Where The Wind Takes Me – Final Thoughts

Where The Wind Takes Me Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsStart of DayEnd of Day
Day 0 - Apr 21-22 2024Plane (Edmonton > Calgary > Tokyo)Edmonton, CanadaTokyo, Japan
Day 1 - Tue Apr 23 2024Akihabara, Sensoji, Tokyo Sky Arena, Taiwan Food FestivalTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 2 - Wed Apr 24 2024Nezu Shrine, Tokyo National MuseumTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 3 - Thu Apr 25 2024Akihabara, Ginza, Yurakucho, Bocchi the Rock! Exhibition (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 4 - Fri Apr 26 2024Craft Gyoza Fes, Niku Fes, Odaiba, Kameido Tenjin ShrineTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 5 - Sat Apr 27 2024Niconico Chokaigi 2024Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 6 - Sun Apr 28 2024M3-53Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 7 - Mon Apr 29 2024Train (Tokyo > Osaka)Tokyo, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 8 - Tue Apr 30 2024Tsurumibashi, Expo Commemorative Park, Osaka Station (with Miyu)Osaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 9 - Wed May 01 2024Kyoto, Takenobu Inari Shrine, SaiinOsaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 10 - Thu, May 02 2024Train (Osaka > Tokyo)Osaka, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 11 - Fri May 03 2024Reitaisai 21Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 12 - Sat May 04 2024Japan Jam 2024 (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 13 - Sun May 05 2024National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 14 - Mon May 06 2024Plane (Tokyo > Taipei), Liaoning Night MarketTokyo, JapanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 15 - Tue May 07 2024Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, Ximending Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 16 - Wed May 08 2024Shilin Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 17 - Thu May 09 2024Raohe Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 18 - Fri May 10 2024Songjiang Market, Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Shida Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 19 - Sat May 11 2024Dihua Street, Huaxi Street Night Market, Guangzhou Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 20 - Sun May 12 2024Gongguan Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 21 - Mon May 13 2024Plane (Taipei > HK), Train (HK > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelTaipei, TaiwanGuangzhou, China
Day 22 - Tue May 14 2024Zhongfu Square, Alpaca Sighting (with Kel), Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 23 - Wed May 15 2024Panyu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 24 - Thu May 16 2024Nancun Wanbo (with Kel), Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 25 - Fri May 17 2024Train (Guangzhou > Xiamen), Zhongshan RoadGuangzhou, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 26 - Sat May 18 2024Xiamen Railway StationXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 27 - Sun May 19 2024Mingfa Shopping MallXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 28 - Mon May 20 2024Train (Xiamen > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelXiamen, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 29 - Tue May 21 2024Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 30 - Wed May 22 2024Tianhe Computer Town, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 31 - Thu May 23 2024Comic City, Shangxiajiu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 32 - Fri May 24 2024Train (Guangzhou > Hong Kong)Guangzhou, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 33 - Sat May 25 2024Wan Chai, Temple StreetHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 34 - Sun May 26 2024Chungking Mansions, Nathan Road, Ladies' MarketHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 35 - Mon May 27 2024Central Market, Sino CentreHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 36 - Tue May 28 2024Tea at Minimal (with WingBenny), Dragon CentreHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 37 - Wed May 29 2024Plane (HK > Singapore), Tampines N2 Shopping StreetHong Kong, ChinaSimei, Singapore
Day 38 - Thu May 30 2024Tampines Regional CentreSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 39 - Fri May 31 2024Lunch (with Debbie and Zixiang), Bras Basah Complex, I Light SingaporeSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 40 - Sat Jun 01 2024People's Park Complex, People's Park CentreSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 41 - Sun Jun 02 2024BishanSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 42 - Mon Jun 03 2024Dunman High School, Katong Shopping Centre, Parkway ParadeSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 43 - Tue Jun 04 2024Hell's MuseumSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 44 - Wed Jun 05 2024Flight (Singapore > San Francisco > Vancouver > Edmonton)Simei, SingaporeEdmonton, Canada
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts!Edmonton, CanadaWe'll see

Final Thoughts

This trip was rather exhausting, and took a lot out of me, to the point that I started looking forward to coming home once I was about four or five weeks in. Being sick for basically my entire China stay probably influenced this a good amount as well. That’s some good information for me to have overall though — that my ideal maximum vacation length is probably around five weeks or so at a time, possibly a little bit more if my lodgings weren’t terrible.

