A Hike in Taipei That Even the Regulars Don’t Know! On this Domain Tour, We Visited an Erotic Diner Crowded with Young People, Hiked to a Super Secluded View Point, and Ate at a Delicious Cafe Where You Can Meet Shelter Dogs and Cats!

To many Japanese people, Taiwan, also known as Formosa, is known for its friendly people, fun night markets, and delicious food. Taiwan is a popular travel destination and many Japanese have visited not just once, but multiple times. This time we visited many little-known places, starting with an erotic diner crowded with young people (ours is the first on-line information in Japanese about this*). We then hiked a super-secret trail to see the night view of Taipei city without seeing a single soul, never mind tourists! We also went to a delicious cafe where you can mingle with shelter dogs and cats, and finally, visited Taiwan’s Minister of Digital Affairs, Audrey Tang and her lab that is open to the public. The ccTLD assigned to Taiwan is “.tw”.
*According to our research as of May 18, 2023

◆Where is Taiwan?

Taiwan is located in the western Pacific Ocean, about 107 km from Japan’s Yonaguni Island, with a time difference of 1-hour earlier Japan. The main languages in use are Chinese and Taiwanese Minnan. It has an area of 36,000 square kilometers, slightly smaller than Kyushu, and a population of 23.26 million (2022). The currency in use is the New Taiwan dollar ($NT).

= Table of Contents =

◆The First On-line Information! Serious Erotic Dining 純愛小吃部/Chunai Xiaochi Bu” (Pure Love Diner Bar)

◆A Super Secret Place to see the Night View

◆A Yummy Cafe Where You Can Mingle with Shelter Dogs and Cats

◆The Morning Market an Easy Walk from Our Cute Inn and Food in Taiwan

◆Open to the Public, the Lab of Audrey Tang, Minister of Digital Affairs

◆Finding “.tw” Around Town

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed


◆The First On-line Information! Serious Erotic Dining 純愛小吃部/Chunai Xiaochi Bu” (Pure Love Diner Bar)

It took about 3 and a half hours from Haneda to Taipei Songshan Airport. Taiwan is famous for its night market and food stalls. However, we first headed to “Chunai Xiaochi Bu” an 80’s style eatery crowded with local young people even on a weekday night. It is located in the Gongguan area of Taipei near the National Taiwan University. An area known for many students. It has the appearance of a typical Taiwanese diner, but the glass windows are decorated with large lights spelling “純愛” (Pure Love). The interior, visible from the outside, is suspiciously illuminated in red. We enter through the door on the right.

The first thing you notice as you enter are the many posters of sexy Japanese actresses. So, is this the ideal image of “pure love”? What is even more surprising is that most of the customers are young, fashionable women and couples.

The restaurant can seat about 30 people, and we counted 22 female customers and 8 male customers, so, predominantly female. We don’t see any “creepy uncle types” one would assume to be the original fans of these kinds of posters.

The young people enjoy their meals without appearing to be bothered by the many salacious posters, even ones we cannot include without censoring. If you don’t look too closely at the interior and the food, you might get the illusion that you are in a Starbucks. The posters are unlikely to decorate a Starbucks, however.

I found a corner with 80’s style adult magazines and adult toys. You can browse the books, but you are not allowed to take them to your seat. Some products are for sale. The staff that explained this to me was a young, pretty woman. By the way, there is no age limit for entry.

You order using a very transparent billing system that involves checking off items you want on a menu and passing it to the waiter. The cover of the menu was also quite exciting, so I covered part of it with a pen and took a picture.

Most of the menu items are common Taiwanese dishes, but I found a 1960’s Greaser style dish phonetically spelled “Aishiteru Luroufan” (愛死天流滷肉飯 means Love-You Pork Rice). I couldn’t ignore it. Of course, I ordered it.

The rice topped with pork belly near the plastic bottle is “Aishiteru Luroufan” ($80 NT). It’s small compared to other hearty dishes. Pure love seems to be modest. The taste was very much traditional Taiwanese Luroufan, and even though it was small, it was satisfying.

The plastic bottle with an illustration of a crying cat says “Pure Love Water” ($30 NT). It tastes like regular mineral water. Are the tears “Tears of Love”? The food is all delicious, and I think it suits the Japanese palate.

I’m off to use the restroom. It did not disappoint.

The oddity of eating local Taiwanese cuisine surrounded by exciting erotic images is confusing at first, but somehow, I got used to it by the time we left.

