Hong Kong through the eyes of a Japanese American

 During the Golden Week vacation, I traveled to Hong Kong to visit my friend who recently started living there. I thought that it would be similar to any other city that I’ve been to, but I actually noticed several things that are unique to Hong Kong.



Hong Kong has the fastest escalator out of all the places that I’ve been to. Especially at Causeway Bay Station. I witnessed an elderly woman hesitating to get on, while the younger woman held her hand saying “Trust me!”

When I got on it for the first time, I felt a strong jerk, so I had to grab on tight to the hand rail. Once I got back to Seoul, the escalators felt extremely slow.

If I were to rank the speed of the escalators it would be like this :

1. Hong Kong      ★★★★★★

2. Seoul                    ★★★

3. Tokyo                   ★★★

4. Los Angeles      ★

Variety in Cash and Coins

In Hong Kong, different banks print cash with their original design, so even if they are the same amount, the designs could be different. I have not seen that in LA, Tokyo, or Seoul. Another thing that was new to me was the coin with a wavy-edge. I didn’t know that the wavy-edge coin is used in many other countries as well.


Tall buildings, huge signs, big trees

Compared to Tokyo and Seoul, the buildings, both old and new, are extremely tall and they stand very close to each other. My friend says that it is because Hong Kong doesn’t have many natural disasters.

Another thing that catches your eye in the dense city are the huge billboards and store signs. They were just unbelievably big compared to what I’ve seen.


Like Singapore, among these tall buildings and huge signs, there are also many trees. These thick green trees remind me of Laputa from Castle in the Sky.


English and Chinese Bilingual signs

As a person with an interest in languages, the first thing that made me take a picture in Hong Kong was these bilingual signs. It seemed like all signs were written in both English in Chinese, so I was able to learn some Chinese vocabulary and grammar while traveling.

Chinese is cool because it uses characters that I can understand through Japanese, but the word order is the same as English (SVO)!


Locals Identifying Places with Landmarks 

I met a few Hong Kong locals during my trip, but it seemed like all the locals were capable of pointing out the famous buildings from the beautiful night view. They even used that to give each other directions. The few that I remember are IFC, Sogo, iSQUARE, K11, and ICC.

I think Japan and Korea would usually identify places by the subway station name.



Availability of Eastern and Western food and brands

I was amazed by how international the products were in Hong Kong. At a supermarket, Japanese soy milk, and the American vitamin water, Tropicana, and naked juice were mixed in the same shelf. That is normal at a Japanese supermarket in California, but I think Hong Kong may have a greater variety. This broad mixture of Japanese and American food products would never be found in Korea. That made me think that I would never miss anything from back home if I lived in Hong Kong. That was the same for the bookstore too. Japanese fashion magazines, which are usually double the price when I buy it in the states, were not as expensive either.


What are some of the things that you notice when you travel to a new city and compare it with your hometown?


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