My exchange semester in Taiwan

Before I flew to Taiwan as an exchange student, my friends (who went studying abroad) told me that I will have the best time of my life. Now, it has been six months since I am back home (in Paris) and I can’t agree more with them. In this article, I want to share my amazing exchange student experience in Taipei.

First,  I wanted to go in Taiwan because I wanted to improve my Mandarin and because I love the Asian lifestyle. I was born and raised in Paris, France and my family is Chinese (from Laos it is very complicated ha-ha). I grew up speaking both Cantonese and French. In 2014, I visited my sister in Hong Kong who was working there at that time. I immediately felt connected to this city and to the Asian mentality and lifestyle. So, going to Asia for a semester was obvious to me. I didn’t know much about Taiwan, but I knew that it was different to mainland China even if it is under its administration. Also, I did learn Mandarin when I was a kid with a Taiwanese teacher (so I leaned the traditional character and with the Taiwanese accent).

I arrived in Taipei on Friday the second of September 2016 and since that day everything went so well. I studied at National ChengChi University (NCCU) which is the best university in Taiwan to study political sciences and international business. It was founded in 1927 and ChengChi means political sciences in Mandarin. NCCU’s campus was very convenient and nice to live in. There is always something do to. Indeed, the campus hold a lot of events such as study broad affair, orientation day for the upcoming exchange students and a club orientation. During Christmas NCCU hold a Christmas market for a week. They set a Christmas tree and several stands where student sell  hot wine and waffles. In Asia Christmas is not that important than in western civilization, people don’t really celebrate it and for them it’s an occasion to have a diner with their friends. It was very nice to see that NCCU puts a lot of effort to make student’s life fun and joyful.

Prentending is Christmas even undet 28 degrees

One of the other reasons why I wanted to go abroad was to meet people and to be more open-minded. During my stay in Taipei I had the opportunity to meet people from all around the world. I learned a lot from their habits, cultures, traditions and also fun facts about their country.For example, I learned from my Mexican friend, Teresa, that they have two cakes for their birthday. The first cake is used to crush the head of the birthday boy/girl on it. The second one is the “real” cake where she or he blows the candles. I also learn that in Malaysia people speak Mandarin or Cantonese depending in the region you live.

When I am in foreign country I’m always stress to take the transportation. Taking the right bus or subway in the right way was always  stressful because I’m getting lost very easily. Not kidding, I already got lost several even with my GPS on! But once again, in Taipei the transportation was convenient and simple. There only five lines in the Taipei’s MRT. Everything is well indicated and the subway is very comfortable and clean. This was so good for someone who lives in Paris.

I was also stress about the campus life because I had to share my bedroom with another student. I didn’t share my room since I was 11. But everything went very well because I had the best roommate ever! She is from Czech Repulic, and living together was so easy and fun! I was very lucky to have her as a roommate and friend.

My view from the campus

Taiwanese are truly the kindest people I have ever met. There are always here to help you even if they can’t speak English. I have so many stories that emphasize their kindness.

One time I had to join my friends to a bar in Zhongxiao Fuxing and I got lost. I exit from the subway but I took the wrong direction despite that I had my GPS on. Naturally, several Taiwanese helped me find my way and a woman walked with me to the bar to assure that I was in the good place! Another time I was living the dorms to meet my friends for brunch, it was barely raining. A Taiwanese girl naturally invites me join her under her umbrella. I was so nice of her.

I also had the chance to travel around Asia. In November, I went to Tokyo with my friends. We explored the most famous districts of the city from Shinjuku to Asakusa. I had the best time there, we went to the fish market and I had the best sushi of my life! We visited several parks, where all the trees were red and orange it was beautiful. The temples are also nice they have a minimalist style and are different to those in Taiwan. At the end, Tokyo was everything I expected, Japanese are very nice (they were always helping us to find our way) the food was delicious and I had fun discovering the city and Japanese culture.

To conclude I had an amazing time in Taipei where I met awesome people with whom I shared greats moments. Before coming to Taiwan, I was very excited but I was also stress that it would not be as good as I imagined. But It was everything I expected and even better. I don’t feel sad when I think about my life in Taiwan because I only have good memories. It will soon be one year that I went to Taiwan. I have new projects but I know that Taiwan will is a part of me.

 

 

Phoenix is BAAAACK

ARRETEZ TOUT et écoutez tout de suite ce nouveau morceau de Phoenix!
Un kiff total dès la première écoute pour moi (grande fan du groupe), qu’est ce que ça fait du bien d’écouter à nouveau la voix si particulière de Thomas Mars #fangirl
Par contre, le groupe s’est essayé à l’auto thune à fin du morceau, pas dégueu mais bon, on s’en passerait quand même…

Bref c’est pour des groupes comme Phoenix que j’ai décidé d’ouvrir ce blog pour partager avec vous des mes coups de coeurs musicaux !

