From China

People’s Republic of China (PRC)

Neon Hong Kong

As long-term readers will know I have a bit of an obsession about the neon signage which gives many cities in Asia their unique and seductive streetscapes. The epitome of this has to be Hong Kong where the dense and chaotic texture of its neon have brought the city to life at night since the 1950s. Read more

Kings Road Then & Now

King’s Road (英皇道) in Hong Kong is the major street which runs east-west along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island, extending all the way from Causeway Bay to Sai Wan Ho. If you visit HK you’ll likely end up travelling along the street at some point, whether it be by foot, bus or tram above ground or MTR underground. Read more

Quarry Bay Then & Now

During my two years in Hong Kong I lived on the east side of Hong Kong Island in an apartment complex called Kornhill which lies within Quarry Bay. It wasn’t until shortly before I left in March this year that I discovered the area has an interesting history and I decided to take a closer look… Read more

Exploring Tainan

After visiting Green Island earlier in the year I took the train around the southern coast and back inland to Tainan (台南), the oldest city in Taiwan and former capital during imperial times. Being mid-spring the weather was pretty much perfect. Read more

Applying for a Chinese Visa From Tokyo

Update: as of 2016, tourists and foreign residents in Japan can now apply for a visa at the Chinese Visa Application Service Center so you no longer have to use a travel agency.

If you’re a foreigner living in Japan (not a tourist) you can no longer apply for a Chinese tourist visa (type L) direct from the Chinese embassy in Tokyo (although type F business visas are still available). Despite conflicting information on their website you will be given the number of a travel agency who charge more than double the going rate than the embassy (10,000 ¥ vs 4,000 ¥). Read more

Kowloon Walled City Rebuilt in Japan

If you don’t know anything about Kowloon Walled City (九龍城寨) then have a read of my earlier posts where I looked at what it was (a lawless area of Hong Kong) and what it is today 20 years later (now redeveloped as a park). It’s a fascinating story which was confined to the pages of history until recently when a games company in Japan decided it would make the perfect backdrop to a new arcade they were building in Kawasaki (川崎市 – located between Tokyo and Yokohama). Read more

Green Island Penal Colony

Earlier in the year (before moving to Tokyo) I visited Taiwan for the third time and spent a very enjoyable week travelling down the east cost by train. Along the way I stopped off at Taitung (台東市) – a rather unremarkable small city but the gateway to my intended destination of Green Island (綠島). Read more

This is Shanghai

Shanghai’s skyline got to show off it’s better side in last years Skyfall, but photographer Rob Whitworth and urban explorer JT Singh, have gone one better with this spectacular portrayal of the 21st century giant.

“In 1980 Shanghai had no skyscrapers. It now has at least 4,000 — more than twice as many as New York. ‘This is Shanghai’ explores the diversities and eccentricities of the metropolis that is Shanghai going beyond the famous skyline.”

For all its pollution and censorship I miss China.