A time to work, and a time to… eat sushi.

I’m going to Japan on Saturday!

It’s all very exciting. Much as I love living and working in a country that is foreign to me, I’m surprised at how quickly a lot of the “foreign” feel disappears. Things that once seemed bizarre, odd, unusual, or exciting to me are now common, everyday things that I take for granted. There are still a lot of great experiences waiting to be enjoyed in Korea, but for a few months now I’ve been itching to get out and see what another country has to offer. My trip to China now seems like a blurry, distant dream, and I haven’t had a holiday since then. But my one summer week off is almost here, and I’m off to the Land Of The Rising Sun. Yay!

It is, without a doubt, my most unplanned trip to date. I am blaming this on a combination of factors including a hectic schedule, a travel partner who is probably far too like me in terms of being laid-back and somewhat disorganised, and the “group ignorance” I mentioned in a previous post, where it’s far too easy to just assume that the other person will have more of a clue what’s going on than you do. We’ve managed to book the ferry from Busan to Fukuoka, and buy our 7 day rail passes, but that’s the extent of our preparations. An emergency planning meeting over coffee earlier in the week left us with a coffee-stained scrap of paper with an extremely vague itinerary on it. And that’s all we’ve got. We are winging it. Just me, Irish Friend Two, a guide book, and lots of mosquito repellent and sun cream. I think this is going to be fun. :)

So what would you go and see in Japan? Or, if you’ve already been, what would you advise us not to miss? Leave me a comment or send me an email if you’ve any suggestions or tips! And in the meantime, here’s the only plan we have:

Not much detail there, I admit – but so many possibilities! It gives me a thrill just to look at it. Yes, living in Korea is great… but I’ve been in one place for too long, and I’m so ready to quench my travel thirst again. Japan, here I come!

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6 thoughts on “A time to work, and a time to… eat sushi.

  1. Bríd says:

    I don’t know, but I will tell you the one word of Japanese I know: Mau. It means cat. Or maybe it was Cantonese. Either way, hope it comes in useful. Just don’t use it when ordering food!!

  2. Philippa says:

    Hi Hails. Recently discovered your site and am loving it. Only been to Korea once, a long time ago, but am currently involved in trying to secure funding for the teaching of Korean in the university I work for. Japan – you will LOVE it. Every day is a surprise. We went to Nagasaki and that was fab. We also visited Kyoto for a few days (recommended, the biggest wooden temple place (sorry name escapes me, but it was a short bus trip I think from Kyoto), bamboo forest, loads of walking generally around the temples and gardens and along the river. Gyon is fascinating. Ryokans are great. Did a day trip to Himeji castle which was well worth it. Found it cheapest to eat around the railway stations. Try Pachinko too! I am definitely going back sometime in the next few years so I will await reports of your experiences with baited breath!

  3. Hi Hails, I think you will love Japan and thankfully it is really easy to get around by train. I’ve been twice now and love exploring – I’ve even been to Fukuoka for a sumo tournament.

    Hiroshima is a must. The exhibition is really well done and thought provoking, even if it does leave you feeling very sad. To lighten your heart afterwards I recommend the Shukkei-en Gardens at the Museum of Art. You will have plenty of opportunity to see gardens in Kyoto, but these were some of our favourites and a nice way to break the mood.

    From Kyoto you could take a trip to the large temple at Nara, and feed the cheeky deer who will mob tourists for food – or gardens and bamboo forest at Arishiyama.

    You might also like to try and fit in a trip to Miyajima in between Hiroshima and Kyoto. It’s a small island famous for its red torii gate – a tourist spot, but a nice change from the large cities.

    Oh and do not miss Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Get up early, be careful around the hustle and bustle, but go!

    Have a fantastic time in Japan and if you have any questions, please drop me an email. it’s one of my favourite places and I love helping people find out about it.

  4. Susanne says:

    Have just stumbled across your blog (via katyboo) and it’s simply brilliant! I keep thinking there should be a gazillion interesting, funny, well-written blogs out there by English speaking people living abroad, but there aren’t – either that or I’m singularly inept at finding them.
    Anyway, I’ve just spent the better part of this day reading your blog & I love it. Thanks!

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