Nántóu City 南投市 is the county seat for Nantou and the home of Zhongxing New Village, technically the capital of Taiwan Province. With several hundred years of history there is a fair amount to explore in this relatively small city if you're able to go local.

Nantou Theater 南投大戲院

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

Nantou Theater 南投大戲院, in operation since 1935, is one of a small number of old school, second-run movie theaters still operating in Taiwan 台灣. Hundreds of others have been abandoned 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, when there is a large student population within easy walking distance, as is the case with this theater in Zhōnglì 中壢. In other instances the reason eludes me. Here in Nantou it would appear as if savvy marketing might be the answer, for the same owner also operates some cafes and other businesses in the area. Whatever the case, this classic theater in Nántóu City 南投市 was surprisingly busy when I wandered by sometime in December 2013 to shoot this picture.

Ghostly Vesicle

Impressions of the past in Nantou City.

The dense urban landscapes of Taiwan 台灣 are punctuated by ghostly vesicles, jagged outlines of demolished buildings on properties that haven’t been redeveloped. This process leaves a curious residue on the interface between cells of the city: distinct traces of flooring and rooftops, wallpaper and tiling, zigzagging stairways and more. Occasionally one will even see shelving and other furnishings still attached to walls three or four storeys up, an absurd phenomenon reminiscent of the “inconvenience stores” of The Far Side.