Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Seoul Searching

3 days of 年休 = 2 days in Korea!

The Night We Arrived:

Jiin様 and I got on our train heading towards to Sendai to meet up with Annieちゃん. We met up and headed to the BIG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT in Sendai on the lovely airport train. I am sooo glad that there is a train now. I remember in the olden days the only way to get to the airport was by bus, car, or taxi. Our flight was @ 12:30 and it arrived in Seoul @ 4:00. (Btw…I HATE airplane food, it makes me sick!! :P BLAH!!!) Since we booked a tour we followed the sign that said H.I.S. (the Japanese travel company). Got on the bus with fellow Japanese travelers and headed towards Seoulです! The lady, who worked for this travel company enjoyed saying です in the most annoying way. Nice lady, but annoying. Speaking of ANNOYING…I think in the dictionary under the word “Annoying” these words are written…DUTY FREE!!! Getting on the bus to head towards Seoul took about 45 minutes to an hour, but before they could take us to our hotel we had to go shopping at Duty Free. It was 5% off Wednesdays, so we couldn’t pass this up. The bus stopped and we got out to enjoy the Duty Freeing for about 40 minutes. We decided that we were going to rebel, so we walked around taking pictures. We were in Korea to see Korea, NOT to go to Duty Free and buy stuff that I could get cheaper in the States. Anyways, after the 40 minutes we jumped back on the bus to be dropped off at our hotel. We were the second group to be dropped off and we were sooo happy to get to our hotel because we were all very hungry and wanted to eat yummy Korean food. Yes, that is the real reason why we went to Korea it was for the food. ^_^

I was really surprised with Korea. I heard that their English was really good and figured we wouldn’t have a problem in Seoul. I guess it is the same rumor that is spread about Japan and Japan’s excellent English ability. Let’s say that we relied on our Japanese, Annie’s Korean, and the Korean phrase book. It was fun and difficult not being able to read anything or communicate in the native language. We got a recommendation to go to this Korean BBQ place from the front desk person who spoke Japanese. Annieちゃん liked to bug him because he was her Oppa (unbeknown to him) or Annieちゃん just thought he was cute. Anyways, thanks to our wonderful navigator (Jiin様) we were able to find the place and eat there. The food was delicious. It was very yummy and mi stummy loved it!!! T_T I miss it!!!

After eating we walked around our little area and headed back to our hotel, but before heading back we took sticky pictures, which was interesting. WE CAN’T READ KOREAN, but we managed to do it. Got back to the hotel, call our Korean acquaintances, and then decided what we were going to do on the first whole day we had in Korea. Yea!

First WHOLE Day in Korea:

We decided to get up @ 8 a.m., but when you are on vacation do you really wake up @ that time? Nopers! We got up @ 9 a.m. and after getting ready we headed towards Dunkin Donuts! Yummy Breakfast! Our plan was to walk through this shopping area towards the palace that is known for being the place where they film Korean dramas. Then after seeing the palace walk towards the South Gate that was burned down by some drunkard who was mad @ the government, but walk through another popular shopping district before that. Our plans changed a little bit, but overall it was super fun! The palace was huge. It was really really fun. We were running around being crazy. Some Chinese boys asked to take a picture with me. It was very cute. After taking a picture with me, the tall boy hit his head because he wasn’t paying attention to the doorway. I think he was kind of nervous because he took a picture with ゴジラ! Met some people from Oklahoma who took our picture holding up the palace, etc. The weather was sooo wonderful that it was nice that we walked around everywhere. After the palace thingie, we all got our おみやげ and ate some yummy lunch!

We headed towards Myungdong. Annie wanted to see if there were any differences in a Korean UNIQLO compared to a Japanese one! We got some yummy ice cream and I called mi friend. We decided to meet @ the lobby of her building where she works, Seoul Finance Center. When we got there and was waiting we felt out of place because we weren’t wearing suits or high heels. It was very CRASSY! After meeting up with Young, we all went to eat yummy Korean soups. It was sooo nice to have a native. She could tell us what was on the menu and order more side items. I was really happy to see her. I haven’t seen her since college. I wish I could’ve stayed longer in Korea and hang out with her. Actually I think we all would’ve liked to stay loooonger and just hang out with her! She is that cool!!! Afterwards we looked at the Buddha lantern thingies near the main river in Korea. They had them because it is in celebration of Buddha’s birthday, May 12. The lanterns were really pretty!!! We walked down the river heading towards the burnt down Northern Gate. When we got there you couldn’t see it, but they had a sign saying sorry!

We decided to go back to Myungdong and when we got there we took sticky pictures. Young wrote stuff in Korean, in which I still have to ask her what she wrote? Sooo CoNfuSeD!!! Also, Young saw Dr. Fish, so we all decided to go there. When we got there they said the café is closed, but we could still play with the fish because we were foreigners (probably ?_?) やった! If you don’t know what Dr. Fish is let me tell you. It is a place where you can go and have fishies eat dirt off your feet, in which makes your feet super silky smooth!

“It is a weird feeling, but I kind of like it!” ~Young!~

There were some Japanese people who came in also and gave the nice dude a difficult time. We helped out him out, so he let us stay twice as long! I miss the fishies T_T! After that we took a taxi back to our hotel and said goodbye to Young. T_T I wish we could’ve seen her again, but unfortunately she had to work. I will have to meet her again! 絶対!!!We all went to bed after 1:30 a.m.

