Thursday, May 24, 2007

Open Doors

The sense of naturist resorts is to provide privacy to naturists, and protection from prying eyes, voyeurs, paparazzi, and other people who misunderstand naturism.
Yet, if we as naturists lock ourselves up and keep ourselves completely separate from the outside world, we are not going to be loved and understood as the decent people that we are.
And that's why on World Naturist Day, many naturist centers across the world will open their doors to outside guests and welcome them for an exclusive look into the naturist lifestyle.
On Sunday June 3 this year, many resorts and club centers, especially in Europe, will cooperate to show curious non-naturists what the naturist lifestyle is really about. Guests will be able to see that naturists love relaxing outdoors, love playing sports, and love being close to nature.
The ideal way for non-naturists to understand our lifestyle is to grab the opportunity and if you are anywhere near a resort which participates in the World Naturist Day, please try to go and take a look. As far as I understand, visitors will not be required to take off their clothes, though if they like what they see, they might well do so.
The classical introduction to naturism by many Asians is of course a visit to Europe in summer, with a look first at the high percentage of European women going topless on the beaches. The next step is the discovery of a free beach nearby where people can swim and sunbathe nude though without excluding non-naturists. The next step is then often that the Asian tourists like what they see and want to try it too. After all, if so many other tourists do it, it can't be wrong, right? There must be something about nude bathing that is fun, right? Absolutely! If you want to find naturist beaches or resorts near where you are on June 3, just look up the major websites such as - they publish a major naturist travel guide - and with its popular forum. There you can also find links to other naturist resorts and travel sites.
See you at a resort on World Naturist Day, June 3!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Living the Dream

I read a nice story about naturists in the international media recently. It's one of those typical 'well-off person leaves career behind for walk into the unknown' stories.
In this case, a female British lawyer gave up her well-paid job to start a naturist hotel on a small Greek island with her husband. The story goes that she was first unaware her future husband was a naturist. Only much later did he succeed in convincing her of the benefits of the naturist lifestyle, and that's a typical progression in the naturist world: the husband or boyfriend is already into nude recreation, and works hard to draw the wife or girlfriend into non-sexual social nudity.
In this case, all worked out very well, and when both decided to give up their careers in Great Britain, they found an abandoned place on the Greek island of Kefalonia - near famous Corfu on the less visited West coast of the country. Because of its isolation, they decided to turn it into a naturist resort. You can see pictures of their two-story villa complex the Vassaliki resort at
I wish them a lot of success with this venture, and I am in no doubt that it will work wonderfully. Europeans are already in tune with topless sunbathing and with naturist free beaches all around the Mediterranean.
I must say, I feel a bit jealous of their effort. In the past as I was stuck in a dreary job, I was daydreaming about running a hostel here in Taiwan. There has been an explosion in the number of bed and breakfasts here, especially on the less-populated scenic east coast, and in mountainous central Nantou. Because of the outdated public obscenity laws, naturist resorts are non-existent unfortunately. I would love to open Taiwan's first-ever naturist hostel, preferably on one of the many beautiful outlying islands, such as Green Island just off the southeast, or the Penghu archipelago halfway between Taiwan's main island and China, or on Kinmen, close to the Chinese coast. If direct tourism between the old Cold War enemies ever opens up, a naturist resort on Kinmen could become a testing ground for naturism in all of East Asia. But there, maybe I'm daydreaming again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Europe, Here I Come

No, I'm not giving up on Taiwan. I'm just exchanging the sunny and hot Pacific island with the view of the river and the sea for the often rainy continent to spend one month on holiday.
The difference between the two? Taiwan doesn't have any legal naturist beaches, so I can only be naturally naked within the confines of my home. And since that's an apartment on the eleven-something-th floor of a huge block in the middle of a noisy neighborhood flanked by a semi-highway and a rapid-transit line, you can guess that my days as a naturist are fairly short and subtle.
But Europe?! I won't be able to live as a naturist all the time either, since I'll be staying with people who are definitely too conservative to be naturists themselves or accept others as naturists on their domain - and of course, it's their property, so they have the right to set rules. But Europe at least means the proximity of naturism. If the weather allows - and in Europe that's always a big if, in some places they already had the summer last month - I'll spend at least two days at a free beach within an hour's drive of my destination.
Drive there in the mid-morning, put down the towel, put away the clothes, eat the bread I brought with me, read a book, a newspaper, go for a walk along the beach. All in the nude, in an environment for similar people. I can predict right now, those days will go by far too quickly. But they will be days to remember.
And this time I'll also take my digital camera to snap some pictures. It's highly bad manners to shoot photos of naturists who don't want to be photographed, so I'll limit myself to the yellow signboard indicating that is a naturist beach, and maybe ask someone to take a picture of me. I am not an exhibitionist, and I won't be passing those pictures on to non-naturist friends and colleagues, but you remember I was writing a book.
Yes, a book introducing naturism to a Taiwanese public. Well, I am still writing it - along with a host of other projects - and the pictures of the European beach are meant to accompany the book, and make it easier to digest. Of course, in Taiwan, totally nude pictures would be banned, but travel guides about Croatia and Greece for example have gotten away with images of nude beaches, so why couldn't I?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

After Mexico

Spencer Tunick is a strange name the average woman and man in the street has never heard of.
However, mention 'huge amounts of people completely naked in the middle of the street,' and you probably will get a sign of recognition. Yes, Tunick is the man who asks hundreds and even thousands of people to take all their clothes off and stand in a public place while he - and the world's media - takes pictures to publish as art.
Tunick's been all over the world. From Belgium to Barcelona, from Latin America to London. Last week was Mexico's turn, and if you watched the international media on Monday, you're certain to have caught snippets of what was his most successful event to date: persuading 18,000 people in a country usually known as 'conservative and Catholic' to pose nude on the capital's most famous square.
One part of the world noticeably absent from his row of mass events so far is Asia. Just like Mexico, this part of the world is known as conservative, though without the Catholic. The main problem Tunick is likely to encounter here is a set of archaic laws making no distinction between provocative and lewd public nudity on the one hand, and non-sexual recreational nudity on the other hand. High time for those laws - in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan - to be amended, but so far, no direct proposals have come in sight.
What we need is for Spencer Tunick to come and stage one of his mass events right here in Asia. He'll have to ask for permits, of course, and maybe he will be turned down in some locations. But even if that is the case, a negative reply would still attract the world's attention to the innocence of nudity in an artistic contest. If Asians can admire Michelangelo's David and the countless other nudes in world art history, why can't they be allowed to see the original human nudity that was the base for that beautiful art?
Mr. Tunick, if you are listening, there is a suitable spot for your next event right here in Taiwan. In the center of the capital Taipei stands a tall, white marble pavilion with a dark blue tiled roof. But what I'm talking about is the huge square in front, popular with dancers performing to their radio sets, with weekend strollers, with international tourists. Exactly the space you use for your event, with beautiful Chinese architecture in the background.
The place has been known as the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall since it was opened around 1980 to commemorate the one-time president of China and Taiwan. Last week, the current government - which finds its origin in the opposition movement against Chiang - changed the name to Taiwan Democracy Hall. Now shouldn't non-sexual nudity and the choice for naturism be a suitable element of any country calling itself a democracy?