Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Busan Day One

I have to admit, I'm pretty lucky that I got to go on a business trip to Busan to promote Fukuoka (sister cities, awwww!) at their "Global Gathering" event at the end of October/beginning of November. Even if I did have the world's worst head cold and we had a billion other things going on in our office at the same time. Here are the chronicles of the trip, day two to follow shortly.

By the way, have I mentioned that I REALLY like South Korea? Might go back to Seoul in March, yay!
 No trip to S. Korea is complete without samgetang.
 My amazing hotel room at the Haeundae Centum Hotel (fancy), all to myself!
The entryway was rather grand (to me, at least). 
 Way too much space for one person, but I had fun lolling around.
 Oooh nice bath/shower unit.
Shinsegae (新世界 shinsekai in Japanese, meaning "New World"), the biggest department store in the world (check Guinness). The greenhouse-looking glass bit covers the enormous indoor public bath facility.
 Global Gathering prep
 Fancy pants apartments in Haeundae
 I know I was feeling it!
I should have figured out what this park was called, along the river in Haeundae. It was really beautiful for biking/walking, an perfect for our event! 
 Fancy towers, objet.
 Big housing units across the river
 Interesting sculpture
 These tents were actually quite far from ours on the day of the event so I didn't get to see them after this.
Parkside weight-training? 
 I thought this sculpture looked like a sweet potato sliced in half.
Nice venue 
 Objet, and something big and no doubt shiny going up.
 The psychedelic green was so psychedelic.
 We were blessed with gorgeous weather!
 Inside Shinsegae
 View south from the roof of Shinsegae
 Avatar installation?
Those big old housing units again. Nice backdrop though.
Looking north
Our booth would be set up just about right in front of that big stage thing down there.
Cute family, too bad you can't see the adorable little girl.
Pure luxury.
BULGOGI. This is the real stuff. With these cool grills and spout things that suck up the smoke from the grilling meat.
You're not supposed to touch it so too much of the fat doesn't drip out. Too bad I was so congested that evening I couldn't taste it at ALL (*cry*). Food is pretty cheap in S. Korea, but this stuff is a bit pricey.
Then my favorite part, the kimchi soup at the end! (place directly on the hot coals, looking somewhat precarious, definitely hot enough to burn if you were so unfortunate to touch it)
Gwangalli Beach at night. What a cool location!
This was our bulgogi restaurant. I can read the sign. The second half in blue says BULGOGI.
Nice promenade for walking your tiny dogs.
Apparently this has been an establishment along the beach for a while (relative, I'm sure).
That reminds me of college.
This was so rad. Famous quotes by western philosophers and poets, projected onto the sand and moving away into the distance.
Super cool.
I have no idea what is going on with this building.
Some manner of beachside stage performance at night. It was nippy noodles out!
This is a beach fortune-teller's tent. I kid you not.
Another fortune-teller's tent under the luminosity of the distance buildings.

That building is ALL sushi/sashimi restaurants. Being a port city, Busan is famous for its seafood. But yeah, this building? ALL RAW FISH.
Bad night picture. But anyways, you apparently select the animals you want to eat on the first floor (among the buckets and rubber boots), then they prepare them for you and bring them to you higher up.
Korea does veggies right. Most of them end up slathered in red stuff, but still, SO GOOD.
Vats of kimchi bring joy to my heart!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Story of my life in Japan: giri vs ninjo

A very well-written blogpost by an aquaintance here in Fukuoka.

I have a lot to think about these days.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A few weeks ago I was walking to the kitchen and FREAKED OUT when I saw something scurrying across the floor. Thought it was a roach (knock on wood, I've only met ONE in my apartment so far in 15 months...), but it turned out to be this little guy, a house lizard, known as a yamori (守宮) in Japanese. Yamori means "house-protector," which is appropriate since these guys eat bugs. There's one that hangs out on my host family's window at night, near the light, where he can slurp up all the bugs he desires. Mine went under a piece of furniture at first, but a few days later I found him in my sink and chased him into a tupperware container. Took him outside to live the good life.

Yamori is hopefully safe and sated. Go in peace, gobbler of vile bugs.
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