Why I fell in love with Korea.

September 24th, 2016

Seriously, what’s more true than drunk writing? Since I am half-drunk/tipsy right now, I figured it’s the best time to write.

Well, although I had suffered from a lot of hardships and there’s a lot of things which I am/was unsatisfied about, here’s a post dedicated purely to what made me fall in love with the city of the highest suicide rate in the world.

  1. It’s SAFE. I can’t emphasize this enough. No matter how “scared” Koreans may be because of recent crimes which occurred here and there, there’s nowhere like Seoul. As a girl, I felt super safe living here. I may get scared at times at the aggressive guys at clubs. But that’s because you sort of have to ‘expect’ stuff like that to happen. But on the street, if you are not willing, nobody’ll hurt you. Plus, it’s perfectly safe to leave your phone on the table at restaurants though you may want to be careful of some old people who MAY commit crimes(unlikely) or foreigners. But at places with a high density of Koreans, you may be a little bit more carefree on your valuables. Even if you left your phone in a taxi or bus, there’s a high chance where you may actually get it back!
  2. The manners. While this may also be a pressure point for most Koreans, I love how they are nice to the elderly. Although some (uneducated) elderly might take the youngster’s kindness for granted, there’s actually a huge population whom are actually really grateful to you when you offer them your seat in a bus/subway etc. Plus, I think that people whom are much older deserves to get respected. I mean, they’ve lived in this world for a longer time and therefore if you were to not respect them, it’ll actually be quite hurtful. Imagine being in the other persons shoes. Treat other’s the way you want to be treated, like how Mr. Confucius said.
  3. The warm people. Yes, there are a lot of dishonest people living in this country and I also remembered how I was disappointed at how Koreans are (MUCH) less polite compared to the Japanese when I came back to Korea after being away for 8 months on an exchange to Japan. At the same time, I was reminded on how real the people were and if they are nice to you, it’s because they are genuinely nice and not being fake. The younger generation may be more polite due to educational reasons but the older generation is actually really nice if you get to know them. I mean, if you looked like you need help, there are actually people who’d help you out of the blues without you asking for it. I remembered how I was carrying 50kgs worth of luggage up the stairs at the subway with plenty of people around and NOBODY offered to help. While in Seoul, I had taken things much lighter and people just help you without even asking because they felt like you needed such help. I am not saying that Japanese people ain’t nice, but it’s more like they are too busy caring about themselves.
  4. The hardworking people. I would say this does not apply to everyone because I know a couple of free riders in school. But generally, I think most Koreans are super hardworking and that’s probably the biggest reason to Korea’s development today despite not having any natural resources. They are constantly trying to improve in their competitive environment and they are all about self-improvement. Although some of them may be too indulged in studies and all, there are a great handful of them who are just very competent people themselves and ain’t all book-smart but actually just very very hardworking and honest when it comes to work.
  5. The affordable transportation. I think this is something the whole world (with more expensive transportation dollar to dollar) should learn from Korea. Not only is the transportation services efficient without much delays and also very easy to understand, the government tries to make transportation to the people as affordable as possible so that nobody will feel really stressed about transportation fees unlike other countries. Dollar to dollar wise, people here earn 2.5 million on average and the transportation is only 1.25k won. It’s just a small fraction and even if you travel every weekday to work/school, you’d spend around 70k on transportation a month.
  6. The delivery services. Have you ever imagined how life would be so much easier if you could buy anything with one click on your phone? Well, Korea turned this into reality. It doesn’t only make us lazier to go out, it gave us a wider option of things to choose from and also easier for us to be a smart consumer as we can easily compare prices of similar products easily to pick out the best deal. Clothes, food, groceries, furniture, you name it, Korea’s delivery system’s got it. Further, Korea is known for its fast internet and also you can settle almost anything online. It’s just making everything much more convenient to the locals living here.
  7. The food. Okay, I must say that after living in Korea for 5 years, sometimes I DO feel like there isn’t such a wide choices of Korean dishes to choose from and the foreign food here is normally way too overpriced to be consumed. But I am also very glad that I am healthy eating Korean food! I am an incredulously unhealthy girl back home. I am not sure if it’s because I have to walk a lot here = exercise, I felt like the food here made me a much healthier person. I get sick much lesser here and I think I owe that partly to kimchi. Or the food here which rarely requires oil to make them. generally, I think Korean food’s pretty healthy judging from how a Korean ajumma told me it’s very difficult to find food colouring in Korea because it ain’t natural. Plus, if you look a bit more, you’ll find plenty of delicious Korean food which isn’t popular in any other countries yet!
  8. The water. Okay, this is a very important but simple point. Water SHOULD not be charged. And countries should make charging for water illegal. Everyone DESERVES to stay hydrated. And we shouldn’t feel stressed about having to order another glass of water just because we do not have that much money. Paying for water is utterly despicable and I definitely do not approve it.
  9. The drinking culture. While this may not apply to Muslims or anyone else who does not drink, I personally think that drinking DOES make you closer and it’s actually the best way for you to learn Korean. It’s true. Plus, a bottle of soju or makgeolli here is at a very very affordable 1 dollar. Everyone can drink and since the drinking and driving law here is very tight, Koreans generally do not drink and drive. So don’t worry about the accidents one may cause. Although rape, violence and embarrassment is still unable to be avoided. Tsk.
  10. The language. Although it’s one of the most difficult languages to master, I find the language itself beautiful (tho my mom thinks it sounds more complicated than Hindi) with its uncountable ways of explaining something. And there are so many things I would like to express but couldn’t because I do not have the right words for it unlike in Korean where almost every feeling you feel can be expressed nicely and distinctively purely just with words.