Ti amo Pheonix ❤️

L’épatante Izzy Bizzu

Cette semaine, je vous fais découvrir une chanteuse hyper talentueuse et qui mériterait beaucoup de visibilité : Izzy Bizzu.

Cette chanteuse britannique du sud Est de Londres a déjà sorti un album en 2016 intitulé A moment of Madness et un EP Coolbeanz en 2013. Son style musical se mélange entre jazz, soul et pop music.

Voici son portrait en 5 titres

  1. White Tiger

Le  premier tube d’Izzy Bizzu et c’est d’ailleurs avec ce titre que j’ai découvert la chanteuse au mariage de mon cousin. Son clip totalise, d’ailleurs, près de 6 millions de vues. C’est un morceau rafraichissant qui met tout de suite de bonne humeur !

2. Give Me Love

Ce morceau m’a permis de découvrir l’univers et le style musical de la chanteuse. C’est une chanson pétillante qui mélange parfaitement le jazz, soul et la pop. A écouter également : Talking to you

3. Mad Behaviour

Izzy bizzu a également l’étoffe d’une chanteuse soul. Ce morceau nous dévoile toute la beauté  de sa voix et comment elle passe avec facilité des graves aux aiguës. Dans le même registre, les chansons Diamonds  et Floating Lamps sont tout aussi sublimes

4. Fool’s Gold

Certainement ma chanson préférée d’Izzy Bizzu. Rien à ajouter.

5. Someone that loves you

Une superbe chanson que j’ai écoutée en boucle pendant un bon moment, quand j’étais à Taiwan (nostalgie quand tu nous tiens !). Ce feat avec le chanteur Honne est une réussite, on se retrouve dans un registre plutôt indie, assez loin de ce qu’elle fait d’habitude ! Enfin le clip est superbement réalisé ayant lieu en plein cœur de Tokyo.

 

3 days in Tokyo

Tokyo is a perfect combination between technology and traditions. This city is as the same time poetic and peaceful (with the temples and the parks) and ultra-modern with all the technologies used.

During my exchange semester in Taipei, I had the chance to travel around Asia. My friend Mathilde and I went to Tokyo from the 25 to the 29 of November 2016

DAY 1

We began our day by visiting the Ueno Park which is one of the most famous park in Tokyo.There is something really poetic about this place. The temples, museums and trees make it so peaceful and relaxing. This park is so big that you forget that you are in the Tokyo with its crowded subway and its tiny flats.

I love walking in this park, and for a fall lover like me, I could enjoy the trees that were still orange and yellow. The Ueno Park is huge and there a lot to do. There are temples, a zoo (with 10 000 animals and of course pandas!) and the several museums and especially the National museum of Tokyo which is the biggest of Japan.

In this park, I discovered a Japanese Buddhist and Shinto custom. At the entrance of every temple we have been, there is a fountain to purify. Before entering the temple, with a ladle you have to wash you right hand, then the left one and finally the mouth. Be careful, you have to spit the water in the basin.

There were also a  lot of wooden wishing plaques. People write their wishes or prayers on a wooden plaque that can be bought in the shrine and then hang it up in the shrine ground. Usually people are wishing fortune, prosperity and of course love.

After the Ueno park, we headed to the Asakusa district which is well known for the Senso Ji temple. It is also a very touristic place. Around this temple you can see Japanese girls dressed up in traditional kimono. There are a lot of shops for tourists where you can find souvenirs and food stands with Japanese snacks and sweets. As real tourists, we did prediction with the picks. So first, you shake a box full of stick and let one out. This stick has range of numbers written on it. Then you chose a number and open the drawer that contain a paper with your prediction. After reading your prediction you have to hang it by making a knot.

When we were there, we had the chance to be interviewed by the Japanese TV channel! We talked about our impressions of the city and why we wanted to travel in Japan.

We finished the day by having dinner in the famous Shibuya district. This area is everything I think of when it comes to Tokyo. we passed by the Shibuya crossing and I felt like in the movie Lost in Translation. No jokes, I really felt connected to this city and it just makes me feel so happy to be there.

 

the famous Shibuya district

DAY 2

We started the second day in the Yoyogi park. This park is quite different from the Ueno park because it is less big and less crowded.  The park itself is poetic and melancholic. It reminds me the forest in movie Princess Monoke by Hayao Miazaki because of the gigantic trees.

We were lucky, because two weddings took place that day. The groom, the bride and  the guests were all dressed up in traditional kimono.

We walked around two hours in the Yoyogi park and then we ran into the Harajuku district. This area is well known as the “cosplayers district”, indeed, a lot of Japanese are dressed up as a manga characters. That the thing I like about Tokyo you can see people dressing up in a different or eccentric way and they just don’t care.

