Goodbye South Korea and Japan… I’m back!

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Yes, it’s a sad day for me… I’m back home. I usually don’t get this sad when a trip ends – sure, I would love to have more vacations and stay abroad longer, but usually by the time it’s time to come back, I’m ok with it. Not this time though. I’m super sad to be back, I needed at least one more week in Japan…

I love Seoul (South Korea), but I’m in love with Japan. Tokyo became one of my top 3 cities to live in, and is pretty much tied with New York in second place (yeah yeah, London in very much still 1st).

Things I loved in South Korea/Seoul:

  • Clean city, so so clean.
  • I never felt more secure in my life. Seriously, it’s the kind of place when you can leave your cell phone, purse and laptop at a table on a cafe and go to the bathroom, and nobody will touch your things.
  • Beautiful city and so much green.
  • People are nice (not some vendors, but I could live with that)
  • The coffee culture – you could find a nice Cafe and bakery in literally every corner. And the cakes, sweets and drinks were so freaking good!!!
  • Free Wi-Fi EVERYWHERE

 


Things I loved in Japan:

  • It’s GORGEOUS!
  • People are so polite and nice – seriously, I came back with a pain in my neck from so much bowing, because if someone bows to you, what do you do, right? And I got bowed to… a lot!!!! – I repeat: THEY ARE SUPER SUPER POLITE AND NICE! I never felt like smiling so much to people as I did in Japan.
  • They don’t speak much english, but they will try their best to understand you, and they will succeed. This is especially warming to me, because I always felt that people in some European countries (say, Spain, France,…) don’t exactly feel the need to try hard and you sometimes give up because the effort is not worth it. That didn’t happen once in Japan… each time I was faced with a vendor or taxi driver who didn’t speak the language, we still managed to communicate quite well and get what we needed.
  • Clean city – I didn’t encounter one dirty bathroom – and that’s saying a lot.
  • The toilets, I mean, you never really have to encounter a cold seat…

  • The sense of security, really, as much as in South Korea.
  • The culture. I will admit that the little I knew of Japan came from a lot of Sailor Moon and Rurouni Kenshin, but still, seeing the temples and understanding a bit of what everything comes from… I loved it.
  • The simplicity. Something has to be said about those temples, castles, palaces. While in Europe during the same period was all about ostenticity, Japanese palaces are nothing more than mostly empty rooms with gorgeous (and meaningful) panels on their walls.
  • I could live in Tokyo. I mean it, I could and it will seriously be on my mind once I’m done with my PhD. I like feeling accepted in a city, and I felt that in Tokyo. I liked that the geek culture (otaku) has a place on the city. I liked that restaurants and cafes have individual tables. I liked that there’s a lot of people but no one is on your way. These are the things that make me love London and New York too…
  • The freaking food!!!! Have you been following my Instagram or my previous posts? If you have, you know how much I’m in love with everything to eat in Japan…

So, I’m quite sad to be home already… I wish that I was still in Tokyo, exploring that amazing city. I was super happy that my blog didn’t suffer a bit from my absence, and I was able to post everyday (sometimes twice a day!) – hurray for scheduled posts!!!! The only downside was not being able to keep up with your posts, but I’ll make my way to them, don’t worry 😉 .

In the meantime, I did publish a few posts about my trip, if you want to check them out…

I FINALLY ARRIVED @ SEOUL!

WANDERING ABOUT: SEOUL 2015!

WANDERING ABOUT: KYOTO 2015

WANDERING ABOUT: OSAKA 2015

WANDERING ABOUT: KYOTO TO TOKYO 2015

WANDERING ABOUT: TOKYO (DAY 1) 2015

WANDERING ABOUT: TOKYO (DAY 2) 2015

 

Wandering About: Kyoto to Tokyo 2015

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Quick post today people… Hello!!! I’ve arrived at Tokyo. But before we got on the train, we went to Fushimi Inari Shrine in the morning. You all know the shrine, it’s the one featured in Memoirs of a Geisha, it’s the one with all the toriis.

There are a lot of toriis in this shrine, I read that it’s about 4km and 2 hours to go through them all… and up up they go! I managed about 1/3 – 1/2 of the way up, by then I was sweating profusely and I realized that jeans are not ideal to climb that. Be warned people, no jeans! I also knew that my mom was at the base waiting for me and I had been gone a long time, so I had to go back. It is beautiful though, and if I EVER return, I’ll be climbing all the way up.

Also, a lot of Hello Kitty’s all around the Shrine! And Rice Cakes with Red Bean filling? Delicious!!! Then it was time to catch the shinkansen to Tokyo. Tokyo seems so gorgeous so far, so different from Kyoto though. I’ll post pictures of it tomorrow.

Wandering About: Kyoto 2015

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I’m in Japan!!! Wow, yesterday was crazy!!! we traveled from Seoul to Tokyo and then we got on the train to central Tokyo, so we could then catch a train to Kyoto. Everything would have gone smoothly it it wasn’t for the heavy luggage we were lagging with us. But it all worked out quite well, and we arrived at Kyoto around 10 p.m.. Needless to say that we were totally beat!

Today we had an early morning, and at 7 a.m. we were already waiting for the breakfast to open. Speaking of which, wow, amazing! Starting the day with Miso Soup and beef stew was something that I didn’t even consider until today.

We had a day tour booked, so it started with a trip to Nijō Castle. The tours are controlled to the minute… This castle is amazing, the interior panels are so gorgeous, unfortunately, we couldn’t take pictures on the inside.

Then, Kinkaku-ji, officially named Rokuon-ji, which is a Zen Buddhist temple, and home to the Golden Pavilion. This is so gorgeous.

Before lunch, we went to the Kyoto Imperial Palace, but no photos allowed 😉 .

And then we ate, and oh my… it was so freaking amazing! I don’t even know exactly what it was, but it was divine.

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Temples were in the afternoon route. Heian Jingu Shrine, a Shinto Shrine; Sanjūsangen-dō is a Buddhist temple,known as “Rengeō-in” or Hall of the Lotus King; and Kiyomizu-dera, officially Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera, an independent Buddhist temple.

This was my first day, tomorrow we’ll be heading to Osaka for the day 🙂 and I can’t wait.