Posted by: Teacher Peter | July 7, 2016

The Oracle Bones



Posted by: Teacher Peter | December 6, 2015

Which Wolf Wins?

We’ve been back in America for over 3 years now. A lot has changed, but not the pursuit of wisdom.

I recently came across a very important concept today. It is contained in a Cherokee story:



Posted by: Teacher Peter | April 1, 2015

Mars Needs Teachers!

Orientation – April 1, 2015
Guess what? We’ve decided to leave the country again, but at least this time there won’t be a
language barrier. Click the link below, to read more about our exciting new adventure.
We’ve already been to most of North America, Asia, South America, and a bit of Europe so
we’ve decided to sign on with NASA for their 100 year space project. The Colony ship will be
taking volunteers from all walks of life, including children. and where there are children,
there is a need for teachers.
This is a very big decision and we’ve considered it thoroughly . We didn’t share this news
with our family and friends until now because when we applied 2 years ago, we didn’t think
we’d ever get this far in the process.
Training camp begins this summer in Texas. If accepted into the program, we’d locate to a
top secret military / NASA base within the year and we’d leave for Mars soon after. Here we
are training in the Texas heat for our first simulation of life abroad.


Posted by: Teacher Peter | December 5, 2011

Our Trip to Japan: Shinkansen options

This website was very helpful in explaining the ins and outs of train travel in Japan. It even has links to a full color map of the entire shinkansen line: times

Japanican has a lot of good package deals. For example, if you bundle a hotel stay with a Shinkansen trip you can save up to 50 USD:

Of course, I referenced our good old friends at Agoda. We’ve been using this website since our first travels to the Philippines and China one year ago:

Here are some other helpful links:

The Japan Rail Pass can be used for many modes of travel, not only Shinkansen:

More info on fantastic Miyajima island:


More on Yamato museum:

Posted by: Teacher Peter | September 20, 2011

How to Drive a Scooter in Taiwan

Well, first you need to get your license:

Here’s another opinion:

Here are the locations for all of Taiwan:

And here’s our local Taichung office:

77 Beitun Road., North district


Then after you get your license, forget everything you learned, and start paying attention to how local Taiwanese actually drive their scooters: CRAZY.

People will run red lights, in both directions. Also, a scooter can come at you from any direction at any time–even from above. So beware, be aware, and be careful.

Posted by: Teacher Peter | July 28, 2011

Big Money: Taiwan Lottery

I don’t have a lot to say on the subject of the Taiwan lottery except this:

1. It’s free. Anytime you get a receipt from a purchase you hold a ticket in your hand.

2. we all know someone who has won at least 200 NT ($6 USD) or more. So try it.

Here are some links:

Posted by: Teacher Peter | July 15, 2011

Public Holidays in Taiwan

When do you get a day off from work? When is a good time to travel? Here are a few resources for you?

Here are the best if you want to know when to travel:

Whose Travel, run by Dale Mackie, is a great resource:

Download THIS:

These are helpful for background information:

Posted by: Teacher Peter | July 15, 2011

Riding the Bus, Airport Travel

Whether you’re headed to Tapei for the weekend or making a longer trip to the East Coast of the island or Kenting in the south, buses are your friend.


Getting to Taoyuan International airport in Taipei.I recommend taking the HSR (High Speed Rail a.k.a. “GaoTie” ). Tell the taxi driver “gao Tie” (the Chinese word abbreviation of a longer phrase that means high speed rail) and they will take you to the only HSR station in Taichung. It’s a different station than the regular train.  The first HSR out of Taichung leaves at 6am. It takes about 40 minutes to get to Taoyuan and 50 min/1 hour to get to Taipei. Your ticket stub will have exact arrival and departure times.

Do you need to be there before 6:40am? Take the bus:

1.Fego Bus a.k.a “Flying Dog” or FreeGo. I haven’t found an English website for them yet. First bus to Taoyuan airport from Taichung leaves at 3am. Then, every 20 minutes.

2. Other resources:

Taiwan Secrets is a great travel blog in general. Here’s their bus section:


Posted by: Teacher Peter | June 14, 2011


Here’s a paintball field I’ve never been to:


Here’s a link to the Facebook Group:


Here’s a google map to the site of the Fubar/Taichung Golf Association fundraiser tournament in November 2010:,120.654087&spn=0.077383,0.149345&z=13

Posted by: Teacher Peter | June 5, 2011

Culture Shock and The Journey

It has been a good journey, even when it hasn’t been an easy one. Almost a year ago, I arrived in Taiwan with my best friend and my wife (same person). I thought because I had done this before it would be the same journey and an easy one.

Twelve years ago, during the last year of the Tiger, I moved to Japan to teach English with the JET program. I was right out of college, my life was not coming together for me quickly enough, and my friend was doing it so I joined up too. Deciding to live in a foreign culture was probably the single most transformative decision of my life. I did not know so at the time.

