In a city with a rich, diverse past like Taipei, serendipity comes in many ways. Tom Chen (陳登壽) owns Jimmy’s Kitchen, a famous Shanghai restaurant with its own history — one that included the original owner fleeing to Taiwan from Shanghai in 1949. But Chen always had another dream.
Chen began work in the service industry at the Grand Hotel, which sent him to Lubeck, Germany to learn bar tending. While there, he became fascinated with the vibrant, raucous atmosphere of salons — places where artists, writers and academics would meet and discuss art and other topics. Chen’s dream was to bring that experience back to Taiwan.
Enter Wolfgang Kroll (1906-1992), a Professor Emeritus in Physics at National Taiwan University (NTU) who grew up in Germany at the height of the Art Deco period. Kroll held the belief that art, literature and science should interrelate.
Photo: Jerome Keating
Kroll may not be a household name with most Taipei residents, but he is well known in the medical and science community because he helped draw international attention to the university, and was responsible for teaching theoretical physics as well as German to generations of physicists and future doctors even after his official retirement.
Kroll, who studied quantum mechanics in Germany under Nobel Prize-winning physicist Werner Heisenberg, emigrated from his home country after Hitler and the Nazi party came to power because one grandparent had Jewish ancestry. With a fascination for Japanese language and culture, Kroll went to Japan in 1937, and then, in 1941, its then-colony Taiwan. One of Kroll’s research papers became the first paper from Taiwan to be published in an international journal.
Until his death in 1992, Kroll lived for half a century in a small Japanese-style house belonging to the university. After his death, the building returned to NTU, which offered it up for development. Still nurturing the dream of a salon, Chen, along with his artist and interior designer-friend Tsai Wen-hsiung (蔡文雄), signed a seven-year lease with the university with an option for renewal. Six months later, the split-level, upscale salon with plenty of natural lighting and artwork, opened to the public as Jimmy’s Garden.
Not strictly a gallery, though art is everywhere, or a restaurant, though you can go there for a meal as well as teatime, Jimmy’s Garden tries to replicate the ambiance of a salon, where he hopes that a new generation of artists, academics and intellectuals will come together over a glass of wine or cup of coffee to discuss and debate current events.
Artists are encouraged to submit an application to display their work at Jimmy’s Garden. Yu Lien-chun’s (余連春) terracotta and metal sculptures are on display until Jan. 31. The salon is open daily from 11am to 9pm and closed on Mondays. 5, Ln 11, Xinsheng S Rd, Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市新生南路三段11巷5號); tel: (02) 2368-1197.
Benjamin Chen (陳昱安) didn’t know how intense a hackathon could be. “You literally work non-stop. You don’t eat breakfast, you don’t eat lunch because you really need to finish the product,” the 10th-grader from Taipei American School says. “You feel the adrenaline rushing… It’s refreshing, I was like a new person.” Chen became fascinated by these round-the-clock competitions to create technology or software products, and participated in 10 more before he decided to start one that focused on his twin passions of economics and technology. He says there are many hackathons that delve into social and environmental issues, but few have
The town of Baolai (寶來) is located along the Southern Cross-Island Highway in the upper reaches of Kaohsiung City. After suffering a devastating setback at the hands of Typhoon Morakot, the town’s tourism industry is finally showing signs of recovery. While the town itself has many commercial hot spring offerings for tourists, the adjacent Baolai River also has at least five different wild hot springs available to those with a more adventurous spirit. SHIDONG AND WUKENG Just before entering the town of Baolai, make two right turns to reach the bridge across the Baolai River. Immediately after crossing this bridge, there is
Jan. 25 to Jan. 30 It was the beginning of the end when Dutch sergeant Hans Jurgen Radis walked out of Fort Zeelandia and surrendered to the besieging army of Cheng Cheng-kung (鄭成功, also known as Koxinga). The Dutch had already been trapped in the fort for nine months, and they were sick, hungry and in despair. After one defection during the early days of the siege, Dutch commander Frederick Coyett set up checkpoints around the fort’s perimeter, in what is today’s Tainan. Radis told his bunkmate he was going hunting, but by the time they realized where
In October of 2002 the James Ossuary exploded into the public consciousness. The artifact, a burial box in which bones were interred, was announced at a press conference in Washington prior to undergoing any form of scholarly authentication. It had an inscription that read in Aramaic: Ya’akov bar Yosef akhui di Yeshua (“James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”). Its promoters presented the thing as the first real concrete link to the historical Jesus. It was an obvious fake, and at that time I was administrating two enormous discussion groups devoted to early Christian history, which hosted numerous scholars in