Hello from Nantou
We're on break this week, but here are ways to help Ukraine and a few photos from the mountainous center of Taiwan
We’ve been heartbroken by the escalating brutality of the war in Ukraine. The killing of civilians, particularly children, has been hard to take. On our friend Victoria’s Facebook page, a person posted a valuable list of ways to help refugees, humanitarian relief, and journalists.
Our friend Daniel Medin sends along a daily journal by the Ukrainian writer Yevgenia Belorusets. Her diary of life in Kyiv gives you a powerful sense of what Ukrainians are experiencing.
We’re writing from Nantou, the only land-locked county in Taiwan. Apologies we’ve been too frazzled to put together anything coherent this week, but here are a few pictures from the areas around Shuili and Luona villages, home to the indigenous Bunun people.
Here is the foot of Jade mountain, the highest in Taiwan at 3952 meters:
We visited Luona village, which has Bunun signs and art everywhere. Mihumisang is a word of blessing that the Bunun people use.
We also stumbled across one of the more impressive grottos we’ve seen in Taiwan at the Catholic Church in Luona. (Albert’s comment: “Catholics really go everywhere.” Luona is a very rural village.) An eagle-like rock formation shields Mary.
The Church entrance also had several pillars displaying syncretic art:
Here’s a photo of the historic “Snake Kiln,” built in 1927 and named after its serpentine body. Nestled in the mountains, it is Taiwan’s oldest wood-fired kiln, with temperatures reaching up to 1200 degrees Celsius.
The entire complex has been converted into a cultural park, where you can learn how to throw pottery.
And finally, here’s one of the most beautiful old train stations in Taiwan. Built in 1922, Checheng (車程) was a center for the Japanese timber industry and later abandoned. It has recently been transformed into a cultural center.
News plus Book Club
Congrats to Lauren Stokes for publishing Fear of the Family, a history charting how Germany created policies towards migrant families, and Melissa Fu for Peach Blossom Spring, a novel tracing three generations of a family in China. We’re eagerly awaiting our copies!
This past Thursday we published the Mandarin translation of our interview with Olek, a Korean-Ukrainian student living in Taiwan. (Thanks to Aemilia Li for the translation.)
Our book club is on the coming Friday, March 25th at 7 PM EST. We’ll finish up discussion on The Brothers Karamazov and talk about Homeland Elegies. For the zoom link, please reply to this email or email email@example.com.
A parting picture: in Luona we saw these adorably conjoined pineapples. Pineapple in Taiwanese means “bring good fortune.” We send warmth and good wishes to you all during these dark times.