December 30th is Rick’s birthday, and in 2011 we decided just a day or two before this that we would take a last minute get-a-way to Korea’s neighbor Japan.

We decided to visit the city of Fukuoka for two nights: Dec. 30th and 31st 2011. Even though this was a last second trip, this ended up being a really good choice for a number of reasons. First, visiting anywhere new for New Years Eve celebrations is always a good idea and can be really fun. This trip was. Also, we received a good deal between flight and hotel, and so the trip wasn’t expensive at all. Plus because Japan is not far from Korea, the flight was only about 2 hours from Incheon (Seoul) to Fukuoka so we weren’t tired from traveling at all even though we were country hopping.

It’s just still so weird for me to be living all the way over in Korea here for so long, and still hardly know anything about Japan other than having visited only for a couple days. I was (and very much still am!) an Asian drama and anime fanatic. I started on anime, switched to Japanese and Taiwanese dramas, and then eventually Korean. When I began watching anime and then dramas, I was still living in the U.S., a fan like anyone around the world, fantasizing about what the countries were like, and watching dramas closely for details about actual daily living and things of this sort.

Now that I live in Korea it’s not a fantasy anymore, the majority of what Korea is day by day. I no longer what into a corner store, for example, and marvel at the unusual variety of snacks they have for sale. But, of course, that is still EXACTLY what happens to me when I visit Japan. I even did a video review of a Japanese snack in my hotel room during this trip. I may know my way around Japanese dramas a bit, but I still know very little about the country from personal experience.

Like, take eating sushi. I have done it before, in the U.S. and in Korea. But how often have I done it in Japan? Until this trip, only once! That one time was when Rick and I were on a one day layover in Tokyo on our way to Europe a few summers ago. One night in Tokyo and what did we end up eating? Of course sushi! What else would I possibly want to eat if I only had one day in Japan? How about 2 nights like we had on this trip? Sushi of course. It’s always sushi in this girl’s eyes. Yay, safe to say I need to branch out a bit on my Japanese cuisine.

And because I don’t know that much about Japan, it STILL seems like this fantasy land for me, a place where dreams can come true, a place to totally eat sushi whenever I want.. even though it’s more expensive than anything I have ever eaten in Korea.

Japan, unlike Korea where I have real responsibilities like studying, working, etc., is a place a I can still dream about . In a really weird way, this is comforting to me.