In Harajuku district is a very busy place where you can find Japanese style clothes and the latest fashion trend.

After walking around for a while, we found the highlight of our day : the Purikura !

It is a Japanese photo booth. So first you enter in one cabin with a green background and take 4 or 5 poses. Then you go to the machines and the pictures appear and you can add messages on it or some effect like changing the color of your hair, eyes, you can also make your eyes bigger and put makeup on your face etc. At the end, you look like an alien from a kawai planet. We had a lot of fun doing it and it is nice to have non-digital memories of our journey.

We headed to Aoyama which is also shopping district with a lot of thrift shops. I was quite surprised that there were loads of men clothing shops. Also, I bought a very nice pair of Huarache, Nike!

In the same district, we had a break at the Café Kitsuné. I really wanted to go there because it is a one a kind brand that unites fashion and music. They also launched the Café Kitsuné concept and I love to have a coffee there in Paris.  They serve an amazing matcha latte. The atmosphere is cozy but the place is quite small. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable about coffee.

We ended the day by having dinner at a ramen restaurant in Shinjuku. It was a super tiny and traditional ramen restaurant. Indeed, the place could host maybe 15 people max. So, my friends and I waited for more than half an hour but it totally worth it!

We ate at the bar in front of the cooks, it was interesting to see how they optimized all the (tiny) space in the restaurant.

having a matcha latte at Café Kitsuné

DAY 3

The last day, we decided to go to the Tsukiji fish market which is the world biggest fish market in the world! Every morning from 2am to 11am the fishers sell they amazing products. We didn’t want to go so early, because we only wanted to eat sushi and walk around the market.

We ate at a restaurant outside of the market because the tourism office advises us to go there for sushi. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant. But I think they probably have a deal with the tourism office. Nevertheless, the sushis were delicious and also the restaurant was very nice to have the seat and take time to enjoy our meal. Because the most of the restaurants in the tsukiji fish market are very crowded and noisy and they sometimes don’t have enough tables for 5 people. Anyway, it was good place to have sushi!

After the lunch we bumped into a mochi stand in the street. The mochi is a typical Japanese sweet. It is quite chewy and it is made of sticky rice. They have the cutest strawberries I ever saw, and they were also white strawberries!

After treating ourselves, we went to the Tokyo Tower. We didn’t go inside because it was quite expensive (that’s the problem when you spend all your money in the food haha) so we just took some pictures as real tourists.

After that, we headed to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office to see a panoramic view of the city. The entrance but you have to queue to take the elevator that takes directly to the top of the building. The elevator was so fast, it just takes less than 3 min to climb the 45 floors. Once we got there, we could see Tokyo all lighting up.

Tokyo Tower

ACCOMODATION

We took a nice Airbnb in  Shinjuku district nice neighborhood near Shibuya. It was a studio with a double bed and small bathroom and a balconey, but the big advantage of this  The host  was very helpful and answer quickly !

https://www.airbnb.fr/rooms/11464951

FOOD:

Ramen place

I had the best sushi of my life,  seriously now I can’t go a « Japanese » restaurant in Paris haha. No matter which restaurant you go, the sushis are simply the best.

TRANSPORTATION

Sky liner from the airport to the city cost around 25 euros. I think it is the faster way to go to the city and it is vey comfortable.

Subway: the better is to take a JR pass

WHEN TO GO ?

Nice in winter probably better in April with the Sakura season (cherry blossoms).

Tips and fun facts about Japan

  • People are lining at the left side in the escalator in the subway
  • In the restaurant, they serve you cold water with ice even in winter
  • As a lot of people told me, Japanese people are very helpful. They will help even if they can’t speak English.
  • People can smoke in the restaurant which was weird for me because it is strictly forbidden in France.
  • I was really surprised to see  a lot of doner restaurants
  • No surprise, the city is super clean

 

 

 

Au concert des Two door Cinema Club

Le 27 février 2017, j’ai eu la joie d’assister au concert Two door cinema club qui est l’un de mes groupes préférés.  J’ai découvert ce groupe au lycée et j’ai tout de suite accroché à leur musique, je connais (presque) toutes leurs chansons par cœur !  Une vraie fan, d’ailleurs ça me tue qu’à chaque fois que j’évoque leur nom personne ne connaisse, mais si je leur mets « what you know » ils reconnaissent car c’est le jingle d’euro million…

Je les avais  vu à Rock en Seine en 2016, c’était pour moi le meilleur concert du festival comme que j’y étais les 3 jours. Le seul bémol c’était la sono du festival qui crachouillait parfois et ce n’est vraiment pas agréable pour certaines chansons. D’ailleurs, je ne pense pas retourner à Rock en Seine car en y repensant le son n’est vraiment pas terrible.

