MEIER.Q is about ever going growth and change, and always looking at things differently. They are concerned about the element of detail and surprise they can bring to each person who wears their clothing. Pursuing beauty through simple design, comfort and trend. To create a simple lifestyle is their philosophy. “關於成長與蛻變, 看待事物的面貌也調整了一些比起從前, 更在乎接觸時的感動與細節 追求美感的執著依舊, 找尋簡單中隱藏的設計巧思, 舒適中堅持的時尚品味, 這些, 變得更耐人尋味. 延長衣著的賞味期成為思考的核心, 打造簡單永恆感, 一段時間再從衣櫃拿出都能自信的著裝.” Shop the Collection here.Website|Facebook |InstagramAll Images from MEIER.Q
“充滿夢想的我們推出了自有品牌PAZZO. 決定從最近的地方出發，創造台灣在地的好感國民衣著. PAZZO 將回歸衣著最簡單純粹的質地，講求最基本的質感，由挑選好布料開始! 希望與大家共享對衣著的用心堅持與自在有感生活. ” From Taiwan to the world ” 是PAZZO 誕生的最初精神! 想把幸福感的新生活哲學傳遞給全世界知道.” View the amazing collection here. This is one of their older collections, but I just adore it. I don’t know about you, but when I was younger, the Disney villain that frightened me the most was the Wicked queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. PAZZO’s current collection is the Summer Garde tes rêves Collection. Read more about Pazzo here. Website | Facebook | Instagram
Listen to the wonderful Kimbra / I’m Wishing
All images from PAZZO
For those who are curious or would like to discover some Taiwanese beauty and fashion youtubers, I’ve researched and compiled a list of several bloggers from Taiwan. Many of them share their views on beauty and skincare products, review the latest products, give snippets of their daily lives, shoot fashion look books, travel videos, styling, hair tutorials, advice videos and try on hauls.
newapplearial My favourite recent video from Arial is the 范冰冰 makeup look here. She is one of the only Taiwanese beauty youtubers that I watch regularly, as I find her relatable and appreciate her natural and minimal makeup looks. F | I | B
Dolly 守屋幸慈 Dolly is one of the first Taiwanese bloggers I discovered, when I was searching for a wavy hair tutorial here. As well as her makeup and hair tutorials, she is also a talented artist. F | I | B
If you have a favourite Taiwanese youtuber not listed here, feel free to comment them below :)
Image via 陳佩佩Arial Chen
My first time going to a cat cafe meant a lot of cat patting, staring at cats, drinking tea, taking pictures and talking. We arrived there at 2:00pm and stayed until 5:00pm. During that time, most of the cats were fast asleep and minding their own business. There is free wifi at the cat cafe, and you can order food and drinks. The cats are able to be patted, but are not allowed to be carried. Also, make sure to switch off your flash photography function on your camera. I enjoyed the experience and there were always many customers coming and going.
The cafe was clean and the cats had many scratching poles, sleeping areas and cat furniture. Sometimes a cat might come and sit beside you and maybe even on your sweater if they feel like it. Other times they will fall fast asleep beside you. There was a particular cat (I think it was the grey one) that could be very talkative when it wanted to. Otherwise, the cats are pretty quiet and well behaved. Did you know cats sleep around 16 hours a day? I used to have 3 cats, and they used to be extremely awake during the night and go out hunting, but sleep under the trees during the day.
The cafe is open from 12pm to 11pm everyday. The address is: No. 42, Lane 2, Taishun Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106 (台北市泰順街2巷42號) and the contact phone is: 02 2362 9734. It may take roughly a 10 minute walk from Guting Station, if you are traveling on the MRT. The location is on a narrow road, and might be difficult to drive in with a car, but it’s convenient for biking. We just parked our bikes outside the store. The cats are pretty photogenic and don’t mind having pictures taken.
