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STAY SALTY ...... means column

Ayumi Ogo Column

Everyday life from two bases, Taiwan and Japan.

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from  Taiwan / Kanagawa

Ayumi Ogo
Writer / Planner / ten10

A freelance writer who loves the sea and lives in Shonan. Back and forth between Taiwan and Japan. Recently, she set up a "ten10 company" with a friend in Taiwan to undertake inbound work. I like traveling, photography and surfing.



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From "interest" to work

am currently working on a project with some Taiwanese friends.


To put it briefly, we are trying to contribute to Taiwanese inbound tourism, but we were not asked to do so by anyone in particular.


The people who came to the project, saying, "Sounds good and interesting," included designers, planners, marketers, and others.


Some work for themselves, while others work for major companies.


But they are all serious in their own way because they are all here with their own thoughts and feelings.


I kind of like that feeling of comfort.



In Taiwan, the salaries in general companies are low, and many people are thinking about starting their own businesses from a young age, so they are all really talented.


And they are fast and graceful (laughs).


They have a "try it and see if it doesn't work" mentality before worrying about it, so they start moving without much second thought.


Sometimes that is a good thing, and of course there are times when I regret it later... (laughs).



How will our project turn out..., you'll have to wait and see!



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First visit to Taiwan in 3 years



The Corona disaster has eased restrictions on entry into foreign countries, which had kept me away from them for a while, and the mood is starting to change.


This fall, the mood was beginning to change as people began to think that it might be time to go to .......


I also went to Taiwan for the first time in three years.


I wondered if the city of Taipei, which I hadn't visited in a while, had changed much.


I wonder if the atmosphere of the people living in Taipei has changed. ......


I landed at the airport in Taipei with such anxieties and expectations.


There was a spicy aroma mixed with the familiar humidity in the air.


I was filled with a sense of "coming home" at once.



In fact, my Taiwanese friends, whom I hadn't seen in about three years


I was impressed by how they had "changed" firmly in a good way and were moving forward faithfully to what they wanted to do even in the midst of the Corona Disaster.


I wonder if I could have started something new like them. ......


I came home feeling a bit left out.


However, this trip was definitely "stimulating" for me for the first time in a long time.


As we enter the new year of 2023, I would like to think again about where I want to head.



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Kitchen Conditions in Taiwan


Taiwanese people love to "eat.


In fact, even in conversation, instead of "Hello" or "Good evening," I am often asked "Have you eaten? If you go outside, you will find a lot of restaurants.


If you go outside, you will never have a problem finding a place to eat, as there are many restaurants crammed into a small space.


When I was looking for a house in Taiwan, the first thing that surprised me was that there was no kitchen in the room.


Of course, even rented houses for families have kitchens, but some one- or two-person houses do not have kitchens in their layouts.


This shows how deeply rooted the culture of eating out is.


One may wonder if eating out all the time will not lead to unbalanced nutrition. But in Taiwan, there are places that are like common people's restaurants.


The name of such a place is "zìzhùcān" (自助餐).


The literal translation in Japanese is "buffet," but unlike the buffet you might imagine in Japan, the dishes lined up on the shelves are Taiwanese home-cooked side dishes.


You take as much of it as you like on your plate, and have the waiter calculate it for you.


Take-out is also available, and some customers bring their own lunch boxes or Tupperware and fill them with prepared dishes.


The hot side dishes are prepared with a good balance of vegetables, meat, tofu, and other ingredients, making it a strong ally of both single people and families with two working parents.


Of course, tourists can also use this restaurant, so if you want to experience a taste of Taiwanese style, please visit us.



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Once again, a day to go to Taiwan freely.


Taiwan has been difficult to visit freely since the coronary disaster, but the quarantine requirement for overseas travelers will finally be abolished on October 13.

The obligation of PCR testing upon arrival will also be abolished, and visa-free travel will also be possible.

Finally, we will be able to enjoy our trip to Taiwan as we did before the coronation.

Not only Taiwan, but also other countries are beginning to relax their regulations, and now we will once again be able to go abroad freely.


