Day five was spent mostly shopping for omiyage and gifts for people back home. We had scouted out places on previous trips into Namdaemun, so we knew mostly where to go. We got the Korean nori and ginger tea packs for teachers at our schools and friends, and a few extra types of teas for us (raspberry, YUM!). Also got things like pomegranate juice (wish we’d gotten more of that!) and some ginger candy. Also got some Korean style chopsticks, which are flat where the ones I’m used to in Japan are round. My hand hurt after a bit of using them, because it takes different muscles to keep them steady! Now when I eat kimchi at home I can practice XD
We also stopped by a booth on the side to get hanko (name stamps) made with our names in Korean letters, which were kinda cool. Both Kenji and I had been wanting hanko. In Japan, our official hanko is kept by the BOE to sign us in every day, so if we ever need it for the bank or something, we have to go by the BOE, pick it up, run the errand, and then bring it back which is a hassle. If we had another set made (and a nicer one at that!) we wouldn’t have to go to the BOE all the time. But for these we decided souvenir style would be much cooler, and to get the actual hanko we wanted back in Japan.
For dinner we ate at a TGI Friday’s. The food was expensive, as all Western style foods are, but the drinks were really good! Helloo pina colada! I *think* it was this night that Kenji’s friend from Seattle came to say “Hi” as well. Or maybe it was the next night, I don’t remember. Anyway (either way), Eric is doing the same thing as us except in Korea. So it was really cool to compare stories and experiences! There might have also been more walking around, I don’t remember.
Making the hanko’s…
Day six was the one day we stepped foot in a Museum. This was one of the main museums in Seoul, maybe the National Museum? I can’t remember. But it was a pretty day, and the museum was free which was cool. Unfortunately, once we entered about 3864782854673 loud school kids came in, so we decided since we were tired anyway to go. Got dippin’ dot style ice cream on the way out, then went back to Myeongdong and Namdaemun for some last minute stuff. We were going to try to see another of the castles but didn’t make it in time. I think we might have gone to Insadong this day too, where Kenji found his most favorite sandals ever, which had been discontinued and therefore unfindable in his size in the US. He was pretty happy and bought two pairs, and I found the sweatshirt I had wanted at Puma but wouldn’t buy since the previous store wouldn’t let me try it on. So we were both happy.
Insadong was muuuuuch more tourist oriented, and with the military base close by and lots of foreigners, there was a lot more english being spoken around. We liked Myeongdong better, but the stores in Insadong are definitely more accommodating.
The museum and Seoul Tower behind us
Finally it was time to go. We went for breakfast in Myeongdong one last time, then checked out and started out for Incheon. We decided to take the train the whole way, which was easy if you don’t include lugging our bags up and down stairs, but took a while longer than we thought. We grabbed something to eat at the airport, then flew back to Japan, and that was that!
And that was Korea! All in all a fun trip, though we didn’t do as much as I thought we would. Lots more shopping than castles, but then again the castles all looked pretty similar anyway. I would have liked to visit the folk village, Kenji wanted to go to the Border between North and South Korea, but even without those things it was still really fun!