Finding Taiwan

Posted Jul 7 2010

Through conversation I often reference people or incidents on this site so I finally decided to centralize what I’ve posted. I find Taiwan to be a fascinating place, yet one that’s often overlooked and under-appreciated, even by its own citizens.


Through conversation I often reference people or  incidents on this site so I finally decided to centralize what I’ve posted. I have some glaring holes, including a lack of female perspectives. However, this page will continue to grow with continued visits and I've started on some other interviews that I'll transcribe and post as time permits, including dancehall queen Ruby Red.

As the place of my birth, but not my primary upbringing, Taiwan’s always had a special place in my heart, even if I often viewed it as an outsider. When I was younger I visited a number of times with family, even participating in the “Love Boat” program. As I got older I began to explore on my own before finally making a concerted effort to document some of my experiences online. I grew up primarily in the United States, often in urban areas with heavy African American and Latino populations. Due to this experience, as well as my own Chicano and Taiwanese roots, I’ve often been interested in how different cultures interact and create new identities.
I’ve gravitated towards Black and Latino immigrants in Taiwan, although I’m also looking to learn more about indigenous Taiwanese and other ethnic groups that call this island home.

I find Taiwan to be a fascinating place, yet one that’s often overlooked and under-appreciated, even by its own citizens, which doesn't mean that it doesn't have some problems. I’m merely looking to add to the conversation and hopefully inspire some interest. Please feel free to leave comments or shoot me an e-mail!

Big thank you to Mike Palmer and my family for supporting me in this adventure throughout the years.

Interviews and Features

The Vinyl Word (July 22, 2011)
A brief interview by Nina Chien for The Taipei Times about an event I was DJing.

Black Community Thrives in Taiwan (August 2010)
Although it's premature to call Taipei the next Black mecca, there's no question that the residents of African descent in this Asian economic powerhouse are contributing to a vibrant lifestyle-Appeared in Aug. 20, 2010 edition of The Oakland Post newspaper

Latinos in Taiwan Pt. IV (August 2010)
Reviews of Cubano Rum and Cigar Bar, Fiesta Latino at Roxy Roots, and Oola Mexican grill, all in Taipei.

Le Petit Africain (August 2010)
A visit to a new African restaurant in the Taipei suburb of Danshui

Conquering Lion (March, 2010)
Second interview with Oliver "Lion" Harley, a Jamaican immigrant whose contributions to Taiwan include a record label, restaurant, and pop culture website.

Interview with Warren Fox (February, 2010)
Interview with martial artist and hip hop performer

Pan-Africana Taiwan (October, 2009)
Three members discuss music and immigrant life in Taipei

Domingo Yu interview on (October, 2009)
An interview with yours truly about DJing and Taiwanese identity. In the course of this interview I learned that I had interviewed one of the founders of the site in the past. Oops!

Latinos in Taiwan Part I (September, 2009)
A focus on Eddy's Cantina, owned by a Mexican-Canadian immigrant who also runs a well-respected soccer program

Latinos in Taiwan Part II (September, 2009)
A focus on the El Gallo restaurant, whose owner is from Mexico City, and a local salsa night

Latinos in Taiwan Part III (September, 2009)
A look at the Chicano hip-hop scene of Taiwan, with input by Berry Chen, DJ Chicano, and tattoo artist Mr. Chino

Across Middle Asian America (August, 2008)
A personal story about being Taiwanese in Alabama

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (August, 2006)
An interview with the O-Brothaz reggae sound system

Photo Galleries

Walls of Taipei (Summer 2011)
OK, more than walls and not just Taipei, but you get the idea...Mostly the Ximen neighborhood on the west side. There's more out there, but here are some to whet your palate.

Miscellaneous Taipei (Summer 2011)
Baseball pics, street vendors, restaurants, and plenty more.

The Royal Couple of Danshui (August 2011)
I had a chance to catch up with Oliver "Lion" Harley and his wife Simone for dinner recently, catching up on life and checking out some new Taiwanese reggae. Oliver runs the O-Brothaz record label and Simone sings under the name Sunny Smalls. I decided to break out the camera and between good conversation, good music, and full bellies, I merely had to point and shoot! Check out their new CD on iTunes and

Dancehall class with Ruby Red (August 2011)
Ruby is one of the key players in Taiwan's bubbling reggae scene and the undisputed dancehall queen. She can be found teaching at Lumi Dance Studios, where she also leads a hip hop class. 

Hualien with Jess and Gladys Willis (August 2011)
My friend Michael Palmer and I visit with Dr. Jess Willis and his wife Gladys on Taiwan's East Coast. Dr. Willis has been living in Hualien for nearly 40 years and is a wealth of knowledge on topics ranging from religion to Taiwanese culture.

Havana Pool Party 6 (August 11)
I spent more time bumping my gums than taking pics so I totally undersell this event. A great place in the hills to relax on a hot day. Nice pool, food, music, fun people, and views. On a personal level, I got to play alongside some of my favorite DJs. 

Lumi Star Dance showcase (July 31, 2011)
A mid-day showcase and dance, which was seriously one one of the best parties I've been to.

Taipei skaters (July 2011)
Taken not too far from main train station. I was actually a bit lost, but got lucky to find this crew

Hoopin' at NTNU (July 2011)
While waiting for a friend I took some pics of this pick-up basketball game of expats, including many from the Caribbean.

Pan Africana in Yilan (July 2011)
Taiwan's premier African drum troupe performs at music festival on Taiwan's northwest coast. Plus, pics of a few other performers.

Beat Square (July 2011)
This is a bi-monthly event in Taipei's Ximen district. DJ Chicano, a legend in the Taiwan music scene, along with friends bring together people from a number of scenes.

Danshui Area (July 2010)
Includes Le Petit Africain, a new African restaurant in Danshui, a recording session with reggae artists in Hongshulin, and an outing to Baishawan Beach.

Taipei (July 2010)
A variety of social functions and museums including The Marquee, a little K-TV action, 2-28 Peace Park, The Sun Ho Paper Museum, The Miniatures Museum, and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

Kinmen Island (July 2010)
More than just military museums, you'll find plenty of nature walks, knives made of old artillery, views of China, blended architecture, underground bunkers, infamously strong liquor, and plenty of good eats!

Fiesta Latino (July 2010)
Pics from the July 10, 2010 event at Roxy Roots

August 2009
Four galleries worth of photos and clips from Taipei, WuLai, and I-Lan county, including temples, night markets, and night life

Mash Night Club, Taichung (April, 2005)
Some small pics from a gig I DJed


In The Club: Taiwan mix (April, 2005)
Doesn't include any Taiwanese music, but is a mix from my time during a week long visit. Mixed for an internet show, whose name escapes me now



1. ラミー サファリ シャーペン said at June 1, 2014 6:55 pm:


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