A vintage barber in Hsinchu

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An old school barber shop in the back alleys of Hsinchu.

Yesterday I went wandering around to capture more of its old school charm. Along the way I snapped a quick photo of a vintage barber shop around the corner from the historic Hsinchu Zhǎnghé Temple 新竹長和宮 that proved to be surprisingly popular. Located at 26 Àiwén Street 愛文街26號, this is Wényǎ Barber Shop 文雅理髮店 (with Wenya meaning “elegant” or “refined”) and Míngzhū Beauty Salon 明珠美容院 (“pearl”). The building itself is rather odd, sandwiched between traditional courtyard homes and newly built residences, looking very much like a place out of time. The man inside the shop is even reading a newspaper!

A gem of a storefront in Hsinchu

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A classy storefront in Hsinchu not far from the train station.

This storefront immediately caught my eye when I arrived in a few hours ago. Both the facade and the lettering are unusually classy, showing a vintage style of design not commonly seen here in . This is a jewelry shop, as the clever use of characters would suggest, and its formal name is Xīnfǔ Zhūbǎo 鑫府珠寶. The first character, xīn 鑫, is known as a sāndiézì 三叠字, or triplet character, and is composed of three instances of jīn 金, which means gold. Whoever designed the lettering obviously had some fun integrating a sparkling jewel into the two characters on either side of the shop’s name!

Taiping Old Street 太平老街

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Baroque revival architecture on the streets of Douliu, the capital of Yunlin.

Taiping Old Street 太平老街 is an unusually long stretch of shophouses in central , the administrative seat of , . Located not far from the train station, this old street is remarkable for its length (600 meters long), consistent architectural style (almost entirely Baroque Revival), and relatively good state of preservation. Despite this, it is not a huge attraction, which is just as well if you’re not a big fan of mass tourism in .

A Window Inside Shenji New Village 審計新村

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Starry glass windows in an old military community in West Taichung.

Now that I know how to find and identify military dependents’ villages in I tend to stop off and check out any new ones I see in my travels. Last week while roaming around I made a quick visit to Shěnjì New Village 審計新村, an unusual military community not far from where I found that lilac mailbox I recently shared. Rather than the usual bungalows this village consists of almost American-style homes, most of them still in surprisingly good condition. This set of vintage windows on the upper levels caught my eye—and for this reason I’ll leave a small note here along with links to Chinese language blogs with more information here, here, and here.

A Vintage Lilac Mailbox

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An unusual lilac mailbox in the old streets of West Taichung.

Last week I went out wandering in , ostensibly to check out Zhōngxìng First Alley 中興一巷 (formally—and awkwardly—known as Fantasy Story 范特喜微創文化), an artsy district built into a row of old homes, when I noticed this unusual mailbox somewhere along Xiàngshàng North Road 向上北路. The fact that “letters” is written in English is no great surprise—see, for instance, this old letter slot in —but never before have I seen one in this distinct and alluring shade of lilac.

A Busy Day at Nantou Theater 南投大戲院

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Long line-ups outside an old school theater in Nantou City.

Nantou Theater 南投大戲院 is one of a small number of old school, second-run movie still operating in . Hundreds of others have been since the turn of the millennium, victims of changing consumer habits (read: downloading) and strong competition from more interactive and engaging forms of entertainment such as video games. Why some theaters hold on while most others fail is a bit of a mystery at times. In some cases there is an obvious explanation—for instance, that there is a huge student population within easy walking distance, as is the case with this theater in . In other cases, like this one, the reason eludes me. Nostalgia alone cannot explain why this theater in was so busy when I wandered by sometime in December 2013.

Outside Nanshan Theater 湳山戲院

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The vintage exterior of Nanshan Theater near Tonghua Night Market in Taipei.

Recently I’ve been mapping dozens of old school movie in , most of them abandoned, so it is a little surprising to chance upon one still in operation in my daily travels. Where others have vanished, Nǎnshān Theater 湳山戲院 remains, an old school second-run theater hidden along a small street near Tonghua Night Market in , .

Fugang Old Street 富岡老街

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The heart of Fugang Old Street on a gloomy day.

Fùgāng Old Street 富岡老街 is an obscure anachronism in the western part of , . It extends from a railway station that opened during the Japanese colonial era in 1929 through the heart of this small Hakka town. The coming of the railroad brought prosperity to the area and several ornate shophouses were built around the station in a mishmash of architectural styles common at the time. Nowadays it is just another street in rural Taiwan, albeit one with a little more history than most, possibly because it is too unimportant a place for modernization to have swept away these vestiges of the past.

Zhongyuan Grand Theater 中源大戲院

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A vintage theater just outside Zhongyuan University in Zhongli.

Zhōngyuán Grand Theater 中源大戲院 is a second-run theater located in the heart of Zhongyuan Night Market 中原夜市 in , . Zhongyuan Theater is ideally located next to the university of the same name amidst a huge population of budget-conscious students—which may explain why it remains in business unlike hundreds of other old theaters that have fallen into ruin in recent years, victims of changing consumer habits and strong competition from more modern multiplexes. Zhongyuan is also one of the very last theaters in the nation where you will find hand-painted movie posters hanging outside, a nostalgic practice more widely associated with Chin Men Theater 全美戲院 down in .

Vintage Scooter Style in Monga

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Vintage scooters on a sidewalk in Monga.

I was wandering the streets of not far from Wanhua Station 萬華車站 when I noticed this row of vintage scooters parked along a sidewalk. They reminded me of droids from Star Wars, particularly the one on the far right (and not only because the new film is in theaters soon). It isn’t uncommon to see such old scooters kicking around but seldom can you find so many in one place. I suppose this must be a used scooter dealership?