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View Poll Results: Which Asian city do you like to visit/live?
Tokyo 49 29.52%
Seoul 17 10.24%
Hong Kong 81 48.80%
Singapore 19 11.45%
Voters: 166. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-06-2008, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,169,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mead View Post
You don't think the language barrier is worse in Seoul than Tokyo?

Even if Koreans are minutely better than Japanese at speaking English, I think Tokyo is much more cosmopolitan than is Seoul and is therefore better for foreigners.

On my one and only trip to Seoul I felt like the locals were staring at me (the foreigner) to an excessive degree. In Japan people really don't care about you unless you do something really weird.

BTW, props to you for having Tiger Beer as your screen name
I was teaching English in Seoul. I found that Koreans pronounce English horribly, but would be able to read and understand anything written. They also study vocab words and grammar - although they are horrible at applying it. Also, generally, Koreans are obsessed about English, and you'll see many businesses with English letters as signs, etc.

In Japan, I'm teaching in another city, not Tokyo, but have gone to Tokyo several times. Most people do not have nearly as much background in English as Koreans, and most signs and even subway maps are predominately in Japanese. I also find it much harder to communicate with Japanese, who will always speak back in Japanese (which I will like in the longterm as I'm actively studying Japanese). Koreans, on the other hand, I would ask questions IN Korean, and they will ALWAYS respond poorly back IN English. Why not just speak back in Korean? I think because of their obsession with trying to use English.

However, you are right on the money about Tokyo being SIGNIFICANTLY more cosmopolitan and the Japanese people SIGNIFICANTLY more laid-back and cooler and just very very NORMAL. Whereas Koreans can be quite uptight and do not find that staring at someone is rude, etc. Koreans just lack social skills in so many ways, which make it difficult to be there longterm.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
11 posts, read 59,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post

However, you are right on the money about Tokyo being SIGNIFICANTLY more cosmopolitan and the Japanese people SIGNIFICANTLY more laid-back and cooler and just very very NORMAL. Whereas Koreans can be quite uptight and do not find that staring at someone is rude, etc. Koreans just lack social skills in so many ways, which make it difficult to be there longterm.
As someone who lived in Tokyo but visited Seoul a number of times, I find this interesting. Part of me is just wondering if you're comparing Seoul with non-Tokyo Japan.

I agree with Tokyo being more cosmopolitan than Seoul, but saying that Koreans lack social skills is rather harsh. Yes, Koreans are more outgoing, direct and aggressive than Japanese (we're speaking generally here), but I also think that this one of the key factors in Koreans speaking better English than Japanese-they're more likely to go for it in other words.

I don't know what you look like, but even living in Central Tokyo, I was stared at all the time, and while I usually didn't mind it (it's really just curiosity) I agree it can grate on your nerves at times. But as a blonde, Caucasian woman, I accepted this as a price because I looked so different from most folks.


We may just have to agree to disagree on this one however, as two people defending cities that we've never lived in-only visited.


As for best city, well, I vote for Tokyo. I never visited Hong Kong (but really want to), I enjoyed Seoul and Singapore. Really didn't care for Bangkok, but the rest of the country was amazing.
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Old 05-11-2008, 05:21 PM
 
11,883 posts, read 32,920,559 times
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Hong Kong, hands down.

I agree with the earlier posts about Singapore. Way too much of a police state. Sure, it's clean, but at what price? It's like what Disneyland would be like if it were run by Hitler.

I love Tokyo, too. But Hong Kong is just so amazing. Unlike the other cities, you can go from "downtown" Hong Kong (Central) to mountains and beaches within minutes. Sure, Hong Kong is crowded, but you're never very far away from remote islands and country parks. And getting around Hong Kong is not only cheap, but FUN. Subways, light rail, trains, ferries, double decker trams, a funicular, cable cars, double decker buses, taxis, and even the world's longest stretch of outdoor escalators.
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Old 05-11-2008, 08:14 PM
 
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Well... Seoul has some amazing upscale department stores that I enjoyed very much. Just thought that I'd throw that into the mix but then again Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore have great shopping too so that kind of cancels that out.
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:12 PM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
2,806 posts, read 15,204,793 times
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I think most countries in Asia have pretty nice department stores. We used to have lots of nice department stores in this country as well before suburban sprawl and all of the malls took over back in the 1950s.

I always liked Takashimaya. I've been to their stores in Japan and Singapore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adriane409 View Post
Well... Seoul has some amazing upscale department stores that I enjoyed very much. Just thought that I'd throw that into the mix but then again Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore have great shopping too so that kind of cancels that out.
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Old 05-11-2008, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
2,806 posts, read 15,204,793 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tokyobelle76 View Post
I don't know what you look like, but even living in Central Tokyo, I was stared at all the time, and while I usually didn't mind it (it's really just curiosity) I agree it can grate on your nerves at times. But as a blonde, Caucasian woman, I accepted this as a price because I looked so different from most folks.