So here are 10 things I really love about Korea and I probably have much more although I am too drunk to think of anymore and I am definitely going to bed now. That’s all for now!

Okinawa Day 2 : Zamami Island

September 2nd, 2016

with the recommendations of friends who have been to Okinawa, we squeezed Zamami into our tight schedule because many of them commented that the Kerama (Zamami is one of them) Islands are the highlight of their trip. if you could stay a day or two in Zamami, make sure you go for the turtle watching which is around early in the morning or in the evening. but since we went for a day trip (where many Japanese does too), we had to miss out on the cute little turtles =(.

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my best friend while I was in language school, Megumi. ain’t she beautiful or what? =D.

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we took the comfortable Queen Zamami (with air cond!!!) which runs twice a day. it costs a hefty 6,000yen for a round trip but it is much faster and more comfortable than the normal ferry that goes to Zamami which is 2,000yen cheaper but an hour longer. the inside is pretty basic and nothing special but it was sure comfortable as we slept all the way there. and by taking the Queen Zamami, we had 8 long hours to spend in contrast to taking the ferry which will only wind the time available to be spent for a day trip in Zamami to 3 hours. ferry time changes according to season so please check the official Zamami website for the timings.

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upon arrival, we took a bus to the famous Furuzamami beach which was probably a 15minute walk away from the pier. the bus costs 300yen. quite pricey for such a short trip. but it’s an island so… it seems like that’s the only bus. and it’s waiting at the pier once you get off.

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and finally! the beach!!!

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I guess we are pretty lucky as it was raining everyday but it stopped the 3 days Megumi was there with me and the weather was perfect! I guess there weren’t many people as most Japanese was telling me that the weather’s not going to be good.

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the beach was pretty empty and the chairs and umbrellas are all for rent at 1,000yen each. so for two chairs and an umbrella, it’s 3,000yen. there are no lockers available but I just put my stuff there because uh.. well I trust Japanese people. but we left our purses with the people who rented us our umbrella.

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awkward solo picture haha.

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now look at that blue blue blue sea!!! so blue and so clear!

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and up close.. it’s even more beautiful. most of my pictures aren’t edited so you can picture how beautiful it was in real life to look so good in pictures.

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^^v. those darker spots in the sea are corals so all you have to do is rent goggles and maybe a live jacket (if needed. I rented it anyways because I was afraid of the depth after swimming without a life jacket for 5 minutes. it was REALLY deep. at least 3 meters deep!).

also, another tip is to.. not wear a bikini like myself if you want to go snorkeling, which is dumb if you don’t because the sea here’s amazing. well you MAY wear one but please wear a shirt over it because I got bad sunburn the day after and it hurt like mad for over a week. =(.

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THAT BLUE SEA!!! omai. I mean, I’ve been to many beautiful beaches in my life but this was by far the prettiest one yet.

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and after swimming, I just chilled.

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I can look at that blue sea everyday. <3.

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cute SiSha’s are everywhere!!

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so there is a story behind this dog, Marilyn. Shiro, a dog from the opposite side of the Island named Aka, visited Zamami with his owner where he met Marilyn. but what caught everyone’s attention was when Shiro swam 3km everyday to Zamami just to meet Marilyn. very touching. ngaw these Japanese dogs. more reasons to SAY NO TO DOG MEAT!

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and a statue of Marilyn was made facing Aka Island where a statue of Shiro is faced directly at Marilyn on Aka Island.

