First of all, choose the style of kimono as there are many different types available. The most formal are usually black with a gold obi that is tied around the waist. The exciting part of the kimono is the jacket that is laid over the top of the main part of the kimono.
So here are the steps to follow. The First layer is a white cotton sleeveless garment that is a bit like a tunic. There is usually some colourful silk embroidery that is on one side. The idea is that it is visible when you wear the jacket over the top. The sleeveless vest is fastened to the body with a lightweight band that is fixed tightly above the waist.
The next step is to wrap the kimono itself around the body. The kimono I wore was long enough to reach my ankles and needed to be wrapped around twice until it was tight. The difficult part is fitting your arms into the sleeves. They are very loose and baggy – half-sewn up so that your arms can fit through them easily.
A thick braided sash called an obi is then tied tightly over the kimono so that it acts as a belt to keep the kimono in place. I felt very warm by the time this had been done. The obi is always tied at the back – this was done for me but I’m sure that you could do this yourself with practice. The ladies obi is really impressive – almost like a handbag that is attached to the lower back.
You’re almost there. The final part is to where the jacket over the kimono. This is the most delicate and elaborate part. There is a great choice of kimono styles and motifs. Various birds, flowers and Japanese symbols are sewn on to the jacket rather than being printed, this gives them a wonderful decorative flourish. I saw several different colours with many in deep greens and golds and reds. Most would be worn on formal occasions such as weddings and graduation ceremonies. It is also common for children to wear kimonos on their fifth birthdays.
Wearing a kimono for the first time is a special occasion, if a little daunting because of the choices available. Even in Japan, its fairly unusual for people to wear them very often. This being said, I did enjoy wearing it. I had to be extra careful not to damage or stain the sleeves when eating, but it felt great to open the jacket loose and let the sleeves puff out. It certainly is an impressive garment, and the wide sleeves give the wearer plenty of impact.
There are resources on the history of kimono available on line, and the V&A is holding an exhibition of kimonos from 7 August. Titled Kimono – Kiyoto to Catwalk*, it will look at how the style of the kimono has evolved over the years.
Various kimonos are available to hire from kimonodego** in London.
I had only been living in New Malden for a few months, the nondescript suburban neighborhood in South-west London between Wimbledon and Kingston. It’s not known by anyone outside of the area, except for one thing. It has the largest Korean community outside of Korea, and for me that was the reason why I ended up spending more than five years there.
I was living right in the middle of Korea-town – and as far I was concerned this was the best place in London to be. There may have been trendy areas outside – that were better connected to the rest of London. But what did I care? I had twenty Korean restaurants to visit – this was the closest I was going to get to Korea without moving there.
To give things some context, only two years before, Psy had smashed internet records by being the most played video on Youtube. Korean movies had already become well-known, and people were getting excited by Korean dramas. The K-pop scene had yet to become the all-conquering global power it is now, but it was getting there. But all this is just the frills, the extras on what was and is my primary reason for becoming interested in Korea.
I really started to notice the women when I moved to Korea town. The first thing I did was try to learn Korean. There’s no better way to meet a girl than attempting to speak her language. At the same time this was happening I got my first law firm job – providing personal injury support for road accident victims.
Maybe it wasn’t the best job – I was far too underpaid for the stress I got trying to meet targets- but there was one thing that made me happy to come to work each day.
Nak-young was a legal secretary who started working a month after I did. Eun Young was married and had a child. Not that that stopped me speaking to her. Nak-young was tall and slim. As far I was concerned she was the most beautiful woman in my life – she had the oval face, pale skin and full lips that are associated with Korean beauty. She was much nicer than most of the k-pop girls as well. She looked great wearing a hoodie or full evening wear. I soon started treating Nak-young as a close friend and the time we spent together was extremely precious to me.
We didn’t stop seeing each other after I left the job – she got to know me even better – as I felt that i could tell her everything about myself. i started to realise that there were two types of women as far as Asian women are concerned. There are those girls you can go out with – who may go on to be your girlfriend. Then there are those who will become your close friend, someone you can confide in, on the understanding that you will remain only friends. Even if I knew that Nak-young was never going to be more than a friend, I will say that I learned so much from my time with her.
When we went out the first time she told me about her job as an air hostess, then meeting her husband, and having a son with learning difficulties. The second time, it was her turn to talk about me – and she spent most of the time helping me find a way I could have sex with my girlfriend.
I won’t say that Nak-young was my Asian first time because she was not the first Asian woman I was intimate with ( I count our encounters as intimate based on the closeness of our thoughts). I think Nak-young was smart enough to see how much our experiences meant to me, though I’m sure they were more significant to me than her.
