Summer Holidays (AKA Summer Vacation)

Posted: August 29, 2011 in Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


The Summer Holidays~ A time where students and teachers rejoice.. Well, in Australia they do anyway. In Japan however, the students come to school everyday for club activities, which means the teachers also have to come to school for club activities, and nobody really travels or has a decent break. Luckily for most of my JET friends, their Boards of Education allow them not to come to school… But my Board of Education doesn’t allow that kind of thing. So besides sitting at my desk listening to K-pop in the staff room, I did manage to travel a little bit!!

SOUTH KOREA      韓国     한국

I arrived to 부산 (Busan) on the 30th July. It was hot and humid, but not as bad as Osaka. As soon as I arrived, I felt at easy and very happy. A bunch of friends were there to greet me and welcome me to Busan for my first time. We checked out the 자갈치 시장 (Jagalchi seafood market) and at delicious seafood!
My accommodation was at a place called ‘Chan’s Guest House’. It has an Indian theme, and is quite close to 해운대 바닷가 (Haeundae beach), like 3 mins away! So of course I went to the beach, even though it was really, really crowded and the deepest part was waist deep. The water was also extremely cold, but on those hot and humid days, nothing’s better! I also got to travel to various other parts such as 청사포 (Cheongsapo) which is famed for it’s baked clams, and also ate Waffles at Beans Bin Cafe before walking back down to 해운대 (Haeundae) with the beautiful view of the beach.

We (new friends were made) also visited 남포동 (Nampodong), the heart of Busan. Here we checked out PIFF (Pusan International Film Festival) square and ate 호떡 (Hoddeok) (some sort of rice cake with a sweet filling inside), anyway, it was delicious, but we had to wait 30 mins for it and I didn’t want to wait another 30 mins for another one.. ㅠ.ㅠ

My friend 정연이 누나 works in Busan, but lives in 대구 (Daegu) so I also got to travel to Daegu and have a look around. We had to run to the train station because we wanted to watch as much of the 2PM concert as we could at Haeundae beach. I also fell in love with a girl group called 5dolls that night too. Too bad it was raining most of my time there, but I went shopping and continued eating many delicious foods, even my 누나의 Aunty made 잡채 (japchae) for me as it’s one of my favourite foods.

We also had to check out 신세계 (Shinsegae), the world’s largest department store. It was so big, we spent 2 days there!! Also, there’s a public bath area called ‘Spa Land’ which we went to and enjoyed a relaxing time!!

Next, I travelled to 광주 와 진도 (Gwangju and Jindo) as that’s where most of my Korean family live.

I found my way to Gwangju via bus from Busan without too much difficulty, and there I met up with my cousin and his girlfriend first. I can’t believe that he is actually TALLER than me now! He must be about 192 cm!! Anyway, I got to meet his dad for the first time and I also got to meet old cousins and new cousins, my mum, my grandparents for the first time and uncles and aunties. They are all such nice people!! I really think I’m lucky sometimes! There isn’t much to do in Jindo as it’s very country-side, but there was a beach close by^^

After only spending a short time with my new family, I made a move to 서울 (Seoul) where I would spend a week catching up with friends, shopping, relaxing and having a good time. I felt at home in 홍대 (Hongdae) as not only is it a popular place with nice cafe’s and many clubs, eateries, etc, but my adoption agency is based in Hongdae. I’m so grateful for my adoption agency, that I’m also sponsoring a boy through the same agency. Eastern Social Welfare Society. My girlfriend Sayaka also managed to come for a few days to Korea, which was great! As it was her first time, everything was kind of new and exciting, exploring 남대문 시장 (Namdaemun Markets), 명동 (Myeongdong), 홍대 (Hongdae), 인사동 (Insadong), 청계천 (Cheonggaecheon) and 광화문 (Gwanghwamun).

