Anyways, I figured I should
1. FACIAL HAIR"Somethings different about these men...." I thought to myself. A few moments later I finally figured it out. FACIAL HAIR! Having spent over a year in Korea, where men are generally clean shaven, this was quite a shock to the system (in the best way possible). People who know me know I am a big fan of facial hair, so it was nice to have a dose of bearded eye-candy back in my life. (And on a non-superficial basis I also find this difference between Korea and Japan super fascinating).
2. SAD PLAYGROUNDSKorea is filled with loads of colourful parks and playgrounds with an infinite amount of slides, swings, work out equipment, and other things to climb on. Even in my small city of Mokpo, whether it's a playground at a school, or simply a public park, they are usually well kept and filled with people. Heck, by my house there is even a park with a giant pirate ship! My first impression of Japanese playgrounds was: sad. They were usually in the shape of a perfect square, squeezed in between 2 buildings in the middle of the city, with no grass- simply dirt. Not even sand, just dirt. Most often accompanied by a sad looking swing set, and no one in the playground.
Does Japan's abundance of beautifully calm zen gardens make this point irrelevant? I digress.
3. EXPENSIVE FOODHoly moly! When you get so accustomed to paying between $5-$12 for a meal in Korea, Japan is another shock to the system (a general theme for this trip....). My first night in Japan I was shocked to see the bill was over 300 Japanese yen ($~30) for 2 people. Oops! But that's pretty normal I guess. If you want to eat super cheap in Japan, you can try 7/11 and other convienience stores (surprisingly good), luxurious department store basement food "courts", and sushi-go-rounds (very reasonable). Regardless of the price, Japanese food is damn good!
Enjoying some $12 ramen- kinda cheap!
7/11 food heaven
4. EXPENSIVE TAXI'STaxis in Korea are so cheap, you don't have to think twice about taking one. From one end of my city, to the literal opposite side, is about $9. Luckily I rarely have to make that route, because $9 is actually on the expensive end. I usually pay about $5-$7 for my average taxi ride. In Japan, people rarely take taxis. From the KIX airport to Osaka, Japan, is between $150-$200. (Almost) everybody takes public transit (or drives).
Japan loves their boxy cars!
5. CHEAP(ER) COFFEECoffee in Korea is expensive. Cheaper in Japan. That is all.
Enjoying my much cheaper Americano with some lovely geishas
6. MORE PEOPLE BIKINGIn Kyoto and Osaka I saw SO many locals on bikes! They even have an abundance parking lots just made for BIKES! I love this about a city and I'm so glad I got to experience life on a bike in Kyoto! I definitely felt a lot safer biking in Japan compared to Korea. *cue Korean drivers rant that I will save for another day*
It is hard to compare a place where I have lived for a year and a half, versus a place I only visited for a week. Therefore these differences should be taken at face value. These were simply my observations during my one week traveling through Kyoto, Nara and Osaka. Do I sound like a Psychology major? Oops.
I love both Korea and Japan and I am so fortunate to be able to have experienced them both!
Has anyone else traveled to both these countries? Do you agree or disagree with these differences? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear them!
Until next post.......!