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Monday, January 6, 2014

Ivory Tower Café – A Restaurant Review

Sunny Wu & Judy Li


A few months ago, we two girls found a new café in an alley near Feng Chia University, but we were in a hurry and passed it by. One day, we had free time, so we decided to try it that evening. Although it looked a little common in the morning, it became very attractive after sunset because of their shiny pink neon sign. We were very excited about finally going to Ivory Tower Café and trying their dinner.




When we first walked into Ivory Tower Café, we saw their simple but delicate European decoration, including a fuchsia couch, classical meal chairs, a fretwork ceiling with white lights, and a fantastic lighted bar. 


There was also one wall filled with pictures of cute cats. Before we ordered our meals, we moved around to look at the rest of the restaurant; we found a “cat hole” at the bottom of the kitchen door – what a considerate design! 


Suddenly, two cats ran out and circled around our feet; it seemed like they were very fond of us! The atmosphere at Ivory Tower Café was very warm and cheerful, but not noisy. We felt relaxed, no matter if we wanted to play with the cats or just chat; the waitress always smiled at us and even taught us how to tease the cats for more fun. It was quite a special experience!

 
Ivory Tower Café sells not only coffee, but also exclusive fruit teas and smoothies. If you want to have lunch or dinner, they serve western food such as pasta, lasagna, and sandwiches (tuna salad, bacon omelet and smoked chicken). Of course, they have set meals just like many other restaurants. However, the names of their set meals are very special because all three set meals are named after the store’s cats: Fifi, Kiki, and Wiiwii. If you want to know the mystery of their set meals, just to try one; you may get a big surprise. After your meal, you must have some dessert as a beautiful ending, right? At Ivory Tower Café, they have four flavors of tasty waffles: original honey, caramel vanilla, matcha red beans, and chocolate fruit. If you have time for dessert, you must try one!


Even though the waitress gave us a really detailed introduction to their popular meals, we still spent lots of time choosing our meals – there were just too many tasty-looking meals to choose from! Finally, we decided to order their Bacon and Broccoli with Butter Sauce Pasta and their Beef Layers Stacked Lasagna for our dinner. Both of the dishes were very rich. The pasta had delicious bits of bacon with lots of powdered cheese, and the lasagna had smooth cheese with tomato sauce. 


To go with my dinner, I ordered a hot milk tea with a sweet smooth marshmallow on top, and Judy ordered a refreshing pot of Hot Sweet Orange with Yerba Mate Tea. Actually, before our meals came, something interesting happened; one of the restaurant’s cats suddenly jumped up onto our table and used its little hand to drink our water gracefully (click on the picture below to watch the video!). The waitress said that the cats sometimes did this thing so that the waiters and waitresses had to watch them carefully and bring a new glass for the customer after the cat was satisfied. We had never seen anything so adorable so closely before; it was really fun! If you are there, this may also happen to you – if you are lucky!


We were very happy to enjoy our meals at Ivory Tower Café. If you go there, you must take lots of pictures with the cats! That will be a delightful time with your friends. We highly recommend the “Beef Layers Stacked Lasagna” because it really tasted rich and fragrant. The unforgettable taste will come back to you in your dreams! Ivory Tower Café is a really comfortable place to have a meal; you really have to try it!


IVORY TOWER CAFÉ

Hours of operation:
Weekdays: 13:30-02:00 (closed Tuesdays)
Weekends: 11:00-02:00
Address: No.5, Cinghe St., Situn Dist., Taichung City

Price of the average meal: NT$80- NT$220

The Beautiful Garden in Taichung ─ 秋紅谷


Cindy Chiu & Vera Tsai

  No matter how busy and strong we are, we all need to take a rest. 秋紅谷 is a new park in Taichung, and it is a wonderful place to relax. Last Sunday, Cindy and I went to 秋紅谷 with our friends. We all agreed that 秋紅谷 is really a good place for everyone to take a rest.
 