By the way, where did the concept for “Chunai Xiaochi Bu” come from?
When we asked Ms.Kou, an old friend of the expedition team, and a Taiwanese, we learned that the idea behind the restaurant was “women’s sexual liberation.” You wouldn’t think from its shady interior, but it’s a serious erotic diner with cultural, social, and political overtones, which young women can enjoy in peace. It was also understandable that it is located in Gongguan, the seat of the National Taiwan University.


◆A Super Secret Place to see the Night View

Having received local information that Fuyang Eco Park is a top-secret spot to see the night view of Taipei, we hailed a taxi to go to the park and meet our guide Ms.Kou. “I’ve never heard of Fuyang Eco Park.” the taxi driver said, “What’s the address?” We gave him the address, but he said he “got lost” on the way, so we asked him to just drop us off near there. We’re not sure if it was really so secret that he had never heard of it, or if it was just a taxi scam. Fuyang Eco Park is just a 5-minute walk from MRT Linguang Station, so it’s probably best to take the subway.

At 17:30 we arrive at Fuyang Eco Park. It’s getting dark. Fireflies can be seen in this park from April to October, so all street lights are turned off to protect the natural environment.

We heard that peak of Mt.Fuzhou in the park is a little-known night view spot. Will we really be able to see a beautiful night view after climbing for about 20 minutes? We start climbing the mountain to find out.

A former air-raid shelter near the park entrance.

The lights of the city quickly fade away and we are sucked into the darkness. It’s like being in a deep forest.

Without our cell phone lights, it would have been pitch black. The expedition team would have been seriously anxious without Ms.Kou as our guide.

In the darkness, we keep climbing the steep trail, gasping for breath. There were stairs in some places. We heard that Taiwanese people also say a greeting like “Nihao!” when passing strangers in the mountains, which we also do in Japan. However, we didn’t pass a soul. And there were no fireflies because it was March. After 20 minutes of climbing, something came into view through the darkness.

We had finally arrived at the top on Mt.Fuzhou. Surprise, surprise, no one is here.

Then ……at 17:50, we reach the spot where we can enjoy a panoramic view of Taipei!

It feels like the lights of the Taipei 101 Tower are beaming praise at us. If you can have this night view all to yourself, isn’t it worth a 20-minute climb in the dark? Incidentally, it seems that the locals come here for a walk when it is still light out or when fireflies can be seen, but it doesn’t seem like it is ever crowded with tourists, so I would say that it is a super-secret spot.

On the way down the mountain, I heard a sad melody drifting out of nowhere. The sound seemed to be coming from far away. I listened carefully and found it to be “Für Elise”. Who on earth would be playing “Für Elise” so loudly at this hour and for what purpose? When I asked Mr.Kou, he told me that it was the melody played by garbage trucks. Everyone who lives in Taipei knows that they pass through each neighborhood of the city five nights a week. Since Taiwan is hot throughout the year, there are no garbage dumps like in Japan, and people carry their garbage to the garbage trucks on their own. This is really different from how it’s done in Japan.

A garbage truck playing a mournful tune

◆A Yummy Cafe Where You Can Mingle with Shelter Dogs and Cats

Taiwanese people are very kind to animals. A café that symbolizes this is the “浪浪別哭/Lang Lang Bie Ku” (Pet Halfway House & Cafe) shelter dog and cat café, where you can meet both dogs and cats in the same place, something that is unusual in Japan. This café has a few hurdles to jump before you can enter, so we will explain briefly.

First of all, when you enter, there a set of double doors, and you can’t go inside without permission. On the wall to the left there is a notice with an QR code, you can scan this with your phone, after which you will see a form (English is available) where you need to enter your name etc. Then you wait. You should never open the inner door on your own, and before leaving you need to inform the staff.

When your turn comes, the staff will call your name and you can enter.

After getting permission and entering the cafe, you will first see the dog area. Friendly and adorable dogs roam freely around the cafe. There are also puppies.

The menu is extensive, from full meals like pasta dishes to drinks and sweets. These kinds of fancy items on the menu are not the norm among pet cafes in Japan.

Since it was tea time when we went, we ordered a cheesecake for $158 NT and a chocolate cake with ice cream for $178 NT. Both cakes looked beautiful and were delicious and delectable.

The best part is that you can eat while playing with these adorable dogs.

Next, for the cat lovers. The cat area is in the back. There is a partition, but it seems like the cats are waiting for us who can come and go freely from the dog area.

