Tag Archives: Flights

Yattaa!! Planes and Trains to Osaka

Today was the big day to move onto part 2 of our month long vacation. Our flight was to depart at 10:10 AM but we decided to get up at 6 AM to be out the door by 7 AM. BIG mistake.

Of course, we left at 7:15 AM instead of 7 and had to taxi over to Seoul Station. Once we got there, we hauled our asses along with our 15 lbs of makeup and clothes to the ticket counter. We picked up our 2 tickets for the Airport Express which would get to the airport by 8:45 AM at the earliest. Shit! That would be cutting it real close but we had no choice.

As soon as the train opened the doors, we bolted. We had to find Asiana airlines to check in but Incheon International Airport is pretty huge. And I made the mistake of going towards section A only to find a bunch of Korean Air kiosks. I checked with an Info Desk lady only to find out Asiana literally was on the OPPOSITE SIDE.

It must have been the length of a football field to get over there. It was a sight. The 2 of us rolling our bags, sweating our asses off from the stress and the extra weight we put on from the eating.

Once we got to the Asiana line, we heard over the intercom, “last call for flight number 01070 bound for Tokyo, please check-in at the counter immediately.”

We cut a few customers and ran to the counter. Our service rep was calm and proceeded to check us in. Phew!

From there we were able to get onboard without too much of a rush, but let that be our lesson. Never again, please.

Just landed in Narita Airport

Just landed in Narita Airport

Our flight to Tokyo was a quick 2 hour ride. We also happened to sit next to a Korean American who was on vacation from having worked in Korea for the past year. After chatting with him for the whole flight, we found out that he was our age and was also going to Tokyo and Osaka but during opposite days so we would just miss him. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant surprise to be able to have met him on our way to Tokyo and it really gave us a good start to part 2 of our excursions.

Once we arrived to Narita airport, we could immediately feel a difference in the atmosphere. There were more foreigners around and definitely a lot less English. We managed to get our JR Passes, which would get us around Japan for our 2 weeks, and proceeded to wait for the Narita Express.

About to ride the Narita Express

About to ride the Narita Express

Reserved seating with our JR pass

Reserved seating with our JR pass

Since we were actually bound for Osaka, we had a few transfers to make and 4 hours of train rides to get to our destination. It was a struggle. We found the train system nothing like Korea’s and were a bit thrown off and utterly confused. Somehow, we managed to get to our station at Shin-Imimiya, but after lots of lucky guesses.

Our arrival to Shin-Imimiya was… unexpected. As we set foot out of the station, we could hear the loud ringing of Pachinko slots. And as we followed our AirBnb instructions to the location, we passed by several old homeless men, trudging along or propped against a wall with a cigarette, devoid of hope and aspirations.

One of the instructions indicated that once we saw a hospital with a green cross and a picture of a hippopotamus, we should cross the street. We did just that and were led down a dark alleyway with a few old shops, an old sushi bar with a few patrons inside, and alas–Yoccola Islands.

Our share house kitchen

Our share house kitchen

Once we punched in the code and stepped in, we immediately saw an Asian man and an Asian woman cooking in the kitchen.

“Umm, hello?” I quietly let out.

The woman was peeling apart some cabbage and pleasantly responded, “Hi! Did you guys just get in?”

After a bit of chatting and introductions, we found out that the two were from Canada and they, with their 2 kids, were also staying in the place. We knew that we would be staying at a “sharehouse”, but really had no idea what that entailed. As I soon discovered, the sharehouse was like an apartment in that the common areas were shared with other guests but everyone got their own room. The place had 3 floors but was by no means very big. The first floor had a kitchen by the entrance, 2 showers for all guests, and 2 guest rooms. The second floor had 4 rooms for guests. And the 3rd floor was the rooftop where the laundry machines were located. It was impressive how much was crammed into such a small space.

