Friday, 27 January 2006

Ooooohhhhh...; Report: Gubarev's holiday plans

What a day. It's been too many late nights and early mornings. I'm going to fall apart. And I still haven't done anything for the radio show yet. Oooooohhh.......

Here's the report I had to get up at 6h00 to do. This morning, I was so tired my broach that I really should have attached last night was in the wrong place, my hair had too much product in it and I forgot my eyeliner. I was driving and doing make-up at the same time. I hate that, but it's the second time in a week I've had to do it. Another trick I learned to save time is instead of using a body towel to dry myself off, I just put on my robe. It doesn't feel great, but it works.

Gosh, I was so sleepy I even had to resort to coffee after lunch. I just got home from a meeting with a town guide magazine I have been translating for. The past few days has felt like crawling back into the house on my hands and knees late at night, and then running out the door and hopping back into the car early in the morning, work bag in one hand and make-up bag in the other. Ooooooohhh.......

I just have to get through tomorrow, and then I have time to get started on the radio thing. But I still need to go into the station to redo my food/fun stories in Chinese for the Chinese programming. Ooooooohhh.......

And then it's Chinese New Year and it will be dinners after dinners, and seeing relatives that I don't really know and passing out red envelopes (紅包/お年玉). I was so happy that I got even 1,5 months for my bonus, which was prorated 75% because I have only been a full-time employee for 3/4 year. But after I figured out how much money I need to give to my parents in red envelopes now that I am working, I realized that bonuses were really meant for other people. One envelope for Mother, one for Father, one for Godmother, one for each grandparent, and then one for each of all the little kids that I will have to come into contact with over the holidays... Oooooooohhhhh.... I haven't even got enough left for Godgrandparents, but they are in Japan, so I am just going to have to cheat on that. Or give it to them when I see them next.

So there goes my bonus. My very first bonus. At least I still have a salary to pay for food and parking and petrol.

Anyway, here is the report. I really must call in Mr Sandman. It's another crazy day tomorrow.

This is part one of a series of ambassador CNY stories we were asked by the news chief to do.

I liked this guy. He was a gentleman and very charming and educated as well. Lovely.

Must get to bed. Another long day ahead tomorrow. Starting from doctor's appointment. Maybe my doctor can give me some genki juice.

Slug: Gubarev’s Holiday Plans (1'03'')

This will be the first Lunar New Year that Russian representative Dr Sergei Gubarev is spending in Taiwan. He assumed the post less than three months ago, and he hopes to spend the holidays exploring. Michella Weng has more.##


Previously stationed in China and Singapore, Russian economic and culture representative Dr Sergei Gubarev is no stranger to the Lunar New Year holidays. But this is the first time he is spending it in Taiwan. And having just arrived in November, he is quite eager to get to know what’s here.
之前曾經被派駐至新加坡和中國的Sergei Gubarev博士 對過農曆年可不陌生
不過在台灣過節可是第一次 所以十一月剛報到的代表 想要利用這個假期

Interview :
Michella Weng
FTV Reporter
What do you plan on doing this Lunar New Year, your first Lunar New Year, in Taiwan?

Dr Sergei Gubarev
Russian Trade & Culture Rep.
To know more about Taipei and about your charming island. I intend to go to Taroko, then Taichung and maybe Kaohsiung to see the places that I have not been yet. No specific places yet, but to have a general impression about the second largest city of Taiwan, about one of the biggest ports of Asia will be very useful for me.
我打算到太魯閣 然後台中或高雄 到一些我還沒有去過的地方
沒有特定的點 不過我想去看看台灣第二大的城市 也就是亞洲大港口之一
這對我來說 應該會很有幫助

Though his family can’t be here with him to celebrate the holidays, Dr Gubarev will have the chance to experience Taiwanese hospitality and have plenty of time to relax.
雖然家人沒辦法陪代表過年 但是他可以趁這個節慶好好的休息

Michella Weng, Formosa TV, Taipei.
民視新聞 吳宗儒 翁郁容 台北採訪報導

Wednesday, 25 January 2006

Correction #2; Boyfriend wanted

One more correction. It's 月月火水木金金
I think I had one too many 水's in there previously. No wonder the gold keeps disappearing. In Feng Shui (風水), water is very closely related to money, or the flow of money.

