March 2013 - Vikingess Voyages

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cherry Blossom in Busan: Dalmaji Road (달맞이길)

9:21:00 PM
Here in Bunsan spring is coming, and the city's many cherry trees are in full bloom. One of the places you can go to get a good overview of the pretty sakura, is to take a stroll up the Dalmaji Road situated to the east of Haeundae beach. In addition to the cherry blossom trees you can also enjoy the beautiful view of the beach! If you are up for it they even have a hiking route you can follow to the other side of the mountains, through the woods and up to a pavilion called Haemaru. We were on out way to the famous temple called Yonggung (용궁・龍宮), but after reaching the other side of the mountain we figured out that it would take to long to walk, so the last part was done by taxi.
Anyway, we enjoyed the Dalmaji road with its beautiful view and cherry blossom!

The beginning of the Dalmaji Road

Another pretty road we passed by

A sign showing the different hiking routes you can take from the Dalmaji Road

Sakura and the Haeundae Beach seen from Dalmaji Road
My mother and grandmother enjoying Busan and the nice weather

Some Korean girls who wanted to know where we were from.

Going of-road through one of the hiking routes
Korean ajummas enjoying the sun and the sight of the cherry blossom trees.

Pretty view!

Haemaru Pavillion

The view of Busan from Haemaru pavillion

[Hotel Review] Lodging in Busan at Mr Egg Hostel

8:24:00 AM

This weekend I'm checking out the Busan area along with my mother and grandmother, who have come to visit me from Norway! We decided to stay cheap, and discovered a place called Mr Egg Hostel located right by the Haeundae (海雲台 ・ 해운대) beach.
It was easy to find; after arriving at Busan station by the KTX we took the metro to Heaundae station and arrived at the hostel after a just couple of minutes of walk.

We were greeted at the hostel by one of the staff members, John, who was very helpful and friendly. He also posed for one of my pictures, haha..
The hostel was nice and clean, and the theme of the whole hostel is egg (surprise, surprise ;p) so you can find a lot of pictures and small egg statues here. You can even use their plastelina clay make your own little eggs. So cute!

For more information and online booking, check out their reservation site.
Finally, I have added some of my pictures of the place, please enjoy ;)

Related blogposts

All blogposts from Busan
All hotel reviews

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hiking in Seoul: Mt. Bukhansan (복한산)

3:48:00 PM
There are many areas in Seoul that are good for hiking, and one of the mountains you could pay a visit to is Mt. Bukhansan (북한산 - 北漢山), a mountain situated to the north of Seoul's city center in the Bukhansan National Park.

They have a variety of different routes one can choose from, and you can find more information about the Bukhansan National Park and the hiking opportunities there on this page.

In this blog post I have just gathered some of my pictures from the trip, to give a certain image of what you can see if you go for a hike to this mountain.

Mt. Bukhansan seen from the road
In our case we took bus 704 to Bukhansan Seong and started the hike from there. The hike wasn't too long; it only took us a couple of hours to get to the top.
The hiking team of the day!

On the way to the root of Bukhansan there are various places where you can buy things related to hiking, such as flashy hiking gear.  It seems like really colourful hiking clothes are in fashion among locals, so if you want to make sure you are easily spottable in the mountains you sure can find some great choices here... And if you're more of a leisure hiker then a bottle of Korean rice wine (makgeolli) might be a better option if you need some extra motivation for the hike..
Popular place for hiking indeed..
Hiking is really popular in Korea these days, and since we went on a Saturday it was no surprise that many other people also had taking the trip to the mountain.

While hiking in the mountain you can also see a little bit of Korean cultural artefacts, such as buddhist statues statues and traditional temples. There is also a fortress on the mountain, so it is quite an interesting hike :)

View of Seoul from the top
Related blogposts:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Questions about Ritsumeikan & KyungHee's DMDP Program

10:47:00 AM

These days I'm pretty much stuck in my room preparing for my comprehensive exam (only 3 weeks to go now!! ><). So I haven't really had that much time to do anything besides studying lately..

