Monday, July 18, 2016

Jiu Fen, Taiwan - sweet desserts

Whenever I happen to be at the Toa Payoh MRT station, I would buy back my favourite dessert from a shop called Nine Fresh (Jiu Xian), where the sweet offerings are inspired by a quaint little place in Taiwan called Jiu Fen. Jiu Fen used to be an old gold mining town built by the Japanese when they colonized Taiwan, taking over the gold mining activities in the country. This history explains the architecture and culture of the place. Gold mining activities have long ceased and it took a hit Japanese anime movie called Spirited Away to revive the attraction of the place and when I was there, there were hordes of  Japanese and Korean tourists everywhere. 

What I like about Jiu Fen are the quaint tea houses overlooking the sea and when dusk fell, the tea houses lit up like sparkling jewels on the cobblestone steps.  A must try are the famous desserts of Jiu Fen consisting of  chewy green tea, sweet potato and yam balls. You can't leave Jiu Fen without at least trying a bowl of these sweet delights ! 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Miniatures Museum of Taipei, Taiwan - All the Queen's Men

All the Queen's men put together made this one of the most impressive display at the Miniatures Museum in Taipei. Though it wasn't an exact replica of any particular castle or palace, the miniatures of contingents of infantry and cavalry which included soldiers on horseback, fortress guardsmen, marching beefeaters and the Queen's guards just took my breath away.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Miniatures Museum of Taipei, Taiwan - the beautiful creation of home interiors

A  posh living room with a sunk in sofa area

A baby grand complete with a score sheet - it is hard to tell it is a miniature from this picture 

Little details such as a night out at the musical Cats is painstakingly created in miniature form
I enjoyed my visit to the Miniature Museum of Taiwan, taking in with great delight the painstakingly created details be it the little personal touches of a posh living room or the surreal landscape of fairy tales such as Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver's Travels and Cinderella. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Evangelione - Doll Maker

Whimsical even before you step in 

A simply stunning display 

The unassuming and charming dollmaker 

Tako puts her heart into the creation of every doll

I love these brooches ! 

The doll maker's workshop at the top 

My heart squealed with delight on seeing this ! 

The colour and fluidity these goldfishes show the skills of the maker

Through someone who has a wide circle of friends in the field of artistic crafts, I had the pleasure of meeting Tako Yeo Mei Ling, a doll maker with the most beautiful shop I've ever seen. It's not about upmarket furnishing but the heart and soul she puts into every nook and corner. With a pair of legs dangling from the postbox in front and a little rabbit at the shop window, it was indeed beckoning me to go into the rabbit's hole of whimsical surprises. Through the door, wooden shelves of delights filled with the most well made dolls with pretty outfits, little chairs and on the wall, portraits of the most quaint looking faces. A wonderful twist of the iconic poses of Mona Lisa and Audrey Hepburn and comical expressions of Mr Rabbit popping out in 3d. As if swooning over her creations was not enough, I couldn't help admiring the wooden vintage furniture she had to display her creations.    

It felt like I had walked straight into the fairy tale home of Alice in Wonderland. It even had a little attic workshop at the top, accessible by climbing up a little steep but short flight of stairs. Beautiful sunshine shines through a little window to light up the dollmaker's work desk from where she works her magic on her dolls. Love the different dress styles of the dolls as they are truly vintage and stylish! Her box of little dolls' legs sticking out was also a sight to behold and that really tickled my fancy! 

It was so heartening to see a young lady doing what she was most passionate about and with today's technology, Tako is able to reach out to a market worldwide. Her beautiful shop is only opened on Saturdays and Sundays (12pm -6pm) as she spends most of the weekdays on her creations. I heard that her dolls are snapped up as soon as she puts them on the shelf and I was indeed lucky to see some on a weekday with my friend's help. What's lovely too is the creativity that runs in her family. Her father made the little chairs for her dolls and her brother's postcard drawings of animals are on display and sale in the shop. 

22 Jalan Tan Hock Ngee 
80000 Johore Bahru