There were many customers in the cat area, but they were all just quietly eating while watching the cats. Incidentally, there were 8 guests in the dog area and 12 in the cat area. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but there seemed to be slightly more cat people there.

A cat looking down at people eating. This one suddenly flew up and scratched my arm, but it was playful, so no problem. Always be careful of cats though.

There was an explanation about “sakura-mimi” written in Japanese on the door of the restroom. Sakura-mimi (Cherry blossom ears) is a way to mark feral cats that are monitored and cared for. Interlink supports shelter cat activity groups as part of its social contribution activities.

The walls are covered with photos of the many shelter dogs and cats that have found families here.

All of them have the last name “浪” Lang (meaning: wander), which is the name of the store. We wish happy days for all the little Wanderers who found their forever homes from here.


◆The Morning Market an Easy Walk from Our Cute Inn and Food in Taiwan


1)門草行旅(The Door Inn)

1) “門草行旅/Mencao Xinglu”(The Door Inn)
We stayed at a very cute guest house called “The Door Inn” on Dihua Street, known for its old-style buildings. It’s an old building renovated to be a hostel.

The first floor, filled with ornamental plants, is a kind of free space. A staff member was working alone. The atmosphere is very relaxed.

The rooms are compact enough to accommodate one person, and there are flowers placed on the washbasin that give off a fresh scent. There are also double rooms, but this place mostly welcomes single guests.

All guests can go relax on the 4th floor balcony and enjoy the old Taipei cityscape.

One thing to note, however, is that there is no elevator. There are only narrow staircases. You will have to carry your own luggage, so we recommend that only those who are physically fit and want to flex their muscles should bring heavy suitcases.


2)Morning Market at “大稻埕慈聖宮”(Dadaocheng Cisheng Temple) 

About a 7-minute walk from The Door Inn, you will find “大稻埕慈聖宮”(Dadaocheng Cisheng Temple) morning market, a favorite among locals. Food stalls line the approach to the temple, and many people dine under the giant Chinese Banyan tree in the temple courtyard. The local atmosphere is charming.

When I asked an elderly couple if I could take a picture of the food they were eating, they readily agreed. They even offered me some and tried to give me chopsticks. Taiwanese people are very kind. Eating heartily in the morning is probably the secret to a long life.

With so many stalls I don’t know which to pick. I decided on “Zhu Jiaomian Xian” (Pork Leg with Vermicelli) $120 NT (about 528 yen). In Taiwan, this character “豬” means pig, not wild boar as it does in Japanese. As a side note, according to the Chinese zodiac, the year of the boar in China is the year of the pig in Taiwan.

The Pork leg with Vermicelli is full of pork meat, accented with ginger, and is both delicious and without any gamy smells. The noodles are soft and full of collagen. As soon as I ate them, I could feel my wrinkles smoothing out.

As I was immersed in all this good old-fashioned nostalgia, like I had traveled back in time, I suddenly spotted an Uber Eats motorcycle. It seems that this is a modern society after all. And there were two tall young men kissing passionately in front of the temple, but no one paid any attention. This is also very modern.


◆Open to the Public, the Lab of Audrey Tang, Minister of Digital Affairs

It’s easy to forget that Interlink, source of the Domain Expedition, is an IT company. In Japan, Taiwan is well known for its Minister of Digital Affairs; Audrey Tang. We were told that anyone can enter and visit her Social Innovation Lab, so we decided to go and take a look.

On the way there, we found a parking lot with Tesla Wall Connectors. When Tesla was just getting started, it procured parts for its electric vehicles here in Taiwan, and it seems that Taiwan supported the original growth of Tesla’s technology.

We arrive at the lab on Ren’ai Street, Taipei.

Minister Tang herself has stated publicly, “If you come to Taipei, please stop by,” anyone can wander right into the lab building. There’s an open feel, with an atrium that goes up to the second floor.

This building started as an industrial research institute during the Japanese colonial period and was an air force base for the ROC afterwards. Instead of being sold to a private company, it was reclaimed by the government and by 2016 was used jointly by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Economic Affairs, etc. It has since been transformed into a “Social Innovation Lab” open to anyone with a creative project.

While you need to make a reservation in advance to meet Minister Tang, the lab itself is open to the public. It provides a place for young innovative social entrepreneurs to gather, and is often used as a venue for various seminars, exhibitions, cooking classes, forums on SDGs, etc. I got the impression of an old, historic building being used in a new and flexible way. Anyway, the whole place is spacious and pleasant.

