Children in Love, formerly known as Western Moon | 胡月

I’m in love with Children in Love, formerly known as Western Moon | 胡月, currently known as the band who’s really hard to find on the Internet. I love their music, I truly do, and they are charming people. I have done my best to find the kind of information which you, my reader(1), will find useful.

To quote my friend Bart, Children in Love’s music can be considered: “[Electronic], neo-classical, dream pop-ish… jesus, never mind these labels.”

To quote Children in Love’s Facebook page, their music is best described by the following genres: “Sci-fi 科幻, electronic 電子, rock 搖滾, pop 流行, classical 古典.”

I first heard Children in Love at Witch House, a venerable old Taipei Live House(2). I’d popped over because it was a terrible, awful kind of week, and I needed to do a thing – get the heck out of my apartment – and their music seemed interesting from the flyer’s brief description. I showed up, got a gigantic glass of alcohol handed to me by the Witch House staff, and then fell in love.

Children in Love’s music mixes almost orchestral complexity with electronic music concepts and sounds, coupled with the primary vocals of Xu Yajie 許雅捷 who has one of the loveliest singing voices I’ve ever heard. Their music is dreamlike, cyclical, and wandering, pulling you in deeper with curiosity and sweetness, while never quite letting you go. Children in Love has songs in both English and Mandarin Chinese, and the best way to understand them is to just listen:

Wasn’t that awesome? Yes, yes it was.

Earlier, I mentioned that Children in Love is really hard to find on the Internet. There were not a lot of resources or sources of information about them when they were Western Moon | 胡月, but it’s now even a little messier since they’ve recently changed their name.

I believe that a lot of the current difficulty in finding this group is due to the migration from some older user/channel names on various services, to the new Children in Love name. I hope that the move will be finished soon, so that it’ll become easier for fans both old and new to discover their music.

At the moment, dear reader, I am here to help! By help, I mean enable you to listen to their songs, go to their shows and buy their music, so that they can always keep producing music. Forever. Ahem. Here’s where you can find them!

Official Website: Children in Love

Facebook: Children in Love: FB

YouTube: Children in Love: Official YouTube Channel

iNDIEVOX: Children in Love: iNDIEVOX

iTunes: Children in Love: iTunes

Spotify: Children in Love: Spotify

Go, have fun listening!

Footnotes

(1) I use the singular ‘reader’ because although it has not yet been empirically proved that my readership is a number greater than zero, I am a hopeful person.

(2) Live House is the term in Taiwan for a space – sometimes a cafe by day, music performance venue by night – which hosts live music shows. Live Houses are usually not purpose-built concert halls, and thus are not particularly acoustically robust. Rather, Live Houses are sort of ad-hoc spaces that transform into music venues. Live Houses’ purpose in the Taiwanese indie music scene is showcasing rising bands by offering places for fans to see their favorite groups, or discover new ones. The line between amateur and professional blurs, as various Live Houses may or may not have the following services: ticket pre-sales, audio engineers, seating, sound equipment, food and beverage service, etc.

The dividing line between a Live House and full-fledged professional venue seems to be whether the space is fully licensed and properly zoned, as well as operating with full-cooperation from the local government. Typically, only performance spaces associated with government or cultural institutions can meet this very high bar. Live Houses, by their very nature as semi ad-hoc spaces, fall into a legal grey zone.

A Live House is a legal construct, in that the term ‘Live House’ has a special standing within Taiwan’s law. However, the actual definition of a Live House is apparently quite vague: [音樂展演空間業], which I’ll translate as [a music performance space operated for business purposes]. This space will [提供音響、燈光、硬體設備之展演場所,供從事大眾普遍接受之音樂藝文創作者現場演出音樂為主要營業內容之營利事業], roughly translated as a Live House is a space which [will offer music, lighting, and general technical hardware associated with performances, for the purpose running a business in which live-performance of music is the primary source of revenue]. There are restrictions on where a Live House can operate, with only commercial zones being absolutely okay. As a result of being unable to afford most commercial zones, the majority of Live Houses are either flat-out illegal, or what I’d refer to as operating in a grey zone on a ‘hope that the neighbors don’t complain’-basis.

Taipei Professional Venues: National Concert Hall and National Theater Hall, Taipei Cultural Center, etc.

Taipei Live Houses: Legacy, Witch House, Revolver, The Wall, etc.

I hope you have enjoyed this very long footnote. For those of you who have made it this far, over in the corner there are cheese and crackers, and some left-over boxed wine. Only the best for my footnote friends!

Bibliography

Bart, A Line Conversation in Which I Annoy Bart, 2016.03.12.

Children in Love, accessed 2016.03.15, https://www.facebook.com/WesternMoonMusic.

“[追蹤專題] 一窺Live House法規爭議,” 政大大學報, 2015.06.15, http://uonlineblog.blogspot.com/2015/06/live-house.html.