We may just have to agree to disagree on this one however, as two people defending cities that we've never lived in-only visited.
I think the staring is worse in Korea than in Japan in my opinion. Mainland China is worse than the both of them. Hong Kong and Singapore are pretty cosmopolitain, so they generally don't stare at foreigners.
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Old 05-11-2008, 11:09 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,169,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tokyobelle76 View Post
I agree with Tokyo being more cosmopolitan than Seoul, but saying that Koreans lack social skills is rather harsh. Yes, Koreans are more outgoing, direct and aggressive than Japanese (we're speaking generally here), but I also think that this one of the key factors in Koreans speaking better English than Japanese-they're more likely to go for it in other words.
One of my co-workers who has visited Korea several times loves that Koreans are so outgoing and direct and even slightly aggressive as he is use to Japan and is sick of the overt politeness.

For me, its the opposite, I recently moved to Japan from Korea, and I am loving that they are so polite and to me, seemingly respectful of everyone they see and meet in public.

Maybe once I'm in Japan much longer, I will be seriously missing Koreans very straight-forward and blunt nature.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
11 posts, read 59,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
One of my co-workers who has visited Korea several times loves that Koreans are so outgoing and direct and even slightly aggressive as he is use to Japan and is sick of the overt politeness.

For me, its the opposite, I recently moved to Japan from Korea, and I am loving that they are so polite and to me, seemingly respectful of everyone they see and meet in public.

Maybe once I'm in Japan much longer, I will be seriously missing Koreans very straight-forward and blunt nature.


The politeness is very nice at first, and it does seem a welcome change at first. But the longer I was in Japan, the more I began to crave an honest answer and hated the waffling that would go on indeterminably. It was quite the eye opener for me to learn that "Ah, that will be difficult" actually should have been "Not a chance in H@ll" and I would have started looking for alternative options instead of waiting on the former. But that's just personal experience.

So, as a visitor to Seoul, the directness was a breath of fresh air. Also, I just found that Seoul (agreeably less cosmopolitan than Tokyo) was considerably better at handling foreign tourists (but then, I think Kyoto does a much better job of this than Tokyo). It seems that random, average Seoulites could (and did) speak quite a bit of English. Do not try this in Tokyo!

So TigerBeer, where in Japan do you live now, if you don't mind me asking?
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:22 PM
 
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I would have to say Tokyo. After that I choose HK, then Singapore/Seoul.
Tokyo is clean, convenient, lively, friendly and its "connected". Subway systems are probably the most reliable in the world, and I love the food. Even if you don't like Japanese food, there are lots of other awesome stuff to eat.
Tokyo also has really nice shops and there's a lot to see. Hk is pretty small, in terms of land-mass and population.
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Old 12-14-2008, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Hong Kong
339 posts, read 1,076,000 times
Reputation: 250
I haven't been to Tokyo or Seoul so I won't venture to comment on them.

I live in HK and have visited Singapore a number of times. The longer I stay in HK the more I love it. The diversity of the city is amazing and it has a fantastic energy. I think when you first arrive here people can seem rude and pushy but I don't think people are in the least aggressive. I think the pushiness and the ability to completely shut down and block the world out is a natural human reaction to being in a very crowded place a lot of the time. I find myself doing it now. But generally people are very honest, polite and friendly. One of the amazing things to me is that almost everyone, male, female young and old always stop and say hi to my baby son. In Australia most people ignore small children completely, particularly men.

As for the language, I agree that english is pretty limited in HK, apart from a few pockets here and there. But there is a good reason for that...something like 95% of the population are Chinese, native Cantonese speakers. Unlike Singapore which needs a common language (English) among it's much more diverse populace (Chinese, Malay, Indian, etc), HK doesn't require that. The common language is Guangdongwa. Why should anyone automatically expect a high level of English? The Brits are long gone.

I've taken it as an opportunity to learn some Cantonese since I live in a very Chinese area and it's opened up a whole new world, people are much more receptive when I speak to them in Chinese, often their whole demeanour instantly changes. As an aside it's a brilliant language and in many ways much more logical than english. Also, it also makes me laugh when people move to HK and start taking Mandarin classes! That would be kind of like moving to Spain and trying to learn French.

Singapore is, well, nice. It has some incredible food and interesting little pockets of culture, but it's quite small and I don't think I could deal with the tropical climate.

As I like to say, HK is organised chaos. Singapore is just organised. Give me chaos any day.
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