Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

    Helo welcom 2 my websight

Old Culture and New Friends in Japan

Hey guys,

it’s been a while since I cranked out a proper post, but since I’m sick as fuck and just sitting around inside all day today, I think I will be able to.
Unfortunately, the being sick and the painkillers have kind of made my brain slow down to a crawl, so I might not be very eloquent in my descriptions. Anyway, I’m just gonna try.

First, I’d like to show you some of the beautiful historical places I visited in and around Fukuoka.





These pictures were taken at a shrine in the middle of the city, a little bubble of tranquility surrounded by busy streets.
Every shrine has a place where you can get a fortune, which of course we did, and a place to worship the diety the shrine is dedicated to. You do this by bowing deeply twice, clapping your hands together twice, and then bowing again to show your respect to the kami.


This is the gate to the biggest shrine in Fukuoka.


It’s surrounded by a beautiful garden, combining water and greenery in that marvelous way only the Japanese can pull off.



Touching the Ox gives you good luck. Feeding the crazy firehorse…is generally not recommended.


Before you go into any shrine, you must wash both your hands so you are clean when entering.


This is me, Taka and Chizu in front of the shrine.
Around the shrine are dozens of..shops? I guess? That sell things like omamori or fortunes and all kinds of other religious and not-quite-so-religious stuff.

Oh, and also, DANCING MONKEYS!
Ho-lee-shit I was so surprised to see this. I thought this sort of thing was illegal in pretty much every developed country but apparently I was wrong. And damn it was awesome.

Something else you have to see when you go to Japan is of course a Japanese castle. There was only one near Fukuoka (and even that was like a 3 hour drive), called Kokura Castle. It’s not that big, but it was very cool and interesting.
Speaking of 3 hour drives:

Anyway, this is the castle:


Inside was a sort of museum, but instead of it being boring as hell it was very interesting and fun and we easily spent a few hours just walking around in there.
They also had the biggest miniature diorama in all of Japan to show what the castle grounds used to look like!





[Like a boss]

[There were some pretty cool animatronics but unfortunately they crashed on us when we started watching them..]

[Strategy meeting]

Another cool thing we saw (that wasn’t very historical) was Fukuoka tower, a huge broadcasting tower from which you could get a beautiful view of the city.







Now there’s one more thing I want to tell you guys about, and that’s the amazing people I met during my short stay in Japan.
Not only were they so nice that they accommodated for my every need, taking me wherever I wanted to go and helping me buy whatever I wanted to buy, but they also opened their homes to me and made me feel like part of their little club, making me feel so welcome.
So if any of you are reading this: thank you so much for an amazing week, guys, I love all of you!

First, of course, there’s my awesome noona who made my entire trip to Japan possible and who did so much for me I can never repay her. She allowed me to sleep in her house, to steal the heater when I had a cold, she drove me everywhere and acted as my tour guide every day, mostly without complaining =

Then there’s her boyfriend and at-some-point-to-be-husband, Yuki, who I only saw for about two days because he has a crazy work schedule. Pretty much all this guy does is work, eat, and sleep. It made me feel so sorry for him. When I did see him though, he was really cool and funny and his English expressions were the best.
“The two are on intimate terms. This is between you and me.”

This is Taka-san, one of Chizu’s friends who has pretty much been hanging around 24/7 as he really enjoyed sleeping under the kotatsu at Chizu’s place. Taka is so funny, and you’d never tell he’s 26 since he behaves like an 18 year old most of the time. His English was very good, even though he was too shy at times to speak it, and talking to him was a lot of fun. He seemed like a very positive person since he was always smiling and enjoying himself. Aside from that though, he’s also amazingly knowledgeable about pretty much everything Japanese, from anime (he really, really knows a lot about that) to temples. It was also very refreshing to meet someone to talk so openly about eroge and hentai with. I never had to be ashamed to discuss anything, and he was always impressed by the anime/game stuff I knew.

Cow-san, resident gamer of the group, and also freaking hilarious. We didn’t talk that much because his English was quite limited, but he could always make me laugh just by saying a few words and we gamed a lot together. Every time we had dinner over at his and Rei-chan’s place (the ‘labo’), I would try to help in some way with the dishes or whatever, but Cow-san was always like: “Don’t clean. Play game with me. That’s your work.” We especially liked playing PES, but also got into Trine a bit. It’s strange, but I felt a real connection with him even though as I said we didn’t really talk all that much.

Rei-chan is Cow-san’s wife (or girlfriend? I should’ve written this post weeks ago..) and really has a giant heart. She would always cook absolutely amazing food for us and we were always welcome in her home. She makes her own jewelry that looks frickin’ amazing and she’s really sweet. Usually, it’s hard for me to feel at home in someone else’s house, especially when they don’t speak any English, but Rei was so friendly I never felt like I was intruding.

