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How To Say ‘China’ In Korean

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Besides South Korea and Japan, the other East Asian powerhouse that will often come up in conversations is none other than China. For that reason, among many others, we’re adding how to say the word ‘China’ to your expanding list of Korean vocabulary!

Keep reading and you’ll finally learn how to say ‘China’ in Korean. Are you ready to learn a new word today? If so, then let’s go!


*Ready to learn Korean yet? Click here to learn about our 90 Day Korean learning program!


‘China’ in Korean

Chinese New Year In Shanghai

So, how to say ‘China’ in Korean? The word to use is 중국 (jungkuk). You may not think it is easy to learn and memorize at first, but it’s used by Koreans so much that if you live in the country, it’ll get stuck in your memory in no time. If you need help on a mnemonic, just imagine that to pay the bills in “June” you decide to work as a “cook”. At what kind of restaurant? A Chinese restaurant of course!

A ‘Chinese person’ is referred to as 중국인 (jungkukin) or 중국 사람 (jungkuk saram) and ‘Chinese language’ is 중국어 (jungkukeo) in Korean.


Related Vocabulary

베이징 (beijing) – Beijing

북경 (bukgyeong) – Peking*

상하이 (sanghai) – Shanghai

상해 (sanghae) – Shanghai

홍콩 (hongkhong) – Hong Kong


*this is the more common way to refer to China’s capital among Koreans


A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?


Sample Sentences

Shanghai skyline


중국에서 왔다고 하셨어요? (jungkukeseo wattago hasyeosseoyo?)

Did you say you come from China?



중국으로 여행갈때 어디어디 가봐야해요? (jungkukeuro yeohaengalddae eodieodi gabwayahaeyo?)

When one travels in China, where should they visit?


다음에 중국어를 배우고 싶어요. (daeume jungkukeoreul baeugo shipeoyo)

Next I want to learn Chinese.



내 제일 친한 친구는 중국사람이야. (nae jeil chinhan chinguneun jungkuksaramiya)

My best friend is Chinese.


And now you know how to say ‘China’ in Korean! It is good to note than in the Korean language, most countries, their citizens, and their language, is marked with the same suffix. In other words, learn the name of the country, and then you can just add -인 or -사람 to turn the word into describing someone’s nationality, or if you add -어 or -말, you can turn the word into describing the language.

What other word would you like us to teach you? Let us know in the comments below!


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!


Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto


The post How To Say ‘China’ In Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

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How to Learn Korean with K-Pop (and Korean Music)

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These days, more and more people around the world have started learning Korean.

Why? There are many reasons. One of the most common reasons I hear is that they started learning Korean after becoming interested in K-Pop and Korean music. Personally, I'm super excited that so many more people are starting to learn Korean and becoming interested in Korea.

No matter your reason for learning Korean, I want to support you in your journey. So I created this video as a guide for learning Korean through K-Pop. While I don't think that K-Pop is the best way to learn Korean, I also don't think it's useless either. There are ways to benefit from using Korean music when studying, which I'll talk about in this video.

Check it out here~! And good luck in your studies!

The post How to Learn Korean with K-Pop (and Korean Music) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





Suamsa Temple – 수암사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

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Buleum Falls at Suamsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Suamsa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do is located on the northern slopes of Mt. Togoksan. It’s located between two towering mountain peaks and next to a beautiful tall waterfall called Buleum Falls (불음폭포).

You first make your way towards Suamsa Temple up a long valley. The valley stretches four kilometres in length and ends at the temple. Along the way, you’ll encounter several smaller rapids cascading over the jagged rocks. A short trek up a set of uneven stairs will bring you to the beautiful Buleum Falls. Amazingly, this waterfall is almost unknown, while the smaller Hongryong Falls at Hongryongsa Temple is much more famous. There are several great angles to enjoy this waterfall, but it’s a bit difficult to get to the base of the falls as there are no stairs that give you immediate access to Buleum Falls.

Walking across the Y-shaped green metal bridge, you’ll need to walk a bit further up the mountain trail to get to Suamsa Temple. But to keep you company along the way is the beautiful falls to your left through the forest.

