November, 2016

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by Harumi Okochi.
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My first trip to Taiwan, my first trip on wheel-chair

 I have long wanted to visit Taiwan. We have good friends there.
At last we went there!
My First Taiwan was my First Wheel-chair Journey!
But please don't be worried, friends. I am a contemporary handicapped. I am getting better now, and started my rehabilitation. I will walk and run like a Bambi soon.
This month is a photo journal of our Taiwan trip.
I hope you will enjoy.
   With Pinky at a cafe.
Pinky and Vicky are our friends. I happened to meet them on the street in Karatsu. At that time they were travelling all around Japan by a tandem bicycle. They both are journalists and also artists.
Pinky writes for magazines and papers, paints pictures, so fantastic works.
Vicky's photographs are always warm and pure.
They visited us in June this year again and stayed for two weeks
I promised to pay back a visit in Taiwan soon.
So we really went in September.
   Pinky serves tea in her house.
An elegant way of tea ceremony. Chinese oolong tea. They use very small tea pot and cups.
Pinky and Vicky live and work together.
The pictures on the wall are Pinky's works.
Sorry, the one behind Pinky reflects the window light.
   For a dinner, we went to their friend's place, Wuwei Tea House. An oasis in the center of the town of Taichung. The owner of this cafe restaurant was so kind and treated us good dinner. Thank you!
Old furniture was attractive. And the buildings!
So nice and traditional. We saw many works of art. Well collected.
The pond with many carps was reflecting the light from the rooms and it was like a dream.
   The owner (center) gave us good oolong tea just picked from Alishan mountain.
   The next morning we visited the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum.
This museum just opened on September 30 this year. We went there before its grand open. Vicky had to make reservation one month before.
We were lucky to be able to see this museum before it gets too crowded.
   From the gate, we ride a cart to the entrance of the museum.
Healthy people of course should walk. But my cane attracted somebody's attention, and there came the cart.
My husband and I on the car, and Pinky jokes she will be the driver.
   This museum concentrates on the Asian culture and art. Taiwan, Japan, Korea and China.
For these four countries, there are some common cultures. One is Buddhism.
This exhibition is Buddhas images of the four countries.
We could compare the similarities and difference
at one sight. Amazing exhibition it was.
   I liked this Buddha best.
I stayed for long in front of this. Nobody around. Tranquility and peace prevailed. My mind was empty and tried to listen to the words of Buddha.
   This is another theme of the four countries.
Culture of Tea.
This small house is the image how Chinese educated people enjoyed tea with their friends.
They built a small tea house in the mountain or riverside, and invited friends, enjoyed tea together, talking about poetry or something beautiful.
It is the same idea of Japanese tea house.
   The world famous Jade Cabbage is now shown n the Southern Branch for one year to celebrate its grand open after so many difficult years.
I was lucky to see it here without too many people around my wheel-chair. It was much smaller than I had expected.
   Mostly Pinky pushed my wheel-chair instead of my old husband.
My husband is short tempered and cannot wait for me to look at things taking much time.
   In the afternoon, we visited the old Wufong Lim residence. The residence was damaged by the huge earthquake which hit Taiwan in1999.
The government helped, and the buildings were mostly reconstructed.
It is a huge residence of a great historical family of Taiwan.
Seven buildings in a line facing the street.
Some part are still under construction.
I peeped in a place where some men were painting something.
   The details were elaborated and beautiful.
It was a good luck that the late father of the master of this family had taken all the pictures in detail, and the blue prints were reserved.
   One of the houses.
I think this house is for religious use.
   This is the theater of the family.
Chinese plays were performed here, and many audience saw them from the side building around the theater. High class ladies must see the play behind a thin curtain not to let people see their figures.
I thought this is like the Shakespeare Theater in London.
   Mr. Lim (left), the present head of the family, welcomed us. He was so kind and explained about the plan of this re-construction. We were honored. Thank you!
   Before we leave Taichung for Taipei, we paid a short visit to Pinky's friend, who is a traditional scroll maker and also a calligrapher. His daughter is a painter, and the scroll behind her is her new work for an exhibition.
   In Taipei, we stayed at the Grand Hotel.
This historical hotel was so interesting, and we saw every corner of the building.
   From our room, the back side of this hotel looked like a winding dragon.
   The first night in Taipei was also blessed with a gorgeous dinner offered by the owner of a very famous restaurant. ShinYeh on the 85th floor of Taipei 101 Building.
The food was beyond our expectation. Taiwanese food, but looks like French cuisine.
Thank you!
   From the high window of ShinYeh, Taipei downtown looked twinkling.
   We visited the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
As for this Museum, I only put one photo here.
Because too many good articles and photos are seen on the internet about this Museum.
This is a jade screen. How I wish I could have one of these beautiful furniture!
   The YueBing Chinese Moon cake we bought in Taipei.
This cake is a gift to each other at the time of autumn full moon, August 15th of lunar calendar this year.
We carried many of this heavy cakes for our friends and family.
   On this journey, I was on a wheel chair most of the time. It was not just a wheel chair, but it was a throne of a queen! The poor old King was exhausted pushing this heavy me. He also carried the luggage.

This article I am writing in October. One month later than our travel. My legs are becoming better slowly. Maybe in two or three months, I will be quite all right.

  The most important thing I learned this time is how the handicapped people feel when going out.Small gaps of the roads, stairs without elevators, cold attitudes of people passing by............

I think I will do better when guests come to my place on a wheel-chair.

Thank you very much for joining me.
I hope you will visit us again next month.

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