Saturday, December 21, 2013

Japan- Currently: Osaka, 21.12.13, writing about Seoul/Busan 15.12.13

The day after Block B and BTS was tough- physically Angela was sick and we were all heartsick at having to leave our idols after coming close (SO CLOSE) to them. I was still waiting for an invite to the after party- that invite never came. We woke super early at 6 but since Ange wasn’t really up to it, slowed down a whole lot. I unfortunately couldn’t get back to sleep properly but our departure time was about 11am by the time everything was done. The guy I assume is “Kevin” from Stay in Gam (all the internet Wifi signals say “Stay in Gam Kevin” or “Stay in Kevin”) came out and bid us goodbye, he seemed really nice but we had to explain to him who Block B and BTS were- I don’t think he was really into K-Pop.

From there, we took the Subway from Jongno Sam Ga to Seoul station and booked another KTX train. (We missed the one we were supposed to catch but the beauty of the rail pass is you can just book more tickets on another train.) From there, we headed to Busan. The KTX is the Shinkansen (bullet train) of Korea- it doesn’t feel like it goes that fast but it got up to 296k/h according to the TVs on board.

Unluckily, I opened a bottle of water at the start of the trip and promptly dropped it, it disappearing beneath the KTX seats to wherever lids go when they don’t want to be found. Thus I stayed awake and holding said bottle all 3 hours so I didn’t accidentally drop it. It was also a good idea for one of us to be vaguely aware of the stops so we could get off at Busan station. We disembarked with few problems- Ange feeling pretty tired elected to stay in the terminal while Mankee and I checked out a “Foreigner shopping street” across the road from the station. Alas- it was just Chinatown, and a downright crappy one at that. Mankee was decidedly unimpressed, as was I.

We headed back, got on the bus to the ferry terminal and after waiting a while, boarded the ferry. It was odd, because even though departure time was 10:30, we had to get to the terminal at 6pm and boarded the ferry at 7:30. Once on, the ferry was really nice. We paid $90 for second class rooms (cheapo) where there were futon style mats on the ground with a  box for a pillow. Note: There is a reason pillow means pillow and box means box. Thank goodness we had our travel pillows. The other people in room 439 were pretty nice, and then we discovered- the ferry had, among other things, Karaoke… well…

The singing was epic and terrible. We found our fave Korean and Japanese songs and howled them. It was only after a rather stunning rendition of “Hot Pants”, “Kill Bill” and “Shojo S”, we got kicked out and realized… those rooms were not soundproof. And we did not sing well… (Nor did we even sing in actual words… ) Next door to us about 6 teenage girls were singing “I got a boy”.  Anyhow, after that, we went back to our cabin, went to sleep, and woke up in Japan!

^^ This box is the "pillow" you are provided with. It is pretty much what it looks like- an uncomfortable box.^^

Some random observations of Korea-
Trains: They’re cool. The music to announce a train arriving is hilarious- it sounds like a king is arriving or the cavalry with lots of triumphant sounding trumpets going off.
Hershey’s Chocolate Milk: Tastes BLEH. To be actively avoided as much as possible.
Doors closing: When elevator/train doors/any automatic door closes, don’t rush for it. It will just crush you. Unlike back at home where if they touch you they immediately shrink back, Korean doors are like “Huh, something’s here. Push harder.” Also, there are hilarious signs of people leaning on elevator doors and then falling to their doom. It both alarms and amuses me every time I see it.


Plastic surgery: Plastic surgery is super common in Korea, and lots of idols (as well as everyday people) get it. My fave female singer, Park Bom of 2NE1, has had SO MUCH surgery. I think sometimes her face doesn’t quite move normally anymore, because while I love her, some of her expressions can look a little odd.  Jaw shaving, eye widening, nose jobs, lips, botox, face lifts… you name it, the surgery is there for it. There are advertisements on trains showing “before and after” photos, and kindly doctors that creep me out a bit. I heard on EYK (Eat Your Kimchi) that there are worries about Doctor Swapping- you pay for a top doctor and then they sedate you and swap out the good one for an avo one! Eek! Anyhow, plastic surgery sounds both too painful and too painfully expensive for me to contemplate, even though I love Bom. (Everytime 2NE1’s comebacks are delayed we wonder if Bom’s face has fallen off.)  I think it’s a bit sad that so many Korean people feel the need to get surgery to look good.

^^ Bom with Blond hair^^

^^ Bom is the brunette this time. She is attempting to express "That boy is hot" but is really just frightening a bit here. Her voice is amazing though, especially in "Up" by Epic High ft Park Bom.^^

Snow: It’s slippery. It’s an absolute bastard to try and move quickly on. I only fell on my arse once though! (Thank you Boysenberry Danger for shielding me from the brunt of that impact!) We did have fun stomping on it a bit, trying to catch it on our tongues, trying to mould it into snowballs (mine fell apart instantly and stuck to my gloves) and then whinging that it was cold. (Also me).
Mint Chocolate Milk: It’s around a lot, from hot chocolate to chocolate milk. The cold chocolate milk was quite nice, and I enjoyed it muchly. 
Old people:
They were really nice to me! Ange had a bad experience on her first day, but really, the people around me were always lovely, especially the old people. The young people looked rather apathetic to my presence, which was a disappointment. We did however meet some really nice girls at the WAPOP concert, (which I forgot to mention- they were trying to steal people’s seats in the front row and hoping someone randomly didn’t turn up to claim them. Super nice, but super sketch! Ironically, the girl who talked to us the most actually noticed I got Zico’s water bottle and was so excited for me!)  but that was about it aside from the Stay In Gam staff, who were lovely.

xx Chocolate Milk Taste Tester


^^ Pepsi time. It's fun time.^^ 

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