August 29,1999: COARA's "school excursion" to Seoul, Korea  by Mie
One day in hot summer, one of the COARA members proposed, by chance and fun, to enjoy "real" Kimchi in Seoul. Others responded by nodding their heads saying, "So long as we networkers visit Seoul, why not backup World Soccer 2002, cosponsored by Korea and Japan, through exchanging Internet groups in both countries." Under the magnificent target, 11 COARA members headed to Seoul.
By coincidence, Mr. Miyase (standing) joined us from his high school teachers' pleasure trip to Seoul. We took a chartered bus from JR Oita station to Fukuoka airport. The Nakamuras joined the group in four families: Mr.G.T.Shirley (front left) and his wife (front right.)
We checked in at Kinki Nippon Tourist counter in Fukuoka International airport. Mr. Mori, the leader of the tour, soon takes movie
Luggage, pasports, airtickets, and departure formalities, all are ready? They are carefully checking the documents and explanation of the man in charge of the Tourist Company

After the formalities, we came up to the boarding counter. Our flight, Asiana Airlines, is waiting at the taxi. We are talking about the trip from now with expectation in the concourse. From left: Mr.Suyama, Mie, and Mrs. Nakamura.
All electronics devices were forbidden to use at take-off, but we are now on cruising comfortably by Asiana 131. Mr. Mori (right) soon takes video. Mr. Yuuki (left) wears COARA'S "Netizen" cap.
No sooner than relaxed by taking snacks, we have already landed Kimpo airport of Seoul. We passed immigration procedure without trouble and welcomed by a local guide of East-West Travel Agency.
Mr. Ahn , an old COARA member, also welcomed us together with his child. Mr. Mori heaves a sigh of relief.

We soon got on a bus of East-West Travel Agency. We started from the airport and entered Youido to visit the Diet Building (left), DLI63Bldg. -the tallest building in Korea-, crossed Hangang river, saw the Presidential Office, statue of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin in Sejongno main street, dropped in a duty-free shop, and finally arrived at Manhattan Hotel in Youido.
The guide has left after allocating the rooms and giving some comments on sightseeing. We put our luggage in the room and meet Mr. Ahn who will take us to a nice Korean restaurant. We took a we-were-there picture in front of the Hotel:
from front left; Mr. Ahn , his son Mr.Kanguhn, Mr. Masaru Nakamura, Mr. Inoue, Mr. Suyama, from middle left; Mr.Shirley, Miss Megumi Nakamura, Mrs. Nakamura, Ms. Fujii, Mr. Yuuki, Mr. Kuboki, and Mr. Miyase. (Pictured by Mie.)

Mr. Mori quickly spotted a street vender who sells roasted silkworm pupas - he was intending to try the food from the early stage of the planning of the trip. He soon bought a cup of the roasted silkworm pupas by 1,000 Won. I ventured to try it timidly, the tast had the flavor of soybean paste, it was thick enough for me after all. The cup is very popular in Korea, they say.
Now let's go for the "real" Kimchi foods! Youido is a large sandbank in Hangang river on which the Diet Building stands. There are many large buildings such as the National Diet Library, the Diet Members' Office Building, banks, Securities exchange, and TV stations. Among the building is a large park in which the statue of King of Sejong who invented Hankul, Korean language.

All the members were in high tension in walking and getting down to a subway station. This is the first experience for us to buy tickets by ourselves, Mrs. Nakamura and her children try a vending machine (left.) I said a clerk at the window to buy a ticket. The officer gets me a ticket of 500 Won in smile. I met Mr. Ahn (center) for the first time in five years. On the right is his boy.
After a transit, we arrived at downtown Shinchon and entered a restaurant on the thriving street. Mr. Ahn kindly arranged dishes for us. We enjoyed much

The dish was of pork "Karubi(grilled meat)". We put various ingredients like "Kochijan(hot peppar paste)", grilled garlic slice, and salt on the meat, then wrap it with a leaf of "Sanche(green leaf)", a kind of lettuce. Adding Kimchi is also recommended. We can ask another "Sanche(green leaf)" or Kimchi at will whenever they run out.

Thanks to Mr. Ahn , we could enjoy tasty dishes tonight. We were pleased very much. The landlady of the restaurant saw us off. I spoke with her in broken English. She said, "See you again here in "Arilan" restaurant."
We then strolled around the district. Many youngsters fill the street pleasantly. I found such a lovely show-window. Kitty characters in pink is all the rage with young people here in Seoul.

The other half of the large Kitty's shop is used as an Internet cafe corner. Young couples enjoy the web sharing a PC (left.) We also tried to call up our COARA's top page only to find strange lines of Hangul. Even though, we could enter our popular "Seeing is believing" page, and we wrote some message on it. We then returned the hotel by a taxi. Mr. Ahn said he would kindly come to us again. The first day in Seoul was over like this without any trouble.

Mie Home