I recently paid a visit to the most famous tree in Taiwan, shot to stardom by the 2013 EVA Air I See You commercial campaign, featuring Takeshi Kaneshiro. A tree now known as “金城武樹” (Takeshi Kaneshiro’s tree), which even has its own Google Maps location.
(bonus: behind the scenes)
Shortly after the I See You campaign launched, this remote area in the Taitung countryside started seeing an increasing number of visitors, to the point of aggravating locals, who started complaining about ill-mannered tourists hindering their day-to-day work. The unexpected ordeal even led to an apology by EVA Air.
In 2014, typhoon Matmo uprooted the tree to the relief of local farmers who saw an end to the stream of tourists, but this was without counting on the ambitious local administration conscious of the drive for tourism this tree had become. It did end up being restored.
Since then, to mitigate the situation, roads adjacent to the tree, and the nearby S-shaped path seen in the movie are now blocked off from motorized vehicles (except for local farmers). Small rental shops have sprouted nearby, offering a selection of bicycles from one to four people, with even the option of adding on an electric motor for the less ambitious of us.
As touristy as the place has become, there’s still something soothing about those lush green fields, and the Central or Coastal mountain range in the backdrop, depending on which side you look at. A landscape and atmosphere which you could easily stumble upon by loosing yourself on the other back roads of the Taitung countryside, something I’d like to do if I get the chance to visit the area again.
Words of that day.
『全景』 ㄑㄩㄢˊ ㄐㄧㄥˇ for panoramic shot. My friend, an iPhone user for about two years now, somehow never used that feature, so it’s with a baffled face that I explained him how to do it. I guess I was a bad teacher since later that evening, he tried taking a 360° shot of our round dining table… in panoramic mode.
『金城武』 ㄐㄧㄣ ㄔㄥˊ ㄨˇ for Takeshi Kaneshiro. Although the press in English refers to him by his Japanese name, Taiwanese people actually call him by his Chinese name, a fact that I was aware of but somehow eluded me on that day. So all along, I thought my friends kept talking about visiting a lake 湖 ㄏㄨˊ , when they actually only meant the 武 ㄨˇ of 金城武. 😜