The Snow Monkey

Written by Sarah

March 2013Culture

When you visit Jigokudani in Japan, don't miss the hot spring area where monkeys are living in a snow village. You can enjoy both a beautiful snow landscape and funny monkeys.

We think that monkeys usually inhabit tropical regions; however, monkeys in this town live peacefully in the middle of snow. Snow monkeys in Nagano wander this area, mingle with human visitors and enjoy the hot springs with ... (Read More)

Jjim-jil-bang Culture

Written by Joanne

February 2013Daily Life

Korea offers many exciting and affordable ways to hang out with friends, family, and your significant other.  One activity that is unique to Korean culture is spending time at jjim-jil-bangs (Korean style saunas).  Koreans do not go there just for bathing; a jjim-jil-bang is like a comprehensive indoor activity center that includes a gym, baths, a movie theatre, restaurant, pools, game rooms, and more.  As soon as you enter a jjim-jil-bang, ... (Read More)

Anime Merchandising

Written by Michael

February 2013Entertainment

Japan is famous for its manga (comic books, graphic novels), as well as for its anime (animation).  Once a manga gains in popularity, there will invariably be an animated version in the making.  Once the anime becomes famous, the collectables and merchandising start hitting the store shelves.  There are companies that specialize in producing these animation-related goods.  These not only include T-shirts and shoes that feature the characters, but also figurines, ... (Read More)

Korean Roadside Shop Fever in East Asia

Written by Kate

December 2012Culture

Roadside cosmetic shops continue to thrive, attracting new customers from women across East Asia.  Korean cosmetic corporations are launching low-cost brands which are fine quality and reasonably priced as well.

Blindfold surveys show surprising results, revealing that these brands consistently receive high marks alongside their more expensive counterparts.  On occasion, long standing brand name products, such as creams costing nearly $200 dollars, are graded lower than the $10 creams.

Many of the customers ... (Read More)

Gyaru (ギャル)

Written by Sarah

December 2012Culture

Gyaru is the Japanese pronunciation of the English word “gal”.  Initially there was a brand of jeans called “Gals.”  It then spun into a fashion buzz word and trend, eventually becoming part of the subcultural landscape.  It is now common to refer to a young woman as a ‘gyaru’ if she is into the fashion trends of her time.

Gyaru culture can be recognized by some key characteristics, which include copious amounts of makeup that heavily ... (Read More)

Yatsuhashi Rice Cakes

Written by June

November 2012Culture

Kyoto has a number of specialties: silk, tofu, vegetables, shrines, etc. But if you are not particularly interested in Japanese culture, you will probably be the most interested in the strange triangular rice cake that is sold all over the city.

Those triangular, soft, and sweet rice cakes that usually contain  sweet paste inside are called Yatsuhashis. Well, they are fresh Yatsuhashi (Nama-Yatsuhashi in Japanese), actually, since there are other kinds of Yatsuhashis as well. Baked Yatsuhashis are crispy ... (Read More)

Bukaksan

Written by Joanne

November 2012Culture


 Source

There are many mountains surrounding Seoul and the country of Korea, but what makes Bukak Mountain unique is that it is one of the most heavily guarded mountains in the country due to its close proximity to the Blue House.  Back in the 1960s after a failed assassination attempt by North Koreans on the then current South Korean president, security became tighter and the mountain was off limits to citizens until 2007.

The mountain is in ... (Read More)

Amazing Wildlife in the DMZ

Written by Admin

November 2012Culture


When most people think of the DMZ, images of war, conflict, and tension appear. It is still considered one of the world's most dangerous places. In reality, the DMZ rests on fertile plains ready for growing a variety of crops. It also houses a collection of wildlife that thrives in its purity. 

By looking in the corner of your eye you may spot something that you rarely see elsewhere: a wild crane. Red-crowned cranes and white-naped cranes strut ... (Read More)

Coast of Ulleung-do

Written by Joanne

November 2012Culture

A region that is usually unfamiliar with tourists is Ulleungdo, an island off the east coast of Korea which is  looked over in favor of its more desirable and controversial neighbor, Dokdo.  Ulleung-do’s charms come from the coastal village, its people, and the breathtaking coastal walk.  As you look down from the rainbow bridges off the side of the coast, you get a terrifying yet exhilarating view of the violently crashing ... (Read More)

Visiting Kyoto-Nishiki Market

Written by June

October 2012Culture

 

Nishiki market, which in Japanese actually means the Silk Market, is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kyoto. This is both because tourists think that this is a traditional Japanese market, and it is conveniently placed close to Shijo street, perhaps the most crowded place in Kyoto. You can walk from Shijo Karasuma, visit Nishiki market, go to Shijo Kawaramachi, and then arrive at Gion street in 1 hour(all popular spots for tourists).