For about three years after the Corona disaster, I had a blurred feeling that I could not easily go abroad, but not being able to go outside made me realize some things anew.

I was also able to feel the advantages of being in Japan.

Still, I still want to go abroad .......

I want to experience that exciting sense of adventure.......

Since I have not been able to go abroad for a while, I am sure I will discover many new things by visiting a foreign country.

I am looking forward to the future.



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"Medicinal herbs" in your daily life


In Japan, "yakuzen" may seem like a difficult hurdle to overcome, but for people living in Taiwan, it is a familiar concept.

I feel that people in Taiwan have a strong sense of trying to heal themselves with natural products rather than relying on medicines when they feel unwell.

Of course, it is also incorporated into their daily diet, so I feel that just eating Taiwanese food naturally makes them healthier. ...... (Is it just my imagination?) (Laughs).

One of the most commonly used ingredients is wolfberries. They replenish the liver and kidneys and also help to heal tired eyes from computers and smartphones.

There are also traditional Chinese medicine shops in town.

Even among the younger generation, many people have their pulses checked by Chinese herbalists and receive prescriptions that suit their bodies.

In fact, when my Taiwanese friend treated me to a home-cooked meal, she served me a stewed chicken soup with lots of ginger and wolfberries.

When I asked her about it, she told me that it was a family favorite that her mother had been making for a long time.

This is a natural remedy that has been handed down from generation to generation.

Today, we tend to rely on medicines, but now is the time when we want to strengthen our immune system, so I feel that we should eat foods that are truly good for our bodies.



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Cafes in Taiwan


In fact, Taiwan is a "cafe paradise.

Especially in Taipei City, there are many cafes with stylish interiors.

(However, the changeover is quite frequent, so the next time you go to a cafe, you may find that it has turned into a different one. ...... LOL).


) Moreover, most cafes are equipped with wi-fi, and there are many people studying or working there.

It is not uncommon to spend two or three hours in a café.

Students also study hard with textbooks and computers open.

With the increase of remote work in Japan, the number of cafes with wi-fi has finally increased, but I think Starbucks is still the standard. ......

A Taiwanese friend once asked me, "Why do all Japanese people go to Starbucks like that?" I have even been asked by a Taiwanese friend, "Why do Japanese people go to Starbucks so much?


That is how much it is natural for people in Taiwan to spend time in cafes.

Of course, there are many stylish and delicious cafes and sweets stores.

One of my personal favorites is the "lemon tart," which is frequently seen in Taiwanese cafes.

It is hard to find in Japan, but it has a perfect balance of refreshing sourness and sweetness!


If you have a chance to visit a cafe in Taiwan, please order one.



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Flexibility in the way we work



In talking with Taiwanese friends and helping out at a Taiwanese start-up company, I have come to see a difference in the way Japanese and Taiwanese people work.


Although the way of working has been changing in Japan recently, Taiwanese do not place much importance on being a full-time employee.

Many young people think about starting their own businesses after two or three years in the workforce, and there are many start-up companies (I am surrounded by many young entrepreneurs).

It is also normal to work freelance or have a side business, and if things don't work out, they can always think of something else.

However, they are very serious about their work.

I think this is evidence of their ability to spread out financial risk, work efficiently, and be themselves.


Because of this background, he is very positive about changing jobs.

I feel that many people think that they can change jobs because they are competent, and that this is related to career advancement.


Flexibility in the way they work is typical of Taiwan.

I think that if this kind of Taiwanese way of thinking spreads more in Japan, people will be able to work in their own way more.



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Refresh yourself with a relaxing cup of Taiwanese tea


Recently, many people have been feeling somewhat unsettled, saddened by the daily news or sickened by the daily temperature differences.


It is at times like this that I want to spend some time relaxing and refreshing. ......


So, let's talk about "Taiwanese tea" this time.

I happened to interview the owner of a Taiwanese tea brand the other day, and his story was so interesting that I think a Taiwanese tea boom is coming (in my opinion).


