So I Went to Hong Kong…

I just got back last Monday from a 4 day trip to Hong Kong! There will be many posts to follow concerning all of my adventures in that MASSIVE city, but for now I’d like to share with you just a few of the comparisons I’ve made between Hong Kong and Kobe/Osaka, Japan:

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Japan Hong Kong
People Courteous and polite but not overly friendly. Extremely reserved and conformed. RUDE but jovial. Relaxed. I saw a lot of people laugh in public which I realized that I don’t see a lot in Japan, outside of children.
Language Very little English, mostly Japanese. There are signs in English at tourist destinations and some train stations. Japanese sounds very sing-songy to me with a lot of ‘seeeennnn’s at the end of words – also the last syllable seems to be drawn out a lot. The entire city seems to be bilingual. If I found someone who didn’t speak English chances are that the next person I spoke to would. All signs and announcements were in both English and Cantonese. Cantonese is the regional dialect that they speak in Hong Kong and it has a lot of ‘ong’s’ in it. Prior to going to a Chinese speaking country I wouldn’t have known how to differentiate between Japanese and any other Asian language but I definitely could tell the differences as soon as I got to HK.
Food MOSTLY JAPANESE FOOD  (ugh). Osaka and Kobe are peppered with foreign food stores and restaurants, but nothing compared to what we have in the States. Many western restaurants in Japan will offer what they think is western food, but it is just a weird version usually covered in mayonnaise HK definitely feels like a Western city and has an array of restaurants to meet your every craving. I ate Italian twice and Mexican once and it all tasted normal.
Customer Service The Japanese will go above and beyond to meet your every need. Even at McDonald’s they may bow at  you to show you respect. When you make a purchase at a department store if you aren’t careful they will gift wrap it for you in a perfect (yet time consuming) way. Japanese customer service is above and beyond anything I’ve every experienced anywhere else in the world. Customer service is virtually non-existent. As I stated before, people were rude in HK.. And this carried over into their customer service skills (or lack there of).
Tipping No tipping. A 10% charge is automatically added to your bill at restaurants and its customary to tip taxis.
Taxis Expect to pay 600-700 yen just to get in a taxi (that’s like 6 Japanese dollars) $2.5 HKD is the base charge for taxis. We took many taxis because they were soooo cheap. It was extremely convenient!
WiFi Non existent! Everywhere – not all of the wifi is free, but we just kept looking while we were out and we would usually find a store or restaurant that would offer free wifi!
Lines Everyone stands in lines in Japan – they are very polite and will patiently wait in line without cutting in front of anyone or looking annoyed. No lines – whoever gets there first is the winner! Lots of pushing and shoving too!

 

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