the hillside of Yangmingshan mountain sits
a single house with a blue-glaze tiled roof,
whitewashed walls and Spanish spiral pillars,
surrounded by a greenery-filled yard. This
is the former residence of famous early-20th
century writer Lin Yutang. When entering through
the Western-style archway, what comes into
view is an elegant open-sky courtyard. In
one corner, there is a small fishpond surrounded
with green bamboo, sweet gum plants and Chinese
wisteria. It is here that Dr. Lin enjoyed
watching the fish with a fishing rod in hand.
The rooms in the house open up to each other
in typical Chinese style.
The home's former dining/living room is today
known as the "You Bu Wei Zhai" salon
and is a good place for visitors to enjoy
a meal or glass of tea. The long balcony was
where Dr. Lin usually could be found wandering
around. He once wrote, "At dusk after
dinner, having finished work, eating pieces
of watermelon, I sit on the balcony and relax
in this cool place by myself, with a pipe
held with my mouth, sometimes having smoke,
sometimes not. Watching the front hill slowly
sinking in the vagueness of dim night, the
lamplights shining down at Tienmu, and cool
breezes gently blowing, I am sometimes thinking
about something, but sometimes not. What a
fortunate man I am!"
During the day, you can enjoy a clear view
of the sky and take in the distant Tamshui
River. At night, you can likewise gaze at
the moon and night scenes. At dusk, there
are scenes of Mt. Guanyin and the glimmering
setting sun. All this is a reflection of Dr.
Lin's cozy, tranquil attitude towards life.
Dr. Lin advocated humorous literature and
gained the title of Chinese "Master of
Humor". "A speech should be like
a woman's skirt--the shorter the better."
This witty remark, which makes people smile,
is by Dr. Lin. His work and experiences stretched
over over Eastern and Western cultures, as
he earned academic degrees from Shanghai's
St. John's University, Harvard University
and University of Leipzig. He wrote in both
Chinese and English throughout his life, and
is famous for "The Life and Times of
Su Tunpo", "Moment in Peking",
"The Importance of Living", "A
Leaf in the Storm", "The Vermilion
Gate", "The Wisdom of Lao Tse",
and other works. Among them, his work "My
Country and My People" really was a great
hit when released in the U.S. in 1935.
Dr. Lin contributed greatly towards introducing
the spirit of Chinese culture to the West.
Besides his reputation as a linguist, philosopher,
literary man and traveler, Dr. Lin was also
an inventor. From the small originality of
device to help squeeze toothpaste to the big
invention of a "fast typewriter",
plus an indexing system for the lower and
upper shapes of Chinese characters, specially
designed for a typewriter. This system was
the forerunner of the modern Chinese input
methods, and is exhibited in a glass display
case by the wall.
Other belongings of Dr. Lin, including manuscripts,
letters, books, a desk, glasses, pipes and
clothing, are completely preserved. Leaving
the uproar of city and admiring Dr. Lin's
house and his great deeds makes for an enjoyable,
141, Yangte Dadao, sec. 2, Yangmingshan
Tel: (02) 2861-3003
Open 9 am-5 pm (closed Mondays)closed Mondays,10
am-9 pm, 9 pm/ You Bu Wei Zhai dining hours:
10 am-9 pm
Getting There: City buses 260 and 303, or
minibuses 15, 16 and 17, or the No. 5 red
YongFu stop. Parking is available in the car
park situated diagonally across from the house.