So we made our way to our room on the second floor. In order to go up the stairs, you have to go down the hall and make a very sharp turn directly onto the staircase. The space at the foot of the stairs is a few INCHES from the wall and you have to step directly onto the first step from the side to get up. I would not be surprised if some larger people could not physically fit through the space to get on the step.

We managed to squeeze through and get to the second floor and into our room.

Our own little sink in our room

Our own little sink in our room

Tatami style room!

Tatami style room!

The room was small but very cute. We got to sleep on tatami mats which were surprisingly comfy. It was quaint and cozy.

Once we were settled, we were ready to find some dinner nearby. On our way out, David, the husband from Canada we met earlier, offered to walk us over to the nearby restaurants. As he led us a few yards away, he chatted with us and told us that the location we were in was notoriously known as the most dangerous and poorest part of Osaka, even Osakans don’t set foot here.

Umm. Great.

We even looked this up later and he was right. But!!
Even though we were initially worried, we quickly discovered later that even though the area was poor and dangerous, it was only relative to Osaka. And we found the area was really not that unsafe or dangerous at all! Compared to most places in the States, I would rather be here any day. Seriously, little old Japanese men aren’t nearly as scary as the 6″+ heat-packing thugs and cholos that plague LA.

We went down the old shopping arcade that David brought us to and found an awesome sushi restaurant that had an amazing figure of the owner with animated eyebrows and glasses. Okay, you got us.

Salmon sushi

Salmon sushi

Tuna sushi nom

Tuna sushi nom

Tiny uni sushi

Tiny uni sushi

Eel sushi

Eel sushi

Piggy and the sushi

Piggy and the sushi

We ordered plenty as you can tell. But to our dismay, the sushi was good but not great as we had overly anticipated. We came to realize that’s because it was cheap sushi.

With our “appetizers” in, we continued to roam the arcade for more food.

The shinsekai shopping arcade mostly closed down

The shinsekai shopping arcade mostly closed down

The sizzling sounds from this okonomiyaki shop called to us. We went in.

Small little Okonomiyaki restaurant

Small little Okonomiyaki restaurant

Little grill at our table

Little grill at our table

Pork with some refreshing beer

Pork with some refreshing beer

Our decadent okonomiyaki with seafood

Our decadent okonomiyaki with seafood

The okonomiyaki was hearty and tasty. The chunks of octopus, pork belly, salmon, and shrimp were all well cooked. And the density of the mix was just right.

Ahh what a way to kick off Japan. This meal was a solid signal for good times ahead.

– pork

Anyeong Seoul and BooZA Chicken!

SEOUL!!!!!! After what felt like the longest day of my life, we have finally arrived!! Yay!! I’ve forgotten how strenuous international flights are on the mind and body. Big props to those of you who do this on a regular basis. Anyway, we took Singapore Airlines to Seoul and I do have to say this is probably the best airline to take for those long haul flights. Everything from the service for checking in to the food and movie choices, I felt like I’ve been missing out on this “royalty” treatment this entire time. (As opposed to just calling out, “Next!” from behind the kiosk, THEY come up to the front of line and escort you to their kiosk.) Don’t get me wrong, there are still flaws in the system (we were delayed by 20-30 minutes), BUT they kept us very well informed. There was a last minute gate change and while Pork and I were sitting at the wrong gate for 10 minutes, someone (I believe he worked for Singapore Airlines) came up to us (as well as all others who were sitting at this gate) and informed us that the gate had changed for our flight.

