Categories
Asia

How do you rate South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and China in terms of most to least friendly towards foreigners?

Need some clarification on what means ‘friendly’, like do they accommodate foreigners well, do they speak a lot of english, do they have friendly overall people or what is it? I’ve been to all these places I guess I’ll rank it in order of how convenient it was for me as a foreigner to travel these places:

  1. Taiwan (ROC) – Most people speak English, the second most polite people next to Japanese, very accepting of diversity, the most open minded East Asian country
  2. Hong Kong (technically part of China) – English is commonplace, generally better manners than mainland, very tolerant of foreigners due to past history as a british colony
  3. South Korea – English is spoken by a majority of young people and most cafes/shops/signs will have English, decent manners/politeness, a lot of Western style bars/restaurants/etc due to USA influence
  4. Japan – most people do not speak English well, most shops/cafes/signs (except for subway) do not have english on them, a lot of places are surprisingly cash only, people are probably the most polite but very shy, you will experience a big culture difference
  5. China – most people do not speak English, very rare to find any shops/cafes/signs that have english on them, people generally do not care about you so you have to fend for yourself, very few Western style bars/restaurants/etc, you cannot use foreign credit cards in most places, foreign apps/services are blocked so you have to either buy a VPN or use a Chinese substitute in any case its horrendously slow going to any foreign website.

For me Taiwan was the most convenient and China was the least.

Categories
General

Where should I settle next?

As some people know, I am currently taking a break from work and this is the first time I’ve been unemployed since 2011. This was by my own choice – I needed break and some time off from work to think and reflect on what I want to do with my life and where I want to go next.

Right now I’m in Korea and will be traveling Asia while I relax and think about things and meeting my Korean friends again. There is some choices I have to make – I think I will continue doing programming as my main career since it is one of the best jobs you can get right now – salary wise and flexibility wise. I am fortunate that I am a career programmer and one of the few people I know that have done this since I was young. It is one of the few jobs in the world that can give me good pay and good flexibility on location – I can work almost anywhere in the world since software engineers are popular worldwide.

But even then there are some choices I have to make – now that I’ve sold my San Francisco home, I don’t have a real ‘residence’ anymore and am free to choose where I should settle next. So I have a few choices on where to go but they all have pros and cons, and I’m still deciding between them. I have to take into consideration salary differences, location, do I have friends there or not, how easy is it to meet friends, (and for my personal future) how likely am I to meet the right Korean girl to marry?

Option 1: Seoul, Korea – the best choice if I want to get married soon

Pros:
-Awesome atmosphere. Lots of things to do. Lots of people to meet. With population of 10 million, easily the biggest city out of my choices
-Obviously lots of single Korean women, easiest to meet the right person
-Lots of Korean friends here
-Rent is cheap – can get decent studio for around $600 a month

Cons:
-Low salary for engineers, around $40k USD/yr
-Work/Life balance is difficult – probably have to work overtime regularly
-Probably won’t get much opportunity to meet those Korean friends because Koreans are usually busy bodies. Even close friends I only met once a month here.
-Take home pay: roughly $2700 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 2: Vancouver, Canada – the best choice if I want to be closer to family

Pros:
-Most convenient for me, don’t need a visa to get a job
-family and friends can visit me easily
-Lots of Korean women, probably #3 in North America after LA and Toronto

Cons:
-Rainy weather
-Salary is relatively low – $80k CAD on average for engineers which is roughly $61k USD and taxes is similar to California so it’s roughly $40k/yr after taxes, so basically same salary as Korea (without the overwork though).
-Cost of living is high, around $1400 USD/mo for studio
-Take home pay: roughly $2000 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 3: San Francisco, California – the best choice for the best tech companies

Pros:
-Very familiar with the city, still have some friends left there (including one really good friend)
-High salaries and lots of jobs – around $130k/yr average for engineers
-Very nice temperate climate and scenery

Cons:
-Cost of living is very high, around $2500/mo for studio
-Not a lot of women in general let alone Korean women, probably the worst place to meet girls on my list of choices
-High taxes, so take home salary (net income) would be about $84k/yr
-Take home pay: roughly $4500 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 4: Seattle, Washington – the best choice for earning and saving money

Pros:
-High salaries, lots of jobs – around $130k/yr average for engineers, but even higher than San Francisco due to no income tax which means net income is around 7% higher, around $94k/yr the highest out of any city on my list

Cons:
-Not many friends in Seattle, I have maybe one or two
-Not as many Korean women as LA/Seoul/Vancouver
-Cost of living is also expensive like Vancouver, around $1400/mo for studio
-Rainy weather
-Take home pay: roughly $6400 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 5: Los Angeles, California – the balanced choice

Pros:
-Sunny warm weather all year round
-the most Koreans outside of Korea
-Have a few close friends there
-Nightlife better than other American cities. second biggest city on my list after Seoul

Cons:
-Not as many tech jobs as Seattle/SF. Average salary is around $110k/yr for engineers, and after CA taxes would be around $72k/yr, firmly in the middle of my list
-Cost of living is expensive, around $1500/mo for studio
-Take home pay: roughly $4500 USD a month after rent/taxes
-I would probably need a car (which is a hassle), which is something I cannot say for the other cities on my list…

So… where should I go? decisions, decisions.

Categories
Asia

Why should I never go to China?

You should go to China. As many other answers said, it’s a beautiful country with lots of history.

However

Just realize there are things in China that might shock Westerners or even Koreans/Japanese.

-China is a country where everyone is out for themselves, this makes it hard to trust people. You never know when you might be getting scammed. Some food or drinks are fake, but advertised as real. A Chinese friend of mine told me how she put rubbing alcohol in the vodka bottle to make it look like real vodka and sold it to high end hotel guests. This kind of stuff is not uncommon. So just beware.

-People are indeed very loud, and it is very crowded. If you prefer peace and quiet and are claustrophobic, then it might not be for you.

-Pollution is bad especially in northern parts of China. If you have conditions like asthma like me just be aware of this. In southern parts its not as bad.

-There’s no toilet paper in the stalls. So.. just remember to bring toilet paper with you when you go to the bathroom. This was a minor annoyance for me.

-You could think China is dirty especially compared to Japan or Singapore, but keep in mind… this is a country of 1.3 billion people. You think India is doing any better with that much people?

-Use VPN if you want to visit foreign websites. Chinese don’t care about the censorship that much since they don’t have reason to visit foreign websites, but I know for foreigners this is kind of a hassle.

-You actually can criticize the CCP or Xi Jinping as much as you want as long as you don’t actively do something against them. So yeah don’t do some demonstrations or something, but otherwise you are ok..

-Anything that is “illegal” is not actually illegal if you know the right people or places. 😉 just a tip.

I noticed there are a lot of answers which are either too biased to China or too biased against it, I’m trying to give people an unbiased answer in the middle.

My opinion is China is a great place to visit but not to live. As a place to live maybe Korea or Japan are better choices, but China does offer the most variety and most scenery and history out of all of them which is why I recommend it for travelling.