My first big article for the newspaper I work for came out on Saturday. I am a passionate advocate of online journalism and most of my career and training have been spent working on news Web sites, but I have to say, seeing my stuff in print is pretty darn cool:

For a bigger version, click here. Or click here for the online version.

I am usually hesitant to write about one of my hobbies because I believe firmly that my sanity and productivity both depend on me enforcing some sort of boundary between my work and personal life (of course, being engaged to one of my co-workers makes this rule extra-necessary). Writing about the Taipei Toy Festival deepened my appreciation for urban vinyl as an art form, however, and gave me the opportunity to have really cool, enlightening conversations with some people that I truly admire and respect. Now, I know this sounds cheesy, but it is true. Talking with the designers helped me understand and articulate why I like art toys (or urban vinyl, or designer toys…) so much.

I’ve wondered how much work stuff I should mention on this blog, but it’s like not ShuFlies is anonymous anyway. I mean, my last name is in the title. Ultimately, my purpose in keeping this blog (aside from letting family members know I have not eaten myself silly yet) is to let people see what an intriguing and unique place Taiwan is and that, no, it is not a backwater province somewhere in the middle of China where people live in clay huts, speak Thai, start gobbling in shock when they see white people, and are dying of boredom because they don’t have the Internet, and where modern culture is just a mash-up of hand-me-down trends from Japan or Korea. To be fair, most people I talk to know where Taiwan is and have at least a rudimentary understanding of what it’s like, but I’ve heard enough misconceptions to make me wonder what giant rock people are hiding under. I mean, without the help of Taiwanese semiconductor companies there would probably be no affordable video iPods in the world–and however would we all survive?

Anyway, my point is, if the articles I work on help spread the word that Taiwan is a cool and interesting place to be (and that, yes, we have the Internet), then I might as well post them here and share them with all five of you.