The most famous type of Taiwanese tea is "green tea," and the degree of fermentation is actually the key to making this green tea.

You can drink it with any degree of fermentation from 1% to 99%, but the flavor will be completely different depending on the degree of fermentation.

It is a strange thing to be able to enjoy different types of tea depending on the degree of fermentation, even if the type of tea leaves are the same.

(Incidentally, Japanese green tea is unfermented.)


Generally speaking, tea with a low degree of fermentation has a refreshing aroma and a clean taste.

As the degree of fermentation increases, the flavor and color become richer.


It is very deep. ......

I used to pick up Taiwanese tea without much thought, but from now on, I will be more conscious of the "degree of fermentation" when I buy it.

It will be fun to find a cup to my liking before my next visit to Taiwan.



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What we can do now



When I turn on the TV, the news of war outside the sea comes on.


While the corona has not been settled, the atrocious attacks continue outside the sea, and I feel a blurring of feelings welling up in my gut.


But I also feel frustrated that I cannot do anything about it.



The Ukraine incident is a man-made disaster, but I feel somewhat similar to the feelings I had on March 11.


What can I do now, where I am living right now? ......


What I can do may be limited, but I must not forget to think about it.



There is even a possibility that this incident will affect the relationship between China and Taiwan.


It is by no means something that is happening in a distant place.


The truth is, everyone wants to live happily.


Let's start with what we can do, one step at a time.



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Iron windows" decorate Taiwanese houses with rich individuality.


When walking around the streets of Taiwan, you will often see "tier chuan" (iron windows).


These are retro iron windows that retain the look of the past.


When you think of iron windows, you tend to think of heavy iron grates, but Taiwanese iron windows are full of the owner's attention to detail.



Iron windows were originally installed for security purposes.


However, as time went by, the need for design became more apparent.


There are more than 100 different motifs to choose from.


The designs are nostalgic, but also somehow new.


It's fun to just look at them.


Recently, young designers who have taken notice of the appeal of steel windows are increasingly incorporating them into the design of their original items. (As you can see in the photo, some iron windows are illustrated on buildings.)


Iron windows" add a lot of character to Taiwanese homes.


This is one of the things you can look forward to on your next trip to Taiwan.



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Soy milk, a staple of Taiwanese cuisine


Soy milk is an indispensable part of Taiwanese cuisine.

Breakfast is always accompanied by soy milk, and sweets made with soy milk, such as "tsukka," have become a staple.


In the supermarket, soy milk takes up more space than milk.

There is a wide variety of soy milk on the shelves.

It is said that Taiwanese people consume twice as much soy milk as Japanese people.

You can see how deeply rooted soybeans are in their daily lives.


Taiwan's organic soybeans have long been used as a food source because of their high freshness and suitability for extreme climates such as drought and water shortages.

Recently, soybean meat has been gaining attention in Japan as "meat from the fields" due to its high quality vegetable protein, but in Taiwan, soybean milk has been a part of the food culture for a long time.


There are also many delicious Taiwanese sweets that use soy milk, so be sure to check them out!



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Why BBQs Start at the Mid-Autumn Moon


In Japan, the name "Mid-Autumn Moon" means "moon viewing".

In Taiwan, however, BBQs start everywhere. In Taiwan, however, BBQs start everywhere, so noisy that no one seems to be watching the moon. ......

The Mid-Autumn Moon is called "Mid-Autumn Festival" in Taiwan, and is one of the biggest events of the year.

Schools and offices are closed, and the big holidays begin.

Moon cakes, paper lanterns, and BBQs are essential to the Mid-Autumn Festival.


Why BBQ? It all started in the 1980s with a commercial for BBQ sauce.

A commercial for a brand called "Jinlan Yakiniku Sauce" was aired in which a large group of people gathered around meat in the mountains to have a BBQ, and it became a huge hit!

At the time, they were not aware of the Mid-Autumn Festival, but the commercial was aired just before the Mid-Autumn Festival, and people watching it thought, "Let's have a BBQ for the Mid-Autumn Festival! They came up with the idea.