There were seats outdoors which are great for a sunny day, however we went on a rainy day. It was very warm and cosy indoors, especially during the colder months. We ordered a rose tea and sandwiches. I believe the food price is higher than usual, but partly because you are paying for the experience as well. The cat above sat on the seat during the 3 hours we were there. I’m convinced it’s his favourite seat! There was also some cute resting areas for the cats.
There were little cupboard holes that I think might be for the cats to sleep in. However, they looked very comfortable sleeping beside the customers or on the chairs. The ginger cat was very sleepy and sweet. I nicknamed him Garfield because he is a little chubby. There were lots of little cat statues decorating the store and some lovely Cat art work on the wall.
The customer service was great and the waitress who served our table was lovely and very helpful. We didn’t wait long for the food, and it was very efficient and friendly. The rose tea and sandwiches were delicious. The only thing I want to note is that one cannot expect the food to be amazing for the price. It’s a great cafe for socialising, studying, patting cats and having a relaxing experience.
Every customer will need to order a drink or a meal. This might be because it’s easy for a group of people to take a whole table, and when they experience busy periods, there is no money earned if customers buy a small amount but stay for a few hours. The atmosphere is very relaxed and you will see anyone from workers on their laptop, friends doing their homework together, people on a date or a group chatting away.
I was glad to have a positive first experience at a cat cafe, as it was something I have been meaning to do for quite a while. The two cats above were so affectionate with one another, and cuddled and cleaned one another very sweetly. The white cat was not shy to stand up for me as soon as it saw my camera. The vibe is easy going, relaxed and there are around a dozen cats that I saw. They are well fed and the cafe was not smelly from my experience. I mention this, as I’ve read a few reviews that have mentioned a strong odour, however I didn’t smell any. Overall, I recommend it for any cat lovers or anyone who wants a nice experience. You might feel the time fly by.
Taiwan Food Diary
Photography by Katie Kuo
I was born and raised in New Zealand, however if you were to ask me my family background, I would say Taiwan. Since I was very little, I visited Taiwan each year and have just been in Taipei for over a week now. I notice the same things or some new things each time. Whether it’s taking public transport, walking on the streets or going to the shops. One of the things I find extremely convenient if you live in Taipei is the public transport. You can take the MRT, bus, taxi, bike, walk or scooter. I don’t think I’m alone on this, but the food in Asia is always absolutely delicious and brings certain memories. Some of these points are from my experience in Taipei and others are generally the culture in Taiwan.
1) Many, many scooters and bikes. Taiwan has a massive amount of scooters. There on the street, parked on the side of the road and beside apartments.
2) No eating or drinking on the MRT. It’s something I forget each time I arrive in Taipei, because I’m always tempted to have a drink of water. There is a fine charged if you break those rules.
3) The use of phones on public transport. I’m sure this is generally in most cities, because no matter where I am in Sydney, Auckland or Taipei, there will be people using their phones on the trains, bus and on the streets. However, in Taipei sometimes the whole section of the train might be using their phone.
4) Being a pedestrian can be scary. In Taipei, vehicles have the right of way, from the way that pedestrians experience walking on the road. Even when the green light goes, a car turning might not always give you way. Try to be careful and look out for those cars, because they won’t stop for you!
5) There are no rubbish bins. From what I’ve noticed, there are almost no public rubbish bins in Taiwan.
6) There are 7-Elevens everywhere. There are many convenience stores, which are great if you need to buy a quick meal or need something. They are also great for postal services in which you can receive your packages and pick them up from the store.
7) Night life and Night Markets. Many people love to go to KTV during the day or night. Karaoke is quite popular in Taiwan. There are also many night markets in Taipei where you can experience different street foods and go shopping.
8) No one wears helmets when cycling. At least the majority of people don’t wear any protective gear. It is dangerous, and especially with the traffic in Taipei and the driving, you have to be very careful when biking.
9) You might smell stinky tofu. In the area I live, there is a shop nearby that makes stinky tofu (臭豆腐). I think it’s more of the smell that can be off putting, but it does have an acquired taste.