Finally stepping into the temple grounds, you’ll notice the monks’ dorms, kitchen, and visitors’ centre to your far right. Perched to the left is the temple’s main hall. Uniquely, the exterior walls to the main hall are built from stone. I’ve never seen this before at a temple. I’ve seen other shrine halls, like the Yaksa-jeon Hall at Mangunsa Temple, built from stone; but never the main hall. Stepping inside the main hall, you’ll first step onto a concrete floor. It’s from there, after taking off your shoes, that you can walk around the main hall. Seated on the main altar, in the centre, is a statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). This statue is joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right and a green haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). All three statues are backed by a beautiful white image of Gwanseeum-bosal. To the right of the main altar is a painting dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars). While to the left are two additional paintings: one of Jijang-bosal and the other is the temple’s guardian mural.

The other shrine hall visitors can explore is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall, which is slightly elevated to the right rear of the main hall. This shaman shrine hall is built from brick, and when you first step inside this hall you’ll instantly notice that the main altar is slightly different than other temples. Usually, the main altar is comprised of three paintings dedicated to Chilseong (which hangs in the middle). This painting is then joined on either side by Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) and Dokseong (The Lonely Saint). Instead, at Suamsa Temple, a painting of Dokseong rests in the centre of the main altar. And to the right is Sanshin, while to the left hangs a mural dedicated to Yongwang (The Dragon King). Obviously, Suamsa Temple has given prominence to a different set of shaman deities then most other temples.

HOW TO GET THERE: Outside of owning a car, the only way to get to Suamsa Temple is by taxi. You can get a taxi from Jeungsan subway station, line 2, stop #240. The taxi ride should take about 35 minutes and cost you 30,000 won (one way).

OVERALL RATING: 7/10. Suamsa Temple is a little known temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do. However, the temple’s natural beauty is nearly unrivaled by a lot of other temples on the Korean peninsula. Buleum Falls majestically flow next to the temple. As for the temple itself, it has a few quirks like the murals in the Samseong-gak, as well as the stony exterior of the main hall.

The first evidence of Buleum Falls.

The cascading water that flows as you make your way up to Suamsa Temple.

A mini-falls along the way as you get nearer and nearer to the temple grounds.

The green Y-shaped metal bridge that stands out in front of the falls.

Paper lanterns are the surest sign that a temple is nearby.

The beautiful Buleum Falls!

 A closer look at its natural beauty.

A pretty amazing view at the entrance of the temple grounds.

The main hall at Suamsa Temple.

The unique concrete entry to the main hall.

The main altar in surround sound.

The view from the main hall with its stony exterior.

The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

A look across the main altar.

A closer look at the jovial Sanshin.

The view from the Samseong-gak Hall.

The New Zealand Wine Festival is Back – and Sold out in Seoul!

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New Zealand Wine Festival Kiwi Chamber of Commerce Seoul Korea Busan South Korea Open Bar Unlimited Wine Event Toronto Seoulcialite
Anuj Madan

New Zealand Wine Festival

Last year I was invited by the Kiwi Chamber of Commerce to attend their prestigious New Zealand Wine Festival.  Held annually in Seoul and in Busan, it’s a great opportunity to get out and meet other local wine enthusiasts.  The crowd was a little bit older (and considerably more mature) than your typical Itaewon afternoon out, but there were a bunch of people on a mission to get day drunk, too!  Seoul is already sold out, so make sure to get your tickets to the Busan festival ASAP!

New Zealand Wine Festival Kiwi Chamber of Commerce Seoul Korea Busan South Korea Open Bar Unlimited Wine Event Toronto Seoulcialite
Anuj Madan

Key Wines Available

  • Babich Wines with two Sauvignon Blancs and a Pinot Noir
  • Hunter’s with a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir and a Sparkling
  • Wooing Tree with 2 Pinot Noirs and a Blanc De Noir
  • Raparura Springs with a Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and a Merlot
  • Te Pa with a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir

Other participating wineries include Kim Crawford, Clos Henry, Palliser Estate, Pancarrow, Schubert and Marlborough Sun.