From there, it became a family reunion, and before long, grilled meat became a national event.

Nowadays, you can see people having BBQs all over the streets.


It's interesting that a national event was born from a single commercial, isn't it?

If you have a chance to visit Taiwan during the Mid-Autumn Festival, be sure to join in the local BBQ!



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Connecting Japan and Taiwan. Nostalgic "Taiwan Majolica Tiles



Taiwan majolica tiles have a cute retro design and colorful colors.
In Taiwan, they were often used in traditional buildings.
In fact, did you know that Taiwanese majolica tiles have close ties with Japan?

It is said that the origin of majolica tiles is the island of Majolica in Spain.
It is said to have originated from the island of Majolica in Spain, where a British pottery manufacturer imitated Spanish pottery and sold it under the name "majolica tiles.

Such British tiles came to Japan after the Meiji Restoration, and majolica tiles with original designs were produced in Japan.
In the first half of the 1900s, when Japan ruled Taiwan, majolica tiles were brought to Taiwan and became popular in ordinary households.

The charm of majolica tiles is not only their colorfulness, but also the meaning behind each tile.
Plants and fruits that are considered lucky in Taiwan, such as the pomegranate for prosperity, the peach for longevity, and the grape for good luck, are incorporated into the design.

Recently, young Taiwanese artists have begun to use majolica tiles as a design motif for their Taiwanese goods.
It may be interesting to take a look at the tiles while thinking about the thoughts behind each design.
Let the retro atmosphere of the tiles remind you of the Taiwan of the past.



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Relationship with Taiwan felt at the Tokyo Olympics




The opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics was held on July 23.

Despite all the difficulties, it went off without a hitch.

At the opening ceremony, the order in which the athletes from each country/region entered the venue was in the order of "aieo" (Japanese alphabet).

In other words, Taiwan, known as "Chinese Taipei," was supposed to appear 107th, after the Czech Republic.

However, on the day of the opening ceremony, Taiwan appeared after the Republic of Korea as "Taiwan (Taiwans).
When the NHK announcer announced the entrance of the Taiwanese athletes, he said, "This is Taiwan! The NHK announcer's comment, "Taiwan!

In Japan, it is common sense, but being called "Taiwan" at an international ceremony really struck a chord with the Taiwanese people.

I feel that this was also an opportunity to symbolize the relationship between Japan and Taiwan.

I hope that, little by little, the world's view of "Taiwan" will change in this way.
I hope that the day will come sooner than later when Taiwan will be recognized internationally as "Taiwan.



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That we can take each other's hands.



On June 3, Japan decided to provide about 1.24 million doses of the new coronavirus vaccine to Taiwan.

The next day, June 4, the vaccine went to Taiwan.
Seeing Japan's quick response, I received many messages of "Thank you" from my Taiwanese friends.
As a Taiwanese, Taiwanese people sent messages of "thank you" to Japanese people.
I felt the national character of Taiwanese people and was filled with a sense of joy even though I did not do anything directly.
On the day the vaccine arrived, messages such as "Taiwan handsome Japan," "Taiwan-Japan bond and gratitude," and "Let's fight corona together" were projected on Taipei 101.

The relationship between Japan and Taiwan has always been one of reaching out to each other whenever we face a major challenge.
When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, Taiwan donated 20 billion yen to Japan, and when there was a serious shortage of masks in Japan in April 2020, Taiwan provided 2 million masks for medical use.

What we can do for each other at that time.
And if we can overcome difficulties together, we can do so at .......
I hope that the day will come soon when we can see each other's faces and talk directly.





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Freshly picked Taiwanese fruits


Taiwan is a fruit heaven!

In the hot summer months, the markets and supermarkets are filled with fresh, lush fruits.

The most famous fruits are mangoes and pineapples, but lychees are also popular.

In fact, lychees are so popular that they are called the pearl of the tropics.

The dragon lychee, in particular, can only be tasted for a few weeks a year in Taiwan.

The dragon lychee is only available in Taiwan for a few weeks a year, and it is so delicious that you may wonder, "Is that really the lychee I've been eating?