Bref, j’ai décidé de les revoir et en intimité au Casino de Paris. Cette salle est magique, elle n’est pas très grande et c’est ce qu’il fait tout son charme. J’étais placé dans la fausse, à deux pas de la scène, et vraiment j’ai pu sentir une réelle proximité avec le groupe ! Ce qui m’a le plus marqué pendant ce concert, ce sont ces temps de pause entre chaque chanson. Il y a un court instant, où le silence s’installe, et on peut sentir que le public attend la prochaine chanson avant de recommencer à crier, chanter et danser !Je n’avais jamais ressenti un tel moment de partage entre un groupe et son public et je pense que c’est en partie grâce à la configuration de la salle.

Coté live, le groupe a assuré ! Il avait chanté les chansons dans le même ordre qu’à Rock en Seine mais cela ne m’a pas dérangé. Ils ont joué pratiquement les deux premiers albums, ce qui n’était pas pour me déplaire, car je n’ai pas trop accroché à leur dernier opus. Il est un peu trop disco, et s’éloigne de leur registre habituel. Je comprends que certains artistes veulent proposer d’autres styles de musique pour se renouveler et s’essayer à d’autre chose, mais je n’ai pas du tout accroché à ce renouveau. (#puriste)

La sono était bien meilleure qu’au festival et heureusement d’ailleurs. Par contre, ils ont un peu forcé avec la lumière (la meuf jamais contente) qui a failli me rendre aveugle deux, trois fois haha.

Enfin, c’était un chouette concert à vivre, comprendre par-là, chanter jusqu’à en perdre sa voix et danser jusqu’à en avoir mal aux pieds !2017-02-27 21.36.45

 

Au concert de The XX

Le mercredi 15 février,  j’ai eu la chance d’être invitée par mon cousin au concert des XX au Zénith de Paris. C’était leur deuxième et dernière date dans la capitale.

J’ai pas mal écouté ce groupe au lycée sans être une grand fan. Cependant,  je connais quelques-unes de leurs chansons par cœur comme VCR, Shelter ou Christalized. Ce que j’aime chez les XX c’est qu’on peut reconnaitre les voix de Romy et Oliver entre milles. Et je trouve ça assez important, au final, car c’est ce qui donne l’identité première d’un groupe.

J’ai aussi bien aimé leur dernier single On hold sorti en décembre. Je n’avais pas eu le temps d’écouter leur album sorti en Janvier. J’ai eu quelques échos dans les médias disant que leur nouvel album était plus pop ce qui avait déçu pas mal de fans.

Lorsque mon cousin m’a invitée à leur concert, soit deux semaines avant, j’avais décidé de ne pas écouter leur dernier album pour découvrir leurs morceaux en live.

C’était la première fois que j’assistais à un concert, assise, et non en fosse. En effet je m’étais dit que je n’allais pas danser toute la soirée comme dans un concert de Bruno Mars. Le jour même, j’avais lu dans un article de Tsugi que le concert n’était pas fou et qu’il y avait pas trop d’ambiance. Alors… Comment dire ? LES GARS c’est les XX, de base leur musique est plutôt posée et avec un rythme lent, style basse/voix. Une musique que tu mets en fond dans une soirée pour que tout le monde puisse s’entendre parler. Et c’était pour cette raison que je n’avais pas voulu me mettre dans la fosse surtout avec mon gros manteau, écharpe et toute la smala.

Au final le concert était TOP! Peut-être que le groupe a écouté les critiques de la veille car lorsque j’y étais ils ont réussi à me faire lever de ma chaise et danser !Le public était aussi super, tout le monde était à fond et mettait de l’ambiance.

J’ai eu trois moments coup de cœur pendant ce concert.

D’abord VCR, j’attendais cette chanson avec impatience car c’est ma préférée. Ecouter la douce voix de Romy chanter « watch things on VCR, with me and talk about big love » était juste magique. #mylifeiscomplete

Sérieusement c’était juste un pur moment de kif !

Ensuite Jamie XX a brillamment réussi à donner un côté électro dance à « Shelter ». Le public était à fond, côté gradin beaucoup de monde s’était levé pour danser. Et c’était sympa de retrouver ce côté clubbing pour donner un peu de peps en fin de concert.

Jamie a continué les transitions électro et c’est avec beaucoup d’enthousiasme que la salle a accueilli « On hold » le dernier single du groupe. Tout le monde chantait en cœur et pas mal sont descendu en fosse pour finir le concert.

Bien évidemment the XX a joué son titre phare « Intro » et a clôturé le show en douceur avec «Angels ». Un au revoir sous les coups de « love love love » chantés par Romy et portés par le public.

 2017-02-15 22.13.16