Taichung’s West district, separated from the city centre by a slender canal lined with willow trees, is a sleepy residential district reminding me a bit of shitamachi Tokyo: with its cats lazing on hot footpaths, old shabby houses and dusty shops straight out of the 1950s. It is also home to a couple of low-key sights such as the Taichung Literature Park, a museum to Taiwanese writers located in the former headquarters of the Japanese administration in the city. Clustered around a vast, multi-tendriled banyan tree, it is centred around a complex of charming old cottages feature cool wooden floors and shady porches. In one room fish are projected onto the floor to “splash” about at your feet as you sit to read.
There is also a childrens’ reading room, apparently a tearoom (we couldn’t locate it) and when we were there, a blue-clad cosplayer, being photographed looking coquettish while holding a plate of vegetables. Intriguing.
Just around the corner , which was lucky since the day was blazingly hot, we found a cute cafe in an old cottage, with a red door and heavy tile roof, where we sat with “noodle tea” and enjoyed the sunny pebble garden and the sound of fans whirring.