This past weekend I had a brief sojourn in Fukuoka, Japan on a visa run for my teaching job in Seoul. The generosity of the Japanese never ceases to astound me. Despite the dreary rainy season weather that greeted me and my fellow travelers, we were still met with gloriously wide smiling faces around every corner. At the precise time our senses failed to find our accommodation, two Japanese girls greeted us and offered to walk the opposite direction in which they were going to show us our hotel.
The cities in Korea and Japan are probably some of the ugliest in the world – until the sun sets that is. When the Earth eclipses the sun’s rays and the city basks in the chilled glory of the night, the florescent lights of Fukuoka and Seoul blink and shutter to a pulsating, off-key beat. Occasionally, the sight of the lights hurts your retinas, yet it is near impossible to peal your gaze from the majestic artificial rainbow before you.
Seoul’s skyline in Gangnam-gu is filled with the shuttering of blinking marquees luring in Koreans and foreigners alike to the many soju(Korean rice wine) establishments and clubs that line its crowded streets. During the day, Gangnam-gu is a hot bed of mid-ranged shopping and a delectably variety of Asian cuisine. Beneath the city in the Gangnam-gu subway station is an anthill of shopping that ranges from cell phone booths to unique designer clothing.
A the top of Namsan mountain, the mountain that is perched in the center of Seoul just north of the Han River, lies the Seoul tower. On a clear day, standing at 360 meters from sea level, you can see Mt. Songak in North Korea. Stay for sunset and you will witness one of the largest cities in the world light up all around you in a 360 degree light display.
The Groove magazine is a English magazine in Seoul that I will be writing for. It has agreed published some of my archived work, and will be assisting me in various ventures this following year.
Next issue Geumgangsan, North Korea. Stay tuned.