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Tea Leaves

Reflections on Taiwan's 'Japan legacy'

Formers colonizers left behind a very Chinese place that still respects quietude

Every time I return to Taiwan, I do a geopolitical double take. Is this really an island living on a knife's edge and borrowed time, a global hot spot under perpetual risk of a guided missile attack from mainland China? A society where every aspect of life is infected with the fear of imminent subjugation?

Instead of any of that, Taipei displays an enviable calm, a minimalist aesthetic reinforced by its low-key architecture, a rhythm of life dictated by an unspoken fealty to family and community and a constant homage to ancient crafts and small gestures.

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