台北に行ってきました!!

{English version below}
皆さん、お久しぶりです!

今回は、最近旅行で行った台湾についてです。

今年の6月に3泊4日で、台湾の首都、台北に行ってきました。
日本を除いてアジア圏の国への旅行は初めてだったので、この体験が台湾へ留学したい人の参考になればと思います。きっと留学でもはじめて旅行で訪れる国での体験と同じように、カルチャーショックなどを経験するはずだからです。

それでは、まず美しい台北について!

台北は国際的な都市です。中国の文化が先住民の文化と混じり、日本、東南アジアやアメリカの影響も受けています。このような活気に満ちた町は、夜市(ナイトマーケット)お茶で有名です。
夜市とは夕方5時から深夜0時ごろまでの市場のことです。その特徴は、いろいろな美味しい台湾料理「Xiaochi」、つまりストリートスナック(屋台料理)です。その中でも一番人気はフライドチキン、「刈包」、Stinky tofu, 牛丼Bubble milk tea, パイナップルケーキ、「Ba wan」などです。安くておいしい夜市は観光客だけではなく地元の人にも人気なので、いつも混んでいます。

通化夜市

 

また、台湾はお茶の生産国としても有名です。台湾のBau Jong Teaウーロン茶は世界中に流通しています。そのため、台北には多くの喫茶店があります。私はその中でも人気の「Water Moon Tea House」に行ってきました。そこでは店員さんが台湾式の茶道を教えてくれ、おいしいお茶と台湾のお菓子がいただけました。日本の茶道を経験したことがある私にとって、それは面白くて、興味深い経験で、ビデオをたくさん撮りました。

有名な「Water Moon Tea House」

 

台北のお寺

台北に滞在中には、以下のお寺にも訪れ、台湾の伝統についていろいろと学びました。

 

大龍峒保安宮

 

 

龍山寺

 

 

これらの寺院に行った時に、私はすごく驚きました。それは、日本のお寺と違って台北のお寺は中国のスタイルを基に建てられたので、日本のとは違い派手な色や飾りがあったからです。よく見られた装飾は中国風の伝統的な竜です。また、日本のお寺は一般的に静かな場所である気がしますが、台北のお寺は地元の人が集まる場所で、いつも賑やかで一日中お参りに来る人が見受けられました。美しいお花や野菜、果物、またその他の食べ物など色々な物がお寺へ奉納物として置かれています。

お花はお寺へ奉納物として置かれている。

 

他の有名な観光地!

お寺以外で私がお勧めしたい場所は、中正紀念堂や自由広場、忠烈祠、迪化街 、台北101です。

 

自由広場門

自由広場にある中正紀念堂

 

 

迪化街の店

 

 

台北101 – Taipei 101

 

このように、台北に着いた時、少しカルチャーショックを感じました。

日本の生活に慣れてきた私には、台北は人やものが溢れた町に感じ、全然中国語がわからない私は何度も道に迷いました。英語が話せない人が多いみたいですが、面白いことにホテルのスタッフは日本語が話せました。

特に、私にとって一番難しかったのは夜市で屋台のごはんを試すことでした。なぜかというと、私は屋台のごはんがあまり好きではないし、信頼できないからです。でも、台湾は屋台のごはんがおいしいことで有名なので、頑張ってチャレンジし、台湾料理の美味しさを体験できました。
この経験のおかげで、学のように旅行でも、その国の文化や習慣を体験したいなら、自分の「コンフォートゾーン(限界)」から踏み出すことが必要だとわかりました。それができれば、その国を心ゆくまで楽しめると言えます。
Hi everyone!
A few months ago, I was lucky enough to travel to Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, and, since my experience could be useful for all those who might be interested in studying abroad in Taiwan or elsewhere, I have decided to share it with you all here.
Until then, except for Japan, I had never been to any other Asian country, and I was very thrilled at the idea of visiting one of the most underrated travel destinations in Asia (especially among Western tourists). Just like studying abroad, however, when traveling to a foreign country for the first time, people are likely to experience some forms of “Culture Shock”, and this is exactly what happened to me, as soon as I landed in Taiwan.

But first, let’s talk about how beautiful the country is!

