As you’re wandering around the lively Dongmen MRT station neighborhood in Taipei, you may stumble upon a cluster of old-fashioned Japanese-style buildings. With their wooden frames, red brick walls, and peaceful gardens, they paint a beautiful scene and create a vivid contrast with their concrete neighbors. Easily accessible from the station, these buildings are a hidden treasure for history lovers and casual visitors alike.
These elegant structures highlight Taiwan’s rich and layered past. Constructed during the Japanese colonial period between 1895 and 1945, they initially functioned as residences for personnel of the nearby Taipei Prison. Following the end of World War II, they were transformed into accommodation for government officials, military officers and civilians.
However, the passage of time took its toll, and these historic buildings fell prey to neglect and decay. In response, the Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs initiated the Old House Cultural Movement Plan in 2013. This is a comprehensive restoration project aimed at preserving these sites and boosting repair and reuse efficiency. Additionally, the result adds a touch of beauty to the urban landscape and provides cultural and creative groups with event spaces.
Photo courtesy of Rongjin Gorgeous Time Park on Facebook / 照片：翻攝自臉書Rongjin Gorgeous Time Park
Today, the restored buildings invite visitors to experience a slice of history while participating in various leisure activities. Among these buildings is the fascinating Rongjin Gorgeous Time Park. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in exhibitions that bring the past to life, sign up for DIY courses that spark creativity, and indulge in delicious food at the on-site restaurants. Whether you’re feasting on authentic Japanese cuisine or sipping relaxing afternoon tea, you’re guaranteed a memorable experience.
So, next time you find yourself near Dongmen MRT station, seize the opportunity to explore these pieces of cultural heritage and see for yourself how historic preservation meets modern adaptation.
gem n. 寶石；珍貴的人或物
comprehensive adj. 全面的；詳盡的
boost vt. 提升；推動；改善
adaptation n. 適應（能力）
1. cluster n.（同類物聚集的）一群
1. cluster n.（同類物聚集的）一群
I see a cluster of people on that dock—the fishing must be good over there.
2. frame n. 支架；框架
The construction team carefully built the steel frame of the skyscraper before adding glass windows.
3. colonial adj. 殖民（地）的
Haiti became free of colonial rule in 1804; it was once ruled by France.
4. personnel n. 全體人員；員工；人事部門（單複數同形）
Since the outbreak of the war, over 10,000 military personnel have been stationed in this area.
5. civilian n. 平民；老百姓
During the war, civilians were called into the army and made to fight for their country.
6. fall prey to 深受……所害；成為……的犧牲品
Many people fall prey to online fraud due to their lack of awareness about Internet security.
7. decay n. 腐蝕；衰敗
This building was once very beautiful, but it has fallen into decay.
8. restoration n. 修復；恢復；歸還
restore vt. 修復；恢復；歸還
Several talented artists are working on the restoration of this famous painting.
9. site n. 地點；位置
on-site adj. 現場的；就地的
There has been a school on this site for over 100 years.
A: The Lantern Festival — the 15th day of the first lunar month — will be this Sunday. B: Where’s the Taiwan Lantern Festival being held this year? A: It’s taking place in Tainan and will run until March 10. B: It’s the Year of the Dragon: there must be a lot of dragon-shaped lanterns. How about the Taipei Lantern Festival? A: The event has moved back to Ximending and will run until March 3. A: 農曆1月15日元宵節，今年將會落在本週日。 B: 今年「台灣燈會」在哪裡？ A: 在台南，活動持續到3月10日。 B: 今年是龍年，應該會有許多以龍為造型的花燈。那「台北燈節」呢？ A: 這次燈節將會搬回西門町，活動持續到3月3日。 （By Eddy Chang, Taipei Times／台北時報張聖恩）
A: Tomorrow is the Lantern Festival. In addition to looking at lanterns, people also celebrate the day by eating glutinous rice balls. B: Although the fillings have become diverse in recent years, sesame- and peanut-flavored rice balls are the most popular. A: And every year, diehard fans of the two fillings always argue about which flavor is better. B: No wonder a company is selling sesame-peanut rice balls with two fillings, but they are a little pricey. A: Really? Then I have to try them. A: 明天是元宵節，大家除了要賞花燈還要吃湯圓。 B: 近年來湯圓的口味越來越多，不過最受歡迎的還是芝麻和花生湯圓。 A: 兩種口味各有擁護者，每年都引發一場湯圓大戰。 B: 所以有廠商推出了芝麻花生雙餡湯圓，不過也比較貴。 A: 真的嗎？我也想試試看。 （By Eddy Chang, Taipei Times／台北時報張聖恩）
According to legends, Cheng Cheng-kung (also known as Koxinga) is said to be associated with another Taiwanese food — milkfish. When Cheng was fighting the Dutch who were stationed at their fort named Fort Zeelandia, they lacked supplies and food, and couldn’t catch any fish to eat. As he worried about running out of food, one night, the sea goddess Matsu appeared in his dream and said, “Don’t say no fish. (Mo-shuo-mo-yu) There are fish in the sea near where your navy is at anchor.” 據說鄭成功還與另一道台灣美食有關—虱目魚。當鄭成功與堅守在熱蘭遮堡的荷蘭人交戰時，軍隊缺乏補給，無糧可食，也捕不到魚可吃。正當為食物發愁時，一天夜裡媽祖在他夢中指點：「莫說無魚。你的水師駐紮的海邊就有魚。」 station (v.) 駐紮 Fort Zeelandia (n.) 熱蘭遮堡，遺址位於現今的安平古堡內。 goddess (n.) 女神 The next day, Cheng
When people talk about eating as a communal activity, they generally refer to the feeling of friendship and togetherness that comes from sitting down and sharing a meal with others. Yet, there is another way in which eating can be seen as a group experience: eating contests. Competitive eating contests challenge a person’s eating speed or overall food consumption. Such events draw huge crowds and have become more and more popular with the streaming capabilities of the Internet. While no one knows for sure how long food competitions have been around, there is a 13th-century Norse myth that features an eating