Thursday, January 18, 2007

akemashite omedetou gozaimasu!

Happy New Year, and yes, I'm back! Landed safely in Narita International on the 4th evening after a week's worth of holiday in Korea. Went through the routine of returning my international phone and getting tickets for the connecting bullet train back to Urasa. Found myself back in my dorm room and missing the heated floors of Korean buildings.

Winter term has already begun about a week ago, I'm taking 8 subjects with a total of 11 credits. Really heavy considering 1-credit subjects have almost the same workload as those with 2 credits. Still continuing on with Intermediate Japanese and the whole waking up early to daily quizzes, and struggling to stay awake for the rest of the day.

Snow's here, but not as bad as last year's 3-4m record. Some students have already gone skiing and snowboarding. I have yet to do either, but there are plans to start learning this weekend. Looking forward to that, and will be expecting bruised bums and aching limbs the next day.

Some pictures are in order, just in case studies gets overwhelming in the coming weeks and I start losing my readers.

My holiday in Korea started in Jeju island, touted as the romantic getaway for honeymooners. Even though it was considered subtropical, the weather was pretty breezy. I had the opportunity to drive a Hyundai. I must congratulate myself for this is the biggest car I've driven and it's on the left side. On the background is the famed Seongsan Ilchulbung (Sunrise Peak), where tourists climb to catch a view of the sunrise.

Cheonjeyeong Falls - One of our first stops that day. The wind was blowing, and it was biting cold. I noticed that the snow was powdery. Like bits of styrofoam, which when blown, fly away as compared to the wetter variety over here in Urasa.

Teddy Bear Museum - they had floors of exhibition showcasing history of teddy bears and the bears in various scenarios. Like the one above, the Mona Lisa, The Thinking Man, Charlie Chaplin, the Beatles, Prince Charles & Princess Di's wedding, and even the world's most expensive teddy bear which was all decked out in an LV monogrammed suit.

The visit to the Jeju Folk Village Museum gave an insight to how ancient Jeju islanders lived. There were thatched houses arranged in a typical village setting. Flora such as herbal plants and live animals made the experience more interactive.

That's it, just a signpost and nothing else. I thought the ticket of KRW4,000 was a tad too expensive compared to the other places which were more educationally interesting. Inside this Chocolate Museum, they had a little factory to show how chocolate is made, and chocolate packaging from all over the world. In addition, they had an assortment of many other non-chocolate related items which were donated by those who also donated their chocolate-related stuff to the Museum.

The Traditional 5 Day Market, as it name states, only opens 5 days in a month. Reminded me of our Malaysian pasar malam. You can find foodstuff, fruits, vegetables, meat, and even clothes in this market. We bought some Jeju tangerine to try, really sweet stuff.