Travel: TY Lee of Taiwan

I've travelled to Taiwan late last year and I made a trip down to 小品雅集 TY Lee in Tapiei, Taiwan I've travelled there by public transport. In Taipei it isn't hard to navigate their train system. The nearest train station is Daan station (大安站), I exited the station using Exit 3 but I think there are a number that would work too. That station is both on the Tamsui-Xinyi and the Wenhu lines. If you are walking over from the train station, all you really need is to pre-load Google Map and just following the map. You might think you are going the wrong way or think the address might be out of date but I assure you, it's not. The route I took was straight forward but the surrounding buildings didn't look like a fountain pen shop would fit right in. It's not along the main road but rather along one of the smaller roads inside. Regardless, trust the map.

However if you are in a rush for time or rather take a taxi, Taiepi's taxis are rather cheap and readily available. So if you are not a Mandarin speaker, I'll suggest showing the driver the address.

This is their address:
No. 76, Lane 208, Rui'an Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Their opening hours are Monday to Saturdays from 12noon - 10pm. They are closed on Sundays so plan your trip down accordingly.

Now that logistics is out of the way, let's get down to the details. TY Lee has a wide variety of fountain pen and related goods. They carry all the standard brands including Opus and TWSBI both are Taiwanese brands. It's a two level shop. The ground level has all the pens on display while the lower level has all the inks. And that's in my opinion where the good stuff are. Firsttly, they carry Kobe Nagasawa inks. They have a shelf's worth of Kobe Nagasawa inks. It's not that you can't buy Kobe Nagasawa inks from Rakuten but you get to look at swatches there. Secondly, they have a few series of De Atramentis inks that are shop exclusive. I purchased 6 of these bottles, 5 of which are gifts. I kept only 1 bottle.

They do have a small section for notebooks and a in-house notebook. I didn't pay too much attention there. Enjoy the photos and drop by if you have a chance.

Oh yes, I spoke to the shop attendents in Mandarin. I am not sure how good are their English but with the common language of pens between them and the customer, language is no barrier.

Korea - Bau House

I had the chance to visit a dog cafe in Seoul, Korea. It was my first time in a dog cafe and it was an eye opening experience.

The dog cafe is named Bau House (서울특별시 마포구 서교동 394-44 제일빌딩 후면 1층). The website is only in korea. Bau House was originally at Hongdae and it moved to Hapjeong Station (Line 6), Exit 3. Clue, follow the paw prints, the cafe is at the first level.

Dogs at Bau House

All you have to do to enjoy tons of doggy love is to order a drink and you are set. The cafe also sells dog treats that you can tempt dogs over to you. They have seperated the larger dogs from the smaller dogs so you sit at whichever section you are comfortable in. The large dogs section has a bigger space. The dogs will tend to approach and follow whoever is holding to the treats. On every table, they have a chart with the pictures and the names of the dogs at the cafe.

Doggy swarm

Also, be careful of your fingers when you feed the treats to the dogs. It is best to allow the dogs to lick the treats off your hand. Do note that the dogs made snap at one another when they are competing for the treats. And they also tend to swarm whoever is holding onto the treats.

Korea - Earphone Shop

I have just recently travelled to Seoul, Korea. I have found many goodies and wonderful shops. If you are an audiophile or just looking for a shop that sells headphones and in-ear monitors (IEM) in Seoul, this is the place you have to go.

Earphone shop sells not just earphones but headphones too. Note the website is only in korean.

Earphone Shop

Earphone shop is located at 서울시 종로구 동숭동 1-63, Dongsung-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul. I don’t think I can provide a print screen of the map I took of Google map but just copy and paste the english or korean address to get directions. Try this Google map link, it might help.

What you see on the left of the same row of shops.

What you see on the right of the same row of shops.

The nearest train station is Hyehwa train station on Line 4. Exit the station using exit 1. There is a nearer exit but it isn’t labelled on google map but I assume it should be exit 2 (use that information at your own risk). Follow the direction on Google map.

Rows of headphones to try

The shop has rows of headphones and IEMs all set up for anyone to just walk in and try them to their hearts’ content. The staff don’t speak much english when I was there (May 2013), but things might have changed since then. Do note any purchase made there is not available for tax rebate.

Korea - Musical Instruments

If you are in Seoul, Korea and you are looking for a musical instrument, chances are you will find what you want at Nakwon Arcade (낙원악기상가). They have shops for guitars, ukulele, drums, amps, piano, flute and all manner of instruments.

The nearest train station is Jongno-3ga (Line 1, 3 and 5). Make your way towards Line 5, exit 5. Take the stairs (not the escalator) out of the station. Once you are on ground level, you can see a smaller alley slightly off to your right. Cross the road and walk down that alley. You don’t have to walk to far in you will see a few flights of stairs leading up to an enterance to a building. That’s the one you want. Check this map, it may help.

Personally, I got a ukulele at 100,000 won. The shop threw in a padded gig bag, a tuner and extra strings. It was an okay deal. A word of caution, if you are a foreigner and don’t know how to pick a good (insert instrument here), you are better off not buying anything from Nakwon Arcade. Most of their items are not price tagged and you have to ask them for the price. When I was shopping around the prices they quoted me was on the high set of things. I have a feeling a Korean would be getting different quotes for the instruments than me. In the end what I did was to give them my budget and have them work around it but at the same time you must know how to check the instrument you are buying to make sure you are not being ripped off. Regardless it is an interesting place to visit if you play an instruments.

The sign that says Nakwon Arcade in korean.

The flight of stairs you are supposed to go up to enter the building.

Inside Nakwon Arcade