For the first time in my life, I felt that my life had a clear sense of purpose.. I felt there was a clear connection between the spicy heat of pickled cabbage, the green bottles of soju I drank, and Nak-young’s jet black hair, long legs and dazzling crescent moon eyes. My world was good and I loved everything in it.
Fresh off the Boat ended its run in February, more than five years since it originally started. For being the sole representation of Asians on TV, it has left an outstanding legacy. But there has been another Asian family TV show that has been gaining followers and fans – Kim’s Convenience.
The shows are superficially similar – both examine families living in a North American city and show how they sometimes struggle to fit in. But once you actually watch Kims Convenience you start to realise that it’s wrong to look at Kims expecting it to be the same as FOTB. It’s set in Canada, for a start, and Fresh was deliberately filmed in Florida of the nineties. The style of FOTB is very ironic and knowing – we can laugh at how things used to be. Kims is very much the show of now – it’s the present after all. Most of it is very realistic – which is not how FOTB unfolds, because Fresh is the product of a writer’s imperfect memories of growing up.
However much the actual Eddie Huang (writer of the book) complained that it removed the darker moments, the first season does a brilliant job delineating the first year that the Huangs spend trying to familiarise themselves with white collar Orlando. Perhaps the earliest episodes were a little weak comedy wise, but even by episode 6 they were getting into really exciting territory – tackling racist stereotypes head-on and looking at how hard it is to remain true to your culture.
Fresh used the nineties setting to give many fans a warm glow – the colours of the clothes and the glossy neighborhood setting always make for great TV. Each episode contained loving references to popular fads of the time. Whether it was Eddie’s love of Biggie and Tupac, or Evan’s Beanie Babies, the show was a lovely trip down memory lane for anyone who can remember growing up in the nineties.
Even more importantly – the show was often laugh out loud funny – by the time they made an episode actually filmed in Taiwan there were jokes every three seconds. Another great pleasure was had in watching the three Huang brothers growing up- the show caught the boys just as they were becoming interesting, and stopped when Eddie had finally matured into a young man.
It’s hard to find as much to like in Kim’s Convenience Store. The Kims seem to be accepted by everyone in their Vancouver neighborhood. There are no real conflicts here, except of the very trivial kind. The family want to hold on to their Korean heritage rather than embrace Canadian culture. There’s nothing like the So Chineez episode – where Jessica started speaking in Mandarin and cooked Chinese dishes. The Kims don’t need to do any of that – because people already accept them as they are. It may be an example of multi-culturalism, but it’s boring to watch a show when there are no conflicts.
Maybe for comedy to be successful, you need an element of cultural snobbery, or humiliation. But the characters in Kim’s are tolerated all the time, even when they make cultural faux pas. Also , the characters are too down to earth to be really memorable as sitcom characters. If the Kims are funny , it’s mostly down to the strong Korean accents, rather than any external situations. There’s nobody as comically brilliant as Jessica Huang -who may have been overplayed but was always recognisably human.
As for the writing, FOTB was much stronger. Every episode followed a classic sitcom arc of problem, resolution, and pay-off. There were cute jokes about Evan’s toys, Eddie’s lunch, or how much Jessica loved Costco. Also, the influence of the wicked humour of Ali Wong was much in evidence. There was the ‘Asian Flush’ episode, which Wong made a brief appearance in, for example. Then there were the Christmas episodes with Jessica’s model villlage and her Lao Ban Santa costume. Some of the best involved mocking Asian customs such as Chinese New Year, and their love of Asian sports stars. There were double entendres, references to Chinese culture that would not always sink in immediately – and a whole soundtrack of old Hip-hop that would be used just at the right time.
Kims has stories which simply meander and fizzle out, there are no dramatic conclusions or very big lessons to learn. Take one episode in Season 1. An old flame of Amma’s arrives in the shop and Janet thinks that he is still interested in her. It could be exciting but he quickly explains that he is married. The storylines are weak – one episode climaxes with the characters getting food poisoning from a bad Korean stew. Episodes aren’t connected and could probably be watched in random order. FOTB was more enjoyable – it’s funny to watch children doing silly things – Kims can’t provide this – the best it can do is to have the characters learn something about themselves – Uppa realises he is too bossy, or the daughter asserts her independence.
I know exactly which show I would prefer to watch. Still, i’m not complaining – it’s always good to see Asians on TV; and maybe – just maybe – Kim’s can make new episodes which are up to the standard of Fresh.
