Osaka Osaka Ah-h-Ah!

13 10 2008

Japan is expensive. That’s pretty much all I got out of this trip to Osaka/Kyoto/Nara. The reason for this is that I did not do anything that I have not done there, other than be in Osaka city. I have only driven through it and been at the airport. Anyways, this is what I think about it…

So Friday we got to Japan and spent the night in Kyoto. We did the normal temple/shrine tour there, which I won’t go into as that isn’t what I would really consider the interesting stuff, as I have done it before. After all that we got to our ‘ryokan’, which is a traditional Japanese inn. The group went into Gion, the old part of the city, and saw some geisha women walking around there, it was cool. After a good amount of time walking around we finally found a bar. I was the only one that spoke Japanese in the group and I have never really gone drinking in Japan so it was a bit hard to navigate.

The place we finally found was a tiny place that held about 14 people and was run by a 20 year old girl and a 30ish guy. They were really friendly and talkative. It was a very cool small little bar that was pretty intimate. The food I got there with the beer was also extremely good. It was some wagyu beef with balsamic reduction sauce. Not typical bar food. After a drink there we walked back to the inn, where we went in the public bath they had. I always like those, they are very relaxing and all that. The yukata that you get to sleep in are also really comfy so it went well.

The next day we went to Osaka, where we walked around the Korean areas, which is pretty large. Osaka has by far the largest population of Koreans in Japan. They even have a semi-official ‘Korea Town’. By semi-official I mean the locals have declared themselves this. It was pretty interesting though to see all the Korean influence in the area, which is pretty huge. Lots of Kimchi and the like being sold in the streets. This was also the first time I really heard Korean being spoken in Japan, not just in the strictly Korean places either. I am not sure if this is due to the fact that I now know some Korean and can distinguish it or more that it is the area itself. Either way I heard some of it being spoken which was pretty cool. So after the Korean areas, I met up with a friend from highschool who is studying in Tokyo at Waseda University. She came back to the hotel with me while I checked in and then we went out to dinner.

We had some ramen, which is amazing. Ramen in Japan is sooo far from any other type of Ramen, so don’t think that it is in any way bad. The beer that they served goes really well with it too so I enjoyed that meal quite a bit. After dinner, we walked around for a little bit, but she had to get going back to her boyfriend’s parent’s house and then go back to Tokyo early the next morning. I met back up with people from my group and we went in search of a bar again. It took an equally long time, but eventually we found a place. This was a much bigger bar that had real capacity. They had great chicken and beer again, so it was good. The staff was also really talkative and friendly so it was fun. Our waitress thought I was Australian. After that we went to a karaoke place, and we got a room there. I liked it more than the Korean Noraebang, as we were able to order food and drinks and stuff. Then we went to bed after that.

The next day was uneventful during the day, more temples and such. The night was fun though. We went to a very busy part of town, known as Namba, and we just walked around. It is a BIG shopping district with a river that cuts through it that is pretty cool. The people watching was amazing as there were all sorts of people there. Lots of bleached hair and mini skirts as examples. It was pretty cool there though, and kind of made Times Square unimpressive, and this isn’t even Tokyo so… We then continued the night with food, drinking, drinking in the hotel, and slapping eachother’s hands in a game known as ABCD, where basically everyone just gets slapped. It was great.

That about sums up my trip to Japan. The day after that we just did a few things, and went to the airport so I will leave it there. I didn’t really take many pictures so they might not be posted. I still need to upload and decide and such… so thats it.





Epik High Concert & Han River Park

28 09 2008

Last night I went to an Epik High concert over in the Olympic Park area. It was quite fun and entertaining. Epik High is a Korean hip-hop/rap group. It was a good concert, with most of the artists that are featured in their songs actually being there to perform, and they even had a live band to perform alot of their music. It was an indoor venue and they even launched some fireworks indoors which was pretty cool. It is nice to see a band that isn’t a pop group at all. These guys are very legitimate in their music which is good always.

Before the concert some of us also went to a park on the Han River which was fun. We sat on the grass in amazing weather and had some food and just hung out. I also rented a tandem-bike which is pretty weird to ride since they are so long. It was also incredibly uncomfortable, and pretty old, but for $6 an hour to rent it, I suppose it wasn’t all that bad. It was a good day overall though so I am happy.