Once we boarded, they pass out hot towels to each person (they do this again later in the flight, btw) and while we were looking at the entertainment guide, Pork and I notice that there were all these movies that we’ve been wanting to watch and haven’t seen yet!! So excited!!! During our flight, I watched The Lego Movie, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2, and I started American Hustle but I started getting a headache and slightly airsick so I didn’t get very far. I was so sad I didn’t get to watch Gravity (which Pork did, as opposed to Hunger Games) or 12 Years As A Slave! ๐Ÿ™ I looked at their TV choices and they had a full old season of Friends and other popular TV shows as well as international choices. As for the food, I would say it’s probably the best airplane food I’ve had EVER (compared to what I’ve had in the past on United and Eva). I don’t want to bore you all with the details for our meals but for lunch, there was “ice cream” listed as the dessert and I was expecting a frozen container of some random generic brand, but they passed out IT’S-ITS!!!!! For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a cookie ice cream sandwich covered in chocolate. Google it. For you dessert people out there, this sounds like heaven, right? What airline does that!??!?? I’ll tell you who! SINGAPORE!!! Ok, maybe I’m a little too excited about this but I thought my flight experience was really great (minus the airsick part). I can assure you I’m not affiliated with Singapore Airlines at all, I’m just a very happy customer and I will promote ANYTHING when I have an awesome experience. Hope I’ve convinced you to look into them next time you plan that long flight for your next travel adventure. ๐Ÿ™‚

Beautiful, buzzing Seoul Station

Beautiful, buzzing Seoul Station

Pork (left) and Piggy (right) looking tired

Pork (left) and Piggy (right) looking tired

Awesome billboard outside Seoul Station

Awesome billboard outside Seoul Station

Beautiful buildings

Beautiful buildings

It was a beautiful night. There was a light haze that made the scene more beautiful, casting a glow around the lights.

Outside of Gwanghwamun Station

Outside of Gwanghwamun Station

We found the general building to our place just fine but didn’t know how to get to our room! Ack! We had an address and approached a security guard with it. Thankfully he pointed us to the right building and told us “upstairs”. Once we found the entrance, finding our room was pretty easy. ย And at laaaaast….

Our awesome Bbungalow room through air bnb

Our awesome Bbungalow room through air bnb

We made it! Nice place right? It even comes with a hidden kitchen.

Comes with a hidden kitchen

Comes with a hidden kitchen

They also have cute art in the room like this “Red Bull”.

Cute art decorate the room

Cute art decorate the room

After getting settled and cozy in our room, we were ready to eat our first meal in Seoul. We roamed around the area by our place and could tell it was getting late from the prevalence of drunk people. It was a sign that people were done for the night. But because Seoul and our location was so awesome, there were plenty of restaurants nearby still teeming with businessmen and classy couples.

We opted for a fried chicken joint called BooZA Chicken. Because, well, it’s got a great name! Boooooooo-Zaaaaaaaaaaaa~ See? Fun to say. When we got seated, the waiter quickly realized we were American but was still extremely friendly. Great service. He even offered to take a picture for us.

Waiter took our photo at BooZA Chicken

Waiter took our photo at BooZA Chicken

We are pretty tired in this pic but oh did that ice cold beer taste so refreshing– zaaaaaaaa~~

You can also see the plating we got below.

Dinner set

Dinner set

When we ordered, Pork picked the first item in the menu since he knew it read oh-ri-ji-neol chi-kin. But later he realized that it was just “original chicken” in Korean Lol.

BooZA Chicken menu

BooZA Chicken menu

After about 15 minutes our chicken arrived. And wowwwwww it looked so good.

GLORIOUS super crispy fried chicken

GLORIOUS super crispy fried chicken

Our order was a whole chicken aptly separated in thighs, drumsticks, and wings with some potato wedges. They served 2 delectable sauces with the chicken: spicy sweet sauce and super garlicky awesome sauce. The set cost 18,000 won and 6,000 won for 2 beers. That’s 24,000 won or roughly $24 USD in all but so worth it.

It was piping hot but it didn’t stop us from digging in. The first bite… *Crrrrrrunnnchhh*!!! Super crispy skin and tender meat. Seasoned perfectly. It was soooooo good. And it didn’t feel greasy at all! If you never had Korean Fried Chicken (different KFC haha), it’s on a whole new level from any American fried chicken.

And we finished all of it! Boo-Za!!!

Pork enjoying Chicken 8)

Pork enjoying Chicken 8)

-piggy