The lychee is so delicious that you may wonder, "Are these really lychees?

The lychee has a thick, plump texture and a deep sweetness.

Some people are shocked by the taste.


Of course, they are not only delicious, but they are also full of nutrition.

They contain glucose, protein, iron, and a large amount of vitamin C.

I know that there are many people who are bothered by the fact that they can't visit Taiwan very often, but this is the time to order from Taiwan.

You can buy Taiwanese lychees in Japan from this website.

Enjoy the feeling of Taiwan from the comfort of your own home.



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A new way of life without boundaries


From April 24 to May 5, TOKYO RAINBOW PRIDE will be holding Pride Week.

A variety of events will be held to deepen awareness and understanding of LGBTQ people and to realize a society where everyone can live comfortably.


In a sense, 2020 was the year when the stereotypes that we had held until now changed dramatically. We realized that we were bound by what we thought were "rules," and now we are looking for new ways to live. I started to think about diversity.


In Taiwan, the neighboring country, there are many LGBT activities.

In 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

In 2020, it held the largest LGBT parade in Asia, with 130,000 people participating despite the corona scare.

This was made possible by the fact that Taiwan has had no domestic infections for 200 days.


What's even more wonderful is that the LGBTQ community in Taiwan has a spirit of mutual support in times of trouble.

In addition to LGBTQ issues, Corona Peril is actively involved in a variety of activities to support restaurants and hotels, such as holding a stamp rally and promoting certification as a Pride Friendly Hotel.

It's good that they are focusing on things that can be positive for everyone.


Toward a society where people can live their own lives without being bound by gender.

Now that we are moving into a new era, I would like to make more time to think about the diversity of ways of life.



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Feel the unique charm of Japan.



In the midst of the corona scare, it is impossible to travel abroad, as is the case in Taiwan.

However, since the infection has not spread that far within Taiwan, more and more people are traveling within Taiwan.


Taiwan's land area is about the same size as Kyushu in Japan, and since there are only a few prosperous areas, there are many rural towns that people don't have a chance to visit.

It is a fact that there are many rural towns that people don't have a chance to visit.


In fact, a Taiwanese friend of mine, who used to spend half of her time abroad, came back to Taiwan and started traveling around the country, which awakened her to the charm of Taitung.

Along with photos of the beautiful countryside, he sent me a message saying, "Taiwan is really great! (laughs).

Now that we can't go abroad, we often find unexpected charms when we look at the domestic scene.


I'm sure it's the same in Japan.

Now that I can't travel long distances, I feel that it is time for me to take a fresh look at my environment and be grateful for the things that I take for granted.



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Chinese New Year in Taiwan, a must experience!


n Japan, it is already New Year, but in Taiwan, it is Chinese New Year.

This year's Chinese New Year is on February 12, so the week from February 10 is the New Year's vacation.

The Chinese New Year is similar to the Japanese culture in some ways, but also has a unique culture that is unique to the Chinese world, so it would be interesting to spend some time there. (Just be aware that if you go there for sightseeing, none of the stores will be open!


Just like New Year's Day in Japan, people usually go home to their parents' houses on New Year's Eve and have a New Year's Eve meal.

One of the most common foods eaten on New Year's Eve is "dumplings".

The shape of the dumplings resembles the old coin "Yuan Bao", which is why they became a "money inviting" food.


As the Chinese New Year approaches, you will see "chunlien" everywhere.

It is a piece of red paper with lucky words written on it in black or gold ink.

For example, the words "Fortune" and "Spring" are written on the paper, but when pasting them, they should be upside down.

This is because the word "upside down" (dao) means "arrival".

By pasting it upside down, it represents "good fortune coming" and "spring coming.

When you see it for the first time, you might think that it was put up by mistake, but when you hear the reason, it makes sense.

By the way, it's also fun to write with your friends.

Gold ink is something you don't see very often in Japan, so it's refreshing.


While there are other cultural aspects similar to Japan, such as New Year's gifts and cleaning, there is also the noisy aspect of setting off firecrackers (laughs).

