friends, japan, osaka, travel

Osaka 2013 – Shinsaibashi, Dotonbori & Kuromon Market

For the Japan part of my trip, it was only Adrienne, Orson and I because Alvin unfortunately had to go back to Hong Kong since he didn’t have much vacation days 😦  Since it was my first time in Japan I wanted to maximize the places I visited so we decided to go to Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo.  We had a 8:10 am (or so) flight from Seoul to Tokyo so we literally had to be all packed and ready to go by 5 am. We were running a bit late and missed the first train the airport, so we were quite short on time. But luckily, Asians are so efficient that we got through check-in and customs very quickly and was able to board with 5~10 minutes to spare before take off.   Every time I fly it is usually a long distance flight so this 2 hour flight was pretty enjoyable. Japan Airline is awesome, they even had video games for you to play at your seat including Street Fighter!!! The backside of the TV remote is a video game remote. How cool is that? But as I sucked at Street Fighter, I ended up playing Mahjong.

When we landed in Japan we immediately got our shinkansen (bullet train) tickets to go straight to Osaka which was a near 3 hour train ride. One thing that I would definitely recommend to foreign travellers is to buy a JR Rail Pass before landing in Japan. It’s about $300 CDN for unlimited usage on any JR line which was pretty much all we used to commute with during one week’s time.

On our bullet train ride to Osaka, we finally got to try the famous train bentos! Continue reading

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friends, korea, travel

Seoul 2013, Day 5 – Samcheong and Itaewon Freedom!

Samcheong was suggested to us from Adrienne’s friend Christine because it was an area that is famous for its Bukchon Hanok (Korean traditional houses). It is a bit of a tourist attraction within itself other than the hanoks because the area houses a lot of art galleries, and speciality art/antique stores. Continue reading

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friends, korea, travel

Seoul 2013, Day 4 – Ice / Trick Eye Museum & Han River

Since the day before we didn’t get much time to walk around and check out the shops at HongDae, we decided to go back the next day. Adrienne and I actually meticulously planned out where we wanted to go / what we wanted to do per district and for HongDae we listed out a popular Trick Eye Museum, a restaurant and a cafe which were run by 1TYM (a korean hip hop group) members.  To be honest, I had forgotten about these 3 places by the time we were in Korea since we had planned our itinerary weeks before the trip. Continue reading

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friends, korea, travel

Seoul 2013, Day 3 – Gyeongbokgung and HongDae

Still wanting to eat a “Korean” breakfast we decided to hit up the local KamJaTang restaurant near our airbnb apartment. The price for pork bone soup is relatively the same as the ones we have in Toronto, but of course, the taste is much better in Seoul! The broth is less salty (less MSG), and it had more meat and vegetables.  We’re still not sure if this is really what Koreans eat for breakfast, but there were some other people at the restaurant so that seemed good enough for us. Continue reading

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friends, korea, travel

Seoul 2013, Day 1 & 2 – Arrival and shopping at MyeongDong

Finally I embarked on my 2 week Korea and Japan trip!

My travel buddies for this trip were Adrienne, Alvin and Orson (Adrienne’s family friend).  Adrienne, Orson and I were scheduled to land 2 hours earlier than Alvin so we were waiting for him to join us at our airbnb hostel. To this day I still don’t understand why, but Alvin never went on the airport wifi so he was basically MIA for 3-4 hours making us very worried. Because we had no idea where he went and when he would arrive, Adrienne and I trekked out to explore and get food to bring back. Our attempt at ordering take out was one of the biggest communication fails I have ever been a part of. Continue reading

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