Thoughts of a Canadian Exchange Student

NTU’s Guitar Club Performance + Emil Chau (台大吉他社的表演+周華健)

Posted in Clubs, Culture, Night Life, NTU, Taiwanese People, University by J on December 26, 2007

A cool performance at the main student centre (活大). The club played through some songs that I knew, for example, one of Zhang Xuan’s (張懸) songs called “My Life Will.” Although, I quite prefer her “Darling” (寶貝) or “Scream” off her first CD, My Life Will…. I like “Appearance” (模樣) and “Like” (喜歡) off her second album, Oh, dear. dear. I haven’t. (親愛的。。。我還不知道) best.

It was a fun show to watch because the guitar playing wasn’t bad and the singing was good at times. I think a little bit more showmanship from the performers would have made the show slightly more interesting. Although, I didn’t get the little skits in between…apparently it was a club in-joke. Also, just as I was thinking to leave at the intermission, I decided to stay just to see how the end of the show would turn out.

After a neat music-incorporated-play-mood piece, a quite famous NTU alumni (apparently) took the stage. He was great! His name is Emil Chau (周華健) and is from Hong Kong. I really enjoyed listening to the music he sang, both in Mandarin and in English.

Sadly, I had to leave the performance and my friends I was watching it with a bit early because I had another engagement planned. Gah! I forgot to bring my camera that night.

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Rock Climbing at Longdong (龍洞)

Posted in Chinese, Clubs, Outdoors, Sightseeing, Taipei, Taiwan, Thoughts, Weather by J on October 24, 2007

Wow.

Wow.

Taiwan’s natural scenery is beautiful. Outside of Taipei, that is. Taipei has its own kind of splendor. A type of city-bright, neon-lights, living-beauty. (Are there really neon lights in Taipei? I forget.)

This past weekend, I went with the Mountain Climbing Club on an introductory rock climbing day trip. That’s what 登山 of 登山社團 really means. It’s not actually an outdoor club but a rock-climbing-hardcore-mountain-doing-things club. My revelation aside, it was fun to go outside and see somewhere else in Taiwan that wasn’t Taipei.

Earth is beautiful.

Earth is beautiful.

To practice the belaying and rock climbing skills we learned at the last two “classes” that the club put on, we went to Longdong (龍洞), which is about an hour away from Taipei.

With gorgeous weather for an October day and nice grippy rock, practicing belaying and rock climbing was a nice way to spend Sunday. We were right by the seaside, which was an added bonus.

So beautiful, yet so dangerous. Not.

So beautiful, yet so dangerous. Not.

Haha! Getting to the rock climbing area was interesting, if not a little dangerous. I remember looking down as I was made my way to the climbing area and thinking to myself, “if my hands get too sweaty and I accidentally slip, I’ll probably die. Those rocks down there don’t look too soft to land on…”

Tall.

Tall.

Other than that, there was lots and lots of Mandarin speaking to be found: free for you to tune into or tune out just like a radio, or, even school (or life). Almost a television analogy. The digital age! Or was it analog?

All in all, there is so much more to Taiwan than Taipei. Taipei isn’t Taiwan. Just like how Guangzhou is not Guangdong. [Historically, Guangzhou (Canton) came to be taken as the name for the whole province because the city represented the province – somehow.] I feel like I’m just getting started on getting to know Taiwan.

It feels good to exercise outside.

Looking at our climbing area from a distance.

Looking at our climbing area from a distance.

Piano

Posted in Clubs, Exchange, Miscellaneous, NTU, University by J on October 2, 2007

NTU Main Library

The photo of NTU’s Main Library is also from the day before the bbq, when it was shockingly blue! Well, in comparison to the summer sky. 

A quick post on this:

At first I thought that you had to join the piano club to be able to play a piano (something I didn’t want to join), but thanks to a tip from my classmate I found out where I could play for free! All you have to do is go to the 2nd Student Activity Centre (二活) and just sign-up for a two hour block ahead of time.

The only thing is that the rooms that you play in aren’t sound proof. It was something that I quickly found out because that day that I went to play the piano, I think next door had a drumming session. I liked that though, because it made me feel better about being so out of practice – it took me nearly an hour and a half to feel that I was playing fairly decently: my sweet spot. Haha, but I think what contributed to such a long time in reaching my “zone” was that my hands were really tired from the indoor bouldering 2 nights before.

Anyways, the piano I played on was a Kawai, a little bit iffy here and there but good nevertheless. And, that’s it. I’m so glad that I found out where the pianos are.

The Outdoors Club (登山社團)

Posted in Clubs, Food, Night Life, Night Market, Taipei, University, Weather by J on September 26, 2007

NTU Sports Centre

NTU Sports Centre

Fortunate accidents are great things. I was on my way to join the Cycling club and in its place, ended up joining the Outdoors Club 登山社團 (which is much more suitable for me).

So, I took part in one of their first activities: indoor bouldering. Bouldering is indoor rock climbing without ropes and is not even 7 feet up. You’d hit the ceiling if you went any higher. Actually, no, you’d start to climb upside down. Which is rather hard to do.

So, I met my goal of completing this one route that it took me many tries to do: It felt so good to finish it. For most of the people though, it was rather easy to do. However, my poor physical ability is kind of embarrassing, though. Actually, the most embarrassing thing were my soft hands. Ahhhhh!!!! My piano hands!

The best part about all of this was meeting new people (as everyone says), getting some exercise (that wasn’t biking around campus) and seeing a different part of Taipei.

I also walked around in this pseudo night market place where I finally had my first 珍珠奶茶 in Taiwan. It was good! I also tried a little bit of this cold and sweet noodle dish. I thought it was okay. Only okay probably because I’m not used to eating at night as well as eating cold noodles. Lastly, it was my 2nd scooter ride that night.

And that’s the end of the un-cohesive rambling.

P.S. The photo is from the day before the barbeque when I was first shocked by how blue the sky in Taipei could be.

NTU’s Club’s Day

Posted in Bicycle, Clubs, Home, NTU, Observations, University by J on September 14, 2007

I had no idea so many people could fit into such a seemingly small space.

Here I was on Friday morning at the NTU Sports Centre which by no means is small, but the sheer number of people crowded into the gym sure made it seem so. Here at NTU, people seem so much more into their extracurricular activities than people do at home, probably because this is a surefire way to make friends as NTU students are the best test taking students pulled from schools across Taiwan.

But wow! There were a lot of clubs, everything was in Chinese, but there was a lot of energy. You could feel it in the fact that in the aisles between the booths you could barely move. It took my friend and I about 15 minutes to get from one end of an aisle to another in what would normally only take less than a minute to traverse the same distance.

Also, there were even clubs that were outside the Sports Centre. There were clubs that ranged from martial arts (so many!) to photography to helping out the aboriginal peoples that live in Taiwan. As long as you find your club, you’ll have a niche. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an Ultimate club. Boo.

However, since I have so much love for my bike, I think I’ll join the Cycling club. We’ll see, though.