Tag Archives: Travel

A Complete Guide to the Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

The Tsukiji Fish Market is on just about everyone’s must-do when traveling to Tokyo, and for good reason! Earlier in the year, it was rumored that the fish market would be shutting down and relocating to another area of Tokyo. Thankfully, for those that have yet to visit the market, that plan has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. Until it does close, head on over to the Tsukiji Fish Market to try an array of street snacks, eat some ridiculously fresh sushi, and explore the wholesale market.

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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.

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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. 

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69. Where honesty is key.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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58. Where the elderly take their exercising seriously.

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

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56. Where people are badass.

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55. Where seeing this becomes normal.

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54. Where clothes can be incredibly ironic.

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

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

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51. Where soup exists for your hands. 

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

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49. Where fashion is taken seriously.

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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.

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46. Where people own incredibly large cellphones.

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

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

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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. 

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

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

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40. Where the love of egg tarts is real. 

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

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

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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.

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

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

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33. Where people will queue for hours on end.

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

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

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

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

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28. Where this is considered entertainment at a nightclub. 

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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18. Where people are really serious about Hello Kitty.

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

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

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15. Where adults dressing the same is a thing.

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

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13. Where embarrassment does not exist.

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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.

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

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8. When Groupon sells stuff like this.

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

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

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

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

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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

Discovery Bay to Mui Wo Hike, Hong Kong (Lo Fu Tau Country Trail)

The Discovery Bay to Mui Wo hike is perfect if you’re wanting to get off Hong Kong Island without wasting much time getting to and back from your hike. This hike is very straight forward and offers fantastic views of Discovery Bay and the surrounding islands (if the weather is cooperating). The first half of this hike can be challenging, with a lot of uphill stairs and a fairly steep climb up to Tiger’s Head. However, the rest of the trail is flat and downhill. The hike ends at Silvermine Bay Beach, so bring your bathing suit and take a quick dip in the water before catching the ferry back to Central.

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Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo: A city escape full of culture, history, and food

If you want to visit temples in Japan, most people will direct you to Kyoto where you’ll find plenty. However, if you’re only staying in Tokyo, you’d be missing out if you didn’t make the trip to Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. Although a very popular tourist spot, I loved walking around the Sensoji Temple and the surrounding Asakusa area. You’ll see plenty of locals partaking in various Buddhist practices, try a range of snacks at one of the numerous shops, and grab a souvenir or two before you leave.

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Sushi Katsura: Where you should be eating at the Tsukiji Fish Market

I was told to get to the Tsukiji Fish Market early (like, 5:00 am early), so that we could queue up for one of the sushi bars for breakfast. The two restaurants that were recommended to me were Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi. After doing a bit more research and reading nightmare reviews of people queuing for up to four hours for an overly priced, mediocre omakase sushi breakfast, there was no way I was going to get caught in that tourist trap. Instead, I stumbled upon a fantastic alternative, Sushi Katsura (すしかつら), just a few blocks away from the Tsukiji Fish Market. You can expect an incredibly good-valued omakase lunch at Sushi Katsura with zero queues and no 4:00 am wake-up call.

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Golden Gai: Small colorful streets filled with bars from Tokyo’s past

If you ask for suggestions on where to go for a fun night out in Tokyo, it’s likely that many people will tell you to head to Golden Gai in Shinjuku. This well-known area of Tokyo is famous for its nightlife. You’ll find 6 parallel alleyways with tiny bars crammed everywhere (there’s said to be over 200 bars). Many tourists come here for a bit of bar hopping (if you manage to find a seat), though there are a handful of bars that cater to a “Japanese-speaking only” crowd. While I can’t say I loved Golden Gai, I thought it was a unique experience that is worth checking out.

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Memory Lane Tokyo (“Piss Alley”): A unique part of Shinjuku with the best soba noodles

The Shinjuku district of Tokyo is a bustling, hectic, and very modern part of the city, however, there are a few spots only steps away from the busy main streets that offer visitors a glimpse into the old Tokyo. One such place is Memory Lane (translated from Omoide Yokocho, but also known as “Piss Alley”). Here you’ll find an assortment of tiny shops that serve up yakitori, soba noodles, and (of course) plenty of drinks.  Aside from just being really cool to walk through thanks to its narrow alleyways, cramped bars with people laughing, eating, and drinking, and Japanese decor strung throughout, this is where I found the best bowl of soba noodles.

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Fuunji Tokyo: A life-changing bowl of tsukemen ramen in Shinjuku

Fuunji Tokyo was said to serve up some of the best tsukemen in the city, and since I had never tried that type of ramen before (I know, I know) I was looking forward to trying it. The shop is a popular spot for both locals and tourists, so be sure to arrive early or go late, otherwise you should expect a queue (we went just after it opened and we still didn’t get a seat right away). There are only two things on the menu: ramen or dipping noodles (tsukemen), but the vast majority come for the latter. And trust me, it doesn’t disappoint.

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Narukiyo Tokyo: Omakase dining with plenty of sake, a hilarious chef, and the best vibes

There are so many fantastic restaurants in Tokyo that planning where to eat during your stay can be a bit overwhelming. Many well-established restaurants begin taking reservations upwards of a month in advance, so if you’re not in the know, you’ll likely miss out on an opportunity to have a fantastic meal. While many of these restaurants tend to be quite fancy, I discovered a hidden gem that I want to share with you: Narukiyo Tokyo. This restaurant only serves an omakase menu (meaning there is no menu), has insanely fun vibes (sit around the kitchen counter for added entertainment while enjoying the chef’s playlist and the awkward yet hilarious phallic objects scattered about the restaurant), and is basically guaranteed to be one of the best nights you’ll have in Tokyo.

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