Instead I've decided to share some questions I received about the DMDP (Double Master Degree Program) program from a possible future participator of the program:)

As some of you might now, Ritsumeikan is giving the opportunity for students to take two master degrees in two years through the exchange programs they have with other schools. The countries you can choose from are Korea, Spain, America, England and the Netherlands.
My choice eventually fell upon the Korean school Kyunghee, and I'm now in my second (and last) semester here.

Anyway, here are the questions about Kyunghee and the DMDP program:

1. As a DMDP student you have to do two theses. What is the work load like? What is the expected length of one thesis? (It seems this always varies from school to school I've seen from 10,000-40,000 words)

  • The thesis for Ritsumeikan is up to 20,000 words. It is possible to make it a little bit longer too, but then you need to apply for it. For KyungHee the requirement is around 65 pages.

2. Do you have access to the academic materials you need or do you find it lacking?
  • For KyungHee you get the books used in the classes you have registered for (including auditing) for free. They have a library here, but for a wider selection of books you better utilize the main campus library instead, as the number of books here isn't that great.

3. Is there readily available internet access in your room, or is it limited to public areas? (I like to use Skype in private with my family and friends)
  • We have internet here, both in the rooms and on campus in general. In the rooms we use normal cables, but you can get free wifi for the rest of the campus through registering online with your student id.

4. I heard the accommodation fee is 3,000,000 won. What other additional fees did you have to pay?
  • There is a minor student body council fee of 30.000 won which covers student activities, but that is it. (Unless you miss more than 3 morning meditations, that is..)

5.Are you satisfied with the quality of the instruction?
  • I'm generally quite satisfied. We had some problems with one of the classes last semester due to some problems with the professor, but a lot of the students complained about it so hopefully the administration will improve the situation for the upcoming fall semester. Besides that I think the school offer interesting classes, and in general I think the standard of the classes is good as well.

6.Do you have any advice about the program?
  • Start preparing early! In order to graduate Kyunghee's program you'll have to pass a comprehensive exam which is supposed to be quite hard (I'll be taking it in April). Normally students take this exam during their second semester, but as a DMDP student you have to take it during the second semester. There are two exams spanding over two days; one for required courses and one for major courses. You have to take 3 major classes to be eligible for the exam, but only two of the subjects actually are included in the test.. 
  • Also, you should be aware that Kyunghee is a bit conservative regarding rules; as I mentioned in my blog you have to pay a punishment fee if you fail to participate in 3 morning meditations.

Other blogposts related to KyungHee and/or the DMDP:
A post showing pictures from our closest neighbor; the Bongseonsa Temple

Sunday, March 10, 2013

KyungHee's GIP Campus: The Samjeongseoheon Dorm

9:02:00 PM
My first week as a second semester student here at the GIP campus is over, and I have decided to write a short introduction of the Samjeongseoheon dorm where all students are obliged to stay during at least three of their semesters for the master degree programs the school has to offer.
Our Samjeongseoheon Dorm
Entrance to the dorm
The building is situated right behind the gym, and is a rather large 3-floor building with enough space for more than 50 students. Despite this the limit of students accepted to the school is rather small: they only accept approximately 10 students each semester so the total number of students here is around 40.
The dorm entrance

An old poster written with both hanja and hangul by the entrance

One of the common rooms in the building
While all the guy's rooms are on the first floor, girls rooms are on the second, and every student have to share a room with another student (with the exception of the student GDs and the President of the Student Council). Foreigners usually have to share room with a Korean student in order to better adapt to the Korean society. Unfortunately my Korean roommate had an urgent problem to attend to which forced her to delay her entrance to the GIP, so for a while I was quite uncertain of how things would turn out in regards to rooms this semester. But in the end I was very fortunate, as the office accepted the proposal of letting me share room with my Bangladeshi batch-mate Nazzina.
So this shows that there are exceptions to this rule, although I think this situation was a bit extraordinary.
My bedroom for the semester
Other facilities includes a large cafeteria in the basement, where we get three free meals a day. Breakfast usually consist of Western food such as bread, bacon, cornflakes etc etc, while the other two meals tend to be Korean style food. And the quality of the food is impressively good, especially considering that full-time students get the food here for free. Of course, if you have problems with spicy food that kind of limits your range of choice as there usually are quite a selection of just that... But in general there is always something edible on the menu.