I did enjoy seeing a lot of new places during my trip — this was my first time to Taiwan, Mainland China, and Hong Kong, but unless it is to visit friends or family or a particular event there, I do not currently think I would have an urge to return to any of those places except for possibly Hong Kong. Though every country is obviously a bit different from everywhere else, and I think that as time progresses my memories will start to filter out the bad memories and crystallize the good ones, so that might change over time.

Something that really stuck with me was how dirty every place was, basically everything from Taipei onwards, through all of Guangzhou and Xiamen, through Hong Kong, and into Singapore — despite even the latter’s reputation for being a clean and somewhat litter-free place, what I mean by dirty is just that there are tons of indoors and outdoors food places with things like houseflies and regular flies and mosquitoes and stuff buzzing around everywhere, and just unhygienic things like waste baskets being placed near tables, food trays left out in the open, dirty drains and roads and buildings, many cramped spaces, oily furniture and doors, and so on. Or maybe it just felt dirty because I always felt dirty, walking around a ton every day and sweating little ponds every day.

WingBenny had offhandedly mentioned something when I met him on Day 36 that stuck with me — he felt that a lot of Hong Kong people thought that they had clean and hygienic practices, when it was obvious to people like us, who lived or had spent significant amounts of time in the west/Canada, that they didn’t. I felt like that insight could be applied to basically the entirety of China (that I visited) as well as Singapore as well, though things like the humidity and tropical climate definitely are factors that play into the possibly impossible challenge of keeping things “clean”. Not that Canada is clean everywhere or bug-free everywhere, we definitely are not, and heck I came home to find a bunch of dead bugs in my apartment, but I guess the point is that I keep my home as clean as possible and in general the places that I visit and eat at don’t really have flies and pigeons buzzing around next to us humans and around our food.

I visited a lot of malls on my trip, basically every time I had a free day on my trip where I wasn’t headed to a museum or festival or anything like that. I guess I like looking at mall culture in each country. Central Market in Hong Kong and Guang Hua Digital Plaza in Taipei were two particularly nice specimens of malls that I visited, whereas on the reverse side there was Mingfa Shopping Mall in Xiamen, the mostly-abandoned mall which was nonetheless quite the experience in itself. I barely went to any “tourist” places though, and the ones I did were largely museums. I just don’t like that sort of activity much. I also noticed that none of the China (and Taiwan) malls that I visited really had food courts — they had restaurants, and even restaurant floors in the malls sometimes, but for some reason the ones I visited in those places didn’t have food courts.

The alpaca in Guangzhou and chickens in Singapore fulfilled the strange animal sightings on my trip, and the ice cream with Kel on our final evening there fulfilled my one nice ice cream session per trip requirement.

The best things in Japan that I did/saw that didn’t involve meeting friends or family was either the Shrine Maiden session in Osaka, or the Japan Jam concerts themselves (i.e. above and beyond the parts of Japan Jam where I met Quintopia and walked around with him). In Taiwan, it was Guangzhou Street Night Market. In China, I’m hard pressed to pick one, but maybe Mingfa Shopping Mall, as that was at least very unique and unforgettable. In Hong Kong, it was Central Market hands down. In Singapore, well, a lot of the places were already places I visited in the past and thus knew what I was getting into, but in terms of new places I liked Hell’s Museum quite a bit.

I did itemize my finances on the trip but I don’t want to calculate an estimate on how much I paid for it, partly because it’s spread across six different currencies and partly because I don’t want to put effort into counting it all up. Via tallying the credit card bills over the past couple of months though, it would be probably around $7,000 Canadian or so, largely thanks to lodging and travel costs. My next credit card bill is probably larger than my fluid money bank account can cover by itself, which is fine, it’ll probably just mean that I’ll be paying an extra $35 or whatever for one month because I’ll be dipping below the “no monthly fee account if your balance total is over $6,000” threshold in my other bank account. Although it’s also possible that if I deposit all my Canadian money on hand (which is well over $800) and also convert and deposit some of the overseas currency I have left (which I don’t want to do, I’d rather keep the converted currency for “next time” and not convert it back and forth), I might be able to reach that threshold.

I came home with five postcards remaining that I did not give out, out of the fifteen that I started my trip with. Thus I gave away 10, and this list is here to tally who I gave them away to.