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and the sea in front of the statue was simply stunning.

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if you look in real life, you’d see several layers of blue in the sea.

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and oh! there’s like shikuwasa (a small green lime. or what Malaysians call Limau.) everything in Okinawa. shikuwasa alcohol, chips, chocolate, you name it. I recommend the drink as it’s really refreshing. others was just a little too weird for my liking.

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more cute sisha’s!

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at 4pm, there was really nothing much to do. it was too late to hike up the hill for us to see the view and we were dog tired since we spent too much time at the beach haha. instead of taking the bus, I think renting a bicycle could be a good option as Zamami’s pretty big if you want to go through the whole place. but for us, we just chilled at the waiting room with AC on =D. it was super hot when we went and I couldn’t take it anymore at that point lol.

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for dinner, we found a famous syabu syabu restaurant near Miebashi station named Ganaha Pork that serves Okinawa’s famous Aguu Pork for a very reasonable price (but still expensive T_T. it was only reasonable because it was Aguu Pork lol). we didn’t opt for the buffet which was just a tad bit more expensive since we weren’t that hungry and we paid around 7,500yen for the both of us.

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the starter was.. the best salad I’ve ever had in my life. chicken salad with cucumber topped with sesame sauce I believe. so yummy mmm. the chicken was soft and smooth yet springy and the cucumber was super crunchy. I really dislike how some restaurants in Japan serve you something small and meh like a piece of tofu and charge you 500-700yen (one place charged me 1,500yen for it ugh. but it was fancy.) for it at restaurants for dinner. but this place’s compulsory starter dish made me very happy. =D.

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we had two soup bases. one’s the clear soup with a piece of dashima (seaweed) in it, another is soy bean which tasted pretty special to me. the greatest thing about eating at this store is actually the dipping sauces. they had 3 different types. one similar to light soy sauce, another’s yuzu sikuwasa ponzu, and sesame with oil. everything was perfect. all 3 dipping sauces. it made my day. it’s those shut up and take my money moments where all I want to do is devour all that sauce.

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and of course.. the Aguu Pork quality was superb.

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Megu making some pork balls xD.

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Okinawa Day 1

August 8th, 2016

when one thinks of Japan, they’d usually think about Tokyo or Kyoto; which yes, is two of my favourite places as ones super high-tech and another is full of traditional stuff. but near Taiwan, there lies Okinawa, an island that’s pretty under-rated and is said to be better than Hawaii by some. (it is also named the Hawaii of Japan!) lucky for me, the tickets from Seoul to Okinawa was pretty affordable and there’s a direct flight so I decided to pay a visit to the other end of Japan!

after doing some homework, I found a list of places to go and things to eat and I couldn’t fit all of it in my 4 day 3 night schedule. so I’d recommend going there at least for 5 or 6 days! what I will not be covering is the cave diving and turtle watching in Zamami (I’d recommend to stay in Zamami for at least one night!) which I would really want to see but there was just not enough time T__T.

so are you ready for day 1? let’s go!

I landed just in time for a late lunch! so right after landed, we went to our guesthouse (which was really affordable esp in Japanese standards at 2,500yen per night per person for a twin room!) and asked for a recommendation on where to eat.

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I lived near International Street or Kokusai Dori where there are a lot of tourists and food’s super expensive due to that. =(. but lucky for us, we found the recommended restaurant which was pretty secluded inside the roofed shopping street smacked right in the middle of Kokusai Dori.

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and it’s this restaurant! it looks pretty shabby and run down but their famous Soki Soba (similar to Okinawa Soba but just with different parts of pork meat) is only 390yen for delicious bowl of hot Soba!

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the interior was really old-school and it is exactly the kind of restaurant I like ^_^.

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and after only 2 minutes, the Obasan whipped out this bowl of  simple yet delicious Soki Soba! the soup’s super fragrant and clear and the meat was so soft and yummy it felt like it has been stewed for hours. it was soooo good, I literally had this everyday ever since I went to Okinawa. well, this or Okinawa Soba which is pretty much the same. I had it in many different places but still this was the best!

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after a hot bowl of soba, we were literally dying from the hot and SUPER humid weather. so we stopped by Blue Seal, Okinawa’s very own local ice cream chain that’s only available in Okinawa for a cup of ice cream! it’s famous especially because of the wide array of flavours that’s only served in Blue Seal!

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there are special blue seal flavours like ube, salted cookies, beniimo, Okinawan lime and sugar cane!

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I tried the sugar cane while Megu got the salted cookies which tasted like butterscotch to me. I actually really liked the sugar cane!

