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UHD students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences traveled to Taipei and Tainan, Taiwan from Dec. 29, 2012 through Jan. 9, 2013. Read about their adventures as they explore night markets, temples, monuments, museums and karaoke bars, writing about it all as they go. Experience their joy as they gather among hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese to welcome in the New Year with fireworks under a full moon in the amazing city of Taipei. Follow them day by day as they travel the country, meeting students from the National University of Tainan, sharing with them and with others the pleasure of cultural exchange.
Adrianna Martinez – “Indefinite”
We got to Tokyo for what we thought would be a normal layover of three hours. Little did we know that it would turn into an overnight stay. I was happy since Japan was a place I wanted to see. We stayed at the airport for many hours, before the flight went from being “delayed” to “indefinite.” Indefinite, that was the first time I have seen that to refer to a flight being cancelled. Everyone in our group was exhausted, and I was too; however, I was too excited about being in Tokyo so we decided to wander around the streets. Everything was closed, and the streets were almost empty, but I thought it was a great place. Tokyo is now on my to-do list. At the hotel, we encountered our first language barrier, the rooms were freezing and when we wanted to turn on the heater, everything on the remote control was in Japanese. We tried to figure it out, but it was helpless. We ended up having to go to the lobby to ask them if they could fix the temperature in our rooms. That was the beginning of what it was going to be like not knowing the language.
Eduardo Melendres – Bonus! One night in Japan!
After a long 14 hour flight on the plane from Detroit to Japan, we landed. We anticipated a short stay in Japan before transferring to another plane that would take us to Taipei. However, the plane that we were supposed to take had a mechanical failure. Unfortunately, our time in Taiwan was going to be cut short by a day, but the airline paid for us to stay in a hotel for one night until the next available flight to Taiwan. The airline gave us a boxed lunch and drove us by bus forty-five minutes away from the airport to the Wishton Hotel. The most amazing thing in the hotel was the toilet! I have never sat on a warmed toilet seat before, and it caught me by surprise. The feeling of a warm toilet seat was marvelous and should be standard everywhere. My stay in Japan was interesting, even though it was only one night and it was cold and rainy. Hopefully, one day I will return to see more of Japan.
Leroy Adam - No one looks like me
I’m in Tokyo, Japan and no looks like me. We live in a big world filled with billions of people, people of different colors, races and ethnicities. The black community makes up roughly 17% of the world population and I’m in the part of the world where it feels like I am the only one here. How do I greet them when my presence is so foreign to them and theirs to me? Will they fear me? Humans always fear what’s different and what they do not understand.
In Taipei, Taiwan this feeling does not change. No one looks like me and you know what, now I love it. I can’t read any of the street signs, I cannot communicate with the natives, and the food is so foreign to me. A world of unfamiliarity but filled with many possibilities. As I walk the illuminating streets of Taipei, I catch the eyes of the Asians who seem in shock of my presence. I feel elevated to a celebrity status when I’m here.
Paula Doan - A Delicate Subject: Taking a Seat Should Be a Treat
Asia has the U.S. beat on plumbing. Last night, I hauled my exhausted body into a spotless but poorly heated Tokyo hotel room. The first destination after dropping my bags was the restroom. I expected a porcelain seat of average description, but I found that this humble piece of necessary furnishing truly rises to the title throne when in the East.
The smooth, cream-colored, plastic chair was in a bathroom that covered a maximum of twelve square feet. A low and unobtrusive seat, it was unlike the white porcelain behemoths with bulky tanks stodgily piled atop that are found back home. No tank was in sight; the furnishing looked as if it came from the future. The lid was closed and hugged the rim on which it sat. Along an armrest on the right-hand side, a row of lighted buttons winked becomingly. The day was long, and the evening cold. I wanted to get ready for bed. I lifted the lid and recognized the basin's form.
The first surprise came as I seated myself on the plastic ring - it was warm! The chilly room was forgotten, as I settled in on the comfortingly toasty frame. As I sat, I examined the row of lighted buttons on the small panel to my right. All of the labels were in Japanese. I was dependent on the pictures to figure out the function of each button. From front to back I saw a dark blue button with an Asian-language character I do not understand, a green button with a cartoonish bottom hovering over an equally cartoonish fountain, and a pink button featuring a cartoon lady's face. Behind these three buttons, two more controls labeled in foreign characters taunted me. They seemed to be up-and-down controls, for each had a row of five lights next to it.
Gathering my courage to press a button, I figured that "when in Rome ...". I knew what it would do. I expected the water. But it kept spraying. And spraying. How do I make it stop? I was afraid to stand up; it might flood the bathroom. I tried pushing the same button again. Still spraying. I tried the slider buttons. Still spraying. But the sliders changed the temperature and water pressure. Nice to know. The only button left was the blue one. I pressed it. The water stopped. Then it hit me: Blue equals water.
The only things the bidets do not have are blow dryers, unless I just haven't yet found the control for that. Certainly, these will be added to the repertoire within the next few years, if it hasn't already happened. If the time comes that I build a house, I'm getting one of these - for the comfort of the heated seat and the hygienic appeal of the rest.
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