What. A. Trip. I would almost say a trip of a lifetime. Yes, I am back from my 15 day break. 2 days in Thailand, 1 day in Busan, South Korea and the rest of the time exploring the wonderful country of Japan.
I can’t really explain it too much, I’ve been trying to tell incidents that happened, rather than two weeks of just absorbing oneself in the culture. There is so much to see in the places I have been, but very few iconic sights (like Big Ben/Statue of Liberty etc.), but nevertheless, here are some highlights.
- Thailand – I LOVED Bangkok, quite unlike anywhere I’ve been before, and I am so glad I went. The hostel wasn’t upto much, but the people there made it special. Not a single arsehole I met, and the Thai’s are warm and funny. Though their drinking laws are odd (unable to buy alcohol between certain random hours in the day), we were able to circumnavigate it thanks to the lovely people in the store next door, serving alcohol through the gates. An incredible country, loved every minute of it. But one thing stood out for me.
- Tuk Tuk Riding - Tuk Tuk’s are motorbike taxis, and going on a short tuk-tuk tour at 1 in the morning around Bangkok area for the low price of 80 Bhat (around £1.30) was a hell of a lot of fun. Probably the most exhillerating experience of my life, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
- Busan – South Korea – It’s always nice going to somewhere random that my brother will never, ever go. I only went because it was cheap, near and my cousin lived there. Was great experiencing it. Including the following places and things.
- K-Pop - my cousin told me about the music there, and more importantly the fans. In South Korea they have more predictable charts than the western world (something like for the last 4 months the top 10 have been the same). To be honest, I can see why. This song is CONSTANTLY in my head!
- Korean Meal - Again, a little wierd this. Not entirely sure what I ate, but you had to cook it yourself. But very tasty!
- Konglish – Advice: never buy a t-shirt with japanese characters on it. It probably means something you shouldn’t. In Korea (and in Japan, but Korea especially) there are t-shirts with english words and phrases on them. And they make no fucking sense. They range from odd (“Get On My Hairy Belly” worn by a six year old girl), to poignent (“Nobody Likes a Dirty Ocean”) to ununderstandable (“Pasttime Rich Now”)
- Nagasaki – Eating 50 yards from the epicenter of the Atomic Bomb was poignient. I am a sucker for WWII history, but often it’s told in the eyes of the winners. The museum in Nagasaki, as well as a lot of the structures in and around the city, gives a depressing and tragic insight into what so many people went through, and why it should never ever happen again.
- Nagasaki Bars! Nagasaki was my drinky drinky part of the holiday in Japan, largely because I was with friends who knew the way home. As such, I spent my time between two bars, including speaking to a very drunk Jap who loved the fact I was Welsh (“LYAAAANNNN GIIIIIIIGGGGSSSSUUUUU!!!” he proclaimed. Which I assumed meant Ryan Giggs). I also came second in a darts tournament, pocketing me ¥2000.
- Getting followed around, Fable 2 style, by Japanese kids. If I was female, it’d be stalking, but they just liked seeing a gaijin, I guess.
- Using “Gaijin” and “Otaku” as positive words. Both are derogatory terms for people (Gaijin is foreigner, and Otaku is geek). As both, I used them a lot.
- Harajuku – On my first day in Tokyo I headed straight for Harajuku, which is a park around West Tokyo. Why go there? Well, you get the Harajuku style of clothing, where Japanese young dress up as emo’s, chavs, or cartoon characters. Either way, it’s full of cool costumes. Cosplay is huge there!
- Akibahara - the geeky district of Tokyo. “Electric Town” was one stop away from me on the tube, and I spent a fair bit of time there, as it was a great place to go when bored, check out the video arcades, and generally spend a fair whack of money.
- NEO Ladies Pro Wrestling - I’m a huge pro wrestling fan (more of that soon!), and wanted to see some when I was out there. I wanted to see NJPW, who were performing the Tuesday of my stay in Tokyo. Alas, they were full, so I went to see NEO Ladies Pro Wrestling, a Japanese wrestling company full of ladies. For those who expect me to say “yes, oil and mud aplenty”, wrong. It was entertaining, brutal and yet brilliant.
- Tsukiji Fish Market - On the final day/night, I woke up at 5am to go to the Tsukiji fish market, the largest fish market in the world. $18.5 million worth of fish are sold there every DAY. It was incredible. We didn’t see the auctions (largely because we got up a little too late), but saw a lot of work done by the Japanese. Was incredible, if a little intimidating.
- Food! Yes, loved the food. As well as teh Korean meal, I loved the Sushi, Phad Thai (Thai Noodles), Yakadori (Chicken Kebabs) and my favourite – Okonomiyaki!
Overall, an awesome holiday. Here are some photos!