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Xinyi Eslite Closing Day 

Eslite, the largest bookstore chain in Taiwan, has stores located all over the island. One of the more prominent and popular locations is the Xinyi store, known to be the largest bookstore in Taiwan and for its 24-hour open times. This store provided a hub for readers, people just looking to browse the stationery, a place for relaxation…

On the 24th of December 2023, the store held its closing day with many items on sale and music and dance performances as a farewell to the 24-hour Xinyi Eslite.

Final exploration of a well loved bookstore

The atmosphere was buzzing on its closing day. I struggled to walk past the crowds of people coming and going as I walked towards the entrance. People, or rather, fans, were standing outside the grand entrance of the store taking photos, posing, and saying goodbye. It was surprising to see so many people lining up for a photo with a bookstore for its closure. Yet the atmosphere did not feel sad or down at all. I could tell that many groups of friends decided to come together and give the store a final exploration and have some fun.

Dancers and musicians captivated the crowds

The 8,000 square meter bookstore comprised a couple of levels, each full of people browsing the aisles of different genres of literature, music, or stationery. As I followed the flow of people up the escalator to the second floor, I was met with a noticeable gathering of an audience in the music section. The bustling noise of the crowd subsided and the calming sound of a handpan came through. Thirty or so people were standing around Manav Mehta while he created delightful sounds on the unique instrument. Around him were dancers, clad in simple white clothing, dancing to the music of the handpan. The audience was captivated. Without a stage, the performers stood and moved around the stands of books and displays, seemingly including the audience as a part of the act.

After a while, the performers moved upstairs, and many followed. The handpan was brought out again while Addison (安晨 ) and Jacky (彭胡傑) each played the bass and an assortment of instruments, such as chimes, the box drum, and some handmade instruments made out of plastic bottle caps, to create an enthralling musical performance. Another aspect of this performance that was so striking, was the ability of the three performers to communicate non-verbally as they played and progressed with their show. Nods, gestures, and smiles that were incomprehensible to the audience were exchanged between the three throughout the pieces. It was as if the music brought them together in a way that no one else could understand and their connection with one another is what made the performance as ear-catching as the quality of music.
After speaking with the performers and some event attendees, it was clear that they agreed the performances brought forth joy. Although they were disappointed to see the Xinyi bookstore close, they were glad that everyone had a chance to come together and enjoy the space one last time.
katharine-osman - 1
Katharine Osman is an aspiring journalist and passionate writer keen on reporting and investigating an array of topics.

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