Welcome to Hsinchu

Day 2 (Sunday, 18 March)

We arrived in Hsinchu mid-morning and wandered around the city center where the Hsinchu City God Temple (新竹城隍廟) is located.

Before noon, we regrouped to meet Grandmaster Cheng’s sons and students at the younger son’s residence. The next moments of madness were a blur. I recall circling the neighborhood to find a street wide enough for our bus, sounds of drums and cymbals reverberating through my brain, a lion dance under way, Qing dynasty style hats being passed around, a large “Welcome YMAA” banner hanging over the doorway, and smiles and hugs all around.

I grew up in a small, quiet suburb in Massachusetts, raised by low key Taiwanese-born Chinese parents. This welcoming spectacle was at once exhilarating, slightly embarrassing, and yet, simply wonderful. I’m generalizing, but in Chinese culture there is a dichotomy between the quiet, industrious individuals conforming to social norms, and the boisterous celebrations honored by the community. If you’re a friend of a friend, you’re automatically like family.

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