10) Wearing face masks in public. This is usually because the person might be sick, have an allergy or the air is generally more polluted in the city. For scooters, the engines have a lot of smoke and the air can be very dirty to breathe when driving.
11) Garbage trucks play Beethoven. You will definitely hear Fur Elise at some point. It’s a loud sound that indicates that the garbage truck is nearby for people to take out their trash.
12) EasyCard for public transport. An EasyCard is super convenient for when you go on trains, buses and city bikes.
13) Having an umbrella on you. It’s always good to have an umbrella on you, as it can be suddenly sunny or rainy at any moment.
14) Lining up for food. If there is a popular store or a certain dish that’s very popular, people are willing to wait long periods of time to buy it. You might see a huge line waiting just for a meal. I can never imagine lining up a long time for food, but it’s part of the Line Culture.
15) Dark blue seats are priority seats on the train. There are courtesy/priority seats for pregnant women, the elderley and disabled. Most of the time the seats are vacant, but when you sit on them, be sure to stand up for someone who needs it.
16) Book stores and libraries. Ever since I was young, I loved the Book stores (especially in big shopping malls) in Taipei. They are clean and spacious and full of all kinds of books. There is a library in Beitou that has one of the most beautiful libraries I’ve ever been to.
17) Convenience using cash. It’s good to always carry cash on you, because most stores (especially in food stores) may only take cash.
18) Cute things everywhere. One of the things I like about Asia is how cute things are appreciated and a normal part of daily life. In most western countries they might be seen as childish and immature, but in Asia it’s fully embraced.
19) Taipei 101. It’s hard not to see it, as it’s one of the tallest buildings in the world, standing at 449 m. You can go up by visiting Starbucks.
20) Rejecting food can often be rude. It’s courtesy to accept food from someone, to show that you enjoy the food. As someone who often says “No, Thank you” when offered, I know the feeling that it can really offend some people.
21) Food is a huge part of the culture. Relating back to the previous point, food is a huge part of Asian culture. You will see it everywhere and on nearly every street.
22) The air is not great. This is inescapable. It’s a city and there are vehicles everywhere and factories that emit smoke. The air is polluted and more so in certain areas. Especially if you are from New Zealand you can feel the contrast. However, if you travel to areas in Taiwan such as Hualien or in Yang Ming Shang, the air will be much more fresh.
23) Nature and historical buildings. You might visit Elephant Mountain, Yangmingshan National Park, National Taiwan University, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and various other places.
24) Most people are friendly and helpful. People are willing to help and some people may even take you to the destination you’re looking for.
25) Some taxis will smell of smoke. If you’re like me, then just be prepared if certain taxis have a strong odour. Unfortunately, this is one of the downsides that some taxis will have the smell of smoke.
26) Great place to buy technology. There are various places to buy products from phone, laptops and any other devices you seek. The prices are usually pretty affordable.
27) Hard working people. Of course there are hard working people everywhere, but I feel that even from the tiniest food stand on the street to the long hours of corporate work, many Taiwanese people work very hard.
28) Experiencing hot springs. It’s great to go when the weathers starting to cool down. There are many hot springs around Taipei.
29) Whitening products. In beauty stores, there are many whitening products from face masks, moisturisers, creams, BB and CC creams and so on.
30) If you don’t appear Taiwanese, you won’t be treated as a local. I’m not sure how to fully explain this point. If you are a westerner, living in Taiwan long term, you may relate to the feeling of never being truly a Taiwanese, even if you have the citizen.
31) Gift giving. It’s common to receive or give gifts in Taiwan. Usually it comes with a lot of politely refusing the gift, and the other person insisting them to take it until they do.
32) Paying for the bill. When there is a group of friends, family or guests, it’s common for one person to stand up to pay for the bill. It’s also common to fight for the bill out of courtesy, and it also means that many people take turns paying.
33) Squat toilets. In some areas there are only squat toilets. Although, I don’t mind these so much because in public toilets, I prefer not having to touch the seat.
