musings: Why is it raining feathers?

February 27, 2013

Stretching after a run, I noticed a feather float down to the ground from the tree above me. Pretty, I thought. Then another and another fell. A few more seconds and a literal (albeit soft) rain of feathers was floating down around me.

This is weird. I stopped mid stretch and walked around under the tree. Looking up, I saw a hawk pulling apart a pigeon, feathers puffing with each jerk of its beak. It spied me spying it, and paused in its ravenous ripping to stare down at me, head cocked to one side.

What a poignant contrast between the soft and really quite beautiful downward drift of the numerous feathers and the sharp beak and jerking motions of the bird as it tore apart its likely freshly caught fodder.

A Chinese Goshawk. Was this what I saw pulling apart a pigeon?

A Chinese Goshawk. Was this what I saw pulling apart a pigeon? Image by Hiyashi Haka.

I was running in the grounds of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and didn’t have my cellphone (or a camera) with me, so I didn’t get a photograph. (Gah!) I can’t remember the exact size of the bird, but from my angle (looking up from almost directly under the branch it was feasting on), it looked at most a third bigger than the pigeon it was eating.

So, using my awesome powers of deduction and (the most reputable source online ever) Wikipedia, I’ve come up with a shortlist.

  • Crested Serpent Eagle A medium sized bird of prey that lives in tropical Asia, including Taiwan. According to this source, this eagle is a commonly-sited Taiwanese residentThis bird sounds so lovely I simply WANT to say that I saw it.
  • Eastern Marsh Harrier A migratory bird that winters in Taiwan. It prefers open spaces and marshlands and preys on small mammals, birds and frogs. OK, so the Taiwan National Fine Art Museum isn’t exactly a marsh (well, not at all, really) and I’m not sure that pigeons could be called “small” birds, but I still feel that this little harrier could fit the bill.
  • Crested Goshawk This small raptor likes to hang out in trees and is apparently secretive. Rare, you say? I like the sound of that! In the right circles, I could say “Yes, I once saw a rare Crested Goshawk in a park in Taiwan. Imagine that!” and really impress people.
  • Besra Medium-sized and living throughout the Asia region, it relies on surprise to catch it prey. What caught my eye with this bird is that in winter, it heads into open, cultivated land.
  • Eurasian Sparrowhawk This bird winters over in parts of Asia and usually plucks the feathers from larger quarry. There’s a picture of this bird with a pigeon in its claws! It’s holding it on the ground, though, and not tearing it apart, but the bit about feather plucking is promising.

I also stumbled across a story of a pair of Peregrine Falcons living among the high rises of Kaohsiung City. Clearly this bird likes urban living. Maybe this is what I spotted?

I just shot off an email to Birding in Taiwan asking if they could help me to identify the bird. Fingers crossed! I’ll update you if they get back to me.

UPDATE | 28 March 2013 According to Simon from Birding in Taiwan, I laid eyes on a Peregrine Falcon, a rare sighting in Taiwan, says this website. Mystery solved!

Oh, and I just remembered, this is the second bird of prey I’ve spotted in Taichung City. When I was running in the botanical gardens I almost got hit by a hawk/harrier/kite/EAGLE-like bird that was chasing down a heron!

Not sure what to do next? Head back to the homepage to read more stories or follow JoB on Twitter!

Thank you for supporting jar of buttons.
Copyright © 2013. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

2011 in review

January 1, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,500 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

finds: summer dress up has never been so cheap

May 11, 2011

VINTAGE SHOPPING IN TAICHUNG

I wanted to share with you my amazing clothing finds from this morning’s trip to the flea market near Taoyuan train station here in Taichung. Not one but TWO dresses, a belt and a Japanese-style jacket that I think will be great come autumn.

FleaMarketDress1

FleaMarketDress2

FleaMarketDress3

What did it all cost?

First dress: NT$100
Second dress: NT$100
Jacket: NT$150
Belt: NT$100

I’ve written about this flea market before. Click here to read my story: take a look at some more buys and find out how to get there.

You might also like:

Follow JoB on Twitter or join the JoB Facebook page.

Thank you for supporting jar of buttons.
Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

write up: carmel for spaghetti bolognese

April 11, 2011

Situated in the North District of Taichung City, Carmel is a beautifully designed new cafe/restaurant offering an selection of western-style food with authentic flavours. No salads covered in Thousand Island here and raisins to be seen!

Carmel only just recently opened but has proven popular with the trendier locals. We walked in on Sunday and the place was full, the only seating option available was a table for two on the mezzanine, which actually proved to be a perfect spot from which to take photos and spy on what other patrons were eating.

