Dark Heart of the Doomed Market

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Looking up from the heart of Jianguo Public Market 建國市場.

Recently I have undertaken several expeditions to Jiànguó Public Market 建國市場 in , formerly the largest traditional market in . As part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the area around Taichung Station 台中車站 the market building is scheduled for demolition in a few months time. Many residents have already been evicted and plenty of businesses have moved to a new market building on the other side of the railway line. I will at some point publish a full post about this doomed relic of the —but for now here’s an shot from within the very heart of the old market building oddly reminiscent of another another famous ruin in Taichung.

Keelung’s All-Night Kanziding Fish Market 基隆崁仔頂漁市場

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On the edge of the fish market in downtown Keelung at around 3am.

Kànzǐdǐng Fish Market 崁仔頂漁市場 is supposedly the longest-running operation of its kind in northern . Back in the the market was located along the banks of the Xùchuān River 旭川河 in , formerly a navigable channel running through the downtown core into the harbour. The Japanese built a pier in the late 1920s, making it easy for fishermen to offload their catch next to the market, and convenient access to the railway network encouraged its growth.

Little Fluffy Clouds Over Taipei

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Scalloped clouds over Shuiyuan Market in Gongguan.

Little fluffy clouds swept into and everyone seems to have lost their minds. I captured my own version next to the iconic Shuǐyuán Market 水源市場 near Gongguan Station 公館站 in the southeastern tip of and was amused to see dozens of people doing the same once it finished uploading to Instagram. I know it unnerves or annoys some people to be a part of a trend but in I really don’t mind. It’s kind of charming how even the smallest, most trivial things can unite an entire city, if only for a moment.

The entrance to Xinpu Market

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The chaos outside Xinpu Market from the MRT station exit.

I haven’t spent much time in , one of the most densely populated cities in , so it was with some degree of surprise that I emerged at street level from Xinpu Station 新埔站 to this chaotic street scene. Pictured here is the entrance to Xinpu Market 新埔市場 (pinyin: Xīnbù Shìchǎng), mere steps from from MRT exit. Much like a Japanese shōtengai 商店街 (shopping street), the entire length of the market is covered with an arched roof to provide some measure of protection from the weather.

Tainan’s Old West Market 台南西市場

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The northern entrance to Tainan’s West Market.

West Market 西市場 (sometimes referred to as West Gate or Xīmén Market 西門市場) in was once the largest market in southern . The first market building on this location was erected sometime from 1905 to 1908 under Japanese colonial rule. This building was later reconstructed in 1920 after suffering typhoon damage. It remains a hub of commercial activity in this part of the city up until the present day—but its very heart has been hollowed out and mostly abandoned for the last several decades.

Postcards From Changhua City 1 彰化市明信片

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Floral murals along an alleyway in Changhua City.

I moved to in November 2014 to see what’s it like living in another traditional town in middle . I had an interesting time staying in for three months so I figured why not give a shot for the wintertime? While Changhua is nowhere near as lively and interesting as Taiwan’s old southern capital it is not without charm. Here I have gathered up some of the more representative images I have captured in my first two months of residency, mostly of the area immediately to the east of the train station, which also happens to be the oldest part of town.

Yuanlin First Market at Dusk

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Dusk gathers over the old marketplace in the heart of Yuanlin.

I captured this photo of Yuánlín First Market 員林第一市場 in the long shadows of late afternoon earlier this year. The market buildings dates back to the Japanese colonial era, though I am not entirely certain precisely how old it is, for my ability to research in is somewhat limited at present. At any rate, it’s a beautiful building, but also neglected, as much of the activity has moved to the perimeter, where street food vendors do a brisk trade after dark. The dimly lit interior is still home to a handful of antiquated shops—tea wholesalers, butchers, fishmongers, vegetable grocers, and the like—but some of the shutters look like they haven’t come up in decades. As such, it makes for a fascinating building to explore, as there’s a great deal of unspoken history hidden within.

Concrete dreams in Luodong

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Inside an old market in Luodong.

I went wandering through the streets of on Monday morning after stopping over to catch some rest after Organik, an electronic music festival on the east coast of Taiwan. The previous night’s walkabout was rather tame—and by day Luodong offered no greater thrills.

Just about the only thing that piqued my curiosity was this old market building, a marvel of brutal concrete architecture. Strangely, there were few signs of activity within this building despite the bustling trade on the streets. Perhaps this is nothing more than a storage area for the vendors hawking goods and produce on the busy streets beyond the gate.

The Timeless Market Streets of Sham Shui Po 深水埗

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The markets of Sham Shui Po by day.

The market streets of seem drab and muted compared to those at the southern tip of . Even at night these streets seem uncharacteristically sedate. I don’t mind—this is part of what makes Sham Shui Po feel so authentic. If you look closely at this photograph there isn’t anything in the frame that would allow you to date it to early February 2014. It looks like anytime in the last 20 years or so—apart from the compact fluorescent lightbulb on the left. Just think of the mornings that have passed through here before this particular day arrived. People on the streets, vendors hawking their wares. Every day more or less like this one—but all of them different in some inexplicable way.