I like to watch porn, and as I have a liking for Asian women, I like to see some Asian porn from time to time. If I’m interested in women from a particular country, I will tailor my search to find porn that matches exactly the Asian nationality I am looking for.
I know I’m not alone in my preference. For example, visit pornhub and you will see Asian as one of the first categories that people can search for. Not merely because it begins with A, but simply because Asian is probably the most popular category there is. And although some would call it a fetish, its more that men prefer to watch Asian women above women of any other nationality. I’ll reserve the term fetish for the category of more extreme stuff which tends to involve Asian women.
What I’m more concerned with here is the standard of the pornography (Asian) that is produced and the possible messages it sends to the user. Let’s say for simplicity sake that the user we are talking about is a white male. He probably meets few Asian woman IRL, unless he happens to be travelling to an Asian country or living in one. And let’s also assume that he doesn’t have an Asian girlfriend. His first exposure to Asian women is likely to come from pornography – and this may shape his ideas about Asian women.
Generally the nature of Asian pornography tends to put an emphasis on the Asian ethnicity of the performers first and foremost. It’s as if the main appeal of these women is their Asian-ness. This is of course true of many women in porn – women being sold on the basis of where they come from, body type – but it seems especially true of Asian porn. Then there is the perceived ‘foreign’ appeal that these women have. For example, films typically emphasise their foreign ethnicity in many ways. It’s common for titles to reference particular cultural symbols – the fortune cookie, sakura for Japan – or simply references to Asian food (one series being called Asian buffet).
For most American pornography the titles reflect the desire white men have for Asian women. Most pornographic film scenarios combine an Asian woman with a white man, but it’s becoming more common to see black men with Asian women too – even becoming a sub-category in its own right. In spite of the fact that many Asian women may never date a man outside their own race – from watching these films you get the idea that all Asian women are desperate to have sex with he first white or black man that the meet. One thing that is less common is any reference to Asian genitalia being any different from other women’s – and here the makers may be doing some service to Asian women in refusing to spread this trope. It’s also less common to see Asian women being depicted as submissive. Perhaps this isn’t such a good stereotype to use if you want to show a confident and sexy woman.
On the other hand – If you’re an ASian woman, you might worry more about the damage these films do in a general sense. For example – the sheer quantity of porn produced in Japan must have an effect on the way Japanese women are viewed by outsiders – and not all of it is positive. Then again – I wonder how many men have watched these films and thought that they would like an Asian or in particular a Japanese girlfriend. Here it’s worth pointing out that of all the pornography produced in Japan (known as AV) – it’s always Japanese women and Japanese men (or occasionally a white woman and a Japanese man). this gives the impression (rightly or not) that it’s harder for foreign men to have sex with Japanese women or have them as partner.
If there’s a category of Asian porn that is likely to harm Asian women the most, it is the films that show older western men in poorer Asian countries seeking out usually younger Asian women and filming them for sex. My biggest concern for these films is that the women are greatly disadvantaged economically and cannot truly give their consent. Pornographic websites producing this content send out the message that women in Thailand or Vietnam are so much easier to have sex with; and are not concerned even with sexual health or protection. They spread the troubling belief that women can be bought and used purely for men’s sexual pleasure. Once the women are filmed in these situations, they lose all control over their freedoms: the information is able to spread across the internet. It’s probable that the companies which take the money from the subscribers paying for the content are seeing the profits from this exploitation. If these women had more power – they could find away to generate income through producing their own media and by having control of its distribution. We are already seeing this happen with Asian performers in the States – with adult actresses such as Vina Skyy and Cindy Starfall producing their own material which they can promote through fan only websites. Sadly, the woman in poorer Asian countries have no such option for their work.
If they wanted to, the women in amateur sex videos which are shown online could use the videos as promotion. If they could find a way to target the users directly – treating them to self-produced content. Every time a new video is uploaded, it gets harder and harder for men to see women in poorer Asian countries as having much choice over what happens to them. Men will continue to travel to these countries because the women are seen to be more sexually promiscuous – and the advantage on most occasions comes from simply having a foreign passport. It will only change when the women
If there is a positive side to all of the Asian pornography, it’s that men will continue to seek out Asian women for sex, companionship and perhaps marriage. The demand for Asian porn is amply met by supply which seems to show no signs of slowing down. If anything, there is more pornography than ever before – the huge amount of Asian performers is evidence of this. And with so many white men favouring Asian women, how much of this is down to the rise of Asian pornography is obviously difficult to say. At it’s best, pornography can help to teach people about sexuality. The best films show sexuality in a positive light and I will continue to watch films which I believe send out positive messages.
Until they do, the men who make this material will continue to exploit these women due to the economic advantage they have over them.