It was someone's birthday today, and she made resolutions. One of them was to find a boyfriend. That appears to the be on the mind of many women between the ages of 12 and 120. Why is it so difficult to find the right one? How come the weirdos with oily skin keep calling but the sophisticated ones with the sexy smiles are either buried in the office or just completely unresponsive? Thank goodness for caller ID when we're screening calls, but it doesn't really help when Mr Handsome won't call at all, will it? Frustrations frustrations.

Off to bed--a big bed with a big comforter, two sets of pillows, and just one person in it--single and lonely Mi.


Tuesday, 24 January 2006

Correction; Michael; Reporting: Taiwan's best pizza

Correction on my days of the week. Mama says it is not 月火水水木金金. Translated, that would be "Monday, Tuesday, Smooth, Thursday, Friday, Friday." Rather, it is 月月火水水木金金. Two moons and two golds. Does that mean we spend twice the amount of time under the moon working for twice the amount of gold than other people? Hm. I hope so. That's not very efficient, though, is it? Must work smarter.

Michael went back to San Francisco today. It's back to quiet and boring nights.

At least now I will go to bed earlier.

Here's a report I did on a really good pizza place in Taipei. It was aired 9 January. I really liked the place. It really reminded me of pizza in the States and brings back some childhood memories, minus the wine. I was very woozy on the way back to the station. But I must say, red wine really goes with pizza. They're opening another restaurant next month, and I'm really looking forward to it. Can you say "Garden Burger?"

Slug: Taiwan's Best Pizza (1'13'')

Pizza joints can be found on nearly any block in Taipei city, but not all of them are worth writing home about. Today FTV's Michella Weng takes to you a place highly recommended by internationals and locals alike.##

Opening stand-up:
This pizzeria was voted “best in Taiwan” in an online poll by a group of mostly international residents.

The red-and-black painted walls give the basement restaurant a warm, cozy feel. They serve heart-stopping pizzas, calzones, and a variety of hearty appetizers.
紅與黑的裝潢給人的第一個感覺就是 很溫暖
這邊 提供的是 披薩 半月形派餅 還有各式各樣的前菜

Sound bite:
Stafford Tipton
The crust is very, very thin, and I love it. It's probably the best pizza I think I've ever had.
它的餅非常非常的薄 我超愛的

On a scale of one to five, with five being best?
如果說一到五 五為最好吃 你給它打幾分

Sound bite:
Stafford Tipton
I give it a ten.

Sound bite:
Lawrence Ho
Oh, probably above a four, said this customer. After my friend brought me here for my birthday last year, I've been coming once a week since. The price is actually pretty reasonable, too.

There are a number of different pizzas to choose from, and if you want to create your own pie there are more than 30 toppings to choose from. All the baked goods come out of the stone oven that the owner made himself.
菜單上有好幾種披薩讓你選 但是你如果想要自己挑稻料的話
還有 所有烤的東西都是從這個 老闆自己做的石材烤箱 出來的喔

Sound bite:
Alan Pontes
We do our very best to make everything fresh. We make our own dough. We make our own sauce. We use the best quality ingredients we can find in Taiwan.
我們很注重用新鮮的食材 我們的餅也是自己做的 醬也是自己做的

You don't have to be a meat-lover to enjoy this place, though. They cater to vegans and vegetarians as well.
吃素的朋友呢 也沒有問題 蛋奶素和全素的餐點都有

Michella Weng, Formosa TV, Taipei.
民視新聞 李家和 翁郁容 台北採訪報導

Saturday, 21 January 2006

Thank goodness for siblings

I am a pathetic product of workaholism. The first Friday that I decide to not come straight home after work, I had nowhere to go. I didn't want to go anywhere by myself, and I couldn't find any friends to go somewhere with.