Last but not least, there’s Satori, who is an amazing cook and an amazing gamer. I only met him a few days, but much like the rest of Chizu’s friends he was so friendly and helpful that by the time I left for Busan it felt like I had known him for months.

And before I forget, on my last day in Japan I went somewhere magical.
A wonderful place that could only exist in Japan.
A place where beautiful girls in uniforms stir your tea for you and call you master.
That’s right.


I really, really wanted to go to one, and luckily we found one on the last day. You’re not allowed to take any pictures, but being the gaijin that I am I secretly took some anyway so I could show you guys what it’s like. It mostly looks like a regular cafe, only a little bit cuter, and with DELICIOUS FREAKING MAIDS IN IT.
To my surprise though, it wasn’t all like in my Japanese animus. The atmosphere was definitely there, with the girls pretending to be interested in all the otaku talk the ronery guys were throwing at them, talking in high and cute voices, stirring your tea and coffee for you and catering to your every need, but it was also much more of a business than I would’ve expected. You can’t take any pictures of the maids, unless you pay €20 for some rice with an omelet, and I couldn’t take a picture with one of them because you need like 4 full ‘point cards’ before you can take a picture with a maid. That kinda blew, but still, I got my cute maid to draw a neko on on my €20 rice with omelet and Taka-san got some delicious ice-cream while Chizu was being annoyed at our neverending ear-to-ear grins.




And since I paid for the picture, I could take one picture of my maid of choice, and she even decorated it with cute drawings and messages :3


…I should really find one of these here in Korea…



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This entry was posted on 9 January 2012 by in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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Forgotten Tomes


  • 25,081 Minds Expanded


I had a great time working with #SBS on their new program #내방안내서 in the beautiful #Mihwangsa #temple. I'm sure that @zazimusic has made @haemin_sunim proud with their song based on his book, #멈추면비로소보이는것들.
며칠동안 #미황사 에서 시간을 보내는 게 큰 인상을 주었고 만난 사람들 너무 친절하게 챙겨서 감사하는 말 밖에 못 한다.
다들 #수고했어.

#Korea #SouthKorea #tv #filming #television #tvshow #Koreantv #Buddhism #Buddha #traditional #절 #불교 #텔레비전 #쇼 #촬영 #버라이어티 #발송 I came back to #Seoul yesterday. Waking up to the sound of cars passing under my window and people shouting instead of the sound of the waves rolling over the beach and bugs chirping, I realized again that a part of me hates this city, no matter how much I love it. Now I understand why #혜민스님 makes the trip back to #미황사 so often even though he lives in Seoul as well.

For people living in a big city like this, it's important to #slowdown and not get caught and lose yourself in the flow of things. Life in the #countryside and in a #temple is so different, so much more #empty, but so much more fulfilling.

#Korea #SouthKorea #Mihwangsa #color #peace #reflection #religion #Buddhism #Buddha #tranquility #traditional #절 #평화 #불교 #해남 #108배 #전통 #역사 #생각 #자성 #내이야기 #미황사 에서 사흘밖에 안 보냈는데, 그래도 #생각 을 많이 바뀌었다. #성찰 하면서 내 한국 생활도 생각하고 한국 사람들의 #촌 을 생각하면서 왜 한국이랑 사랑에 빠졌는지 다시 깨달았어요. 한국에서 사는 것이 선물이니까.. 잘 살아야지.

#절라도 #절라남도 #절 #평화 #불교 #해남 #혜민스님 #Korea #SouthKorea #Temple #Shrine #tranquility #peace #reflection #religion #Buddhism #Buddha #혜민스님 의 #미황사 에서 #멈추면비로소보이는것들 많다. #절 의 #평화 를 느끼고 마음을 비우면서 깊은 생각도 하고 한국 생활을 #감사 하는 생각도 많고.. 한국이 역시 #아름다운 나라입니다. 
Another gorgeous #sunset at #Mihwangsa #temple.
I am so thankful to #SBS and 혜민스님 for letting us stay here.
Just like the title of his book, there are many things you can only see when you #slow down. Staying at the temple and talking with the staff has taught me once again that Korea is an amazing country, and I couldn't be happier to be here. 
#nofilter #Korea #SouthKorea #island #traditional #tranquility #nature #wood #meditation Everything is more beautiful in #Jeollanamdo, even a #sunset.

#nature #Korea #SouthKorea #sea #island #절라도 #절라남도 #바다 #섬 #자연 #일몰 Away from the hectic Seoul life for a couple of days, enjoying clean #Jeollanamdo air and the #calm of the #Mihwangsa #temple.

#Buddhism #Buddhist #Zen #Relaxation #Balance #Nature #Korea #SouthKorea #미황사 #절라도 #절라남도 #절 #평화 #불교
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