Japan Airlines to no longer require women to wear skirts and heels
After a long social media campaign (#Kutsu), the flagship carrier JAL announced as of April 1 that it would no longer dictate uniforms for its female workers. Trousers will now be optional and women will no longer be required to wear heels.
I have an opinion on this. Having flown several times in Asian countries I have taken an interest in the uniforms worn by flight attendants. I can see that trousers might be more comfortable for cabin crew, particularly on long hall flights, but the image won’t be the same. There is a kind of timeless elegance to the traditional flight attendant uniform. Yes, its true that many airlines have already allowed female staff to wear trousers. Yet, most women will probably carry on wearing skirts, makeup and heels, no matter the result of the ruling, especially as this is the style most passengers prefer.
It’s a job that puts women (and men) in the public eye. I’m sure most female flight attendants are well aware of this.
Since the fashion photography of Norman Parkinson, we have been aware of the connection between aviation and glamour and it would be a shame if this were to change. Whilst it’s probably inevitable that other airlines such as Cathay Pacific will follow the path set by JAL, there is still time to enjoy the glamour of beautiful flight attendants wearing heels, stockings, and a skirt.
Many people have said that they want an Asian girlfriend. But there are some important things to bear in mind, because it’s really easy to be caught out when you’re from too very different cultures. These things won’t be so obvious in the early stages, but I guarantee that after a while they will be – especially if you’re thinking about shacking up together. If you follow these key steps, you’re more likely to have a much smoother and easier relationship with fewer of the issues that can and do arise in many WMAF relationships (or black or Indian and Asian, whatever).
Number 1 – Be prepared to pay for everything.
It can take some getting used to, but you have to do this, if you’re used to dating only Western women. For at least the first three months, make sure that you cover the cost of the dates and anything else that comes up. Make sure you pay for any cups of coffee, movie tickets, dinners out and other things. Not fair?? But it kind of is fair. You see, Asian women expect the man to take care of them, because they will take care of you in return. You can minimise the damage to your wallet by only having relationships with straight -forward Asian women, who aren’t the type to expect VIP tables at nightclubs or front row seats to Bruno Mars. What tends to happen when you pay for everything is that she starts to take care of you in return, and that’s a wonderful thing. It’s more common for women to say that they want to split the bill when they don’t really like you – as I have found, this is because when they don’t have romantic feelings, they want to make this as clear as possible. It’s much better this way, I’m sure you’ll agree.
So what I’m saying is, make sure you never ask her to pay for stuff on dates, at least for the first month or so. This is something most Asian guys understand really well for the most part. Of course, you aren’t giving her money for clothes, bags and makeup, or you really shouldn’t be.
Number 2. When you have an argument, you need to be the first to apologise.
With western style relationships, if one of you has a fight, it’s normally the one who was in the wrong who must aplogise. But with Asians its more about the man coming to the woman first, offering to comfort her after an argument. Let’s say that you have a disagreement which results in some time apart, and you wait for her to come to you. You’re making a mistake because she will carry a lot of hurt. It’s much better for the relationship to aplogise, so that she can see that you care for her all the time.
Number 3. Take your damn shoes off!
You might be comfortable living somewhere where you leave your shoes on inside the house, but this goes counter to everything Asians believe in. It’s not worth arguing about, unless you’re Larry David or something, and you don’t want to make this into a sticking point.
Number 4. Remember birthdays and anniversaries.
The big ones for Asians seem to be Valentines Day (she gets you something) and White Day, a month later, where you return the favour. Again, I think that the quid pro quo makes it better for men. It’s not like you’re doing everything for her and getting nothing back in return. There are some more special days for couples, but most are for Koreans only.
Number 5 – Share your food.
Share your food. In fact, you should make sure that her plate is fully topped up before you see to yours (same goes for any woman you are with). You should aim to do the same thing when you go out for a drink, have a coffee, or eat something at a street-food stand. It took me a while to do this. But it’s about showing that she is important to you and making her feel treasured, and not thinking of yourself first all the time.
Number 6 – Talk about your relationship with her.
I know most men aren’t very direct with their feelings. But the best way to keep your Asian girlfriend is to remind her of your feelings whenever you can . Do it as often as you can – send texts, cards, whatever. You can see how important this is from the app Between, which was developed in South Korea. They actually developed it so that couples could have a private space to share all of their memories and words of affection. I’m not suggesting you go that far. But many men have said that Asian women like to text on average several times a day. Don’t date an Asian women if that seems too high.
Number 7 – Show an interest in her family.
