Chiharu Momoi / Marubeni Corporation TTY MRT E&M System Project Office
Taiwan is a southern island nation located less than four hours by plane from Japan. The population of 23 million lives on an island with an area about the size of Kyushu. With such good access, a great many people have visited Taiwan for business trips and travel, and I believe it is a relatively familiar overseas destination. In Taiwan since you can see and hear Japanese language throughout the city, you might suddenly forget that you are traveling overseas more than a few times. And no doubt there are also a great many people who get a nostalgic impression from the townscapes and national character that have a human touch.
Taipei is the largest city, and as the economic, political, and cultural center with a high level of safety and convenient transportation, it is an area that is very easy to live in. When you think of Taiwan, images of meals like xiaolongbao dumplings and mango flavored shaved ice are strong, but in winter, sure enough hot pot is the dish. If you walk around the city you can see Chinese hot pot, shabu shabu (thinly sliced meat and vegetables swished in boiling broth and eaten with a soy-based sauce), Chinese cabbage hot pot, Kamonabe Duck Hotpot (photo 1)…and signboards advertising nabe hot pot shops here and there. Among these, there are shops serving individual (one-person) hot pot dishes as well, so be sure to try some when you visit in the winter.
There are many attractive spots outside of Taipei as well.
I recommend Taitung. Although few people have visited because the transportation network is not very developed, it is an area with abundant nature, next to the Pacific Ocean and 3,000-meter (9,842-foot) mountains. Mr. Brown Avenue (Photo 2) recently became famous when it was featured in an advertisement for a certain Taiwanese airline, and it is a beautiful region with rice paddies stretching out on one side. The landscape with golden rice plants stretching out is the best part. In addition, there are many indigenous people in the eastern areas of Taiwan, and among these, they say that about half of the population of Taitung comprises indigenous people. The figures of indigenous people wearing brightly colored clothing and playing unique music are in harmony with nature, and they capture the hearts of the people watching.
And if you go a bit further afield, you can find relics remaining in historical districts and beach resorts (Photo 4) as well as numerous hot springs. Although it is a small country, it has a wide variety of aspects.
I encourage everyone to come and enjoy the variety of Taiwan, not just once, but again again!
Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.80 (March, 2014)