Caoling Trail 草嶺古道

On November 21st, my friends and I hiked Caoling Trail (草嶺古道). I’d wanted to hike this particular trail for over a year, as I’d heard that it was the most beautiful trail in Northern Taiwan.

However, Caoling Trail can only be hiked during autumn and spring, as it’s too exposed to the weather extremes in summer and winter. Jessica was luckily just as down to hike Caoling Trail as I, and she and Reiney pulled together a most excellent trip. We followed the trail directions noted in Richard Saunders’ great hiking and day trip guide to Northeastern Taiwan, Taipei Escapes 1. We started at Daxi Station (大溪火車站) and ended up at Fulong Station (福隆火車站), so that we could to the Taoyuan Valley path.

A lot of other people have done some excellent write-ups, which I’ll link, before hitting you in the FACE WITH PICTURES. Also, everything on this entire set of paths is made of stairs, and I considered asking my friends to leave me behind to die so that I could end my suffering. I was too embarrassed to tell them that part, so I ended up finishing and we got some of the VERY LAST biandang at Xiang Ye Biandang (鄉野便當).

I guess living was worth it after all, since I gave life an 8/10 after that biandang.

The whole trail was gorgeous, but definitely bring plenty of food and water, as well as prepare for rain and wind. From starting at Daxi Station, to walking up to Xiang Ye Biandang, it was probably about 8 hours in total. That’s including food and bathroom breaks, as well as ‘I laid down on a bench and prayed for death’ stops. We cut it extremely close in terms of having enough day light on the trail portions, and we ended by walking in darkness along the paved road into Fulong.

So, start early, and start prepared!

Other people with more words:
Caoling Trail – Taiwan’s Beautiful Northeast Coast – The Daily Bubble Tea, 3/2008
Caoling Old Trail and Wankengtou Mountain (草嶺古道和灣坑頭山) – Lao Ren Cha, 2/2010
The Caoling Historic Trail – A Fulbright Experience in Taiwan, 9/2013

Going up the 5 billion steps from Daxi Station

Wandering through the forest.

Mountains

It rained! This little shrine offered shelter.

Balancing on things!

Jessica, looking down the valley

The Valley

Cow Fields

I spent most of the hike pretending we were in Lord of the Rings

We will bring the ring to Mordor!

Windswept Views

Everything was ridiculously pretty.

Looking out over the valleys

Tiger Inscription : 虎字碑

Sunset

Overlooking Fulong

Xiang Ye Biandang : 鄉野便當

Taiwan Pride Parade 2015

On the last Saturday of October, I went to Taiwan Pride 2015. GLBT rights is something that’s been close to my heart since I was in high school. There’s been a lot of progress in the US, but Taiwan is still pushing for some of those core rights and representations.

That’s a lot of syllables, so let’s look at this photo of my friend Yingle throwing the horns. Yeah! Human rights! Let’s rock this parade!

Yingle throws the horns!

GLBT rights have kicked up in Taiwan over the past few years. In 2003, Taipei saw 300 people march in Taiwan’s first pride parade in Taipei. In 2015, Taipei saw 78,000 people march in the 13th annual pride parade.

NTNU students, represent!

Flags for pride

Right now, there’s an annual pride parade in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung. More and more people are out to their friends and family, and over 50% of the Taiwanese population is okay with changing the law to allow same-sex marriage.

Taiwan Pride

Our world has presented us with so many tricky problems: poverty, education access, resource-scarcity, pollution. Statistics, economics, transportation, exports, imports, trade-balances, copyright, supply-demand, all sorts of complicated interactions where the questions pile up into an endless cluster of confusion.

I see same-sex marriage as one of those simple fixes. Just change the law, and it’s done. The law isn’t taking anything away from someone, it’s just acknowledging a human right.

DPP

For me, this is a simple human rights issue. I’m glad to see progress over the years, and it’s one of my fondest hopes that someday the entire world will allow same-sex marriage. Sure, it’s not going to fix all discrimination, or magically patch everyone’s lives. Still, it’ll have an impact.

Laws are a society’s definition of what is right and what is wrong. Laws tell us what it means to be a citizen, and by extension what that a society believes it means to be human. I very much hope for a future where Taiwan joins the list of nations who have legalized same sex marriage. The change in the law matters a lot for not only quite a few of my friends, but for showing Taiwan’s citizens and the world the kind of society that Taiwan wishes to become.

Colors of Pride

The cutest parade member!

Marching for Same-sex Marriage

Birkenstock Syndrome

A few weeks ago, I paid $900 NTD to repair my Birkenstocks. I’d only had these sandals for five months. This was the damage: a strap had popped, the inner sides near my big toe had degraded into some kind of corky-cliff face, and the bottom of my sandals looked as though they’d been ground down with rough-grit sandpaper. The pattern on bottom of my sandals also reveal that I walk funny. This fact is probably not a surprise to any of my friends.

