Japanistic Korea

Seoul and Beppu are different like night and day (go figure: one has 1 Starbucks, the other has coffee shops for probably every third adult of the 10.5 million inhabitants). In Seoul, I found many differences between Japan and Korea, but the countries do have some things in common as well.


Incheon in the foggy frisk morning

Beautiful views

Traditional Hanok village

Beautiful architecture and history

Navigation (or passing a car) can be a challenge!

Small side streets with no names


My first meal in Korea: bimbap with free sides of kimchi, pickled daikon and Korean soup!

Similar, delicious cuisine

Schisandra tea with pine nuts

Appreciation for  high quality tea.

When it comes to tea, I definitely prefer the Korean one. The various possibilities: Schisandra, jujube, ginseng, and all the other other herbs: the variations and possibilities seemed to be endless! Japanese matcha and sencha are nothing compared to these various powerhouses. The bimbap, or Korean sushi, on the other hand was not that convincing. Usually the Korean sushi roll consists of spam/ham, surimi (fake crab) and mayo, which are not the ingredients I’d want to put on my roll. The nori is seasoned with some oil (grape, olive or other), and there is no soy sauce for dipping. The Korean soup is not as delicious as miso, but it comes for free with the divine kimchi and daikon, with refills! Point to Japan for this dish, point to Korea for the drinks!


Both of the countries also use a sign language I cannot understand. The difference is that in Japan I can at least read hiragana and katakana, whereas in Korea I had no clue what most of the signs or texts said. Luckily it is possible to manage without knowing Korean. For some reason, I automatically and accidentally spoke what little Japanese I can in the shops and restaurants. Maybe the numerous Japanese tourists had some to do with that, or then I am turning more Japanese than I thought I would.



Something new

Life in a different culture can be, well, different.

There are things you are not used to, and some you won’t get used to, no matter how hard you try.

Toast, about the size of my palm, as thick as my finger and fluffy as a sponge, topped with natto

Some things are a bit scary.

Not my kind of doll
What style for tomorrow?

Others are rather interesting.

Soda can oden soup, with clear instructions

Life in another culture can feel like a dead end

Nice view and a lot of legroom

Or it can be something truly beautiful

Nature and culture in harmony

I am halfway through my exchange already, but I am not nearly done with Japan!


Gods or spirits with good style


Where Am I?

The main entrance to APU

APU Campus is located in the mountains, approx. 12 km from the Beppu city. The surroundings of the campus are hilly and there’s a highway gas station with a cafe and a restaurant nearby.

View of APU campus

There is not really any possibilities for walking, besides by the highway. Because of the serpentine roads and altitude changes, smaller distances seem quite long.

View to Beppu Bay

The bus from APU to Beppu city is approx. 330y one way, and the ride takes around 30 minutes.

More pictures coming up when I have better quality ones!

Signs of Japan, pt. 1

Japan is a safe country, with many rules of conduct. There are also written and illustrated rules, which makes life easier. The Japanese polite enough to instruct foreigners and others unable to understand the kanji, hiragana and katakana characters by giving instructions and restrictions also as pictures and in Engrish.

During my stay, I will post about different rules and other signs I find interesting, funny, or otherwise worth posting about.

Sanitation is important – am I supposed to gargle with the disinfectant?
Is this OK?
Happy looking dog(s?) run there

Until next time, sayonara!

Photo bombing

I went “culture touring” around the city the other day. I didn’t buy anything, but got aching feet and filled my iPhone with pictures. Here are some of the highlights of that particular afternoon (since that, there has been few other excursions):

Museum of Natural History. Did not go in.
Time Warner (shopping) Center is the home of two heavenly places: Williams Sonoma and Whole Foods
View from Central Park
The Guggenheim Museum. Visited the gift shop. Fyi: student tickets are $18.
Stairs of The Met. Visited the huge gift shop.
The Apple store. More people and noise than in a…well, very noisy place.
Ceiling of guess what building!

Pictures of following adventures will be appearing here sooner or later. There has been so much interesting things already, I don’t know if my phone will explode when I actually will be in Manhattan every day!