cumbersome 〈手続き・やり方などが〉 面倒な, 煩わしい; 〈物が〉（重くて）扱いにくい, 運びにくい
take extra time（主語の事柄を行うのに）余分な時間がかかる
Spring has come. One of the distinctive features of Japan is its vivid transition between the four seasons, each of which has its own distinctiveness, and "spring" evokes warmth, beautiful flowers, cherry blossoms, the start of newcomers to lots of companies, and so on. I remember the springs like it was only yesterday when I entered medical school and I became a doctor.
Today, I joined an annual activity of Matsuyama Chuo Lions Club (336-A 1R 3Z), associated with Matsuyama City Spring Festival. In order to make the festival more enjoyable, we held an outdoor tea ceremony at the foot of Matsuyama Castle Hill for citizens and tourists. We also handed out pairs of red and white rice cakes which are thought to be auspicious and are consumed particularly in the beginning of the year in the hope of good fortune. Cherry trees are usually in full bloom at this time of year, but this year the period of the blossom has already passed by. However, a number of tourists were swarming around us.
Another attraction was "the period procession" in which some three hundred people dressed in costumes representing various periods paraded through the streets. Some of the pictures show the preparations of the parade. A popular actress is featured as the queen, the wife of the local lord every year and I was lucky to see her preparing just before the start of the parade.
I wanted to see a street, DiHua St., where more than 90% of Taiwanese medicine wholesalers supposedly gather. I headed for the street, checking where we were on the map on my smartphone. Incidentally, I came across a monument and a memorial hall on the way, both of which were unfavorable views for me. I'll show you the pictures of them with some remarks.
According to its description, the monument was built in commemoration of the victory in the war against Japan. Historically strictly speaking, however, it's undoubtedly untrue. Japan was defeated by the U.S., and stopped fighting on all the fronts. The weapons which the Japanese army was forced to abandon were utilized by the Chinese Communist Party and they expelled Guomindang into Taiwan, which was the opening of the darkness of the originally beautiful Taiwan, which is still stuck in the darkness.
The big hall in the picture was named after Sun Wen, who is said to be the Father of China. However, for people who know the real history, he was only a con man.
Now, DiHua St. was extraordinary for me. There were numerous curious items here and there. Some of them didn't look like medicine or even things that we took in orally - just a wooden rod, insect larvae' carcasses and so on. I wished I could have spoken in Chinese and communicated with people in those wholesalers.
Wandering Route in Taipei:
wholesale dealer 問屋
Chiang Kai-shek 蒋介石
larva a young insect with a soft tube-shaped body, which will later become an insect with wings
carcass the body of a dead animal
I noticed that I hadn't written about breakfast in the hotel. It was very nice. On the last day of the trip, we spent a slightly longer time in the hotel restaurant over a cup of tea, checking the plan of walking in the streets in Taipei. Another guide, different from the one who had guided us until the previous day, was supposed to pick us up in the hotel lobby and take us to the Taipei Songshan Airport at 1400 o'clock. We had a free time until the pick up.
There was the Taipei Railway Station just in front of the hotel. We started walking from here and dropped in at 228 Peace Park. "228" derives from the huge conflict between the original Taiwanese and Chinese from mainland China, which broke out on February 28th in 1947 and continued for about 40 years. A large number of original Taiwanese had been killed by the Chinese government. I learned about the complexity of the country's history in the 228 memorial museum in the park and understood why this museum wasn't included in the ordinary tour course. I was interested in the history and visited it. The last picture shows the building of the Taiwan Government, which used to be the office of the Governor-General of Taiwan. I marveled at how beautiful and awesome it was.
marvel at/over something ＜…＞に驚嘆する
I marveled at my mother's ability to remain calm in a crisis. 危機に際して落ち着いていられる母の力に私は驚嘆した．
We finished the museum tour earlier than scheduled. The next destination was the Martyrs' Shrine, where people who had fought and died for the sake of the country were honored. Presumably the guide might take into account the schedule of the change of the guard in the shrine. We arrived at it just in time for the attraction of the change of the guard.
As we followed the guards, I took pictures and mimicked the way the soldiers walked. It seemed that it was not so hard if for a short distance, but actually it would be tough work to walk a few hundred meters in a ritual way and stay still for an hour on the pedestal in full view of everyone.
Inside the shrine, people were classified according to the military conflicts in which they were killed. Among them there were people who were killed in the anti-Japan conflicts in a curious way, because there had been no war or anything like that between Taiwan and Japan.
