Sunrise at Sun Moon Lake

Hey guys, how’s your summer going? Is anybody else relieved that the humidity is slowly but surely starting to die down? Just me?

In my two visits to Taiwan, I’ve dipped my toes into several areas outside of Taipei proper. Yilan. Yangmingshan. And for today’s topic, Sun Moon Lake.

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Get your daytrip on! Yangmingshan National Park

If you’re a lover of warm weather, Taiwan is definitely the place for you. In the week I spent wandering around, Taipei stayed at an average of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) during the daytime, if not hotter.

If you’re more of a cold weather fan like me, signing up for such a warm climate can ensure you’ll spend most of your trip sweaty, tired, and in desperate need of ice-cold drinks on hand 24/7. With this in mind, I opted to get out of the city as much as possible during my stay.

Enter: Yangmingshan National Park.

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5 Top Culture Shock Moments for me in Taiwan

Having lived in Japan for several years, I was reassured to spot familiar convenience store and restaurant signs the minute I arrived in Taipei. Family Mart. Sushi Express. Royal Host. I’ll get around no problem, I told myself confidently. At this rate, I’ll be bustling about like a local!

Ahaha, oh past me, you’re funny.

In today’s post, I’d like to share with you the top moments where I was hit with a reminder of how differently Taiwan operates.

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A day walking in history: Meiji Mura

I feel almost bad to admit that, though I’ve been to Nagoya twice now, I have yet to hit up Nagoya Castle, the Tokugawa Museum, or most of the other “famous” places everyone expects you to go. However, I have found some great places to see in Aichi around Nagoya City. You may remember my post about the Totoro House; today, let’s take a look at Meiji Mura.

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Let’s get traditional: Wagashi making class at Kanshudo!

Learning to make local food is always a highlight for me when I travel. In Korea, I learned how to make dukbokki and not only ended up with a heap of delicious food, but with the satisfaction that I had learned about new ingredients and how to use them.

So when my friend came to visit me, we figured that trying some traditional Japanese food would be a great idea. The question was: sweet, or savory?

…Actually, I lied. That wasn’t a question at all. We both have huge sweet tooths.

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An Afternoon with My Neighbor Totoro

A week or two ago, I was hosting a friend in Japan. It was her second time in Kyoto, so we decided to branch out on adventure.

“Where do you want to go? What do you want to see?” I asked her.

“Well, going to the Ghibli Museum would be nice,” she said.

We checked the website, but as we were looking a mere month in advance, all of the possible days we could go were fully booked.

“Where else do you want to go? What else do you want to see?” I asked her.

“Well, since that’s a wash, maybe going somewhere related to a Ghibli film would be nice. Like the moss woods from Princess Mononoke.”

We checked, but we couldn’t justify taking a flight all the way out to a small island in Kyushu just to see one forest.

“Anywhere else you want to go? Anything else you want to see?” I asked her.

“Well, is there anything Ghibli related we could do on short notice?”

We checked, and struck gold in the form of Mei and Satsuki’s House–famous from the movie My Neighbor Totoro–in Aichi, Japan.

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