Which do you like better, Tokyo or Shanghai? What is your opinion of each?
Eri Oikawa, lived in Tokyo
I’m half Shanghainese half Tokyoite and have lived in both for about half of my life each. (Although I just moved to Vancouver.)
I personally find major flaws in both cities which is why I’m trying to find a better place to live. The biggest flaws for Tokyo is how stressful it is and the biggest flaw for Shanghai is the lack of access to free internet.
In terms of work environment, both can be stressful but I find the formality of Japanese work environments more annoying and stressful. It is also more different from western culture. I feel like there’s more of a choice of how much you work in Shanghai and it’s easier to find jobs as people change jobs all the time. The annoying thing is a lot of the people you work with will quit. However, there’s better labor protection law in Japan despite the more systemic gender discrimination in workplace.
In terms of culture, Shanghai is very materialistic but people are friendlier and it’s easier to make close friends. Shanghai is also more international where you can meet people not just from all over the world but also those who have studied/lived abroad. If you like more down to earth people, it’s easier to find them in Tokyo although I would recommend smaller cities.
The food is a little better in Tokyo but Shanghai has better food delivery systems and much cheaper fruits. (Unless your favourite fruit is strawberry) The bread and cakes are a little better in Tokyo but Shanghai might catch up soon.
The air quality is really bad in Shanghai sometimes but people don’t talk about how it’s not so great in Tokyo most of the time. Perhaps it’s easier to find fresher air in Tokyo if you travel to the mountains.
In terms of cost of living, Shanghai is definitely cheaper as it’s easier to find cheaper labor to exploit. You can also live more on a budget considering how much basic things cost in Tokyo. Shanghai also has a ridiculously cheap public transport system that is pretty reliable. However, if you want things (clothings, makeup, electronics…) with certain quality/design that are sold in both countries, they are usually cheaper in Tokyo. What I’m trying to say is more “expensive” things are cheaper in Tokyo.
In conclusion, I would pick Shanghai over Tokyo if not for the internet but I’m sure there are better cities to live on earth.
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Sara Ying, True Shanghainese
It’s really hard to choose between the two cities, especially since Shanghai and Tokyo have a lot of similarities. But, ultimately I think Shanghai wins for me. It’s more attractive in the sense that it retains much of its culture. When you visit, it’s hard not to bump shoulders with locals and stumble into the living quarters of the working class. Even at the most touristy sites, like Nanjing Road, you will still see really old architecture (for example, my great-grandfather worked in some of the buildings that still stand on that road today). Tokyo also has many cultural sites, but I feel like a lot of it has been “cleaned up” to be viewed by tourists. What you’ll find in Shanghai is raw and unfiltered, a great experience in my opinion
Tony Kim, lived in Tokyo
I’ve lived in Yokohama / Tokyo 8 months and visited Shanghai once a month for one week for 6 years.
For me, Shanghai wins for the following reasons:
The Chinese people are typically cold and not very welcoming until you get to know them. They show true friendship and brotherhood. Japanese are warm and friendly from the start but never goes deeper then pleasantly.
Chinese people welcome you to their home and offer you their couch if u don't have hotel. The Japanese would never go out of their ways for a foreigner
The History and culture. China was ravaged through wars and revolution. Japan was burnt to the ground and rebuilt.
Japan is a copy of New York with some hidden jewels of modern Japan. Shanghai is unique in all of Asia. Glitzy clubs, restaurant along flowing green streets in French concention, sky scrapers make Tokyo look like 2 tier cities all along old Shanghai charm
Shanghai has done a great job to keep it international feel while retaining the old Shanghai
Japanese food is bland and limited. There is so much sushi, katsu and soba you can eat then it's all the same. Very limited. Chinese food …. OMG. Too many to select. After 10 years of traveling to China, I'm still finding new exciting food to enjoy. It's always an adventure in a nice way
Shanghai metro, high speed trains, mag lev and taxi is world class. Ok - the Japanese system is much more punctual but cost very expensive. China / Shanghai infra is much more local friendly and WIDE SCALE.
Tokyo is ALMOST sterile city. It's clean but walk the back streets and it's just like Shanghai
Tokyo almost felt like living in a fake city. Bland and no soul. Everyone walking around doing the 9to5 everyday life in a make up world. Don't get me wrong, visiting there as a tourist for one week is great. I was fascinated with Tokyo till I found the bland life of it.
Shanghai never gets bland. Tokyo’s the runner up to the miss universe competition. Still beautiful, still exotic and cultured but miss Shanghai is the crown winner