16 January 2007

Tokyopurikura1Tokyopurikura2

~Tokyo Dreams~

 

tokyokana

tokyoraymond

Back in Tokyo to get a work visa for Korea. What a great time… Of course reunited with my little Raymond daughter, Kana! We hit Ginza, Harajuku, Shinagawa and of course Shinjuku.

 

 

TokyoshochuTokyoginzaTokyoshinjuku  

 

with suzu~Suzu~

I was so lucky to meet up with my friend, Suzuchan, from Amami Oshima. We sat out in Harajuku reminiscing about Amami Oshima, the little southern jewel of Japan. Everytime I meet Suzuchan we have such a great intense conversation. Since she can’t speak English at all, I am put to the Japanese test to express all of my intensity nihongo style…

 

I was able to meet with my student Sasha and have lunch in Yokohama’s Chinatown. We spent the day sipping tea and talking about post-Peace Boat life.

I had a fantastic night out with my Peace Boat friends in Shinjuku Ni-chome. Akiko, Kuniko and Misako came out for a night of dancing. But in our ageing days, we spent the bulk of the early morning hours in a diner catching up the way friends do after a long time.

raymondkosukenori~Kosuke~

 I was so happy to see Kosuke, my oldest and cherished student from the Peace Boat. Her nephew, Nori also came from Sapporo as they were en route to Helsinki, Finland. I was so lucky that our schedules coincided and we could meet in Tokyo. We spent the night in Shinagawa at a hotel and went out for dinner and drinks at an izakaya. In some ways we recreated an evening aboard the ship at Namihei, the floating izakaya. It was a great night and we talked about so many things. I am really looking forward to going to Hokkaido and seeing them in a couple of weeks.

 

 

2 January, 2007

Happy New Year!

Yasu and Masa made a quick trip from Miyazaki to spend New Year’s in Seoul. We actually didn’t meet until past 11pm so it was a run down Itaewon streets to get to a club before midnight. We spent the New Year with my friend, Jin… dancing the night away until we had too much to drink and came back home to sleep it off.


The next day
we spent in the jimjilbang having a long 2 hour bath and Yasu and Masa
ridded themselves of any dead skin by trying a traditional Korean body
scrub. Being thrown around naked and scoured in front of so many people
scared them at first but after they enjoyed their smooth skin in the
medicinal baths.


That night we went for some traditional Korean BBQ and relaxed in the
atmosphere of quiet Seoul on a holiday. It was sad to say good-bye so
soon but we all had such a fun week-end together. As always, having my
Japanese friends visit me in Korea is such a treat and makes me feel my
Japanese “roots”…. THANKS GUYS! When are we meeting next? Argentina
or Canada???

The next day
we spent in the jimjilbang having a long 2 hour bath and Yasu and Masa
ridded themselves of any dead skin by trying a traditional Korean body
scrub. Being thrown around naked and scoured in front of so many people
scared them at first but after they enjoyed their smooth skin in the
medicinal baths.

 

December 16, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me~~ 

28

My birthday was low-key… but I had a nice surprise… After finishing a live squid, Jen and I left the restaurant to find a winter wonderland…

 ?? 1573 meandjensnow meinsnow

ANMYONDO

안면도

?? 1553 ?? 1561

We escaped Seoul for the first time and went to Anmyondo, a beach  resort island. It was wonderful… the hot springs in Seoul are really different from Japan. You can bathe co-ed in your swimsuit which was fun. The baths are full of different aromas like green tea, pine, mint etc…

After that we went on the beach to see the tail-end of the sunset. It’s always wonderful to be on the westcoast of any country….

 

Happenings Back in the Homeland:

The New Leader

dion On December 2, St廧hane Dion surprised Canada as he passed the two leading leadership rivals, Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae. It was a strategic win with the sudden support of Gerard Kennedy after having swung to fourth place when a few of his supporters decided to try to boost the last place contender. As my support laid with Dion from the beginning, I was happy with the news and taken back by the surprise. I didn’t imagine that he had a chance before the vote began.

Dion started immediately to sew the tears of the Liberal Party that happens in every leadership campaign. He appears to have the support of the former rivals, although Bob Rae is really scoping out what his position will be in the party before he commits. People have normally seen Dion as a mousey (or owl) professor that lacks the charisma to be a leader. However, I believe that he will be able to take the next few months (and years) to establish himself to the public.

 Dion is old school, part of the Chr彋ien Dynasty. However, it is that old-school that did not detract from many liberal values that the Martin Regime did. Paul Martin suddenly had to change his former views on issues like the involvement in the Middle East, gay marriage, relations with the US, etc… to become more in-line with the general Liberal population. devilSt廧hane Dion has the background of the traditional liberal values and the academic background to be able to offer an intellectual standpoint on issues. Although he is not very well known in Canada, as the former Environmental Minister, his stance on the environment, as well as many other social issues, is very liberal in comparison to the other leaders that ran. He will definitely scoop up the farther left-leaning voters that sit at the borders of the NDP and the Green Party.   Although he is not popular in Qu嶵ec due to his federalist hardline stance, he has the advantage of re-creating himself and to let the country get to know him now in the spotlight. I am quite happy with the results and hope to see him take the leadership of the country in the next election. It is time to get our current Prime Minister back into the opposition  where he belongs representing a small minority of the Canadian population.

Kana Saves ME~

Well as much as I love to imagine myself saving my dear Kana from life… I have to say that she has saved ME by re-energising me to continue this dodgy Korean lifestyle. I am not exceptionally unhappy in Korea but I am not enjoying life like I thought I would. Everyday is the same and I see myself here making money rather than growing or learning anything… which is something I did not want to do. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a lot to appreciate in Korea. I try everyday to see something in the culture or in the life here, but generally fail. I hate to sound so ethnocentric and culture-judging, but Korea just has such an overall negative feeling. Koreans seem to hate everybody. They hate Japanese, Chinese, Westerners and every other foreigner that seems to exist. I have concluded that Korea is a great place to visit, but definitely not to live. I see very few happy people here and so many disgruntled jaded individuals, both Korean and foreign.

HOWEVER… let me get over my little ethnocentric rant and tell you how fun Korea is when you are in denial and just enjoying it as a tourist.

 kana raymond jimjilbangKana arrived on Saturday night on her layover to London. I picked her up in Incheon and we started with some fire chicken and beer. We spent the whole night out dancing and being bad in Itaewon. We ended up sleeping in Korea’s best invention, the jimjilbang. A jimjilbang is like a community sauna centre where families, business men, high school students and everyone else comes to sit in saunas, have a bath, east some food, watch TV and just be around others all night, all of this whilst wearing some provided pyjamas.

     

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Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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  1. Sounds like busy time for you over there! I hope that 2007 brings you many challenges and opportunities! Cool site.

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