We got there at noon, and it seems like everyone went out to eat.

It feels like a simple modern art museum.

There are 15 rooms in the two-story building.

The entire building is in harmony with nature.

When I opened the environmental regeneration box that was installed there, I found a banana in it.

Audrey Tang became a government minister at the young age of 35, and is considered one of the 10 greatest programmers in Taiwan. For this reason, I expected the lab to have a large display of her photographs and achievements, but there is none of that. It was more like a free space where you could see that Minister Tang is a supporter of the people by providing this comfortable lab. She is said to be a very humorous minister. So, this is where new innovations in Taiwan are born.


◆Finding “.tw” Around Town

In addition to the ccTLD “.tw”, Taiwan also has the IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) ccTLD “.台灣” and the gTLD “.taipei” for Taipei. However, in Taiwan, many shops use Facebook addresses, so it was almost impossible to see these domains on the street.

“九乘九購物網”(9×9 Stationery), which sells office supplies.

“跳蚤本鋪”(BBbobo) is a flea market. It looks like they are closed today.


◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

The Airalo eSIM Taiwan data plan, which I had arranged in advance, didn’t connect, so I purchased a Chunghwa Telecom SIM at Taipei Songshan Airport. The local clerk carefully switched the SIM on the spot.

It was 7 days, 5GB, $800 NT. The speed was 20 Mbps when measured in the Gongguan area of Taipei City.


■List of Places Visited

■For access to Taiwan click here


■For “.tw” domain details click here

In Palau we Flew Over World Heritage in a Cessna Missing a Door, Then Ate Bat Soup at a Restaurant Run by a Hiroshima Carps Fan

In Palau, a Japanese mandate territory from the end of World War I until Japan’s defeat in World War II, the local language has many words similar to Japanese, such as chichi-bando, an old word for bra and daijo-bu, meaning okay. While mainly known for being a marine resort, we took a look at some of the other attractions of Palau, a pro-Japan country. We visited a shrine that is protected by more than 20 guard dogs, flew in a Cessna airplane at an altitude of 450m with one of the doors missing, and tried soup that has a whole bat in it. The ccTLD for Palau is “.pw”.

◆Where is Palau?

Palau is a republic of 586 islands of various sizes, located approximately 3,000 km due south of Japan. Palau is located south-west of Guam and there is no time difference with Japan. Palauan and English are both spoken. The island state of Angaur is the only place in the world where the official language is Japanese.
It is the fourth least populous country in the world, with a population of 18,094 (2020). The currency used is the US dollar.

= Table of Contents =

◆Speaking Japanese is Not “Daijo-bu” in Palau

◆Scary! Taking a Scenic Flight in a Cessna Missing a Door

◆Things We Couldn’t Find in the Big Supermarket

◆Nanyo Shrine Protected by 10+ Guard Dogs

◆(Viewer Discretion Advised) Bat Soup – A Palau Food Report

◆Love for Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Other Palau Highlights

◆The Domain “.pw” Wasn’t Seen Around Town

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed


◆Speaking Japanese is Not “Daijo-bu” in Palau

The Domain Island Tour went to Palau, via Taiwan. Our plan is to leave Taiwan on Wednesday and return Saturday. It was a full plane. Four hours after our plane left Taiwan, the islands of Palau came into view.

The WiFi available at Palau International Airport is named “PNCC PROMO HOTSPOT”.

With our completed immigration forms and the QR code for the completed health declaration form in hand, we were ready to enter the country. But then we had to wait in line for more than an hour. It seems the cause of this long wait was due to issues reading the QR code on the health form. Palau is very humid and the temperature is as hot as Tokyo in the middle of summer. Sweating but patient, we waited in the immigration queue. Filling out the form I was given during the screening process by hand was quicker than sorting out the QR code. When it was finally our turn, the immigration officer took note of how many covid vaccines we had received. You’ll be asked to present the e-ticket for your return flight, so have that prepared in advance.

There was a poster reminding us to wear masks at all times. None of the airport staff wore masks. Strange… No one wore masks in the downtown area we visited either. Perhaps it’s an old sign they forgot to take down.

All the shops in the airport were closed. The area was deserted.

We leave the airport and head to our accommodation. We chose the Palau Hotel, the cheapest on the accommodation website we used.