Photos by the authors


  At 秋紅谷, the scenery is much different during the day and at night. In the morning, we can see green trees, colorful flowers, and other natural plants around us. In the center of the garden there is a big lake with many fish and little turtles. Seeing these natural creatures can help you relax. At night, 秋紅谷 becomes a good place for friends, family, and especially for couples. The soft light makes the atmosphere at 秋紅谷 very romantic. When couples go for a stroll in秋紅谷, they feel they are walking in a beautiful painting.

  On weekend nights, you can not only take a walk in秋紅谷 but also enjoy a live musical show. There are two different bands on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes, some companies will also hold exhibitions at the garden. From April to May, Vacheron Constantin (a watch brand) sponsored a music festival in cooperation with Taichung City Government. The organizers invited a chorus, a symphony orchestra, and a percussion group to perform on stage. 


From November 2013 to January 2014, the Taiwan Teddy Bear Association is holding an exhibition of Teddy Bears. Organizer arranged 30 Teddy Bears in 秋紅谷 for people to appreciate an take pictures with. This exhibition really attracted a lot of people, especially people who love Teddy Bears. All of these exhibitions have helped make秋紅谷 famous.

After visiting秋紅谷, you can also enjoy meal or afternoon tea at 幸福小水舞. We really recommend sitting near the window because you will be able to view 秋紅谷 from a different angle through the restaurant’s large French windows.

  When you have finished your stroll through 秋紅谷, you can go to the  Shinkong Mitsukoshi or Top City department store to see a movie, or you can buy souvenirs such as Sun Cake, Taro Cake and Lemon Cake from specialty shops like YooToo Hometown Taro Sweets, for your friends.

  秋紅谷 has become a new place you must go in Taichung. We thought it was really relaxing. Next time you visit Taichung, we really recommend that you visit 秋紅谷. Bring some friends and have fun!

秋紅谷 Park


Address: 30 Chaofu Road, Xitun District, Taichung

The Miami Heat – They are HOT!

 Louis Wu and Eric Lei


 
Basketball is very popular all over the world. Most countries have national teams, and some even have their own professional leagues. Of course, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the most famous in the world. There are thirty teams in the NBA. Among these teams, the Miami Heat (熱火隊) is our favorite. Because we love their famous players, excellent skills, and good strategies, we enjoy watching Miami Heat games.
  
All images courtesy http://nba.com/heat
      The Miami Heat was established in 1988. Although the Miami Heat is a young team, they have been very successful. There are three famous players on the Miami Heat – LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. They are called “the Three Triumvirs” (in Chinese) because they are the Miami Heat’s leaders and have helped the Miami Heat win two consecutive NBA titles.



The Miami Heat have been so successful because they have good techniques and strategies. Three techniques are the most important: the three-point shot (三分球), jump shot (跳投), and dunk (灌籃) . The Miami Heat’s players have accurate three-point shots, and they can make jump shots very quickly. Whenever they catch the ball under the hoop, you can be sure they will slam dunk. One of the most important basketball strategies is how players deal with a bad situation. When they are in a tight spot, the Miami Heat’s players and coach think of many ways to solve the problem and then choose the best one. The Miami Heat’s players have excellent teamwork. They catch the ball and pass it quickly to another player, and they run plays correctly. They have good techniques and strategies and excellent teamwork, so we really love Miami Heat.

We enjoy watching Miami Heat games with classmates and friends. We study the Miami Heat’s techniques, and practice them. When we play games, we try these techniques. Although we don’t have excellent skills like our favorite Miami Heat players, we hope that if we practice, we might become at least a little more like them.

The Miami Heat has a lot of fans in the world, and we are two of their biggest. If you have an opportunity, you should watch a Miami Heat’s game. You will feel excited and will want to watch them again and again. You will love Miami Heat forever.

Official web: http://www.nba.com/heat/


“The Hunger Game - Catching Fire” – A Movie Review


Ivy Jian and Yuba Liang

After we saw The Hunger Game 1, we couldn’t wait to see the prequel. Finally, The Hunger Game – Catching Fire is showing in theaters here in Taichung. We knew many people would want to see this movie, so we went to the theater at 3 p.m. and bought tickets for the 6 p.m. showing. To kill a little time before the movie, we went to Zhonghua market. This market is next to the cinema, so it’s convenient to find something to eat or drink. At the Sunrise Cinema, they don’t have the rules about the foods that you can bring into the theater, so we bought all of our favorites at the market. If you didn't see The Hunger Game 1, you might need some background information before seeing The Hunger Game – Catching Fire.
 
