Visit to Taipei / 台北旅行記 1/4


It was spontaneous, immediate decision that I was determined to go to Taipei this summer. First I had been thinking to visit Hawaii or Germany, where I can handle communication with people at ease. Then I thought, I’d rather feel like trying something (but not too ?) different this time, and reached one of the neighbors to Japan.14012781_10154387851618688_558020820_o It turned out to be a very comfortable stay in terms of communications after all, and overall so fun, so much fun beyond my expectation. As one of my former colleagues from MHI joined me to the trip, it became even more fun.

On the first day, I woke up in the very early morning and went to the airport with my friend by car. Although we arrived with much time left for check-in, we were somehow almost the last for boarding. It was just from full of passengers with so many luggage and it took time for every check-in besides some errors at the airline’s side.

今夏、台北に行こうと思ったのは不意の思い付き。言葉のやりとりで困らないハワイやドイツでも行こうかと思っていたけれど、またちょっと違うことをしてみようかと思った。まぁあまりに極端なところでもなく、お隣へ。結局はコミュニケーションで困ることは一切なく、すごく快適な滞在となったうえ、思いがけず楽しすぎた。三菱重工業で通訳をしていたときの仲の良い元同僚が一緒に旅行してくれて、より楽しかったのもあると思う。

出発日は午前のフライトのため朝も早く、結構早起きして車で空港に行った。チェックイン開始時刻より早く着いたにも関わらず、搭乗自体はほぼほぼ最後の方。荷物をたくさん抱えた搭乗客で満席になったためか、チェックインに時間もかかったうえ、航空会社のチェックインカウンターではいろいろ不具合も起きていた様子だった。

breakfast at the airport before flight. / フライト前に空港で朝食。

 

14018072_10154391412258688_1649402206_n_1After passing through the boarding, it all went well to our accommodation: no delay on flight, smooth traffic on limousine bus, great access from the Taipei main station to the hotel. Oh I forgot to take a picture of the hotel we stayed. It was located just within a walking distance of the main station. It was already around 14:00 as we checked in at the hotel and since we were offered a lunch on the plane, we immediately started strolling around the city. We had done some planning before visiting, and first went to the south west district for Lungshan Temple (or 龍山寺), Qīngcǎo Xiàng Herb Alley (or 青草巷) and Bopiliao historic block (or 剥皮寮歴史街区).

Lungshan Temple is known as a so-called power spot and I found therefore many visitors there. As an Asian raised in Buddhism culture and tradition, it was interesting for me to see and learn how to pray in Taiwan, which was sort of different from some ways I had ever seen/done in Japan. Here totally 19 different Gods and Goddesses are enshrined and every one of them handles something different such as for study, business, family, health and so on.

飛行機自体の遅れや台北のリムジンバスで交通渋滞に巻き込まれるといったこともなく、搭乗から台北中央駅通過そして現地宿泊先到着まで、何事もなく進み、気づけばホテルでチェックイン完了というスムーズさ。ホテルで写真を取り損ねたけど、中央駅から徒歩数分というアクセスの良さは超便利。とはいっても、ホテルでチェックインしたのはもう14時頃。飛行機の中で昼ご飯らしいものも出たので、すぐに市内散策を始めた。台北訪問前に、あるていど旅行計画は立てていて、まずは南西エリアを回って龍山寺、青草巷、剥皮寮歴史街区を散策。

龍山寺はいわゆるパワースポットとして有名で、到着したときも確かに多くの参拝者を見かけた。無宗教とはいっても、仏教文化・伝統の中で育ったいちアジア人として、日本とは異なる参拝形式を知るのは面白かった。この龍山寺では、学問や商売、家族や健康といった様々な分野の19の神様が祀られている。
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taken at the Lungshan Temple. Many visitors were praying for some wishes. / 龍山寺にて。多くの参拝者が願いを胸に、拝みに来る。

 

Wishing for some blessings from them, we went on to the Herb Alley and tried a kind of green tea called Qīngcǎo Xiàng Tea (or 青草茶) at a street nearby the temple. It looked… well, made me not feel like trying but actually tasted fine, yes, just a tea, maybe kind of healthy. After that, we passed Bopiliao historic block on our way to Taipei 101. This block used to be a major passage between the towns (seemed to be busy at that time), but then displaced by another street under the urban planning in the Japanese colonial period. Between 2003 and 2009, the Taipei City Government worked on renovating the block together with local residents and preservation groups, and therefore we are still able to get a glimpse of Taipei’s past in the Bopiliao historic block.

お願いごとを済ませた後は、青草巷と呼ばれる龍山寺隣接の通りで青草茶挑戦。名前も色もちょっと、とは思ったものの、味は普通。健康的なお味だった。このエリアにはもう一つ、剥皮寮歴史街区という観光名所がある。台北101に行く途中に通過する通りなのでもちろん立ち寄り。以前はこの町の一番にぎわっていた通りだったものの、日本による植民地時代に土地開発を通して他の通りが中心街となったとのこと。台北の昔を垣間見られるようにと、2003年から2009年、8年という歳月をかけて台北市政府が地域住民や歴史街区保護団体と共同しながら歴史街区を改修したのがこの剥皮寮歴史街区。
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taken at the Bopiliao historic block. The street really kept the historic atmosphere of its past. / 剥皮寮歴史街区にて。通りは確かに昔の趣を残しているように見える。

 

Starting the trip from the south west district of the city, we reached east for Taipei 101 in the evening on the first day. For Taiwanese, it was still a weekday but we saw many customers enjoying time there for shopping and/or dining. It was already a looooooooong day for us as our day began around 5 o’clock (or maybe much earlier for my friend) in the morning, so we finally didn’t go up to the top of the building but enjoyed having some dishes and viewing nice night light-up in the dark.

一日目は市の南西エリアから旅行をスタートし、晩には東の台北101に到着。日本では盆前ですでに休みに入っている日本人も多いこの時期、台湾ではただの平日。それでも多くの買い物客でにぎわっていた。朝5時(一緒に旅行した友人はもっと早く起きたかもしれないが)に始まった一日は長く、割と疲れが出ていたため、台北101の上には昇らなかったが、地上からその建物の素敵なライトアップを見てこの日は観光終了。
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taken at the Taipei 101 / 台北101にて

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