Japanda goes to Korea

One of the great things about living in Japan is how easy it is to travel to new countries. So, for my first week long vacation I spent five days in South Korea. It was awesome.

My first day we walked around the Hongdae area, mainly with the intent on going to a meetkat cafe. Which was as amazing as it sounds.

Basically, you buy a beverage for approximately $11 and the. You get to roam around the cafe interacting with various animals including a wallaby, some type of fox, and an exotic cat (I couldn’t care less. I was there for the meerkats). The main attraction was a large enclosure with a dozen meerkats. After a brief safety talk we went in, sat down, and were given a blanket to cover our laps. Then the meerkats swarmed us. 

I highly recommend this cafe. It wasn’t over crowded and the animals seemed very happy. Though, fair warning, te meerkats do like burrowing and will kind of scratch to try and dig under you. It really kind of tickles but I think some other people didn’t like it.

After that we had Korea BBQ.

None of my pictures quite sum up how much and often we are. Seriously. Every few hours there was a full meal. 

Or some ridiculously beautiful delicious dessert.

My second day we went to the DMZ (demilitarized zone) between North and South Korea. Without getting into a whole war/conflict that I don’t really understand let me try to give a little background about this area. 

So, after WWII North and South Korea split. Seventy two years later. They are still separate but the South has hopes for unification. These are wishes of South Koreans for unification at one of the stops.

The DMZ is kind of a buffer border. Our tour took us to a tunnel that the North dug into the South for purposes of invasion (sorry no pictures allowed). 

Another stop was. Lookout spot where you could see a North Korean town. From the lookout you could just barely hear the propaganda that North Korea was playing towards the South. Apparently, sometimes South Korea plays back propaganda and KPop music.

Our last stop was meant to be the JSA, the location that representatives from the north and south to meet. Unfortunately, right before we were to make this stop a North Korea fisherman floated into South Korea. The JSA is where such incidents are taken care of so, for security reasons, we weren’t allowed to go. 

This tour is a little pricey but I do recommend it. This is a part of history that (hopefully) will not be in existence in the future. It is also a strange cultural experience. This is a highly charged area politically. It is mildly dangerous given the current state of affairs and yet… South Korea has turned it into a sort of tourist attraction. There are photo op places and souvenir shops. I got a magnet from the DMZ!

The rest of my trip was spent shopping, eating and wandering around the super cool, weird, delicious city. 

If you do go to Seoul I highly recommend you spend an evening at the Han river eating chicken wings. Apparently, that is what you (and hundreds of your neighbors) do on a Friday night. 

I also recommend finding a traditional tea shop and getting iced plum tea. It’s amaaaaazing.

Or just pick a street and wander around eating. When in Korea, eat as a Korean.

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