For the past year, Su Beng has been in Tokyo overseeing some much needed renovations on his noodle shop, which he opened in the mid-1950s. This photo of Su Beng's noodle shop, currently closed for business, was taken in March 2009 by Freddy Lim.
It’s been a bit of a financial hardship for Su Beng to have to have had the noodle shop closed for a year. There have been complications and delays due to Japan’s strict building codes. The New Gourmet (新珍味) noodle shop, located near the Ikebukuro train stop, is a historic relic- it was the place where underground operatives from Taiwan were invited to be trained by Su Beng; it was the place that once generated a steady stream of income which Su Beng funneled back through his underground channels to Taiwan, the funds were for activists fighting for Taiwan’s independence. And it was the place where Su Beng wrote both the Japanese language and Chinese language versions of “Taiwan’s 400 Year of History.” It is also where Su Beng lived and worked during most of his over forty years of exile from Taiwan. Now if only the walls of this noodle shop could talk!
I was fortunate enough to have visited the noodle shop in 2005. This is how the noodle shop looked back then:
The noodle shop is located near Tokyo's Ikebukuro train stop, here you can see the address if you'd like to make a visit in the future:
Now that Su Beng has been back in Taiwan for about a month and has returned from the month long march with the Taiwan Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, I have been able to schedule some Skype calls with him about the biography. Though exhausted, the 92 year old is upbeat and anxious to return to Japan to reopen his noodle shop.
Over the past year, I have increasingly come away from my interviews with Su Beng feeling as though I am mining for precious gems. As Su Beng fills in the details, it is as if I am making all these small, but significant discoveries that will enrich the telling of this man's amazing life.