New Zealand Wine Festival Kiwi Chamber of Commerce Seoul Korea Busan South Korea Open Bar Unlimited Wine Event Toronto Seoulcialite
Anuj Madan

New Zealand Wine Festival – Entertainment

  • Global Haka- Based in Hong Kong, Global Haka uses traditional Maori songs and dance to add a unique cultural or Kiwiana feel. Performers represent different Iwi (tribal areas) from throughout the motherland of Aotearoa (NZ) who have genealogical links to their Maori heritage.
  • DJ Blaze (Marcus Powell)- New Zealand DJ

New Zealand Wine Festival Kiwi Chamber of Commerce Seoul Korea Busan South Korea Open Bar Unlimited Wine Event Toronto Seoulcialite

How to Prepare for the New Zealand Wine Festival

This year I’ll be missing out on the event since I’m in Toronto (and since the Seoul event is already sold out), but keep your eyes peeled on Hallie’s updates from The Soul of Seoul Blog as she’ll be attending on my behalf.  I actually got the majority of my 2018 event info from her since she’s on the ground!  I can guarantee she’ll have plenty of photos and tons of shenanigans with Arielle from Soju4two.  Last year I was generously gifted 1 ticket (much to ex-co-pilot‘s chagrin) and had some issues with consuming anything other than wine.  I hope this year they have more cruiser tables and some seating so that attendees don’t get quite so drunk.  The spread is fabulous, it’s just hard to knife and fork it balancing a wine glass and yourself in heels on grass!  Wear flats, get one of those tacky necklace-glassholders, and seek out a flat surface on which to get your eats.

The Kiwi Chamber: Wine Festival, Seoul, Korea

  • Venue: Waterfall Garden @ Grand Hyatt Seoul (SOLD OUT)
  • When: May 26, 2018 (Seoul) @ 4:00pm ~ 8:00pm

The Kiwi Chamber: Wine Festival, Seoul, Korea

  • Venue: Exhibition Hall @ Ananti Cove Resort (Busan)
  • When: June 2, 2018 (Busan) @ 4:00pm ~ 8:00pm
New Zealand Wine Festival Kiwi Chamber of Commerce Seoul Korea Busan South Korea Open Bar Unlimited Wine Event Toronto Seoulcialite
Anuj Madan

New Zealand Wine Festival Tickets

  • W100,000 for Kiwi Chamber members
  • W120,000 for non-members
  • W130,000 for at-door purchases
  • Group Discount available: W100,000 per ticket for groups of 8 or more.

Wine Pool Hyatt

RSVP on Facebook: Seoul & Busan

To Register by E-Mail:


New Zealand Wine Festival Kiwi Chamber of Commerce Seoul Korea Busan South Korea Open Bar Unlimited Wine Event Toronto Seoulcialite
Anuj Madan

The post The New Zealand Wine Festival is Back – and Sold out in Seoul! appeared first on The Toronto Seoulcialite.

The Toronto Socialite
That Girl Cartier


How To Say ‘Snow’ In Korean

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It’s winter again, and when you look out the window, you see white powdery flakes falling from the sky. You’re excited that it’s snowing and wish to tell your Korean friends all about it. But, you find yourself flinching. Perhaps you don’t yet know how to say ‘snow’ in Korean. Maybe you’ve forgotten what the word for snow in Korean is and need a refresher. Or maybe you just need reassurance that the word for ‘snow’ in Korean you think is correct is indeed the right one.

Whatever reason brought you here, you’re in luck! In this lesson we will cover how to say ‘snow’ in Korean, let’s get to it!


*Ready to learn Korean yet? Click here to learn about our 90 Day Korean learning program!


‘Snow’ in Korean

Beautiful young woman blowing snow from her hands in winter.

