Last night in Osaka and farewell Japan

6 04 2010

On Saturday we had pancakes for breakfast with Atsu in Kyoto, before packing our bags and catching the train to Osaka.

Once we had checked into our hotel near the Shin-Osaka station we went to Green Earth restaurant for lunch. Last time we were in Osaka it was closed for O-bon holidays. It was cheap and simple food, but vegan. Unfortunately they have removed soy cheese from the menu so we couldn’t get a vegan pizza. We settled for the lunch set and a spicy hot sand.

We had dinner in the hotel and repacked our suitcases (again) and did a final load of washing in Japan. We watched some TV- the best Japanese TV seems to be in Kansai kingdom. We watched a game show with human curling competitions and stayed up to watch the Sarah Connor Terminator show in English.

Sunday morning we left the hotel early and caught the Shinkansen at 8.02am.  3 hours later (and after using the office seat in the reserved section that had powerpoints for laptop chargers) we were in Hakata. We had to catch a taxi to the International Ferry Terminal since we had only 15 minutes until we had to check in on the ferry.

At the terminal we got our boarding passes, submitted our alien cards, went through customs, immigration and into the duty free shops then onto the little jet foil JR beetle. We left Japan around 12 noon, and arriving at South Korean immigration and customs around 3pm. We think there was a total of 3 white foreigners on board, including us. The rest of the passengers were Koreans and Japanese.

Straight out the exit door and there was the shuttle bus to Busan train station. Tickets were only 900 won (about 90 cents) – Korea is already cheaper than Japan!

From Busan station we had about 4 minutes to find our KTX train to Seoul. We matched up the times (3.50pm departure) with our tickets and ran to platform 6 and boarded just before the doors closed. We put away our suitcases and went into car 9 to find that people were already sitting in seats 13 A and B… huh? Was it double booked? They called a train conductor who spoke English and while the departure time was correct, the train number was different.  Perhaps there had been a booking mistake in Japan when they booked our Nikkan Kyodo Kippu (Japan Korea ticket). So, we got moved to car 17 to where there were 2 free seats. At least we didn’t get kicked off! We almost thought we were in trouble when a passenger boarded at a later stop and stood looking at our seat numbers, but then they went away and we were safe in our seats!

We arrived in Seoul around 7 pm, walked through to the subway and boarded a crowded subway train for our hostel, the funny named Mr Sea. We bought some foods at a local supermarket with a very grumpy checkout-oldwoman and had curry for dinner. Yay! We made it to South Korea!