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I am in the airport bus waiting to leave Hiroshima Station. I can’t believe that 3 days went by so quickly.
This trip did many things for me. It gave me a chance to get away from Seoul. Again, don’t misunderstand. I love Seoul, but it’s nice to get away sometimes.
Here are some funny things that happened while I was here. I found myself accidentally speaking Korean to many of the people I interacted with. In Japanese, to say yes, you say ‘hye’. Of course, in English, ‘hye’ means ‘hello’. I would walk into a convenience store and the cashier would welcome me in Japanese, to which I would reply ‘hye’. So to them, I wasn’t greeting them back; I was saying hello. An old man working at a 7-11 near Hiroshima port was completely blown away by my camera. “Ohhhh… Good! Handsome cameraman! Ohhhh very professional… so good. So good.” I had a lot of awkward moments with some of the staff at the hotel. Just as I’d wave and say hello to anyone who’s helped me, I saw them walking in the hallway and went to smile and wave, but they buried their head in her shoulder. This made me really uncomfortable because I’m not a pervert. Maybe it’s just a cultural difference.
The weather in Hiroshima is much warmer than Seoul. The warmest it was while I was here was 15 degrees, and the coldest was 0. It never dropped below 0 degrees. One night it was 10 degrees in Hiroshima, but -10 degrees in Seoul.
Another thing is the language. Korean Hangul (한글) is MUCH easier to read compared with Japanese. Also Japanese has 2 kinds of characters, kanji, which is very close to Chinese characters, and kana, which is more close to Korean, using each character as a syllable of a word. Korean is much easier to learn, in my opinion. Once you know the Korean alphabet, you can read Korean very easily. My opinions on this are obviously biased, since I have spent much more time in Korea, and only a week total in Japan.
I did miss Seoul, for many reasons. First, it’s really cheap to eat in Seoul. You can get a full dinner with 5 side dishes for about $4 Canadian. Not so in Japan. Even McDonalds here is expensive. I enjoyed Japanese food, and had some really awesome udong noodles, but I missed my Korean comfort food, like kimbap and bibimbap. Also, transportation in Korea is very cheap. A typical subway ride anywhere in Seoul is usually about 80 cents, and rarely more than $1. In Hiroshima, the streetcar system costs 150 yen (about $1.75). I paid $1.75 to go 3 stops. A typical taxi ride in Seoul is usually around 2,500 won, or about $2.50. I don’t go very far, so I rarely pay more than that. Taxi fares in Hiroshima start at a minimum of 500 yen, or about $5.75. I know it’s not a huge difference, but if I were living here and taking taxis as much as I do in Seoul, it would get really pricey.

It’s hard to compare Hiroshima to Seoul, because Seoul is a much bigger city with much more resources to move people around cheaply.

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Mike

    Glad to see you made it back safely. Great pictures and commentary; once again I am both in wonder and envious of your adventurousness (that is an actual word). Kim the boys Nonna and I miss you very much so it is great to be able to catch up via your blog.

    Happy New Year, take care of yourself and keep up with the posts.

    Tom

  2. Thanks uncle Tom. I’m glad people are checking this out. Almost 13,000 visitors now.

    You know, it’s not really about me being adventurous, but more about me being bored and lonely, and needing to get out of this city for a little while. I figure I’m here now, so why not see what I can see, right? Thanks for the comment. I really like getting comments from family.


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