Tag Archives: Travel Tip

Hong Kong with Toddlers 子連れ香港旅行記(2)

After two days at Disneyland, we moved to Kowloon Sheraton Towers and spent about 5 days in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a great city for toddlers because there are parks all over the place. We must have gone to a park or playground every few hours, which kept Nina and Mila happy, as they could climb and run around (and tire themselves out!). Happy toddlers mean happy parents!

Our favorite park was the pirate ship themed playground in Stanley Plaza near the Stanley Market. Perfect setting to rest up after browsing all the shops and stalls at Stanley Market; have some lunch at the restaurants next door and let the kids play. They also have a stroller rental in case your bub gets sleepy. You can easily spend the entire day out in the Stanley area. We discovered that Mila LOVES olives. What a strange thing for a one year old to like.
Other parks we visited were:
- The Peak Galleria Mall. In case the Peak tram wasn’t enough excitement for the kids, drop by the second floor of the mall for a small playground. Nina and Mila made a little friend there. It’s always great to see how easily children hit it off.
- Kowloon Park has a great little flamingo sanctuary, but before you even get there, Avenue of Comic Stars (opened in September 2012) offers cheeky weird local comic character statues. It’s an endless entertainment for kids. Nina loved “taking pictures” of each and every statue.
– Hong Kong Park has a large lake with birds, a hedge maze, and a playground. Also, lots of local people sketching and painting, just a clip of the daily Hong Kong life that’s fun to see.
– Sai Yee Street Garden is a small park near the Ladies Market. It’s enough to breathe and unwind from the insanity of the street markets in Hong Kong. Nina walked into the Ladies Market and said, “Ohhhhh, I wanna buy something!” Scary how even little girls jump right into shopping mode after only 5 seconds. We bought her a pair of sunglasses.
– Goldfish Market was wonderful to walk around with all these cool fish. We saw some neon fish (I assume they are dyed that color?) and just enjoyed strolling around. Mila jumped out of her Ergo and wanted to walk and take in the sights. She pretty much learned to walk while we explored the streets of Hong Kong. In a week, a baby becomes a toddler. Exciting and sad at the same time.
– There are several parks around the Jade Market and Nina had us go to two or three of them. Mila got a free bracelet at the jade market for being cute… Yeah, she knows how to milk the cuteness
– Near the Avenue of the Stars, on top of East Tsam Sha Tsui station, across the overpass extending from the AOS, there is Middle Road Children’s Playground. It’s a pretty large playground with swings, several slides and play area for different ages. When we went, half of it was still closed, but the half that was still open was still more than enough for the kiddies.

For our toddlers, Hong Kong is like food heaven. Nina loves those meat buns (the BAO) and she could eat them all day. Some of them have eggs and veggies in it, so it’s a meal in itself and Nina just couldn’t get enough. The rice porridge (congee) is a standard for little ones and is available everywhere. If you can find one without MSG, it’s a perfect little meal for the littlies. Nina and Mila are dim sum lovers, so it’s not hard to please them with abundance of dumplings and noodles in Hong Kong.

When we went to Yung Kee restaurant with some friends. She managed to slip us into the VIP area, so we didn’t have to deal with the crowded main dining room with two toddlers. A lady there suggested trying the Black Sesame Roll which I’ve never seen in Singapore. She mentioned that they’re not necessarily an adult favorite, but children love them. And they did! After an extra-large dim sum dinner (there were four adults and two toddlers, so my friend ordered for four, thinking it would be enough, but then had to order two extra adult portions when she realized our children were ravenous monsters), our children fought over the dessert and cleaned it up. Black Sesame Roll is not too sweet, and it’s steamed, so a healthy choice for children who may be craving an after dinner pick up. The Yong Kee restaurant in general was a great place to go for adults too. Their roast meats are fabulous.

For a quick congee bite, we headed to iSquare and went to Praise House Congee & Noodle Cuisine. Good congee and it’s open pretty early, which is key when you have two hungry toddlers. I think it mentioned somewhere that they didn’t use any MSG, but I can’t confirm for sure.

Hong Kong is close to my heart when it comes to traveling with children since it was the first place we traveled to after having Nina. Nina was still only three and a half months old at the time and I had tagged along on Marc’s business trip. Come to think of, that was the beginning of our life in Asia. When we were in Hong Kong last time, we made a chop for Nina with her Japanese name. I wanted to make a matching one for Mila, so we headed out to Man Wa Lane, also known as “Chop Street.” I found a similar red agate stone and asked them to make one for Mila. Red agate apparently means family love, so it’s perfect for our little girls. I’m looking forward to telling them stories of their trips and giving them the chop when they can appreciate them. Most of the stalls will make the chop while you wait, or they can deliver to your hotel the next morning. We asked them to deliver both times and they were delivered timely and we are very happy with what we received. Highly recommend it for a special souvenir.