She will want you to know about her family early on. And whilst you might not think that this is important, you need to show an interest. Once you do this, you’ll find yourself being warmly embraced, at least in most cases (I have heard some stories where her family are hostile but this is more likely the elders, who are dying off anyway, taking their prejudices with them). When she talks to you about her family, it’s her way of showing you that she wants to get close to you and that she wants you to be a part of her life. Some men might find this hard to get used to, but it’s normal for most Asian women to be very close to their family.
These are just guidelines from what I’ve observed. It’s really interesting when you realise how embedded people are to their culture. It goes for Asian women bought up in Western countries too. Don’t think that she is going to ignore all of her culture just because she has grown up in a different system. and if you are planning to stay with an Asian woman for a long time, or even marry one, there are more things to consider, but I’m not qualified to give an opinion just yet.
Welcome to Hong Kong. No amount of protests, or global pandemic is too much to slow the city down or slow its pulse. My concern that Hong Kong would be a no-go zone was unreasonable. In my two weeks here, it was hard to feel that I was terribly restricted in my movements. Yes, I had initially thought of Hong Kong as a quick stopover on my visit to China where I would visit several cities, taking in the vast country of Marco Polo’s travels.
Staying in Hong Kong ultimately turned out to be a great blessing in disguise, allowing me to become fully familiar with the city’s environment. If my initial reaction was one of anxiety, it was overcome by relief as I saw that Hong Kong had everything I love about the other Asian cities, featuring legendary food, some cool architecture and women, naturally.
Of course, what I love about Hong Kong has nothing to do with the fact that it’s in Asia. Whilst Hong Kong will be seen as a region of China (it has SAR status), to Hong-Kongers they are a separate nation. Yes, they remain broadly speaking ethnically Chinese, but they will tell you that they are quite different from the Mainland Chinese. It helps that they speak their own language, whilst still using the Chinese characters to make it possible for ease of understanding.
A century of British rule has left behind a legacy of Afternoon tea, elegant tailoring and cars that drive on the left hand side. It’s still has just enough reminders of the Empire if you look hard enough. You will find that tea is commonly drunk with milk ( milk tea), in spite of Asians being frequently lactose intolerant. There are chicken pies sold in the bakeries, alongside the traditionally Cantonese Egg Tarts. Another reminder of the Colonial past comes in the street names. Stroll along Nathan Road, and you come to Salisbury Road, site of the famous Peninsula Hotel. There is a town called Stanley, and a fishing village named Aberdeen. The governor’s building is in Statue Square.
Most of the famous buildings are located on the island of Hong Kong. But then, what about Kowloon? Here’s where things become interesting, because it seems that the British weren’t able to leave much of a mark here. Apart from the harbour area, which is known as TST, there are fewer places that are as photogenic as on the island.
So which one should you choose? The island side has the peak, for starters. That gives you the best vantage point of the city, allowing you to use the observatory for a 360 view of the city. Next to it is the Hong Kong, a beautifully preserved garden of fountains and tropical flowers. There is an aviary and a tea museum too. There is also the tram, which runs all the way from the Happy Valley racetrack to Kennedy Town on the other side of the Island.
But you might find this all slightly demure. In that case, you will want to spend time in Kowloon. This is where Hong Kong starts to become less reserved, and more Chinese. It’s here that you will find some of the most frenetic streets, site of dozens of street market (selling mostly Chinese imported goods). If you want to try some of the excellent street food, you will have to come here too. Try the fish balls, sold everywhere in the Mong Kok district.
Tea and Sympathy
There is no shortage of tea (China is nearby after all), but its impressive how frequently it is drink. After the British ruled Hong Kong for a century, its common to have a ‘milk tea’ (usually sweetend with condensed milk). It’s typical to be offered a tea or a coffee with a lunch or breakfast, more so than alcohol or any soft drink. For the quintessential Hong Kong snack, try an Egg tart (thickened custard in a flaky pastry case) and a cup of milky tea or coffee). You can have this anywhere, but you’ll want to be sitting down to eat the egg tart, which has a habit of breaking apart at the first bite.
Alongside the familiar egg tarts, look for incredible chicken pies which supply the taste of something truly magnificent. Hong Kong has no shortage of bubble teas (mostly Taiwanese), and these are full of strange and unusual flavours such as taro and sweet potato. They have also been used by protesters to spread their pro-democracy slogans on post-it notes spread on the walls.
Whilst you can find the designer coffee bars that you get everywhere, its better to stick with the tea, which feels like a much more authentic experience. There’s a story about the creation of this authentic Hong Kong drink and it’s too much to explain here. But in short, someone decided that they could go one step better with the English Earl Grey, making it into something more heavy, the condensed milk rounding out the sharpness of the dark tea. It started as a working person’s drink, rather than any thing fancy. Now it is the most popular tea drink in Hong Kong.
