As you pull up into the Houtong Train Station, an hour north of Taipei City in Taiwan, a huge rattan sculpture of a cat head with beady eyes welcomes you to this “Cat Village”, where approximately 100 stray but friendly cats roam the streets freely. Houtong Cat Village was once a sorry victim of the dying mining industry, whose population was a mere 100. In 2008, a local cat lover organized a team of volunteers to clean Houtong’s streets to provide the numerous abandoned cats in the area with a better home. Over time, word of this peculiar community spread to bloggers, reporters and photographers, and the Houtong Cat Village was born. (more…)
Concoctions at a masquerade ball at London’s Foundation Bar
London, England. The name conjures up a montage of old buildings and new neighborhoods, dry scones and wet weather. And let’s not forget the nightlife. Local pubs are a quintessential fixture of London after hours, as are uber-classy VIP venues. (In)famous multi-level techno powerhouses have been around for a while, leading Western Europe’s counter-culture-cum-hipster-punk scene. “Secret” underground parties from Great Gatsby-esque speakeasies to cozy parlors have also been analyzed, scrutinized and examined until they are no longer secret.
But for a global city that is constantly reinventing its vibe, there will always be new secrets to unveil. We’re letting readers in on another London secret—its student scene. University students are refashioning how Londoners party. For starters, about two-thirds of the student body at the London School of Economics (LSE) hail from outside the UK. (more…)
Unless you are on a social media hiatus, living under a rock without 3G, or just really dislike cats, you’ve probably heard from a little birdie that a pop-up cat café is opening tomorrow, April 24th in New York City on 168 Bowery. Hosted by cat food company Purina One, the pop-up cat café will run until Sunday, April 27th. During this time, cat lovers are invited to sit down and sip coffee with feline companions. And it’s all for a good cause because these adorable kitties, provided by the North Shore Animal League, are up for adoption. Furthermore, animal experts at the café will be giving lectures on cat health and cat-friendly interior design for those seeking to adopt the precious fur balls.
Mention “Itaewon” to anyone—Korean or expat—who has lived in Seoul for a while, and the name will elicit a knee-jerk reaction triggering some cautionary tale regarding the drunken debauchery which takes place there after sunset. Located near the U.S. Army Base, Yongsan Garrison, the maze of bars and nightclubs which comprise the hub of this Seoul neighborhood has historically suffered from a shady reputation. Night spots primarily frequented by GIs in particular are seen as seedy pick-up scenes and places where only “bad girls” would dare to venture. (more…)
Treasure Hill Artist Village in Taipei, Taiwan
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been following the Sunflower Movement happening in Taiwan, a grassroots protest numbering into the hundreds of thousands, promulgated by the youth of Taiwan for more government transparency. Deeply rooted in the movement is the knowledge that democracy in Taiwan was hard-won. While the youth may not have lived through the horrors of the 2/28 Incident (also known as the White Terror), where 10,000-30,000 citizens were killed by the KMT party, they are keenly aware that their freedom of expression is at stake.
Not too far from the heart of the Sunflower Movement demonstrations on Ketagalan Boulevard is the Treasure Hill Artist Village, a former squatter community filled with artist residences and studios. Today, it’s an ecological sanctuary, historical site and art museum all at once, and merely one reflection of what has been creatively possible in Taiwan.