You probably already know the basics of Taiwan. This is a country that loves its nightlife and its night markets. It is a country where food is a both an art and an adventure, a country where you can drink the best teas and enjoy the best snacks. But what about the lesser known traditions and cultures of Taiwan, what else is this small and exciting country known for?
Although they don’t have a hugely popular national team or even their own league, Taiwanese residents can’t get enough of the sport of basketball. Their main obsession lies with the National Basketball Association, also known as the NBA. This is the American league and when it comes to basketball it is generally considered to be the best league in the world. The Taiwanese love to watch US games on TV and will fill-up stadiums whenever a team of decent repute is playing within Taiwan. The country itself has also been visited by many big stars who were treated like gods when they arrived, including Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
One game that the Taiwanese love to watch and do rather well at, is pool. You will find pool tables in most pubs and clubs and if you test your skills against any of the locals you might just be surprised how natural this game is to many of them. That’s because most of them have grown up playing the game. As with the Chinese, the Taiwanese are also a dab hand at table tennis and badminton, two sports that are very popular in this country. The west rarely show any interest in the table tennis or badminton sections of the Olympic Games, but here all of the country will tune in to watch.
Karaoke was born in the east and then spread quickly to the west, popular in the UK, US and elsewhere. However, it remains at its most popular in the east, in Japan and in Taiwan. Karaoke is referred to as KTV here, or Karaoke Television. It is widely available and generally promotes a lively and friendly atmosphere in many late-night bars and clubs.
Karaoke is not the only thing that Taiwan has borrowed from Japan, as they also enjoyed Pachinko enough to take it as their own. The closest thing this resembles in the west is slot machines, with banks and banks of electronic gaming machines. However, the majority of these are simple arcade gaming machines, and whilst prizes can be dished out to winning gamers, with the players paying to play, they are not gambling machines as such. People in the UK may have a better idea of Pachinko, as they are not too dissimilar to amusement arcade machines, popular in seaside towns.
This is an odd one, but with over 9,000 convenience stores, Taiwan has the highest density of convenience stores in Asia and maybe in the world. All of these stores generally prosper, as the convenience of buying life’s essentials, as well as other odds and ends, is almost a necessity of life in Taiwan.