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ohai! I’m at Kokusai Dori!

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and waiting for the monorail. or what they call the monoreru. it’s really expensive but you can get the daily or two day pass if you’re travelling on the monorail for more than twice. after lunch, we rushed to the famous Shuri Castle which requires a short bus ride from the Shuri Castle Monorail stop and a hefty entry fee of 800yen.

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say hi to Okinawa’s famous Sisa! which are lions put outside of shops, gates etc. where people believe it to be their guardian.

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the entrance of Shuri Castle!

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if you buy the one day or two day monorail pass, you can even get a 140yen discount for getting into Shuri Castle!


but man was it beautiful. although it’s really small. T_T.

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the cool thing is that you get to go into the castle although taking pictures at most places are forbidden.

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also, A&W is probably the only place in Japan where you can find root beer. Japanese people mostly find the taste of root beer revolting because of the similarity of it with the Japanese muscle-pain patches. but because of the amount of American soldiers here in Okinawa as there’s an army camp here, there’s A&W!!! along Kokusai Dori =3.

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just another night at Kokusai Dori~

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there are many steakhouses available in Okinawa again, because of the army base there and they all claim to be the best. but we did our research and found out that Jack’s Steak House is the most popular and also the oldest. and it’s pretty dominated by the Koreans. well, actually the whole Okinawa’s filled with Koreans. xD.

speaking of which, I was there when Leeteuk and BoA was there and I bumped into Leeteuk!! there was so many Korean people around but it felt like only me and Megumi recognized him and he even said hi!!! *faints*

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after waiting for around 30minutes (we went at around 9pm), we finally got a seat.

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the many sauces available for their super diverse menu. and to be honest, for such yummy and quality food, the prices were super reasonable.

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our bill came up to around slightly more than 3,000yen! well, because we ordered something else rather than just steak.

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the super juicy steak mmm.

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now look at that, that’s what I call medium rare xD.

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the taco’s were mediocre but the sauce that came with the tacos were.. absolutely amazing.

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you can choose to have bread or white rice together with your steak (Japan.) and we opted for the super fragrant buttered bread. and eating it like this with the pork and onions? simply the best!

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the night felt a little early for us so we went into a bar and ordered the famous Orion beer which was 500yen and tasted like the cheap beer widely available in Korea. I still don’t see what’s the hype with Orion beer and everyone travelling to Okinawa. everyone told me “remember to try Orion beer!” but nah. I prefer craft beers available all over Tokyo. and the famous Minoh beer of Osaka’s still my favourite!


we ordered another Okinawan favourite, the Umibudo! or, the seagrapes. although it has a slightly salty taste to it, it was absolutely delish! especially for those who like Ikura, this will be super yums! especially after dipping it in Ponzu, a type of citrusy soy sauce. MMMM.

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we also ordered pork knuckles as another side! which was really yummy mm. Japan. you never fail me!

that’s the end of day one!

[Tokyo] Pineapple and Chocolate Ramen?! Papapapapine!

May 21st, 2016

if you’re a hardcore rocketnews24 reader, you might’ve run across this restaurant that serves pineapple ramen so good, they came out with the instant noodle version of it and it can be found at selected convenience stores. except I’ve yet to come across it during my 7 month stay in Japan.

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so Papapapapine is known for their pineapple ramen. but what’s that above? kakakakakao. get it? well, other than its famous pineapple ramen, it is also known for its notorious innovation when it comes to ramen. they had strawberry ramen, banana ramen.. well.. you name it. while their seasonal menu changes all the time, you’d always be able to find pineapple ramen in this shop.

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since it is located at a humble town called Nishi-Ogikubo (not to be confused with Shin-Okubo), the lines weren’t that bad despite the 7 seated bar.

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like every other ramen shop, you need to buy it with the vending machine. but fret not, because I was once a tourist (still kind of am) and I once had no idea what was written on the machine, I just simply went in and seek for help from the very kind and friendly ramen guy. =D.

their best selling is the shio (salt base) and they have it cold too for the summer!

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the interior was.. everything that relates to pineapple. there’s even pineapple wine if you want to try.

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this was the first time when I went. and I ordered the Pineapple ramen. and guess what? I actually loved it! instead of the salty ones with a strong taste, this one was rather light and refreshing! I wouldn’t say that I like this better than the Tonkotsu ramen, but this place really gives ramen a great twist from the usual ones when you’re bored with it.