Choosing lunch
Lunch time!
The school has also done some investments in our bathrooms during the vacation, and we now have a complete set of new toilets. The shower-room is also really nice, and probably relatively new too. Although we don't have any equipment besides a microwave (which we also got after this vacation) and a refrigerator I think we have all the necessary things to lead a rather comfortable life here.
We have gotten new toilets and sinks during the holiday, so the bathroom looks very nice.
Changing room for the showers

Shower room
Laundry room

Of course, the biggest disadvantages of living here are:
1. Distance to civilization (1 1/2 hour to Seoul by bus)
2. Mandatory morning meditation every weekday at 7 am
...But if you can survive those two factors you can basically lead a rather good life at the GIP. ^^

Address to the dorm:
Samjeongseoheon Dormitory
195 Gwangneun Sumokwon-ro
Gyeonggi-do 472-464

All my posts about Kyung Hee

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sightseeing in Tokyo: Tsukiji Fish Market and Shopping in Odaiba

12:58:00 PM
After having spent three weeks in Seoul following Yonsei University's intensive course in Korean I headed to Tokyo again for an interview that had been scheduled to take place during the last week of February.
I spent almost a week in Tokyo this time, and this time I had the chance to meet up with my German friend Silke who lived in the same dorm as me during my first semester in Kyoto. I guess it has been two years since last time I saw her.. Time sure flies!!

The entrance to うまい鮨勘
On Saturday Yuma and I had been planning to visit the Sky Tree, something we have been talking about doing ever since the building opened. This time it was the wind that stopped us: apparently one can't go ll the way to the top on days when it blows a lot, so we decided to save the trip for another occasion. Instead we took the trip down to Tsukiji, where Tokyo's well known fish market lies.
Cute glasses with sushi illustrations
Arriving there at noon we walked around for a while looking at the different fish-serving restaurants that was in the area. But although there were quite a large number of them they all seemed to have pretty long queues of potential guests too, despite the rather high prices for most of them. After having walked around the area for a little while we decided upon a restaurant called Umai Sushikan (うまい鮨勘) that seemed to have a pretty good menu, and not too many people lined up in front of it.

It was a nice and spacious restaurant in comparison to the other ones we had walked by (which might explain while the queue was relatively short), and we both got very delicious looking food. Along with the food we ordered they also included free miso-soup, which one could get free refills with as well! I was quite impressed by that, as free refills aren't too common in Japan.
The atmosphere of the restaurant was also quite nice; you could watch the sushi-chefs at work or just admire the fancy sushi-clocks hanging on the wall. For those out there who are really adventurous (or...?) they were also having whale meat on the menu..!
うまい鮨勘 築地市場店


People had to wait in line in front of the restaurant
A sushi-clock!
Sushi chefs in action

Next was time for a little trip to Odaiba, which is known as a kind of hot-spots for couples (especially the ones who likes shopping). We checked out the Japanese version of the Statue of Liberty there, and came to the conclusion that it definitively would be better to see the real one in New York, and that we also both would prefer to live close to the harbor in Yokohama. Anyway, we wandered around in the big shopping centers there for a couple of hours without actually buying anything. Yuma insisted that he had just had his payday and that he would buy me something if I wanted to, but I'm really not that interested in buying things just for the sake of buying things so in the end I didn't buy anything and neither did he. For me spending the day in good company was the best about our shopping trip, as the centers usually is the same old rush of people running around harvesting objects they don't really need. As always. I'll rather save up the money and use it to buy my next plane ticket to some exotic destination (spoiler: I'll visit Norway in August!!)
But now I'm on my way back to my school in Korea, ready for my second semester to start. So for now, the most exotic thing I'll see in the near future will be the forest surrounding Kyunghee University's GIP campus and the inside of the meditation room every morning at 7 am..

The Japanese version of the Statue of Liberty
Inside the shopping mall at Odaiba

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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