Photos courtesy http://www.lionsgate.com/movies/catchingfire


In the land where the movie takes place, every year, 24 people (12 male and 12 female) from 12 Districts are chosen by drawing lots to participate in the Hunger Game. Each person between 12 and 18 year-old is eligible to participate. In the game, the 24 people will try to kill each other, and the last one to survive is the winner; this person will win wealth and high rank forever. Also, once they have won the Hunger Game, and they are excused from participating again. For these reasons, everyone wants to win.


However, the Hunger Game is not really fair. The rich districts such as District 1 and District 2 have many high-tech machines to train their representatives and weapons for their representatives to use, so the poor district’s representatives always lose. The hunger game has been held for 74 years and the purpose is to keep the disparity between rich and poor districts.

In The Hunger Game 1, Katniss and Peeta broke the rules. They both stayed alive, even though the rules clearly state that only one person can win the game. When Katniss and Peeta won the 74th Hunger Game, they became a symbol of defeat for the governments because they showed everyone that they could break the rules. 


The next year, during the 75th Hunger Game, there was a special “Sacrificial Ceremony” that is held every 25 years. This meant that Katniss and Peeta had to compete again with the winners of past competitions. These competitors were stronger than the competitors in their first Hunger Game.

At the 75th Hunger Game, the leader of the Game, Snow, had a secret plan to kill Katniss and Peeta; he thought that if they were killed, they would no longer be heroes and the world would become stable and peaceful like it was before their “illegal” victory. How can they stay alive – if they stay alive – is the story behind The Hunger Game – Catching Fire


Of course, in every movie, there is always a hidden love story. In The Hunger Game – Catching Fire, who is Katniss’s true love?  It’s a good question in the movie. One is the real love in her life; the other one is her partner in the Hunger Game. In The Hunger Game – Catching Fire, viewers get just a little hint, but they don’t really find out … they have to wait until The Hunger Game 3 is released!
  


The costumes in The Hunger Game – Catching Fire are much more luxurious than they were in Hunger Game 1. In many scenes, you will see how the rich always wear colorful and exaggerated fashions such as super high-heeled shoes, shiny fingernails, and head-dresses of fresh flowers. However, the poor wear bad clothes in just black and white. This is a hint that, in this society, there were two classes and that most poor were enslaved by rich people.

 Katniss and Peeta both come from poor families, but because they win the hunger game, they become rich. However, they cannot share their new wealth with their families, so they have to stay poor. Therefore, Katniss and Peeta break the rules of the Hunger Game because they want to break the caste system and make the world fair.

This is a really nice movie. There weren’t any awkward silences in the movie, and we felt it was exciting from start to finish. We recommend The Hunger Game – Catching Fire to anyone who likes action movies, and we look forward to part three, The Hunger Game – Mockingjay.


FCU International Linkage Volunteers – An Interview

Maggie Lin and Jennifer Li

Jennifer is my classmate in the English Honor Program. We always hang out after class. Recently, Jennifer told me that she had joined a school club, the Feng Chia University (FCU) International Linkage Volunteers (ILV). Now, she is always talking about ILV, and it seems that her life has become more interesting than before! I was curious about how ILV works, so I decided to interview Jennifer.

Photos by the authors


Maggie: What does International Linkage Volunteers (ILV) do?
Jennifer: The mission of ILV is to help all FCU foreign students, including exchange students and students studying in Chinese Language Center (CLC).

As each semester starts, our members are school tour guides to show the foreign students around campus and direct them to their dorms, local supermarkets, and restaurants.

Our members assistant CLC in holding activities like orientation and cultural classes. Because the classes are in Chinese, not all of the foreign students are able to understand immediately. Therefore, most of the time, we do interpretation work, sometimes using English, sometimes using simple Chinese, and sometimes using gestures.

Another of ILV members’ jobs is being Chinese tutors. From Monday to Friday, our ILV members work on shifts in the CLC. Foreign students bring their questions to us, and we help them with their pronunciation, grammar and writing or chat with them to improve their listening and speaking.