Mt. Fuji 富士山

On the 21st Aug, my friend Yuki and I left Shin-Osaka (新大阪) at 10:30pm to make our way to Mt. Fuji, arriving there at approximately 4:30am!! The weather driving there was appalling. Rain, rain and more rain! But we slept and woke up a few hours later to get ready for our climb. Initially we wanted to climb, stay the night at one of the stations and then climb the rest to see the sunrise the next morning, but we were faced with mist, wind and rain…

Anyway, we still got ready and made our way to the stairs, the first leg of our journey on our legs. However, a man told us that we could only go as far as the 7th station because the weather was too bad. Disappointed with that news, we decided to climb to the 7th station anyway. What did we have to lose after travelling all that way, right? So we made it to the 7th station and celebrated as far as we could go with a coffee (because our hands were numb from the cold).

Anyway, after having our coffee, we decided to go as far as the ‘old 7th station’ as we were at the ‘new 7th station’. And we travelled up and after we arrived, we saw some people coming down from further up and also people continuing to climb up, so what the hell, we decided to go one more. And as we reached the next station, we decided to go to the next station until we… Yes, that’s right! We made it to the top!!! 3,775 metres high!

It took 5 hours to climb up, but only about 1 hour to climb down. But climbing up and down in 1 day was hell for our legs! Lucky there’s 温泉 (onsen – public baths) around. We went to a nice one called 花の湯 (Hana no yu). Because we had planned staying on Mt. Fuji overnight, we had to decide where to go for the night. Because Yuki is from Nagoya (名古屋) and I have friends in Nagoya, we decided to go there.
In Nagoya I got to catch up with 涼君 and 健ちゃん and watched Transformers 3.




  1. Duc says:

    Damn dude. It took you 5 hours to get up and 1 hour to get down in this weather? I must be very old. I went this year and it took me a little over 6 hours for our night hike and the weather was clear. It took me over 4 hours to get down. Maybe because my right leg gave up on me during my ascent. I had to walk backwards most of the way coming down. Congratz dude. Being the fool I am, I’m planning to go again next year.

    • epiktravels says:

      I seriously couldn’t walk for like 2 days after I climbed Mt. Fuji, but the hardest part was the accent as my thigh muscles went into trauma. Coming down was like a walk in the park, but maybe your 2nd time will be easier! I guess there wasn’t a lot of people because it was so foggy, making it easier for us to climb up as we didn’t have to wait.

      Good luck!

  2. Ethan says:


    My girlfriend and I will be traveling to Busan in November and would love to get some info on Eastern Child Welfare Society. My girlfriend was adopted through them and I would like to take here there when we visit. Do you happen to know the address, or any other information about how to get in touch with them/find out more about my girlfriend’s adoption?

    Any information you can provide is greatly appreciated.


    • epiktravels says:

      That’s the website for Eastern Child Welfare Society. In the ‘About us’ section is directions how to get there from Hongik University Station (HongDae for short) but because they changed the exit numbers around, you should get out of exit 3 (basically in the same area as the exit number 2 is on the picture) and follow the picture.

      There is also an email address you can send an email to saying that you are going to be in Korea in November and would like to look at her file while you’re in Korea. They’re pretty friendly there, but a lot of people email them, so they may not get back to you straight away.

      I volunteer there every Tuesday afternoon with the babies, and I’m on pretty good terms with a lot of staff there, so if you want me to pass on a message just let me know.

      • Ethan says:

        Thank you so much for your response. I guess this is located in Seoul, which we believe is where she was taken shortly after being given to an orphanage in Busan. I’m not sure which is which, but we have records for her at Easter Child Welfare Society in Busan, and well as at Angel Babies in Seoul.

        Do you think we should start off by going to the Eastern Child Welfare location in Seoul?

        I will submit a request to the email address you gave, but it would also be great if you could pass along some information for us! Neither of us have ever been to South Korea before and have only a few days in both Seoul and Busan. We would love to see her orphanage and learn as much as we can about her short time while in South Korea.

        Is there a way we can communicate more privately so I can pass you her info? Again, we are very grateful for your help.

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