Nine Korean things we wish we could take home

Yogi-yo buttons. The days of beckoning a waiter to your table are over. Press a button and wait for the waiter to come. What a genius idea! Are you listening Britain??

Heated toilet seats. Now Winter is in full effect, the joy of placing your bottom onto a warm seat cannot be stated loudly enough. I am not yet a fan of the water jets up the bum but you never know. I never sit on public toilets...but at school the heated seat is too tempting! I have never tried the special features though - "water jet", "bidet", and what I think is a blow dryer...

Water please. In Korea we are always provided free water at all restaurants. When you drink as much water as I do, constantly asking waiters for water is frustrating. Not in Korea though, it's always provided. Plus, there are no dirty looks if that is all you drink with your meal. Unless they have alcohol, Koreans tend to only drink water with meals and thus not paying for extra drinks is fine. CHEAPSKATES WIN!

Subway cards that work everywhere. They basically have an oyster card system that is national, with few exceptions. That means you can use your card everywhere, which is perfect for travelling - unfortunately you can only recharge it in the city you bought it in so it's best to recharge it before a weekend away. Also you can use these cards to purchase food, drink and books from vending machines in the subway station. It's one step away from finger-print purchasing and embedded chips in your arm...ok maybe a bit more than one step.

Wet rooms. I love my shower room, where I can just wet everything. You can shower on the toilet, while shaving, ANYTIME. Just be careful not to soak the toilet roll!

Shoes off please. Everyone takes off their shoes upon entering a house, restaurant (with heated floor seating) or nice inside area - it keeps things clean. I like it a lot! I now get a strong guilty feeling if I ever have to dash into my house to grab something, and don't take them off. Korea, you have taught me well. So beware, friends back home - we will be enforcing this rule in our own homes, with true Confucian diligence.

No rip-off prices in tourist areas. Buying a bottle of water or a packet of crisps in the UK can sometimes cost you three or four times the price in places such as stadiums, tourist spots or train stations. In Korea, there is no such thing as a mark up. Everything stays cheap and is, at most, 10% more in these places - but this is rare.

High Speed Internet. Anyone that knows me will know how much I will miss this. I get 6 mb/s download speed for music and TV shows. These are speeds I can only dream about in the UK. Maybe in 10 years, we'll catch up! I heard yesterday they are aiming to be at 1 gb/s very soon...are you sure you want to leave Dave?

Being called handsome. In England, I got called handsome maybe once a year (usually by an old relative, combined with cheek-pinching) but in Korea, it's a daily occurrence. This does mean I will be bringing home my an even bigger ego though. It's definitely been interesting, getting compliments here. I agree that they are more frequent than at home but they are also of a different nature. For example, my "big nose" and "small face" have been praised, along with my eyelashes. These are much harder to deal with than the compliments I am used to, as I can't put it down to my hairdresser or make-up brand. "Thanks, I grew them myself" doesn't have the level of modesty I would like.

So thank you Korea, you have certainly given us much food for thought and taught us many things that will enrich our lives when we return to the UK.

But every story has two stay tuned.

Four Fab Festivals

We lied, this is only about three festivals...we just like alliteration.

The final days are here so we are going to cram as much into the blog as possible. Here is a quick photo-summary of three festivals we attended. First up is the Busan Rock Festival!!

We stayed in the cool zone
Everyone's fave band
It isn't a rock concert without a topless singer...
...And a Korean baby rocking out
Pete spilt beer down me...
...So we went to the massive foam pit
All nice and clean
Foam + Fake Nikes = Fail
 Next up is the lantern festival in Jinju... Let's get lanterny...

There were small lanterns...
...Zebger lanterns...
...Forest lanterns...
...Rocky lanterns...
...And dragon lanterns
Also I met Pikachu
Next we went to Mud Fest and got as muddy as Glasto.
This festival is all about getting muddy and playing with mud, just like Glasto... but with crappy K-Pop music.

