Japan vs Singapore

Hi all~ I know I’m always inactive and hardly update my blog (and only post stuff here when I feel like it), but at least I’m trying to keep it alive.

I think one reason why I’m always leaving it untouched for a long period of time is because I’m always out of ideas, and I don’t think I get a lot of readership anyway (or maybe I’m just not aware). But I’ve always wanted to blog actively and lately I do have a lot of things I wanna share, so yeah I will TRY to gather my thoughts and blog about them.

For the second half of last year, I’ve been pretty busy (job-hopped twice, prepared for exams – even though I never got to take them in the end T~T, went back to Singapore, etc), so I didn’t even update my facebook, let alone this blog. I took lots of pictures – on my camera and on my phone – but just never got around to posting them. I’m just not that kind of person to immediately post photos right after taking them… But I’ll try >.<

So anyway, I’ve been in Japan for close to a year now, and I thought maybe I should think about how I really feel towards this place I think I will call home for quite some time to come. I’m gonna compare Japan to Singapore – I will try to be objective about both places, listing pros and cons for each place. For language practice purposes, I will post in both English and Japanese, so bear with me here ^^;;

早いものですが、来日以来もう1年に近づいています。そのため、日本への感想を述べてみたいと思います。日本(主に大阪だけれども)とシンガポールを比較します。自分自身の経験に基づいて述べて行くんですが、できるだけ、客観的に感想を述べてみます。こちらも日本語の練習になるので、語力不足なところがあれば、お許しください m(_ _)m



I will start with listing pros and cons for Japan first. For every pro point I will also present the other side of it – the con point – so here we go.


Great weather (when it’s not summer).



Extremely hot sweltering summers



Great weather so you can dress up.



Might easily succumb to fashion trends/sales



Most people bother to dress up and have good social etiquettes.



Always have to dress up so I don’t look like a freak.



Food is yummy and there’s a wide variety.



Most dishes start to taste similar, regardless of which cuisine, because most of them are altered to suit the taste buds of Japanese diners.



Every area is well-known for their unique products, which makes traveling around Japan interesting and memorable.



But you can’t really tell the difference between those local specialties and the normal stuff so you start wondering if it’s all just marketing.



People are generally nice, friendly and polite (you know, it’s Japan).



They are nice when you first meet them, but it’s strenuous to try to take the friendship to the next level (or advance from just co-workers to friends).



A lot of fascinating places to explore and most of them are within reach.



Transport is expensive T~T



(In the case of Osaka) A lot of choices of housing available, even for students.



Rent is pretty expensive near the city centre, and even the more spacious apartments are pretty tiny.



Supermarkets and convenient stores are everywhere, and they sell a wide variety of products.



Sure, stuff is affordable, but you end up buying lots of unnecessary stuff due to distraction and temptation.



Extremely low crime rates, even in Osaka, which is considered a city with the highest crime rates in Japan! Guys can put long purses in their back pockets without fearing it being pick-pocketed.



Molestation, murder and kidnap cases are still rather rampant…


Conclusion: Japan is a country that is cool (as in weather), has fashionable, friendly and polite people, delicious food, fun places, convenient, generally lots of choices in lots of things and most importantly, safe. Yes even safer than Singapore. Aside from protecting yourself from being molested, murdered or kidnapped (how the hell does on do that anyway), most of the downsides can be easily overcome, I believe. Like for example, exercising more self-discipline when passing by apparel stores – or avoid going to shopping streets altogether – in order to curb spending. Same for grocery shopping. As for food, you can always try to cook your own meals if you get sick and tired of the same kind of taste outside. Most importantly, save, save and save and you can survive even in an expensive city. Indeed, as a student I do find  the rents pretty harsh, but as long as one bears and grinds with not spending I believe anybody can get by. You can’t be a rich man, but you won’t starve on the streets either. Summer, bopian (there’s no choice), have to tahan (bear with it). Oh and earthquakes too. Well, here in Osaka, I have yet to experience an earthquake… choy (touch wood)! But so far, so good.


Ok, now onto Singapore….


Summer all year round so can save money on winter wear.



I hate summer -_-



Near Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia so can always visit beaches and enjoy cheap shopping.



You do have to get out of the country first…



Transport is affordable and extensive (erm until the train breakdowns…)



Transport management is terrible and we cannot even trust the Ministry of Transport to handle the problems. Oh and service is shitty too.



There is cultural diversity and you can get to meet a lot of people from different cultural backgrounds.



We are still not a society mature enough to condone people from vastly different cultural or religious backgrounds (we have a lot domestic helpers from The Philippines, but there is hardly any Filipino restaurant around, as compared to Japanese and Korean cuisine. Also, Singaporeans are not as exposed to foreign culture as they would like to think they are. Most foreigners in Singapore are after all, Chinese from mainland China. How many of us can say we have a friend from Jordan or Brazil? Even I have never met a person from Jordan or Brazil before I came to Japan. We are culturally diverse, but not as much as Europe or America. Heck, even Japan has more diversity in the foreigners she accepts. Sorry for the long explanation. But maybe I will expand on this on another post for another day).



There are food available that are tasty and affordable.



Variety of food is limited to Asian food, and restaurant service sucks to the core unless you dine at some atas (high-class) place.



Supermarkets are everywhere and very convenient.



Prices are rather expensive because products are mostly imports and choices are limited.



Rent is expensive, but you probably live with your parents so no problem there. Most HDBs are situated near amenities too so that is a plus.



