Buddha Buddha Buddha Buddha Rockin’ Everywhere

I think … I need to accept the fact that I’m not going to be updating this blog very much. Because I’m only just now getting to posting about my trip to Thailand … this summer.

But in any case, yeah, back to the Buddhas.

Buddhists compose 95% of the Thai population. Needless to say, it wasn’t particularly difficult to find any temples to visit. I’m pretty sure there was one on every other block in Chiang Mai’s old city.

Wat Po was nice. But the only reason I even went was because it’s supposedly the birthplace of Thai massage. I had to wait an hour for a full-body massage but it was so damn hot out and the A/C was very refreshing in the waiting room so I didn’t mind.

The chedis were beautiful.

And there were tons of really ornate, great details and nice paintings.

And of course, tons of Buddhas. Wat Po is known for its larger-than-life Reclining Buddha.

Dem feet.

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Summer Holiday: Korea

Hello hello~ I’m finally back to updating this infernal thing. I’d really love to say that I don’t know what I do with all my free time that I never go on Facebook, Gmail, or WordPress, but that’d be an utter lie. I spend all my evenings either eating out and/or watching TV shows while simultaneously reading or translating manga/hwa.

My summer holiday was amazing. It was nice being back in Korea and seeing all my friends living there, and it was such a relief to be able to understand people again. AND I could read everything! EVERYTHING! Not that I understood all the things I was reading but damnit, I could read it all. Kanji can seriously just go curl up and die somewhere, preferably alone. And on fire.

Of course I made a stop at the Hello Kitty Café, as per tradition.

… And had a Baskin’ Robbins cake.

A water bottle popped in my bag and I had to dry all my money. I tried to do this:

But all the won just beelined to the floor instead of gently fluttering down.

I miss having easy access to Korean-Chinese food so much. Jjajangmyun! Tangsooyook! My beloved, now into eternity!

This is supposedly only 4 servings of chicken … right.

I just love Korea.  I love the countless cafes, the fact that young people are actually aware of foreign pop culture, the super cheap BBQ joints, the hordes of people walking around tracks at night, and even the hunt for things in my size.  I love being automatically recognized as a Korean, eating at street stalls late at night, taking cabs everywhere without paying a small fortune, and feeling invincible.

I can’t wait to go back.

I plan to go every year for the rest of my life.

Nasu’s So Naisu

C, S, and I headed down to Shirakawa and onwards to Nasu on Sunday. And it was lovely. So lovely. If only Koriyama wasn’t such an ‘I’m not a village, not yet a city’ kind of place. It’s just in the middle of the urban heirarchy and I’m pretty sure it’ll look exactly the same 20 years from now.

Nanko Lake was covered in water lilies. And scum. But I was still nice to look at.

The Nanko Shrine suffered a bit of damage from the quake. A stone torii [traditional gate typically at the entrance of Shinto shrines] fell and was relocated to a grass plot towards the back.

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What To Do and NOT Do In Hokkaido

My friend E. and I went to Hokkaido for Golden Week. We took the ferry from Sendai to Tomakomai, and let me tell you, it was horrible. The very limited buffet cost 2 sen ($25+) and the futons were half a person wide and one and a half people long. I was unwillingly touching my neighbors all night. The air smelt of stale cigarettes and everyone and their 3-month-old stared at E. for being noticeably foreign. I’m talking triple-takes and no-so-discreet picture taking. And the water was so rough on the way back that everyone was falling all over themselves, which was admittedly hilarious. But then I had to get sick, which was not so hilarious.

Next time–if there even is a next time–I’m going to use alternative modes of transportation. Unless I’m desperate to save money again. Which I probably will be.

The view from the window. Nothing but sea.

And here begins the list of … :insert drumroll: … (also, please announce this in a cheesy Mr. Movie Trailer Voice)

What to Do and NOT Do in Hokkaido

#1. DO NOT walk from the ferry port to Tomakomai Station. It takes ages and there’s nothing along the way but garbage and sad-looking buildings.

#2. Visit the Jingu Shrine and cross your fingers for some food stalls.

Maybe you’ll even see a wedding

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Abe Ten-ei

One of the stops E. and I took during our Golden Week holiday was the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art.

There was a special exhibit of the very varied works of one Abe Ten-ei, the most adorably handsome old man in all of Japan.

We were taking pictures of really frustratingly shiny copper bottles and suddenly I hear, “どこの出身 [Where are you from]?” and “芸術家です [I am the artist].”


I haven’t been able to find anything on him in English, so I’ll type up the good bits of his introduction at the museum.