I wolfed down an amazing spaghetti bolognese which was full of real garlic, rosemary and truly al dente high quality pasta. My lunch companion the seafood pasta which they praised as highly. Portion sizes were just right, not too overwhelming, and the food was presented in shallow white bowls perfect for pasta twirling.

It was lucky the pasta was amazing because the outing could have easily been soured by the fact that everything else on the menu, sandwiches and rissoto selections, had sold out. I know if was Sunday but it had only just passed midday! Oh well, I’ll just have to head back there this week.

Coffees and deserts are also worth mentioning. As we slurped our strong but not burnt iced coffees, my dinner companion and I shared a cheesecake  which reminded me of my mum’s home baked version. So good!

Anyway, here are a few pics so you can see for yourself. Worth a visit!

 

Spaghetti bolognese (near) and seafood pasta (far). Excuse the messy plates. I took the photo after we had started eating!

Yes, I had coffee AND an orange juice. I was thirsty!

Behind the counter.

Carmel interior.

Carmel interior.

I'm a sucker for cheesecake!

They write their table numbers on a teensy little blackboard!

You can sit at the bar and chat with the friendly wait staff.

Carmel exterior.

What: Carmel
Where: Cnr Donghan St & Taiyuan Road (Section 2), North District, Taichung City
Food: Western-style | Pasta, sandwiches, risotto | English and Chinese menu
Price: $70-$400
Map: Get directions here

You might also like:

Follow JoB on Twitter or join the JoB Facebook page.

Thank you for supporting jar of buttons.
Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

news: JoB’s taichung city

February 20, 2011

Want to know how to get to the places you read about on JoB? Now you can with JoB’s map to Taichung City.

The painstaking task of mapping all the cafes, restaurants, galleries, art districts, shopping areas and nature trails talked about on JoB has been completed. Every place you read about on this site will be added to the map in an attempt to get people out and exploring this ever improving Taiwanese city.

JoB Google Map Feb11

Click here to browse JoB’s Taichung City.

The map has it’s permanent home here.

Please note that this is NOT a comprehensive guide to everything Taichung has to offer, nor will it probably ever be. It’s just an attempt to record the places talked about on JoB.

Follow JoB on Twitter or join the JoB Facebook page.

Thank you for supporting jar of buttons.
Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

finds: Tsai Chih-Hsien’s iron sculpture

February 20, 2011

Images from an exhibition of work by Tsai Chih-Hsien, a 50+ year old Taichung sculptor. The exhibition began on Saturday at Taichung’s Espace Lin. The works upstairs are solid iron and the two pieces in the downstairs gallery are iron found object.

We turned up on Saturday expecting an opening event and an opportunity to meet the artist but it turns out the opening event will actually happen later in the month. Hopefully I can have more on the artwork for you then but in the meantime, enjoy the images or better yet, visit and see the works for yourself.

Downstairs gallery shot. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Downstairs gallery shot. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Upstairs gallery shot. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Upstairs gallery shot. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

This one reminds me of a movie camera. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

This one reminds me of a movie camera. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

A nice space. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

A nice space. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Here’s a bit of biographical info in English on Tsai Chih-Hsien.

Espace Lin is across the road from the Taichung’s art museum. I’m working on a Google map at the moment and will be sure to add the gallery to that. Up on JoB soon.

You might also like:

Follow JoB on Twitter or join the JoB Facebook page.

Thank you for supporting jar of buttons.
Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

JoB likes: CROCHET (penis key rings, used tampons, pastel burkas)

February 9, 2011

“My transition from 2 to 3 dimensions was making a crochet penis that I now use as a key ring.”

And… “Islamic fundamentalists don’t approve the range of colors used in my burkas.”

Also… “I’m not a street artist… I consider myself a warming table artist.”

Watch the artist interview below for more priceless quotes and laugh-out-loud moments. I really, really want to start crocheting now!

Have you crocheted before? What did you make?

You might also like:

Follow JoB on Twitter or join the JoB Facebook page.

Thank you for supporting jar of buttons.
Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

finds: dear plastic’s paper making kit

January 18, 2011

It arrived! My recycled and up-cycled paper making kit from Dear Plastic made it all the way from Australia to Taiwan without one little bit of damage. See me unpack it.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... opening the box.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... opening the box.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... the packaging has gone.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... the packaging has gone.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... reading all the lovely hand-printed notes.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... reading all the lovely hand-written notes.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... the kit!

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... the kit!