Second WHOLE Day:

We got up @ 9 a.m. again and went to COEX mall. COEX mall is located in the Southern part of Seoul, so we had to take the subway for the first time. It took about 40 minutes to get there and we had to transfer trains once! Nothing toooo special about them, but it is fun because we were in KOREA! We went shopping and just walked around. Annieちゃん wanted to see ASEM Tower because her friend worked there last summer, so she wanted to take a picture with it. We took our pictures and @ noon we got hungry, so we ate at Mr. Pizza! We had yummy cheese-filled crust pizza (probably the best Asian pizza I have had). There was an interesting calling button @ our table. We finally understood 2 of the buttons, but the 3rd one is still a mystery. ?_? After that, we headed to the Temple behind COEX with our pizza box, in which we later gave it to the temple person lady who told us about the exhibition. ~Haa~ It was really pretty because of Buddha’s birthday coming up everything was decorated in paper lanterns.

Saw a Big Buddha and it was nice to see people praying in front of it. It is relatively new, it was constructed in 1996.

We went back to the COEX and had some Dippin’ Dots, in which probably is the cause of making mi stomach want to kill me. Let’s say the next hours weren’t fun. Sorry Jiin様 and Annieちゃん!本当にごめんなさい! T_T We headed to the East Gate, which wasn’t that amazing, but there is supposedly a lot of good shopping around that area. We weren’t interested in shopping thanks to DUTY FREE!!! We stayed a little bit, watched a fashion show, and then strutted ourselves back to our hotel to rest until I had to call Young. Unfortunately, she was busy and told us to call back @ 9, so we had to go fend for ourselves. We decided to eat at the food stands around our hotel. When we stopped at our 2nd food stand we started talking to this guy. We communicated in Japanese. Apparently he was moving to Seattle next month to learn English. We hung out with him the rest of the night. I used his cell phone a couple of times to call Young, but in the end she wasn’t able to see us! T_T Annieちゃん wanted to try yogurt soju, so he took us to an izakaya. We had yogurt soju and peach soju, in which he was amazed at mi drinking ability. The place was crazy, but fun! So, the last night in Korea we made a friend. We got back to the hotel @ 11:30. We all got prepared for going home to Japan, since we had to wake up @ 5:45.

Last Day (which really wasn’t a day):
We woke up sooo early because they tour group thingie was picking us up @ 6:25 to take us to the airport and last minute おみやげ shopping T_T. We paid our $26 phone bill. 3 phone calls = $26, ridiculous! Anyways, they took us to a shop were they tried to sell us over priced Korean おみやげ. Then after 40 minutes or so we headed to the airport in which we waited in a loooong line @ the ticket counter. Exchanged our money back to ¥. I only ended up spending less than $200 in Korea, which I think is pretty good with buying おみやげetc! Korea is pretty cheap and very awesome! I really would love to go again!

In Japan, we landed in Sendai and if you know anything about Sendai, it is a big international airport (just remember that…it’s important!). Jiin様 and I were put into a different line than Annieちゃん. There was another re-entry foreigner behind us in line and was upset about how there were only one window for our line and the handicap people got to go first in a special line. We were like about 9th in line. So, he was getting upset and started bugging the Japanese people, in which a woman moved us to the back of the line Annieちゃん just went through making us about 50th in line. This made the man mad and he started complaining. We were moved too because we were associated with him because we were foreigners. The Japanese woman told him to wait. The tone of voice was one of a Japanese woman who forgot she was Japanese, she was angry. Then later they moved us to the native Japanese line. We got through pretty quickly, but he was sooo annoying! :P We got to Sendai Station around 1:35-ish. Annieちゃん had to catch her train, so Jiin様 and I decided to go eat at Freshness Burger (aka Fatness Burger), since we didn’t eat the airplane food. Even though we didn’t take our train about 30 minutes after Annieちゃん we got to mi house before she arrived at her station. I love mi train line. 40 minutes on the Tohoku Line sure does beat 1 hour + being on the Senseki Line. Got home and then drove Jiin様 back to her house. When I returned I took a nap. Our wonderful vacation was at an end! T_T I miss you Korea and above all I miss you FISHIES!!!

The End!


Dave-Ish said...

H.I.S. travel are who i organised my tickets back home with ... i wish i'd know about them earlier...

i never got to go to big sendai international airport. i am now sad.

oh, and fancy you having pictures taken with little boys!

Y-Maeda said...

Hello nice to meet you.
KO-N-NI-CHI-WA (^_^)v
I am Japanese.
I saw your wonderful site.
Please link to this site !

AS said...


i love korea.

about mr. pizza:
figured out the button. typed it up and put it through a translator:

호출 (ho chul)=呼び出し

mystery solved! though it would've been cooler if it translated to "alien attack" or "improvisational marriage proposal" or something like that. :)

now i need to go find that purikura that young wrote on and try to put that through the translator, too. (thank g'ness for the internet)

young is so cool! let's hang more.

korea's awesome. the pojamacha (yattai) stands are so cool! mmmm. let's eat.

my feet are in a great need of fishies.

your blog entries are so nostalgic. :)

AS said...

okay okay, just ran some of young's stuff she wrote through the translator:

방가워 (bang ga ueo)= 嬉しくて

친구(chin gu + something i can't make out)= friends (+ something)


아자=aja! (as in that aja! fighting! phrase)

명동에서 (myong dong e seo)=明洞で=in Myongdong

메롱 (me long)=??? (not sure..)

귀여워 (gui yeo ueo)= 可愛くて

so, okay, nothing too embarrassing. phew. no like, "sarah smells like seaweed." :P

except we don't know what she said for the friends thing. "friends.. don't get along and will be sad?" OH NO!