Compared to Tokyo, Taipei is really a shopping paradise. They have all the same expensive brands I love in Japan, but they also offer a cheaper alternative. First of all, Taipei has night markets, and because Taiwan is a large manufacturer of many products, there are also warehouses with endless bins of cheap merchandise. You won't find such bargains in Japan.
Because I was only in Taiwan for a few days I didn't get a chance to buy very much stuff, but here are some things I brought home with me:
1. Taiwanese candies!
This company is very famous in Taiwan and makes the best candies. Both are chewy, nougat sweets. One is almond flavored and the other is milky (I like the almond one best). These sweets are also packaged wonderfully, so they make great gifts.
2. Clothes from the night market
I didn't plan on doing any clothing shopping in Taiwan. Like most places in Asia (except Hong Kong) I'm too tall and too wide for almost all clothing. However, I somehow manage to fit the "free-size" in Japan and Taiwan, so when my friend and I say some cute dresses at a night market stand, we decided to buy them at a discount.
Full disclosure, I did have to alter them a bit to fit me. Basically, the bodice was too short (i.e. the waist was fitting right under my bust), so I added about 4" of fabric to the shoulders. (that's a nice little trick, by the way). You can see the dress on the left has black fabric added to the shoulders, but I think it turned out to be a nice design feature.
I had a chance to wear both dresses this summer. You can see my photos here.
3. Books and magazines
Yes, I am learning how to read Chinese, so these aren't just for show. On the left is a women's fashion magazine, and on the right is a famous queer book called Notes of a Crocodile (which I hear is finally being translated in English!). This combination is just soooooooo typically me: Fashion and culture.