Japan and Korea On Fleek 2023 - In Summation

Let's look at some stuff we bought. Here's the crown jewel, our Yoshitoshi Ukiyo-e woodblock print

Daruma dolls for Dave, Crisilla, Ryan, Trish and Ben Currie who got me a Samsung holiday illustration job.

Wonderland T-shirt for Bartlett, Sansho seasoning, Traffic safety charm from shrine, Muji t shirts, we also got some black beans and dark dank miso from the Odagaki. Sad we didn't shop more. We didnt get a knife, we didn't get clothes or selvedge denim, No shi shi mai, no shichimi. I guess that's why theres a next time

Japan trip in summation: I'm humbled once again by the kindness we were shown, especially in Nose with Akira, Masami, and Mari. I can see how Steven can have a really fun time in Temma in Osaka and it makes me nostalgic for when I lived in Tokyo and also wish that standing bars were a big thing when I was there. The quality of life in Japan is the highest but then I also have to think if the average Japanese person is happy which then makes me think are we happy are any of us happy or are we all just ants with better or worse standards of living? Either way in either country I am lucky that I am not a salaryman. Leaving Japan really made me wonder what my life is for, why am i doing it, what am i even doing. What answer am I looking for? For the meaning of life? For an excuse to do what I want and be happy? As I said I know its not a fair comparison to look at your life on vacation and hold it up as an example of how your life could be, but I did this life, I did what Steven is doing and it was f'ing awesome. But I also didn't get to spend much time on my art. Let's not fool ourselves here though i'm a commercial artist, an illustrator in service to a client and or market forces. This vacation forced me to take a break and examine some things but I think I have more questions than I started with. Why can I not be happy. Does happiness look like living in Japan and discovering/learning/being frustrated by something new everyday? Can I have a moveable feast, a portable Japan that I carry in my heart in my daily life? In the least, this struggle means i'm alive and I can live with that.

ok on to the stuff I bought in Korea various kinds of seasoned seaweed

mak gook soo noodles, Korean cosmetics, Jen got a hand bag at AK plaza in seoul, We both inadvertently got the same color his and hers sunglasses from Radio Eyes at different times, some candies for kiddies and individual SPAMs for ryan and dave (who have been watching dubu, moving the car, house sitting, and watering our garden this whole time we owe them so much)

various ramens, ddukbokki sweet snacks (steven and all of us were like why tf does there have to be so much sugar on everything). Honey butter almonds, more candies for kiddies, macha, salt

dried squid drinking snack, more ramen and jjajangmyeon, dried filefish drinking snack, cookie sticks and sweets for us and kids

Korean brushes and water colors for dave and ryan

my dojang name stamp and ink

tanuki toy i bought from a gatcha capsule machine at the Korean rest stop, the wobble doll from the package jen said looks like me, a Chimaek (fried chicken and beer) t shirt jen said i should buy at the airport and maybe i'll sweeten to it more, hwacha ancient Korean arrow barrage fire cart model

tongs, Korean kitchesn scissors (Koreans cut everything with scissors so they make good scissors), Yut Nori sticks game set

we went coast to coast in Korea which isn't that far because you can drive from Incheon airport to Gangmun beach where we went in 3 hours or 4 hrs by public transport. On both trips we saw the city and we saw the countryside. We got slices of all kinds of life and were shown kindness. I'm glad I got to take bob to korea because I don't know if he ever would make that leap on his own because its a lot to deal with mentally and some really heavy stuff. He was born in this country and yet knew nothing about it, but now he does. As always it was nice going around Korea with my Korean family even if its my married into family it still makes it feel like I belong there a little more. Of course I know i'll never belong, Jen won't either but I think i'm ok with that. I've lived in Korea and been back many times but its bob's first time, he's got a lot to process. I guess seeing the crush of humanity in Korea shows me that everyone is struggling through life, time crushes on, people trying to get by crushes on, and when I look at this map and think there's a whole nation of Koreans, 51 million of them all trying to live, that makes me feel sad and glad at the same time. I'm hoping to take something away from this trip that I can keep close to my chest and I don't know what that is yet. I know I need to do some real gratitude examinations and take stock of what i'm grateful for in my actual non-vacation life. So dear reader the actual journey and metaphorical journey continue for me and I'll keep bringing it to you on this here blog eventually. Thanks for stopping by.  

