10 Things That Might Surprise You About Japan

Last week I finally got the chance to visit Japan, something that had been on my bucket list since arriving in Korea a year ago. I went to Osaka and Kyoto for 6 days and had an absolute blast (despite some treacherous weather)!

Like every tourist, I had my preconceptions about what the country would be like. Most things met my high expectations; the food, the history, the weather. But, there were some aspects of Japanese life and culture that really surprised me (in good and bad ways.)

Here are some weird and wonderful things I noticed in the Land of the Rising Sun. Some of them might surprise you too.

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5 Things I Hate About Korea

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the 5 things I love about Korea. Sure, there’s a lot to love about this weird and wonderful place. But it’s certainly not perfect.

I’ve been living in Korea for a whole year now, and generally I’ve enjoyed my time here.  However, like every country, it has its faults. There’s plenty of things I’ve found surprising, gross and downright irritating about being in Korea.

The time has finally come to expose the absolute worst things about living in Korea. Or, more specifically, a few things I’m personally not a fan of. Let’s begin!

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Where’s Where In Jeonju? A Newcomer’s Guide

When I first arrived in Jeonju almost a year ago, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I didn’t know where to shop, where to eat or where to drink. And it’s not the sort of thing you can look up on Wikipedia.

It took me several months to identify the distinct areas I now know so well, and today I’m spreading the word. Life for Jeonju newbies will suddenly get much easier!

I’ve located 5 key areas in the city, all of which are worth visiting for different reasons. For each, I have pinned somewhere roughly in the centre (you’re welcome). Read on to find out more.

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The Perils of Teaching American English

The following is a guest article written by Jamie Hoyle.

The recruitment criteria for teaching EFL in Korea are simple. Have a degree. Have a criminal record without any brutal murders. Obtain a letter of shameless praise from an old manager or university professor. Wake up at 5am for a Skype interview. Speak English.

Speak English.

I speak English. I speak the most English English there is. I am English. It’s the only language I know. I will teach more people to speak just like me. I’m perfect.

Well, kind of.

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A Definitive Ranking Of Soju Flavours

The popularity of soju in Korea is unlike anything I’ve seen before. You’ll find its distinctive green bottles at every convenience store, on the table at every Korean restaurant, and resting beside a passed out Korean on almost every street corner.

If you ask me, soju tastes a lot like watered down vodka, and its original “flavours” are pretty hard to swallow. It is also pretty lethal stuff which famously gives you an awful hangover.

But there’s a reason it’s so popular with Koreans and foreigners alike. Soju is strong (about 13%), incredibly cheap (a bottle costs about £1/$1.50) and super fun to try while you’re here. It’s all about embracing the local culture, right?

Thankfully, there are a variety of different flavours to try too – some of which taste better than others. I ventured out to buy as many varieties I could find – there were 8 in total – and got some friends together to carry out a very scientific and not at all tipsy taste test. Here is the definitive ranking of all the the soju varieties I could get my hands on, from worst to best.

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