For the architectural historian and Modernism enthusiast, the quasi-abandoned beachfront resort of Futuro and Venturo structures just north of Taipei is an essential and little-publicized pilgrimage. Located in the picturesque coastal Wanli district, the complex offers a glimpse into a bygone era’s optimistic futurism all the more bittersweet considering the site’s current dilapidated condition.
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.
Walking out onto the roof of Winkler Partners Law Firm, arugula and strawberry plants frame the silhouette of buildings and mountain tops that make up the Taipei skyline. “Here’s my business card. That side is how I make money, the other is how I spend money,” says Robin Winkler, an American expat and our host for the day. The card states Winkler Partners Law Firm and the flip side reads Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association. His hobby, Wild at Heart, is the first environmental legal defense fund in Taipei, but his day job isn’t too bad either. The Winkler Partners office houses one of the first rooftop gardens in Taipei. (more…)
The news has been packed this week with news about Los Angeles’ new poop themed restaurant called Magic Restroom Cafe that has toilets instead of seats, poop oriented food, and various restroom decorations. But the inspiration for the place is a wildly successful chain in Taiwan called ”Modern Toilet.” We covered it this summer and Gene Weingarten, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post humor columnist called the article a “spectacular report about a new restaurant in Taiwan. Really, anything I say to prepare you for this would be insufficient. Enjoy.”
Near Taipei, you’ll have the chance to explore one of Taiwan’s most unusual landscapes. Yehliu Geopark, located in Taiwan’s Guanyinshuan National Scenic Area, is known as one of the country’s most dramatic geological areas. While in front of the park you’ll find Yeliu Ocean World–where you can take in a dolphin show–inside you’ll be able to hike through unworldly terrain. (more…)
It shouldn’t surprise you that one of Taiwan’s most successful theme restaurant franchises is Modern Toilet, a celebration of all objects and substances found in bathrooms. Taiwan, where prison and hospital-themed restaurants have also found success, is no newcomer to extreme eateries.
But Modern Toilet, which has over ten locations in Taiwan and has expanded to Hong Kong, takes everything to a higher level. Upon entering one of Modern Toilet’s most popular locations in crowded shopping district Ximending, Taipei, you’re greeted by a smiling gold-colored, dung-shaped character before you ascend into the dining areas. (more…)