Binlang concept from Fenrir Space Devil. Art by Megaboy.
Living in Taiwan for a year, one of the really distinct Taiwanese things I remember is the Betel Nut or Binlang that are sold in shops along the side of the road. It’s a nut and you chew on it, and the juices give you a buzz.
During my stay in Taiwan, I remember an old fat man who would chew the nut and his teeth were red with the juice, he had stains on his shirt, and he would follow me around shouting loudly, ‘HELLO!!!!! HELLO!!!!’.
I would see this man everywhere I went and every time I went outside, to where it felt as though he were some kind of an apparition, haunting me, that only I could see. It turned out he was a panhandler and the only English he knew was ‘Hello’ and he was trying to score a few coins from me the entire time.
Going out to bars we’d sometimes find ourselves offered these nuts and we’d take up the offer from time to time. It’s one of the experiences of Taiwan that I miss along with riding scooters with friends, camping, barbeques, nearly getting eaten by wild monkeys, jumping off giant waterfalls, stinky tofu, night markets, huge earthquakes, festivals with non stop fireworks, hidden forests, and temples everywhere.
I think that when I lived in Taiwan I should have enjoyed it and appreciated it more. With comics, I can take some of those experiences, and put them in the story so I can keep some of those memories that I hold dear a little longer.