Fantuan Discourse

I would not consider myself an aggressive person, but I tend to find myself getting into petty arguments with my friends. One recent argument occurred right after a dinner in which I was introducing my new boyfriend to my friends Phillip and Lily.[1] It began innocently enough: we had dinner at a nice Turkish restaurant, then retreated to Phillip’s apartment for dessert and tea. During the conversation, it came to light that we are all of Taiwanese descent, which naturally led to a discussion…

Director’s Picks: Ten Films from Taiwan to Watch

By guest contributor Brian Hu, a film curator and educator with a focus on Asian and Asian American cinema. Where does one start with Taiwan cinema? While it was barely scraping by with a couple dozen features per year in the early 2000s, the Taiwanese film industry had once been one of the world’s biggest, churning out a combination of local Taiwanese-language productions, big propaganda epics, and Hong Kong co-productions. This is a formidable history, one that has chronicled Taiwanese…

Between My Grandfather, Taiwan, and Me

I had just turned eleven years old when my gonggong passed away. I never got to know him very well; my memories of him are pieced together from summer trips to the East Coast, when we visited my mother’s side of the family. But between his deteriorating health and my distraction of getting to play Wii with my cousins, my gonggong and I did not spend much time together. After his death, his transformation into an unknown, distant figure in my life felt inevitable. [caption id="" align="aligncenter"…

Why I Love “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

  From the point of view of a Taiwanese American eighteen year old aspiring filmmaker I’ve been following “Everything Everywhere All At Once” since the first trailer released over a year ago. The trailer told me nothing about the plot of the movie, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it would be the most epic movie I had ever seen. There was a combination of factors that intrigued me: the sci-fi/Asian American immigrant mother-daughter hybrid story, the mysteriousness of the trailer,…

“The Jennie Show” on TaiwanPlus: Animated First-Hand Telling of “Third Culture” Experiences in Taiwan

Enjoying the best of both worlds or finding comfort in a “third culture”? A stranger in a strange land or a homecoming full of quirks and wonders? Learning about a foreign yet familiar culture or rediscovering one’s own identity? These are some of the questions Jennie explores in her return to Taiwan as experienced through her Taiwanese American lens – via Colorado, to be exact. “The Jennie Show”, a short-form animation recently released on the fast-growing global streaming platform…

Book Review: Elaine Hsieh Chou’s “Disorientation”

In 2015, poet Michael Derrick Hudson submitted his poem “The Bees” to various journals and magazines in hopes of being published. After the poem was passed over nearly forty times, Hudson decided to change his strategy. Only nine submissions later, “The Bees” was featured in that year’s edition of “The Best American Poetry” — but under the name Yi-Fen Chou. Hudson, a white man, had used a Chinese name as a pseudonym as a way to garner attention for his work.  In her debut…

How writing novels helped me learn more about what it means to be Taiwanese American

I’ve had a complicated relationship with my Taiwanese background for most of my life. My parents immigrated in their twenties, and I was born in the US but raised in a very traditional, Mandarin-speaking home. Growing up, I felt like I had two sides to me: an American skin I’d wear at school, which felt most like me, and a Taiwanese one I’d force on at home. My friends didn’t understand me—even my Taiwanese American friends, because my family was still keeping traditions from the 50s…

Jiaozi and Gyoza

Jiaozi and Gyoza.  The average person might not see a difference between them– they're just dumplings, and dumplings taste good. Still, the differences are important. Jiaozi is a historical dish from Taiwan and China, eaten by Chinese people as far back as the Tang Dynasty. Its Japanese counterpart, however, is a more recent creation. It is said that while Japanese soldiers occupied countries like Taiwan and China, they enjoyed the local Jiaozi so much that when they returned to Japan,…

This is why you must read “THIS IS NOT MY HOME”

An Interview with Best Friends Eugenia Yoh and Vivienne Chang, and a Review of Their Debut Picture Book This is a totally unbiased review of the greatest debut picture book I’ve ever read. The first time I read This Is Not My Home was, indeed, not at my home—rather, it was at a publishing house. For context, this publishing house was supposed to be a new home for not only myself, but also Eugenia, for we were both newish hires at the time. At the time, the publishing house still felt…