With the government’s plan to to increase the population ARTIFICIALLY to 6.9 million by 2030, on top of overcrowding, property prices are going to skyrocket, and you can’t possibly live with your parents forever (like what if you get married and have kids?) Don’t even get me started on the shrinking HDB flats.

(Holy crap, I really cannot imagine living in Singapore anymore. I really feel bad  for Singaporeans. It’s like we are slowly being invaded. And yeah we voted for our extinction. And people like my dad will probably continue to vote for just that. Ok another topic for another day.)



Crime rates are pretty low. Women can walk safely alone at night on the streets… Most of the time.



Shitty and inefficient police who cannot even be bothered to investigate petty crimes. And that is despite having CCTV almost everywhere, even on the streets. Useless. Really useless. Can’t even be trusted to solve petty crimes, it’s no wonder Mas Selamat the terrorist escaped.


Conclusion: Ok, I know I sound like I hate Singapore. Well, to be fair, Singapore is a nice place to visit if you’re on holiday. I do hear a lot of my friends telling me that they always see Singapore being introduced on travel programs back in their countries, or having heard good things about Singapore, they always seem to have a good impression of Singapore. IMHO, it’s not such a bad place to live in either. I mean, it could have been worse. At least Singapore scores in cleanliness and hygiene, yeah? We have potable water straight from the tap, and not many countries have that. But if we were to call ourselves a developed country, then we’d better act like one and start providing our citizens a proper standard of living and quality of life that they deserve for their contributions to the country. But no, we are still far from that. We are no way on par with developed countries like Finland or Sweden. Heck, what happened to the Swiss standard of living that we were promised?

Final verdict: Japan – 1, Singapore – 0. 結論:日本の勝ちや o(^O^)o Unless Singaporeans wake up their idea and vote the current government out. There is simply no way the government can change its mind. It’s like asking your boyfriend to change his personality and lifestyle after you get together. You date a scumbag, you get a scumbag. If you accepted him as a scumbag then he’s gonna stay like that, because he knows you accepted him as a scumbag anyway. You can’t change a guy, just like you can’t change the government’s political views (just like you can’t expect China’s communist party to go democratic). So the same logic applies in dating as well as in politics. You want a guy who treats you well, dump the current one and get one who will treasure you. So if you want a government that takes care of its people, then vote the current government out and vote one in that will actually listen to the people.

I know people like my dad probably will just keep voting for the PAP cos they are afraid of taking risks. They are like the heartbroken woman who has been lied to so many times by her scumbag boyfriend but still refuses to let go of the relationship for fear that she can’t find another boyfriend, or some other reason. But you just have to take the chance. You’ll never know if you’ll get another scumbag or the right one will come along, just like you have to take that leap of faith and hope that the next government will not end up like the previous one. And if it does, simply vote it out. Politics is simpler and more clear-cut than relationships; it doesn’t involve heartbreaks. So why not take the chance?

Politics aside, weather is another big deciding factor for me. I absolutely hate being in the sweltering heat – except when I go to beaches, I love beaches. Japan may be more expensive than Singapore, but I see my future brighter here than back at home. I will bear with being broke for the next two years and after that when I get a job here I’m gonna work hard and be rich like fuck. Yeah mark my words. I see that possible here, but sadly not in Singapore. And most of the things that I need and want are all here in Japan. So nope, sorry Mom and Dad, not going back home for a while. But I will send you my paycheck when I get a job here.

Sorry for the long post. So long folks!


About Kimono Party Girl

I was born and bred in Singapore for the first 20 years of my life, and then I decided that even after flying all over the world as a flight attendant, life is still too boring. So, in search of more adventure and add spice to my life, I quit my job, packed up, and left for Japan - which is, to me, the promised land. I've always been fascinated with Japan ever since I was 8, thanks to Ayumi Hamasaki, aka the Britney Spears of Japan. She's the first J-pop singer that I have been obsessed with, and my first contact with the Japanese language was through her lyrics. Yup, I first learned my Hiragana from her song 'I am'. But what really sealed the deal was my first trip to Japan in 2010. The fresh air, the beautiful cherry blossoms, the endless fast fashion trends and the awesome food was what made Japan the land of my dreams, and it had since become my goal to one day live, work and party in Japan. So after working like a horse as a flight attendant for 2 years and saving up a decent amount, I made a big leap of faith and moved to the land of the rising sun. I have studied one year of Japanese and two years of graphic design. Currently, I'm in the midst of shukatsu (就活 - job hunting). Wish me luck!
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2 Responses to Japan vs Singapore

  1. Leon says:

    A good read, and very frank. You are in a position now that I envy. To be precise, I want this for my daughters. I’ve begun researching – seriously – on how to send them overseas to study, settle down and don’t come back to Singapore. At present, I see no future for them here.

    Anyway, Japan may have its cons, but I’d take it any day. Was just saying to a friend the other day that I would trade the entire SMRT just for the professionalism of one JR station.

  2. amberMirage says:

    Thanks for your comment here too Leon! I think Singapore wasn’t that bad just about a decade ago. My parents’ total income never exceeded $2.5k, but they managed to bring me and my brother up just fine. Then you see the government start implementing policies that are against us. I think families like yours are having it really tough, Leon. You have the young and the old to support. It’s never too early to start planning for your daughters’ future. I wish you all the very best! Oh about the trains, I think SMRT still has newer and better technology than most JR stations, but that’s not the point. The management just sucks. It’s not that technology breakdown per se that upsets people – we all know machines breakdown at some point of time – but how the management handles the situation is really salah. We don’t have to change the stations – just change the people running it will do. 😀

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