Like any big city, it can feel really overwhelming if you come here without an idea of what to do. So to make it easy, here, , are my ten favourite things to do in Hong Kong.
Take the Star Ferry to Central from TST at 8pm.
By doing this, you get to experience the famous Symphony of Stars, which is a light show from the skyscrapers of the central district set to music.
Visit a Cha Chang Teng
For a really classic Hong Kong experience, go to one of these cafes, which are open from morning to night. They date back to the seventies and can be found in all the main districts. With prices low, they welcome anybody, but that shouldn’t put you off. Order from laminated menus, choosing such delights as the milk tea, or French toast. A local treat is a peanut butter and condensed milk sandwich.
Visit a mall
Even if you aren’t a big shopper, you can enjoy the experience of a Hong Kong mall. I particularly enjoyed the Argyle Centre (Mong kok), for it’s fun boutiques and excellent snacks. There are plenty of luxury shops in Central district, but I found it much more fun going to the more offbeat smalls, which have so much character. I can’t forget the delightful Dragon Centre – which has eight floors filled with unique shops – in Sham Shui Po, for example.
Another unmissable experience. From early morning to the afternoon, Hong Kongers crowd together to order Cheung Fun (soft rice noodles with minced pork) and siu mai (translucent prawn dumplings). In the older restaurants you can still see the birdcages and the waitresses pushing carts of dumplings and pastries.
Hong Kong Park
From the tram, get off outside admiralty station. Then walk past the famous Lipppo towers and into Hong Kong Park. This is such a wonderful place to relax, enjoying the birds that live in the Aviary. There is an observation tower, waterfall and even a tea museum.
Visit a Chinese Bakery
With prices of many food stuffs rising, it is good to find affordable snacks at low prices. Chains such as Wing Wah and Kee Wah sell nicely packaged boxes of egg rolls, sesame and almond cookies, as well as the famous pineapple shortcake. On the other hand, there are several franchises which do French patisserie extremely well. The Chinese bakeries are usually independently owned, and the labels will be mostly in Chinese. But I recommend that you try them, if only for the egg tarts and Lai Wong Bau – a steamed bun filled with custard.
Bar Street in Prince Edward
You can walk a long way in a particular area and not find anything remotely resembling a bar. Then you will come across an area almost exclusively designed for drinking. Most of them will a Happy Hour – with up to half the normal price of a drink. It’s common for some of them to have women standing outside calling customers in.
A very pretty place which I have already talked about. Visiting will give you a different outlook on Hong Kong.
These make a good contrast to the sterile malls in the Island, which are mainly used by suited office workers. Although you will not be able to buy much of the produce on display (dried fish heads anyone?) it’s great to see a wet market in action. You can always find plenty of excellent snacks to buy as you watch the housewives bargaining for the best selections.
I love Mongkok. It might seem like most of the best places are all clustered around Central, but they really aren’t. Within just a few streets, you can find flower markets, a street selling goldfish, and dozens of cafes. It’s also the most populated area of Hong Kong. Day and night, you can come here and you won’t be lonely. It’s a little rough around the edges, but I had the best time here. Take the MTR to the Mong Kok subway and walk in any direction. You have the best cafes, restaurants and markets all within walking distance.
Information about your trip
With many places closed, be prepared to make last minute adjustments. Although many places are doing business, several venues remain closed, such as the Happy Valley racetrack, Disneyland, and Ocean Park. More importantly for budget travellers is the fact that many hostels are not taking new bookings until the summer. With many hotels at under 10%, it’s possible to stay anywhere at short notice. Many are from 300 Hong Kong dollars a night. For a more luxurious stay, try the 5 star Royal Plaza in Mong Kok. https://www.royalplaza.com.hk/en/. I tried to arrange accommodation through Couchsurfing, but at the last minute many of my hosts changed their minds. It seems that many Hong-Kongers do not use Airbnb much either. In the end, a very kind friend let me stay at her place for a week. I was able to spend much more time in Hong Kong because of her.
The best thing about travelling to Asia are some of the amazing food stands selling things you can’t find anywhere else. Whenever I go to a new city I can’t wait to sample all of the snacks from the street vendors. Sometimes these are as good as dinners in restaurants at a much cheaper price, and I can afford to try several different foods at one time.
I start by visiting the Cheung Cheuk island, only thirty minutes by boat from central Hong Kong. In many ways, the densely populated urban centre of Hong Kong is just one side of the region. The many small islands of the archipelago are another side of the bustling city centre of skyscrapers and car fumes.
