On the eve of Nepartak‘s landfall, the motivation wasn’t there to go stock up on food for the doomsday that news outlets hyped it up to be. Fortunately this time, Kaohsiung was on the safe side of the Central Mountain Range 中央山脈, a formidable barrier against the typhoon, and although it won’t stop Nature’s will to plow through, it’ll at least deflect her might.
On the other side of the mountains, Taitung took the brunt of the super typhoon, defenseless, at the mercy of Nepartak. Even the White Moving Castle 霍爾的移動堡, which had sustained previous strong typhoons, was not left unscathed.
The unsettling calm before the storm, along with the gloomy sky started to color my mood with some somber shades of blue. To turn that around, I hopped on the KMRT to cross Kaohsiung’s equatorial railway line, and made my way to Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 (DTF).
Surely, there’s got to be some good xiaolongbao 小籠包 joints in the southern (not so) hemisphere of town, but there’s just something about DTF that I find comforting. Consistent quality of the food, a well-oiled, attentive, and courteous service, all of that no matter the hustle and bustle from hungry diners! That, and the convenience of grabbing a cheesecake from Uncle Tetsu, right next door, hehe.
After a day holed up at home, the brightly-lit and buzzing food court at Hanshin Arena 漢神巨蛋 made me feel like I was back into civilization, lol, but really I didn’t need to go that far to liven up my spirits.
As I walked up the stairs to exit Kaohsiung Arena 巨蛋 (R14) station, I felt propelled in the eclectic world of Cola King 可樂王. A happy bunch of colorful creatures, and kawaii characters, living in a worry-free universe. I guess, this is as close as I’ll get to experience a real-life Summer Wars サマーウォーズ or Oblivion Island ホッタラケの島.
The mural, called Taiwan Sunrise 日出台灣, depicts some famous Kaohsiung sights like the Tuntex Tower, the Dream Mall ferris wheel, the Dragon and Tiger pagodas at Lotus Lake, etc… some cultural details which eluded my attention, as I was more amused by the psychedelic flying vessels and floating characters.
Although unaware of Cola King until the writing of this post, I was vaguely familiar with his popular character 小啾, and his style of drawing, a blend of inspiration from Disney cartoons, vintage Taiwanese culture, and childhood comics (Science Ninja Team Gatchaman 科學小飛俠，Mazinger Z 無敵鐵金剛，Vicky the King 北海小英雄，Candy 小甜甜 etc…). To get a better sense of the man behind these drawings, watch his interview.
If you’ll happen to visit Keelung, Cola King’s native city, you’ll recognize another one of his creation, covering the front of the now out-of-service Keelung train station (#基隆車站). More Cola King mania at #可樂王.
As I finish this post, I can hear Nepartak leaving, in the manner that typhoons always do, with erratic episodes of rains.
Typhoon season has officially started in Taiwan.