Here are two videos of Epik High’s music. The first is the song ‘Fan’ which I thought was the best performance, and the second song is called ‘One’, which is my favorite recorded song, so yea.





I’m like a real blogger now

21 08 2008

So I am like a real blogger now since I haven’t posted in a while. Anyways to catch people up on things, I just got back from New York, like 20 minutes ago, and went to Idaho last week. So most of my things from my list are now complete

1. Get out of Canada (where I am currently located)

2. Go to Portland for a concert by The Faint

3. Go to grandmother’s memorial service

4. Go to New York to see my girlfriend for the last time before I am gone for possibly a year

5. Maybe learn some Korean… which I have no knowledge of

Now I just need to learn some Korean… which I know for a fact won’t happen before I leave. Although I did read one of those Korean culture and customs books on the plane back to Seattle. It was, overall, not that helpful, but whatever it’s probably best I read it anyways. So I also signed up for classes today in the airport (best place to do that sort of thing if you ask me) and I am taking: PRE-MODERN KOREAN HISTORY, TRADITIONAL KOREAN SOCIETY & MODERNIZATION, and INTERNATIONAL TRADE PRACTICES, along with the beginning Korean class I will be placed in once I get to school.

Overall I am pretty happy with the courses I am signed up for, and the best part is that all I have on Fridays is Korean and no class starts before 10AM which is always a big plus. I am the anti-morning person so that is an important thing for me. So before Sunday (when I leave this place) I have to do some stuff, such as, buy a few more clothes, get a haircut, eat some good food, and finish up on video games. One of my goals while in Korea is to severely cut back on the amount of video games I play, which hopefully won’t be too hard as I will be busy doing all sorts of things.

Anyways I am pretty tired and I think I am going to go head over to my big cushy bed and put myself to sleep for a bit, as I have to get up and start doing some wonderful errands.





Korean Movie Review: Sex is Zero & Flying Boys

2 08 2008

So I decided that maybe doing something constructive in this blog… like movie reviews would be a good idea, so here is my first movie review, which is a double feature. Tonight I will be talking about the Korean movies ‘Sex is Zero’ and ‘Flying Boys’. I don’t really know what I am doing so please… cut me some slack.

Sex is Zero

Sex is Zero Cover

So what I read about this movie before I saw it was that it was a kind of Korean ‘American Pie’, which to an extent is true, but saying it is like ‘American Pie’ is not doing it justice. This movie is far better. The basic plot is that our protagonist, Eunsik, is basically the unluckiest/ most bumbling guy ever and is in love with a girl on the aerobics team (which I think is more like a gymnastics team… but only on the floor) and she, of course, likes the popular, good-looking bastard. Eunsik is also in a crazy club where they seem to just cause as much pain to themselves as possible, basically on the same level of weirdness as the aerobics club being called aerobics… Anyways the movie is quite funny and made me laugh quite often, it is supposed to be a comedy. NEW PARAGRAPH!

I would say there are several rather disgusting moments in the beginning, especially for guys, but I don’t want to spoil anything as seeing them for the first time adds a good amount to the shock value. A very surprising thing in this movie comes about 2/3 of the way through when the movie starts to have a more serious, endearing tone for a bit. This is not a bad thing, in fact, I would say it legitimizes the movie, it is just pretty unexpected in this type of movie. Overall, I would say this movie is quite good for the person that wants to be entertained, but not someone that wants to see a cinematic wonder. Its good, but I would not recommend it to everyone as a must see.

Score: 7.5/10

 

Flying Boys

Flying Boys Cover

This movie I went into fairly blind. It is a story about growing up and finding your way after high school. The main character, Min-Jae, was raised by an absent father, who is a commercial airline pilot, and his life is just in general not working out for him, nor for any of his friends. He is tired of the way things are going and wants to break away from the rut of his life. Luckily he is just about done with high school, in his senior year, and taking his college exams. After exams are done him and his friends decide to go have a bit of a drink and drive around in his dad’s car, both of which are illegal for them to do. He is then caught by a ballet teacher who blackmails him and his friends to take her class.

