children that resulted from these forced marriages (they had a choice of marriage or slavery - and by choice, I mean not a choice).  The sad thing is, some girls that have been found or saved are now being condemned and shunned when they return home over a circumstance that was completely out of their control over two years ago.

It's disheartening that their community also doesn't see that these women - girls when they were kidnapped - were forced to into a horrible situation and are not consider them to be victims.  Here is another example of perpetuating rape culture because they are blaming the girls when it was no fault of their own that they were kidnapped and often times raped before they were found.  TV in general portrays aggressive and non-consensual behavior as though it's normal and intimidation is common place.  Some will call it sexual tension but if you think about being the person assaulted in real life, wouldn't you feel intimidated or scared or angry that someone is blocking, pushing/pulling you as you walk away, or kissing you suddenly without consent or even touching.  It sends the viewer the wrong messaging that it's appealing to reach or be treated this way when it's anything but.

I think there needs to be a bit change in how everyone addresses the sexual assault and rape the same time they start warning kids about talking to strangers and saying not to drugs and alcohol.  For the many that think it's better to shelter their kids and not talk about it, when they finally do decide to broach the subject, it's already too late as media and everything else has already influenced your kid.  Another thing to consider is that many kids out there have already been sexually assaulted or raped and don't know what to about the situation because it's never been discussed before.  Kids may not know what happened to them until later in life they realized that someone violated them and the damage is already done.

Kids should be aware that what they see in the media is not reality.  They are very impressionable at a young yet if we don't teach them about what they really see, they are bound to try and impersonate what they see.
Another big thing our society needs to do to fix this culture of rape is to recognize who is the victim and support them, rather than shame them and exile them.  Too often, victims feel ashamed about something that was not their choice and are stigmatized negatively because that's what society does.  Many times, the same gender is the worse culprit of misplaced blame when really they should be offering help in any way or form.  I cannot stress this enough because with out support, these incidence will perpetually happen and the victims will continue to be marginalized when they are the ones in need the most after a traumatic event.

And if you're confused or think talking about consent to children is too heavy a subject to talk about consider this video as it aptly describes consent v. non-consent.

Let's shed some light on these issues and stop hoping they will go away one day, because they won't without change.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Going to Taiwan for Two Months!

This an update brought to you by my recent purchase for a ticket to Taiwan!  WooHoo!

While it'll be all fun and games and hobnobbing while I'm there, I do have a purpose of going to Taiwan so suddenly.

One, I was chosen to be recipient of the TUSA or Taiwan-United States Sister Relations alliance (TUSA) Summer Scholarship Program 2016 (Wow, that's a mouthful).  National Cheng Kung University will be hosting us during this time and our classes, private tutors, excursions and home stay experiences will all be covered by the scholarship.  

Mission Statement:
“Promote peace in the world by creating closer friendships and understanding between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan.”

The other main purpose of this program is Chinese language intensive studies and Taiwanese cultural education.  There are supposed to be a variety of electives that we may choose from to enhance our experience but I'm not quite sure what they are.

I'll be doing this summer program from June 30 - August 24 so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping I can pick up the language much better when immersed in it.  

One thing I'm encountering when trying to learn Chinese is since my brain is so familiar with Japanese, the similarities I find between the two languages are throwing me off, especially the written portion.  Both the simplified writing as well as the meanings can be slightly different but that small change is to confuse me. 

I think one of the things I'm going to do while I'm here learning is keep a blog as I did of my travels about the things I learn during my trip to Chiang Mai and Krabi.  It'll help keep me writing as well as reflect on my experiences in a new location.

I'm nervous about what I need to bring and not bring but mainly it all pertains to my budget.  Cost of living in Taiwan looks to be comparable to where I'm at now so I'm trying to see if I can plan out my budget as I'll have limited funds to make this work.

I'll have fun no matter what though.