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Japan or China? First Trip to Asia

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Feb 9th, 2014, 10:59 PM
  #1
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Japan or China? First Trip to Asia

We are in the midst of planning our first trip to Asia. We are considering China and Japan, I can speak a little Mandarin already and will be start learning Japanese later this year anyway. We are interested in both countries food and cultures, their mega cities, and old temples, as well as their natural beauty. We prefer Japan slightly more than China, but China seems to be growing so rapidly I don't want to be too late. Please help, and thanks in advance!
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Feb 10th, 2014, 12:02 AM
  #2
kja
 
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I found Japan much easier than China; I don't know whether others will agree. I thought the infrastructure for Western tourists much better established in Japan (which I visited in 2006) than China (which I visited in 2010). I'm sure things are changing. My language skills for each country were limited to a few pleasantries, nothing more.

As you are probably aware, the levels of pollution in China, and especially Beijing, are at a level that warrants legitimate concern. Search this board for relevant posts.

Your idea to visit China before it changes too much is, IMO, on target. Even when I was there, I could see what I call the "Disney-fication" of all-too-any places.

Both are fascinating. Enjoy!
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Feb 10th, 2014, 06:31 AM
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IMO, you are already too late for much of China.

We very much enjoyed our trip to Japan in November - you can find my trip report by clicking on my name.

For a first trip to Asia, I recommend SE Asia, Thailand or Bali as excellent introductions.
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Feb 12th, 2014, 01:00 AM
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Japan.
Because it is cleaner than China.
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Apr 25th, 2014, 04:13 AM
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I agree with above. I have just returned from Asia. Japan is very clean and the people are very respectful of others and the laws. China is ver smoggy++++, dusty and has a white pollen like fluff in the air.People do not obey the road rules and some areas can be very dirty.
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Apr 30th, 2014, 11:25 AM
  #6
 
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> IMO, you are already too late for much of China.

In passing, people were saying this about China by the 1980s. Now China's both more and less than it used to be. but there's a great deal more to see than there was then, and it's much easier to get to. Japan may be cleaner, more efficient, and thoroughly developed, but it had achieved long ago what makes people say 'too late' for China, there's much less to see, and it's mostly on a much smaller scale. Still, time in Japan tends to feel much more like a holiday.

> a white pollen like fluff in the air.

That's not China, but Beijing, whose streets are lined with female willows, poplars, and scholar trees that naturally produce this substance. And, as already pointed out, this is only in spring.
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Apr 30th, 2014, 12:03 PM
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In addition to all the above, in China you will spend significant energy fighting against being overcharged and or ripped off. In Japan, even the cab drivers will give you back correct change, and instances of theft are very rare.

Also, (somewhat seriously)with the threat of earthquakes, tsunami, rising sea levels and hostile neighbors, I think you could make a case that all the east Asian countries are at risk that you will be "too late" at some point.
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May 1st, 2014, 02:49 AM
  #8
 
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I think that only be walking the streets on common chinese cities can you gain some idea of why china is well on its way to a world power. Looking at pix and reading opinions of yesteryear lost will not give you an honest appraisal of the dynamics of today's china. Yes, dirty, chaotic, poor, authoritarian, but huge and varied. The food tops.
I am very distressed about XinJiang as i spent 6 weeks there 6 years ago and found it a special place and quite different from Han China. It's a troubled place and the Han are not blameless.
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May 1st, 2014, 09:52 AM
  #9
 
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I would say Japan. Japan has a lot to see, as well as China, but Japan just has a different feel to it. People in Japan are very respectful. There are sooo many people in China that you get pushed around like trying to get onto public transportation.
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May 2nd, 2014, 07:12 PM
  #10
 
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Why does something here remind me of 'colonial cocoons'?
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