The word for snow in Korean is 눈 (nun). That’s right, it is the same word Koreans use for the word ‘eye’. If you wish to describe the snow as falling, you can combine it either with the verb 내리다 (naerida) or the verb 오다 (oda). Remember that in this context, ‘snow’ will always be the subject of the sentence, so you need to combine the word 눈 with the subject particle 이 (i) to make the sentence grammatically correct.


Related Vocabulary

첫눈 (cheotnun) – first snow

눈을 치우다 (nuneul chiuda) – clear away snow


A word of caution about Romanization

While it is possible for you to study the words in this article simply by reading their romanized versions, it will come in handy for you to be able to read Hangeul if you ever wish to come to Korea. Hangeul is the Korean alphabet, and not difficult to learn. In fact, you can learn it in just 90 minutes.

After you’ve familiarized yourself with Hangeul, life in Korea will suddenly seem so much easier and the country won’t appear so foreign for you. So, if you’re serious about learning Korean, why not learn Hangeul today?


Sample Sentences

The Field In Snow


오늘은 아침에서 밤까지 눈이 내릴 것으로 예상됩니다. (oneureun achimeseo bamggaji nuni naeril geoseuro yesangdwimnida)

It is forecasted that it will snow from morning to night today.



올해는 6월에도 한번 눈이 왔었어요! (orhaeneun yukwolredo hanbeon nuni wasseosseoyo!)

This year it snowed once even in June!



어젯밤에 눈이 계속 많이 내리고 있었어. (eojetbame nuni gyesok manhi naerigo isseosseo)

Last night it was constantly snowing heavily.


보통 어느 달부터 눈이 내리기 시작해? (bothong eoneu dalbutheo nuni naerigi sijakhae?)

From which one does snowing usually begin?


어제 내린 눈이 벌써 살아졌네. (eoje naerin nuni beolsseo sarajyeotne)

Seems like the snow from yesterday has already melted away.


So now you know how to say ‘snow’ in Korean! What word would you like to learn to say next? Let us know in the comments below!


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!


Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto


The post How To Say ‘Snow’ In Korean appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.

JM Coffee Roasters

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Let’s start with the bakery because it is right there when you first walk through the doors.

And then let’s get up close and personal.

Next stop, ordering coffee or buying in house roasted beans!

There are two floors to choose from when deciding on a table. You can look out at the river and KTX tracks. Watch out though, when the train goes by the place shakes just a little!

There is also a patio, though when it I visited it was raining so I’ll snap some pics when I visit again on a nicer day!

And finally, we ordered a couple of deserts, a latte, and a specialty latte! The specialty latte has some vanilla syrup added and fresh, almost cream cheesy, whipped cream on top.

To get to this place, you go to Hopo Station on Line 2 of the Busan Subway. Cross over the freeway using the foot bridge and walk 5 minutes down a small road that has numerous restaurants and other cafes.

And a photo of the Naver Map and a link below that has all the information about the cafe.

A. Smith

Acid Test: All that Matters from All These North Korean Summits are the Concessions They Offer

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Image result for acid test

This is a local re-post of a something I wrote a few weeks ago for The National Interest.

Sorry, I don’t post as regularly here as I used to. I am super-busy. My TNI and Lowy author pages are the best place to find my stuff.

My point is only that all the ceremony, circumstance, and symbolism of all these summits doesn’t really mean anything until the Norks offer us something real. That’s all that really matters.

Yes, I get it that the symbolism is moving; that KJU and Moon stepping back and forth over the DMZ is pretty cool; that Korea should be united; that the pageantry was gripping TV. But honestly, it’s all puffery until PY gives us something real – inspectors, a missile count, some warheads, closing a gulag, etc. Moon and Trump won’t be able to get any deal by their hawks back home without genuine NK concessions, and we still haven’t seen those yet. So no, it’s not peace in our time.

The essay follows the jump:



This Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet South Korean President Moon Jae In. In May or June, he may meet US President Trump. The hype around these meetings is growing. Just last week, North Korea’s announcement that it would suspend nuclear and missile tests sparked another round of hope that real change on the peninsula is near.