My first night in Nanbu, Yamanashi, Japan, I cried. I was all alone in a small Japanese town of 7,000 people and I was the only foreigner for 50 kilometers. What had I gotten myself into? A whole new world. Within my first months, I appeared on a Japanese game show, met lots of other foreigners from Canada, England, Australia, and other English speaking locales and, of course, got a huge dose of Japanese culture. After 1 year, I was conversational in Japanese. Going into my second year, even more so.

It was not always a pleasant journey but a transformative one. Culture shock is a necessary part of any undertaking in a foreign land. You will have ups and downs. Below are some links to help you find what stage you are in. Understand that no two people experience a foreign culture the same. Also, the maps and links below are guidelines not a “script”. There is seldom much predictable about human emotion.

(Above image from:

Also, from the same website:

Outcomes of culture shock

Of course, not everyone passes through the phases fluently, adopting Dutch culture in the adjustment phase. In fact, there are 3 different outcomes that you can have.

  1. Rejectors – Some people find it impossible to accept Dutch culture and integrate. They isolate themselves from the Dutch environment, which they find hostile. Usually, they stay in groups with people of their own nationality and see return to their own culture as the only way out. However, this group also has the greatest problems re-integrating back home after return. This group usually consists of about 60% of all people who move abroad.
  2. Adopters – If you integrate fully and adopt everything from the Dutch culture, while losing your own culture, you belong to this group. Usually, this group remains in Holland forever. About 10% of people who move abroad behaves like this.
  3. Cosmopolitans – Some people manage to adapt the aspects of Dutch culture they see as positive, while keeping some of their own and creating their unique blend. They have no major problems returning home or relocating elsewhere. About 30% of people who move abroad belong to this group.

Coping with culture shock

If you find yourself experiencing a culture shock, then here are some tips that can help you deal with it. Don’t forget that if things get too bad for you, do not hesitate to contact a doctor!

  • Learn about Holland, its history and its culture. That way, you might understand why the Dutch behave the way they do. A good starting point is already this web site! See the section on Dutch and Western Culture.
  • Avoid offense: Don’t get offended too easily! Sometimes you may think that Dutch people are offensive to you, for example by not saying please, but keep in mind that in Holland it is very common not to do that, so that they are not trying to offend you. There are many more examples about this phenomenon. If you immediately get offended, it will not make the transition easier for yourself.
  • Try to be open-minded about the Dutch culture as well as its unfamiliar aspects.
  • Take a ‘time out’ from cultural exchange in order to reduce the ‘shock’ of adjustment.
  • Be patient, the act of immigrating is a process of adaptation to new situations. It is going to take time.
  • Don’t try too hard.
  • Study Dutch.”
Replace the word ‘dutch’ with ‘Taiwan’ or better yet, ‘host culture’ and you’ve got some pretty good general advice.

Now, 12 years later, I am back in Asia. I expected the journey to be the same. But it is not. As Heraclitus said, “It is impossible to step into the same river twice.”  A lot has changed: 1. Now I am older and more experienced. 2. I have had a 15 year teaching career. 3. I am married and do not make this journey alone. 4. I carry with me all the experiences of the past 12 years.

Some things are easier: Before I lived in Japan, I did not think I was good at languages. Having failed to make it into the Advanced Placement section of Spanish in my High School I assumed I simply “did not have what it takes” to learn a language. Living in Japan and learning a language through immersion reminded me that we are all hard-wired for learning languages. Babies don’t study flashcards or “apply themselves” to learning their first language, they just do. Now, granted those abilities decay, deteriorate, and transform as we get older. My only argument is that humans are meant to learn languages.

My advice is that while you are in Taiwan (or any immersion environment) make the most of it and try to learn a new language it is an exciting adventure. Also, try to learn a new culture. You will not only gain new perspective on the world but a greater understanding of yourself.

“Be happy and excited for this opportunity, and don’t expect things to be the same as your home country. Foreigners who follow this advice cope well with culture shock. When you survive culture shock, you’ll find that you have a fresh outlook on your own culture and its roots, and will gain new ways of understanding yourself.”–From English in Taiwan link above.

So while my journey in Taiwan has not been an easy one, it has been a good one. Any journey is a good one that gives you greater understanding. My first year in Taiwan has taught me a lot about my values, my strengths, my weaknesses, and my limitations. It has been yet another exciting adventure that I get to share with my wife.

My departing words to you, for this post is this:

When times get hard, fall back on your training. Go back to basics.

What training? When I lived in Japan, the first time, I had training. I was employed by Monbusho, the National Education system of Japan. They provided workshops in teaching, culture shock, and other helpful tools. After Japan, I discovered Zen Buddhism and Mindfulness. Some call it a religion or a philosophy. I just consider it Good Advice to pay attention to what’s going on. So whatever grounds you in happiness, calm, peace, and balance–fall back on that when times are hard. That could be religion, spirituality, the wise counsel of close friends or family.

Whatever it is, when hard times come (because they surely will) fall back on your training.

You still say you don’t know what grounds you in peace and balance?

This is your chance to learn. Welcome to the journey.–julie-jc-peters/

More stories from abroad:

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