Instead, I pretty much surrendered to come home and write about unagi (eel). What better way to end the week, thinking about slimy fish?

Did you know that Taiwan used to provide more than 70% of unagi's sold in Japan? And that Japanese chefs prefer to slice unagi's from the back, rather than from the stomach, because cutting from the stomach reminds them of seppuku (suicide by disembowelment)?

But on the long drive through traffic home, I messaged Michael, asking if we have any DVD's to watch. I love movies, except when I have to watch them by myself. He said he and Lydia rented the "Shall We Dance" remake.

While I saw the Japanese version years ago, I so wasn't too keen on seeing the American one, especially after an American production company's interpretation of Memoirs of a Geisha and old Japanese culture struck such a sour note with so many people. That and I usually like the original production much better. I thought the original "Sabrina" better, even though I saw the remake first. You just can't beat Audrey Hepburn's charm and beauty, and those lovely, lovely dresses!

Then it occurred to me that I haven't enjoyed a movie at home since I left Japan a year ago! I used to watch DVD's with my godmother. We'd get into our pajamas, sit on the warm carpet and then watch until we fell asleep. That was so much fun.

As soon as I got home, I immediately jumped into my pajamas and hopped downstairs and waited for the movie to start. I was so excited! I really can't remember the last time I watched TV, or even sat, in the living room.

Waiting for them to come downstairs...

It has changed a little bit though. Some of the furniture appears to be moved around, and the pillows on the sofa seemed to have decreased in number. It turns out that Oreo has been dissecting the pillows for her science projects.

No, that's not part of the pillow. That's a monkey tail.

The movie was great. It makes me want to learn how to dance. I've thought this too many times already. Lydia says she will look for a teacher and we can take lessons on Saturday nights. Hooray!

I had a good Friday night, after all. Thank goodness for siblings.

Food on the dining table. Can you tell which is food for people and which is food for dogs? I have been munching on the cookies in the old mayonnaise jar. They have very little sugar in them, so I like them. But because they might taste bland to most people, I'm suspecting it might not be meant for...humans...? Maybe that's why I've been getting dirty looks from my four-legged siblings.

Friday, 20 January 2006

Reporting: Journey of art and food

This aired on 11 Jan 2005.

Slug: Journey of Art and Food (1'13'')

Gourmets agree that food should be a feast of all the senses, visual as well as olfactory. However, as FTV's Michella Weng reports, on Taipei eatery is looking to take that a step further, and make dining an artistic and cultural experience.##

Opening stand-up:
This is where art, food, drink and music supposedly meet. Let's have a look.
聽說這是一家 藝術 餐飲 和音樂 結合在一起的餐廳

[NS: music; picture: art on the walls]

From the decor, you can tell right away that it's a very casual place. However, the artistic installments give the space a special touch and a bohemian feel. Here, they have rotating exhibits featuring the work of both Taiwanese and international amateur artists.

看餐廳的裝潢 就知道這是個很輕鬆 悠閒的地方
然而 陳列在室內的藝術品 賦予這個空間一種很特別 脫俗的感覺
老闆也會定時的更換展覽品 給各地的藝術家多一點呈現作品的機會

But as this is a restaurant, what about the food?
不過這邊畢竟還是一家餐廳 所以餐點如何呢

Sound bite:
Greg Walsh
We've got a menu that we based on the theme of a culinary journey around the world. The whole restaurant's concept is to be where the world meets and eats.
我們的菜單 主題是環球料理旅遊
餐廳的概念就是讓各地的異國人 聚在這邊吃異國菜

