【Every throbbing moment is worth savouring.】embarking on my new unknown journey from the East to the West

Irene | Future Department Store
6 min readOct 16, 2023

TEXT_Irene Hung / Photo_Irene Hung

Skyview of London from Sky Garden

Every touching moment is the inspiration and growth of life. Even on the same journey, everyone can experience different insights and inspirations.

Last month, I’ve embarked on a new chapter of life to move to the UK for a master’s degree. This is my first time to stay in a western country for such a long time and thus there are tons and tons of collision & difference between Eastern & Western cultures, inspiring spiritual moments, creative marketing & branding strategies, potential business ideas… for me to discover & explore along the way.

The following is a record of the inspiration and surprises I felt when I landed in London for a 5-day solo trip.

Monmouth Coffee Company — Reusable Cup Scheme

Grabbed myself a cup of coffee from Monmouth Coffee Company at Borough Market London Store

An environmentally-friendly act has been announced by Monmouth Coffee Company since 1st March 2022, which is to stop providing disposable coffee to-go cups to customers. Hence, customers can choose to rather bring their own cups for the barista to fill into or pay a £5 deposit for use of the reusable cup and then get a refund of the deposit by returning it after drinking up or at any time when back to one of their chain shops.

Awareness of environmental protection and sustainability in Britain is practically on-going in retail stores and catering industries. Besides, the Reusable Cup Scheme by Monmouth can increase customers’ return visit rate and repurchase opportunities.

Sky Garden — Free visit for breathtaking city view

Got free skywalk ticket in Sky Garden London

Sky Garden is a huge glass dome with a selection of restaurants and bars. In such a stunning space of London’s highest public garden, visitors can either book a table for fine dining or get free access tickets for the sky view.

This is very different from Asian countries, in other words, free access of skywalk at observatory in Asian countries is barely seen and usually visitors should pay for the ticket of skywalk. For instance, Mahanakhon Skywalk in Bangkok Thailand costs around USD$25 per ticket, Shibuya Sky in Tokyo Japan charges USD$15, Taipei 101 observatory in Taipei Taiwan is roughly USD$30, to name just a few.

West End shows — Performance combining visual, auditory, and taste enjoyment

“The Phantom of the Opera” show at His Majesty’s Theatre

Opera house is a place you shouldn’t miss out when visiting London for the first time. What fascinates me is not merely the show and performers but the experience of sipping red wine elegantly while watching the show. Moreover, during interval period of the show, there is a tradition of getting ice cream craze. To compare with the show theatres in Taiwan, audience is not allowed to eat anything or drink anything other than water during the show.

Circolo Popolare — An immersive dining experience at Sicilian trattoria

Window decorations and front counter
Dining area
The meal we ordered
Decorations in the toilet

A Sicilian trattoria in the heart of London captured my attention immediately when passing by. Viewing from outside the restaurant, various green plants and white fabric curtains cover half of the floor-to-ceiling windows, making the small world inside the restaurant even more mysterious and private. Walking inside the restaurant, what catches the eyes is the store’s collection of up to 20,000 bottles of fine wine, and moreover, the green plant hangings on the ceiling are decorated with colourful flowers, and the walls are full of paintings, photo frames, and porcelain, adding to the charm of the restaurant.

A beautiful and pleasant dining experience must combine atmosphere creation, attention to detail, food design, five sense touches, and personalised warm service.

The Now Building Outernet London — Public atrium with breathtaking giant LED screens of cultural entertainment venue

The Now Building

The indoor-outdoor entertainment venue with four-storey high LED screens is a masterpiece of where 360-degree 4D digital artworks take place. Free access for the exhibition shows is an inspiring way to exhibit the latest immersive technology. Innovative ideas and touching moments emerge while watching the spectacular digital art.

Sightseeing bicycles — The light and playful music stimulates the mood of watching musicals

After watching The Phantom of the Opera, I heard the music of Mamma Mia played by sightseeing riders

Around West End district, there are many sightseeing bicycles outside waiting for tourists to come after watching the musical show. This is an adorable sight to see and even light up people’s energetic moods.

itsu — British chain of Japanese sushi cuisine

Itsu is one of the well-known Japanese sushi fast food British brands in the UK. The store adopts the fast casual style atmosphere, using a self-service way for customers to select sushi lunch boxes, and then go to the counter to pay the bill whether you want to eat in or take out.

The smooth service design and business strategy have greatly improved the seat turnover rate and also increased the opportunities for business guests to dine quickly.

Double-decker dessert truck

SNOG Frozen Yogurt truck by River Thames London

Somewhere along River Thames London is a double-decker truck selling dessert. Customers can grab some snacks while sitting on the upper deck of the truck and enjoying the relaxing time immersed themselves by the riverside.

Where people can stop and stay in natural scenic spots, there will be opportunities for business models to exist.

Casual wear style is on trend

Casual wear retail store

Wandering on a street near Covent Garden, I accidentally noticed that it was full of young people shopping inside this casual wear style retail store. Not only the young generation in Asia like to wear light and unrestricted casual clothes, London is no exception to this trend. Furthermore, a Korean pop-up store nearby also caused queues to swirl, which shows South Korea’s rapid advancement in the fashion & entertainment market.

Public art and humanities in St Pancras International

The beauty of public art design is the message of awareness that resonates with people. When I left my hometown alone and saw these public arts in St Pancras International, it showed a huge statue of a couple reluctantly separated and the empathetic words “I want my time with you”. The burning feeling of touching the scene instantly surged into my heart, and I lingered. Here I am, waiting for my train to arrive and to leave.

London, see you next time!
I’m leaving for the next city to pursue my dream.
(To be continued…)

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Irene | Future Department Store

Now living in the UK | Senior merchandise developer at mall👗I share topics of ♦retail ♦supply chain ♦commercial real estate ♦brand strategy ♦life planning