Expectations are rising, and without being recalcitrantly skeptical, things look better than they have in years. Rhetorically at least, North Korea has dropped its objections to the US-South Korean alliance, the presence of US forces, and even joint US-South Korean military exercises. And now, it is throwing out a testing halt. Obviously all this must be verified, but for now this is movement in the right direction.

Importantly though, these are all what we might call ‘negative’ concessions. They are, in North Korean eyes certainly, concessions. These are things they have insisted on as their right to act on or complain about for years. But critically, these concessions are provocative actions against the allies; they are not actually anything of direct, material value to the North, such as a shut-down of one its gulags or the entrance of inspectors into its nuclear sites.

Similarly, North Korea and South Korea have suggested other pseudo-concessions in the last few months as a part of any deal: family reunions of relations divided by separation and war, a re-opening of the Kaesong Industrial Zone and tours to Mt. Diamond, inter-Korean rail, and other joint economic projects.

These schemes may indeed be part of any deal in the summits, but it is critical to note that none of them actually impose costs on North Korea – the mark a genuine concession to solicit counter-concessions. And the economic projects will in fact materially benefit North Korea.

Giving up objections to the US in South Korea, or provocations along the border, are hardly concessions at all. Pyongyang is surrendering the ‘right’ to harass us, scarcely a serious give-back. Giving up testing is similarly hardly a concession. That is not a rollback of extent capabilities, only a vague promise not to generate even more destabilizing weapons.

Family reunions are probably the thorniest North Korean pseudo-concession. It is indeed of great moral value to us. The democracies will treat these as a highly desirable concession and likely give something to attain them. We care more about the North Korean people than the Kim family does, so Pyongyang is cruelly willing to exploit its people’s emotional happiness as card in negotiations. We have little choice but to play that unfortunate game. And indeed we should. These reunions are of great moral significance, and we should deal for them.

But they are also no real concession by the North. They are costless. The North picks up the participants, drives them on a bus to a secluded location, and allows them to meet for just a few hours. South Korean participants have described meeting family members who insistently spouted Kimist ideology throughout the meetings.

Instead, the real test is if the North will actually give up something of positive value to it. Will it send what social scientists call ‘costly signals’ to demonstrate its commitment to genuine negotiation? So far it has not. So far, all of the North’s proposals have been light on real costs to the regime. Indeed, this is why I have been skeptical of the talks all year. Despite all the nice atmospherics so far – the Olympics, the musical troupes, the hype – North Korea has yet to float any proposal that would meaningfully impair it. Yet the positive concessions we are demanding are fairly obvious. So it is a bit unnerving that four months into this peace offensive, the North has still not given us anything real to consider counter-conceding for.

The most obvious positive, costly concession would be de-nuclearization. It is widely expected that the North will not budge on that. In lieu of CVID – complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament – the North could put related nuclear and missile items on the table.

A stockpile inventory is one possible start: just how much nuclear and fissile material does North Korea have? How do they keep track of it? Can we be sure they have not proliferated? A missile count would be a similarly valuable concession for which we might bargain. At the height of testing in the last few years, North Korea appeared to have hundreds of missiles and was sophisticated enough to produce them domestically. It also appeared to be close to solid fuel rocketry, shortening its launch time.

Nuclear safety is another possible, nuclear-related concession. There is anxiety that North Korea’s program, like so much of North Korea’s economy, is badly administered and maintained. Its testing site at Mt. Mantap had an implosion last year which killed two hundred people. This is likely why Kim ‘conceded’ closing that test-site last week: avoiding a North Korean Chernobyl is another pseudo-concession which is not actually costly to the North.

Other concessions are also possible – such as human rights improvements, shrinking the gulags, normalizing small-scale entrepreneurial capitalism in the North. But these genuine, positive concessions must ultimately be at the heart of the summits. Moon and Trump must not get flim-flammed into reading cost-less faux concessions as the real thing.

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University




Korean Test Practice with Billy [Ep. 13] – Intermediate Korean (Listening Practice)

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Are you preparing for a Korean test? This series is designed for helping you to practice Korean test listening questions at various levels - from beginner to advanced.

