I love Korea. I really do. Where else can you stay in a hotel that looks like a castle?
And in what other country would the front desk offer to heat your room in such an interesting and unique way?
(I have to admit, I was tempted to call. Do you think she would have burst into flame or just emitted a low, warm glow?)
But Japan is different.
I grew up as an Army Brat. In my life, I have lived in 21 houses or apartments in 18 cities in 6 countries. But I spent 4 years in Japan. That’s almost the longest time I’ve lived anywhere. And so Japan will always hold a special place in my heart.
How could I not love a country with such beautiful and delicious food? 😀
Although I will admit that even the most fervent Japan-o-phile would struggle to describe sweetcorn sushi and natto as either beautiful or delicious…
My friend and I stayed at the Nakashimaya Dyeing and Hostel (http://www.hostels.com/hostels/kumamoto-shi/dyeing-&-hostel-nakashimaya/41064) It was lovely. The lobby was beautifully decorated:
There were traditional dolls for Girls’ Day
and fish tanks that played music.
We stayed in a four-person dorm. It was beautiful and clean, and fit exactly four people.
We visited Kumamoto Castle, built between 1601-1607. It’s considered one of the top three castles in Japan. I wonder how they decide things like that?
I wanted to buy a fitting souvenir, something that would remind me of Kumamoto every time I saw it.
I met up with some of my former students while I was there. We decided to take Puri cura (photo stickers) together. They led us to their favourite photo sticker booth.
Did I want beautiful eyes and legs like a Bambi? I wasn’t sure but I was willing to try. The results were hilarious.
My students looked gorgeous. With our weirdly large eyes, Norah and I looked like creepy Disney princesses. And my legs, already ridiculously long, became freakish. 😀 Why would Japanese people want wider eyes and longer legs? I guess you always want what you can’t have! I wanted to know how the machine could tell the difference between arms and legs. Not that I wanted longer arms, I just wondered.
As an added bonus, the photo sticker machine gave us hot pink Q-Tips. 😀
The next day, we took the Shinkansen (or super fast train) to Fukuoka. The journey from Kumamoto City to Fukuoka used to take hours. Now it takes 33 minutes. Amazing.
We found a lovely pagoda
and had some sushi before we boarded the boat and came back to Korea.
The new school year starts tomorrow. Time to sharpen my pencils, dust off my books and meet my new co-teachers! 🙂