Toys in the Traffic

January 6, 2020

I think we all do this at some point. Driving in the car, sitting at a park, looking at people and wondering who they are, where are they going, what’s going on in their lives. How did they end up here, right now.

On the way back from a long day of park exploration in Kaohsiung’s spring sun, Johan and I drove past something unique. On the intersection of Haigong and Cuihua road is Mr. Lee’s wall of toys.

Mr. Lee sat under a big shady umbrella next to his truck and a jug of water. He looked up from his phone at us with glasses half down his face curiously.  


When he was younger he lived in Japan and worked as a cook at a well-to-do Chinese restaurant he told us. “I would sell stuffed animals at the night to make some extra cash. Plus, it was a fun way to meet a lot of interesting people. Everyone likes stuffed animals.” But, it wasn’t legal to sell things roadside in Japan. The cops had come many times to shut him down. “They took all of my things once. All of it. I don’t know what use they would have with this stuff though,” he laughed.

But, soon his time is Japan ran out, and his heart pulled him back to his home in Taiwan. “I still knew the people in Japan with the best toys and stuffed animals. Things you can’t get here.” So, he decided to try his toy business here. He has many specialty toys from Japan. “If people can not find what they want on the internet, they come here. I usually have it, or can get it.” He told is that people are nicer here in Kaohsiung too. One of the local police officers is even one of his best customers.

He has been on this corner for years now. Displaying his collection to anyone who happens to pass by.

“So what do you do when business is slow?” Johan asked.

“I go on the internet. I keep the area clean. I Meditate. And I watch the traffic pass.”