When the first Fun Factory store in Taiwan opened in Tianmu two years ago, the store displayed photos of the Layaspot, a top-seller, in its window. Men caught sight of the gadget and wandered in.
“They thought it was a new cellphone and wanted to see what other high-tech electronics we had,” says Alice Chang (張春雲), the assistant manager of gicogico, which imports Fun Factory products to Taiwan.
Fun Factory does sell vibrating devices that help people make connections, but they aren’t cell phones. The stores specialize in high-quality, design-minded sex toys imported from Germany.
One of the brand’s top sellers is the Delight, which won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award in 2008. The ergonomically-shaped vibrator is curved to hit the G-spot, a sensitive zone on the front wall of the vagina, has adjustable speeds and comes with a small box that doubles as a recharger.
Gicogico originally sold the Fun Factory toys online in order to gauge consumer reactions in Taiwan, where attitudes toward sex toys tend to be somewhat conservative, says Chang.
“We wanted to promote the Fun Factory brand in Asia, while giving people the chance to open their minds and find a whole new way to enjoy themselves,” she says.
As the products gained in popularity, demand for a brick-and-mortar location increased and the Tianmu store was opened in 2006. There are now three Fun Factory stores in Taiwan, including a shop in the East District near the intersection of Dunhua South (敦化南) and Zhongxiao East (忠孝東) roads. The Fun Factory stores and Web site (www.funfactory.com.tw) carry 300 products in total, including massage oils from US brand Kama Sutra, books, lingerie and costumes.
One of the Fun Factory brand’s tenets is that sex toys should not be kept under wraps. The brightly lit storefronts embrace that philosophy but are discreet enough so that shoppers do not have to worry about being gawked at while sampling some self-warming body oil or testing the vibrating speed of a Twist ’N’ Shake. All Fun Factory toys are made from silicone, which is hypoallergenic and easy to clean, and can be molded into the whimsical, brightly colored designs that are another Fun Factory trademark.
Vibrators come shaped like grinning dolphins, friendly ghosts and chubby caterpillars, which is appealing to people who may not be comfortable with having a true-to-life silicone casting of a stranger’s erect appendage in their nightstand drawers. The brand’s impish Loverings, or cock rings, have a pair of angel wings or a bright-red flame attached.
The designs serve more than an aesthetic purpose.
The caterpillar-shaped Baby Bug Minivibe “is one of our best-selling designs,” says Chang. “Women like the ridges on its body and its bumpy feet, which provide extra stimulation.”
Small vibrators like the Minivibe are particularly popular among first-time users. The speed of each toy is adjustable, from a gentle, pleasant hum to a more exciting buzz. Chang also recommends external vibrators, like the aforementioned Layaspot (NT$1,980), which is shaped to gently cup a woman’s body or the I Rub My Duckie by US company Big Teaze Toys (marked down to NT$499 for a limited time from NT$1,380), a bright yellow waterproof duck whose innocuous exterior belies its powerful vibrations.
Sexercise on the go
Not all of Fun Factory’s toys are battery operated.
Smartballs (NT$1,100) are a pair of attached silicone-covered spheres with small weights in their hollow interior.
“After you insert them, you can walk around or maybe go exercising and the weights are free to swing around,” says Chang. Smartballs are popular among women who want to tone and tighten their vaginal muscles in addition to enjoying hidden titillation all day long.
Bendybeads, or anal beads, come in bright colors like lipstick red and royal blue and are ideal for couples. They should be slowly inserted with the help of lubricant and then slowly pulled out again for maximum effect.
“There are a lot of nerve endings back there,” says Chang. “For men, that is one of their most sensitive spots.”
Women who want their own vibrators to multi-task can treat themselves to the Twist N’ Shake (NT$3,570), which has a beaded shaft for insertion that twists and turns at different speeds, and an attached external vibrator that stimulates the clitoris.
While many of Fun Factory’s toys are geared towards women, Chang says that customers find new ways of using them. Women deploy vibrators on their male lovers, while lesbian couples combine dildos with harnesses.
“Our company is always inspired by their creativity,” she says.
Taiwan’s rapid economic development between the 1950s and the 1980s is often attributed to rational planning by highly-educated and impartial technocrats. Those who look at history through blue-tinted spectacles argue that, for much of the post-war period, the government was staffed by Chinese who fled China after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the civil war “who had no property interests in Taiwan and no connections with a landlord class,” leaving “the KMT party-state more autonomous from societal influences than governments [elsewhere in East Asia],” writes Gaye Christoffersen in Market Economics and Political Change: Comparing China and Mexico. At the same
It’s impossible to write a book entirely in the Taokas language. There are only about 500 recorded words in the Aboriginal tongue, whose speakers shifted to Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) generations ago while preserving certain Taokas phrases in their speech. “When I first started recording the language around 1997, I really had to jog the memories of the elders to find anything,” says Liu Chiu-yun (劉秋雲) a member of the Taokas community and a language researcher. The Taokas last month unveiled a picture book, Osubalaki, Balalong Ramut the community’s first-ever commercial publication using the language. The lavishly illustrated book
In his 1958 book, A Nation of Immigrants, then US senator from Massachusetts John F Kennedy wrote the following words: “Little is more extraordinary than the decision to migrate, little more extraordinary than the accumulation of emotions and thoughts which finally lead a family to say farewell to a community where it has lived for centuries, to abandon old ties and familiar landmarks, and to sail across dark seas to a strange land.” As an epithet, the book’s title is commonly associated with America and, in the face of the xenophobic rhetoric that has marked US President Donald Trump’s tenure,
It seems that even the filmmakers don’t know what happened in 49 Days (驚夢49天). After spending too much of the film building up the mystery and constantly introducing confusing elements, they wrap up the film in the last couple of minutes in the laziest way, with the protagonist actually uttering “nobody knows.” That is bloody annoying, having sat through over 90 minutes of disjointed and head-scratching storytelling. Billed as a horror flick featuring the chilling Taoist ritual of guanluoyin (觀落陰), or visiting hell, 49 Days was meant to scare the pants off viewers over Dragon Boat Festival weekend. Horror movies