Tag Archives: Living

“How much money should I bring to Tokyo?” – A breakdown of my expenses over 5 nights

As I was planning my trip to Tokyo, I was told numerous times that it was a ridiculously expensive city. I ended up bringing about ¥35,000 in cash for food, drink, and whatever else I wanted to throw some dollar bills at (not including my hotel), and only had about ¥2,000 left after five days. I’m a fairly money-conscious individual, but do like to indulge every once in awhile. While there were certainly things I didn’t do while in Tokyo given my time constraints (the Robot Restaurant, for example), I left feeling like I did everything I had originally wanted to and was able to really enjoy my time here. So, if you’re wondering “how much money should I bring to Tokyo?”, keep reading for the breakdown of all my expenses over five days.

Continue reading “How much money should I bring to Tokyo?” – A breakdown of my expenses over 5 nights

Shinjuku Washington Hotel Annex, Tokyo: Affordable and convenient

Figuring out which area of Tokyo to stay in and then finding a hotel that doesn’t cost a fortune can be a logistical nightmare (especially when traveling over the popular sakura/cherry blossom season). After plenty of research on where to stay, I opted to pay a bit more for accommodation in a central area, as opposed to staying a bit out of the way to save some money. Shinjuku was on just about every travel guide and blog I read, so once I settled on that location it was time to choose a hotel. I narrowed it down based on price, distance from the metro, and facilities. The only hotel I found at the time to be within reason was the Shinjuku Washington Hotel Annex.

Continue reading Shinjuku Washington Hotel Annex, Tokyo: Affordable and convenient

Living in Hong Kong: Just your average (hilariously weird) day

These are snippets of what I’ve experienced living in Hong Kong over the past years: from the funny to the weird, and everything in between. I’ll continue to update this post as I come across more strange and wonderful things around the city.

70. Where this anti-smoking ad is more likely to make you laugh than to quit smoking. 

IMG_6237

69. Where honesty is key.

IMG_4859

68. Where you’ll find “Monkey Head” on a menu.

IMG_4876

67. When monks wear “spicy” shoes on the MTR.

IMG_4860

66. When people have too much money and too little sense, and decide to cover their Porsche in black velvet. 

image1

65. When restaurants need to specify that liquor is intoxicating, as opposed to it being..? 

Photo 28-3-15 7 24 21 am

64. When these are the things I see on my commute to work in the morning. 

Photo 8-7-15 8 20 30 am

63. When the Hong Kong Observatory issues a T8 (strong typhoon warning) without it even raining, and the whole city literally shuts down..

IMG_3774

62. When precautions are taken very seriously around a work site..

Photo 3-7-15 5 05 31 pm

61. Where people need to be reminded of proper hygiene practices.

Photo 28-3-15 7 19 45 am

60. When it’s 30°C outside and people are wearing a down jacket and Hawaiian shorts.

IMG_3074

59. Where this outdoor display is meant to entice you to eat here. 

Photo 10-11-14 7 57 24 pm

58. Where the elderly take their exercising seriously.

Photo 25-1-15 3 04 23 pm

57. Where the world’s most insane beauty products exist. 

Photo 12-12-14 9 05 58 pm

56. Where people are badass.

IMG_1812

55. Where seeing this becomes normal.

IMG_9387

54. Where clothes can be incredibly ironic.

Photo 31-10-14 6 34 31 pm

53. Where you can purchase a “Mini Portable Toilet”.

Photo 2014-01-09, 5 32 29 PM

52. Where you can find people sleeping at the bottom of stairwells.

Photo 2-11-14 7 02 04 pm

51. Where soup exists for your hands. 

soap

50. Where department stores display Halloween and Christmas decorations side by side.

halloween and christmas

49. Where fashion is taken seriously.

fashion

48. Where products like this actually exist and famous soccer players actually promote them.

weird products

47. When you’re not sure what the marketing strategy is.

funny

46. Where people own incredibly large cellphones.

cellphone

45. Where you always get a good laugh out of locals wearing English shirts.

english

44. Where you can find a truckload of bamboo just lying on the street.

bamboo

43. When fancy port-a-potty’s equipped with carpeted floors, a full length mirror, and a framed picture are rented for the Rugby Sevens. 