Because the islands are not too developed, they can be walked around easily and the lack of pollution or road traffic means that they are ideal for a causal stroll without the constant stream of traffic you find in Hong Kong’s streets. Getting off the ferry gets you right to the heart of the island.
It’s time to try the snacks. You can’t miss the typical fish balls – they are everywhere. Pay 10 Hong Kong dollars for two of the balls of compacted fish paste. You can choose from a range of flavours such as plum sauce, bbq or curry. Watch the sauce doesn’t spill everywhere, and be careful not to scald yourself as they are served just below boiling. The taste is not as important as the texture, which has a slightly springy bite to it.
Turn left from the harbour, past the McDonald’s, and you will see a guy with a grill and some dried squid and octopus. Make sure you try these as they are really unique, and go down great with beer. The squid are air-dried whole, then cooked on an open grill and coated with a soy based dip, then sliced into strips. Good as a healthy, low-fat snack.
Turn back to the main square, and you will see several stalls serving the aforementioned fish balls. You can buy ‘sa bing’ which is similar to bubble tea, and you can find a whole load of interesting flavours such as taro and sweet potato, for less than you would pay on Hong Kong Island itself.
Also in the Main Street is a guy deep frying ice-cream. This is something I learned to do at cooking school – as long as you keep the surface of the ice-cream coated, it will stay cold as the batter forms a protective seal around it. Unfortunately they use mass-produced ice cream so the effect is ruined.
Many stalls sell Mochi and this is always one of the best sweets you can buy. Mocho is a Japanese dessert made of sweet rice flour which is stuffed with various fillings and served cool. I’m crazy about the gooey texture of the wrapper and the sweet fillings inside. They are so chewy and soft, and very light tasting, consisting only of flour and sugar.
Another dessert snack is the Chinese steamed red bean cake (see picture). Like a tart but without the pastry, its eaten on a stick like so many of the snacks here.
Other than the snacks of the main square, you can find any seafood restaurants along the harbor. You won’t be able to walk five minutes without being accosted by ladies wielding menus trying to drag you in. It’s not only Chinese restaurants here. You can find several International restaurants, such as Morocco’s.
I still prefer the quiet stalls inside the square. For a more substantial snack, I can recommend the freshly made sushi at Japanese tea house, which are made into temaki rolls with a range of fillings such as crab roe and sausage.
Cheung Chau is easily reached from the central pier, number 5. You don’t need to book a ticket in advance, just turn up and use your Octopus card to go through the turnstiles. There are some hotels and guesthouses but most people tend to visit for the day and head back in the evening.
When Ki-jeong frames the driver by leaving her underwear under the back seat, she does so without him noticing. If she can do this with such ease, it suggests she could more easlily make money as a stripper or karaoke hostess (which, lets face it, is probably the job a woman in her situation would have).
In a later scene, the Kims are eating in a canteen for what looks like taxi drivers and chauffeurs. If the father already has talent for driving, why isn’t he already earning money doing so? Not to mention the ease with which the Parks dismiss their former driver. If they valued him at all they would have confronted him about what happened..
When the former housekeeper returns, she finds the family behaving extremely innapropriately., getting drunk on expensive whisky and throwing snacks around. Yet she carries on as though this is normal.
Guen-sye, the husband under the cellar. Where to start with this one? The explanation for his hiding there is that there was an underground bunker built by the previous owners of the house. When her husband borrowed money from loan sharks, she sent him down here, obviously caring for him whilst she worked as a housekeeper. If this was before the present owners moved in, it would mean that he has lived there longer than 17 years (!) by which point, wouldn’t the sharks have given up chasing him? Then again, Pieta……https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet%C3%A0_(film)
The kid’s birthday party. Something strange about this; there don’t seem to be any kids here. Instead, there’s a woman singing o mio babbino caro, and a huge fire in the middle, not to mention an axe.
The killings. This scene was so badly shot that its actually difficult to see what happens. But lets see: Ki-jeong comes with a cake, which she smashes into Geun-sye, but after he has lunged at her with a knife, fatally stabbing her. This is in full view of the guests, who seem not to notice a deranged man with blood seeping from his forehead carrying a knife. Just before this, her brother is bludgeoned twice with a rock, seems to be out cold (but later makes a miraculous recovery). Someone kills Geun-sye with a barbecue skewer, the boy faints, and Ki-jeong dies. All of this could have been done better, but in a further bit of unlikeliness, the father stabs Mr park with a knife, killing him.
