Six years later……
We naturally achieved something very affectionate. It seemed pretty easy, but it indeed cost lots of time and effort to let people from the two countries have a real connection through the journey.
First Trip for the Rural Villagers
When we started to plan the trip, many people asked why we made a three-day trip in Taiwan so complicated.
Because they chose us for planning their first trip abroad
Because they chose to visit Taiwan as their first country abroad
This was a trip that paid with the money they’d earned for a year.
Bringing those rural villagers happiness and good memories were the most important thing.
They fully trusted us with our plan. They didn't know where they were going to visit before they arrived in Taiwan. We wrote them a schedule in a few sentences, but they still had no idea what they would see in Taiwan. The places we planned to take them to were those had never been advertised and rarely heard. The villagers said they were totally fine with it because they just wanted to follow Acorn Travel and see the beauty and delicacies in Taiwan.
The story began six years ago. Because of the fault of a reservation agent, our tour group almost had no place to live. With the help of a Japanese friend, Kumiko, we, fortunately, found a village on an isolated island which had never accommodated foreigners. This accident turned out to give us a chance to form bonds with people in this village.
When we first met Mr. Tachikawa, he looked like a serious, prudent, and traditional Japanese dad. He had strict and aggressive eyes, doing everything with his own rules.
We later found that he did lots of things for the village. He promoted the village to make the villagers have a better life and the village become more united. He played a very important role in the village.
When we knew they were going to visit Taiwan, we were very nervous but happy, just like how they felt when we visited their village back then. “How to show the best side of Taiwan to them?” We had the same worries.
The whole company, even our family, friends, clients were pretty excited about their coming. That was all about the relationship. Every time we took our clients to the village, they couldn’t hold their tears when they left even though it was only a one-night stay. What made them so emotional and fall in love with the place? I always have this question because I felt the same way every time I visited there.
When they knew we were going to stay in the village, everyone was truly excited. They often stopped their work at hand to have a meeting with Mr. Tachikawa to discuss our one-night stay. I was often curious about how there could be so many meetings for just a one-night stay? But I know they cared about us very much and hoped to treat us as well as they could.
There is a kind of relationship that hearts are connected regardless of language barrier. Clients could chat with the villagers for hours even though they were speaking different languages because they could know what each other meant through eye contact. One of the clients told me that the villager even showed his title deed to him during their chat. Was this possible? I believe it was. They treated us genuinely and wholeheartedly so we could both share everything with each other.
Whenever there were little kids visiting, the villagers were very delighted, treating them like their own grandchildren and bringing out as much delicious food as they could. Before we left, they prepared lots of snacks so that we could enjoy them on the way - exactly what moms will do for their kids.
Some people said we should bring them to famous tourist spots in Taiwan, but we don’t want to just do so. We are glad to spend more time finding the true Taiwanese culture. We eventually found the real tribal culture of Taiwanese aborigines who lived around Mt. Jade and love their unique culture and songs. That wasn’t commercialized and was listed in Taiwan Top 36 secret spots. It was off the beaten path for Taiwanese but had some of the most precious ingredients.
We found the forgotten Taiwanese stories which had appeared in movies. A local resident asked us why we chose to visit a place with no beautiful scenery. She forgot this was a place full of the stories of orphans of Asia.
The owner of the local restaurant told us a story from her childhood. When she was fleeing with her parents, all of her neighbors suddenly disappeared in one night. I asked her why. She said it was not allowed to make any sounds, when fleeing for fear of drawing the attention of beasts, biogas, and enemies.
To avoid babies from crying, moms couldn’t feed their kids anything. The little kids were too hungry to make any sounds and even passed out. However, some of the moms couldn’t bear to see their kids panic and fed them, and then the kids started to cry. To protect most people’s lives, the soldiers had no choice but to throw the kids to valleys or cliffs. The moms saw the kids were gone, and then jumped with the kids, followed by the dads and the grandparents. The whole family vanished all of a sudden.
This is a cruel historical story which no one knows and remembers. Luckily escaped from the border, they were later abandoned by Taiwan. Some of them stayed in Northern Thailand and fought for Thailand in order to get an identity in Thailand. They led a vagrant life for many years. Some of them now became Thai; some are tour guides in Thailand; others moved to Taiwan. They live together and support each other, living a life with peace.
Some people asked why we made things so complicated rather than just find a good restaurant and have a nice meal. We chose a restaurant owned by our client’s brother for over twenty years. The restaurant didn’t have fancy decorations but featured fresh seafood from Taiwan.
We chose the hotel in Taichung where the best dental clinic in Taiwan was located. Though we were traveling not going to see a dentist, there were the kindest and most professional healthcare workers helping those patients afraid of seeing a dentist. That’s how we chose the hotel.
