Korea is extremely proud of their alphabet, called hangul. And they should be. It's a very efficient system that is easy to learn and read. (That's where the ease of the Korean language ends, I'm afraid.) While other writing systems developed over time, taking on various inconsistencies and pronunciations, hangul was created in the 1400s by design. Korea is so proud of their alphabet, they have a holiday for it - Hangul Day.
To celebrate this momentous holiday weekend of alphabet…we took a trip to Japan!
Our first stop was Kyoto. It was an absolutely beautiful city; the temples live up to the hype. Plus, we took a samurai class, complete with toe socks!
We had heard only great things about Kyoto, and Japan has been in my top 3 "must see" countries for years. We did more planning for this trip than we have done in a long time. And so much of it went wrong.
Our flight was delayed. The amazing Google Map we'd made wouldn't open. The address of the noodle bar was wrong. I cracked a raw egg into my rice, thinking they'd served me a cooked egg. Credit cards are not accepted, even at the airport, and we tried 8 ATMs before we found one that would accept a foreign bank card (Oh thank heaven for 7-11!) The recommended breakfast area was closed. We spent an hour going out of our way to find that the sushi place was closed. The biggest temple was a mob scene. We missed three consecutive trains, because it left from another platform. We walked in the complete opposite direction of where we needed to be, ending up in a suburban apartment area. The final temple of the day was closed, and the sun setting, by the time we got to it.
When we were finally on the correct train, it sat at the station so long we decided to call it quits…and the train started moving just as we were trying to exit. So we stood there, whizzing towards a destination 30 minutes away, and just laughed.
Because despite all the planning, and mapping out of best routes, and saving restaurant addresses in two languages: traveling is an adventure. And sometimes adventures go wrong. All you can do is laugh...and buy a rush ticket to Osaka.
Osaka often gets a bad rap. As the second biggest city in Japan, it seems to get overshadowed by Tokyo. But we had a great time, and ate our body weight in amazing food! We waited in line for an hour to get in to the tiny Endo Sushi, but it was incredible and absolutely worth it. We ate yakiniku kobe beef. [I try not to eat meat, but made an exception for the world famous beef and it was heaven.] Plus, I found my new favorite street food: octopus takoyaki.
We toured Osaka Castle, found a five-story Sega arcade and fell in love with Green Tea KitKats. Until next time, Japan!