Oh my Seoul, Street Food, Street Art, Street Entertainment & Cosmetic Surgery

Seoul, Korea!

Cosmetic Surgery, 1 eye lid or 2? Delicious Street food! Street Art… Good times

After Japan we flew to Seoul, Korea. Just want to shout out to Korean Air, they have a great selection of new and old movies.

I thought Japan was cold, turns out Korea is still in winter mode. It was quite rainy as well but we managed huddling under an umbrella. Our first stop was the Palace which was very cool. It was a shame it was quite foggy as we were surrounded with mountains which you could only vaguely make out. The colourful architecture was great and they had guards in traditional dress, which you could take pics with but you’ll be told off if you accidentally touch/bump them

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The furniture is similar to what we had seen in Japan, low lying tables and sitting cushions on the floor. I must say it does create a lot more space and looks very tidy. Giving me more ideas for future pad hehe

The grounds were stunning, even in the wintery weather. We had a lot of fun *trying* to take arty pics with the surroundings. There was only a tiny bit of Cherry Blossom but can imagine later in spring it would look amazing at this palace!

Afterwards, we found somewhere to have lunch. This was quite a trendy area, lots of cool shops and cafés. The place we went to was small but the food was very yummy and it was cute how you wrote your review on a post-it note or simply that you had been there and the date.

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We searched for quite some time for the Traditional “village” which is actually just a street with a few houses in it in their traditional forms. It was quite cute but we thought it would be an actual village, google images made it look much better than what it was haha.

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Korea Tower and 3D museum was really fun, I recommend to do both and to go in the afternoon so you can also stay up the tower to watch the sun go down and all the city lights come on. It is amazing the density of this city but it is quite usual for a lot of countries other than Australia! Makes Sydney look like a country town and Canberra a village! The 3D museum has karaoke booth with awesome selection of songs, like usual I did my rendition of Yeah by Usher haha

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Louise and I found Korea is much better at making coffees than Japan and I really enjoyed the barley Tea, very earthy but nice flavor. I loved the street food, on the first night after a disappointing and expensive meal in Udong I wished we’d just walked around spending equivalent to $1-3 AUD on all diff kinds of food from street vendors. Also all the hustle and bustle adds to the fun and making sure we’re not separated… luckily I was wearing a very noticeable red jacket just in case.

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The next day we went to the street art area, it was very cool and not too crowded as we were there early, well, before lunch on a Saturday morning anyway! There are a lot of stairs which reminded me how unfit I am, but I’m working on it now hehe.

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Afterwards we went and had some delicious hot pot and being full didn’t stop me from getting more street food. There was also a lot of street clothing vendors. Hats and Socks were the most sold items, the slogans on the hats were quite funny and I’m not sure if they realise that most of them weren’t quite right ie) Pervert in big block letters on a flat cap!

The other thing I noticed was the highly advertised cosmetic surgery. It’s actually quite sad how acceptable and even encouraged to change the structure of your face! It’s so “normal” that people walk around right after having surgery, have lunch, go back to the office etc. I guess for the more simple surgeries like widening your eyes by removing part of the eyelid!

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On a happier note, Seoul’s free wifi was awesome! Pretty much had wifi everywhere which was great for google map directions.

Back in Fiji now so…

Vinaka vakalevu

Loloma levu xx

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Cherry Blossom Season ~ Japan

Konichiwa!

A little over two weeks ago I left the very beautiful Cherry Blossom country of Japan. Myself and two of my regular travel buddies and besties Celiya & Louise started our Japan trip in Osaka. It was the coldest and least things to really see of the three cities we traveled so it was good that we got it out of the way first while we were none the wiser.

The Osaka Castle was our first sightseeing stop, it was nothing like the castles I had experienced in Europe. Unfortunately on the inside it’s just a museum like any other, I was hoping they would have persevered the interior and made it feel like you were stepping back in time. The view from the top is nice, but not many cherry blossoms were out yet so it looked quite wintery.

Afterwards we went to famous eating and shopping district, the hussle and bussle was fantastic, I really enjoyed the vibrancy and also the amount of food to eat. I wasn’t a huge fan of Japanese food but I’ve changed my mind since! We had some amazing green tea deserts and dinners mainly noodle based. I’ve also discovered green tea chocolate! My favourite is the green tea Kit Kats. I’m not sure why but I’m seeming to be enjoying green tea more in Japan than I ever did in Australia, maybe they brew it differently?

Day two saw us at Osaka Tower, this was a major let down haha… I don’t think the tower was much or any taller than Telstra Tower in Canberra and there was nothing special to look at. The city isn’t really beautiful or architecturally amazing. However, it was worth going there for the tepenyaki in this area which we had beforehand and on the way out the Japanese Pancake. My mouth is watering thinking of them.