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and this year, I went back and in conjunction with the valentines week, I braced myself and ordered myself a bowl of.. kakakakakao. you got it right, chocolate ramen. but chocolate ramen?! really?! EW! and with PINEAPPLES?!

well.. it really tasted like chocolate and it was like nothing I’ve ever had before. the first few bites were really good but uhhhhhh…….. towards the end I just kind of gave up hahahaha. still a good experience though.

until the next time.

Tokyo, Suginami-ku, Nishiogiminami 3-12-1
3 minutes walk from Nishi-Ogikubo station.


[Mitaka] Ghibli Museum

May 12th, 2016

I am not sure if you know, but I am actually a huge Ghibli fan. other than the few latest movies I watched almost all of Hayao Miyazaki’s popular creations and I LOVE IT!!! up till the point that I need to restrict myself from going into a Ghibli store before I spend all my savings on fan items I know I shouldn’t buy.

but this time, since my sister came to visit me in Tokyo last winter, I decided to go online (you can check the availability here) and book the tickets 1 month prior to her arrival. holy cow! one month?! yeap. one month.

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so how do you get the ghibli museum ticket? well.. it’s really easy for those who’s living in Japan. and for those who isn’t living in Japan, you may want to find someone to help you get it in Japan. there’ll be a machine that looks like an ATM machine in LAWSON (a convenience store) and you can buy your tickets there! there are 4 time slots a day and the earlier ones tend to get sold out quickly. and weekends gets sold out faster than the weekdays too.

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so about the museum. every little detail was carefully and perfectly made. and I especially liked their washroom. it was very ghibli. the only drawback is that you can’t take pictures inside the museum. so as a blogger, I can’t show you much. but I would like to say that it was a great experience for me as an avid fan of Ghibli movies.

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at the entrance, you’d be greeted by Totoro!!!

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and these cute little furballs =3.

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had to take a picture here xD.

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even with the pre-booked ticketing, the queue was long. seems like nobody forgot their ticket!

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the whole building itself was very pretty. and it resembles a lot of the houses in many Ghibli movies!!!

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there was a merchandise shop inside the museum where you can go crazy with. there was a Ghibli watch where I was eyeing on but too poor to buy it T_T. sigh. they have stuff that you cannot buy outside of the Ghibli Museum like badges and plates that are very very unique. so if you have money and you love Ghibli, you MUST come here.

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me with the giant robot from Castle in the Sky~ this is probably the only place you can actually take pictures with something iconic.

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and uh well.. I found some other spots too. please excuse my horrible fashion sense. hahaha.

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and here too!!! and a glimpse of the inside. I highly recommend it to other Ghibli fans like myself! =D

directions to Ghibli Museum: the site tells you to get there by Mitaka where you can either choose to walk or take the bus. but I am a stingy person and I am fairly familiar with Kichijoji. hence I went to Kichijoji instead (it’s located in between Mitaka and Kichijoji) and walk through the Kichijoji park to get there. there were signs on how to get there and there was also Iseya (a cheap and yummy Yakitori place) at Kichijoji so I just HAD to use the Kichijoji route xD.

[Samcheongdong] Bukmakgol HUGE RIBS!

April 24th, 2016

so there’s this place in Seoul where you can devour beef ribs like as if you’re a cartoon character.

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and it’s this place called Bukmakgol located at the end of Samcheongdong.

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and the best part? you get to dine in an old fashioned looking hanok!

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the banchan! as in side dishes. they serve AMAZING side dishes. like, that marinated mini octopus!!! we loved that so much I think we asked for refill like 3 times. D=.

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AND THE MAIN DISH!!! the great and majestic BEEF RIBS!!! called Wang (king) Galbi Jjim don’t you just want to eat it right nowwwwwwwww? that sauce though. it went really well with that tender beef. this would be like the literal love at first bite kind of dish. MMMMM. and the damage to this is 39,000won (63,000won for the bigger one!). although it’s pretty pricey but I ASSURE YOU that it’s worth every won. you’ll literally finish all those vegetables even if you do not eat vegetables because of that amazing sauce hahaha.

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and their famous bossam. I like it because it was different. the quality of the pork was definitely great and the sourish onions went very well with it making it feel like some sort of light appetizer. BUT, I kind of prefer the normal kimchi and pork bossam as it is heavier =X. this costs 28,000won. the bigger one will cost you 38,000won.

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also for sides, we ordered makguksu! (10,000won) this was pretty good too! very homey feeling and they weren’t stingy on ingredients ^_^. the meal here was for 5 of us!

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strongly recommend this place! so if you’re visiting Samcheongdong, be sure to stop by here for their phenomenal beef ribs! =3.