Golden Week (Nagasaki Ship Festival and Seoul, Korea)

I’m actually the worst at updating this thing because I keep meaning to update but then I always land up forgetting. So here’s a post, so I can catch you guys up on the last couple of weeks.
So the spring semester in Japan is from April until August. So while everyone else is done with school, I will be here all summer. Which is totally cool, but that means I’m gonna be posting throughout June and July!
During the last week of April, there was a festival in Nagasaki where there would be all different kinds of ships from different countries. It’s really pretty at night when the boats are all lit up. On Monday and Tuesday (April 28th and 29th) of that week, there were supposed to be fireworks signaling the opening of the festival. So a few friends and I went down to the harbor to see the ships and the fireworks on both nights. The ships weren’t very big but they were definitely impressive. They had all different kinds of ships, from places like Japan, Korea, Russia, and even America! Although I didn’t go on any of these ships (because I have an irrational fear of ships and boats) I heard that they were really cool on the inside. The whole experience was really cool because I got to hang out with some cool people, eat some great food, and meet a few new people. And plus, fireworks! Who doesn’t love those!
And I even managed to catch a few pictures of the festival:







From May 1st to May 7th, we had a few days off because of Golden Week (a holiday in Japan), so a few friends and I decided to go to Seoul, Korea. I was super excited because besides Japan, I hadn’t really traveled outside of the US. And here I was, in just a few months, traveling to another country in Asia!
It was honestly a great experience. I didn’t know what to expect when I first got to Korea, but it went beyond what I thought it was going to be. Seoul is a larger city than Nagasaki, so it was almost refreshing to get a change of scenery. We did a lot of things there, like trying new foods, shopping and sightseeing!
I had never really tried Korean food before (like maybe once or twice), but it was really cool to try different kinds of Korean food. The kimchi was amazing. But it was also pretty cool because they had things like pizza and Taco Bell (which I know aren’t very exciting, but after being in Nagasaki for so long, with only Japanese food really available, it was pretty great).




I also got to ride the subway quite a lot in Korea, which was pretty cool. Their subways are nothing like the ones in New York. They’re actually really clean (or so they seem) and pretty new-looking. I don’t ride the subway often in New York, in fact I avoid it unless I absolutely have to, and so I was a little nervous about riding it. Especially since I know absolutely NO Korean whatsoever. But it was actually very easy to figure out and a lot of the signs were in English.
We saw a lot of really amazing things while we were there. But two things that I need to mention are the Deoksugung Castle and the Jogyesa Buddhist Temple.
The castle was so impressive and absolutely gorgeous:
















The temple was also really cool to see. Especially since on the days that we visited we actually went on a holiday celebrating Buddha’s birthday! So we got to see the temple on one day and then the festival on the following day! My friends and I even made a wish that they hung on a lantern at the festival!
Here’s some of the pictures:













Overall it was a really cool experience and I would advise anyone who is planning on studying abroad to try and travel as much as they can. I don’t think I would have ever had this experience had I not already been studying abroad!



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