Tagged signs

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

Harmony Interrupted in Nikko

During the summer I took a short trip outside Tokyo to the historic town of Nikko (日光市), a journey of about 2 hours by train. The area is popular with travellers for its ornate shrines and hot springs (onsen). 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

No Photos Please!

As a foreigner in China it’s not unusual to get stopped by people wanting to take your photo (especially outside big cities or at tourist attractions). This is OK the first few times but does get increasingly tiresome, especially when you don’t like having your photo taken in the first place. A friend of mine was recently looking for a way to deter said snappers so I put together a quick T-shirt design for her: Read more

More Hong Kong Moments

Signs of the Times

An old friend from uni was in town last weekend so I popped over the border to Hong Kong to act as tour guide for a couple of days. I always enjoy exploring the city with its endless nooks and crannies to discover amidst the hovering neon signs all vying for attention at the bottom of the canyons created between towering buildings. There is something intoxicating about the endless spiral of growth and decay here where the old coexists in relative harmony with the new in as much a vibrant mix as the inhabitants themselves.

Here are a few more Hong Kong Moments from my wanders:

Extreme Gardening

The lack of space in HK can lead to some unusual hortological endeavours. Check out the woman perched on the ledge above the shop tending to her pot plants. What’s even more incredible is when you see a guy hanging off the side of a 40th floor apartment to attach a new air con unit sans-ropes. I hope those guys have life insurance!

Smoked Meats

Fag in mouth and knife in hand a man chops up freshly preserved meat for sale in the local market (Sheung Wan).

Proud Owner

In the mid-afternoon heat a shopkeeper waits for customers outside his shop selling expensive dried fish and fruits. Des Voeux Rd West has countless shops just like this which provide a living connection to Hong Kongs rapidly disappearing past. Quite how you cook/eat these foods I’m not sure. If anyone could enlighten me I’d be most interested.

High Rise

The Yat Tung Estate nestles on reclaimed land between the shore and mountains of Lantau Island (close to Hong Kong airport) providing an impressive backdrop to the otherwise fairly featureless apartment blocks. Where man cannot build outwards he builds upwards and, while it takes a bit of getting used to living in, apartments like these can be quite pleasant (although I do miss having a private garden). As sea levels rise and the demand for habitable land increases these sorts of dwellings are likely to become more common around the world.

Chinglish Shop Signs

In China the English language is a fickle thing where the normal rules of grammar, punctuation and general comprehensible sentence structure do not seem to apply. So prolific is this phenomenon that they even have a name for it: Chinglish. Today’s post is a homage to this most wonderful of Frankenstein languages which keeps foreigners chuckling all day long and undoubtedly has sign makers busy when hapless proprietors realise their English faux pas (or not as the case is usually).

The following collection of shop sign shots were taken around the Haiya area of Nanshan District, Shenzhen nearby where I live:

No Right Just Suitable

No Right Just Suitable – a clothes shop where you’ll never find exactly what you’re looking for but it’ll be suitable nevertheless.

Hot Enticement

Hot Enticement – selling all manner of spicy foods to entice you into its fiery lair. Very reasonable prices too!

A Slight Fever

A Slight Fever – just what this is supposed to mean I don’t know. Is that a dog? A place to catch Swine Flu? Confusing.

Dolci & Vita

Dolci & Vita – not content with getting the spelling wrong the use of “&” also seems rather unnecessary but when you’re living the sweet life who cares (it’s a cake shop).

More after the break…
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Emergency in Lychee Park


Today was my first day off work in a long while (excluding weekends). After a leisurely start to the day I took the metro to Lychee Park, otherwise known as Shenzhen’s central park. The park was buzzing with people enjoying the pleasant autumn weather – mostly old people practising Tai chi and looking after their children’s children (as is the way in China).

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Grannie

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Granny”

Emergency Toilets

Emergency Everything

It seems the park was well equiped for all possible emergencies, the veritable menu of services included; Emergency Command, Emergency Water Supply, Emergency Fire “Ingufsher”, and last but not least an Emergency Toilet! Something tells me whoever was responsible for translating has had the last laugh 😀