1983, 158 pages, 18.7 x 13 x 1 cm
I bought this book during a recent visit to the big flea market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. At first it stood out because of the cover – bright yellow with a retro illustration featuring an astronaut and robot. It’s not clear from the illustration if the astronaut is being attacked by the robot, which given their facial expression could well be the case, or whether they have just built or configured the robot. Given the topic of the book I hope it’s the latter.
五金勞作64種 (wǔjīn láozuò 64 zhǒng) is a craft projects book from 1983. The title roughly translates as ’64 hardware projects’. Most of the 64 projects are about 2 pages and range from making a briefcase out of paper, to making a telegraph machine or a battery powered fan.
The brief length of the instructions for each project is deceptive, as many of the projects require batteries, motors, or things that might not be readily available around the house. The pictures are also quite rudimentary, which could make the more complex projects even harder.
I didn’t buy the book to actually make the projects, though. I was more interested in using it for language learning. I find that instructions are often the perfect place for finding useful vocabulary in succinct sentences, exactly what you want when picking up a language.
Looking at the last page in the book it lists the bookshop where the book was distributed as a place in Tainan, a city in the south of Taiwan. The complete address was listed so I got on Google Maps to see if it was still there. Unfortunately it wasn’t, as you can see from the picture the building was up for rent. However, if you zoom into the doorway you can see the nameplate of the bookshop that used to be there 「大山書店」. The address is located in 鎮北坊文化園區 (Zhèn běi fāng wénhuà yuánqū), a cultural zone in Tainan. I’ll visit there the next time I go to Tainan and bring back some photos.