Many of the spices they use aren't produced locally, so executive chef Tomer Feldman buys imported ones to keep the different flavors exotic and interesting. And while there are common dishes like the Caesar salad and slightly more outlandish dishes like falafel, many of the other items on the menu are original creations, and are definitely worth a try.
主廚 Tomer Feldman都購買進口的東西 讓客人能嚐嚐道地的異國風味
菜色呢 當然有大家聽過的凱薩沙拉 也有一些比較不一樣的
像是中東的炸豆丸子 不過還有很多的東西也是他們自己開發的 很值得試試喔

With great food, changing displays and the occasional open jam session, this place has become one of the most popular hangouts of the foreign artistic community.
這個結合美食 藝術 還有有時候有live band 的餐廳

Michella Weng, Formosa TV, Taipei.
民事新聞 林豐俊 翁郁容 台北採訪報導

I haven't heard the live performances, and don't think much of the art (it was just an angle), but the food sure is good, and very reasonably priced.

Thursday, 19 January 2006

Reporting: Weather in My Brain

This was aired 17 Jan 2006.

Slug: Weather in My Brain (1'28'')

It is often quite difficult for independent artists to get attention and appreciation for the work that they do. FTV's Michella Weng brings you to a free exhibition that is being held right now featuring the work of artists that combine modern fine art, commercial music videos and street art for an interesting presentation of sound and visuals.##

For every album major local musicians make, several music videos are made as well. Usually, famous commercial music video directors are hired for the one or two videos that are to be given a lot of air time as part of promotional efforts.
在台灣 當歌手錄新唱片的時候 都會拍幾隻MV
通常唱片公司都會請明星導演 拍其中的一兩隻 要拿來強打的MV

Local, independent audiovisual artists then get to make videos for the rest of the songs, which will be played mostly at KTV's and music TV stations—hardly the place to receive much notice or acclaim.
其他的呢 就找新銳導演或製作團隊來拍攝
這一些作品 通常都只會在KTV 或者音樂電視台播放
相對之下 就無法得到很多的收視跟讚揚

This free exhibition, called “Weather in My Brain,” gives non-commercial artists a chance to gain exposure and a chance for the general public to gain a better understanding of this kind of art.
腦天氣是一個免費的展覽 讓非主流的藝術家有一個曝光的機會

Sound bite:
Huang Yichin
我們並不希望把它做的太學院 或者是太曲高和寡
在展覽呈現的方面 我們也希望它比較走入生活的感覺
Huang Yichin, organizer of the event said that they don't want to make this too academic or difficult for the audience to understand. We want it to be more like a part of life.

There are 10 different themes in this show and contest, featuring the work of local and international artists. In addition to the exhibition, there will be live performances and forums as well.
來自台灣和國外的參展者和參賽者 以十個不同的主題來呈現他們的影音藝術創作
除了展覽之外 主辦單位也安排了一些現場表演及研討會 邀請民眾一同參與

Closing stand-up:
Michella Weng
FTV Reporter
You can experience for yourself Weather in My Brain at participating cafes or here at the main exhibition venue. This is Michella Weng for Formosa TV, in Taipei.
如果您想體驗一下腦天氣 可以到配合展出的咖啡廳 或是到主展場
民視新聞 楊麒民 翁郁容 台北採訪報導

As this was for TV news, the real value is in the pictures. I encourage you to watch our show from 17 Jan to really get a feel for this story. I had a lot of really cool footage and sounds from the films.
The pictures for this one was great. I did my closing stand-up lying in a bunch of clouds. My anchors were caught by surprise and couldn't stop laughing. :)

Wednesday, 18 January 2006

Mary Poppins and friend

At Da Ai, I got to chat with a couple of people, who both seemed very nice.

One girl, the previous anchor for the English show, was a theater major from Texas. She is Taiwanese. After a bit into the conversation, she said to me, "You sound like Mary Poppins."

Mary Poppins? The crazy nanny that flies around in umbrellas and puffy skirts of various colors? I didn't say it, but I guess my eyebrows showed it.

"No, I mean, like Julie Andrews. You sound really good."

