There seems to be an intense interest in foreigners here. I’ll be in the grocery store and I’ll hear an enthusiastic “Hi!” or “Good Morning!” from a little girl down the aisle. It will take me a moment to register that I could be the only person she is talking to. A couple of people have asked to take my picture. Small shop owners are excited, rather than annoyed, about having to try to communicate with a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language. And people often get right up in my face and keep asking me questions and telling me about Taiwan… I’ve been locked in more than a few lengthy conversations with randos on the street here. I’ve never met a group of people be so excited to talk to foreigners. I feel like a celebrity!
As a culture that admires and cannibalizes other cultures, with notable Korean, Japanese, and Western influence, I guess this level of fascination is to be expected.