When the store lady told me the price to fix them, my insides turned into an oozing puddle of sadness and I seriously considered not repairing them. I mean, I’d bought them for $1780 NTD, so I’d be paying 50% of the purchase price. What if I just kept on wearing the sandals until they melted into a little heap of debris, or threw them out and bought new ones? Wouldn’t that be more economical-ish? Maybe?

Let me digress away from money and to the things that I love about these sandals. I love these Birkenstocks because they’re made in Germany. Germany! Labor unions! Quality! Labor rights protections! It’s a good thing!

The second reason I love my Birkenstocks is they are dead-comfortable and hug my feet with endless piles of love during every footstep. I bought them the night before a trip to Thailand, and I wore them for a billion miles worth of walking. There was no break-in period because they were broken-in by the time I got off the plane in Thailand. Those sandals proceeded to elevate my feet with lovely arch support throughout the entire trip and for every month thereafter.

The third reason I love my Birkenstocks, is that Birkenstocks are now cool. Seriously, they are! The New Yorker told me so! This matters to me, because I could pretend to be super above this all, and not care if anyone else judges me. This would be a pack of fond imaginings and lies. I do care about not looking terrible when I walk outside, if it can be avoided. (Looking good would be even better!) Birkenstocks work well for this goal, because they fit extremely well with a particular fashion style that I’ve fallen head-over heels for: Japanese minimalism. Get in my wardrobe, clean lines! Get in there!

Ah, I was talking about repair work. Basically, $900 NTD is a lot of money, and it was really hard for me to justify spending that amount of money (nearly half the original purchase price) on a set of repairs. My decision finally came down to one thing: I bought these shoes as an investment. I was going to cost me money to fix them, but it was also going to cost me a heck of a lot of money to replace them with sandals of comparable quality and wardrobe functionality. There were cheaper alternatives, but Taiwanese night market purchases tend to – let us say – utterly disintegrate after a short period of regular use. The new sandals would not be made in Germany. They would not be as mind-blowingly comfortable. Also, economically, there’s Sam Vimes’ ‘Boots’ Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness to consider (I love this theory and this blog posts gives me an excuse to post it, and you can’t stop me!).

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”
– Terry Pratchett, Men At Arms

I like good quality stuff. I like the fact that I can repair shoes and clothes in Taiwan. I think that out of the “reduce, reuse, and recycle” saying, that repairing objects fits squarely into the “reuse” category. Also, I kind of like fixing things that I use, because it feels like I can carry these objects – and their stories – with me a little longer.

I’m lucky that I can repair my sandals; they don’t have to become disposable objects, at least not for the moment. They can stay with me for a little while longer (once they come back from their four-week vacation to a repair shop in Taichung), and wander with me to places new and old.

Also, it’s been a few weeks, and they’re now fixed! I CAN PICK THEM UP TOMORROW! I’m a little excited. It’s pretty much too cold to wear sandals anymore in Taipei, but I might do it anyway. Just for a little bit. Maybe inside my apartment, where my toes won’t fall off due to the cold.

Birkenstocks! They didn’t pay me to make this post, but it’s kind of hard to avoid falling in love with something that hugs you 24/7 (even it is via your feet).

Staring Into the Void

Look at all the gigantic white space that this blog is currently not occupying! THE VOID. THE VOID.

Before the crushing void of the idea of an infinite amount of ones and zeros swamps the very boat of this blog in the starry sea of the – METAPHOR EMERGENCY EXIT.

Ahem.

I should write down some what I’d like to put here, in a more solid fashion. I believe that they call this ‘making a list’. Very daring.

The list:

  1. Photos!
  2. Essays!
  3. Drawings!
  4. Things I need to remember
  5. Things I’d like to forget
  6. $5 million dollars in untraceable funds, so that I can fund my coffee addiction

For now, let’s try to just get 1 – 3 up in this place. It does seem that all the cool kids are using Flickr for photo hosting, and also that my cellphone is attempting to smother itself at night to relieve it’s own misery (I need to take my photos out of it’s over-stuffed, creaking memory).

First, cellphone excavation. Second, uploading! Maybe. We’ll see!

Hello!

Oh god, I finally got this to work. (ノ^ヮ^)ノ*:・゚✧

I am super excited about this fact! My feelings are all (((o(*゚▽゚*)o)))

Check out this super cute fat cat. (ृ˄·͈༝·͈˄ ृ )

If you are not already familiar with myself in 3D, you will discover that I like cats. Hopefully this blog will be super ヽ(⌐■_■)ノ♪♬ and not so much (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

ONLY YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FIND OUT, NOT-YET EXISTENT READERS.

Okay, Internet, let’s do this! (๑ˊ͈ ॢꇴ ˋ͈)〜♡॰ॱ

PS

I hope that I find this post to be very embarrassing in ten years. Or next week.

PPS

Super-cool emoji are all from JapaneseEmoticons.me