Hong Kong turned out to be a great kid-friendly trip overall. It is definitely on our list of places we’ll go to again with the whole family.

– お勧めはStanley Market近くのStanley Plazaにある海賊船を象った公園です。回りにレストランもあり、ベビーカーのレンタルもあるので一日ゆったり遊べます。
– The Peakの上にある小さいモールの二階の外にも小さい遊び場があります。ここで新菜と実良はお友達を作って遊んでて、かわいかった。
– Kowloon Park (九龍公園)には比較的新しい(2012年9月開設)Avenue of Comic Starsがあります。ローカルなアニメキャラの像が沢山並んでいて、子供も大人も楽しめます。Kowloon Parkに行ったらもちろんフラミンゴもお忘れなく。
– Hong Kong Park(香港公園)の遊び場やバードサンクチュアリは子供達のお気に入りでした。ローカルの方が絵を描いていたり麻雀していたりして大人も散歩していて楽しいです。
– 女人街の近くにあったSai Yee Street Gardenは小さい公園ですが、買い物疲れした足を休めて子供をのびのびさせるには十分でした。
– 三歳の娘は金魚街がお気に入りでまた行きたいと何度もせがまれて困った程です。翡翠市場の近くには三つも公園があります。
– 翡翠市場では実良さん大活躍。色々なところで愛想を振りまいてはお土産をゲットしておりました(汗)翡翠はどれも綺麗だったのですが、かえって何を買ったらいいのか分からなくなってしまい、結局買わずじまい。でも瑪瑙のカップが色違いで綺麗だったので、4つセットで買ってみました。小さい前菜とか入れるのにいいかなあ、と。前菜をかわいい器に入れるような食事結局作らないので使ってないけど。
– Avenue of the Starsを散歩した後は、East Tsam Sha Tsui(尖東)駅の上にある、Middle Road Children’s Playgroundがお勧めです。Avenue of the Starsから陸橋を登って少し歩いたところにあります。グーグルマップスで見ると結構AOSから距離があるように見えるのですが、5分程で着いたと思います。



友人と一緒に行ったセントラルのYung Kee restaurantでは一緒に行った友人がVIPセクションを予約していてくれたおかげでセミ個室で子連れでもゆっくり楽しめました。メインダイニングルームもちらッと覗いたんですが、結構カオスな状態で、自分達だけで入るには不向きかも…と感じました。でもローストはとっても美味しいです。個室リクエスト、出来ればしてみて下さい。こちらのレストランで、シンガポールでは見たことのない、黒ゴマロール(Black Sesame Seed Roll/黑芝蔴卷)という一品(デザート?)をお店の方が大人にはあんまりだけど、小さい子供は大好きなのよ~、とサービスしてくれたんですが、これが大ヒット。黒ゴマペーストをモチ状にして、巻いた感じで、確かに大人には不向きでしたが、子供達は争って食べてました。ほんのり甘い蒸し菓子、とっても助かりました。

私達はカウルーンに泊まっていたので、近くにあるiSquareのPraise House Congee & Noodle Cuisine でお粥を食べましたが、ここも美味しかったし、清潔でした。ベビーチェアはなかった気がしますが、うちの娘達は食べるのに必死で問題なかったです。確かMSGは使用していないと書いてあった気がするんだけど、確信が持てなくて、すいません。


その時に新菜、と名前の入ったハンコをハンコ街、Man Wa Laneで作ってもらっていたんです。それとおそろいのものを実良にも作って貰いたい、と思ったのでまた行って作ってきました。どこに行っても大抵ホテルに次の日の朝持ってきてくれるのは嬉しいですね。無事お揃いのハンコを作れました!赤メノウは家族や兄弟(姉妹)への愛を象徴する石だそうで、お気に入りです。いつか娘達に香港の話をしながら渡してあげるのが楽しみです。お店は幾つもあるんですが、両方とも適当に、気にいった石のあった場所でハンコを作ってます。どちらも満足な出来で、きっちりホテルに配達してくれました。その場で作って貰う事もできますが、子連れで待つって苦痛なので、お勧めしません。座るところもないし、近くに適当なお店ってのも余りないし。


The view from the Peak

The view from the Peak

I never take pics of food anymore, but the wonton noodles at the Peak was great!

