Japan was a blast and it was way too fast. It was mostly eating and getting used to the subway train lines. It is super efficient and super regular like clockwork. And its kind of nuts. I need a subway map next time of all the Tokyo train lines.
Food was fantastic. The most exciting part was seeing all the convenience store food and all the little extra things the Japanese do to make it more complete, like having a container with ridges for elastics to close it, and a notch for a spoon to fit in the takeout container. The foods in convenience stores were wayyy better than that offered in Canadian convenience stores, with full meals of rice, noodles, meat and other things. Restaurants were equally exciting, with full on displays of dishes outside and fantastic lit signs and narrow cozy roads (easily one of my favorite things in Japan). The food was mind blowingly good, especially the ramen. The first night we were there, we had ramen that was just nice rich and creamy. The taste was something else and was easily orders of magnitude better than what is offered in Edmonton. I used to think that it was just food snobbery that people had when they said Japanese food in Edmonton was terrible, but now I believe it. Sushi and sashimi wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, but still good nonetheless. It was the katsudon and noodles that blew my mind. And the bakery. Oh the bakery. It was soooo good. There was a minced chicken and cheese bun that just melted in my mouth and a sugar and butter toast sandwich that was unbelievably delicious.
All this food really screwed up my diet, but that was expected. What wasn’t expected was how limited I could do my workouts. I brought a pair of pushup grips and an ab wheel, but it was a nightmare to try to do a full workout in the tiny hotel room. I dont think I could get over the tiny spaces. I realized how spoiled we are in Canada with all the open area and cheap gyms and free running space. There was no running space in Tokyo. I went outside to look for a closed space to do even just jumping rope and I couldnt find anything. It was depressing. And the fire stairwell that looked perfect for stairs was closed off and locked. Very depressing. It seems that everyone walks here so much that they pretty much burn off all their calories, while in fat North America we are spoiled with an excess of driving and little walking. I felt really fat and depressed. Buuuut, I also knew that I would be struggling with weight while travelling so that was a little more acceptable. But I was dying to run. So bad.
Things changed with running here in Hong Kong. The harbor running path is unbelievable and there is so much trail to hit. The heat, humidity and elevation have made me really die on these runs. I am sweating like a mad bull and hitting pushups after is just unreal. I feel like I am getting such a crazy workout here and its managing all the unbelievably exciting foods.
Electronics was mind blowingly exciting in Japan, especially in Akihabara district. So much used and rare models I was salivating and thinking if it was worth it to buy these much older but rarer models just for kicks. Thankfully I didnt go nuts and I saved my cash but it was sweet there. And the camera lenses were all out in the open just sitting there allowing customers to bring their own DSLR bodies and try everything on. I got to try some really cool lenses like the Sigma 8-16mm. Hong Kong was a different story. There is a huge class difference here and I was an anchovy in the buying chain. With very eager sales reps on commission, everything is very push push push. I saw a guy buy a Nikon D4 DSLR body, and three of Nikon’s best lenses (14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200 mm VR F2.8), all at one sitting. It was like $15,000 CDN of camera stuff at one go. So I pretty much wasn’t a priority haha. And I was thinking of a measly Nikkor 17-55 F2.8. It also turns out that electronics here in Asia are not as cheap as I thought they would be. The Nikkor in Canada is about 1300, while here in Hong Kong it is about 2100. Almost a grand more! Wow. The one thing I regret was not buyng the Audio Technica Es7 headphones in Tokyo. They were an exciting sounding headphone and I haven’t seen any here in Hong Kong. And there are so many fakes that I don’t really want to buy it outside of Japan. In Canada there are no places where you can try these AT headphones out before you buy so it kind of sucks. The ATHPRO700MK2 turned out to be a good bass can but thats it. Everything else was so muddy I am glad I didn’t order them. It sucks that I didn’t get to try the ESW7 headphones but whatever. I am probably more interested in getting a good pair of open cans like the AKG Q701s.
I realized that having a prime lens for travel is kind of annoying. There are so many different kind of pictures that if you want to quickly change lenses it becomes really bothersome and with dust and moisture, worrysome. I can see why people buy the 18-200 VR for travel. But I also would much rather have the F2.8 for night shots, and I am glad that I didn’t get the Tokina 11-16, as more of my shots are in the 18 mm range.
The food here in Hong Kong is just like awesome. I love the cafe food the most, as its just tried and true good food, with nothing fancy or expensive, just the way I like it. And in a surprising change of events, I found that I love the milk tea a lot more than coffee here. Its so freaking good. And the awesome part is how everything like a common McDonalds has all of the foods that I love.
The thing that kills it for me is the heat and humidity. Its great for busting a sweat on a workout, but it sucks feeling like I have to take a shower every ten minutes. I never thought I would love and appreciate Edmonton weather but I certainly do now. I freaking love air conditioners right now.
Transportation is surprisingly navigateable as long as I have a map. The transit map is really easy to use. It just kind of sucks when you don’t have one. I am obviously way too dependent on Google maps and a data plan, because I panic when I don’t know where I am. But with a map, I think I can do it fine.
I will be happy to be back in Canada and relish in all the giant open space, and will really appreciate home a lot more, but I will miss everything here in Asia, aside from feeling like I cannot be the same kind of talker that I am back home.