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Synapticism

An experiential journal of synchronicity and connection
Totoro in Taichung

Ephemera

A celebration of triviality and transience. See also: mnemonic, amusing, and weird.

A System of Tubes

Snaking up the walls of Taichung
Snaking up the back walls of a hospital in central Taichung.

I captured these pipes snaking up the side of building in Taichung 台中 while circumambulating the Zhongying Recreational Building 中英育樂大樓 in search of another way to the forbidden upper levels. Since I just went to the trouble of cleaning up this photo for use on the cover for my latest house and techno mix, Heat Sync, I figured I may as well share it here as well. Now that I’ve looked into it this is actually the back of Cheng Ching General Hospital 澄清綜合醫院 (pinyin: Chéngqīng), which should explain why there’s so much going on here. At least it’s not a disorderly mess.

A Close Encounter With An Atlas Moth

An Atlas moth perched on a chair in Taoyuan
An Atlas moth perched on the leg of a chair at a Hakka restaurant in Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Last week I went out for a day of exploration with Josh Ellis who brought me to the excellent Lǎotóubǎi Hakka Restaurant 老頭擺客家餐廳 in Lóngtán 龍潭, Taoyuan. This restaurant is operated out of an old farmhouse (or sanheyuan, a traditional Taiwanese courtyard home) so I wandered around to take a look at each room before our meal arrived. Stepping out into the courtyard an employee gestured toward a giant moth perched on the leg of a chair. I had seen Neil Wade post one just like it on Facebook a few days prior to this so I wasn’t exactly surprised—but wow is it ever large!

Giant Bird Crossing at Taida

Watch out for giant birds
An amusing sign on campus at National Taiwan University in Taipei.

It was hot as hell this afternoon so I smartly cut through National Taiwan University 國立臺灣大學 in search of some shade while on my way to one of my favourite working cafes in Taipei 台北. NTU, better known as Táidà 台大, has a beautiful main campus in the heart of Dà'ān District 大安區 that offers some respite from the busy city streets that surround it. While riding along one of many tree-lined laneways I noticed this absurd sign by the roadside. The text reads dòngwù chuānyuè 動物穿越 (“animal crossing”), jiǎnsù mànxíng 減速慢行 (“slow down”), with nary a word about giant birds, much to my disappointment. I’m not sure if this is a student project or something official but either way—it’s awesome! I wonder now, is this meant to depict the herons commonly seen in parkland around the city?

Mondrian Parking Garage

Mondrian garage
An oddly-decorated parking garage in Taichung.

Living in Taiwan 台灣 affords ample opportunities to encounter elements of western culture filtered through an eastern lens. Here we find the distinctive artistic style of Piet Mondrian decorating the entrance to an underground parking garage in Taichung 台中. High-brow art on a carport? Well, whatever. There aren’t any rules or conventions to be followed around here!

Have You Seen Him

In search of a crooked cop in Taipei
A series of stickers referencing the events of the Sunflower Student Movement.

Today I wandered by the former American embassy, now the Spot Taipei Film House 光點台北電影院 in Zhōngshān District 中山區, and noticed this series of stickers on the electrical transformers across the lane. In bold lettering it says: HAVE YOU SEEN HIM. I wondered what it meant—and it seems I’m not the only one. Turns out the man in the photograph was one of the police officers involved in evicting people from the Executive Yuan 行政院 in the early mornings hours of March 24th, 2014, during the Sunflower Student Movement. He was caught on camera beating protesters and, when student leaders demanded the police identify the officer, they initially claimed to not know his name or whereabouts. Later it was revealed that the officer was not even relieved of duty in the aftermath of that violent night.

Lost Among The Multitudes

A lost cat poster
A lost cat poster on a mailbox in Hamilton.

I wonder how many cats are lost every day? Certainly this number cannot be insignificant, for it is something almost every cat owner must address at one point or another. I have personally been involved in the search for lost cats on at least five occasions—and have probably made posters of my own at least three times. This particular poster up on the mountain in Hamilton caught my eye for whatever reason—the unusually bold design, the melancholic appearance of raindrops on the plastic cover, or perhaps the forlorn look of the potentially doomed feline, its indeterminate fate depending on chance and circumstance. And are we not all lost as well? Put up a poster for yourself.

Nakagusuku Kogen Hotel in a LIFE Books Special

A haunted hotel in Okinawa in LIFE Books
My photo of a haunted hotel in Okinawa in LIFE Books.

Last year one of my photos from Nakagusuku Kogen Hotel 中城高原ホテル was picked up by LIFE Books for the publication of The World’s Most Haunted Places. I have yet to complete my own write-up of this fantastical and awe-inspiring ruin in Okinawa but I will certainly get around to it sooner or later. Appearing in a LIFE publication of any kind is also pretty cool even if it isn’t the original magazine, which my mother used to collect and keep around the house while I was growing up. She proudly bought a couple copies when she heard the news and the special hit the supermarket stands back home in Canada.

Qing Dynasty Arcade

Qing dynasty arcade
A discarded video game machine in back alley Hsinchu.

I found an old video game machine discarded in the back alleys of Hsinchu City 新竹市 the other day. I was walking by a street-side fruit stand when I noticed the stark outlines of an older building in a small laneway to one side. Stopping to explore, I found a storeroom for the fruit stand—and behind that, another abandonment, this time dating back to Qing dynasty times by the look of the distinctive bricks on the wall. I wonder what possessed anyone to dump this lone machine in such a place? Now just imagine plugging it in and seeing all the lights switch on again—it’s almost like the plot of some strange, fantastical film where the protagonist is then sucked into a secret world of the imagination.

Please Recycle, Dear Leader

A quirky recycling sign in a Taichung restaurant
Kim Jong-un implores guests to “please recycle, thank you”.

Yesterday I dropped in for brunch at a quirky diner in Taichung 台中 known as Lucky Southeast Asian Dining Hall 金福氣南洋食堂. The decor is decidedly pan-Asian kitsch, with all manner of recognizable icons appearing on signs and posters around the shop. This particular graphic features a cartoon version of Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of North Korea, imploring guests to recycle chopsticks. Hey, at least it’s not Hitler!