HK is one of my favourite places in the world. Everything is just so… eh… casually cool? I don’t know how to put it. The whole place seems unplanned and a bit crazy but just works and looks fantastic. It’s like the Fonz of cities. Last time I was there I basically just rode the Star ferry all day between various Starbucks. If you go, do yourself a favour and visit the insanity of Langham Place Mall (or something like that) which has the most terrifying escalator I’ve ever been on.|
Japan – Tokyo at least – made my head hurt. I’ve been to some absolute shitholes (many major cities in West Africa, for example) but nowhere scared me like Tokyo did (not in a security way – never felt safer anywhere). It’s just so… huge… super huge… and it’s just walls and walls of buildings everywhere. Not that there aren’t some great places there (the palace, etc, the tourist shit basically) but my country-boy brain couldn’t handle it*. Rural Japan is like being a Martian visiting the bemused humans on earth, but much cooler and nicer and more relaxed (just don’t eat the tofu based food because it’s gross… or natto, which is the ultimate grossness).
Mainland China I love. It’s a bit busy everywhere and there’s a real car crash of old communism and new money but everywhere I’ve been everyone is just stupidly friendly, and even a little of the beaten track it’s dirt cheap for food and drink. Plus amazing buildings (Great Wall is not, in my opinion, the best of them by a long shot – it’s a bit shit up close).
*Bonus Japan Story: Bemused and tired and hungry I followed the recommendation of another traveller to visit this “bar/restaurant” on about the millionth floor of a building somewhere. I don’t even remember how I got there. Anyway, at the door some rather unfortunate guy had to explain you paid based on time on entry (or exit or something, I forgot because I got REALLY drunk) in broken English… ok… a bit weird. Inside there’s a bar (which is free) and a buffet thing. The place is a bit hip looking but nothing unusual. Drinking drinking drinking… free bar not good for Englishman… SUDDENLY RAVE. I mean that. Just out of nowhere about two dozen girls jump into this empty space, the lights go all flashy and RAVE. EVERYONE RAVE. It was a but jarring after about 30 bottles of some of tiny Asian beer. I still have no idea what that was about…