toilet

42. Where drying your entire wardrobe along a public walkway is a thing.

DryingClothes

41. When a notice regarding “throwing animal discharge from height” is posted in your apartment building.

notice sign

40. Where the love of egg tarts is real. 

egg tarts

39. Where you’re just not quite sure what to do in some situations (so you just take a photo instead)

wig

38. Where you can wait for the bus in style.

bus stop

37. Where you have announcements like this in the MTR:
“Please hold onto the handrails and not just look at your mobile phone.”

36. When businesses run out of the back of a van.

business

35. Where you can get some exercise on the side of the road.

exercise

34. Where the food safety and hygiene guidelines are questionable.

butcher store

33. Where people will queue for hours on end.

apple store queue

32. When a water pipe bursts, construction workers are more concerned with taking a picture of the flooding street than fixing it. 

water pipe

31. Where advertisements sure know how to catch your attention.

advertisement

30. Where DIY projects consist of sticking oven mitts to the handle bars of motorcycles.

DIY

29. Where you can buy wine by the plastic glass in the grocery store. 

wine in a plastic glass

28. Where this is considered entertainment at a nightclub. 

play nightclub

27. Where your choice of local grocery store is based solely upon how much its name makes you laugh. 

grocery store

26. Where public stretching in short shorts and no shirt is serious business. 

stretching

25. When candy wrappers warn consumers that “children and elderly people should not eat absolutely.”

candy

24. Where you can’t walk more than two blocks without seeing one of these “litter cum recyclables” bins.

litter bin

23. Where you can find horse figurines, among other oddities, randomly stuck into large rocks.

horse

22. When these are a few words of wisdom imparted on you by a local restaurant owner:
“Don’t go back to Canada. So many animal. So few people. Don’t waste your life.”
*Mr. Wong from Mr. Wong’s, Mong Kok

21. When eating pig skin is considered a delicacy.

cantonese cuisine

20. When your concept of what dessert is  completely flipped around.

dessert

19. When signs like this are posted outside of the washrooms at a bar.

funny sign

18. Where people are really serious about Hello Kitty.

hello kitty

17. Where this is on display at an amusement park.

ocean park

16. When this becomes a regular sight on a night out.

costumes

15. Where adults dressing the same is a thing.

matching backpacks

14. When the smog is so thick you can no longer see half of the tallest building in your area.

buildings

13. Where embarrassment does not exist.

exercise

12. When the weather is more indecisive than I am.

11. When owning an oven is the epitome of wealth and the envy of all your friends.

10. When you can take the escalator up to the gym.
Bonus: having a McDonald’s right underneath.

california-fitness

9. When you can find preserved whole baby crabs in a snack bag.

asian-snacks

8. When Groupon sells stuff like this.

ostrich-pillow-portable-power-nap-micro-environment-7

7. When you climb up a mountain and have this as your view (just ignore the smog).

hike-hong-kong

6. When the only way to get hot water in your flat is by turning this on.

water-heater

5. Where people either fear or are obsessed with dogs.

Wrapping Up 2012 In Hong Kong 049

4. When families and couples coordinate their outfits so they all match.

4. Just Your Average Day In Hong Kong

3. When it is 20° out and people are wearing winter jackets and boots.

2. When you’re on the MTR and see a man plucking out his facial hair with tweezers.

1. When you’re at the gym and
a) Men are wearing shorter shorts than women
b) People are wearing their work clothes
c) One in five people are talking on their cellphone

Top 10 Things To Do In Taipei, Taiwan

There is so much to do and see (and eat!) in Taipei that you might not have enough time to fit everything into your weekend getaway. While the list of things to do in Taipei is seemingly endless, I’ve compiled my top 10 favourite things I did while exploring the city for five days that were either absolutely free or incredibly cheap!