The streets are decorated with Chinese New Year's decorations, and the atmosphere is full of New Year's spirit.

Please try to experience Taiwan during Chinese New Year.



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Surprisingly cold? Winter in Taipei


When I was living in Taipei, my friends in Japan often told me that Taiwan was nice because it was warm even in winter.

But actually, winter in Taipei is quite harsh....


First of all, the weather is always bad.

In December, it rains all the time in Taipei.

My Taiwanese friend told me that in December of 2020, it rained for about three weeks straight.

Even when I lived there, it was normal to have more than one week of rainy days.

When it rains for that long, I feel depressed.

The sun is so important! I was reminded of the importance of the sun.


In addition, it was very humid even in winter.

In Japan, humidifiers are indispensable in winter, but in Taipei, dehumidifiers are indispensable.

This naturally lowers the temperature you feel.

Even if the temperature is the same as in Japan, it is much colder in Taipei.

It feels as if water is clinging to your body, and you get chilled to the bone.

And even though it is so cold, there is no "heating".

Generally speaking, air conditioners are equipped with heating and cooling functions, but air conditioners in Taipei only have cooling functions.

Since there is no heating system, heavy clothing is required even indoors.

Trains and restaurants are sometimes air-conditioned even in winter because of the humidity....

Looking back, it was quite a difficult situation.


So if you go to Taipei in the winter, please be prepared for the cold (laughs).

By the way, the southern part of Taiwan is sunny and warm even in winter, so I recommend Tainan and Kaohsiung if you want to go there in winter.



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Reviewing "food" in your home time


As you spent more time at home this year, you may have had more opportunities to reevaluate your "food".

The idea of "taking care of your own health" has led to a rise in health consciousness.

I think we often hear people say that they are becoming more conscious of what they eat on a daily basis.


In this context, I've been hearing a lot about "veganism" lately, which means not eating animal products.

In other words, it means that people do not eat animal products.

In fact, the concept of veganism has been actively adopted in Taiwan for some time now.

In Taiwan, it's called "Taiwanese Elementary Food".

Originally, it referred to vegetarian food that was eaten for religious reasons.

Nowadays, there are many restaurants with signs that say "Taiwanese Food".

Taiwan's elementary schools have even incorporated "Meat Free Monday" into their school lunches.

In 2017, Taipei was featured as one of the ten largest vegan cities in the world by CNN in the United States.


These days, more and more trendy cafes in Taipei are vegan.

Sweets like muffins, cookies and cakes are also made without butter and milk.

(And they are so delicious!)

When it comes to healthier, greener, and more delicious

What does it mean to eat meat? That's right.


Veganism is not only healthy, but also environmentally friendly.

In order to consider the future of the earth-friendly lifestyle, it is important to

You may want to take a fresh look at your "food".



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Work From Anywhere


It's not easy for me to go to Taiwan, but

The Corona disaster has given us the opportunity to rethink our lifestyle.

Now that telecommuting has become the norm and you can work from anywhere

Work and personal life.

The boundary between travel and residence has been erased.

We live in an age where people can freely choose their living environment.

In fact, more and more people are actually thinking about moving from the city center to the countryside.


Under such circumstances, my Taiwanese friends and I have been quietly working on a project.

If there's an option to live in the countryside.

Can we take the plunge and say "Taiwan" as an option?

Rather than travel, I'm going to try to live a little longer in a "micro-dwelling

In addition, a "long stay" to connect with the people living in the area.

And to "residence" where you can enjoy living and working.

Just as with rural migration.

We thought we would launch a service to help people think more easily about moving to Taiwan.


Taiwan is a good environment for Japanese to live in.

And yet, you can also feel the different culture.

As the first step to consider a new lifestyle

We feel that "Taiwan" is the perfect place for us.

Please take a look at our "Taiwan Migration Plan" page.

If you would like to experience Taiwan first hand, you are more than welcome to check it out.

We hope that you will be able to visit Taiwan as soon as possible.