Today was a day of sushi and cherry blossoms. The flowers are a’blooming and the birds are a’chirping because spring is a’coming people. The cherry blossoms are nature’s way of saying, ‘hey guys, everything will be okay’.
Cherry blossoms are like the training wheels of nature, they make us feel safe and sound before we summon the confidence to do life with only 2 wheels. After they’re gone, we forget they were even there! Before you know, we’ve smoothly made the winter to summer, heatech to humidity transition.
WHAT AM I SAYING? It was my first back working every day this week and my brain is a little soggy. All of this quarantine has made me lose the humorous edge that helped crown Jo So Ko as the internet’s best travel blog 12 years running.
Time to get some rest, but first, here is a video I made about my work life in Seoul! Check it out if you have nothing better to do 🙂
If you’re a regular reader of this very important blog, you’ll know that my travelling ‘how-to’s’ are more like ‘loose suggestions’ or ‘visual prompts’ rather than informative guides. This post is no exception. In keeping with who I am as an amateur hobby blogger, I’ll keep this ‘how-to’ guide pretty visual and non-descriptive. Truth be told, when you go to a new city, you’re allowed to do whatever the fridge you want. Who am I to tell you how to spend your precious travel hours? The best way to explore any new city is with a pair of legs and/or your eyeballs.
Last week I had to spend some time in Fukuoka while I was waiting for my Korean visa to process. It was my sixth visit to Japan so I was happy to just enjoy the warm air and the Japanese language around me. Here’s what I found on my expedition, categorised in the following order: water, flora, buildings and signage.
I took the above image because I could just picture 4 chubby little Teletubbies rolling around on the grass or the characters from ‘In the Night Garden’ doing whatever it is they do in that show. I mean, what? I don’t watch kids shows? I’m 23? Haha I just heard about these shows, in great detail, from a friend who has multiple children???
There you have it, folks, Jo So Ko’s exclusive, comprehensive ‘How-to’ guide for getting a Korean visa in Fukoka. Also, Fukuoka ramen and udon is pretty famous according to my taxi driver on the way to the airport during my final hours of the trip. I can’t tell you how great it is to get a local’s travel advice on your way to the airport. So helpful. At least I was able to practice my Japanese again. Maybe it wasn’t travel advice, maybe he was complaining about Fukuoka and I completely overestimated my language skills. Oh well. Guess I’ll never know.
새해 복 많이 받으세요! That is Happy New Year in Korean and is appropriate for today because it is in fact Korean New Year. Wow, Jo is posting something relevant and in a timely manner? What is happening, she must be on holiday? Lunar New Year is celebrated in countries other than China alone, including places like Korea, Vietnam and Singapore.
Korean New Year is called ‘Seollal’ and I was really looking forward to celebrating my first Seollal this year… but I’m in Japan. I had to use this new year holiday to do a visa run in Fukuoka, Japan and sadly, that meant missing out on all of the fun! I’d love to tell my readers more about the food of Seollal, what people traditionally wear and maybe go out and photograph the scene in Seoul. Instead, I’m in a cold hotel room in Fukuoka writing this blog post before I head out for the day to take more pictures! No Korean pancakes for me.
If you weren’t aware, I usually post my Japan-related photographs and musings on my other blog called ‘Jopan‘ that I have been updating since high school. Be sure to read some of the posts if you’re interested in travelling in Japan or Japanese culture. Because I’m not a very good blogger, I am going to recycle the words I used on my Jopan blog to accompany the photos I took in Fukuoka yesterday so here we go!
This week I took some time over Korean ‘Seollal’ (Lunar New Year) to travel to Fukuoka, Japan. If you’ve been reading this blog (Jopan) for a while, you may know that I have travelled to Japan on many occasions (this being my sixth time) but have never visited the cities on the island of Kyushu, Japan’s southwesternmost island. Arriving here yesterday definitely felt like the Japan I knew with the punctual subway system, the endless selection of tasty Japanese snacks at the convenience stores and the chatter of the Japanese language everywhere I went. However, this city feels eerily different. The roads are flat, the streets are quiet, the cars drive without a honk, the buildings stay low to the skyline and the people are extremely friendly, like super friendly.
I think I’m having this reaction to these unfamiliar yet comforting Japanese surroundings perhaps because the last time I was in Japan, I did not have such a fun experience. Back in January 2018, I was staying alone in Tokyo in a 3cm x 1mm Airbnb and could barely muster the courage to walk the chaotic yet lifeless streets of Japan’s capital city. By contrast, this small city on the opposite end of Japan feels like the manicured city that serves as the backdrop in ‘The Truman Show’. Wes Anderson could definitely create a Dr. Seuss inspired mystery movie in this city with little need to adjust the colours or quaintness of the buildings.
To have a bit of fun, I decided to go a bit unorthodox with the editing of the photographs I took today. I hope that you enjoy them! Japan, it’s great to be back! I hope to see more of the beautiful Fukuoka over the next two days. Let me know what you think about Fukuoka in the comments below!
By the way, thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy reading my blog. I have made some changes to it recently which included this new logo! If you or someone you know is interested in commissioning any blog design work or illustrations, I am more than available to do so! I’ll be adding more changes soon so be sure to follow my blog or sign up below to get email notifications when I post something new! Thank you, friend! Have a happy new year!