Dongmen Station Now Open

Dongmen Station 東門捷運站 opened to the public in September 30th, (finally ^^!) connecting the north and south Orange line 新莊線 stations, and reducing the load of passengers transferring at Taipei Main Station. The Station opened on this year’s lunar calendar-based Moon Festival 中秋節, which marks the mid-Autumn, and the beginning of Taiwan’s hot and humid days. Stations depicted above are Guting 古亭 -> Dongmen 東門 -> Zhongxiao Xinsheng 忠孝新生. On the opening Sunday, the Station was packed with curious Taiwanese people wanting to take a ride and walking around the area, though I am not a fan of crowds and decided to take a ride on a less-crowded weekday… I must admit that I did feel a little ronery with the lack of commuters >_< ..

東 means west and 門 means gate, an allusion to the west gate of the city in the era of Japanese rule. This goes hand to hand to the 西門 station, more remarkably known.

Originally snapped a picture of the new MRT map, but the official version is available at the Taipei metroweb, along with some handy information about train times and such. Dongmen connects the Green and Blue lines. You may need to squint your eyes to find it (・・”)

As a frequent MRT commuter, Dongmen makes traveling a bit more faster for me, since I have to travel through this station almost daily, and much more convenient since I no longer have to take fight my way through escalators in Taipei Main Station — Taipei’s crowded central station.

The station is four levels below ground — the deepest MRT station at 72 meters deep (!) – and has five tunnels which according to Wikipedia “intersect in a twisted form”. I have no idea what that means :3 but the station will also connect to the future Xinyi line 信義線, which goes West towards Taipei 101 and the Xinyi commercial district. Who knows when but I hope it’s soon enough!

Thou Taipei metro tries to make friendly maps both in Chinese and English, I am not good with maps at all T^T but Dongmen is kind of the exception — to the left you see Daan Park 大安森林公園; to the right it’s the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂.

The Orange line stations are quite big in size, in comparison to the Red and Blue line stations. Not sure if they are designed like this to escalate for rush-hour times or for the future, but be prepared to walk long distances in any Orange station. The good thing is the numerous number of exits, good for going underground in the upcoming rainy season or hot sunny summer days.

Now if you’re wondering, the most famous place around Dongmen is Yongkang Street 永康街.

For some reason, Yongkang St. is in every Japanese guidebook about Taiwan ^^, because of the different restaurants and culinary experiences…

… But most importantly because of Ding Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 — a native Taiwanese restaurant that specializes in 小籠包 or xiao long bao, some small buns.

 I am not a particular fan of Ding Tai Fung, but it is one of Taiwan’s main attraction, Wikipedia says that the New York Times rated it as one of th Top 10 restaurants in the world, with branches all around Asia — Japan, China, Korea, Hong Kong… — as well as Australia and the US. No one can deny it’s success, this is just one of Taipei’s many stores and is 4 stories tall!

鼎泰豐 is so famous around Japanese tourists that the store front has ディン タイ フォン (Din Tai Fon) furigana ^^

One thing I do enjoy in these hot summer days is shaved ice; in Taiwanese we call it 剉冰 (cuà bīng), カキ氷 (kaki goori) in Japanese. You can see some hiragana in the storefront, probably to attract Japanese clientele too. A Vietnamese restaurant selling 蔥抓餅, also one of my favorite “snacks” in Taiwan… I was in a hurry but next time I’ll grab one and take a picture. Guy with the guidebook was looking for Ding Tai Feng, which was just around the corner. Small shop to the right is quite Japanesque ^^. Usually, we say 日式料理 Japanese food, so in the same way we can say 中式料理 for Chinese food, 美式料理 for American food, 韓式 for Korean, 港式 for Cantonese food, and so on :) Here’s another big restaurant, Shanghai Dim sum so to say. Never been there but will try it soon. Quite a sunny day. Only bad thing about Winter is that the sun hardly comes out, which will make taking pictures difficult. Police guy checking his Whatsapp, LINE, or Facebook. As soon as I spotted him with my camera he went back on duty. In Taiwan, we call the new generation 低頭族 — or “looking-down generation”, meaning that everyone is always looking down to their phones. Not uncommon in youngsters these days anywhere in the world. How does this compare to your own country? A girl deciding whether she should take Exit 6 or Exit 7, also wondering why there is one exit next to another one. Closer analysis reveals that some are just exits with escalators going up, while others are entrances with escalators going down… This is new to the Orange line. Not sure why though, maybe to cope with rush hours… Is it like these in other countries? More good news for Youbike users! Dongmen has some bikes parked here, which you can ride all the way to Shida, Taida, or the Xinyi area near the Taipei City Hall. Be careful with cars, scooters, buses in Taipei! One feature of the Taiwanese landscape is the never-ending constructions, especially MRT lines as well as HSR (High-speed rail) lines all around big roads and on top of freeways. It may be a nuisance to some, especially drivers, but Taipei citizens do understand that it really is in the name of progress. Another hypothesis I have is that smaller exits just occupy one half of the sidewalk, compared to bigger entrances. All stations in the Orange line have a glass and metallic-themed design, gives them a clean and neat feeling :) With the completion of the MRT station, buses now have their own lane, which makes traffic a wee bit less dangerous… just a wee bit though. Good thing about Taipei mass transit is that both MRT and buses are really convenient — there’s usually plenty of space on the MRT and the bus, except for rush hours and holidays. Xinyi road goes all the way to Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildings in the world, so soon Dongmen Station will connect to the Xinyi line all the way to Taipei 101… Coming soon™ ! Macaron sweets store. Didn’t fancy them before but I’ve seen they are quite popular in Taiwan. Not really into sweets but I must admit I can eat an entire box of maracons by myself. Clock behind reads 16:16 — not many travelers in the afternoon. On another note, for the month of September, there is some 10 or 20% discount when traveling or getting off at some of the Orange stations. I’m too lazy as to calculate how much the MRT costs anyway <(^^<

Guting Station, where you can transfer between the Red, Green, and Orange line now has a huge banner telling you how to transfer between lines, and even volunteers with signs willing to help. It’s near impossible to go wrong!
Compared to Japan’s subway or Hong Kong’s MRT, Taipei’s metro is both smaller and much more easy to figure out, it didn’t take more than a month of riding it daily to learn many of the key stations by heart.
How does the Taipei metro compare to your city’s metro?

Herou everyone!

Just wondering if anyone is still around this quiet world about instant ramen? ^^;

Anyway, can you identify the 101-story building on the picture? If you can, then maybe you can get a hint of why I’m gonna get back into blogging, how I may spin a bit from the previous mostly-Japan blogging. A lot has happened since I stopped blogging two years ago, and I wish to get back to what has happened in the last couple of years.

If you’re still around, hope you can drop a message, maybe I can check your blog and see what you’ve been up to lately! I’ll get into more details soon — prepare for it! ^_~

PD/ If you haven’t guessed yet, it’s Taiwan’s Taipei 101, one of the tallest buildints in the world =)

Earthquake Hits Japan

There’s not much left to say, it’s a tragedy and it is very sad to know this has happened in Japan.

The image shows a scared Panda grabbing a police officer’s leg. Which is in no way related to Japan because it’s just a random panda in China, as one reader pointed (thanks, and sorry about it! O_o) but I was foolish enough to believe on the internet shenanigans. Anyway, great picture to remind us that we humans and animals are sometimes pretty much the same: instincts, needs, even society sometimes, and the need to hug someone!

I had initially thought that it wasn’t so bad until today where reports and videos are even more shocking. Here is one from a closeup view:

YouTube Preview Image

All my friends are safe fortunately, a small positive thing. Life is so fragile!