Nine Portions with Nine Lives – Taiwan Trip #14

March 22, 2009 at 6:19 pm | Posted in itchy backside | 4 Comments
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Once upon a time there was this village with just nine families. Each time the villagers would request ‘nine portions’ from shipments arrived from town. As times went by, people began calling the village ‘nine portions’, or jiufen 九份 in chinese. And the people lived happily ever after…:p

Wow. Er…I vaguely remembered reading there is another place in Taiwan called Shih-fen 十分? :p Wonder what was the story behind…. :p

Well, Jiufen used to be a propsperous gold mining town until mining was discontinued. In 1989, Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien 侯孝贤 filmed A City of Sadness 悲情城市 in Jiufen, and the small town with charming old buildings and streets on a steep mountain became popular destination for visitors. In 2001, Jiufen’s downtown was used as a model in the anime movie, Spirited Away 千と千尋の神隠し, one of my favourite movies by Hayao Miyazaki 宮崎駿

Have not had a chance to watch the chinese movie, but just because of this
sign here, this must be one of the most photographed spot in Jiufen…

Movie poster of another movie, Dust in the Wind, by the same director…not
sure if he shot the film here…couldn’t find much information about this 1987 film

There were no lack of teahouses to relax tired feet…

You could see mountain and the Pacific Ocean here…very good fengshui…hee

A lot of homestay available…next time maybe can try…

Another view…

We soon felt it was a bit touristy for our liking…such a charming place bustling with commercial activities…so we tried to escape by sneaking into backlanes…

…and saw a sleeping cat on a roof top…shouldn’t old towns have such
relax and laid back feel? Made me feel like sleeping too… 😀 Guess if you
were said to have nine lives like cats
you could afford to sleep anywhere you like…

Not too sure what the stylised chinese words said…but I like the shape

Nice old window 

Surrounded by plants

A heart shape… 


Besides the protective shield
, many bikes had these fabric gloves attached onto
the handle to keep the hands warm… 

And we saw more cats…Cats seemed to be everywhere in Jiufen…


on door….

on sign…

We soon found ourselves back to the busy streets again….

One of the shops that I had planned to visit in Taiwan….
Henry Cats

The cats and dogs merchanise were simply beautiful…especially the hand
painted stones…couldn’t afford those though…:( 

At the other corner was a second shop with cafe upstairs

Ooo…So many cats on the sign…

Wow! More cats inside!

There were many chops with cat designs available for you to DIY and 
personalise a card…This was the card Itchyfingers chopped, complete
with a typical Jiufen old building along the stairs and postmark… 😀

The artist at work

When there’s cat, there’s fish…. :p

Cute doggy waiting to be fed dried cuttlefish…

The same cute doggy resting by the street when we were about to leave…

As a whole, I like Jiufen for the charming old buildings and the view you get there. The weather was cool so having something hot to eat or drink was such great joy. There were many teahouses, cafes and eateries as well as shops selling food but I wished there were lesser of those shops selling the run-out-of-the-mill souvenirs for tourists. Instead have some unique designed stuff inspired from the place itself. With its proximity and relatively easy assess from Taipei city, there would be no problem attracting visitors for short day trips or stay.

I think the many shop owners in modern day Jiufen can also live happily ever after, counting the endless flow of tourists’ money…. :p

Also see related posts:
Déjà Vu and a Brief Encounter – Taiwan Trip #13
Letting Our Imagination Run Wild – Taiwan Trip #12
Walking in the Wind – Taiwan Trip #11
A Walk Along the Cliff – Taiwan Trip #10
Away From the Concrete Jungle – Taiwan Trip #9
Shit Happens – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #8
Gorilla in the Mist – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #7
It’s a Cat! No! It’s a Bear! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #6
Wow Cow! Holy Cow! So Many Cows! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #5
Gong Xi Fa Cai! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #4
Holy Cow! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #3
Wow Cow! – CowParade @ Taipei, Taiwan Trip #2
Buy One Get One Free! – Taipei, Taiwan Trip #1 



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  1. Hey Everyone,

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