I started a daily vlog about my life as an American in Taiwan


#1

I have been living in Taipei for 3 years as a filmmaker and animator. This week I started a daily vlog to show my what my life is like here.

I have made 6 videos so far, and a lot more are on the way!
Please help me out by subscribing and sharing!


#2

not sure about the content/ style. like a diary type thing of every action you are doing in the day is not that interesting? for me anyway. but the presentation is amazing. it looks beautiful, if i made vlogs i would try to make them look like yours.


#3

You put a lot of effort into your vlog, which is cool. Not many people have the time or patience to do that. I have to say, however, that your video on Dadaocheng didn’t really show anything outside of the norm of 99% of any other place in Taiwan. The Chinese herb / tea vendors can be found everywhere, the tea you bought can be found on almost any corner in any city and the buildings were just the normal 20, 30, 40 year old buildings mixed in with a few older buildings without anything truly unique about them.

I would suggest, keep vlogging, you have a talent and motivation, but try to focus on more unique things. You told the gentleman his English was good…why? He just said one word, ‘America’? You could have made that so much more interesting by going deeper. Talk to him! Carry on a conversation. Ask him about his life and his daily routine or what life was like there when he was younger, etc. THAT would be interesting and different.

Anyways, I don’t mean to rain on your vlog. Just want to give you an HONEST opinion and hopefully a few helpful suggestions. Best of luck!


#4

Thanks for your response! I really appreciate any interpretation. The Dadaocheng is truly a different feeling though, the vibe is different from the rest of taipei, and the smell of tea leaves and herbs literally hangs in the air. (the earl grey tea I bought wasn’t what I meant by the magic feeling, for sure those kinds of tea shops are everywhere, I meant the raw tea leaf vendors)

Yeah, I was just so surprised he spoke to me, I’m not used to that in Taipei. In the future I will take your advice for sure. I think I need to dig deeper into the world around me, not just shooting whats on the surface.

No rain! You gave me great feedback! It’s always welcome. Thank you.

Keep following me and I will try my best to surprise and beat expectations!

-Henry


#5

Good luck! I’m not one for vlogs but I watched some of yours. I can tell the artistic aspect of editing you put in, and how much time and effort it must have been. It’s rare to see vlogs with that much video and sound editing. It seems like you are still looking for a voice for the video and how to deliver what you want us to see. A direction so to say. Hopefully it becomes clearer to you as you go along


#6

TRANSCRIPT:

This will be an ongoing series since there are many different types of stores here in Taipei. I’m going to start with PX mart, which is a pretty standard style that you will find.

  1. In Taiwan you will have a hard time finding rolls of toilet paper. Unless you shop at costco, you’ll have to buy this instead. It’s more coarse than American toilet paper and looks like a kleenex box. The Taiwanese use these both for toilet paper and for tissues.

  2. If you’re American you’ll notice that the soda isle here is much smaller than you’re used to. Here there are 5 main types: Coke, Sprite, Fanta and Sarsaparilla. There are some fancier and more expensive grocery stores that sell Dr.Pepper, Root Beer and Mountain Dew, which I will for sure explore in the future.

  3. In America there is an entire isle dedicated to breakfast cereal, there are dozens of different flavors to choose from. Here is a bit different, as there are only a few boxes to choose from. Milk and cereal are more expensive here as well, so I don’t often buy it myself. The selection is small because Taiwanese don’t eat cereal and milk for breakfast. They have their own version of cereal which you add hot water too. Its a lot more like oatmeal.

  4. What Taiwan lacks in cereal it makes up with ramen, this store itself had 6 shelves — 9 shelves — 11 shelves dedicated to ramen and noodles. They have every flavor you can imagine, ranging from beef to cheese. You can also buy brands from korea, which is more often than not insanely spicy.

  5. The alcohol you can purchase in this grocery store is pretty limited. In future videos I will take you guys to stores that have much bigger sections that we can explore. Though the size of the isle is smaller, Taiwanese supermarkets offer a lot of interesting flavors and brands. They have korean and japanese alcohols as well as flavored beers. From personal experience I can say that the grape flavored beer tastes like grape soda.

  6. Here in Taiwan we have a lot of the same brands as in the states, but the flavor profiles are much different. Lays and Doritos both offer more exotic flavors here, that would be impossible to find in the states. By the way when drinking, it’s much more common to eat dried fish or squid instead of chips.

  7. Although Taipei has thousands of cafes, the coffee section is most grocery stores is disappointing. Its generally only instant coffees, or teas. To get ground coffee beans you would need to go to a specialty store. In America there is usually an entire isle with ground coffee, some stores even let you grind the beans yourself.

  8. One of the biggest differences you will notice is the size. In Taiwan grocery stores are much smaller than in America. This is not only to do with me being in Taipei, as stores in the country tend to be smaller as well. This grocery store is actually relatively big, since it’s two stories. Because of this you can either use an elevator or stairs to get onto the second level.

  9. There are lots of bakeries in Taipei that sell fresh baked bread, but you aren’t likely to find one in a grocery store. If they do have a bread section, it will all likely be prepackaged. This isn’t that big of a deal, since there are bakeries on almost every street here, so you can get buy.

  10. The final difference for this video is the meat section. Here you will find a lot of interesting things that you would be unlikely to find in any American store. In the future I will do an entire vlog about this section, so today I’ll just discuss the biggest addition. Chicken feet. In Taiwan Chicken Feet are a relatively popular treat. You can find it in markets, 7/11s and in grocery stores. To be honest I’ve never actually tried it yet, and I am a bit afraid to. But… I’ll make you guys a promise that once we reach 1,000 subscribers I will make a video of me eating 3 whole chicken feet. So that should be fun.