Maggie: Does ILV have a training program?
Jennifer: At the beginning of each new semester, we have a cultivation course, which helps us to be professional assistants. In the course, we need to “re-learn” our Chinese. It is a little bit different from usual oral communication, however, because we need to be more careful about grammar and pronunciation. Moreover, because English is the international language, we need to train ourselves to speak English more fluently in order to communicate with foreign students.

Maggie: Does ILV hold any special activities?
Jennifer: In different semesters, we hold different activities. In spring, we have the Foreign Food Festival. We invite FCU foreign students to cook the food specialty of their country. In summer, we have our Chinese Adventure activity. That is, we design Chinese games for the foreign students to have fun and learn about Chinese culture. In winter, we have the Talent Show. Foreign students have to prepare a performance such as singing or dancing and perform on stage.

Oh, and every month, we have Formosa Class. In this class, we introduce special things about Taiwan like Taiwanese food, bubble milk tea, and dumplings. Moreover, we will give the foreign students chances to make their own Taiwanese dishes!

Maggie: Why did you want to join ILV?
Jennifer: I am a people person, and I love to help people. Also, I thought joining ILV would be a good opportunity for me to learn about different cultures. People come to Taiwan from different countries to study Chinese. Most of them are outgoing and are people persons, too. So, it’s fun to make friends and exchange cultural experiences with them.

Maggie: What is the most interesting experience you have had in ILV?
Jennifer: Recently, I met a girl from Australia. She had studied Chinese in China for five months. She could speak Chinese well, but it was sometimes hard for me to understand what she said because lot of words we use here in Taiwan are pronounced differently from the way they are pronounced in China, and sometimes the meaning is even different. So, I learned a lot about China’s culture from – even more than I learned about Australia!

Maggie: What have you learned from ILV?
Jennifer: I have improved my communication ability a lot. In order to help foreign students solve their problems, I had to try my best to understand their problems. Sometimes, language was a real problem. However, I found that body language has no borders and is always useful!

I have also learned how important teamwork is. In LIV, I have met a lot of good friends and learned a lot from them. We work in groups and solve problems together. They are all good leaders, and always fill the ILV office with laughter!


Maggie: After interviewing Jennifer, I understood how ILV works. Moreover, I realized why Jennifer joined this club. ILV is an extremely nice club because the volunteers in this club help foreigners to improve their Chinese and learn more about Taiwanese culture. In addition, by joining ILV, FCU students can get the opportunity to make a lot of friends from different countries.

It is really unfortunate that this is my last year in Feng Chia University because I won’t have the chance to join ILV. What a pity! If I were still a freshman, I would definitely join ILV. If you want your school life to become more interesting, don’t hesitate – join ILV! I am sure that you will enjoy yourself as much as Jennifer has! 

International Linkage Volunteers (ILV)


Office Location: Second Administration Building, Third Floor 

A Two-Day Outing in Taichung

Jelly Lee

My friends and I have been good friends since university, and even though we now work in different cities, we still love to get together when we have free time. We especially enjoy meeting in winter because getting together with friends makes winter much warmer. This past weekend, my friends and I went on an outing in Taichung.
   

All photos by the author


Taichung was sunny and not cold at all. We happily got into 2 cars and set off on our trip. On Saturday, we had planned to take pictures with Teddy Bear in CMP Block Museum of Art, but there were too many people. We decided to take pictures at Tung-Hai University’s Luce Memorial Chapel instead. Leoh Ming Pei built Luce Memorial Chapel, which quickly became the symbol of Tung-Hai University. 


Standing in front of the chapel, we felt really at peace. We took some pictures and played silly games on the green grass next to the chapel. Then we went back downtown and had spicy hotpot for dinner. Eating a hotpot meal is one of our special winter night memories from our university days. We chatted and laughed a lot since we met. When we got back to our guesthouse near Feng-Chia, we chatted and caught up on what was happening in each other’s lives. We chatted and chatted until we finally fell asleep.


