14 February 2016 @ 12:44 pm
 Hello, how is everyone doing?

I went to Taichung and Nantou for Chinese New Year, but the post for that will come another day!
For now I want to write about my experience at Comic World Taiwan (CWT) yesterday.

CWT is said to be Taiwan's version of Japan's Comiket. It is probably "only" 1/3 of Comiket's size, but it's still gigantic compared to the other doujin events in Asia. I mean, the event occupies four floors... The other doujin events I've been to in Singapore and Indonesia don't even fully occupy one floor sometimes.

Some noteworthy things:
  • The queue was crazy. I went with a friend, we arrived at 8.30 am in the morning but only managed to get in around 12 pm. Granted that the event only opened their gates from 10 am for the VIP access and 11 am for the regular access, it's still quite mad how people queue until they make a circle around the complex (not the building, THE COMPLEX). I heard that Comiket is crazier tho, so... Yeah.
  • Apparently we have to buy tickets for both days? Usually in Singapore and Indonesia, you can opt to just buy entrance ticket for Day 1 or Day 2 besides for the whole event. It's not so bad because it's 200 NTD (IDR100k), but I still kind of feel wasted because I don't plan to go on Day 2 (which is today).
  • There were food trucks!! To me, it's a very US thing, hahaha. I had food truck meal for the first time back when I was in US for exchange. It's not something we have in Indonesia (IDK about Jakarta but they are rare in Bali and my hometown) or Singapore.
  • The fandoms in CWT seem to vary a lot. There were even a Fullmetal Panic cosplayer. Among the doujin booths, I see a wide variety from Harry Potter, to Marvel/DC, to Nirvana in Fire (sadly most of them are light novels that I can't read yet), to even the more popular fandoms like Haikyuu! It's quite amazing because in Singapore/Indonesia you'll mostly see mainstream/trendy fandoms only.
  • There were also a lot of original doujins/artbooks, and they seem to be selling pretty well judging from the amount of visitors in those booths too. There's a good balance between original IP and fanwork, and I think that's really impressive.
  • The most impressive thing about CWT is the culture among the visitors, I believe. I don't see fangirls/fanboys squealing or screeching or basically losing their shit over their fandom, people leave shortly after they got their stuff so that they don't get in the way of other people, there were no one who would read samples until finished and not buy anything... Hahaha. Most of the visitors are very well dressed too. :x I'm not saying that you have to be extremely fashionable, but some visitors in Singapore and Indonesia conventions don't seem to even care about personal hygiene... Ugh.
  • In relation to the previous point, my Taiwanese friend explained to me that perhaps it has something to do with how Japanese pop culture is perceived in Taiwan. Even the older generations usually appreciate it, and "otakus" don't get harsh judgment for being who they are. In Taiwan, anime/manga and video games are seen as healthy hobbies, parents would rather their kids stay at home rather than wander around outside and get into troubles (the gangster culture in Taiwan is no joking matter). So most of the Japanese pop culture enthusiasts don't fit into the usual "nerd"/"geek" stereotypes because they were never treated as outcasts/weirdos.
  • Also, no bargaining! In Singapore and Indonesia I see this often, especially done by aunties and schoolkids. But in CWT, when people buy stuff, they just take the item and give the money without any questions. The crowd control is rather good in a sense that they ban kids from the convention without the parents, and booths are obliged to label their R15/R18 doujins with huge-ass stickers. 
Something from the seller perspective:
  • Apparently in CWT, because of the huge size, most people already plan their "route" before going, so for sellers they will promote like crazy on plurk (apparently it's huge in Taiwan) or any social media. People hardly will look at random booths, so it's hard to sell if you don't really have any fanbase over there. It's quite interesting because in Singapore/Indonesia there were artists who don't really do social media marketing and can still sell, due to the small size of the convention.

And now, for some pictures!

There were rows of anime decal motorbikes and cars...

My loot :D

Only one floor and we already have this crowd... We can see the other floors from here too, and it's roughly the same.
12 January 2016 @ 11:26 am
First Month in Taipei -- Milestone Achieved!  
 Belated but happy new year to everyone! I hope you guys had a wonderful winter break!

I already moved to Taipei on December 1st, but I thought I'd give myself a month to get used to things before doing the usual social media stuff. Hahaha. I'm kinda late by few days, but I thought I'd do it now while waiting for my laundry to dry.

Here are some things to summarize my first impressions of Taipei:
  • It's really hard to survive by relying solely on English. Despite language being a global language, Taiwan is really like a world on its own. Most of the youngsters don't understand English much either, because their English education only aims on making them pass tests rather than for practical use. Most cab drivers don't understand addresses/names of their landmarks in English. Even in the capital city, Taipei, it's even more common to know locals who can speak Japanese rather than English. So if you ever plan to visit Taiwan, better download translator/dictionary apps. It's better than nothing. On the other hand, though, it's the perfect environment to learn Chinese.
  • People are really nice and helpful even if you know zero Chinese. I have not travelled to other parts of Taiwan yet, but in Taipei, this is true. During my first week here I can barely other food without pointing fingers/bahasa tarzan whatsoever, but people are always patient, some locals would even step forward and help when they noticed that I don't understand the language. However, they are also more likely to make small talk and try to converse with you if they know that you are a foreigner. No harm intended by them, but it might get on the nerves for some people.
  • It's super relaxing. I have lived in Singapore for 4 years before I came here... The difference in stress level is blissful. There is a balance between the usage of public and private transports, so even during rush hours, the MRTs are packed but people will queue up nicely and nobody pushes around like in Singapore. It's also very rare to see people rushing on the escalators and stairs.
  • People sure eat a lot here. It's not that they are gluttonous, but it's just very amusing sometimes to see petite Taiwanese ladies gobble up a portion that I'd probably able to split with two or three other people. It's not even that rare to see, in fact I think 80% of the time they do eat that much... Can't blame them though, good food is relatively cheap and easily found everywhere. The only problem for me is the lack of hot sauce (I like my food spicy). But if you fancy western cuisine or fast food, it's relatively expensive here.
I'm also halfway through my first semester here. Learning Chinese (surprisingly) is not that difficult, because the grammatical structure is pretty similar to Bahasa Indonesia. I didn't have a very hard time trying to learn the characters either, maybe because I treat it more like drawing. My main problem is differentiating and pronouncing tones!

P.S I got hooked up on this Mainland Chinese drama called Nirvana in Fire, and I'm on episode 51. After I complete them (the final is 54) I'd like to blog some impressions on it because!! MY!!! FEEEEEELS!!!!! I'm on a hunt for my next wuxia though, it's a very good motivation for learning Chinese.