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About

Hi everyone,

first of all, thanks for checking my blog and reading my profile. I will introduce myself briefly, so that you may know who is behind this website. 

I was born and grew up in Italy, a beautiful, but chaotic place. When I was 14 I had my first meaningful travel experience; I spent about a month in England, and from that time on, I've become addicted to travelling and exploring new places. 

I would describe myself as a "slow traveller": I don't like to travel dozens of countries within a few days or weeks, collecting immigration office stamps on my passport. I prefer to stay in a place for a long time and try to explore its culture and life, and meet new people.

I lived and studied in Germany for several years. Then, I met a girl who I thought to be "the one". I had an amazing time with her in Europe - maybe the happiest time I've ever had so far - so I packed my cases and went to Taiwan to join her. Unfortunately, the story that had begun like a movie didn't have the happy ending it deserved. Nevertheless, I decided to spend some more time in Taiwan and in Asia. 

And so I've been living here for more than a year. At first everything was great - new place, new culture, new food, a lot of new friends and things to explore. But after some time I began to know Taiwan a little deeper, and to realize how different it is from the West. After some highs and lows, I decided to start a blog to share with you my experiences, thoughts and knowledge about Asia. I hope to help people understand this fascinating part of the planet better, or to raise their curiosity.

This is not a traditional travel or expat blog. I have given myself the freedom to write about anything, from culture to politics, from sightseeing to random thoughts. Most of the things I write just reflect my personal view and perspective. But I also hope to give readers an added value by actually researching some of the topics I write about. This takes some time, but I'd like to think that it's worth it. I would be happy if someone who is really interested in East Asia and looks for some insights could benefit from my posts as a source of information or of inspiration for personal musings.

If you like the posts you read, I'd be happy if you showed it by sharing or pressing the "like" button  (remember that sharing is caring ; ) I also appreciate every comment, suggestion or question. 

[2022 Update]

Lots of stuff has happened in the meantime, both on a personal level and, obviously, in the world. I started this website in 2012, and now it feels like a different epoch. 

After living in Taiwan for a few years, I moved to Hong Kong, a city that I really love. But Hong Kong has radically changed since then, as well, as I have written in this post

Due to family issues I had to leave East Asia. So now I'm back in Europe, where it all started. I had to pivot away from my early focus on the Chinese-speaking world. Both because I'm not there, and also because mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau have become less open in the Xi Jinping era. 

I keep writing articles on a variety of topics, and I hope you enjoy them. You are welcome to share your ideas or make suggestions in the comments. Please be polite and reasonable. 

If you want to contact me, just write a comment below. I don't publish my email address anymore because of spam. I quit Twitter. You can find me on Mastodon, though: https://tooting.ch/@aristeon

If you want to support me, you can check out some of my books and translations, or make a donation. 


Breeze of a Spring Evening and Other Stories, by Yu Dafu.


Craven A and other Stories, by Mu Shiying.


The Oil Vendor and the Queen of Flowers: A Tale From Ancient China, by Feng Menglong




Thank you for taking the time to read my introduction : ) 


Comments

  1. interesting! Thanks for sharing your expxerience in Asia!

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  2. Thanks for your interest: )

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    1. Hi there, thanks for your posts. I will start to read more. Cheers, Amy

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  3. Hi~I found your blog on language exchange website......A little embarrassed......I'm so surprised to see such a detailed blog, though I just finished two passages. Anyway, Nice to know you! I'll keep looking at your blog.

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  4. Hello, thanks for your comment: ) Why are you embarrassed? There's no reason to be.

    Feel free to comment or ask any question if you like.

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  5. hi, nice reading. it seems you are thinking more deeply than what we Chinese do about our own culture.look forward to reading more

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  6. @Nica: thanks for checking my blog. I don't know if I think more deeply, but I definitely am in the middle of a process of understanding more about Chinese culture and society. If I live in a place I want to know more about it and realize what goes on around me. I am always eager to learn from local people, so feel free to comment whenever you want to share your knowledge or opinion: )

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  7. Hi! Thank you for sharing your experience here. I'm going to Taipei next month and really appreciate your info here

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  8. Hi Witha: ) I hope you'll have a great time in Taipei.

    Are you going to settle down there or just on a trip?

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  9. Hi Aris! Thanks to Google I stumbled upon your 'one of a kind' (so far;-) ) blog about living in Asia as a Western foreigner. I currently have a fiance living in Taipei and that's the reason I was searching for some more info about Taiwan in the first place. I've been to Taiwan several times already (with my girlfriend as my guide) but reading this gives me the ability to look at Taiwan in general from a Western point of view. I will keep on reading your stories as they are so fun to read! Keep it up!

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  10. Quite a story. Love your posts!

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  11. it's cool. i can know more about my country from your eyes, that'll be interesting :)

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  12. I just recently stumbled accross this blog and am so greatful you started it up. I'm learning so much on here. I am considering coming to Taiwan to teach English and this has been the most imformative site I've seen. Keep up the great research and deep thinking. So many thank!

