Centaku Media: South Korea Bound

I posted on my Twitter a while back of an acquisition of exciting proportions! It’s a key to an upcoming adventure coming later in 2019 that will change my life as I have made it to Level 30 on this planet. I have obtained my very first passport! It took a year, maybe more, or debate of where I should go for my first out of country trip. It originally started as just saying random things that may not come true, but a close friend of mine, who I will refer to as DJ Panda, suggested two places: South Korea or Japan.

A Passport from the United States

Passport: Acquired. Where to now?

With us being anime fans, we had to consider going to Japan. However, with a stronger interest in Korean culture, especially of K-Pop, this was another place to consider. We originally thought of going to Greece, with the benefit of checking out many of the historical sites, which would be cheaper compared to Japan and South Korea. However, we really wanted to go to one of these countries that calls out to us as modern culture enthusiasts.

South Korea

Seoul, Korea skyline from the Seoul Tower. (Photo: Gary Craig)

Every dream of one who is well versed in Korean culture. We were slowly gathering information of how much it costs to travel to South Korea. I had talked to a colleague at my job about traveling outside of the United States. When he was in the military, he was originally stationed in a town outside of Seoul near the DMZ, and he said it was very affordable compared to Japan, even the US. Also, a friend of ours, NameIsNew (who previously contributed on CentaMe!) lived in Korea for a little over two years with a teaching gig to survive. He is now back in the US, and has shared extensive information of what it’s like living in Korea, and what to see while we’re there.

Japan

Morning of Mt.Fuji (Photo: Kevin Dooley)

Again, every anime fan’s dream. However, this would be twice as expensive as going to Korea. Well… that’s what we thought at first. DJ Panda’s brother went to Japan on a honeymoon, and it took him getting a plane ticket, a hotel (via AirBnB), and even a rail ticket, which cost him $5,000 USD per person, for one week. Not counting spending money. There are many historical places to see in Japan, but we had not even decided on exactly where we are going, which would most likely be Tokyo. (I can feel my wallet cringe at the thought of setting foot into Akihabara.) In the few months after booking our trip to South Korea, I was fortunate enough to talk to friends, and friends of friends, who have been to Japan. The people I’ve talked to and were talked about, were able to survive in Japan for two weeks on $5,000. A huge difference from the $5,000 for one week’s stay.

The experiences I heard involved staying in the popular capsule hotels, which are very cheap compared to staying at a traditional hotel, or in an AirBnB setup. It also depends on where in Japan the person is staying, including the time of the year. Everyone has different experiences of staying in Japan for a short time. The take away from this is this: don’t listen to someone with questionable financial decisions. To explain: DJ Panda’s brother was well financially capable of spending maybe two weeks in Japan, but decided to spend it in style, which is sure the better option. But when you question someone who says “Oh, I’ve been to Japan 3 times in the past 5 years” working as a grocery store cashier, a barista, or as a dish washer, one needs to know the secrets!

The Final Answer

After much debate, we have decided to go to South Korea! Between the both of us, we felt that it was appropriate to go the source where our most current hobby is: K-Pop. Don’t get me wrong, if we had more money, we could go to both Korea and Japan in one month! Place tickets have been acquired, and a hotel reservation was made, with a definite trip date set for in the third week of October 2019. All that’s left now is to save up more funds to ensure survival, and to bring home souvenirs. But, I can only go to one country this year, as tempting as it sounds to go next door to Japan–but at least I’ll be able to touch down briefly in Toronto during the trip! I’m close to my savings goal, in which I’m halfway there! If you want to pitch in on the travel funds, you can buy me a Ko-Fi, or several!

Now that we have enough basic information of how much it is to go to Japan, it looks like it won’t be until 2021 until that happens. While next year would be a perfect chance to go with the Olympics heading to Tokyo, it probably not a  good idea being in the middle of the chaos that will ensue concerning traffic and living (and travel) expenses.

Have you been to Korea? Let us know what to check out in Seoul while we’re there! Also, if you’ve been to Japan, let the readers know of how you prepared and survived the trip for future interest!

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