Back to East Asia…

— or “things that only happen in Japan, Korea and Taiwan (and maybe other countries that are heavily influenced by the former)”

Taiwan had a very nice idea – conveniently file your tax online! When I tried to use it and it asked me to download and install a software that only runs on Windows, my Korean experience should’ve rang all alarm bells there are in the region. Anyway, a few hours later the conclusion: It’s software made specifically for foreigners to file their tax (locals use another method). Buuuutttt; it only works on Chinese Windows, not on e.g. English versions of the OS; which a foreigner in his infinite ignorance might dare to use.

Welcome back…

Edit: The challenge of finding a Chinese Windows was the easy part. Wait for the next post about actually paying the tax as a foreigner – I’m busy finding a plastic bag and stuffing bank notes in it. Once done I shall share my experience being diligent with the Taiwanese tax man…

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The real health benefits of Kimchi

I rather accidentally came across this article in the Korea Herald about the surge of food poisoning in Korea’s schools last year. 80% increase, so it almost doubled from the previous year. Mainly due to contaminated Kimchi. In September, the peak was reached with 1162 kids being hospitalized. Among a population of some 40 Million. Heard of it before? Probably nobody else beyond some government officials ever did.

To put this into perspective. Germany has about double the population. In the same month last year there was a, what government and media considered gigantic outbreak of Norovirus, carried by frozen fruit from China. The story made it to news headlines world-wide for weeks, task forces had been formed, companies shut down. Jurisdiction is now folding things up. In that outbreak, according to the German disease control center, “at least 38 people have been hospitalized”.

Meanwhile, if you visit Korea, go eat more Kimchi. Locals believe that it’s good for your health, it’s believed to prevent you from contracting diseases such as SARS and avian flu — some even fed it to their chicken during the avian flu outbreak a few years back!