Day 1 – One to Allen and Masae.
Day 8 – One to Miyu.
Day 9 – One to Chihiro.
Day 12 – One to Quintopia.
Day 27 – One to nice store owner.
Day 30 – One to Mr Fang.
Day 36 – One to WingBenny.
Day 39 – Two, one each to Debbie and Zixiang.
Day 43 – One to Belinda and John.

I only made this realization near the end of my trip, but I did remember at some point seeing these picnics from a previous trip to Singapore and wondering what they were. That scene I saw (and took a picture of) was from May 29 2022, which was a Sunday. I learnt while in Hong Kong on this trip about Sundays being a day off for people who worked as maids in Asian countries, and in hindsight that was probably what I saw back then as well, I just didn’t understand what it was at the time. Singapore households, especially richer families, definitely tend to employ maids, which is the reason that so many maid agencies exist in the first place.

I did load up some songs on the phone but did not end up listening to any of them at all on the trip. Instead, I spent a lot of time listening to Twitch streams, especially back in the hotel rooms, when I should perhaps have been watching TV or something instead. It’s interesting too because I was in a completely opposite time zone, and I’m not exactly sure that I can watch the same streamers as often now that I’m back in a Canadian time zone. We’ll see though. My favourite streamer now is Nomakk, he’s the only one I subscribe to and I’ll probably even raise my Twitch subscription level for him a bit more, though he streams only at night and overnight into the morning, North American time, so I will seldom be able to catch his full stream now that I’m back in NA. I kind of abandoned the other streamer that I had subscribed to, SoEverdream, because he got into sports betting for the NHL playoffs and I don’t want to support that sort of stuff. That and his streams are a bit too chaotic for me. He’s still a good person though.

But I’ve gotten more into a couple of streamers that were introduced to me through him, one being Killadrix and one being HowToBeQuiet. I also got into Inochifantasy through Nomakk‘s stream, and someone there randomly gifted me a 6-month subscription to that stream while I was on vacation, yet I’ve never seen them online to say thank you to them, but nonetheless I’ve been hanging out there and enjoying the Persona/Final Fantasy XIV game streams (and the lovely music that comes with those games). Unfortunately she’s a European streamer and going to be very hard for me to catch regularly from Edmonton. There are a couple of other people I’m watching on the side that I somewhat like but haven’t been upgraded to my top tier yet.

I’ve definitely gotten more interested in eco-friendly, sustainable, and environmental stores and products since I ran into the Slowood store in Central Market in Hong Kong. I don’t think one has to live in a fully sustainable way, but I do think taking the effort to substitute a bit of that into my life sometimes will help tip the scales ever so slightly in mankind and Mother Earth’s favour. Eco-friendly items are usually of poor quality though, and that bowl I bought from Slowood breaking in my suitcase on the way back didn’t help that argument any. Still, being more sustainable is something I will keep my eye out for opportunities for in the future.

Talking about breaking, I dislike my Gigabyte Aorus 15P laptop, and I’m glad the repair in Guangzhou was enough to let it survive for the rest of the trip, even though I think by the end of the trip it was starting to wear down again, largely because the power plug and socket was on the left side of the bed and the power port on the laptop was on the right side, so I had to bend the power cord below or around the laptop to be able to plug it in, which additionally strains the port itself too.

I will also leave a note here for that Chinese TV musical variety show that I really liked, 开门大吉 or “Kai Men Da Ji”, so that I can find it again in the future. I first spoke about it on the Day 25 blog entry. Googling that Chinese phrase brings up a bunch of clips for it. For example on this YouTube playlist or this official website. This one was the specific episode I first watched, though I also watched the one before and after it chronologically (add/remove 7 days and search for it).

This also reminds me of something else I discovered during the trip, that I apparently have a “Singaporean accent” for speaking Chinese as well. Three different people guessed this and told me correctly that I was from the Singapore/Malaysian region — the vendor in Hong Kong that I bought a couple of clothes from on Day 18, a convenience store clerk that I bought some tea from on either Day 19 or 20, and Mr Fang from Guangzhou on Day 30. One other person in China did guess that I was from Taiwan from my accent though. Buu buu.

Anyway I’m back now and I’m glad to be home. There might be more things I add to this page over the next couple of days, as I think of more notes that I want to add to this ending page of this very long diary section, but for now I will publish this and move on so that I can feel like this trip is finally over! Blogging every day takes sooo much time, even though it’s fun.

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