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  13. @ Min Ju Lee: Thanks a lot!

    @ angie: Thanks to you, too!

    @ Sandrine: It's very gratifying to read comments like yours: ) Without readers who enjoy the content, a blog is dead and pointless. I am happy if someone shares my interest and fascination for Chinese and Asian culture and understands my effort to make sense of what I have seen and experienced during my almost two years in East Asia. Please feel free to comment or ask questions anytime: )

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  14. Hi Aris, you write a great blog and good to know you update them regularly. I am planning to visit Taiwan and will keep reading your post for more information. Thank you for sharing your experience! :)

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  15. @Tinnike Lie

    Thanks for your kind words! If there is anything specific you would like to know about Taiwan you can ask me. I hope I can help you: )

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  16. Thank you for the picture in the "head" of your HP I like this place in HK it was very interesting discovery in March 2013 (I mean the chiese garden on Diamond Hills). After visiting HK I read Noble House the book by James Clavell, his book added some kind of understandig about HK though it changed a lot.

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  17. Hello, Aris! I find your blog from LE. (Unfortunately I'm not golden menber so I can't send e-mail to you :P)
    Your blog is so cool! I like it so much however my English skill is poor so I need spending some time to read others article. But I think I will read all soon :D
    Thank you for sharing :)

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  18. I'm going to Taiwan next year, I'm staying there for a year, and this is really helpful, so thank you !

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  19. Its' interesting to see my country from a foreigner's perspective, which is precious for me as well. I learn a lot from your sharing. Thanks a lot!

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  20. Hi, thanks so much for your posts - I found your ideas on sexuality and the female body in Taiwan to be particularly insightful. I'm preparing a research project on sexuality and interracial relationships in Taiwan, so will definitely be returning to your blog for further inspiration!

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  21. Ciao mi chiamo Walter
    Ho visto il tuo blog e lo trovo molto interessante! Ho visto che sei italiano! Abiti a Taipei? Io vivo a Tainan.
    Fammi sapere e buona continuazione

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    1. Hey, scusa se ti rispondo solo ora! Io abitavo a Taipei, adesso sono in Italia, e se tutto va bene dovrei tornare a Taiwan a breve (speriamo). Ho visto che hai anche tu un blog, quindi auguro buona continuazione anche a te : )

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  22. Very interesting blog in a westerner's perspective, great insight and research effort, Aris..are you a journalist? I found your blog through language-exchange. Unfortunately I'm in HK not TW, otherwise it'd be interesting to make friends with you :)
    Cathy

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! Yes, it would be great if I were in Hong Kong and we could have have a chat face to face. Maybe if I go back there some time we could do it. Keep in touch ; )

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  23. Hallo Aris,
    ich lese Ihren Blog hier in Deutschland und finde ihn sehr interessant.

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    1. Vielen Dank und herzlich willkommen, es freut mich sehr, dass Sie meinen Blog interessant finden : )

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  24. Hello Aris,
    I had almost the same experience as you: met a Taiwanese women, fell in love with her, packed my cases, flew to Taiwan and I'm surprisingly still married with her for 15 years now. The first 3 years were the hardest. Because of the cultural differences, we had to go through a lot of fights and arguments.
    Even my students brand me now for being "Taiwanese", German socialization is as hard to overcome as Taiwanese.
    Your blog is great. It's fun to read it.

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    1. Hi, thanks a lot for sharing your experience. I can understand you, and I can imagine that it was hard at the beginning to make your relationship (and marriage) work. I admire your perseverance in coping with the challenges of a cross-cultural relationship. I am quite different from you, though. I decided that all these sacrifices are not worth it and I am not willing to make too many compromises and maybe change all my principles for the sake of a person. I would do that, perhaps, for someone who really loves me and whom I too love. But otherwise I prefer observing a East Asian societies in a detached way, without being too involved on a personal level.

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  25. Unfortunately, I have a different view of Taiwan than you do. Perhaps there is an age difference coming into play here as well as being at a different stage of life. I have started my own blog to share my experiences and thoughts. Those that are looking at it as a "serious place' to live might want to consider some of the minuses as well as the pluses for living here. Are the people friendly, yes. But in my view that friendliness is colored by, let us say, a mild indifference to foreigners. I believe that Taiwan is really no different than other countries when it comes to welcoming non-native tongue speaking foreigners. I also think that those locating here need to be aware of cultural and legal differences when entering into contractual arrangements such as leases, etc.

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    1. Hi! I do not think that different opinions are "unfortunate". On the contrary, they create diversity and make people think more deeply. You have your own experiences in Taiwan and have to find your way here, so your blog will be a good contribution to a public discourse about Taiwan as perceived by foreigners.

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  26. Found your blog couple of minutes ago and I think I kinda like your writing. Will start to read the oldest post first.

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    1. Thanks a lot! I hope you will enjoy my past and future posts!

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