The day improved when we visited the Shitennoji Temple, it wasn’t very crowded so we could have a good look around and climb the steep steps up the temple tower. There are some similarities between the architecture of Japanese Buddhist temples to the ones I saw in Thailand. This one isn’t particularly big but a good temple to start off with. We were mainly amused with the cute Turtle community in the pond outside the temple!

We caught the train to Kyoto, the minute you step out of the station you can see it’s such a pretty city, very clean and organised as Japan is very well known for. Immediately we saw girls dressed in their traditional Yukata’s looking like dolls, I felt very frumpy in my jeans and jacket. We stayed in a traditional Japanese style guesthouse. It was so much fun, sleeping on the floor and eating on the floor with little floor chairs (without legs but has back support)! They served us green tea when we came to the room and provided lounge style Yukata’s. The floor bedding was unbelievably comfortable, warm and reminded me of sleep overs.

First off we went to the Golden Temple which is about 30 mins by bus from Kyoto city. It was just as it’s described, golden and you spot it the minute you enter the temple grounds. Lots of people huddling around to get the best shot, luckily we managed to get a few as well. I saw my first Japanese Crane here and they are a funny but beautiful looking bird. They don’t look much like the origami ones I tried to make in primary school haha.

We did some browsing around the traditional shopping area and had dins in a traditional restaurant, shoes off and on the floor. This was the worst meal I had while in Japan, very bland and too much sashimi for my liking, typical it was the most expensive as well.

The next morning it was rainin, but our hotel provided umbrellas Yay! Then off we went to the Fushimi Inari, I had pinned this one on pinterest and it is well worth the hike, even in the rain! It’s absolutely stunning and the most fun since you walk through thousands of orange wooden arches, they did provide some shelter from the rain. You are greeted with a beautiful Cherry Blossom tree on entry and we started to see more cherry blossom from here. It’s quite fun to make a prayer, throw some coins and ring a bell… much more fun than sitting in church and being passed a plate to put money in, but who’s comparing hehe.

We also discovered food tasting in Kyoto which is much better than Costco haha. I was trying all sorts of treats and deserts, even green tea and vanilla ice cream! I bought some back with me but Jay has already eaten all the green tea Kit Kats.

Lastly we checked out the Silver Temple Ginkaku-ji, this was a much smaller temple but very unique and pretty grounds. There was another Crane frolicking around the gardens, mini waterfalls and moss like grass.

The bullet train to Tokyo was very exciting, we sped past Mt Fuji and were able to take a few pictures, it does look amazing but I’ve heard it’s popular for attempted suicide, so sad!

Tokyo is what I expected, big, loud, people, cars, trains, buses everywhere but the chaos is in a somewhat orderly fashion.

In the main, Japanese people are very nice and helpful. We did come across one B!tch who Celiya was about to ask in Japanese for directions and she just yells “NO, NO”! We were startled by this rude lady and the people she was with also seemed shocked. We were only looking for a restaurant to celebrate Celiya’s bday… Anyway, shortly afterwards we found we’d come out too late for dinner on a Tuesday night, who would have thought a city like Tokyo would have quiet times?! After many helpful restaurant managers who were closing, gave us directions for other Japanese restaurants that were also closing, we thought Maccas could be our only option! Until we stumbled across one, who said kitchen closed in 10 mins, no one spoke English except 2 patrons who helped us with the menu and drinks. Since we didn’t really know what we ordered I was skeptical how enjoyable this meal would be… I was wrong, it was delicious and prepared right in front of us, I even enjoyed the sashimi yay! The people who helped us over heard our Saki cheers for Celiya’s Bday and ordered some Japanese Cake for us, OMG so nice!

We visited the Ueno Park which was filled with so much Cherry Blossom! I went a bit crazy with Cherry Blossom selfies, the park was filled with people, you have to book to have a picnic under the cherry blossom trees in the heart of the park, and it’s like a cherry blossom tunnel. Spring is definitely the time to see Japan, even if it is still a little cold.

After taking a few wrong turns we eventually made it to the Oldest Temple in Tokyo Senso-ji , it was packed full of people, the most busy one I’ve seen but I guess it is in the most populated city in Japan. Locals have a soft spot for this temple as it’s the oldest in Tokyo.

On the last day we went to Meiji Shrine, there was a bride and groom in traditional wear arriving for a wedding, which was exciting… I’m not sure if it was staged or real, nevertheless cool.

The last evening, we went to the red light district, it’s got a lot of great places to eat, and not all the places are brothels or strip clubs. Male brothels are also just as popular and their pics are posted up on billboards, it’s weird how open and out there it is. Haha

Japan was great, except the coffee, buy from the vending machines before a café… my favourite brand was Boss café au late, cos I’m a boss haha.

Korea next blog 🙂

Arrigato,

xx

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