Some people asked why we cooked by ourselves and made things so complicated?
They didn’t know that those difficulties and troublesomeness, once finished, would be meaningful at some point in the future.
From salt, sugar, rice, onions, fish, seafood to all other ingredients, and the chocolate cake with a 60-year history, we have our own insistence. We want to bring what we like and what we are touched by to you. We are not sure whether you would like them, but we believe they would know our thoughts.
【Story One】The bold 78-year-old lady in the village
When we first went to the village, we stayed in an old lady's house. She was 78 years old and petite, but she was always energetic. Whenever someone wanted to help her carry the luggage, she insisted on doing it by herself.
When we first met her, she did everything fast. She raced in the forest to catch the boat for us. She drove away when we were just about to close the trunk.
We later knew that she used to depend on her husband on everything. Sadly, after her husband passed away, she went through a dark moment and realized that she had to rely on herself. She started to learn driving and lots of things. She’s now content and able to do everything by herself.
【Story Two】The Crying Emotional Village Mother
A couple from Pingtung and a big family from Tainan finally arrived on the last day. Though it was a little bit late, the mother eventually saw them. She was so excited and bursted into tears.
“I didn’t know we would meet, so I didn’t prepare any gifts. I feel sorry and really want to give you something. This is my favorite purse. I hope you don’t mind that it's used. I just feel like giving you a little thing” the mother spoke with tears.
I left the scene right away and pretended to be busy cooking the dinner because I was afraid that I couldn’t hold my tears.
【Story Three】The Village Father Took His Wife with Him to Taiwan.
At the last stop of the railway, the village father took out a pack of candies and gave it to me. I think he was imitating me and giving me a surprise. But it turned out the candies were not just candies. He gave me another surprise which I was so thankful for.
Before we headed to the platform, he took out another thing from his pocket. I thought it was another surprise, but it was a photo instead.
“I took my wife to travel around Taiwan with me.” He said gently with grief.
“She’s pretty. ” I replied softly and said nothing else because I was afraid of crying again.
“She’s an old woman already.” said the father with a smile.
In fact, she’s the prettiest in his heart.
His wife left him at the age of 66 last year. When we visited again last year, he told us his wife had just left, so he couldn’t arrange our visit right away. He would pull himself together very soon and arrange the accommodation for us as usual.
A year later, he decided to bring his wife’s photo to travel to Taiwan.
We had two village mothers traveling with us this time, including the mother of our Japanese tour guide Shisaki. Those who couldn’t come because of work, please don’t worry. We have taken good care of all of them. We all know once we keep in mind, we will reunite someday.
18th~20th, Dec. 2019 First overseas trip for the Japanese village. Successfully done!
[Epilogue] Stories after the trip
The elderlies had a great time, praising the Taiwanese were so hospitable. The gifts they received were even too many to store in the car trunk. The gift boxes just rolled on the car way mischievously.
Early in the next morning, the village mothers and father constantly texted us to express their appreciation. Some words are touching, and some others are cute. Some typed while doing the laundry, some sending pictures with the dogs.
↑ Picture link to ↑
Tour guide in Japan
Translation of the messages as follows:
Thank you for all the effort in the past three days.
I forgot to thank you for giving us the Niushe crackers (Taiwanese traditional snacks) and take a photo with them.
Could you please send me the photo that we had with Niushe crackers?
If your family is in the photo too, I think they will be happy.
I had a wonderful trip.
Thank you for treating us so well in Taiwan. Thank you so much.
Also thank you for taking care of Ms. Takehara.
Thank you everyone for joining the trip and Ms. Takehara.
I just woke up and am doing the laundry now.
Thank you Ms. Su from Acorn Travel for the hard work and planning a wonderful trip for us.
We are all satisfied and looking for more cooperation in the future.
If you are coming to Kyushu, please don’t hesitate to tell me. I will meet you then. Thank you so much.
Thank you for taking care of us in these three days and the gifts
Taiwan is the best. See you next time.
I had a great time in three days.
Thank you for treating us so well in Taiwan.
Thank you too, Ms. Takehara.
Thanks to all of you, I am able to have this trip. I feel extremely blessed. Thanks, everyone.
I have three wonderful days in Taiwan.
Time flies in these three days.
Thank you for all your enthusiasm and kindness.
Receiving lots of gifts and souvenirs, my husband is happy as well though he didn’t come.
This trip is fantastic. Thank you so much.
Taiwan is the first country I’ve traveled to outside of Japan.
I saw it would be raining when we were in Taiwan, but the weather turned out to be nice. How lucky.
I sincerely appreciate all of you from Acorn Travel for taking such good care of us.
Thanks to you, I had a wonderful trip.
Thank you very much.
I am also glad to see our tour guide, Mr. Lin, again.
