Popcorn Malls 1 and 2
I may have mentioned this before, but Hong Kong (like many Asian cities) is essentially a giant shopping mall with apartments and businesses wedged around them. We live on top of a shopping mall called Park Central. It is attached via skybridge to another shopping mall called Popcorn. Which is attached to Popcorn 2. Which is attached to …you get the picture.
When I first learned that we would live in Park Central and not Popcorn or Popcorn 2, I was kind of disappointed. I mean, how cool would it be to write your address as “Popcorn, Tower 12, 6th Floor” ? But since I still walk through Popcorn on a daily basis, I do get to enjoy their advertising, especially the advertising in the skybridge.
I mean, if I were doing the marketing here, I probably would have gone for “pop” plus the relevant word. At least that’s more of an adjective. But no. They opted to add “corn” to the end of each word. I admit, I am more than a little intrigued by Digital Corn.
The beginning of this week was the celebration of Mid-Autumn Festival, which is a major Chinese holiday celebrating the moon and the harvest. I think the celebrations are more intense in China, but we still got to experience some of the celebrations, including the lantern display in Victoria Park, free popcorn and cotton candy in the courtyard of our own apartment complex, and some traditional mooncakes. I’d had the pleasure of eating mooncakes before since I used to get them for my Chinese students back in the US, but this was Jonathan’s first time, so naturally I recorded the incident.
At work a few days later we were presented with a truly enormous mooncake. It was so dense, I think it literally weighed 10 pounds. To my horror, this one was filled not with the lotus seed paste and salted duck egg yolks I’ve come to know and love (ok, know and expect), but instead it was filled with “Chinese ham.”
It was…how shall I put this…not good. And this is coming from someone who semi-voluntarily ate duck tongue and jellyfish salad last week.
There is a string of related supermarkets here that are owned by the same parent company and all have “Jason” in the title. The store we do most of our grocery shopping at is called “Jason’s Ichiba.” In the weeks before I arrived, every time Jonathan went to the grocery store, he would be granted a certain number stickers, each depicting a Kitchen Aid appliance, mostly knives. Not knowing what they were for or what he should do with this, he would thank the cashier and then deposit them into a drawer at home.
They look very similar to the stickers from the McDonald’s monopoly promotion, so it felt important to collect them. I started doing the same. Perhaps we could one day cash them in for a million dollars?
After a few more weeks of this mystery, a cashier gave me a brochure that had numbered spots to stick the little stickers on. I finally understood what we were collecting them for. Once you have a certain number of stickers, you get the privilege of buying a Kitchen Aid knife for a reduced price. If you keep saving, you can purchase an even bigger knife at a reduced price. And eventually, if you have hundreds of stickers, they will actually give you the knife for free. It’s a relief to know that all of sticker-hoarding will eventually pay off.
Side note: We actually have no idea if the stickers need to match or anything like that. We’ve been operating on the basis of no.
Life here in Hong Kong might not always be glamorous, but it is always interesting!