Saturday, June 27, 2009

Taichung toy and candy stores

Spent last weekend in Taichung and stumbled upon a couple of very cool stores. They were in an old area up the road from Qinghai University. You got the sense that it was a hot place to shop 10 or 20 years ago, before the nightmarkets, pedestrian malls, and mega malls lured the shoppers away. The area is still featured in guide books, but the day we went, there were as many stray dogs as pedestrians, and For Rent/Sale signs were all over the place. Lots of used bookstores too...tumbleweeds blowin' buy and an old feller in a rocker talkin' bout headin' Californee Way. Sorry, wrong scene.

Anyway, sometimes places like that house interesting secrets!

One store we found had all sorts of toys, mascot figures, and various bits and bobs from Taiwan's past. I've always felt that if you were going to collect something from Taiwan, this would be the stuff. (Some of my Taiwanese friends are really into it.)

Some pics from the store taken in flash-free James Bond secret mode:
The lady in the center with the green can is Kai Xi Ma Ma, a character (played by a real person in commercials) for a line of tea drinks. Pretty tasty stuff...
The guy in green is a Taiwan post office mascot.

The dudes in the old school football get-ups are Datong company mascots. They make electronic goods like rice cookers.

Some funky international kitsch in this group!
Here's some stuff jammed into a POP display from a convenience store. The contraption is used to keep canned coffee hot - in this case Mr. Brown coffee. Also tasty....

Right next door to the toy store is an old school candy store!
See, that's what candy store owners are supposed to do - smile! Why are so many shop owners so grumpy these days?

Back in the day, most candy in Taiwan was sold piece by piece. In this case, they're probably around 5-10 cents per piece. You can still find stores that sell this way or by weight, but they're dropping off one by one as people are getting used to buying packs of candy or chocolate at convenience stores like 7-11.

Seriously old school action here. So you pay a few cents for a chance to punch a hole through one of those characters and find the prize revealed within! I think these would also be cool thing to collect, since you could display them on a wall.

Puppets are very popular in Taiwan. You can still see puppet shows put on in front of temples. And there are some popular TV shows (and sometimes movies) made with really elaborate puppets and cool special effects.This fellow is probably the most famous puppet. He was the star of a movie a few years back.

Old school cinema cheese.

Another mascot.

And in other news...

I bought one of the blue chicky candy tubes since I like sour candy. Let's just say I should have checked the expiration date before diving in - if there was one... ;-)
So, good times in Taichung. Head on over Taichung way if yer in these here parts. One of Taiwan's nicest cities, no doubt!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are going to Taiwan in a week and I will for sure seek out this shop! Any other little out of the way stores that sell mostly vintage, cheep no name toys?

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