The girl that lives down the hall from Min-Jae, who he also has a crush on, is forced to take the same class as him. That is the basic premise of the movie. There is alot more to it, but I cannot just go and ruin the rest of the story for you. This movie is funny, with a few serious moments, though in the context of everything it works pretty well. I thought it was an interesting story about how people that finish high school can feel like they are stuck in a kind of limbo, and how expectations for life can be shattered. Overall I would say that this would be a great movie for anyone that has felt lost in life, which is probably quite a few people.

Score: 8.5/10

 

So this is my first movie review, ever. So if it sucks please be friendly and don’t hate me for it. I do not claim to know much about Korean culture yet so if I sound ignorant… it is because I am. Maybe after going to Korea I will re-watch these movies and see how they are after that. Anyways 4 AM for me so time to go to sleep





Stuck in Canada

1 08 2008

So I am currently stuck in Canada at my house in Whistler, BC. Here is a link to an article about why I am stuck here. This is annoying for several reasons

1. I am stuck in Canada

2. There is not really much to do here

3. My time before going to Korea is pretty limited and this is taking away 5 days that I would have at home to do things

4. I miss The Faint concert that I have been looking forward to for basically the whole summer

so as you can see I am less than happy about this. However, starting last night I have decided to start watching some Korean movies. I got three more to watch so hopefully that will kill about… 6 hours of this 5 day waiting period. Damn rocks… and their sliding… so yea I am stuck in Canada, and don’t really want to be here all that much anymore, as a two day trip turned into a week long one, and I only brought about three days worth of clothing so I have to rewash things every day in order to actually be wearing something clean.

Maybe I should go and try to find some way of learning some Korean or something. Possibly look online, maybe I will have some luck? I do leave in 23 days… so that might not be a bad idea. I would write more right now to give me something to do, but I really don’t have much to say, I guess if you don’t want to hear rambling then stop reading now, I may or may not continue writing about nonsense.

So I did find some new music while up here which makes me happy, as I am always going through music at a very fast pace which is kind of annoying because I get so easily bored with it, but thats kind of just how I am to begin with. Anyways now that I’ve deflected what I have actually been listening to for about a paragraph I will finally tell. The best song so far that I have heard is “Love is Noise” by The Verve, who I guess are a band again, since I remember them breaking up a while ago. It is a good song though and I recommend it to people that are people, and not to people that hate music.

Onto random subject #2… so I just turned around to stretch while writing and looked out the window and saw that my neighbors have about 60 square feet of fire wood… who in god’s name needs that much firewood, it is a bit ridiculous, even if we are in the cold semi-frozen north that is Canada. Plus their front-door light, that shines directly into my bedroom, is on all night which is pretty annoying.

So I guess I should find out how to use wordpress better so that this blog’s visuals don’t suck so people will be happier to read… whoever those people may be… probably a bunch of weirdos that want to read anything I write. Okay so I think that is the end of the rambling, I will go and try to do something productive rather than just sitting here writing endlessly about nothing… or at least go watch the wonderful-ness that is Canadian television (so you know thats sarcasm, which I use often, so yea… I don’t know where this note is going really).

P.S. this is a really good website that is funny and sometimes a bit gross and offensive http://failblog.org/





1 Month To Go

29 07 2008

So I am leaving for Korea in 1 month…

I am going to be there for either about 4 months or 10 months, I don’t really know at this point. The idea is that I will go there, see if I like it, then decide whether or not I want to stay for the whole school year. I am going through the CIEE year program to study at Yonsei University. I was originally planning on going to Japan, as I have actually studied Japanese for 8 years and spent a good amount of time there, but that didn’t work out… so maybe going to Korea is just fate, either way I will roll with it and I look forward to going to Korea.

Some things I have to do before I leave:

1. Get out of Canada (where I am currently located)

2. Go to Portland for a concert by The Faint

3. Go to grandmother’s memorial service

4. Go to New York to see my girlfriend for the last time before I am gone for possibly a year

5. Maybe learn some Korean… which I have no knowledge of

Overall the list looks like not much but I think it will take a bit of time. For now I think I will go buy some new clothes, either way its time to go out into the rain that comes down in beautiful British Columbia. Good thing I like the rain