Yeouido Spring Flower Festival

Spring has arrived in Seoul! And to prove it, here is this post. Every year, when spring comes, a Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in Yeouido Island. Yeouido Island is not an island on the sea, but on the Han River in Seoul. The image is quite nice and very typical from Korea as well as Japan. Being Japan a little warmer than Korea, the cherry blossom takes place there a little sooner than it does in Korea. In fact, we could see it during our trip to Tokyo last march.

Mass of people and cars going to the island to see the cherry blossoms.

Sometimes, it was even hard to walk with some many people around.

Another shot of the people in the street. Fortunately, the streets are closed that day to avoid accidents (there were many children around too).

We decided to stay at the island until night to see the lighting. It was definitely worth it…

…in fact, there were even more people at night than during the day.

All the main avenue was full of trees with lighting in different colors.

I was pleased to see that they have bathrooms for handicapped people, with easy access for wheelchairs.

I took this picture when we were leaving, after several hours walking around and with a blister on my foot that has been annoying me for one week. It is the Korean National Assembly, were the famous raws between politicians take place often, by the way, between members of the same party.

(Second) Trip to Tokyo

As I had to leave Korea in order to get my working Visa, we went to spend 5 days in Tokyo. Also to visit Jairo, Peque, and Satomi, whom I didn’t see since last year. This is actually my third trip to Tokyo, but still, this city is always worth visiting. Here you have some pics I took 🙂

Jairo is in Tokyo… and he has a scooter!!

One of the many impressive things in Tokyo is its absolute cleanliness. Here they were polishing the yellow lines on the subway station floor.

With Jiwon, Jairo, y Celia in an izakaya right under the Shinkansen railways.

Everybody knows that interest rates in Japan are not very generous… Well, it seems sales aren’t much better.

In Takeshita Street (Harajuku Station) it’s easy to find characters dressing like this (cosplay). This is also something you can see more and more in Seoul nowadays. Specially on weekends at the Hongdae area.

With Jiwon at Yoyogi Park, near Takeshita Street.

The day we went to see the Tokyo Tower was the only day the sky was clear, perfect for taking this kind of pictures. I don’t know why (pollution??), but in Seoul the sky always has a pale tone that makes it appear totally white in pictures 🙁

Right next to Asakusa Temple (a must-see spot for any tourist in Tokyo) there are these gardens.

Even though it’s still a bit early (festivals usually take place in late april), we would see some cherry blossoms in Ueno Onshi Park.

Another place I hadn’t been before is Odaiba Island. I recommend you to go at night, as you will be able to enjoy these views (if you go in winter on a windy day, be prepared to get cold…).

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Of course, we also went out at night. Here we are (from left to right) myself, Jiwon, Elena, Peque, Jairo, and Satomi at a bar in Roppongi.

On our last day in Tokyo, this is how the sky looked like (I didn’t use Photoshop in the picture). Surprisingly enough, it didn’t even rain at last.

Walking around the Grand Children’s Park

The Children’s Grand Park (어린이대공원) is a huge park near the Han river. You can get there by subway line 7 (station “Children’s Grand Park”, 어린이대공원) or line 5 (station “Achasan”, 아차산). We went there during the last cherry blossom, a very popular phenomenon in countries like South Korea, Japan or China. The cherry blossom lasts for little more than a week, some years even less, and its beginning varies a little according to the place climate. For example, in Seoul, it always starts some weeks after it starts in Tokyo, as Seoul is a little colder than Tokyo.

Here are some pictures of the park and the cherries.

Entrance to the park.

Children jumping among the cherries.

“Magic Hand” you can get your hand made in wax, first time I saw that. They cover your hand with some liquid and then put it inside a bucket with wax. Then they let it dry and remove the hand as if it was a glove. Pretty cool. 🙂

I don’t know who he is, but it looked very nice with the trees on the background.

Inside the park, there is also quite a big zoo (specially considering that there is no entrance fee).

The cherry blossoms.

Good view of the cherries.

P.S.: A change of location at the commercial office and some Korean exams by the end of this week kept me from updating the blog for quite a long time. I’ll try to give you guys updates more often.. promise.