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South Korea


Gate to Ch'angdokkung Palace

Do you think Koreans like their material goods?

If an old woman walks right past you in a line or pushes her way through you like you don't exist- don't be alarmed or offended, apparently this is acceptable behavior for them. Also note that in China there is very little likelihood of a queue, whoever pushes there way to the front is served first. When you learn to start doing this you know you are assimilating well.

In Piwon- the 'Secret Garden' area of the palace complex

Seoul Drum Festival, apparently the first year it was held

Observations on Seoul:
As a whole, some of the most beautiful women I have seen in any city.
Almost every male is required to serve time in the Army, where they train every recruit on Tae Kwon Do. Probably not a smart country to pick a fight in.
There are police everywhere, including two at the entry stair to every subway station with full riot gear.
Didn't see any good fake watches like in Saigon or Bangkok, but lots of cheap silk ties to be had.

Always ready for that next student riot

Entering the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), probably one of the odder "tourist attractions" in the world
Camp Bonifas, P'anmunjom area

North and South Korea are technically still at war, as a truce was never signed. You can see this is the case with the barbed wire and guard posts lining every shore. Even earlier this year a North Korean submarine was found off shore with its commandos/spies having killed themselves or having to be hunted down. In 1976 the tree chopping incident occurred here where two American Army officers were killed, including a first lieutenant that had graduated from my ROTC program at the University of Florida. Sometimes you just never know.

1LT Lee-Sue looks into North Korea (actually got to step onto that side briefly)

In the Army many of the people that thought they were hard core went to Korea, as it was considered a hardship assignment. The train of thought was that if you wanted to see combat that this was the most likely place you would get it. Ironic that when the Gulf War broke out everyone in Korea wasn't allowed to go as they couldn't have people leave here, so these soldiers missed their combat patch.
If a war were to break out here the common theory was that North Korea would overwhelm the South (Seoul, where most U.S. forces are, is within artillery range of the North, so life expectancy wouldn't be huge) but that the U.S. could make it back in at the bottom of the penninsula and go from there, if there wasn't a nuclear exchange first.

I made it to Berlin, the Soviet Union, and Vietnam (thankfully) after their "times" had passed. While not totally tense, I have managed to catch some of this one (with a little work hopefully I'll make Cuba too). With millions starving and the military the only functioning thing in North Korea, it's my opinion that something's gotta give soon.

Korean War Memorial
Pretty cool- I showed the ticket office girl my American military ID and she let me in for free. Usually I would refrain from showing that bad boy when intrernational for fear of being targeted. Or now thanks to George W looked at angrily. [4/04 note added]
Itaewon area, Seoul

I should also mention that I got several shirts and two suits made in the short time I was here. Suits were about $200 each and once he took my measurements I just handed him a pic I had ripped out of GQ for the design. Was supposed to get a few shoes mailed to me, but they never showed up.

Kansai region, Japan

Rich in front of one of the many pachinko establishments- which I still don't totally get

Me and two random Japanese babes
Dotombori, Osaka

"If you would understand men, study women."

Osaka Castle

Todai-ji Temple, Nara
A UNESCO World Heritage site

"Sika deer, regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, roam the grounds freely."

"Colossal bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese simply as the Daibutsu"

Byodoin Temple, Uji

Foreigners do Halloween in Japan
Some packed bar, Osaka
Was it the Hard Rock Cafe? I know we went there at some point.
I'm in a karate outfit, a green belt. In that part of the world that is second only to a black belt, as opposed to someone fairly novice over here. In Korea I probably would have been looking to get my ass beat. Also thankfully there were others there than just men dressed up as Japanese school girls (although those get-ups wouldn't have been too unusual at my business school either).


Call me- Papa-san!
On the "Johnny Hillwalker" walking tour

Placing a stone on this Shinto gate is supposed to bring success in business

Touring with the Ozzies Gail, Yvonne, and Bruce
In front of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-Ji Temple)

Doin' a capsule hotel baby
Amerika-Mura area, Osaka

"I am not young enough to know everything."

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