When I talked about the shrine with a Facebook friend, who is Taiwanese, he told me that people honored at the shrine died for the Republic of China and not for Taiwan. I fully understood the whole picture of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China from his words. I sincerely hope for the independence of TAIWAN.
take into account sth (take sth into account とも) ＜…＞を考慮する, 考慮に入れる
Architects must take the needs of disabled people into account. 建築家は障害者の要求を考慮に入れなければならない．
pedestal （円柱・彫像の）台座, 柱脚;（胸像・花瓶を載せる）台
in full view of everyone 衆人環視の中で
in a curious way 妙な［不思議な］ことに
We returned to Taipei from Yeliu and stopped at Xingtiangong shrine at first, which honors Guan Yu, the ancient Chinese warrior. It was swarming inside with not only sightseers but local people. I felt interested about a few differences from Japanese shrines. There were several tables arranged in the 10 meter-square space in the grounds, which is all in all sacred and calm, provided only with minimum stuff in Japan. On the tables, there were various items, such as clothes, toys, snacks, boxes of candies, stationery for kids and so on. Those were placed there for charity by someone, and anyone who wanted them could take them away showing their gratitude to the deities. I was viewing with interest how people behaved around the tables for some time.
Our next planned place was the oldest Taiwanese temple of Longshansi and after visiting, we were supposed to have dinner. The lunch was delicious and moreover filling, however, and we asked the guide to walk around the city to make room for dinner in my stomach. Then, he dropped us near the ancient street of Bopiliao. This wasn't included in our plan, but it was so wonderful. There seemed to be a holiday and all the shops in the street were closed, but it was a nice place to wander around.
As for Longshansi, it was a curious mixture of Buddhism and several other religions like Daoism. Might the hodgepodge be a part of Taiwanese culture?
Guan Yu 関羽
Daoism, Taoism 道教
Do you know the Rock Sites of Cappadocia in Turkey on the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites? I've never been there, but I've seen the scenery on TV or something. Where we were brought to next was such a place, though its scale was far smaller. The area was called Yeliu Geopark. There is also a similar place in Japan, and I'll show you it(link). Anyway, the park is located at the nearest part to Japan in Taiwan, so you can find where it is on the map. We walked around and enjoyed the interesting appearances of various rocks.
Our guide gave us some information and advice on the way; More than 90% of the tourists of the park are Chinese who came from Fujian, China and stay in Taiwan for a day or two and will move to Okinawa, Japan by ferry. It's the regular route of the package tours for Chinese people. They are so rude and noisy, and sometimes spew sputa out. You'd better keep away from them.
We followed him in the park all the way, because he knew every curious rock and funny stories about the area. No policeman and no guard was seen only a decade ago, but now they were positioned from place to place. It seemed that a few Chinese had died here, ignoring the regulation lines a few years ago. The Chinese groups are sure to spend money in Taiwan, but they are probably uninvited guests.
Cappadocia in Japan
Next, we visited the small native Taiwanese village of Jiufen, one of the principal tourist attractions around Taipei City. The name of this village derived from the fact that there were only nine households in this area in the late 19th century, for "Jiu" in Taiwanese means nine. I found some shops and inns run by native Taiwanese in back streets away from streets teeming with sightseers. I'll show you one of those shops. The guide advised us to try some Taiwanese tea and we dropped in at a tea shop along the narrow busiest street. The next two pictures are of boxes of the tea we bought and the tea lecturer. I could communicate with her in Chinese with the assistance of the guide, although it was only several words, but I was happy.
Arranged by the travel agency, we had genuine Taiwanese cuisine at a historic restaurant(阿妹茶楼) in the picture. I'm not sure, but a well-known Taiwanese movie was apparently shot in this restaurant. Several Taiwanese were taking snapshots in dramatic poses inside. The atmosphere, the way the waitresses behaved and the interior design in the restaurant were similar to those of Japan and we felt relaxed.
By the way, Chinese food hazard has become widely known in Japan and we have avoided drinking Chinese tea, such as oolong tea, but the tea in the picture was Taiwanese. I really liked it.
I'll continue the topic of the last entry. I referred to the stuff in the first picture as a kind of tent, but a fire balloon might be more suitable. The base of the tent was made of thin bamboo with a thin wire across it as you see in the picture. What was attached to the center of the wires were fuel sheets. Writing the prayers on the balloon, setting fire to the fuel on the base of it, and holding it on the ground, then the preparation was done. The second picture shows the moment just before the launching. Do you notice someone squatting on her heels behind the balloon. She was just about to ignite the fuel. An old man was passing by chance, and he helped us hold the balloon. We had to hold it until the limit that we put up with the increasing heat of the balloon. At the next moment, the balloon flew far away. You can see the fire in the balloon in the picture.