There are not many hotels on the outlying islands, so it’s more convenient to stay on the Main street of Koror Island.

Photos of jellyfish on the ceiling of the entrance area. There was a cute jellyfish character to greet us, too.

One of Palau’s most famous attractions is Jellyfish Lake, where millions of jellyfish migrate. The jellyfish is also a much-loved local character. However the locals told me there are no jellyfish in the lake at present.

The hotel rooms are spacious and clean.

The breakfast buffet includes dishes that Japanese guests will be used to eating, such as yakisoba and wakame soup. The hotel’s WiFi would not be suitable for a work-cation due to its slow speed and instability, but the hotel was comfortable and I’d love to return on holiday someday.

Due to its history with Japan, there are approximately 1,000 words of Japanese origin in the Palauan language, and it’s said around 20% of the language is derived from Japanese. We heard “daijo-bu” many times while we were there. However, most of the time we communicated in English. So don’t expect to be able to converse in Japanese.


We signed up for a scenic flight in a Cessna over Palau’s Rock Islands Southern Lagoon, which has been a world heritage area since 2012. It’s a little expensive – $140 USD for a 25 minute flight, but it does include hotel pick-up and drop-off.

First, the route is explained to us. In Japanese, so we were relieved!

Our pilot, Hiro. He’s Japanese. He used to be a pilot for an American airline, but lost his job due to the pandemic. He became a Cessna pilot for tourists in Palau 5 months ago. Each day there are six flights and we were the third flight of the day.

Time for a scenic flight! Huh? What’s this? Look closely and you’ll see that the door on the right side is missing. Surprisingly, it will fly 25 minutes without a door as it climbs to an altitude of 450 meters. On hearing this, one member of the Domain Island Tour was so scared they refused to board. When we asked why there was no door our pilot said, “Without the door, you’ll get a better view of the scenery”.

In the end, a total of three people – two from the Domain Island Tour and Hiro, our pilot – set off. We were strapped in of course, but it was still scary without a door. I was too scared to take photos most of the flight.

Look, there’s an island shaped like a whale. Thanks to the missing door, we could take some beautiful photos.

I’m sure these photos show just what an amazing experience we had seeing the beauty of Palau in all its glory.


◆Things We Couldn’t Find in the Big Supermarket

We definitely recommend renting a car for sightseeing. We opted for the $55-a-day Corolla, but for some reason we were given a Mazda, which was not in the catalog. If you ask, they will bring the car to your hotel. The price of the Mazda was the same as the Corolla, so we set off on our tour.

Like the Commonwealth of Dominica, Palau has no traffic lights. They drive on the right. There were many Japanese cars on the road. It seems Japanese used cars are the cheapest option for locals. We didn’t see any motorbikes though.

The Japanese cars are unchanged, meaning the steering wheel is on the right, which, when there were no other cars on the road, made me automatically drive on the left like I was in Japan. Twice we suddenly found ourselves facing oncoming traffic. Several times we saw abandoned cars, like in this picture, looking like they’d been in a head-on collision. If you drive in Palau, please be extra careful! By the way, when we returned the car, we were told to just leave it in the airport car park and to put the keys under the mud flaps.

The Japanese embassy is located on Meyungs Island, in the west. We might learn some interesting things. Let’s make a visit.

There is an imperial chrysanthemum crest above the entrance. Inside, we found a female member of staff ready to help us. She met her Palauan husband in Japan and then moved to Palau. She told us she first worked as a nurse at a local hospital for 12 years and through a connection there, she came to work at the embassy. Presently, there are about 260 Japanese residents on Palau. It seems around 100 left due to the pandemic. If you happened to lose your Japanese passport in Palau, they can issue a travel document for your return journey here. By the way, the staff at the embassy weren’t aware of the Palau domain “.pw”. Many in Palau use Gmail, even government organizations. Photography is not allowed inside the building.

Embassy staff shared some local knowledge with us about which Japanese restaurants to visit and which electronics store to check out. First, let’s check out the “Executive Lounge” restaurant. Located off the Main Street of Koror Island, it’s a popular spot with locals, but mostly unknown to tourists. They have karaoke and you can sing Japanese songs. The song title on the large screen says “don’t let it rain”, which is funny as Palau has a tropical rain-forest climate so the area experiences several rain showers each day, although they don’t last very long.

We order Okonomiyaki ($8 USD), which was recommended to us by staff at the Japanese embassy. It looks a bit like an omelet. It was delicious from beginning to end, thanks to the mayonnaise sauce.