What do the Kims do with their money? Working at the Parks should have brought then some material benefits. strangely, despite all working good jobs, they continue to live in the tiny, semi-derelict flat under the ground.
Right at the end, we see Ki-teok writing a letter to his father (who uses morse-code signalling to send messages to his son). Except there is no way of Ki-teok getting the letter to his father. But wait. Immediately after killing Mr Park, Chung-sook can be seen running to the side of the house, down into the basement. In other words, it can be reached from the outside, which means the son could quite easily post messages directly to the father, give him food, even help him break out.
Whilst Mr and Mrs Park wait for their son to come out of the tepee, they make love on the sofa. As he starts to caress her breasts, she instructs him to move in clockwise direction. It’s clearly done for laughs, but it’s not really obvious why she would gain more pleasure from this.
On my first viewing, I felt that the Parks were parasitic of the Kims. When I watched it again, it was the other way round. I’m not sure the film is such a strong statement of class ( as has been claimed). The film highlights the social divide in South Korea, without really telling us anything interesting about it. Not to mention, the Kims hurt each other, displace hard-working people and are responsible for the murder of an innocent man.
All this means that I still enjoyed watching the film, I’m jsut surprised that the flaws seem to have gone unrecognised. The recent Japanese film Shoplifters looks at a family who struggle in poverty but act in a more human and believable way.
One of the things that annoys me by the glib term ‘yellow fever’ is that it only looks at one side of the equation. If you’re a white guy and you prefer to date women of a particular country, for example, China, you might feel a level of stigma for doing so. Maybe you prefer Asian women because of their interesting personalities. Or you like their unique dress sense. It could be that you have a unique feeling when you spend time with them that you never have when you are with women of other nationalities. Like creatures of habit, we Asian fanciers know from experience that we want to be with the yellow women, and it’s going to take a lot more than the disaproval of a bunch of angry man-hating liberals to make change our ways.
It is a bit rich to criticise men for favouring ‘eastern’ women, when those women profess an equally strong preference for men of Caucasian race. Another oft-mentioned claim is that white men exploit Asian women who they consider an easy target. This is not only a gross oversimplification, but it ignores something far more noticeable. The lack of desirability of many white women, along with their ridiculous levels of expectation, means that most white guys don’t stand a chance with women of their own race. If you were constantly ridiculed by women growing up, and seen as a loser by women in your surroundings, how are you able to form healthy relationships with the opposite sex? Its because men who move to Asian countries experience such a positive response from the women there that they begin to see themselves in a new light, and finally have the confidence to start approaching women in a natural and healthy way. It’s this new-found confidence that gives men the ability to start trading up – giving them the opportunity to meet girls considered out of their league back home.
Game playing If you’ve ever been on a date with someone whom you met through a datingapplication, be it tinder or similar, you probably faced a whole load of questions about things. Should you pay for the first date? Do you kiss her? Where do you go? Should it be somewhere expensive, or just a causal place? The problem is, no-one knows the answer. It’s why dating has become so much harder, especially now that women want to be seen as equals, whilst still clinging to the idea that men should pay for everything. The other thing you hear is that men dating white women have to jump through so many hoops, prompting one internet writer to declare that the real reason whitewomen are against men dating Asian women – they don’t want other men to see how easy it is when there are no games to play and you don’t need to go to great lengths to win her approval.
Stereotypes You hear so much about white men and Asian women, but what about the reversal? If you’re a woman who likes Korean or Japanese culture, you’re probably equally interested in men of the culture. Surely all the fans screaming at BTS aren’t just excited about the music? Yet, nobody has suggested that these women are racially stereotyping these men.
Why I prefer Asian women
Not that I’m some kind of pervert or anything, but I do happen to believe that Asian women have the nicest bodies of women anywhere. I have tried women all over the world, so it’s not like I’m an experienced loser who likes Asian women because those are the only women he has been with.
Do Western women even want to dress nice and make an effort? Lets face it, they never wear the clothes and accessories that men like. If they wore some nice skirts with tights and heels, wore make up an went to the gym, I might have a scintilla of interest. As it is, they way they dress makes me want to cover my eyes in shock.
You can bet I was swiping right on all of these. A fair few girls still like to wear denim cuttoffs, and why not? As I said, it’s all about looking as good as you possibly can. True, these aren’t the youngest women, but with my age fast approaching 40, there’s not too much I can do about that. Sometimes I think about settling down ( I will, eventually). But at the moment, I’m having so much fun getting to know these wonderful women. London has more Asian women than I will ever be able to date and I have no intention of ever stopping. All I can say is they have changed my life and they have changed it for the better.