6 thoughts on “Boing Boing’s Roadside Taiwan”


    Dan Bloom

    This photo is from Japan, not Taiwan. You were correct, Mr.Lin. thanks for bringing this to my attention!



    Hello Dan,
    Please see the site above.
    We have found that the photo you sent us is from Japan! Not Taiwan, as boingboing.net noted. You gave them the wrong info. [Egg on my face, Dan!]
    The bus stop is located at Isahaya City in Nagasaki Prefecture. In this
    there are several fruits but stops (as you can see at the site above), which
    to be popular features there. It seems that the city government built
    unique bus stops to invite many tourists.
    Very interesting!
    Satoru and Mitsuko, TOKYO

  2. Hello Gea-Suan Lin,
    Please email me. You were right. That bench in the front of the photo has Japanese writing, so it cannot be in Taiwan. My friends in Tokyo found the correct location, in Ishaya City, Japan. In the September 19 issue of the Taipei Times, in the ZIPPY cartoon on the comics page, you will see this bus stop depicted in the cartoon. Thanks to you, YOU, all this happened. Please email me. I want to thank you in person.


  3. zippythepinhead.comtaipeitimes.com],agilitynut.comboingboing.netkonagai.orgtaipeitimes.comZippy does Japan (with a stop first in Taiwan)

    In today’s Taipei Times, on page 19, the Zippy comic strip features a
    storyline focused on a watermelon-shaped bus stop in Ishaya City,
    Japan. Before you go any further, turn to page 19 and look at the
    Zippy strip for today. As you can see, Zippy the Pinhead is waiting
    inside a bus stop in Japan, when he suddenly hears the announcement
    that the bus is coming and will arrive shortly, and then he muses to
    himself: “I sure hope the bus is shaped like a sausage.”

    How this particular comic strip came to be has an interesting
    backstory that involves this newspaper, some Taiwanese Internet
    surfers in Taipei, a Japanese couple in Tokyo and, of course, the
    cartoonist Bill Griffith himself [URL: http://www.zippythepinhead.com ]

    It all happened like this:

    A few months ago, there was an article in the Taipei Times about
    “tai-ke” [www.taipeitimes.com], and in the article it was mentioned that some
    taike like to eat watermelon slices dipped in soy sauce mixed with
    wasabi. When a reader saw that description of the taike way of noshing
    on watermelon in Taiwan, he did an image search on Google under the
    words “watermelon”, “wasabi” and “soy sauce”, in hopes of find out
    more about this popular dish and maybe even seeing a photograph of
    people eating it.

    However, while not finding any photos of the watermelon and wasabi
    dish, this reader did find a photograph of a watermelon-shaped bus
    stop, said by the website hosting the photo to be in Taiwan.
    [URL: http://www.agilitynut.com/p/taiwan.jpg ]

    Feeling that the photo of a watermelon-shaped bus stop in Taiwan was
    cool, the reader decided to send the picture to the popular
    boingboing.net website in the U.S., where submissions from surfers are
    accepted from time to time. Boingboing.net ran the bus stop photo from
    Taiwan, and it was picked up by bloggers around the world, from Italy
    to Brazil. The photo was captioned: “Roadside Taiwan”.
    [URL: http://www.boingboing.net/2005/07/28/roadside_taiwan.html ]

    However, a savvy Taiwanese surfer in Taipei noticed that the bench in
    the photo had some small words written in what appeared to be
    Japanese, not Chinese, so he surmised (and posted a note on his own
    blog) that the bus stop in question was not in Taiwan, but in Japan.

    At this point, the Taipei Times reader who first spotted the photo on
    Google, alarmed that the picture might have been mis-labeled and was
    not from “roadside Taiwan” but was rather from roadside Japan, sent
    the photo to two friends in Japan and asked them if those words on the
    bench were indeed Japanese. They answer that came back from Satoru and
    Mitsuko Ebihara in Yokohama was that, yes, the words were in Japanese
    kanji, they were not Chinese, and that in fact, the bus stop in
    question was actually in a city called Ishaya in Japan.
    [URL: http://www.konagai.org/furusato/IndexGenerator.asp?path=fruitbusstop ]

    At this point, the cartoonist Bill Griffith in Connecticut, had
    already spotted this watermelon-shaped bus stop on boingboing.net and
    decided he wanted to use the image in one of his upcoming Zippy
    cartoons. So he wrote to boingboing.net, asking in which city in
    Taiwan the bus stop was located, not knowing that the early
    information was incorrect and that the bus stop was in Japan. When he
    found out — via a series of emails bouncing back and forth between
    Chiayi, Taipei, Tokyo, Los Angeles and Connecticut — where the bus
    stop was actually located, Griffith decided to go with his plans to do
    a strip about it, and after completing it in his studio, dated it
    September 19 and sent it to his syndicate in Kansas City, which
    supplies the daily Zippy cartoon to over 500 newpapers worldwide.

    And that is what you are looking at today: a comic strip forged in
    Connecticut with an assist from people in Taiwan and Japan and
    published worldwide. Enjoy!
    Note: Freelance writer Dan Bloom interviewed cartoonist Bill Griffith for the Taipei
    Times last year.
    [URL: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2004/09/06/2003201905 ]


    Excerpt from ”Taipei Times” interview by Dan Bloom, September 6, 2004:

    Griffith has placed Zippy and Griffy in a few strips that took place in Japan, with lots of funny English terms and phrases that the Japanese use on T-shirts, product names and store signs. When asked if Zippy might visit Taiwan again for future strips, Griffith said, “It’s true, the Japanese interest in the English language is very Zippyesque. Strangely poetic.”

    “Zippy did go to Taiwan recently — it was in the strip from Feb. 18, 2004, titled “Ollie Ollie Oxen Free,” and the animal statues in the four panels were inspired by photographs from Taiwan that an expat there named Aaron Spinak sent to me.

    “The photos were from a lawn sculpture store in Pingtung. I’d love to see photographs of more possible Taiwan locations for Zippy to visit. Sure, tell readers there to send me photos of anything Zippyesque in Taiwan. Zippy will be happy to discuss world affairs with a betel nut beauty, sure!”

Comments are closed.