Taipei 2014 Day 27

Yesterday? Seems like a long time ago.

I have been waiting for, like, 50 years for Guardians of the Galaxy to come out, 我很期待看那一部電影。 So excited. So finally yesterday arrived, and I was all LET’S GO LET’S GO LET’S GO! Other people were like “wait whut? wait, who else is going? wait, can we go at night?” When all that drama was finally sorted out and we were fully committed, the questions became, “wait, whut is this movie even about? wait, who’s in it? wait, is this movie even good?”

Of course, that quickly became “If this movie is bad, we are holding you personally responsible, JP.” And I was like “wait, who are these people, why are they here, when did I become responsible for their entertainment?”

Anyway, I was so excited about the movie that I literally wet my pants literally a hundred times, and my eyeballs literally exploded out my face until I died to death.

Fast forward.

After the movie was over, my three friends were fully squee-ing with delight; squee all over themselves and on the walls and floor. They turned to ask me how I liked it and I was like, yah, 還OK吧. It was alright. Just alright.

For me, seeing Zoe Saldana is enough to make a movie worth seeing, despite her alien skin color. I was excited about seeing Chris Pratt, since he was a chubby, funny guy who got all ripped and became a movie star; I told my teachers that was the American Dream. But I don’t think the movie gave his character enough room to be charming and likeable. The best scene in the movie was when the fox was pushed too far.

Anyway, after that we met up with Pashan T and his friend 謝 and went to get yakitori, which is definitely called 日式燒烤 here, and not “yakitori.”

There were several strange things about this yakitori restaurant.

First of all, on the menu they listed family-style orders priced for four people, five people, four people, and seven people. What were we supposed to do, since there were six of us? The waiter came, and we were like now what?

Of course, the Taiwanese people didn’t know what we were talking about. As far as they were concerned, there were family-style orders for four, five, six, and seven people. But when we English speakers looked again, we failed to see where it said “six.”

The issue was, it was printed in huge Chinese characters, and then below it were bold English translations. The people who are used to reading English–all of us–completely disregarded the Chinese characters; our eyes when straight to the English, where it said “four.” The Taiwanese people, including the staff that works there, completely disregarded the English and looked only at the Chinese characters, which said 六 “six.” They tried another menu, but they all were copies with the same mistake. Who knows how long they had been using those confusing menus.

The point of the story is: if you put an English translation anywhere near the character it corresponds to, the character will be COMPLETELY DISREGARDED. Our eyes don’t even go there. And same with the Taiwanese people; they totally disregarded the English. This is just a fun trivia fact for everyone… unless you’re trying to learn Chinese, then it’s a daily disaster. Latin alphabet annotations (whether English or pinyin) are BAD BAD BAD; get them away from the characters if you want people to have a chance at becoming literate.

The second weird thing about that restaurant was their 8點乾杯; if your glass is empty at 8pm, they will replace your drink for free. So we all ordered drinks and then 8 o’clock rolled around and we all lifted our glasses to finish them… but then the staff came around and said no no no. It turns out they first have to do arena-style introductions of each table, one by one, explaining what birthday or special occasion they were all celebrating. Then they got to our table they announced we were all TMI students, except for German G, who is at 台大 the most prestigious university. The MC with the mic was going on and on and on, and finally 20 minutes later we could raise our glasses for the 8點乾杯.

The next event was a kissing event. If two people from your table could lock lips for a total of 10 seconds, the house would gift us a free plate of pork. So I nominated Taiwan A and German G, who were ALL OVER IT. Free pork, baby! But apparently it was only a one-time thing; there was no free meat for any subsequent kissing.

At 9pm they announced that beers were buy 3, get one free; and that whiskey drinks were BOGO. Whatever.

Around 9:30 they came around with paper and told us to address envelopes to ourselves and write letters to our future selves; they would mail the letters to us in December. I didn’t see any other table having to do this, but when it got to us we all started writing on each other’s letters and it turned into yearbook signing. Also there was a whole mess of languages going on; I wrote in Chinese and Spanish.

Did I mention that we were grilling our own meat the whole time?

Finally the time came to part ways, and Pashan T and I shared a cab back to the neighborhood. We stopped at Something Ales for a drink before calling it a night.

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