That made my day. I was so happy.

After that, I went to translate an article and she disappeared somewhere.

After voicing over the article, I talked to the new anchor, who just arrived from another TV station. She was quite nice, straightforward and sincere, and not much older than me. She has been back in Taiwan for a year now, same as me. She was recruited into her previous station to be an anchor when she was a project manager in a totally different industry. But once she was on board, she was basically left out to dry. I had several, similar experiences with that station, only I didn't join them. Then we got to talking about careers, and I told her what I wanted to do, and she went through several ideas to try to help me figure out a way to get to where I want to go. I haven't met such a kind person in a long, long time. She was extremely encouraging as well. I think we may have quite a few things to talk about.

I'm really looking forward to working with her. Will this be my first real friend I've made on my own in Taiwan? We'll see!

Tzu Chi experience

This morning, I paid a visit to the Tzu Chi (慈濟) center in Guandu (關渡), which also houses their TV station, Da Ai (大愛). Tzu Chi is an international Buddhist organization started in Hualien (花蓮) in 1966. It now has more than 4,5 million volunteers worldwide (Wikipedia). While I am Buddhist, I don't belong to their organization and haven't thought about doing so; I just want to do some charity work.

The building is quite something in itself. It's a brand new, 15-story building in the shape of a crescent, with the dome over the lobby looking something like a lotus flower. On one side of the building is the Danshui River, the other sides--mountains and fields. I drive by it on the way to work and on the way home every day.

You have to take off your shoes when entering the building, like when entering a temple. I was caught off guard, because I was just expecting to go to the news department at a TV station. Since the station was in the same building, I had no choice but to climb out of my stiletto boots and put them in a bag they've prepared for visitors. After a long shuffle in my now-too-long pants across the spacious lobby with pristine, polished, wooden flooring, I finally came to the elevators that would take me to the news department. The last time I moved across any surface without shoes or slippers on was in Japan, in a kimono. Somehow, I couldn't simply walk, I unconsciously "shuffled." A very strange feeling it was. I must have looked very strange, too, come to think of it.

I met the news director on the eighth floor. The first thing that caught my attention when I got there was her office, or the lack of. The newsroom was a barrier-free space with hexagonal computer stations. There were no cubicles and the news director sat at one work station within a group, with people on both sides. I almost thought I was back in Silicon Valley. And the ceiling must have been two or three stories high! It felt nearly pressure-free. Imagine if they gave us space like that at FTV. They can make us work much harder! Of course, it was much more quiet at Da Ai and there weren't any screaming production/editorial staff running around.

At FTV, we don't have cubicles either, but all the desks are lined up like a traditional Japanese office--workers face each other in rows with the supervisor on the end, perpendicular to the rows. It's the perfect setup for workers to exchange funny looks and glare sideways at the boss when he/she says something weird or unbelievable. I don't do that, of course.

The Da Ai news chief seemed quite interested in having me work for them full-time, but I told her that I wasn't quite prepared for it, since I was just looking to do some volunteer work that day. I told her that I would like to host events or do other things along those lines. While she said she'd keep that in mind, she also said I can get to know the organization better by first working with their English news team. Their English news program is basically 12 minutes of Tzu Chi promotion. They do stories on Tzu Chi volunteers' humanitarian efforts in Taiwan and around the world. This week, they added a new segment on international, humanitarian news. But for the most part, it's to promote the organization.

While I hoped that I would be doing things different from what I normally do for work, I was asked to help translate news for the English news team. I guess it's a way to get to know them and a place to start. I translated one article and was brought to the video editing center to voice it over.

The first thing I noticed at the VE center was that all the computers were Apples! There were the old lamp/swivel-style iMacs, there were the new ones where the CPU was attached to the LCD and there were other machines with Apple displays! Now I'm pretty sure the monks and nuns there listen to sutras on engraved iPods.