This week's episode is an intermediate level question.

Send me requests for future videos! You can also check out videos sometimes a full week early on my Patreon page. Thanks for watching~!

Don't read below if  you want to try the problem on your own first.

Here is the listening example from the video:

그럼 다음으로 이 작품에 대해서 설명하겠습니다. 이 작품은 2010년 익명으로 기증받은 작품으로 조선 후기의 작품으로 보이나 작가가 누구인지는 아쉽게도 알려지지는 않았습니다. 하지만 다양한 색상의 천연물감과 먹을 사용하였고, 시대를 반영한 인물들의 뛰어난 묘사를 통해 그 작품성을 인정받고 있는 그림입니다. 다음은 여기 이 도자기에 대해서 설명하겠습니다.

Here's the English translation:

Then next I’ll explain about this piece. This work was donated anonymously in 2010 and appears to be from the late Joseon Dynasty, but unfortunately it is unknown who the author is. But they used various colors and natural paints and ink, and this is a picture’s whose literary value is recognized by its remarkable depiction that reflects its generation’s historical figures. Next I will explain about this pottery here.

The post Korean Test Practice with Billy [Ep. 13] – Intermediate Korean (Listening Practice) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

Golden Week in Fukuoka Japan

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While the world maybe fixated with places like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, one of my favourite places in Japan is Fukuoka. As a teacher in Korea, this was the city we used all travel to when we needed to renew our visas. That was until they changed the rule and forced everyone to get it done in their own country before coming to Korea. Those yearly trips had quite an effect on me. It was where I learned the ropes of photography with my late friend and mentor Dave Harvey and where I appreciated the different aspects of the Japanese culture in contrast to my 2nd home, Korea.

It has been many years since I have been to Fukuoka, so when I had the chance to fly over, I took it in a heart beat. After all, it is only a 45 minute flight from Busan and costs less than a round trip ticket to Seoul on the KTX. The only issue was handling the luggage limitations for such cheap flights. I was only allowed one piece of carryon luggage and a limit of only 10 kg. It was a challenge to figure out what gear to bring and what gear to leave.

The other challenge was how to bring everything in a single bag. I normally travel with my Peak Design Everyday 20L Backpack, I felt that I just could not fit everything that I needed into the bag. I went with a slightly larger North Face Vault backpack and made sure to add in some extra padding about my camera and lens. For travel, I have a padded neoprene sleeve that I used for my lens and due to the rain in the forecast, I also place my Peak Design Rain cover over my camera for added protection.

This seemed to be a great set up as I had no problems with weight or storage. I had enough space to pick up a few things to without having to cram and stuff everything into the bag. So overall, travelling light worked out well. However, a second bag would have been a little better for shopping and other stuff.

Dontaku Festival

One of the reason I chose to go to Fukuoka, other than the cheap tickets, was to cover the Dontaku Festival in Fukuoka. This is one of the largest festivals in Japan and an interesting one at that. Not only does the festival go back some 839 years but it also celebrates the diversity of Japan. Even the name comes from the Dutch word “Zondag” meaning holiday. There are parades throughout the city and numerous performances. If you want to check out more information check this article out by Fukuoka Now!

Initially, I was very interested in the temples and the part that they played in the festival. After wandering around the Hakata district the night before to get some food and check out Yodobashi Camera, I got up early and went to see one of my favourite places in the area which is the Shofukuji Zen Temple. The temple is so green and was so quiet. As I entered the gates, a group of performers walked passed me wearing traditional clothes. I snapped away and as I got closer, I saw a elderly man waving towards me. I though for sure that he was going to tell me not to take pictures. Instead, he spoke English and showed me the cart that they would be pulling in the parade later that day. He explained a lot about the traditions and the festival. I was quite happy to have this sort of insight.

