Tomorrow morning I hop on the flying germ cylinder and head off to Tokyo for stop number two of this Asian whirlwind tour. The time here in Taiwan has been wonderful and curious as always. The city of Taichung is such an amazing place- so crowded and noisy, a little odd smelling at times, super industrial and yet still somehow elegant and graceful with a touch of ancient culture and civility. I am always amazed by the overwhelming hospitality of many of the people here. I am not fool enough to not recognize that some folks who are nice to me are hoping that it increases the business I do with them, or might do, but there is still such an amazing warmth that comes from the people of Taiwan. Each time I prepare to leave Taiwan, I am filled with mixed emotions- glad to be leaving, but still a little melancholy too. It's strange... I know.
Tomorrow I hope to be able to report on happenings in Japan and add more pictures from there and additional ones from here in Taiwan. I've taken tons of pictures as usual- I really do need to create a flickr gallery... but I'm lazy.
Little side story to Taiwan; right now, Taiwan is hosting the Baseball World Cup. The US team is staying here in the same hotel as me- along with the Japanese team (ironic, I know). For days I have been watching these young men and the team staff come and go from the hotel and have been eating breakfast with them at the buffet each day. In fact, the day I got in, they had just arrived back from a game and I ended up riding the elevator with a few of them. They looked like kids to me, though they are probably only about 10-15 years younger than me (shut up). That first night, after I got into my room and changed, I headed out the front door to go get a bite to eat. As I walked out, I was mobbed by a group of either Taiwanese or Japanese baseball fans (I wasn't sure from the accents), asking if I was "famous coach of American-style baseball team". Markers and magazines/ game programs/ autograph books were jammed under my nose to be signed... but I just couldn't take the credit for the team and politely explained that I was not associated with the team. I don't think they believed me, since I was wearing a ball cap (though it said "Dura Ace" on it). Tonight, I sat in the hotel lounge/ bar to have my dinner and a beer. On the wall sized projector TV screen, team USA and team Taiwan were locked in a great battle- both are favored to finish the series very well. It was pretty funny to see the young faces of the players in uniform and on TV, rather than on the elevator or eating. I have to admit that I was rooting for them a little harder than I might've under normal circumstances.
It's only a little after 9:00PM here now, but I'm falling asleep as I type and I have a long day of travel ahead. I talk to you from Tokyo...