Stories were voiced in small, sound-proofed rooms with state-of-the-art equipment, and edited at different work stations. While FTV is a commercial TV news station, stories are recorded and edited in the same room with paint peeling off the bare, concrete walls. I won't even go into the equipment, or the long line of reporters glaring in from the outside, waiting for their turn in the room. What a difference in philosophy.

I'm not about to jump ship to Da Ai anytime soon, but I was just so impressed with impression it left me. I wonder where they stand in finances and also, the values they attach to quality and quantity.

It really is a totally different world in there, almost cult-like. Very interesting, indeed. Jade Weng will be back to find out more next Monday.

Imagine if my bosses found out that I'm volunteering at another TV news station...

Tuesday, 17 January 2006

I don't know how I made it through the day. I was so tired, incoherent, unable to understand what anyone was saying and absolutely cranky. It was especially difficult talking to the organizer of an indie audiovisual exhibition. He seemed like quite an artist and very out there to begin with. I'm amazed that I even managed to finish the report. What's left to be done tomorrow is the Chinese translation and the video edit once the extra footage they promised me arrive.

Michael and Lydia picked me up after work and brought me some food to eat in the car. After a few bites, I fell asleep, and slept all the way home.

After a day of trudging and grumping and stomach pains, there was nothing better than a nice, hot bath.

I love baths. I grew up showering, but now I can't sleep without a nice soak. It's become my favorite part of the day. Gosh, I really miss our deep bath tub in Japan.

There's something else I really miss there, too. Oh, this is eating me alive. If only I can find a job I like over there...

Tomorrow morning, I'm going over to the Tzu Chi TV station (大愛) to meet the news director. What was originally a simple inquiry into doing some volunteer work has now become a rather formal appointment with the news chief. I wonder what will happen.

Monday, 16 January 2006

Reporting: Art and living

This story aired tonight. It was on a bistro called "Toast." I really liked the place. I hope to go back one day. Anyone want to come along?

I really liked the opening stand-up where I walked through a drape made from Chinese dress fabric. Have a look via our VOD website.

Slug: Art and Living (1'27'')

Modern art is often difficult to appreciate, perhaps because it’s not easily understood. Owners of a restaurant in Taipei have set out to bring art to a level where people can better relate to it. FTV’s Michella Weng shows you the picture.##

Opening stand-up:
The inability of relating to art often stands in the way of appreciating its beauty. Today, we bring you to a place where some people attempt to bring art and living closer together.
有很多人因為無法理解一個藝術品 所以敬而遠之
今天我們帶您一起來看看這些人 怎麼把人和藝術的距離給拉近

These colorful traditional fabrics and lanterns are part of the latest exhibit set to coincide with the coming of the Lunar New Year. The artwork made of everyday items isn’t really traditional at all, however, and is integrated into the space of this restaurant.


Sound bite:
Eason Chen
進而讓你能夠真正的體會 並且看到每一件作品能夠讓你心中
能夠產生一種愉快感覺 我們覺得這才是叫做真正的藝術

Just about anything we come into contact in with in our daily life can be art, said manager Eason Chen. Real art is what you can connect with and makes you happy.

Most people in Taiwan can indeed connect with the fabric used to make traditional Chinese dresses or the patterns that are often seen in Hakka homes. Here, “daily” art is fused into the living space. These cubic tables and chairs are another example.

大部分在台灣的人對這些做旗袍的布料 或者是客家花布 並不陌生
在這裡 藝術真的融入了生活空間

As for the menu, it also reflects the owners’ artistic and mix-and-match philosophy and changes with the exhibits.
餐點呢 也反應老闆的複合式觀點 跟著展覽的主題變動

From a customer’s perspective, this is one place that caters to all the senses, art lover or not.
不管對藝術有沒有興趣 從一個客人的角度來看 這絕對是一個可以讓人滿足各種知覺的好地方

Michella Weng, Formosa TV, Taipei.
民視新聞 廖松筠 翁郁容 台北採訪報導