Taipei is a very multicultural and international city. Taiwan local traditions blend together with Chinese culture, creating a unique fusion that is also enriched by Japanese, Southeast Asian and American influences.
Such a vibrant city is very well known for its lively night markets and for its top-quality teas, referred to as “Formosa teas”.
Night markets operate between 5 p.m and midnight and they’re famous for the so called “Xiaochi”, delicious Taiwanese street snacks, including deep-fried chicken breasts (jīpái), pan-fried dumplings, grilled Taiwanese sausages, Gua bao, Stinky Tofu, beef bowl, Bubble Milk Tea, Pinapple Cake, Ba Wan and many others. These cheap and delicious snacks attract not only tourists but also many locals, and so these markets are always very popular and crowded, especially during weekends.

通化夜市 – Tonghua Night Market

 

Taiwan is also one of the biggest tea producers in the world. Its Bau Jong Tea and Oolong teas are considered among the most refined and are very sought-after.
It’s not surprising, then, that you can find Tea Houses anywhere in Taipei and choosing which one to go to might be hard. I decided to follow my Lonely Planet advice and went to the famous “Water Moon Tea House”. I couldn’t have chosen a better place, as I ended up having a memorable experience there. Even though I didn’t have any knowledge about “Chinese tea ceremony”, the staff there was so kind to help me out and guide me through all the steps. For someone who was only familiar with “Japanese style tea ceremony” like me, this was all very new and interesting! Not only did I learn about Taiwan/Chinese style tea ceremony but I also had the chance to taste delicious Taiwanese sweets and tea cakes. Of course, I took a lot of pictures and videos!

タイワン式の茶道-Taiwanese style tea ceremony

Taipei’s most famous temples!!

While there, I also didn’t miss the chance to visit Taipei’s most important temples.

 

台北孔子廟-Taipei Confucius Temple

 

 

天后宮のカンテラ-Beautiful lanterns at Tianhou Temple

 

When visiting all these sacred places, there were many things that surprised me!

Unlike Japanese temples and shrines, Taiwan temples were obviously greatly exposed to Chinese influences, and so, colorful patterns and bright colors were predominant. A recurrent element is, indeed, the traditional Chinese dragon.

中国風の伝統的な竜 – Chinese dragon decoration

 

Japanese temples are also usually very quiet and peaceful, while Taiwanese ones, being the place where locals gather together, are always lively and crowded with people worshipping the gods at any time of the day. Beautiful flowers and fresh food, like fruit and vegetables, are also left at the temples, as an offer to the gods.

龍山寺 – Longshan Temple

What else??!!

Beside temples, Taipei offers many other amazing tourist attractions!!

 

中正紀念堂からの景色 – View from Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

 

 

国民革命忠烈祠の衛兵交代のセレモニー – Changing of the guard ceremony at the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine

 

 

迪化街にある店の中 – Inside one of Dihua Street Shops

 

 

Now that I introduced Taipei’s most beautiful spots, it’s time for my general impression on the city!
As soon as I got there, I can’t deny I felt a bit lost and confused and, even if it was just a short stay, I can say I experienced a bit of “Culture Shock”.
Being accustomed to living in Japan, where people are well known for being usually very quiet and where everything seems always to be in order, my first impression of Taipei was that of a chaotic city, especially when I witnessed how Taiwanese drive their scooters!

台北の交差点 – Scooters at an intersection in Taipei

 

Since I don’t speak Chinese at all, I also had some difficulties in finding my way and ended up getting lost a couple of times. Not many people seem to understand English there and, curiously, the staff of my hotel, though not proficient in English, could speak Japanese so we managed to communicate.

But the hardest part for me was trying Taiwan’s famous street food! I’m not a big fan of Asian food, especially Chinese, and I tend not to trust street food too much, so it took a while before I challenged myself and tasted night markets delicious snacks. Luckily, I did it!
Thanks to this experience, I can say that, just like when living and studying abroad, even when travelling, if you would like to understand the culture and customs of a foreign country, it’s important you step out of you “Comfort Zone” and adapt to the new environment that surrounds you. If you can do that, only then you can say you lived and enjoyed the country to the fullest.

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