Born in Sapporro in 1939, Ten-ei Abe devoted himself to studying art on his own during his high school years. At the age of 21 and 22, he entered abstract paintings in a national level painting contest and received awards. After that, he made the transition from paintings to reliefs and then to three-dimensional works, including objects, sculptures, and installations. His travels on the road of creation, which span more than half a century, are heavily infused in the avant-garde spirit, interweaving with the most advanced innovations of the times. But the wellspring of his approach to art actually dates back to his childhood years … [when he was] immersed in the hard work that [his] household needed to survive. It was there that the severe conditions of nature revealed their bountiful pleasures in ways he would never forget. The creatures of the sea that were constant companions in those days were to become one of Abe’s richest wellsprings of imagery, continuing to inspire him even now.

He kind of kept an eye out for us and tried to explain everything we were standing near since there wasn’t much English signage. What a sweet man. And he even let people take pictures of his work so bravo.

I cannot do these things justice. They were hyper-polished globs of molten metal.

Love his signature.

A wall of lovely brides, off to their wedding ceremony.

My favorite little bride.

He made a cute zodiac series for some children’s book. Look at those tiny glasses.

Just as we were leaving, we saw Mr. Abe again and I asked him why he used so many different media instead of focusing on one. He replied something along the lines of, “A painter uses colors like yellow and green on his easel. Well, silver and wood and clay are my colors.”

A Day at the Zoo

I spent my last day in Tokyo at the Ueno Zoo.

Some of the sakura trees in the park were in bloom. There were a few random groups having hanami parties on blue tarp and virtually every other person was huddled under the blossoms with their cameras/phones/camcorders out.

The main attraction at the zoo atm are two pandas on loan from China. Did you know that most countries have to pay China $1 million a year for their pandas?

In any case, the line was MASSIVE, so naturally I just snuck to the back and zoomed in on Ri Ri (or was it Shin Shin?) with my camera. I mean, sure they’re cute, but panda, please, I am not going to wait 30+ minutes to look at them up close.

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All My Material Things: Tokyo Trip Version

I went down to Tokyo on Wednesday night and got back at 5 this morning. Of course I proceeded to conk out until nearly 6 PM!  In the name of productivity, I unpacked my bag and took a picture of my physical non-receipt remnants of my trip.

1. New iPhone charger: I forgot mine at the most horrible manga kissa in all of existence and you can read a bit about my night in the lovely review I left on that site.
2. A-Yo print: Over the Rainbow Once More Exhibit at The Museum of Contemporary Art
3. Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto
4. Sleeveless button-down from Forever21
5. Underwears
6. Socks
7. Foundation: I forgot mine
8. F21 Necklace: I am going to start wearing them :le gasp:
9. F21 Earrings
10. H&M Earrings
11. Perfectly light blue jeans from H&M
12. Gray H&M blazer: Because I really need one. I sacrificed buying a funky black and neon yellow dress and a ombre orange top for this.
13. Dried food from an interesting Lawson combo store: I had to kill 30 minutes before catching a 11:55 bus. I ended up having to sit in the cold for 20 minutes anyway.
14. Gross bread that I thought was filled with blueberries but ended up being beans
15. Lovely apple tea
16. Cool anemone pens: Had to do because I didn’t like the prints for the Lee Bul exhibit. It was fantastic. I was worried I would hate it because she does mostly sculptural things but it was so. good.
17. Print of an adorable figurine made during the Tang Dynasty with the cutest little hands: From the Ceramics exhibit at the Suntory Museum of Art
18. Fruit gummies
19. Dry shampoo: A travel necessity that I forgot to pack
20. Earrings from Don Quixote: I also forgot to bring nose rings.
21. 3D glasses: I watched Hugo. I really do not understand why it was so well-received. There were so many unnecessary scenes, Chloë Grace Moretz was horrible, and it tried too hard to be funny/sad/touching/etc.
22. A monkey print
23. Print of a celadon ewer made in the Goryeo Period: It looks like a bamboo shoot!!

I budgeted myself 5 man and I spent ~49700 yen.

Shopping includes everything from prints to personal hygiene products.
Entertainment includes exhibits and things like my movie ticket and entrance to the Ueno Zoo.

I spent a ridiculous amount on food and drinks. I drank coffee every time I had to kill time. I ate when I didn’t even feel like eating. Why, you ask? Well, my dear. Simply because I could and I knew I wasn’t going to eat this well back home. Do you know where you can get a souffle for brunch in Koriyama??? Because I sure as hell don’t.