Day 0 – Tainan, Taiwan

Team Tainan is settled in and ready to go! We arrived in Tainan this afternoon, most of us taking the high speed rail from Taipei. The train’s top speed is 240 km/h or 150 mph. It was a pretty fast journey! Out the window, we saw cities with industry, agriculture, and a lot of dense, green forest. The island character changes frequently from minute to minute on the THSR.

Once we arrived at our hotel, we met as a team and were introduced to the IBMers from Taiwan who we will be working with this week. Several of the local team will participate as extended members of our project, along with Anny and Lisa our local leaders. We worked through our agenda and logistics for a couple of hours, then headed to dinner at Chun Shui Tang tea house. Dinner included a variety of tea snacks, including some familiar such as taro cake and braised cabbage, some less familiar including tofu braised in oolong tea and burdock fishcakes.

While we will have translation support with us at all times, we all recognize the importance of trying to connect in local language. In Taiwan, there are two to choose from – Chinese Mandarin, used formally, and Taiwanese Hokkien, spoken commonly as well. Mobile apps and phrase books will only get us so far. I hope we can say more than “ni hau” or “lee ho” by the time we finish our journey!

On Monday, we are honored to meet with the Mayor of Tainan City, Mayor Lai, to formally commence our project. Several journalists are expected to attend, so tomorrow’s blog will have some links and photos to document this important kickoff.




Filed under Tainan, Taiwan

6 responses to “Day 0 – Tainan, Taiwan

  1. Ed, lee-ho!
    Hakka is another local language that you’ll get learned the other day during this trip in Tainan lol.
    Welcome to Taiwan anyway!

  2. Koji

    I live in Kyoto, Japan which one of of chosen city by IBM’s Smarter Challenge. Today, on my e-mail, I saw “Day 0”.

    I want to give a message from Kyoto as one of local resident. We may be different than other cities. I have no idea about Tainan nor your project,. “Day 0” just came into my eyes, then wanted leave our feelings here.

    I don’t know what you are doing in that city or other future cities. But if you are trying to do same thing similar to Kyoto, PLEASE meet people who live in that region and who are NOT preselected by city officials.

    Most people in Kyoto does not know what IBM is doing here, but my friends and I have been very disappointed with your project. City of Kyoto is trying to narrow down main streets which are already over crowded while ignoring voices from local residents. We feel city officials and major cares tourism while ignoring resident, economy, environment and our safety. We have been feeling you are helping to destroy our life and you helped destroy our life and safety without your knowledge.

    Kyoto is famous in Tourism and may be good for IBM’s reputations. But there are also people who has regular life and whose life will be degraded.

    I really do Not know your plan there. But if you can, please do your research which are not biased, more than setted up by city. Please listen to REAL local people.

    IBM is private company and you have rights to do anything you want. I know that City of Kyoto says we are only small part of opposed group. But if you have done your research, you would have found how well they hide reality.

    I am hoping you to do something that appreciated by REAL local people who live there, not CIty Mayor nor City Officials. I hope you do more than for your reputations.

    (Please excuse me for my broken English)

  3. edbrill

    Koji-san, thank you very much. We absolutely do want to speak with “REAL local people.” In fact, my teammate Irv suggested that very step to me last night at dinner, before our project even began. Irv and all of my teammates are reading these blogs, we will be sure to find a way to incorporate your recommendation. Arigato gozimasu.

  4. Emma Chung

    Very good speech at the kick-off event.

  5. Koji

    Good Evening Edbrill,

    Thank you for your reply and I do appreciate that you heard our voice and giving your best effort to many cities around world. I do understand it is not easy to hear all voices while each city is so unique.

    I hope your project goes well in Tainan,Taiwan and other cities.

    Doumo Arigatou Gozaimasu for your time, Good Luck and
    Oyasumi Nasai (Good Night)