Korea On Fleek 2023 - Wonju Thursday

he chose seat #1 like a true freak on the airport bus back to Incheon. His flight was before ours so we dropped him off in the morning. Happy trails Steven Hedley, may you find what you need and what's right. Oh and we'll see you on group chat every day like usual

still my fave Wonju eats, the makgooksu here at 개건너이사왔네, and look at that view. And really like the bossam here the best too

I like mine without broth

Thank you to Mom and Dad Yoo for taking us everywhere and knowing everywhere to go and showing kindness to Bob and Steven for FIVE days straight. That is a lot of days to put up with people. It was really nice to slow down and soak in the countryside Korean summer

Jen thought this looked like me so I bought it. Inside was a lil wobbly doll

approaching Incheon airport

really interesting landscape at low tide, what's that red stuff

at the Gentle Monster Korean sunglasses store at the airport

we did have to eat Lotteria one last time because all the Korean food places were closed for some reason. the airport location is the worst one and the food was not made with love which is understandable. Also ate this Chipai, Chicken Pie, just a big schnitzel

played a lot of civilization 6 as Korea, led by Queen Seondeok of Shilla on my nintendy, because of this game I knew about the hwacha, an ancient Korean arrow barrage cart and so I bought a model of one at the airport and now am using them on my nintendy on the plane, coming full circle. takes forever to play a game so I only got like 25% of the way through conquering the world before we landed at JFK. Korean airlines is awesome, we got our bibimbap and juk, and bob had to sit next to a group of Chinese people who ended up fighting almost to the point of getting physical it looked like and the instigator kicked the woman out of the seat next to him and laid his head on the shared armrest with bob to sleep. Idk where the woman went the rest of the time but, these chinese passengers really were not helping the stereotypes about them on this day


Korea On Fleek 2023 - Wonju Wednesday

A shopping morning at E Mart and Lottemart. I always love the SPAM section

the ideal of beauty and masculinity is white has also been pushed onto Koreans

illustration example

미담한정식 with a great view and the fish was the best for me and its just an included side dish. Jen's parents asked them to give us and extra one. In competition for the best meal in Korea

mulberry leaf rice was the thing in the stone pot and it was delicious, the leaves kind of remind me of taro leaves in hawaiian lau lau

After lunch the Yoo parents went home and we took the new trimmed out suv to Chiaksan mountain again, up to the temple Guryongsa again so bob could see it and at lunch jens dad told us about a short hike to some water falls so that worked out great.

If you donate 10,000 won ($7) you can write a prayer or wish on a rooftile that will eventually be used to repair the roofs when they need it. I wrote: Park Nam Ho, Lee Joo Jin, Steven Hedley and Jennifer Yoo, May our family live happily and healthily. It's nice knowing this is up there on a mountain in Korea, it brings inexplicable feelings.

a tick!

Let's do this hike to the Seryeom waterfall

Cherry Boi 
demon bears

their new Kia Mohave has all the bells and whistles including a heads up display hologram thing that can only be seen by the driver with simplified directions, it's so awesome and makes driving much safer and easier to navigate. Really want this in the next car we get

back in Wonju strolling and drinking beers and chatting at dusk with my pals, i really liked this end of the day strolls through the rice fields

study area?

our lil stroll made it so we just missed the cut off to eat delicious jajang myeon and tang su yook and jambbong so we tried to find somewhere else and then had to end up eating delicious bbq

one last night at bar Nice to CU (the name of the convenience store in the apt complex). I really liked the nights sitting at that picnic table chatting

moonlight stroll to the pavillion in the rice fields

this was the end of our asia trip, steven will go back to his Osaka life and we'll go back to our brooklyn life and we don't know when we'll see each other next

by this point we are very dumb. Too bad we couldn't be eating late night hanwoo burgers hunched over in the corner of a room like 2 lil goblins