Best Tips About Taiwan from the “Culture Shock” Book

A little diddy I found at Powell's Bookstore

A little diddy I found at Powell’s Bookstore

Even though Culture Shock: Taiwan was published in 1995 (18 years ago!!! Whaaaaaat!?) and had a few grammatical errors, I wanted to read the book by Chris and Ling-li Bates to get a feel for the Taiwanese culture.

Here is a round-up of the best advice and quotes from the “Culture Shock” series book on Taiwan.

Double periods!? Something I'll most definitely have an issue with. And who the hell edited this book!?

Double periods!? Something I’ll most definitely have an issue with. And who the hell edited this book!?

  • Do not dress up or wear a pair of white shoes if you’re going to the wet markets (where meat is sold. Well, first it’s an animal and then right in front of your eyes it becomes meat.)
  • Learn to look left, right, up and down before crossing the street.
  • “‘Wild Chicken Taxis’ are appropriately named because they are speed demons who will try to get a full complement of four passengers to squeeze into their cars for a fast and risky ride.”
  • “It is not unusual to see a family of five balancing on a Vespa. Junior is standing between dad’s legs, mom sits behind dad carrying the baby and big sis is clinging on behind mom.”
  • “Remember the Chinese saying, “A thousand words are never as good as one look.'”
  • If you want to seem sincere, you must ask a person if they want tea at least three times before they give you their truthful response.
  • The saying gen pi chung means you are a fart-following insect … and it’s also an insult.
  • Yang gwei means “foriegn devil.”
  • Da bi dz means “big nose.”
  • “Though rare now, spirit marriages do take place. [A living male] and [the ghost of a dead girl] become wed in a formal ceremony. This has no legal effect, but the groom must now put the girl’s ancestral tablet on his prayer table.”
  • [Tai chi] “Taoist believe that in the very early hours (4 to 5 am) trees give off ywan chi, or ‘original energy.'” The bigger the tree, the better you’ll breathe.
  • “Taoism the philosophy deals with change. It accepts that all things are in a state of flux and change is ceaseless. That is the ‘way of nature.’ The person who understands this, who can observe nature without distraction, can thus move in harmony with nature.”
  • “Some Taiwanese people have added a Western given name to their [business] cards. While most of these are simple off-the-shelf names, like Robert or Simon, others are more obscure, like Jubilee, Beauty or Banjo.”
  • “The Taiwanese do swear and the most frequent epithet you will hear is ta ma de! Which literally means, ‘His mother!'”
  • Taiwanese enjoy puerile, slapstick humor – flatulence and food fights!”
  • “[An important] step for immunization is to allow yourself to bring some familiar items with you when you move.”
Advice for parking a car. TYPO! And a cool pic.

Advice for parking a car. TYPO! And a cool pic.

{Which items from home would you bring with you to a foreign country?}

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About julieschicklit

My book blog is dedicated to finding books, stories & ideas that redefine women's literature to be something smarter & funnier. More RAWResome lit for ladies. I am remaining some-what anonymous because I have a day job. My Man-Beast and I are soon going to live abroad in China, so that's why I'm a reblog-aholic.

17 comments

  1. Here are some of the things I lugged over the Pacific to Taiwan: 100% cotton sheets, raw almonds and walnuts, organic cinnamon, Dr. Bronner’s soap, coconut oil, and lots of clothes. I’m excited for you to start your Taiwan adventure! Let me know if you need any help!

    • Yes! Cotton! I hear the thinner the cotton, the better. And thank you for the offer. Hope you don’t mind if I really take you up on it! I don’t eat cows or pigs so I’m worried about eating out.

      • Yes! Please take me up on it! : )

        Eating out won’t be a problem at all. I’m vegan and there are tons of great options here. Chicken and seafood are also very popular choices.

        Taiwanese eat out a lot! Eating out is quite inexpensive, and there is a huge variety of restaurants and food stalls. I am a big fan of all the noodle dishes. In some little spots a satisfying bowl of noodles is as little as one US dollar!

        And this random thought… It is next to impossible to find tampons here.

        Here’s my post about being vegan in Taiwan:
        http://languageboat.com/2013/05/20/vegan-in-taiwan/

  2. “gen pi chung” really useful lol
    One thing I keep carrying and buy bulk when I go home is deodorant, and of course spices, ohhh yeah and candy corn.

  3. Tylenol, Advil and deodorant. And oh, did we miss bagels in Switzerland.

  4. “It is not unusual to see a family of five balancing on a Vespa. Junior is standing between dad’s legs, mom sits behind dad carrying the baby and big sis is clinging on behind mom” yeah I’ve seen that (not in Taiwan though). The first time I saw them all I was so impressed!

    • I’m not going to lie, I’m kinda scared about getting a scooter. Though I hear there are special ponchos you wear that have lots of pockets so you can carry groceries home. And I’m excited for that. Makes it worth the risk of life!

  5. Pingback: Culture Shock: A Giant Deformed Freak in Taiwan | Language Boat

  6. Pingback: #Caturday Monorail Stops At Library | julie chicklitasaurus

  7. Pingback: Culture Shock: A Giant Deformed Freak in Taiwan | julie chicklitasaurus

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