It’s awesome to have this wonderful trip to Taiwan.
Thanks for the good care.
Also thank you for the gifts. Many thanks to all of you from Taiwan.
Thank you too, Ms. Takehara. Looking forward to your next trip!
Thank you for the trip to Taiwan which I’ve never thought of.
This is my first time traveling abroad.
Thank you for taking care of me.
If there’s any trip like this, please count me in.
Thank you for the photos.
Thank you Ms. Kumiko for being the bridge between Taiwan and Japan.
Thank you and I’ll rely on you in the future.
Thank you, Ms. Su, Ms.Su’s mother, the crew in Acorn Travel, and all the friends in Taiwan.
I am surprised by all the good care and warmth.
I’ve gained 2 kgs because of all the delicacies.
I guess Mr.Lin probably has lost 3 kgs because of working too hard.
Thank you so much for the friendly trip.
I hope you have a wonderful year.
This is a pleasant journey.
Thanks, everyone from Acorn Travel and our tour guide Mr. Lin for teaching me enthusiastically. I appreciate everything very much.
I’d never thought my first trip abroad would have been so wonderful. This must all credit to Ms. Su and all the crews in Acorn Travel.
Also, many thanks for the gifts.
【 Here came a cute message after a few days】
Happy New Year Ms. Su,
I want to share a story with you.
“Mr. Tachikawa said that Ms. Su called him and told him she took her guests to Asu and asked us to come, and also asked when we would visit Taiwan again.”
“Oh! Though Asu was further than Tientsao, but I have to meet Ms. Su right now!” Mr. Tachiwaka though.
“When’s the second visit? We should have a meeting with everyone. We should save the money now…”
Above is in fact Mr. Tachiwaka’s dream. (Hahaha)
In his dream, you can communicate without translation.
Although this is his dream, I think this is what he is really looking forward to, and so do all the villagers.
I heard they are all saving money for the next trip.
They want to visit Taiwan again before their new passports expire.
[After the Trip…]
Although the airmails have been delayed recently, we are happy to receive some late greeting messages from Japan.
Because all the Taiwanese treated them friendly and prepared lots of gifts, they still vividly remember everything. One of the letters is really touching. Besides greeting us, he also expressed how he missed his wife. We would like to share this letter.
Translation by our tour guide as below:
Dear Ms. Su,
How are you doing? It’s been almost two months since our trip to Taiwan. Thank you for taking care of us. Having dinner at your place and receiving so many gifts have given us a great memory.
I would also like to thank you for all the things you sent after the trip such as photos and emails, especially the thank-you letter, which indeed delighted me.
“Thank you so so much.”
It’s been six years since I met you and Ms. Takehara in Tientsao. After then, you’ve brought plenty of visitors here many times, which was like everything just happened yesterday. I couldn’t forget the moment we greeted everyone, all the Taiwanese visitors were straightforward with a big smile on their face, treating us friendly. I was always worried that the old ladies and family in our village were not well-prepared enough. Were there any impolite things that happened during your stay? Did you all enjoy the time here? When seeing all of you leaving and bidding farewell with you, I felt content and appreciated because of your smiles.
I am thinking if this trip to Taiwan could have been earlier would be wonderful because my wife passed away in August 2018. If we practiced our plan earlier, I could have had an unforgettable trip with her. It was such a pity. I brought my wife’s photo with me during the whole trip, putting her in my pocket. I took out her photo now and then during the trip to let her see the scenes and streets in Taiwan.
I guess Taiwan is bustling around because of the Covid-19, which also leads to the barrier between us. I hope the pandemic can end really soon.
The old ladies in Miyajidake House are all concerned about saying thank you to Ms. Su and giving you the gifts. Please don’t hesitate to tell us when you visit Kyushu next time. We will all rush to you.
On the bus back to Japan from Taiwan, everyone lively discussed the trip to Taiwan. “Want to go to Taiwan again so much.” ”Want to stay in Taipei next time.” they kept saying. We are preparing to raise funds for the next trip as they requested. Not knowing how long will this take, maybe 2 or 3 years, but we will see you then.
18, Feb 2020
Every trip plan is a breakthrough.
How to give everyone an unforgettable trip in three days?
Sometimes it requests some luck and loads of effort.
People often doubt us, but we insist on our own faith which is pretty simple.
No matter how much time we take and how many difficulties we face, we must do our best.
Everyone will see our true hearts in the end. This is the trip we want to provide, and this is what makes our job meaningful.
We are truly touched by the letter from Kumiko. Thank you, Kumiko for bringing us this new story in this new year.
We hope every journey is as tasty as the acorn and attracts travelers to travel around the world, to travel deeply, to bond with the locals, and to bring more touching stories.
[To be continued]
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