We also got the Tempura Platter ($12 USD). It had a crunchy texture and the batter they used was similar to breadcrumbs. The flavor of the dipping sauce would be enjoyed by Japanese people. We particularly liked the pumpkin tempura. High speed WiFi was also available for free.

Next let’s visit a store that sells computers and electrical appliances. We arrive at “Surangel’s”, Palau’s biggest shopping mall, which opened in September 2022.

“Alii!” means “hello!” in the Palauan language.

Near the entrance a display board explains the history of what originally started as a small general store. Starting a business with just two people running a small shop and turning it into a large shopping mall, isn’t just an ‘American dream’ but a Palauan dream, too. It has the same name as the president of Palau, Surangel Whipps Jr.

1 The fresh food section on the ground floor. It’s very spacious. Large appliances such as lawn mowers and washing machines are also for sale.

2 Let’s go to the second floor. This floor has clothes, smartphones, computers, etc. There were fancy looking karaoke machines too. It seems that the locals enjoy karaoke?

I saw brands such as GALAXY, iPAD, iMac etc. When I asked if they had any iPhones, I was told they were out of stock. When we asked some locals about where to find a store that sells iPhones, they told us they don’t sell them here, so everyone uses GALAXYs. So, the one thing missing from the big supermarket that seems to have everything, was the iPhone.


◆Nanyo Shrine Protected by 10+ Guard Dogs

We visited Nanyo Shrine. This previously government-run shrine was founded during the Japanese occupation in World War II. At the main gate. We can see a large house further in.

When we looked at Googles Reviews, someone said they were chased by 24 barking dogs and even lightly bitten on the leg. They said it was probably better not to go when the caretaker isn’t around. As we nervously made our way up the hill, many dogs came out barking and growling at us. They watched us carefully.

When we told the person managing Nanyo Shrine that we’d like to pay a visit, he was very accommodating. None of us got our legs bitten. At the shrine entrance there are Komainu, guardian dogs, with both the Japanese and Palauan flags painted on them.

There are so many fern plants – an uncommon sight in Japan. You can see the main shrine in the back.

It’s small, but it’s the Honden, or main sanctuary.

Next to the Honden was a monument commemorating the Japanese soldiers who died in Palau during World War II. The names of fallen soldiers are engraved on the back.

We found a bird aviary.

Inside are brightly colored tropical parrots.

There used to be a JAL Nikko Hotel near Nanyo Shrine. It was closed in 2002 due to age and deterioration.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Palau_Continental_Hotel_in_1977.j pg/375px-Palau_Continental_Hotel_in_1977.jpg

Nanyo Shrine is located on private property, so be sure to inform the management that you’d like to visit and show your respects.

◆(Viewer Discretion Advised) Bat Soup – A Palau Food Report

We dropped into “CARP Restaurant”, which we learnt about from our pilot, Hiro. We got the Pork Cutlet Curry with Rice ($10 USD) and Stir-fried Shrimp ($12 USD). The cutlet curry was a pretty big serving. The stir-fried shrimp are garlicky and delicious.

We saw bat soup ($20 USD) on the menu so we ordered that too. Bats are in fact a Palauan speciality and we were told that fruit eating bats are safe to eat. The bat is usually added to the soup to flavor the broth, rather than for eating. Onions, bell peppers, herbs and other vegetables are added to consommé soup, and it’s delicious if you don’t think about the bat.

Seeing that we weren’t eating much of the soup, the waiter kindly removed the bat.

Cautiously, we try some of the bat. The meat is similar to chicken breast. It had a slight odor.

Our kind waiter returned with some fresh fruit on the house to refresh our palate.

We ended up leaving the bat’s head and other hairy parts. When we left, Ben our taxi driver told us that if only we had called for him earlier, he would’ve helped us finish it. Apparently the locals eat the entire head and wings, without leaving anything behind. By the way, Ben’s Japanese name is Masahiro. His aunt’s name is Hideko and his uncle is Kintaro.

Our teams favorite Japanese restaurant on Palau is ‘B’s Izakaya Yume’. It’s a Japanese-owned izakaya restaurant. The shop’s name is taken from the owner’s initials, not because they like the Japanese band B’z.

Mangrove crab ($55 USD). It is a large crab, but it’s difficult to remove the flesh from the shell, so there were surprisingly few places to eat from. But it was delicious and full of flavor. It made me realize that one crab tastes very much like another.

