Japanistic Korea, take 2

I mentioned earlier about similarities between Korea and Japan. Oh yes, there definitely are some!

Both like the cutesy stuff, not just in toys.

So cute it almost makes me want to puke
So cute it almost makes me want to puke

Weird establishments. Need I say more?

Some things just cannot/should not be translated
Some things just cannot/should not be translated

Both countries appreciate weird flavors. Wasabi is pretty self-explanatory: the only surprise was the mildness. Blue on the other hand remained as a mystery besides the bright color.

Blue taste as like the Greek sea?
Blue taste: like the Greek sea?

Both adopt the Western consumerism and traditions: Christmas is the season to be consuming!

Save money by buying
Save money by buying

Genki seniors. Who said Korean elderly are not healthy? They should work out after all the barbecue and rice cakes…

The numerous public work out areas are mainly used by the elderly
The numerous public work out areas are mainly used by senior citizens

Oh, yes. The language and signs were different and the streets looked different, but strangely it all felt very familiar to me. Thank you Seoul for the entertainment.

Åland is next to Finland, Korea is next to Japan: we're all pretty close after all!
Åland is next to Finland, Korea is next to Japan: we’re all pretty close after all!

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.