Continue reading Top 10 Things To Do In Taipei, Taiwan

5 Reasons Why GuavaPass Is The Only Gym Membership You Need

Getting a gym membership in Hong Kong can be an absolute nightmare; from trying to find the right gym with the right price in the right area. Thankfully, GuavaPass, a completely new way to go about becoming more healthy and fit, has come to Hong Kong to make working out easier and more fun (and without those frustrating contracts). I was able to do a two-week trial with GuavaPass and I honestly loved every second of it. Being an avid gym-goer for well over five years, I wasn’t sure if GuavaPass would be able to actually leave me wanting to switch gyms after the two weeks. I was – you guessed it – very wrong.

Continue reading 5 Reasons Why GuavaPass Is The Only Gym Membership You Need

The 10 Best Places To Visit In Tuscany

You’ve likely heard about the incredible beauty of Tuscany: its Renaissance-era architecture and art, and unique landscape. There are many different cities, towns, and villages throughout the area that are well worth a visit while you’re traveling around. Each region remains distinct from its neighbors and offers visitors a glimpse at its history, culture, traditions, and life. Below are the 10 best places to visit in Tuscany that are an absolute must when you’re in the area.

Continue reading The 10 Best Places To Visit In Tuscany

10 Things To Do In Lucca: A Guaranteed Good Time

Lucca, the capital city of the province of Lucca (confusing, I know) in Tuscany, is best known for its Renaissance-era city walls that are still standing today while many other city walls throughout Tuscany have collapsed. Lucca is a great city to stay in while you do day trips to various parts of Tuscany since it’s in a relatively central location. Aside from Lucca’s ideal location, the city has so much to offer visitors in terms of history, culture, architecture, and (of course) food. Whether you plan to stay for a day or a week, here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Lucca.

Continue reading 10 Things To Do In Lucca: A Guaranteed Good Time

The Top 8 Things To Do In Florence, Italy

Florence, the capital city of Tuscany, is one of the most visited cities in this region with its numerous iconic sights, fashion and art industry, and lovely architecture. While Florence does have a handful of things to do that are worth your while for a visit, 24 hours is enough time to see, do, and eat your way through this city. Below is a list of the top 8 things to do in Florence, Italy.

Continue reading The Top 8 Things To Do In Florence, Italy

5 Reasons To Visit One Of The 5 Towns Along The Cinque Terre

Though not necessarily familiar by name, once you’ve been shown a picture of any of the five little towns along the Cinque Terre with their brightly colored old buildings densely packed along the coast, you’ll remember seeing a photo and telling yourself that that is one of the places you’d love to visit. If you haven’t been already, hopefully this article will convince you to visit one of the five towns of the Cinque Terre; they are a true hidden gem in Italy and an absolute must if you’re looking for a bit of adventure, a splash of bright colors, deep blue-green waters, delicious food, and picture-perfect surroundings.

Continue reading 5 Reasons To Visit One Of The 5 Towns Along The Cinque Terre

SAAM’s New Kaiseiki Inspired Winter Tasting Menu

The saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover” rings true to the unassuming exterior of SAAM, despite Chef Patrick creating fabulous fine dining dishes in the kitchen. Tucked away on Graham Street in Central, it’s likely you’ve passed by SAAM multiple times and didn’t think much about it. Having recently revamped the menu and concept of the restaurant, SAAM is ready to make a big splash in Hong Kong’s dining scene with well thought-out tasting menus. The newest venture, after SAAM’s successful “Back to School” menu, is a kaiseiki inspired winter tasting menu highlighting seasonal ingredients and using various methods of preparation for each course.

Continue reading SAAM’s New Kaiseiki Inspired Winter Tasting Menu