A Honeymoon in Asia - Seoul - Days 1 and 2

After their 3 daughters were good and gone from the house Jen's parents moved from Hawaii back to Korea.  Her dad works for the Army Corps of Engineers (USA) in Seoul in a part time capacity now so they split their time between Seoul and Wonju (a small city about an hr and a half drive away).

Our first stop after arrive was eating bibimmyun, naengmyun, wang mandoo (king dumplings), all a few hours before we had a big dinner to go to.  This was the theme of the Korea portion of the trip, eating a lot.  That night Jen's Dad's younger brother hosted a dinner in Itaewon for us (being the yr old newlyweds) with a lot of her Dad's side of the family there.  I was sat at the Men's table with about 5 old Korean guys.  I don't remember enough Korean to hold a convo now and Jen doesn't speak Korean either so it was quite a time.  I basically kept eating and drinking and pouring drinks (when I remembered to or had my wits about me to notice someone's glass is close to empty, if you're a good younger person you do this).  Everyone was really nice, there was a lot of head nodding from me, them sizing me up, and money and presents given.

We had more than 2 weeks of cherry blossoms on our trip because when we got to Korea it was about peak bloom.  We walked up Nam San mountain to Nam San Tower for lunch.  The trail is lined with cherry trees.

the crush of humanity goes further than the eye can see.  Also the air in Korea is really bad now.  There is a lot of micro particulate in the air now, a lot from China and a lot homegrown.  We both got coughs from being in Korea so it's for real.  They say we had really good weather the whole time we were there.  One morning I did see that the sky was yellow with dust but it cleared up later.  Even on this good day there is still a haze.

that building at the base of the mountain in the middle back is the President's house known as the Blue House.  At the time there was no one living there because Korea had just voted to impeach their President, Park Geun-Hye, who was involved in a huge scandal.  The election is in a few weeks and this also comes at a time when tensions are super high in the region because of North Korea's missile tests and Donald Trump's threats of retaliation.
This happened while we were there, Vice President Mike Pence puffing himself up and looking like cartoon.

I love the old school architecture.  So you can't even see all of Seoul, there's a whole 'nother part across the river.

Ssam bap might still be my favorite

Jen's mom and many other Korean and Asian women wear this for sun blocking purposes.  Obviously they don't think they look crazy.

a little cheeky graffiti.

nice art by Shin Seon-Ae 신선애 lying days

we went to this market somewhere in Seoul to buy Kim (roasted seaweed).  It seemed to specialize in different seaweed and dried fishes.

Jen loves these dried fish that are somehow rehydrated and they are expensive her mom said.

We went to Norangjin Market for a fresh seafood dinner.  They are demolishing the old one that looked a lot cooler so now the new one looks like this

This snow crab is now ours.  We also got a fish that was cut up into sashimi and then the carcass was made into a soup

it was delicious

but it's not over, they took the brains and other stuff and made a fried rice out of it.

luckily Jen's dad loves the eyeballs so I didn't have to

you could see the Trump World tower, where Jen's parents used to live.  Even in South Korea we are faced with Trump

our two fish mongers.  bought the crab at one and the fish at the other.

the last hold outs at the old market before it gets demolished.

we met my buddy Kyungwon on Haebongchon street at Domotori, a Makgeolli place we used to go to and then sleepily went back to the Dragon Hill lodge on the Army base nearby.  Her dad got us a room at the base Hotel.  We spent the better part of a morning driving to different buildings in Yongsan to get passes to we could go and come back from the base on our own.

A Honeymoon in Asia - Tokyo - Day 2

I guess when you're on vacation in Japan hangovers are masked by your excitement of being in Japan.

I set my alarm and woke up something like 3 hours later so we wouldn't miss the brunch we were supposed to go to.  Turns out everyone was running several hours late and I could have slept more.  The is the view from John and Masako's swanky Minami Azabu apartment.

we went to brunch at Garden House Crafts in this new little area in Ebisu they developed since I lived there.  There's even a brewery there, Spring Valley Brewery

oh Jonny, it's been 18 years, we could have a kid graduation from highschool by now.

Meguro river and the crush of tourists and tokyoites out to soak in the flowers.

Afuri Ramen is now a chain but they're yuzu shio and yuzu shoyu ramen is the bomb.

the view from Ai and James' huge swank apartment in Motoazabu

JP, a korean guy from my Japanese class was in town for business so he came over.  He pulled these out of his bag and everyone was in love with them.
looks like a good time at Roppongi Hills.

We had Kaiten zushi at Pintokona in Roppongi Hills

At Narita airport, I use a Wacom tablet to draw with digitally and here they have it to sign your credit card signature!

with few options left we went with McDonalds, which is better in Japan.  Look at this fried chicken McMuffin for breakfast!  Ok Korea here we come. (but not before we caught our Far'Fetched Asia exclusive pokemon as we were boarding the plane Yes!).