Last week was a busy week for me with a trip to Kyoto and another to Korea!
This was the first time I have left Japan since arriving 6 weeks ago. I was pleased that everything went well at immigration (on the way out and back in!). I had to be there Thursday and Friday but booked a flight back on Saturday evening so I could spend a little more time exploring.
I visited 2 parts of Korea – I landed in Incheon (36km west of Seoul) and visited the laboratories there before going South to the factory stopping at Jeonju over night, the capital of North Jeolla Province and famous for its Hanok buildings. I returned to Incheon on Friday night and flew out of their on Saturday evening.
Incheon is very modern, it’s built on reclaimed land and full of high rises and some lovely parks that I explored when I returned on Saturday both running and later walking.
Jeonju (Thursday night)
We went out for Japanese/Korean food. Pure Korean was deemed inappropriate for Westerners! I protested somewhat but as I don’t eat meat and Jane doesn’t like her food too spicy they probably had a point!
It was lovely place but I was challenged like I’ve not been for a long time! Dinner included sea squirt, sea cucumber, abalone and some still moving squid tentacles. I was going to go for the moving tentacles with plenty of trepidation when my colleague opposite had one that sucked itself onto his upper lip and took a bit of effort to remove! That was enough for me – I couldn’t do it!
Dinner also included some lovely sashimi and plenty of delicious side dishes so there was no problem. There was also no kimchi!
We took a short walk around the old buildings after dinner getting a bit of heritage to mix with work!
The next day I got up early and ran with Jane along the riverside before a Korean breakfast in a cafe – plenty of kimchi and kimchi stew as well as lots of fish and other pickles.
I went for a long run around some very nice parks near to my hotel and along part of a river. After a little work and breakfast in a coffee shop I went to explore the city. I took the train wandered around and eventually got to China Town for a quick look before returning to the hotel for my flight home.
I enjoyed my visit to Korea. It felt quite different to Japan, much less formal and less polite and although in that respect closer to British culture I found myself happy to be back at home in Japan!