There are plenty more differences and things to explore in grocery stores, so this will be a continuing series. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or want me to try something!

See you guys tomorrow.


#7

If I could make a suggestion…um, it might be to your benefit to make it clear that you’re talking specifically about PX Marts in Taipei - as opposed to supermarkets in Taiwan (or anything) in general, becuz a certain grizzled crocodile is going to pick apart the transcript and say, “Yo, wait a minute. I buy the six-pack of Kleenex toilet paper rolls at my local” E-T-C. I realize you’re not doing this for the crocodiles, but that never stops them from surfacing with a red pen.

For instance, in #5, you say:

In most PX Marts - I haven’t been to every single one since the buy-out (locals are calling them I-Mart now) - you are correct. Booze choice is uncomfortably limited. The key is that you said “in this grocery store”. As you mentioned in passing, there are a bunch of supermarkets in Taipei that are at least in the same ball park as the average low-rent Safeway in Fresno.

So basically, all I’m saying is perhaps it would help to be more specific, all the time. Sweeping generalizations are a vulnerability. You probably don’t want to deal with dudes like me who won’t hesitate to challenge them. There’s no question that many of your observations are - or, would be - on target, if they were focused laser-like on a specific difference.


#8

Yes, OP, I have to agree with super_lucky in that you should think about being a little more specific about your descriptions like “This PX Mart that I visited vs American supermarkets…”

A smaller store of any kind will have much less than the same exact chain store just due to size. In the states, Walmart vs Walmart Super Center. Granted both of those stores are larger than most super markets or 大賣場 in Taiwan, but you get the idea.

Good luck with 1000 subscribers! Chicken feet is quite the hail mary. You won’t be disappointed.


#9

Thanks for the feedback Super_Lucky! I’ll be more careful next time.


#10

Good point, thank you.

Yes, I am excited and nervous to try, but for 1,000 subs its worth it!


#11

Yeah, not that it’s any stripes off my ass, but it seems that buddy is drawing on a pretty small sample to be stating the conditions as “how things are” in Taipei.
My PX Mart (or Blue Market, as we call it at my house), for example, has loads of whole coffee beans, like at least 3 different brands with numerous varieties for each. Pretty cheap, too, like NT$200 a pound (IRC), with at least half the time a Buy 2 Get 1 Free type deal going on.

Also, like so many FNGs, he seems to be ignoring the countless advantages of the wet/day market over strictly supermarket shopping.

And chicken feet?
Crap, if that’s the worst thing you’ll ever put in your mouth you might as well stay home.

Having said that, the posts are pretty watchable, the guy seems friendly enough.


#12

Thanks for the feedback! I am planning on going back there again in the future, so I will correct my mistake. Sorry about that. Still wish they had a place to grind your own coffee though.

Yes, for sure I didn’t mention day markets, but I am planning to talk about them. I might do a American farmers market vs Taiwanese Day markets, but theres really no beating the Taiwanese at that.

As far as chicken feet go, yeah for sure they are not the worst thing ever, just something that I haven’t had the guts to try yet, I’m looking forward to it in the future.

Thanks again for the feedback! its always welcome.


#13

I just couldn’t be bothered even clicking on another ‘hey it’s Taiwan vs America’ video unless you’ve got hit chicks in there.

So, are there hot chicks in there?


#14

Only their feet, apparently.


#15

No wonder they call them “phoenix talons.”


#16


Today I traveled to Taichung, this is my vlog of the day, capturing my story.
Please check it out and subscribe!


#17
  1. Your video editing skills are awesome.

  2. Talk you like you’re in the present. Just because you’re doing the video 15 minutes later or three days later doesn’t mean you can’t talk like it’s happening at the moment. Instead of saying the train began to come, say the train is coming and now I’m walking on with everyone else. Put me and everyone else in the moment with you not like we’re all looking at some historical documentary. It takes some practice. One way I know to practice is to record as you’re walking and talk like it’s happening and they review it later and keep that same tone. It also sounds more spectacular and interesting when you can say wow here comes the train instead of woe I saw the train coming.

  3. If you speak in the present instead of the past, it makes things much more believable and especially acceptable if you are a bit inaccurate about a particular situation. I live in Taiwan over 10 years as a foreigner, and I noticed things that are a little bit odd and inaccurate, if you were speaking in the present then it doesn’t make much difference because you’re observing them at the moment, but you speak in the past it lessens your validity because you’ve had a chance to research it. Both subconsciously and consciously.

  4. I know you’re trying to make the videos dramatic or melodramatic, but the tone speed and texture of your voice sounds like you’re on the verge of commiting suicide. It’s even making me consider the same thing.

  5. Stop referring to America. Refer to other Western countries or something else so your viewers or market or people listening don’t get turned on or off by talking about America. It isn’t the difference between Taiwan and America, it’s the difference between Taiwan and Western countries.

Keep it up and go for it man I’m really enjoying to see this experiment. Especially since I’ve been everywhere and done everything in Taiwan many many times more than most other people. That is due to my particular situation in Taiwan though.


#18

Stop referring to America. Refer to other Western countries or something else so your viewers or market or people listening don’t get turned on or off by talking about America. It isn’t the difference between Taiwan and America, it’s the difference between Taiwan and Western countries.

Aye, it’s something Americans and Taiwanese have in common, the constant self-referentialism.


#19

Thanks for taking the time to write all these notes, I really appreciate it! I am always welcome to positive feedback! :slight_smile: Keep following and I will keep trying my best!


#20

A very special video today, I visited my girlfriends grandma and family in Taichung.