Monday, January 14, 2013

Hiroshima, Japan

August 2, 2012

The next morning we woke up to go to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. I won’t go into detail about how sad the museum was because that’s a given. A city destroyed by an atomic bomb is obviously an incredibly devastating event, but I was impressed at how much the city has been rebuilt and people have moved on from such a traumatic event. The city was really a beautiful place to be. 

The Atomic bomb dome at night. 

The atomic bomb was detonated almost directly above the building, but parts of the building remained intact despite instantly killing everyone inside. The dome now remains as a memorial to the city. 

Paper cranes that have been folded by people all over the world to represent peace. 

The bridge was the original target for the bomb. 

Miyajima Island, Japan

Our next destination was the city of Hiroshima. Again using our train pass we took the train down to Hiroshima and then took a ferry over to a small island called Itsukushima or Miyajima.  
It is known as the shrine island because it is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine, which stands out because it is bright orange. This island is covered with wild deer. These deer are so used to people and tourists that they just come right up to you and try to take anything you have on you; food, maps, brochures, anything!  

We spent the afternoon walking around and exploring the island. It was low tide so we were able to walk right out to the shire which is normally in the middle of the water.  

Goju-no-to Pagoda

Kyoto, Japan

July 30, 2012

Ok, this happened a really long time ago and I clearly got really lazy with writing things down. I have plenty of pictures to share and pictures are worth a thousand words right? 

 Kyoto's newest Geisha. 
Japanese Yen

Anyway, when summer vacation came around I took a short plane ride over to Japan. I landed in Tokyo and I met up with Steph and Devon at the airport where we went to pick up our train passes that we would use to get around Japan for the next week. We took the train over to our hostel in Tokyo. We briefly explored the area of Akiabara, Tokyo before calling it a night as we were heading to Kyoto early in the morning.  

A really fast train. 


When we woke up we took Japan’s high speed train from Tokyo to Kyoto. When we arrived we explored the Nishiki market.  

The next day we went to Kiyomizudera Temple and at night we walked through the Gion district which is a well known district for Geisha. (I now just read “Memoirs of a Geisha” and have a whole new meaning for a place I’ve visited! Also, great book!) 


There was a serious heat wave going on and it was almost unbearable to continue walking around the city. We took a much needed break and headed for Suma Beach the next day. It was a short ride on the JR rail and our train pass allowed for the trip, so, we enjoyed a nice day at the beach before going out for one last night in Kyoto and then heading to our next destination in the morning.  
We decided to go into a bar in Kyoto where we saw a bunch of other foreigners. We ended up meeting a group of guys who played in a jazz band based out of New York. They were on tour all over Japan and invited us to their Tokyo show since we told them we were going to be back in Tokyo at the same time. They downplayed this event a lot so stay tuned for that update when I get back to Tokyo!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yeosu World Expo

The Worlds Expo was in Korea down along the southern tip in a city called Yeosu. The theme of this years expo was the Living Ocean and Coasts. Korea, being incredibly convenient, built a KTX train stop right in the center of the Expo and named it Yeosu Expo. Can’t get more convenient than that so we took the KTX, high speed train, from Seoul to Yeosu where we booked a motel for the weekend.
 We got up nice and early on Saturday morning to get as much time as possible in the expo. When we arrived at the ticket counter we almost bought our tickets for 33,000 won until we realized that if you have a group of foreigners of 10 or more you can get each ticket for only 10,000 won. This was a no-brainer since we already had 6 people we just scrounged up 2 more couples to join in on our foreigner discount. Just another reason foreigners have it far too easy in this country!
Expo Digital Gallery

Once inside the expo we tried to see as many country pavilions as we could and tried to avoid as many lines as possible. Once we were thoroughly exhausted from walking around in the heat we left the expo, with our one time re-entry stamp, to get some Korean BBQ. After dinner we went back into the expo for a Kpop show staring Super Junior and CN Blue. The final stop of the night was the Big “O” show where a light and water show was set up right where the edge of the water met with the pavilion.

Boryeong Mud Festival

Located on Daecheon Beach is an annual festival known as the Boryeong Mud Festival. The Koreans claim the mud provides skin benefits, but I’m sure most foreigners are just there to play in the mud and abuse their livers! A group of us went to on Friday night with one of the Korean tour groups. We settled into our pensions and called it a night before the festivities started in the morning. The next day we went on the search for breakfast among the local food stands that set up shop along the beach. At lunch our tour group provided us with hamburgers and chili cheese dogs before we headed into the festival for some muddy fun.

In the festival troughs set up filled with mud and paintbrushes to paint yourself with mud. Then once inside there are pools set up filled with wet mud for mud wrestling and inflatable slides slicked down with mud and water. We spent the day going down the slides and running back and forth from the ocean and the majority of the activities.

Once the sun went down we cleaned up for dinner and enjoyed fireworks to finish off the night. Unfortunately the rains started at night, but this didn’t stop everyone from having a good time. There were tents set up with food, drinks and music and people had a great time.

The next morning we packed up our things to head home.