The box for the kit is made out of old Sydney Opera house plastic posters and it came with hand-written instructions. I haven’t opened the jar to investigate what’s in it yet but I’m sure the instructions or the video (below) will tell all. You can buy one, too! Click here to visit the Dear Plastic website.

So what can I make with my beautifully recycled paper? I was thinking of putting together a cute little art and culture zine to distribute around Taichung City every two weeks or so. Or…

I also found this cool idea for making recycled paper beads. These beads put me in mind me of a jewellery making book I had in the 80s.

What else? Leave your ideas as a comment below!

You might also like:

Follow JoB on Twitter or join the JoB Facebook page.

Thank you for supporting jar of buttons.
Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

JoB likes: CONTEMPORARY ART THAT GETS PEOPLE READING AGAIN

January 8, 2011

A metal artist and good friend of mine – Esther (廖幸玲), who lives here in Taichung – has signed up for a competition created by a big Taiwanese book publisher. The company has asked people to submit an innovative idea which will inspire people to start reading very old Chinese classics. My friend has an amazing idea and has been accepted into the voting stage. So now she needs your vote to win!

Actually, the idea reminded me a bit of Singaporean artist Michael Lee’s book sculptures.

'Every Architecture is a Banana', 2008, book sculpture, found book, 42 x 29.7 x 15 cm. Edition of 1 Collection of the artist. Image from michaellee.sg.

'Every Architecture is a Banana', 2008, book sculpture, found book, 42 x 29.7 x 15 cm. Edition of 1 Collection of the artist. Image from michaellee.sg.

Here’s a bit about her proposal from the artist herself:

In my proposal, I wrote out an idea related to a book called “Dream of the Red Chamber” (紅樓夢) which is one of the top five Chinese literature classics. It’s about the ups and downs of a super big family and is set around 300 years ago. Over 300 figures appear in the book and there are lots and lots of superb and beautiful words and poems as well as an amazing descrition of how people lived at that time. It also presents a comparison between the poor and the rich, the higher, lower and lowest classes, love and hate, dream and realities, the powerful and the weak…

However, such a book has been dying in the readers’ market as the language is too hard for most people to read and understand. So I want to try my best to tell the story in a way people would understand – using modern language, metal work and other media. I would like to create a pop-out story book to give back to the world the beauty of this old classic and hopefully evoke some further discussion and sharing of it and interest in it.

At the moment I am at the second reviewing stage, trying to get into the final ten. To give me a better chance at getting there I need lots and lots (and lots!) of votes from Internet supporters. It would be highly appreciated if you could give me a vote by clicking on the link below. You can even vote more than once by voting from different computers because the voting system works by recording your IP address. It would be 3009% appreciated if you could spread the news to other people for me as well.

Go on… vote!

Click here to vote and show your support for Esther, reading and art. The page is in Chinese, so once you click through, you will see Esther’s name, (廖幸玲), and a number which shows the number of votes she has already. Just above the number you will see a little blue rectangle with the words “投他一票”. Simply click on the blue rectangle to show your support and record your vote.

As Ether herself says, “Thank you soooooooooooooooo much for your kind patience of reading this mail. And I would like to thank you for all the effort and care you have given me on this matter.”

Esther currently trains with and works part-time for Taichung-based metalwork studio Zamama. I wrote about them in them and the other inhabitants of Stock 20 in the winter issues of GuanXi.

Important update! Voting ends this Friday, 15 January, 2010.

You might also like:

Follow JoB on Twitter or join the JoB Facebook group.

Thank you for supporting jar of buttons.
Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

News: JoB’s 2010 in review

January 3, 2011

I am being very lazy and posting the summary below that WordPress.com kindly put together for me. First post for the first week of 2011 down! No, I will try to put together one more post for this week and I did actually think this info was interesting.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads, “This blog is on fire!”

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,100 times in 2010. That’s about 12 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 40 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 59 posts. There were 223 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 93mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was March 22nd with 152 views. The most popular post that day was critique: is taichung soulless?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, hungryintaipei.blogspot.com, taiwanderful.net, bloglovin.com, and en.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for taichung jazz festival 2010, taichung jazz festival, jar of buttons, cardboard furniture, and sea turtle.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

critique: is taichung soulless? March 2010
14 comments

2

write up: waterfall, 2009 summer issue function February 2010

3

write up: match cafe March 2010

4

write up: viewpoints and viewing points – 2009 asian art biennale January 2010
5 comments

5

JoB likes: DAKENG SCENIC AREA January 2010
2 comments

Follow JoB on Twitter or join the JoB Facebook group.

Thank you for supporting jar of buttons.
Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.