Saturday, September 24, 2005

Nude Rugby

A picture of a dozen naked men standing on the grass at night, on the frontpage of the China Times Express, one of Taiwan's two evening newspapers.
The occasion is the 60th anniversary of National Taiwan University's rugby team, but the picture refers to that team's tradition of playing a nude rugby game on New Year's Eve, at about 11 pm, on campus in downtown Taipei, in the nude. The team may have been founded at the end of the war in 1945, the nude game though is a more recent tradition. It reportedly started in 2000 and is known about, but not broadcast.
The other evening newspaper, the United Evening News, also reports on the team's 60th anniversary, but on page 3, and without a picture, though its nude game also merits a separate headline. Participants in the year-end game can only be alumni, not present students. The temperature last time was an un-Taiwanese 6 degrees centigrade, but at least one of the players says he'll back this coming December.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Taiwanese on Wreck Beach

Taiwan's prominent United Daily News had a large picture taken on a naturist beach on its page 8 today. Unfortunately, the photo wasn't snapped in Taiwan, but in Canada, on the famous Wreck Beach near Vancouver.
Seven members of the Taiwan Sexuology Association had gone on a special study trip to Canada to visit a naturist beach, something which they had never done before. Four men and three women brought out a report of their experiences Thursday.
The association chairman, Chang Lung-chi, explains how the beach was full of naked people enjoying the sunshine, and also explains how taking pictures or shooting video is banned. Another visitor says how he was half surprised, half fearful of so many nude people, but that once he was nude too, it all felt so natural and innocent. Two other group members said they at first felt everyone was watching them as they undressed, but that wasn't really the case. One of them said the visit had changed his negative prejudices about naturism, and he now no longer considered public nudity as something to be rejected.
According to the newspaper article, the Taiwan Sexuology Association was founded last year and has about 80 members. The participants in the Vancouver trip hold jobs in architecture and medicine.
We can only salute the results of their trip and their idea to visit in the first place. Their conclusions about naturism are the right ones - that public nudity is not sexual, and that it feels great to be able to walk around and relax in the nude - and the tone of the newspaper article is on the whole positive. The picture shows two Taiwanese shot from the back - a man and a woman wearing a red hat - and various Canadians lying around on towels in the sand, chatting, eating. This is the best naturist picture I have seen in a Taiwanese newspaper so far. My only complaint is that I haven't spotted a report, and certainly not a picture, about the same news item in the other major papers here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


TINA. Taiwan International Naturist Association. That is one of the many plans I'd want to work on and realize over the next 12 months. Since it's the only one that regards naturism, it's also the only one that I want to discuss here. I still have other projects going: right now, I'm experimenting with foods, would like to travel overseas to learn more about them and then come back and sell those foods on the streets, maybe even in a place of my own. And then I also have a fashion project, let's say just a blog, which I'm trying to get ready as a kind of "cool hunter" site for Taiwan. Cool hunters are people who spot new trends in style, that's a fancy way of saying they spend their days taking pictures of young women in stylish clothes around fancy department stores and shopping malls.
But as I said, TINA is my only project linked to naturism. Since it's very difficult to get in on those local naturist groups who contact each other by Chinese-language e-mails - not that that's a problem, since I speak Chinese, and I write some of it, quite too slowly - why not start up a group of foreign naturists in Taiwan?
I think there's enough of us around, even if we don't know about each other's existence. All it takes, and I admit it's not a small feat, is trust, contacts, and space. The last element is the most difficult one. I live in a relatively spacious apartment, but it's not the middle of nowhere, i.e. you can't get too close to the windows, certainly on weekends, or the neighbors will have a look in. There's a swimming pool below, but the residents of 23 floors in several tower blocks all have a perfect view. So what's to do? I remember local groups sometimes rent out restaurant space, though that sounds a bit cramped to me, since I love open nature and beaches. So the only alternative would be to find a space on Yangmingshan, or else follow our local naturist colleagues and risk it by going natural on remote mountain paths during typhoon-free weekends, and with someone who has enough car space.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

China, nude photography destination

A Taiwanese travel agency is developing a new market: taking nude photographs amid some of the most beautiful scenery in China.
For some 38,000 New Taiwan dollars - that's about 1,300 US dollars - you can book a 6-day trip to Guilin, the city in southern China's Guangxi province famous for its tall rock formations and scenic rivers.
The tour also includes the presence of nude, presumably female, models who pose by the side of the water with the scenery in the background. The report, in Taiwan's China Times Express evening newspaper on September 6, doesn't say what happens when a few Public Security people stroll by and find out about the activity. The touring photographers will also be accompanied by Lin Tianfu, a professional shooter from Taiwan who has been living in the region for more than a decade.
The travel agency - which is owned by the same media group as the newspaper which published this report - warns that any photographer wanting to exhibit the fruits of his labor in a gallery or on a Web site back home has to respect the law. In other words, the Taiwanese authorities might be less lenient for scenes of nudity than the Chinese ones.