34) The traffic is crazy. There’s no other way to describe it. 9/10 vehicles are not going to give way for you even at zebra crossings. Some scooters don’t follow the rules, and you might even see scooters that drive on the pavements. Standing on a bus can feel bumpy at times but you get used to it after a while.
35) Overcrowded MRT’s during rush hour. As with any busy city, the trains will be full and sometimes they will be full to the extent that you might feel you cannot move. Just be aware of your surroundings and make your way to the exit when you see your stop.
36) Everything is convenient. At least from my perspective, I feel one doesn’t necessarily need to drive a car. You can do your shopping, travel and meet people by travelling on the MRT. Did you know it’s possible to travel from the top of Taiwan to the bottom in a day?
37) Being polite and keeping face. This may be a common cultural aspect in many Asian cultures. However, if someone is rude, most people will maintain a polite disposition. If something wrong may happen, many people (thought not all) will ignore it or act as if nothing is wrong. Indirectness is possibly one of the negative aspects.
38) The fashion and style. This point might be generalised, but mostly in Western countries it’s normal to show a bit of cleavage or more skin than Asian countries. You will see anything in Taipei from corporate, cute, casual and quirky.
39) Keeping low voices on public transport. It is polite to lower your voice when talking on the phone or talking to others when you’re on the bus or train.
40) An affordable city. Perhaps for many tourists, they may perceive Taiwan to be quite an affordable place, and Taipei to be quite affordable for visiting. However, for a local it depends on the individual and their situation. The pay for certain jobs can be very low.
41) Contrasting appearances of buildings. In Taiwan, there are areas where the buildings are new and modern, and there are areas where there are very old and dirty buildings.
42) The importance of recycling. Taiwan has a strong culture in recycling and disposing rubbish. The foods are separated into the categories of recyclables, non recyclables and food scraps/left overs.
43) The weather is very hot during the Summer. Likewise, the winter can be very cold and rainy. The humidity in Summer can reach high temperatures.
44) English signs. In terms of public transport, there are always English signs. Unfortunately not many people speak English, but there will usually be someone nearby who can speak English.
45) There are many temples. You will most likely see a fair amount of temples around Taipei.
46) Amount of entertainment. It’s not hard for people to find entertainment in the city. You can go to the cinema, visit an art gallery or go watch a concert.
47) Taipei is generally pretty safe. Taipei has a great night life, and there are often still many people in the city during later hours, which makes it safer when travelling home.
48) Shops stay open much later. Most stores stay open later than stores in New Zealand. For example, most stores and companies close at 5pm. However, in Taiwan there are stores that open until 11pm or even later.
49) Perspective on appearances. It’s not uncommon for people to comment on your appearances, such as “好漂亮” (so pretty), even if they mean it or not. Especially if you haven’t seen the person in a long time. It’s also not uncommon for them to tell you if you have gotten fatter or skinnier.
50) Strong connection with history and culture. There are many festivals such as Dragon Boat and Mid-Autumn Festivals. Chinese New Year is largely celebrated and there are many traditions, ways of thinking and cultural aspects that are carried down the generations.
Art by Jimmy Liao
Many people will relate to the need to protect the skin from the sun, rather than exposing it in the sun during long periods. It’s a general beauty standard in Taiwan to keep the skin clear and bright. I do think a good balance of Vitamin D is important too. However, taking good care of the skin will keep it young and healthy. This is why during the Summer, you will see many Asians carrying umbrellas. I never thought I would be one of the people carrying them, but I found I really needed it to escape from the glaring sun. Sydney’s sun is extremely harsh and with my dark Asian black hair, it attracts the heat intensely. I don’t tan because my skin type tans easily, and after long periods in the sun it will sunburn. Not to mention the rate of skin cancer in Australia is quite high.