I never take pics of food anymore, but the wonton noodles at the Peak was great!

Nina walking with Mila

Nina walking with Mila

Nina taking a pic of  a funky statue at the Avenue of Comic Stars

Nina taking a pic of a funky statue at the Avenue of Comic Stars

Nina at the Goldfish Market

Nina at the Goldfish Market

Nina with her sunglasses she picked out.  She's a teenager!

Nina with her sunglasses she picked out. She’s a teenager!

Nina and Mila's matching chop

Nina and Mila’s matching chop

Nina and Mila's carving

Nina and Mila’s carving


Japanese, but a British mommy? 母としての言語はどちら?

I had a very interesting conversation with a friend the other day.  She is Japanese, born and raised, studied in the US for several months as a university student, but otherwise spent most of her life in Japan.  She left Japan 5 years ago after marrying an Australian guy and since then lived in several English speaking countries before moving to Singapore about a year ago.  Her strongest language is Japanese. When we speak, most of our conversation including this one takes place in Japanese.  She is more natural conversing in Japanese, her parents only speak Japanese.  So it was very curious when she said, “I’m not comfortable parenting in Japanese”

We’ve all noticed that she speaks to her two year old daughter in English most of the time, but have never asked why.  It’s just what she does.  Recently, she’s been trying to switch to Japanese because she feels that it is important to boost her daughter’s Japanese language skill.  She’s more comfortable with Japanese anyways….wait, she’s NOT?? Why? Japanese is clearly her dominant language with everything else!

We boiled it down to her preference of parenting style.  She had her daughter in London.  At the time, she had American and British pre-mommy/new mommy friends and some Japanese mommy friends.  All in all, she felt that she related more with the non-Japanese friends on parenting terms.  Additionally when she spoke to her husband about parenting, the conversation took place in English. She read English parenting books and had an English speaking doctor.  All these factors shaped the kind of mother she is.  Her parenting language, despite it not being her first language, became English.  She knew what tones to use when, the appropriate time to switch from gentle to scolding.  She had lost that parenting voice in Japanese in the two years with her daughter. So here is a case where the language didn’t drive her thinking, but her preference drove the language.

What about her mother?  Well, who remembers what your mom really sounded like when you were two? The memories from then are fuzzy at best.  She remembers her mother’s scolding as being is lectures, poignant inquiries that made her think during her teenage years.  That tactic isn’t effective with a toddler.

She’s currently still trying to find her “voice” when speaking Japanese to her daughter, or rather, get more comfortable with hearing herself speak in Japanese as a mother.  She unconsciously flipped her primary and secondary language in such an unexpected way and didn’t even notice for two years!  It’ll be interesting to see how she feels about the whole thing three months from now.


確かにいつも二歳になる娘さんに英語で話しかけてはいたんだけど、まさか裏に日本語がしっくり来ない、という意外な真実があるとは。何故かという話を少しゆっくり聞いてみる事も出来たので、ちょい分析してみると、どうやら子育ての方針に対する考え方とタイミングが原因らしい。彼女は娘さんをロンドンで出産していて、その時の友人はアメリカ人もイギリス人も日本人(もちろんその他にもいたと思うけど、メインのところで)いたけど、子育ての考え方として、基本日本人以外の人の方が自分にあった考えで子育てを実行していると感じたみたい。もちろんここでそれがいいいかどうかは考査しません。人それぞれだし、文化的な考え方の差もあるし、子育てに関してはトライアル アンド エラーでやっていくうちに変わる事も多いので。とにかくその時の彼女の考えは西洋よりだったらしい。しかも旦那さんはオーストラリア人で、もちろん子育てに関しての会話は英語、お医者さんも育児本も英語の環境のなか、彼女にとって子育てに関してだけは主になる言語が英語になってしまって、普通の会話でさえも娘さんと日本語で話しかけるのが自分らしさに欠けてる気がするようになってしまったらしいんです。これって結構衝撃的ではないでしょうか?

例えば “Honey, Come sit here” の方が ”娘ちゃんこっちに座って“というよりしっくりするらしい。正確には、”娘ちゃん、こっちに来て座りなさい“というのか”娘ちゃんこっちに座ったら?“というのか、”娘ちゃん、座ってください“というべきなのか、どのトーンが英語で使ってるトーンに一番近いのか分からない感じ?