I finished Memoirs of a Geisha the other night. Quite a good read. I hear the movie is well done, too; maybe Tim and I can see it next week. I like Taiwan; I like Chinese people and their culture – but I have to say that they've got nothing on Japan when it comes to raising everyday life to an art form. I used to lump the two cultures together as being artistically sensitive, and while the Chinese have produced amazing art over the centuries, the appreciation of beauty has not been incorporated into the common life here as much as it has in Japan.
The Japanese occupied Taiwan for fifty years (1895-1945). There is still evidence of that in the architecture, the language, even the faces of people, particularly here in the south of the island. The Japanese started the first schools for the deaf in Taiwan, and the local sign language still bears the mark (like Laurent Clerc's French influence on American Sign Language, albeit under very different circumstances). My impression is that most young people here hold a positive opinion of Japan. I came across this article, however, that outlines mainland China's position (and political strategy) that she and Taiwan are united against a common foe: Japan. I don't imagine that this will be very effective, especially with the younger generation here not only lacking the first-hand experience of living under Japanese occupation, but in general wanting to be much more like Japan.
So, any suggestions on what I should read next?