When my friends and I were classmates at FCU, we went to the Flower Sea every year, and it was always crowded. Therefore, this time we woke up early to avoid the traffic jam on the way there and to avoid taking pictures with too many people after getting there. We got up at 6 (even we couldn’t believe it!), and although we were not fully awake, we tried hard to get dressed. The Flower Sea this year was colorful and cute. We had a happy time taking pretty photographs. As the time got later, more and more people arrived at the Flower Sea. We left before 11 so that we could avoid the traffic on the way back to town.



Getting together with old friends is an important part of all of our lives because it gives us the opportunity to give vent to our bad feelings and to have big belly laughs together. Old friendships are rare and precious, and I hope I can keep these friendships forever.  

“A Touch of Spice” – A Movie Review

Coco Hsiao

A Touch of Spice is a Greek movie about how the problems between Greece and Turkey affect one family. The story uses spices and the memory of food to express people’s desire for their unforgettable “hometown.” It’s a special movie that is really touching and gives us something to think about.


This story is told in the order in which a meal is served. It starts from the appetizer (the main character’s childhood) and leads you into a new adventure. Fanis, who is Greek, lived with his grandpa in Turkey when he was young. His grandpa owned a spice shop, and Fanis was influenced by him. He learned not only how to use spices in dishes but also about the relationship between spices and life. However, joyous times didn’t last long after the political tension between Greece and Turkey started; Fanis and his parents were deported back to Greece because they were not Turkish.


After they went back to Greece, they weren’t treated well by Greeks because of their special identity and Turkish customs. It was hard for them to stay in Greece if they maintained their original lifestyle. In order to adapt to their new environment, they had to change their way of life. Although Fanis tried many things to get back to his homeland, he still couldn’t overcome the situation. Then Fanis started to stay at home, and he didn’t talk to anyone. He also spent his time cooking Turkish cuisine to remember his Turkish childhood and avoid the real world. The time from when he was a teenager to when he became an adult is like the main course in Fanis’ life, and he experienced many complex feelings during the period.

When Fanis grew up, he became a famous astronomer. One day, he heard that his grandpa would come to visit him. However, it didn’t come true at last. He went back to his grandpa’s spice shop in Turkey, but everything had changed. Only his nostalgia for his childhood hadn’t disappeared. Finally, Fanis understood that human life is like food; it has many flavors, and it leaves a rich aftertaste of past experiences. Just like a delicious dessert, your memories are always sweet and unforgettable.

In the sound track of this movie, they used western classical music combined Greek traditional music and Turkish Islamic music. The music comprised the characteristics of two cultures – sad and lazy from the Greeks, and mysterious from Islamic Turkey. It’s also filled with a strong national feature. When the story’s setting changes, so does the sound track; this makes the atmosphere much better. For instance, they play Greek music when Fanis’ family goes back to Greece, taking the viewer right into Greek culture.

This story of A Touch of Spice is rooted in the problems between Greece & Turkey. Because of the tension between these two countries, Fanis’ family had to leave their lovely homeland and relatives. They not only had to adapt to a new life in Greece, but also needed to bear discrimination. This made me think about how Taiwan is a bit similar. For example Mainland born Chinese or second-generation Chinese in Taiwan are treated differently. Sometimes they might be confused about who they are – Taiwanese or Chinese? Although second-generation Taiwanese actually may be Taiwanese by blood, Taiwanese may not accept them because of their different background and behavior. This creates high pressure, difficulties, and bad feelings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
In this movie, the director expressed his memories through the spices and flavorings of Turkish food. In one scene, Fanis’ grandpa tells him that, “Pepper is like Sun (hot & spicy), Mercury is cayenne, Venus is cinnamon (sweet and bitter) just like all women, but both food and life require salt to be tastier.” I think that here the director wants to tell us that life just like spice, and that we should put a little bit in our own lives. Even though we can’t control our fate, and there are always lots of emotions in our mind, it’s all a part of life. We should experience different tastes of daily life and learn from it. Then we can try to change ourselves and find a way to enrich our lives.
       

This is a movie that will be sure to make you cry. If you want to view this movie, just go to the Feng Chia library and borrow it. I believe that A Touch of Spice will make a lasting impression on you.

Technology in the Classroom: Changes for the Better?

