Monday, December 1, 2008

Neck-Mole Hair is Cool, and 25 [More] Cultural Observations

One of my first posts after arriving here in Taiwan was a list of 25 Cultural Surprises entitled Sponge Bob Square Pants Knows Chinese.

I decided to do a follow-up:


  1. It is assumed that befriending a Foreigner on the street means free English lessons

  2. White-Foreigner Males in their 20s-30s have a bad reputation on the Island, and I can see when I pass a girl, or father, who puts me in that category.

    1. On the other hand, there are times when I pass a girl on the street, she'll stare at me in a way that probably would have gotten me beat up by the boyfriend on her arm if it were to happen in the States. I typically look at him to try to neutralize the situation (and size him up, just in case), but I'm greeted with a wide eyed, smile that rivals his girlfriend's gaze.

  3. There's usually a bout of giggly laughter after I pass by.

  4. It's okay to tell your English teacher he's fat if it's true.

  5. It's okay to tell your English teacher he's fat if you think it's true.

  6. They see being fat as unhealthy, not unfabulous

  7. Girls still starve themselves to be thin, however

  8. The one rule on the road I've seen followed is “No Right Turn on Red”

  9. At bigger intersections, Scooters have to make a two-light right-angled turn instead of simply turning left. This is occasionally broken.

  10. Mothers let toddlers stand between their legs on the floor of their scooter helmetless as they ride through the reckless city.

  11. But the AC and heater are rejected, largely, because it is deemed unhealthy and a waste of unnecessary energy.

  12. The Dryer is seen as a Clothes wrecker, and thus ignored.

  13. Duck and Chicken heads and feet are served as edible additions to your dinner.

  14. Every Night Market must have a Squid-on-a-Stick Stand

  15. Best factory-placed sticker on the side of a scooter: “Strictly for Wind Cutting.”

  16. 7-11 does not sell any Energy Drinks, and their soda list is about 4 beverages long. However, they have three refrigerators full of bottled tea.

  17. McDonald's, KFC, TGI Friday's, and Costco all taste more or less the same, the only difference is the bilingual menus.

    1. Speaking of Costco... it's nothing short of an adventure-outing here. People queue up 15 people thick and wait a good ten minutes all for a nibble of the new chunk of Cheddar cheese.

    2. Oh, and the Pizza in the cafe near the entrance? Tastes the same, except the flavors are Cheese, Hawaiian, and Seafood. I have yet to see Pepperoni anywhere.

  18. The Pamello fruit is a festival delicacy that is typically eaten once a year. It tastes like a white orange.

  19. You sort your recyclable trash at public fast food restaurants and in office buildings

  20. The lady at the DVD rental store has a strange but decent taste in English speaking movies. (American and British)

  21. Even when you know you're full, you're still hungry. Because you obviously didn't eat enough. They don't have a problem telling you this. (for circular reasoning, see numbers 5-6)

  22. Those snack bags with the wasabi-wrapped-wafers, and the stale ginger-flavored communion crackers, and the crunchy flash-fried (whole) minnows... they're actually not half bad. (Just don't think about the minnow part as you're putting it in your mouth)

  23. Jr and Senior High Students study for fun, and practice their instruments on their day off. (Yes, day. As in one.)

  24. Taiwanese try to out-entertain their guests at weddings. C-Rate Magicians always do more harm than good. That simply should be an international policy.

  25. If the only substantial facial hair you can grow is four inches of straggly mess out of a neck mole... by all means, go for it...

11 comments:

Gavin said...

I gotta put in a request for a Squid on a Stick picture!!!!

Rachel Tamed said...

I will never forget the first time I helped a friend make some Thai food - I was super psyched to chop off the chicken's head and feet, but shocked when she scolded me for trying to throw them away!

Dream Girl said...

This is priceless. Nothing like a few cultural experiences... I leave for India in 26 days (but who's counting) and I can't wait for some of my own! =]

Jenny Colborn said...

#23 makes me laugh.

Anna Lefler said...

Good Lord! That's almost as complicated as living in Santa Monica! (You can only wear UGG boots on certain days with certain lengths of pants, etc. - ha!)

I love your blog!

Thanks for becoming a follower on mine - I really appreciate that. I look forward to reading more of your posts...

Take care ~

:^) Anna

King of New York Hacks said...

Squid on a stick?? Why not ?!?!?!

Eugene said...

Hey. Thanks for visiting my blog...

(And I've read this blog entry, promise.)

(I'm just too... shocked how my fellow Asians act...)

Don said...

This was just a fun post. Thanks for re-posting it.

Kalyn said...

Great post. I've noticed that most culture shock usually revolves around food, and is one of the last things to get accustomed to. Especially in Asian countries. How do they survive without all the sugar and caffeine?!

Samantha said...

haha I love all of these vivid pictures i'm imagining. Most of all, the little Taiwanese boys standing in between their momma's legs while they drive through the streets. Can I come visit, already?

virginia said...

i've been smiling since i first read this.

my son is heading to taiwan in march...now i understand why his girlfriend was terrified to introduce him to the parents!