There are many articles that talk about skincare secrets from Japan and Korea. They both have some of the best skincare products out there. A good daily skincare routine is very important. Generally, many Asian makeup looks try to achieve a softer and natural look to appear more youthful. I do believe that drinking water, exercising and having a good diet plays a large role in taking good care of the skin. There are certain products and skincare routines that are extremely popular in Taiwan. Many of the skincare products I purchase are often from Taiwan, because they are more affordable and effective on my skin. They have a wide range of Korean, Japanese & Taiwanese Brands.
1) Face Masks. Taiwan has an amazing range of Face Masks. You can find a huge range in Watsons, Cosmed or any beauty shop. There are ones for whitening, anti-aging, soothing, moisturising, firming and more. There are masks with snail extract, fruit extract and all kinds of ingredients that keep your skin soft and supple.
2) Wear Sunscreen Everyday. No doubt you should still have a little bit of sun, but for those who want to maintain their skin and keep it as healthy as possible, sunscreen should always be part of ones daily routine. Long exposure directly in the sun can cause early signs of aging, risk of skin cancer and sun burns.
3) Don’t Cake the skin. In Asia, it’s more common to use BB and CC creams than foundation. Heavy layers of foundation will cause more breakouts to happen. Allow the skin to breathe by using a hydrating sunscreen or a light BB cream that includes SPF.
4) A Healthy Food Diet. It seems obvious that what you put in will reflect on your skin. In Taiwan, there are certain foods that are healthy, particularly for your skin. Aloe vera, black sesame, ginger, jujube, white fungus, goji berries, green beans and green tea are good for the skin.
5) Face Tapping Exercises. The skin around your eyes are very delicate, and there are certain muscles that can tense up. By massaging, tapping and relaxing those areas, your blood will circulate more smoothly. There are certain pressure points that relieve stress from the muscles. Eye creams are also effective for keeping the skin healthy and firm.
Sleeping well, exercising regularly, staying hydrated and eating healthy are all the basic factors for healthy skin. If you wear makeup, make sure to gently remove all of it before sleeping. Use warm water to wash your face and pat dry the skin, rather than rubbing it dry. Our skin is the largest organ of the human body, which means what we put inside of our body, also affects what’s outside :)
art by Hsiao Ron Cheng
I was born and raised in New Zealand all my life, before I moved to Australia just under two years ago. I grew up being taught Mandarin and went to a Chinese school every Saturday. Unfortunately I was pretty lazy during those classes, as English was always a language I felt a huge interest with and put more time and effort to learn. I loved reading English literature from Jane Austen to Shakespeare and writing short stories from my wild imagination. However, being a Taiwanese Kiwi I feel a deep respect for my cultural background. Perhaps some fellow Asian sisters (and brothers) can relate to some of these points, if they grew up or moved to a western country at a young age.
When I was younger, many children didn’t understand to respect different cultures. I was told how disgusting my lunch box food filled with red bean buns and asian food looked (might I add they tasted delicious). You will always (inescapably) be asked the question “Where are you from?” even when you respond with “I’m from Auckland.” Racism in our culture is very often seen as black and white. However, Asians are very often seen as the minority that is made to seem okay to be racist towards, teased, joked about or called names. It will never be okay. I cannot tell you the amount of times I was told “Konnichiwa” growing up, even though I am not Japanese, or the amount of times someone will say “你好” when they find out I speak Mandarin.
Growing up in an Asian house hold, yet being raised in a Western school and society, there are definitely certain experiences one will face. I grew up in a predominantly western school, with small groups of minorities (mainly international students). However, I never actually had any close friends who were Asian, simply because there were less Asian people in the country side during that time. It was only when I left home and moved to the city, I realised that the Asian community is far more larger and tight knit than I thought. To some extent I find the teachings in an Asian household is more firm in comparison to Western households. Although, I consider my parents more relaxed, there are aspects that tend to be a lot more strict.
