Learning Japanese in a Chinese speaking city

I decided to go to Causeway Bay for brunch today. I wanted to go to this particular cafe as they apparently serve scones, and I like scones 😋 But can you believe it, they open at 12pm! This city is sooo not for morning people 😂 I got there earlier than I expected to, and so I just wandered around the mall that the cafe was in. A few of the stalls in the mall weren’t open either, so I guess most places in this mall don’t open until later in the afternoon. I hung around until 12:30pm before I left, that was the longest time my patience could handle waiting. Such a shame that I didn’t get to try the cafe – and I didn’t get to have scones! Boo 😒

After I found a substitute place for lunch, I decided to head over to Eslite, one of the bookstores here in HK. They have Japanese language textbooks – written for native Chinese speakers. So all the explanations are in Chinese 😲 I was sooo tempted to buy one, but looking through the textbooks, they’re actually at quite a basic level, so if anything, I wouldn’t be learning much Japanese, and if anything, more likely to be improving my Chinese, since all the explanations in the books are in Chinese! 😂 But having said that, what I do like about the textbooks though, is that they have no English whatsoever! I will effectively be forced to think in my two target languages, even if the sentences are at quite a basic level. But that’s not a bad thing! I can see how sentences are said in both languages. Hmmm… Maybe buying one of these books may not be a bad idea after all…! 😆

A page in one of the textbooks I was flicking through at the bookstore 😆

So when I got back home, I spent some time going through my actual Japanese textbook – a textbook written for English speakers 😆 None of the grammar is new to me, so I’m really just refreshing my memory of what I had learnt – omg – a quarter of a century ago 🤣 I still can’t believe how much of it I have actually retained after all these years. Now I’m just going through and trying to internalise the harder and longer sentences, and learning more vocab of course, continuing to refine my Japanese that little bit more.

And then I just spent the rest of the evening continuing to watch Masterchef Australia. I’m up to the top ten! So I’ve caught up on a ton of episodes! 😆 Once I’ve caught up, my tv habits can go back to normal and I can resume watching my Asian dramas 😂 But for now, it’s all about binge watching Masterchef 😳

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This city is foodie heaven

If you’ve been reading my blog the past few days, you’ll know that I’ve been watching Masterchef Australia like a madman 🤪 OK maybe not that crazy, but I have been watching quite a lot of it. So I’ve been tempted to eat a variety of cuisines, and so I’ve been trying a few different restaurants the past few days 😊

Someone cooked a spaghetti alle vongole and so I wanted to go for Italian. So I went searching for an Italian restaurant in the two districts that I tend to go to for food: Central and Causeway Bay. These are the results that I got:

How insane is that?!? How can there be that many Italian restaurants in just these two districts?? And in Asia! And if you don’t know HK, just to give you an idea of the distances we’re talking about here, these are the distances between the circled places on each of the above pics:

Sheung Wan to Central Station in the first pic is 850m. Less than 1km!

Causeway Bay to Cookies Quartet in the second pic is less than 500m 😲

So hopefully that gives you an idea of how dense this city is – and just how many restaurants there are here! It is insane! It still makes me wonder how all these places stay in business when there are so many other competing restaurants. And these are just the Italian ones. Can you imagine just how many Chinese restaurants would come up?!? 😱 Actually, let’s do that, just for fun 😊

It turns out that “Chinese” is too broad a category! There must be so many that they had to split them up into various categories. You actually have to specify what type of Chinese food you want – eg: Sichuan; dim sum (ie yum cha); Shanghai; HK-style; Guangdong; hot pot etc etc 😲 This city is sooo gooood for foodies, especially those who like their Chinese food!

All about friends

It was all about friends today. We caught up with some old friends back from our uni days who have been living in HK for the past sixteen years. We went and had yum cha (what else, man, it’s HK 😆) in Causeway Bay and then afterwards we just wandered around a bit and did some shopping.

We then went back home and I just watched a few more episode of The Heirs, my current Korean drama, before heading out again and having dinner and drinks with one of N’s workmates. It was supposed to be with him and his wife, but she got stuck with the parental duties, so she ended up having to go home to attend to the kids. It was quite fun anyhow, but still, hopefully next time it’ll be all four of us. Both him and his wife are also from Sydney, so it was good to just speak normally and be completely understood and not feel like a bogan, like I usually do 😆

It was a good day 😊

A late start

N went to watch some football match with a few workmates last night at a sports bar in Wan Chai. Football fans are probably disgusted that I don’t know much about the match other than the fact that Liverpool was playing 😂 The match was starting at 3am local time, so you can only imagine what time he got home… Needless to say, the sun was already out 🙄

So that meant he slept in until the middle of the day, and by the time we got out of the house, it was around 2pm 😂 I decided to go and have yum cha in Causeway Bay, as I wanted to go to IKEA afterwards to get a new shower curtain. I did a search for yum cha restaurants in this area alone, and a bajillion results came up 😱

And this is just one area! You have an endless amount of choice for yum cha in this city. Yes, I know it is The Source, but the sheer numbers are craaaazyyy!