Andy Wang & Jeffrey Chong

Students’ behavior is changing as technology becomes more advanced. Compared with students ten or even twenty years ago, students nowadays are less focused and care less about their classes.

Back ten or even twenty years ago, college was the real deal. That is, students studied hard, and teachers used only a textbook and a slide projector to teach. Teachers taught fast, and sometimes even skipped few chapters to finish a book in a single semester. Teachers let students study those skipped chapters by themselves and sometimes even asked students to write a report or an essay about them. Moreover, everything taught (or untaught) would be covered on the midterm and final exams.

In this kind of harsh learning environment, some students could not understand what their professors were trying to teach them. However, some students still managed to take notes and even to learn well. Those who could not understand the lecture might be distracted or lose interest in the class; others might day dream or sleep during class.

Nowadays, teaching styles have been changed quite a bit. We still learn from textbooks, but our textbooks now contain more charts, illustrations, and information. These improvement help students understand tough lectures more easily. Also, teachers summarize key points for students. Through academic tests or paper work, teachers get to know how well students learn in class. On top of that, teachers use other ways to make learning easier for students, such as by using PowerPoint presentations, videos, and computer software. Teachers use PowerPoint to make their lectures easier for students to understand and use video to introduce examples and illustrations. In engineering courses, teachers might even use engineering software to explain or calculate results for textbook examples.

While teacher are trying their best to attract students or make things easier, some students show no interest in their classes. Many, if they are not sleeping or daydreaming, are using their modern technology to check their email, post messages to their Facebook pages, and play online games.


As technology has become more advanced, teaching styles and students’ behavior have changed. You might expect that students would be better than before since our teaching environment has improved so much. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. While teachers use technology to try to make hard tasks easier for students to learn in class, too many students are using their technology (even during class time) for entertainment. We hope that one day students will learn a simple, low-tech lesson: work hard, play hard – and know when to do which.  

“Yes Man” – Movie Review

 Kane Chang & Anson Wang

Have you ever felt so depressed about everything that you didn’t want to do anything and just wanted to be alone? If you have, then you should see this movie – Yes Man. Two weeks ago, in Life Philosophy class, the teacher showed us this movie. Before watching the movie, I felt very upset because I just knew that I had messed up on my midterm exam and there were still endless assignments that I had to finish. By the time the movie had ended, however, I felt full of energy. This is because Yes Man will give the viewer lots of positive energy; we promise you will not regret seeing it.


Carl Allen, the main character, is played by Jim Carrey. He is a bank loan officer and he lives a static life. When his wife suddenly suggested that they get a divorce, Carl became dispirited about everything. Then one day he heard a speech which would totally change his life. In this speech, the lecturer told him that no matter what he encounters in future, he should always answer, “yes”; otherwise, he will get into trouble.

Yes Man is different from other comedies. Generally, comedies make you feel happy just for a while, and you really don’t learn anything from the movie. However, Yes Man is a movie that motivates you to do something meaningful. Moreover, in the script of Yes Man, there are many great sentences we can learn from. For example, Allison, the female character, played by Zooey Dischanel, said, “The world is a playground. We know that when we are kids, but somewhere along the way everyone forgets it.” This means that we should stay curios about everything, just like a child.  Although we all know that saying “yes” to everything can’t always end well, I found some wisdom in the movie – that by saying “yes” you open yourself to new people, opportunities, and experiences that you never thought possible.

This movie told me that I should be curious, opened-mined, and brave enough to face challenges. We always make excuses to avoid learning something outside of class because we always think we are too busy. I think we should be like kids, always curious about everything. For instance, this year I am taking an information management course which a lot of students give up on; however, I didn’t drop the class. Although the course was extremely hard to pass, and the professor gave us a lot of homework to do, I still insisted on taking this class. In the class, I learned how to use complex statistics software, and I now can use that system to complete financial management reports. Thanks to this movie, I didn’t give up on that class; if I had given up, I would have regretted it.

Yes Man is not just a comedy, but a movie with lot of positive energy. We highly recommend this movie. Next time you feel down or lack energy, try saying “yes” to this movie; maybe it will change your life!