We did go with friends - we promise!

Sobcoe Table - China/Korea/Japan

The comparison table returns but this time with a catchier title and a fuller description.

The table is based on how we judge the place as tourists. The "categories" are, what we deem the most important things to consider when going on holiday. The "weight" is the relevance or importance the category has on your experience as a tourist and works as a multiplication factor on the spreadsheet. The red denotes a score that is subtracted while blue is added. The highest total is what we think is the best place to visit and is highlighted at the end. It is fairly light hearted so don't take it as gospel.

The Weird and The Wonderful: Korean Food

During our time here in Korea, we have seen and eaten a huge variety of things. We have witnessed some very unusual ways of doing things and had our minds boggled on more than one occasion. This post shows a montage of some of the weird and wonderful culinary creations we have come across. I originally wrote this with the photos divided under the headings "weird" and "wonderful" but then realised it was too hard to decide where to put things. So you can make your own mind up as to which you think each is...

Korean salads took us a long time to get used to. Dressings are
often fruit flavoured and yoghurty, and as you can see here,
cherry tomatoes are treated like the fruit they are.
A typical Korean Thanksgiving gift for a loved one.
12 tins of tuna and 4 tins of "Luncheon meat" (Spam)
And check out the bargain! Buy 10 boxes, get 1 free!
Your Mum doesn't like tuna? No problem! Skip the
fish and go for the simple 9-pack of "Richam" spam.
Another great deal - buy 5, get 1 free.
Spam for the whole family!
It's not too clear but you see the yellow thing the girl is carrying?
A 2-foot bag of crisps! She was just walking along, munching away.
I will definitely miss the huge bags of snacks they sell here.
I know this had already been written about but
I thought it deserved mentioning again -
this was the infamous (and tasty!) dog soup.
Tiny bananas! You can see mandarins above
and a grape to the left for comparison - so cute!
Steamed squid stuffed with rice.
Apparently they are as appetising as they look!
A huge banquet for 5 people!
This is 95% side dishes, 5% stuff we ordered.
 Walking along the street one night we saw the following, 
in the space of 200 metres...
Not 1...
...not 2...
...but 3 crab vans!
Who needs access to that many steamed crabs?!
Dave's favourite pork-snack-drink-combo.
The future of hand-free dining.
Whole, deep-fried birds of some kind.
What I imagine to be the same birds, raw, opened,
and stuffed with some weird berries or something.
Too cute! Although Super Hans wouldn't be happy.
"Pint of Guinness please. No logo on the foam".
Scallops that we bought in Jagalchi Market...
Prepared and cook within minutes, along with some huge shrimp.
And a couple of yummy fish.
Dave, eating a fish eye.
Raw beef with onions and a raw egg. Not half bad!
The taste of summer. I grew to love these ice noodles
but Dave still hates them. Either way, eating them is
a weird experience that I highly recommend.

The Weird and The Wonderful: Japan

Here is a collection of photos we took of the slightly bizarre side of Japan...

"Pungency" - Not the best name for a drink

Beware: Alien Child Snatchers
Transporting Fluid Along a River
Made of Plastic Bottles
Tap for Quick Rinse that also fills the Cistern
Bitch-Tits Buddha

Funky Ladders
Mini-House in Bamboo Forest

Please give your seat to anyone with
a broken heart - how considerate
Bus locator at 90% of bus stops

My first look at the Asus Transformer

Huge Bike Shed

PASCO BREAD! (sorry about the face!)
This place was a bit fancy for our liking.
It's a man!
I love a bit of aubergine

"Strawberry and Chocolate Chip Pizza"
"Brownie and Marshmallow Pizza"
Check out those balls
I found Wally!
Where's Wally?? Answer in Comments please.

My love of lamp posts continues
Strawberry & Cream Sandwich

A big room with men playing board games

Ricky Gervais
The Deadly Fugu!
Sink that has tap, soap and dryer - all automatic!

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