In ... (Read More)

Visiting Kyoto-Jidai Matsuri

Written by June

October 2012Entertainment

 

 

 

(Kazunomiya princess)

Jidai Matsuri, which means the “Era Festival” in Japanese, is one of the top three festivals in Kyoto. Although not as well-known as Gion Matsuri, it is special in its own way: you can actually get to see the history of Kyoto through the famous historical characters that had lived there. All the characters in the parade are Kyoto citizens wearing the clothes made in the traditional way. You can see the fabrics getting thinner as ... (Read More)

Visiting Kyoto-Kyoto Station

Written by June

October 2012Culture

 

(Seen from Kyoto Station Sky Garden)

Kyoto is a traditional Japanese city but it is hard to believe so at first--the moment you step off the train, you see one of the biggest train stations you have ever seen, made of metal and glass.

Built in 1877, Kyoto station is the object of both love and hate from the people of Kyoto. Modern and popular as it is, people who love the traditional beauty of Kyoto seem to feel ... (Read More)

The Budget Meal

Written by Joanne

October 2012Culture

There is often an expression that goes around in Korea which states that eating out costs less than eating in.  Unless you’re a stay-at-home mother of 3 making banchan all day, this couldn’t be more true.  One can eat to satisfaction for less than $5 dollars per meal and if you’re really frugal and money savvy, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner for under $10.  How?  Well, first off, ... (Read More)

Visiting Kyoto-Doji Flea Market

Written by June

October 2012Culture

 

Kyoto holds a number of flea markets, but the biggest one is at Doji temple, on the 21st of every month. This event is called Doji Koboichi.

There is an old saying that ‘Osaka dies eating, Kyoto dies wearing’, which means that the people in Osaka spend a lot on eating, whereas the people from Kyoto will spend anything to wear luxurious, elegant clothes. The temple is in walking distance from JR Kyoto station, and as if to ... (Read More)

Japan – Land of the Vending Machine

Written by Sarah

October 2012Entertainment

Starting from a tobacco slot machine in 1888, the Japanese vending machine business has been developing for many years. The entire country has a total number of around 5,220,000 machines, and they are widely used for the reason that they are safe and have few thieves. Even though the U.S. has 7,480,000 machines, considering the land is 25 times bigger than this island country, Japan can easily be named "the land of the vending machine."

Their ... (Read More)

Korea's Autumn

Written by Joanne

October 2012Culture

Korea, land of the four seasons.  Fall in Korea is one of the most beautiful sites the country has to offer.  With rolling mountains covered in red, purple, yellow, and orange trees, the predominant colors of the season wash the lands with its vibrancy, transforming the landscape in to a terrestrial sunset.

Two great places to experience the beauty of fall are Seorak Mountain and Nami Island, both located in the ... (Read More)

DIY Korean Snacks

Written by Joanne

October 2012Culture

Snacking in Korea takes on a whole new approach with DIY snacks.  Influenced by Japanese DIY snack companies like Kracie, the expression “don’t play with your food” doesn’t apply in this case, with boxes of cookies that come with mini pastry tubes filled with strawberry and chocolate icing and even cute prizes like stickers.  You can find these DIY food products in larger markets and is a hit with kids ... (Read More)

Nanji Camping Grounds

Written by Joanne

October 2012Daily Life

There are many things to do in Seoul but one of the more unique experiences is camping within the city.  Over by the world cup stadium, there is a camping ground where you can set up tents and have a barbecue party with friends.  It’s a great way to experience local Korean culture and is a well-kept secret from most foreigners and tourists.  There are convenient facilities located within the ... (Read More)

Korean Bread (빵)

Written by Joanne

October 2012Culture

The bakeries of Korea are as much part of its culture as kimchi is.  You can find one on every street corner, and even in the most humble parts of the country.  They are distinctly Korean in that the bread is lighter, fluffier, and contains Korean flavors.  One type of bread that seems to be in every bakery is pat bbang – with its shiny exterior, pillow soft flesh, and ... (Read More)

The Metal Delivery Box (철가방)

Written by Joanne

October 2012Culture

Source: Trekker Drew

One of the unique designs that sets Korea apart from other nations is the metal delivery container.  When you think of delivery, you think of boxes of pizza and paper/plastic bags.  The reason why the metal container is a popular choice of delivery method is because the inside is compartmentalized and can hold bowls of food without spilling (in Korea, food is delivered in plastic bowls and plates wrapped ... (Read More)

An Ode to Jeonju

Written by Joanne

September 2012Culture

Culture



Jeonju’s hanok village has been immaculately conserved and maintained.  There are over 800 of these traditional Korean houses and while the rest of the city has modernized, the village continues to preserve its charms and history.  A small part of the village is especially reserved for overnight stays so that tourists can immerse themselves in the historical era in which these Hanoks were built.  Included in the hanok stays are traditional meals as ... (Read More)