I wrote in a previous post here about how I was placed into ESOL (English for Speakers Of Other Languages), even though I was fluent in English. I was 8 or 9, and I tried to explain to the teacher that I didn’t need it. Thinking back, I can understand it may of been because I was extremely shy and quiet, which can be a quick assumption that I didn’t know any English. Being pretty much one of the only Asians at school, I faced my first lessons looking at images of cats and dogs, and acing every single image. You can be sure I was no longer in ESOL after that first lesson. There were many hints of subtle (and not so subtle) hints of racism throughout my schooling years and even til today. As an Asian brought up in a Western country, I don’t feel fully Asian. It’s difficult to express that feeling.
Whenever I go back to Asia, there are always people who ask me “You’re a foreigner, aren’t you?” I feel it may simply be from my mannerisms and appearance. One thing I do notice is that Asians are less likely to speak loudly about how they feel about something in that moment. Whereas in Western countries, most people are very open on their thoughts, even if they may be negative. Though this may not be for all individuals, but it’s definitely one of the cultural differences I’ve noticed. When I was in high school, I had a teacher who used my “being an Asian”, as an excuse for my grammatical mistakes in English class. Bearing in mind English was one of my favourite classes, it seemed unfair that when my Kiwi friends had grammar mistakes, they were simply written in red pen with the teachers corrections.
When I visited guest’s homes, I was surprised as a young girl that some people wore shoes inside the house. It’s a custom in Taiwan (and many other Asian cultures) to provide slippers for guests. In many Asian cultures, we call our elders Auntie or Uncle as a sign of respect. It is extremely rare to call an elder by their first name. Respecting the elders is heavily taught from a young age. Another thing I learned was how high my tolerance for spicy food was. I grew up in a household where at least one or two dishes each night would have spices in them. I noticed that in Western countries, some people have a very low tolerance for spicy food, which is only natural because they aren’t brought up having spicy Asian food everyday.
Asians are hugely under represented or absent from the media. I do hope this can change, but at the present time it is still extremely slow. Having subtitles on was a huge habit from a young age. It was because my parents did it ever since they arrived in New Zealand, and that was one of the ways they learned English. I remember sleeping over at a friends house, and before bed time she would always say “I love you” to her Mum. At the time, it felt strange to me, because (as some people may be able to relate), in Asian culture many people are less likely to say I love you to their parents. After being long distance from my parents for years, I try to say it more often.
Since living in Australia, I realised how much people love to tan. I’ve always been the sort of person that doesn’t like to expose my skin to the sun. This means I tend to wear a lot more long sleeved clothing. That was always a personal decision, but I do feel in some ways that Asian fashion is more cute, whereas Western fashion shows more cleavage and low cut tops. This example is purely from looking at current online stores. I am someone that loves cute things, but this aspect is far more normal and accepted in Asia. Whereas in Western countries, some parts of it can seem childish. You don’t normally see a woman carrying a Hello Kitty bag in the city, but it’s completely normal in Asia.
Whenever I go back to Taiwan, I feel the reverse feeling of being surrounded by Asians and feeling surprised or noticing whenever I see a western person. Western children are raised to be independent as soon as they leave home, whereas I noticed some Asian children will have their tuition paid until they graduate and find a job. This isn’t everyone, because I know for myself that I left home at 16 and had to learn a huge level of independence. As touched on before, the ideal of beauty is definitely very different. I was raised to always wear sunscreen. My fellow classmates would be lying on the grass beside me as I sat in the shade, and they’d talk about getting their legs more tanned. I think in Asia there is an emphasis on good skincare and keeping the body healthy and young as possible.
If I got good grades in class, my parents would usually answer with one word, which was “Good.” That was enough for me to feel satisfied. However, I noticed some of my fellow Kiwi classmates were often paid money or treated by their parents if they could reach a certain grade. Taking a lot of photos is completely normal in Asia. Whereas in Western countries it may seem strange to whip out the phone to take a photo of everything. I am not used to it, because I rarely take photos. I noticed whenever I go back to Asia I start taking a lot more photos. It may also be because I really want to document those moments, since I don’t get to see my family very often. Of course all of these things I’ve mentioned are from my personal experience. Everyone will have a different experience!
What was your experience like growing up in a Western country as an Asian?