Grandpa Guohua and Grandma Youai Dolls Give the Old Business District a Young Soul
In the Qing Dynasty, Tainan City was surrounded by a wall. People living outside the prefectural city often came to the inside to purchase articles or made transactions of goods. And the so-called inside of the city was mainly today's Guohua-Youai Business District. After the establishment of the Republic of China, commercial activities were particularly flourishing in this district. Going into the town was one of the activities that people living outside of the city longed for most on holidays.
"Shaka Reba," referring to "Kangle Market" surrounded by Youai Road, Haian Road, Jhongjheng Road and Guohua Street, was a symbolic site of the prefectural city providing food, clothing, education and entertainment. It sold the oldest delicacies and the most authentic snacks of Tainan. Taking a round trip of the market, people would be able to find all kinds of food they need. The shops of imported goods on Guohua Street were produced to meet the luxurious needs of the local rich people.
During the Japanese occupation period, this site was called "Suehiro-cho" (meaning increasing prosperity). The whole street was full of Japanese fashion shops and European boutiques, which always dazzled visitors' eyes. Consumers here seemed to be people of higher status. Besides, there were some entertainment choices. During the period of Japanese ruling, "tearooms" were established to meet the needs of the Japanese. The secret business here also brought economic prosperity to the special industry at that time. Besides, when matchmakers were going to arrange blind dates for young men and young women, they always took the "shaved ice shop" here as an ideal place. All these scenes reflected the special economic prosperity of that period.
After the 1970s, large department stores were successively established. The keenly competitive business environment made the business district face greater challenges. Fortunately, there was a century-old pine tree, called "Couple Tree" being the protective god of the local people. According to the legend, people are blessed after proposing here. Hence, the local people erected two large-size lovely dolls called "Grandpa Guohua and Grandma Youai" on the road, and they became extremely popular figures of the business district. On the 9th day of the 9th month in each lunar calendar year, local people and tourists like to pray for prosperity, peace and endless love in front of them.
In the last two years, "Guohua-Youai Business District" has been added with more vitalities: "Asakusa New Square" selling fashionable clothes of young people, organizing different kinds of activities for celebration of festivals, and presenting the old days' prosperity. In addition, some houses are remodeled as boutique hostels for backpackers. When you have traveled the old city all day long or need to take a rest at night, you can find a small bar here and order a cup of cocktail. Take a sip of your drink to commemorate the night life of Guohua Street during the Japanese colonization period, and have a perfect full stop for your wonderful journey of today.