24.8.06

Korea

Or South Korea I should say...!

Our friend and biz assoc., Young Moon Ko, picked us up in his fancy car that is not a mercedes but made with the same imported parts - and who now feels like an old friend because i've met him once before. Within the hour and a half drive from the airport to Seoul, he told us we need to become millionaires, invest in real estate and have babies very soon b/c we were getting too old...oh and that we were very lucky to be traveling around everywhere...he is like our rich asian uncle.

We had dinner with his family. A traditional style Korean meal that had many courses, some like japan (sashimi) and some ribs, a lot of things you wrap with lettuce or leaves, very complicated esp. with those silver slippery chopsticks (and i consider myself pretty good...) shrimps, soups, some Korean wine (?) made from berries that was good, very fruity. and then a finale of about 10 to 15 sides and a bowl of rice and LOTS of kimchi and you take from all the sides and add to the rice or roll in the kimchi. Some fish that was marinated for a long time that we tried wrapped in kimchi that was pretty bad. but overall very good, very spicy. All the food was very spicy.

The next day his son took us on a tour of the city and the Palace. We had Korean pizza which was amazing!! Like a noodle pancake with veggies and seafood. And later, dinner with some cute young Koreans (all business I assure you) and my favorite - Korean bbq. Which you wrap in lettuce leaves and pound Korean saki! Seriously hot peppers.

Taiwan




things that made me smile in taiwan:

- the sight of the grand palace hotel when you are entering taipei
- the night markets (and the cobra we saw there, yes people really eat snake) and the street games
- the super fancy restaurant inside the night market
- being able to hand pick some of the best seafood i've ever had
from the sea creatures swimming around in tanks out front (squid beak,
shrimps, cross b/w shrimp and lobster, oyster, crab, squid, fish,
noodle soup)
- our driver Mr. Liu in Kaohsuing (cow-shung) in the south and his
computerized mandarin to english translator and how he drove us out to
Kenting (beach/national park) and dropped us off for the night! and how
he wouldn't let us pay for anything and took us to this cool temple in
the middle of no where and bought us a bowl of hot honey bean soup with
ice on top that was pretty damn good (pic)
- having david (our taiwanese buddy order for us every night) and
explain to us a bit of taipei way of life/ struggles with china, etc.
- learning how to say thank you in mandarin, shi sha
- the marriage tribal dance of the ancient taiwanese people and they
way they picked poohpah2 and I out of the crowd and made us do it on the
stage! ha.
- the smell of the temples, and when I was beckoned over to make an
offering in the temple with the stack of 'money' and it flew off of my
hand piece by piece into the furnace..beautiful.
- the fields of butan palm trees (skinny palm trees that you eat)
- driving throw the southern country side and seeing the bird farms
(holy bird flu) and the fruit fields and fish farms
- a day at the beach surrounded by the jetting tropical mountains

18.8.06

Tsukiji Fish Market





Due to jet lag...we were up early and decided to check out the fish market. One of the largest in the world, billions of US dollars worth of fish pass through this market every day. It's truly amazing all the wonders that come out of the world's oceans! Or should I say depleting oceans. The size, color and texture of it all was so fascinating I forgot about the fishy smell.... After an hour of cruising around looking at giant tunas, squids and unidentifiable creatures....it was time for breakfast of champions...raw fish. In stall 6 rumored to be the best sushi in tokyo..we found ourselves in line with this guy from LA who manages Daniel Powder, and was out for a summer rock festival. Random! You don't order, the sushi just starts coming....10 pieces and then a roll. But it was the freshest fish (okay obviously) we have ever had...YUM. Tried cod row for the first time, after we figured out what the hell 'codrow' was in japanese accent. Hehe....

Dior/Muji






Okay, one of my favorite things about Tokyo was seeing the new Dior building in Ginza shopping district. Is that wierd? A really amazing piece of architecture!!! Loved it. Also, loved checking out the Muji flagship store, which also had muji home and muji eat. We both agreed sony building was disapointing....

Here is a a view from our hotel room overlooking the city...and some other views of the city.

Tokyo

Things the Japanese have perfected:
1) The bathroom handdryer. Wow. It actually works.
2) The electric toilet with a button for: the wet wipe, the bidet, the seat warmer, the flushing 'sound' (which can last up to a minute!) All this and I still couldn't figure how to actually flush the toilet...
3) The use of the fan in 95+ degree temperature. Everyone is carrying one. You can't survive without it!
4) The vending machine! Anything you want to drink, whenever you want it. It's so magical. (6 million in Tokyo)
5) Recycling is so common place - it's not even considered anymore. 'Kyoto accord'
6) The art of having a 'clean' city. it's a truly amazing thing...the streets, the subways, the parks.
7) Bullet trains. Domestic travel should be fast and efficient! However, they were not as 'cush' as I had imagined. they could use a refresh.

What's out:
sunglasses, no one is wearing them
blond hair
flip flops - just not done

Must have accessories:
beautiful dainty umbrellas that shelter from the sun
sweat hankies
UV hats
and of course...kimonos