Monthly Archives: August 2013

wisdom ig

“Wisdom and ignorance increase simultaneously.”


GFD: From Our Café Correspondent – Age Café, Hsinchu, Taiwan.


Dear Diary,

AFTER SPENDING THE ENTIRE DAY DEALING WITH ENGLISH STUFF, it was already 10:00 at night. Adam, my working partner, and I were searching for a nice place to relax. No place was better than a café where it stayed open until 2AM. It’s called Age Café. It’s for all the ages, not senior citizens only.

When we first came in, the waiter opened the door for us and took us to a seat politely. During the first ten minutes, we were getting too excited about language exchanging that we almost forgot to order. Then we started sharing English jokes, Chinese tongue twisters and other things from Jammatology.

I know I’m not such a brilliant language learner as I cannot get the main idea immediately. Luckily, my partner is so nice that he’s willing to explain everything in deeeeeetails for me. And I’ll keep trying hard.

But there was bad news for me. I found myself having difficulty saying the sentence, “I would like wood”. Adam told me he couldn’t hear “W” sound when I said these two words. This time he was not patient enough because he didn’t teach me how to fix the problem. That made me a little bit frustrated.

Anyway, instead of having fun in a bar or night club, I prefer to hang out in a quiet place. And it was indeed a lovely good night, thanks.

by Lisa Yang

Bruin – Hsinchu, Taiwan

bruin hshinshu

The highest recorded voice in a song must be that song Loving You by Minnie Riperton. I heard that every time the high part of the song came around a studio technician had to stab Minnie, because the note can’t be reached without the help of pain or fear. It’s playing in here, and Zijun and I chuckle each time it goes so high and the glasses on the shelves vibrate.

She’s visiting from Taipei to give me some company on this typhoon weekend. The city locked down as the winds and rains approached, and I made the unwise decision to go and buy beer. I got caught in a pre-typhoon rainstorm. After that, confined to my room, we got drunk and listened to music. Friday’s work was cancelled and Saturday’s training was cancelled. If I know one thing it’s that not working is better than working. The typhoon was predictably wet and windy but its Sunday now and the sun is back out, hence our being here.

We’re in this cosy café with shelves of coffee grinders and cakes, stuffed bears and books. It’s almost empty. A young couple have come in. Other than them its just the woman who runs the place and, following the yelping Minnie Riperton, Rod Stewart as our company. I have a Brazilian coffee. It reminds me of many I’ve had in London, with that slightly metallic first taste. It helps with the reading of Joyce. Zijun has bacon, egg, peaches, toast, juice and coffee, all for $100 (£2.20-ish). Dang, that’s what I should have got…

With the typhoon heading over to China, it looks like work on Monday is assured. With that solemn truth sinking in, I listen to Rod Stewart’s timeless advice: Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you. Thanks Rod, it’s not just air within that sheepdog skull of yours.

by Adam

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Farringdon

dept coffee

Having just had a haircut to give myself the delusion of a fresh start, I head to the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs. It’s a name that reminds me of The Thick of It, and as I walk up Leather Lane I wonder if Malcolm Tucker will turn up and tell me that I’m about as much use as a marzipan dildo. It’s lunch time and there are a lot of men in shirts who look like they do grown-up jobs. I order a black Americano and sit down by a brick wall opposite some landscape paintings. Today the department is acting as my office, where I shall finish the third part of a comic about job applicant zombies.

David Guetta pounds through the speakers whilst a load of business men have a meeting. Techno beats and management talk intertwine as I take the first sip of coffee – full bodied and giving me a much needed smack around the face. I’m trying to think of the best way to draw a zombie being hit over the head with a rolled up rejection letter, unaware that I’m staring gormlessly out the window. I’m jolted back to reality by bewildered looks from passers-by and the caffeine surging through my veins.

I could do with one of the cakes or pastries I spied on the way in, but I can’t really leave my desk. Besides, I’m being unusually productive and I don’t know how long it will last so I better seize the moment. The coffee and surroundings have done me good, and I quite fancy that I shall be returning here soon, and on that occasion, I am intent on getting a cake to enhance my office experience. But for now, my working day is done, and I pack up and put on my headphones, walking briskly to Holborn station to the soundtrack of Norwegian metal.

by Chris