Deep-fried Tofu ($8 USD). We were impressed that it tasted just the same as back home.

Red Rooster Beer, a Palauan beer with a red chicken logo. You can buy it from the supermarket – it would make the perfect souvenir. In the Palauan language, “Skarenauos” means “to drink beer”, but it implies drinking large quantities, rather than just having a light drink. This restaurant offers a transportation service. Great for those wanting to have a drink or two.

We went for lunch at the Emaimelei Restaurant, which is also attached to a bakery, located just off the main street of Koror.

We ordered the Emaimelei Battered Fried Chicken ($10.50 USD). These large pieces of fried chicken aren’t seasoned, instead they’re dipped in Nam Jim Gai, a classic Thai sauce. The outside is crispy and it would make a great snack. The batter was so thick it was hard to get to the meat.

This is the Yaki Ramen ($10.50 USD). Soy-sauce flavored instant noodles stir-fried with cucumber and garlic, a flavor combination that would be popular with Japanese diners.

Next door is the Kumagai Bakery. All local supermarkets sell this bread.


◆Love for Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Other Palau Highlights

1)Dance contest run by local high school students

A Palauan dance competition organized by Palau High School students. The boys also put on make-up and wear skirts.

These costumes were beautiful. They look good, don’t they.

One of the teams danced to the tune of the Japanese nursery rhyme “Tadpoles are the babies of frogs.”


2)Mysterious Stone Monoliths

About an hour’s drive north of Koror Island is an archaeological site dotted with around 50 stone monuments. They are similar to the Moai statues of Easter Island, but on a smaller scale. It’s unclear why these monuments were built.

If you’re lucky, you will meet Tama the cat. We didn’t get to meet Tama, but we did meet Nani, a cute little girl who was with the lady selling admission tickets.


3)Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge
A bridge between the airport and Koror Island. When you come to Palau, you’ll pass over it many times.

Originally, a bridge was built there in 1977 by a Korean company, but it collapsed in 1996. The current bridge was built in 2002 in approximately the same location as the old one, with funds from the Japanese Official Development Assistance program.

You can go under the bridge as well. Local families fishing and swimming.


4)WCTC Shopping Center

Shopping Mall on the Main Street of Koror Island. Notice board for locals. We saw Palau army application forms too.


5)Belau National Museum

It gives an easy-to-understand description of the colonial period under Japanese rule in Japanese.

Admission was $10 USD.

This graph shows how there were twice as many Japanese as Palauans under Japanese rule.


6)CARP Restaurant

The CARP Restaurant, where we had bat soup, is owned by a Japanese woman and her Palauan husband.

Many posters of Hiroshima Carp players decorate the walls.

Player autographs and carp streamers, too.

You guessed it. The “carp” of CARP Restaurant is taken from Hiroshima Toyo Carp, the baseball team that wife Hiroko is a big fan of.

While we were talking, we found out that while Hiroko ran the restaurant, her husband was the owner of an island called Carp Island! Hiroko is such a big Hiroshima Carp fan that she even named the island, Carp Island. You can stay the night on Carp Island. When we asked if it was possible for Japanese to purchase islands here, we were told no, but non-Palauans can rent them.

Incidentally, the honorary owner of Inoki Island, located in the middle of a world heritage area, is Antonio Inoki. Apparently it was presented as a token of appreciation to Mr Inoki by Palauan chiefs, after his involvement in coral conservation and other activities since Palau’s independence.


◆The Domain “.pw” Wasn’t Seen Around Town

On our Domain Island Tours, we like to investigate how the local domain is being used. However, it proved difficult to find “.pw”.

Our search reminded us how we couldn’t find anything in Saint Lucia either. Eventually we found it being used at the post office. We got the impression that many shops use Facebook Pages or “.com” or “.net” instead.

◆How to Purchase a SIM & Test the Internet Speed

There isn’t a specific eSIM for Palau. WiFi routers such as GlocalMe are also not supported. So this time, we purchased a local SIM. Prior research showed us that there was a PNCC (Palau National Communications Corporation) booth at the airport where SIMs could be purchased, but unfortunately we arrived outside business hours.

So we made our purchase at Globus Palau on the Main Street of Koror Island. 7 days / 12GB for $25 USD. The speed measured on Main Street, Koror Island was 40 Mbps.


■List of Places Visited


■For access to Palau click here


■For “.pw” domain details click here