I went to the gym tonight, although I had to tear myself away from Asian Boss, this new channel that I stumbled across on YouTube. I really like their videos, they have fun ones as well as ones that deal with some pretty serious issues that’s being faced by some Asian countries. They focus mainly on North Asia, but they do also have a few videos from South East Asia and India as well. They’ve pulled me away from my usual polyglot videos and general “learn Chinese” ones, so that’s a pretty big feat 😆

Causeway Bay

We went to Causeway Bay (CWB) today to play some mini-golf at Strokes! I haven’t played in yeeeears, it was actually a lot of fun 😊 It was entirely indoors, which was new for me, as most mini-golf places I’ve been to have been outdoors, or at least semi-outdoors, as in we were under cover. But as with all things in HK, space is a luxury, so the 18 holes were crammed in this tiny space inside one of the malls. And sometimes when I had to take a particularly awkward shot, I’d have to step into one of the neighbouring courses, as they’re literally all right next to each other 😆 And N had a few wild hits, one of which actually flew almost the entire length of the room 🤣 🤣 Luckily no one was around to get hit! 🎯 It was quite fun, though, with some crazy courses to get through 😆

I think this was actually just before he hit the ball almost across the entire length of the room 😂
The craziness of a few of the courses – and look how close they are to one another!
They had a few of these inspirational quotes scattered all around the room, which I thought was pretty cool 😊

We then just wandered around CWB to do a bit of shopping, one of the shopping Meccas in HK. There is also an IKEA at CWB, and we stopped by to pick up a few boxes to store some of our crap in, rather than having them spilling out everywhere in the house. Hopefully once we’ve put stuff inside them, it’ll make me feel a little better about the house not being so messy! But being back in IKEA after not having visited for a few months now brought back some fond memories of when I was practically living there 😂 I walked past the study desks and chairs and I’d reminisce about all the time I spent trying to figure out which study desk and chair to put into our study; and then the same would happen when we walked past their dining tables and chairs, and this would happen in virtually every other room in the store. I still remember the layout of the store all too well 😆

It was a fun day 😊

Karate, yum cha, and my new book

We went to watch a karate comp at Happy Valley today. We got there pretty early (well, early for us 😆) as one of N’s friends was competing earlier in the day, and he wanted to get there early to watch her event. We ended up staying for pretty much the entire day! But sitting up in the stands is definitely much better than having to wait out the back, waiting for your events to be called and then waiting again for your results 😊

We briefly stepped out for lunch at Causeway Bay, trying yet another yum cha place. Yum cha is everywhere in this city, it’s sooo good! Well I guess it is The Source 😆 The one we went to today, though, was pretty mediocre and very overpriced, so we won’t be going back there again! I’m surprised it wasn’t all that great, because there was a crowd outside when we arrived, waiting to be seated, so I was expecting the food to be good. Nope, that wasn’t the case at all 😒

Anyway, we’re going back to watch the second day of the comp tomorrow, so maybe we’ll try another yum cha restaurant nearby. Or maybe we’ll just eat something completely different and move on from yum cha, that’s a possibility too 😊 Let’s see how we feel tomorrow…

I also finally decided to buy Antoine de Saint- Exupéry’s The Little Prince – in Chinese 😱 They had a good version of it at The Commercial Press, this bookstore that caters specifically for children. One of my local friends introduced me to it, and this is the first time I’ve returned to it. It’s a treasure trove of books for Chinese language learners like me! I wanted to buy a paper version so I could write in it to help me learn the language. I’m three pages in and I absolutely love it! I want to quickly finish the English version so I know the story, to help me with the translating part when I read it in Chinese. It’s at a really good difficulty level, it’s not too hard like high school level books, but it’s also not too easy, like books aimed at infants. It’s at primary school level, which I think is perfect for me. I’m not looking up every second word, but enough so that I am learning new words. The sentence structures are at my level as well, so I haven’t come across anything yet where I was like “wth does this mean??” 🤷‍♀️ Plus I love the author’s writing style – in the English version, of course. I wouldn’t know what any Chinese writing style is at this stage in my learning! 😂 Anyhow, long story short, I’m so happy I bought it!

Shopping

Kitty woke me up in the middle of the night – throwing up 😔 And she threw up on that hard-to-wash bathroom mat, the one that we have to take down to the laundromat because our crappy washing machine can’t handle it. I think buying a new bath mat that our washing machine can wash will be better for us financially!

The weather this week has just been miserable. It has been cold and wet, and I’ve basically had to take out some winter gear, since I’d packed most of it away, as I thought we were done with the cold weather! And you know how I feel about cold weather… 😒 So it hasn’t been the best week on that front.

Nonetheless, I went to Causeway Bay today, specifically to Eslite, that bookstore that I went to the other day. I was actually going to check out a different stationery store, as well as Muji, but since it was forecast for rain, I figured I might as well stay put at Hysan Place and not bother trying to brave the weather, especially since the rain here can be quite torrential. I was quite happy that I did, because I discovered this part of Eslite that I didn’t see when I was there last week, a whole stationery and crafts section! Now I know one other place where I can go for my stationery needs in HK 😊