By the way, a Fire Defense Law is strictly in place in Japan. How is its equivalent in Taiwan? It's unbelievable to fly things with fire. This area was in the midst of the subtropical forests and seemingly wet all the time. Forest fire might not break out. I asked the guide about it. He replied, "Mountains don't burn, but the houses burn." I took a snapshot toward the direction he pointed, which is shown below. The balloon which was launched from the adjacent shop flew into the third floor of the shop we dropped in at, but people looked indifferent. I admired their easygoing way of life.
In Japan, walking on the train track is banned in any case. However, it seemed that people in this village didn't mind such a thing. I'd like to have seen how they behaved when a train was coming, but I had to move to another point due to the time constraint.
On the second day in Taiwan, it was about to rain in the morning. When we joined the guide in the lobby, he rearranged the sightseeing route due to the unfavorable weather. Taipei City is surrounded by mountains and we headed for the eastern mountainous area. You can retrace our route on the map(link). After an hour's drive, we reached Jingtong Station, which was built about 80 years ago and is still in service even now. There were several coalmines around there and the station was prosperous at that time, but now most passengers are sightseers who want to feel nostalgia for the good old days. The historic coalmine museum was adjacent to the station, which, to my regret, was closed on a regular holiday. One more thing, I noticed the remarkable resemblance between this station and Nagahama Station near my office. I'll show you its picture later.
We enjoyed the scenery of subtropical forest and native people's villages from the train for some time and reached Shifen Station. An old custom still remained alive around there, in which you write your prayer on a kind of tent and fly it, then the prayer will be answered. They came in various colours and the shop owner chose a white one for us, hearing our wish to be healthy. The picture shows my wife's writing, meaning her wish for everyone's good health. I'll tell you how it works in the next entry.
We had dinner in a packed restaurant "鼎泰豊", which is shown in the first picture. The dinner was included in our tour and even the dishes were set. As you see, it was so crowded and a waiter was checking the number of customers of each waiting group outside the restaurant. It seemed that he'd like to utilize the seats as efficiently as possible. As far as I saw, a half of the customers were Japanese. I thought that the restaurant had something of a pact with our travel agent. I tasted some real Taiwanese cuisine and it was very satisfying.
After dinner, the guide took us to a famous night market, which was busy and swarmed with lots of sightseers. We found various unfamiliar food items there, but we were sorry to be too stuffed to try some. The moment when we went down to the underground, we got caught by an unbearable stench of rotten food. We thought we were near a garbage storage room at first, but it was the smell of a particular kind of tofu. Anyway, it was an unbelievable smell.
Lastly for this day, the guide took us to a beauty parlor or something. The massage of the sole of the feet was included in the tour and additionally, following the advice of the clerks, I had my layers of dead skin removed, and my wife got an elaborate face treatment. Their pampering was nice!
pamper to look after someone very kindly, for example by giving them the things that they want and making them feel warm and comfortable:
She spent her childhood as the pampered daughter of a wealthy family.
The picture shows Qingshuizushimiao, the mausoleum of the high priest Qingshuizushi who lived 900 years ago in the Sòng period. We entered inside after finishing a croissant ice cream. No entry fee and anyone was allowed to step in freely. There were seemingly no staff members or policemen. The facility must have been valuable. I wondered how easygoing the Taiwanese were. According to my travel guide, the building had to go through tough days of repeated warfare for a long time and had been repaired after the Great East Asian War. Some were similar to the equivalent of Japan, but most parts of the mausoleum were different from Japanese ones.
What attracted me most was its elaborate sculptures. It was really nice. The red items of a crescent shape in the picture were used to tell your fortune. Our guide showed us how to use them, and we tried and got a slip of paper also in the picture. The slip told us "not bad", according to our guide's words. I presumed that the possibility to pick up the good slips would be higher than the bad, but took it back Japan to examine what it means looking it up in the dictionary.
In the open space before the mausoleum, there were various people in a peaceful atmosphere. It was only 2 hours after setting foot on Taiwanese soil, but I felt relaxed.
mausoleum 壮大な墓, 霊廟
high priest (ある宗教の) 大祭司; the most important PRIEST in some religions
the high priest of something ＜…＞の指導者, 権威者
Sòng 宋（960年 - 1279年）
crescent shape / crescentic form 三日月形
tell/ divine sb's fortune （人）の吉凶を占う