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TOKYO // DAY THREE: TOKYO TOWER

Our third day was perhaps our most relaxing in the Japanese capital. Hana was heading back to Seoul that afternoon, so we got up nice and early to fit in as much as we could before her flight. It was a beautiful morning, and given its close proximity to our apartment, we decided to visit Tokyo Tower. We assumed that, much like Namsan Tower in Seoul, there would be a cafe or two at the base, and chose to wait to have breakfast once we arrived. The tower is, as you would expect, visible from most places in the city, […]

The Best Dog Cafe in Seoul – 구름 뜬 하늘 (Cloud With Sky)

One of my favourite things about Seoul is its abundance of animal cafes. A part of the culture for years, more recently opened cafes have branched out from the traditional cat and dog themes to more unusual pets like raccoons, owls, and beyond. However, I have deliberately avoided these more ‘exotic’ cafes for fear of poor animal welfare – plus, a friend took her dad to the raccoon cafe and he was bitten, subsequently requiring stitches and several hospital check-ups. Of course, dogs and cats can be similarly mistreated, but due to their domesticity, I don’t really have any problems with their […]

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TOKYO // DAY TWO: VEGAN RAMEN, POKEMON, & HARAJUKU

Our second morning in the Japanese capital saw us much more awake than the first, having been able to sleep for more than three hours. After much deliberation over where to visit first, we decided that we hadn’t had enough Japanese food yet. I consulted google to find somewhere vegetarian-friendly, but the internet provided me with one better in the form of T’s Tantan (T’s たんたん) , an entirely vegan Japanese restaurant located in Tokyo Station. It sounded perfect, so we got ready and caught the subway. Upon arrival, however, the sheer size of the station and its labyrinthine floors, […]

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Spectacular Buddhist Temple Cuisine (사찰음식) at Sanchon (산촌)

Ever since I first came to Korea, I’ve wanted to try the Buddhist temple food on offer in a few select restaurants in the city. Considerably pricier than a regular meal (usually starting at a minimum of ₩30,000 for lunch, more for dinner), however, I wanted to make sure that I went for a special occasion; when a friend suggested that we go for my birthday, it seemed the perfect opportunity. After a little research, I chose Sanchon (산촌), which seemed to be the most renowned and well-established restaurant – it’s been going since 1980. I assumed we wouldn’t need a reservation, […]

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TOKYO // DAY ONE – SUSHI & SHIBUYA

With our year of studying in Korea coming to an end, some friends and I decided that we wanted to go on a post-exam trip to celebrate. Japan seemed the obvious choice, being so close to Korea (and thus both easy and cheap to travel to); though I had visited before (Tokyo & Kyoto, in 2013), none of my friends had, and so it was decided. Many people fly to cities like Osaka from Seoul, because tickets can be bought for peanuts, but having never been to the country before, the others decided that they would rather see its capital […]

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반 고흐 인사이드: 빛과 음악의 축제 // Van Gogh Inside: Festival of Light & Music

Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the wonderful Van Gogh exhibition at 문화역서울 284 (Cultural Station 284). The building is the European-style former Seoul Station, which has been beautifully repurposed into an art gallery/cultural space, and is located (though somewhat shrinking in comparison) next to the sleek new glass station. A lack of time meant that we only managed to cram in a visit when we heard it was the very last day and panicked, but I’m so glad we did; despite the crowds – apparently everyone else was as disorganised as us – the experience was magical. The exhibition […]

The time I was asked to be in MAMA (the Mnet Asian Music Awards)

Back in November, a friend of mine got in touch and asked if I’d be interested in filming something for MAMA (the Mnet Asian Music Awards), effectively the biggest k-pop awards in the world. Despite knowing next to nothing about what it would involve, I leapt at the chance, because as a k-pop fan (and someone who says yes to every unimaginable and ridiculous thing Korea throws their way), why wouldn’t I? My friend Nieves had been asked by her friend, who knew someone at Mnet looking for foreigners to film some material for the awards. Somewhere along the way, I was […]