Korean New Year… in Japan

새해 복 많이 받으세요! That is Happy New Year in Korean and is appropriate for today because it is in fact Korean New Year. Wow, Jo is posting something relevant and in a timely manner? What is happening, she must be on holiday? Lunar New Year is celebrated in countries other than China alone, including places like Korea, Vietnam and Singapore.

Korean New Year is called ‘Seollal’ and I was really looking forward to celebrating my first Seollal this year… but I’m in Japan. I had to use this new year holiday to do a visa run in Fukuoka, Japan and sadly, that meant missing out on all of the fun! I’d love to tell my readers more about the food of Seollal, what people traditionally wear and maybe go out and photograph the scene in Seoul. Instead, I’m in a cold hotel room in Fukuoka writing this blog post before I head out for the day to take more pictures! No Korean pancakes for me.

If you weren’t aware, I usually post my Japan-related photographs and musings on my other blog called ‘Jopan‘ that I have been updating since high school. Be sure to read some of the posts if you’re interested in travelling in Japan or Japanese culture. Because I’m not a very good blogger, I am going to recycle the words I used on my Jopan blog to accompany the photos I took in Fukuoka yesterday so here we go!

This week I took some time over Korean ‘Seollal’ (Lunar New Year) to travel to Fukuoka, Japan. If you’ve been reading this blog (Jopan) for a while, you may know that I have travelled to Japan on many occasions (this being my sixth time) but have never visited the cities on the island of Kyushu, Japan’s southwesternmost island. Arriving here yesterday definitely felt like the Japan I knew with the punctual subway system, the endless selection of tasty Japanese snacks at the convenience stores and the chatter of the Japanese language everywhere I went. However, this city feels eerily different. The roads are flat, the streets are quiet, the cars drive without a honk, the buildings stay low to the skyline and the people are extremely friendly, like super friendly.

I think I’m having this reaction to these unfamiliar yet comforting Japanese surroundings perhaps because the last time I was in Japan, I did not have such a fun experience. Back in January 2018, I was staying alone in Tokyo in a 3cm x 1mm Airbnb and could barely muster the courage to walk the chaotic yet lifeless streets of Japan’s capital city. By contrast, this small city on the opposite end of Japan feels like the manicured city that serves as the backdrop in ‘The Truman Show’. Wes Anderson could definitely create a Dr. Seuss inspired mystery movie in this city with little need to adjust the colours or quaintness of the buildings.

To have a bit of fun, I decided to go a bit unorthodox with the editing of the photographs I took today. I hope that you enjoy them! Japan, it’s great to be back! I hope to see more of the beautiful Fukuoka over the next two days. Let me know what you think about Fukuoka in the comments below!

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By the way, thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoy reading my blog. I have made some changes to it recently which included this new logo! If you or someone you know is interested in commissioning any blog design work or illustrations, I am more than available to do so! I’ll be adding more changes soon so be sure to follow my blog or sign up below to get email notifications when I post something new! Thank you, friend! Have a happy new year!

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