Sketch of Archilife Study Tour, December 2021
webmaster 2022-01-22 115 reads
For the study tour of December 19, 2021, Ms Lu Ming-yun led 15 ARF interns and their parents on a trip to Hukou, Hsinchu, for a stroll on its old street and a visit to the Jiuqionghu farming village.
The morning's itinerary took everyone to Hukou Old Street. Guided by local historian Mr. Liu Kuang-jen, the first stop of the tour was Sanyuan Temple, a century-old relic built during the Japanese Occupation and is the center of the local's faith. Mr. Liu began with an explanation of the principles of going in and out of temples. In general, each temple has three doors. From the viewpoint of the main deity looking toward the doors, the left door is the dragon door and is used for going into the temple while the right door is the tiger door and is used for getting out of the temple. Going in through the dragon door and out through the tiger door means warding off misfortune and bringing in good luck. The middle door is the "imperial path" and is used by the deities when they go on their royal progress. Mr. Liu also taught everyone how to differentiate the gender of the stone lions on both sides of the temple, and had the interns contemplate its significance through questions and answers. The two most important factors in temple construction are money and land. In appreciation of their donation, the temple will carve donors' name and contribution amount on the stone wall. When the temple was first built, the smallest unit of currency then was "jiao". Using his experience in childhood, Mr. Liu described items that could be bought with one "jiao" at that time and when compared to today's situation, everyone could easily understand the discrepancy in currency value due to inflation over time. Moving on to Hukou Old Street, Mr. Liu began by explaining its history. Pointing out that most houses on the street are red-brick buildings in Baroque style architecture, Mr. Liu said the ornamentation on the walls allude to the owners' state of mind and hope for their descendants. Hukou Old Street flourished with the construction of the railroad and declined when the train station was relocated. Fortunately, the precious historical building was preserved due to an issue with property rights.
The afternoon's itinerary took everyone to Jiuqionghu recreational and farming area to learn about plants in the area. The tour guide began by introducing the origin of the name "Jiuqionghu". Both "Hu (lake)" and "Wo (nest)" mean the depression between mountains in Hakka dialect. The former refers to a wide depression while the latter refers to a narrow depression. A long time ago, the Hakkas arrived in Taiwan later than the Han Chinese and settled further inland in the low areas between mountains. Thus, the names of many Hakka settlements have the word "Hu" or "Wo" today although they do not actually mean "lake" in the literal sense. Along the way, the tour guide introduced many plants in the farming area. Being a place for environmental education, it is home to a wide diversity of indigenous plants and insect species. However, as the tour took place on a winter day, the insects were in diapause and everyone could only hope to revisit in summer when the insects resume their activity. At the end of the tour, everyone participated in a DIY activity using pinecones and plants scattered on the grounds of the farming area to make eco-friendly and delightful animal ornaments. At this point, the day's itinerary came to an end. Everyone took a group photo before heading back and looked forward to the next study tour.