English Service host John Van Trieste is curious. There’s nothing about Taiwan’s many cultures that he doesn’t want to know more about. Join him every week as he gets to the bottom of yet another question. What will he be curious about this time?
The central city of Taichung is home to a piece of Taiwan’s radio history. Though its transmitters have long fallen silent, the Taichung Broadcasting Bureau is still buzzing with activity. There, you can find a rare look into what the radio stations of more than 80 years ago looked like. Looking into its story, you can also encounter an important turning point in the history of Taiwan’s architecture, uncover the ways Taiwan’s people once listened to the radio, and see the rolls radio has played in Taiwan’s past. Here this week to tell us more about this vintage broadcasting house is its head, Mr. Fu.
Anyone who’s ever set foot in a Taiwanese temple or held a Taiwanese teapot knows that Taiwan’s traditional craftsmen are exceptional at what they do. But while traditional designs and patterns remain popular, these days, many Taiwanese craftspeople are stepping outside the bounds of tradition. A lot of this daring experimentation is thanks to the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute. The institute's Mr. Hsu joins us this week to tell us more about craftsmanship in Taiwan and the organization’s work to bring it forward.
Hualien’s Pine Garden is aptly named- this charming little building is surrounded by towering pines, each over a hundred years old. The building sits in a beautiful spot, high on a hill overlooking the Pacific. In nice weather, you can take a quiet stroll around the grounds and maybe pop inside for a look at some art. But cute though it is today, the Pine Garden was never meant as a place for relaxation, and you can see that soon enough. There’s been no effort to mask what this place was really for or the dark legend that’s gathered around it. Here today to tell us this building’s story is the garden’s Luo Man-ling.
In the early 20th century, Ji’an Township on Taiwan’s east coast was the site of an experiment. Taiwan had recently come under Japanese colonial rule and the island’s new rulers wanted to try and transplant a Japanese community here. One of the only remains of this community is a Buddhist temple, the Qingxiuyuan. Now a local cultural property, this temple reminds of a side of Taiwan’s colonial past we don’t often think of- civilians who came to live here. The temple’s Chen Yi-cheng joins us this week for a look at why these people came to Taiwan and what their lives here were like.