Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ending to a Great Adventure

I will truly remember this experience for the rest of my life - the food, sites, historical landmarks, cultural classes, business visits, etc. Mostly I will remember the people that made it memorable. The students from the local universities, Carol, Wan Chun, Vicki, Natalia, Savannah, Kevin, and Mayu. Not to mention the wonderful friendships that were made with all the participants - Dr. Peng, Jessica, Rebecca, Dr. Seyed, Levi, Jo, Annabell, Brian, Kathryn, Mary, Lauren, Fatima, Chu Ting, My, Suyash, Monzir, Bob, and Ellina. Dr. Peng and Seyed, thank you for all your hard work making this an adventure to remember!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Japanese Culture

Here in Japan, we have learned a lot about the Japanese culture. First, we took a course on survival Japanese language. The professor never spoke English the entire session. We had to listen very carefully and catch on to minor changes in his speech. This is easier said than done especially when dealing a language in which you never heard. In reflection, I think that the professor's teaching style was very successful. I am able to pronounce words and use them in the correct format.

We also learned the art of calligraphy, flower arrangement, and tea ceremony. I found most interesting the tea ceremony. How you are suppose to drink the tea and making noise while sipping - something that is frowned upon in the US. The slurping noise is a compliment to the person who made the tea. Making the tea is also an art. The whisking of the tea is so fast that an American would not be able to do properly without years of practice. Once the host places a glass of tea in front of you, you bow and pick up the tea cup/bowl. Before drinking the tea, you must turn the front of the cup back to the host, as a sign of respect. After you finish drinking, then you are able to admire the beautiful hand work of the cup/bowl.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hsinchu Science Park

The Hsinchu Science Park is located in Taiwan and holds approximately 350 hi-tech companies as well as housing for the 120,000 employees. The science park has had two additions due to growth over the years including two universities and nine research labs. It has beautiful landscaping with the following amenities: post office, fitness facilities, health clinic and pharmacy, restaurants, bookstore, etc. Taiwan's goal is to have a comfortable and pleasant working and living environment.

At our visit to Hsinchu Science Park, we also visited the company, Elite Semiconductor. The president of the company explained the semiconductor industry and the government's role. The government has played a significant part on the growth of this industry. The government has invested US$ 1.9B in park infrastructure and companies are given tax incentives to come to this Science Park. There will be changes to the policy in 2010 to create a fair system for individuals and businesses. Although, Taiwan is the largest country player in the industry, most companies in the semiconductor industry only receive 5% revenue.

Taiwan Semiconductor Industry

During our time in Japan we took an inventory management course on the Semiconductor industry here in Taiwan. Taiwan is the largest country contributor in the semiconductor industry. The class focused on the immense efficiency in the production of this market. This is especially true because the life span of semiconductors is not long with changes in technology. However, many companies have to hold enough stock because once an order comes in, it usually takes 2 days before the shipment leaves the country and that does not include transit time from Taiwan to US. These two days refers to the order fulfillment, packaging, and customs,98% of orders have to be shipped in 2 days . Therefore, the appropriate amount of inventory must be kept at all times to avoid interruptions in the supply chain because production time is longer than one week.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pamper Me!

While in Taiwan, I had two separate pamper me experiences. The first was at the night market where I received a foot massage. It was actually quite painful, according to the massues, I had a lack of sleep. If you are in good health it should be less painful. I just thought, we were walking too much and my feet and lower legs hurt. But all of the pricking and beating of ligaments was well worth it - my feet and legs were revived.

I also received a shampoo and style at this new salon in Taiwan, Phili. Chu-Ting recommended it to Mary and I. The salon was very nice and upscale. They offered us tea and coffee as we waited. There was a personal flat screen tv at every station. The shampoo was the best part of the experience. The seat was more like a flat bed and there was a post in the middle of the bowl to hold your head. They also covered me with towels. In addition to the shampoo and condition, I was given an elaborate head and neck massage - very relaxing, many people went to sleep in the dimly light room.

Although, they attempted to style my hair much differently than the US. I was very pleased with the work, despite my anxiety. My hair was so thick to the designer or other people wanted to try to do my hair because it was much different that three stylist worked on my hair. In fact, they wanted to take a picture with me! Too bad they did not get a before and after. And too bad for me that I had to put my hair in a ponytail because of the humidity outside. :-(

Oh, most importantly, this only cost me 200 NT, that is equivalent to $6 dollars - tip included. The foot massage cost 400 NT or $12 dollars. The salon was newly open and I think the prices are lower as they establish more clientele.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bathroom Etiquette

I actually tried to use the bathroom with the urinal in the floor, it was an experience to say the least. But I wondered why people we looking at me and laughing – I was facing the wrong way. In most bathrooms, tissue paper is not provided so don’t leave home without your Charmin! There also is no paper towels available and in some cases soap. This is very unappealing at times; however, the country is focused on conservation. You also have to pay $1 NT for a bag at the 7-11.


We visited the National Ta Pei University, where one of the members of our group are an exchange student from. Some students and faculty have been visiting some sites with us. They are awesome! So friendly, and try their best make you feel very comfortable answering questions and telling you about the history of the country. We also took various classes on inventory management and the economy of Taiwan.