Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Proliferation of Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kream was intoduced to Nagoya in early 2010, the first shop was at Nagoya station, about 4.7km from my apartment.
A couple of weeks ago I was walking through Sakae station and found a second Krispy Kream under central park, this one only 2.3km from my apartment.  I also learned there is a third Krispy Kream at Ozone Station, also about 2.3km from my apartment, but in a different direction...  I just wish Dunkin' Donuts would open here.
Above is MisDo at Kanayama Station, it's the only donut place open between my apartment and work early in the morning. I stop here once in a while for a quick bite before meetings.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Making a Shine Temple: Part 3

October 2009, work started on a shrine across the street from my apartment. Single lane street.
Two years and one month later, work completed on a temple across the street from my apartment, a street that is now a two lane road.  The temple 'new open' was actually on November 11, 2011, the day I was leaving for Thanksgiving in Detroit.  Unfortunately, I had to leave for the airport before the celebration began.  The grand opening was probably the first and maybe last chance to see the inside of the temple.  Note, monks were able to complete a temple faster than the city of Nagoya was able to complete a road.
The temple is a really beautiful building, but it turns that is typical that you have to be a monk or a member of the temple to go inside.  I did not know that.
The monks occasionally do open the front gate, I assume it's okay to walk around and check out the garden area.  So here is a quick tour, below is the front gate.
Just inside the gate and to the left is basin for washing your hands when you enter the temple.  The water for this basin is provided by a dragon.
Some Japanese characters over the front door, I don't think it's the name of the temple because these characters don't match the ones at the front gate.
Looking back from the temple, you can see the inside of the front gate and my apartment in the background.
One last view looking back at the temple from the corner of the rock garden.  I hope one day when I'm walking home the temple will be open for tours.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sacheon, South Korea

I spent my second free day in southern South Korea taking a tour of Gyeongnam area around the city of Sacheon. From Busan, it's really easy to get to Sacheon by taking a bus from the Sasang Intercity Bus Terminal.  Last time I visited this terminal in November 2011 it was a mess, mostly dirt and construction.  Now it's all new, glass roof with nice and easy-to-read signs. 
Once you get to Sacheon you will find there is no really good way to get around, bus services are more people who live in the area and not for tourists.  So a couple of friends and I hired a taxi to drive us around to a bunch of different sites.  In areas like this, a taxi is a practical way to get around, the 5 hour tour cost around $30 each.
The first stop was Goseong Dinosaur Museum, below is how a pimp dinosaur walking a beach in South Korea would have looked 100 million years ago.
The museum was fun, I have not seen dinosaur stuff since grade school.  Other than a pamphlet in English everything in the museum was labeled in Korean (except for no photograph signs).  The pamphlet described the fossil below as a herbivore that lived in asia during the Mesozoic era, but did not say what kind of herbivore it was.  I'm guessing this is the prized fossil at the museum.
Outside the main hall was a large dinosaur park full of dinosaur sculptures.  The park included a walk to a nearby rocky shoreline, a location where many footprints were found.
After leaving the museum, the taxi driver took us to Nosan Park, outside the Palpo Raw Fish Town.  Below is a view looking out from the port.  This body of water is also the Hallyeo Maritime National Park, so I guess the fishermen need to motor out beyond those mountains before they start fishing.
This gazebo was located at the point of the park that jetted the most out into the waterway.
Next stop on the tour was Baekcheonsa Temple, a well known in this area for having a laying down buddha.
These things were all around the main hall above.  They spin.
Below is a court yard at the base of the temple, kind of the lowest point in the complex.
Korean temple bell.
Here is the famous laying down buddha, it difficult to tell but this statue is huge.

Walk-ways between buildings were covered overtop with lanterns, I assume this would be beautiful at night.  At first I thought they were candles and would be difficult to light up, but it turns out the monks are using light bulbs.
This is one of the last stops on the tour, it's a grave site that dates back to the 2nd Battle of Sacheon, 1598, that took place during the Japanese invasion of Korea.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Busan, South Korea

I spent the first full week of 2012 in southern South Korea and had time over the weekend to tour around the cities of Busan and Sacheon.  Although I have visited this area in the past, this is the fist chance I had to be a tourist, I decided to go to Beomeosa Temple, a famous temple in Busan.

To get here, I had to take a bus from the city of Sacheon (where I was staying), a subway and another bus to the temple entrance. The temple is on the side of a mountain, it's really convenient to take the bus to the entrance.  I did not do much planning and did not know what to expect when I got to the temple, but it turned out to be a nice place, very relaxing.
Monks everywhere, these monks are famous for Ando martial arts, they are fighting monks.
Below is not the Beomeosa Temple, but I could not read what the name of the temple is because nothing was in English...
Another temple near Beomeosa.
Because of my lack of planning, I did not know Beomeosa was a trailhead to other places higher up on the mountain, for example, the North Gate at 1.6km away.  Thought to myself, "wow, North Gate, got to check that out!"
The trail up the mountain is all rocks, kind of difficult to walk.
Someone in Korea is bad at math.  The sign above is at the base of Beomeosa and says 1.6km to north gate.  The sign below is half way up the trail and says 1.4km to Beomeosa and 1.1 km to north gate (the note inside the parenthesis on the right side marker), so crap, now this path is 2.5km long.
More rock path, towards the top of the mountain ice started to from on the rocks.  So you have to walk carefully.
After 1.6km or 2.5km, here is the north gate (seemed more like 2.5km). The North Gate is one of four entrances to the Geumjeong Fortress.  The Geumjeong Fortress is huge and I did not get a chance to really see the rest of the fortress, but I did find a sign to the summit of Geumjeongsan Mountain. The summit was another 1.1km away.
I decided to give it a go, this is a view from near the summit looking North over Busan.
I made it! The summit of  Geumjeongsan Mountain is at 801.5 meters (2630ft), the trailhead starts at 310 meters and I have no idea the trail distance to get here. I was not really planning on hiking something like this but was happy that I was able to make it. first ever Korean haircut, only $8.
I wanted to take a different trail back to the subway, but not sure where any of these trails lead too, so I decided to just go back he same way I came here (Buk Mun).
 This is another view from near the summit, you can see the North Gate towards the right of the photo.
 It's like a mini great wall of china.