Later that day the festival kicked off and there were parades and performances all over the city.  The parades came to an end around the Tenjin Station area where there were a lot of street food vendors and other interesting stalls. The feeling of wonder and curiosity kicked in as I cannot speak or read Japanese and have never been to a Japanese festival before. It was a great feeling just to be able to explore in a place that seemed safe but yet so unfamiliar. Despite having visited Fukuoka so many times before, this was an entirely new experience.

Dazaifu Temple

One of the other places that I really wanted to get to was Dazaifu Temple. This is a major tourist spot but it has always been a place that was dropped from the previous trips due to it’s distance from Fukuoka. Wanting to finally see what all the fuss was about I jumped on to the train and headed out to the temple. With a transfer at a a more rural station, I boarded the Tabito Train bound for Dazaifu Station. The Tabito Train is a special train made just for the temple. It is a beautiful train that has different themes for each car and all designed to bring you good luck and good health. The sade part is that from the Omuta Station where you get on, it is only a 5 minute train ride to Dazaifu Station.

The temple was insanely busy. Given the fact that this was Golden Week and also the festival time, I was not surprised. However, there were still a ton of people flooding the streets up to the main temple site. I wandered around a bit looking for some spots to get some cinemagraphs. Honestly, the more I wandered the less interested I had in taking pictures here. Soon, I just gave up and returned to Tenjin Station to check out the rest of the festival.

Hakata Matsubayashi

I must admit that although I had planned out most of my shoots for the time that I was there, I sort of stumbled into the start of this parade by complete accident. I was walking to Hakata Station to get some breakfast. It was still too early so I wandered into the Kushida Shrine. What greeted me was a horse and a bunch of men in ceremonial costumes. Intrigued, I wandered further in, accidentally crashing the start of the Hakata Matsubayashi. No one really seemed to mind that I was up where the media and officials were and not down with the rest of the festival-goers. I got the shots that I wanted and the funny part was that I had actually made a note about this festival in my notebook before I left and completely forgot about it.

This was an interesting experience as there are 4 masked riders that are led through the streets on horseback. 3 of them are gods and I have yet to find out what the woman in the white mask represents. At any rate, it was great to be given access like this. The key point here is to always look and act respectful. Often that tiny bit of respect will open more doors than trying to push your way into places you shouldn’t be. A couple of times even the reports gestured towards me indicating I could step up and take  a photo during the ceremony. I am not sure what they said but I assume it was “Here, I am finished. Go ahead and take some shots” or something like that.

Remembering Dave

As I said before, I have been to Fukuoka many times. I really like this city and it will always be a special place for me. One of the reasons is that this was the first place where I started to take travel photography seriously. My late friend Dave Harvey, travelled with me here after my first year in Korea. I was on my way to Kyoto and Dave accompanied me for the first couple of days in Fukuoka. As I walked around the Japanese gardens in Ohori Park, I remember when we were there and it was pouring rain. I remember shooting Canal City and as I walked through there this trip it sort of hit me. They had not opened yet and everything was dark and quiet. In my mind I was remember Dave complaining about going to a Wendy’s when there was one there. He stopped complaining after the first bite. As I looked around everything sort of lost it’s vibrance a little bit, even after they opened. It sort of fits how I see the world without Dave.

It was that trip that really made me love exploring and taking pictures. Dave showed me how to “make shots” not just “take shots” and it really influenced those initial stages of my photography. It also hard to realize that I can’t just call him up when I was in Yodobashi Camera to brag about the cool stuff I was looking at.

Planning Your Shots

The one thing that I want to pass on here is that you should plan your shots like you plan your trip. Think about what you want to get, the times that you need to get up in order to get those shots and where you need to be. The internet has loads of information on pretty much every place and youtube was a huge help here as well. I had 4 days to shoot and planned out where I needed to be in order to get the shots that I wanted. This freed up a lot of time for interesting side trip to find awesome coffee shops and delicious food.

So the next time that you are heading out, give some thought to when and how you are going to get those shots on your shot list. This type of planning will often result in a higher degree of “keepers” instead of just “decent snapshots” as I find many people just scramble to complete their shot lists with the time that they have.

The post Golden Week in Fukuoka Japan appeared first on The Sajin.

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