On Sunday we got started at the National Museum. If you skip the special exhibitions the museum is free and they have a wonderful collection of Korean artifacts and pieces from the time of Silla (57BC-935AD). Most of my favorite things in the collection were Celadon vases and small vessels. We had lunch in the museum cafe which was surprisingly good. On the way into the museum from the subway we had noticed while checking into Foursquare that there was a Doughnut Plant NYC in the area. I thought that this was surely a joke. Even in New York the 2nd outpost of the original lower east side establishment isn’t that old. Did they actually have a franchise in SK? Well, yes ma’am, they do. And, they had a Mascarpone donut… hello? NYC branch… please make this, ASAP. And also, by the way, they are better here than in Korea.
We took the subway then to the Seoul Arts Center. This was the only time that we actually went south of the river while in Seoul. I need to take a minute here to say that the only reason we got the idea to travel to South Korea for vacation is because one of the artists I am honored to work with was performing throughout the country as part of the DITTO Festival. I have worked with the Parker Quartet for nearly seven years and the experiences I have had with them have truly been a highlight of my career. It is because of them that we decided to go to South Korea – bookending the holiday with their concerts. My only regret from the trip is that we didn’t spend MORE time with them.
The concert at SAC was a revelation… it was packed and we were almost the oldest patrons. For anyone that regularly attends classical music concerts in America you can appreciate my surprise at being surrounded by young people (mostly women). Not only was it packed but this audience was so exceedingly quiet and polite during the concert and then literally screaming for an encore at the end. Crazy lines for merchandise, etc. It was wonderful to hear the quartet, as well as all of the other musicians in Ensemble DITTO. Afterwards we were hosted for dinner by the concert promoter at a fantastic traditional barbecue place called Arirang. We had beef barbecue (갈비 again!) and their 반찬 (banchan) were delicious and unusual (especially the spicy marinated cold clams). Dan Chong introduced us to a cold noodle soup that I don’t recall the name of that I loved. The company was the best part.
After the dinner we walked around that area with Kee a little bit and headed over to the huge Shinsegae department store to explore their famed food court. As is always the case in Asia, the food court and market at the Shinseage was awesome. We got a look at what the high end shoppers are buying in Seoul and grabbed the first (and only) unsweetened yogurt we would find in Korea.
By the time we got back to Mapo-gu we were hungry again so we chilled out at a local pub and had their specialty fried chicken which was huge and really tasty.
Check out of hotel
Breakfast (including muscat yogurt from Hokkaido)
Train to Higashi Zushi
Japanese lunch at Taku & Maki’s
Bye for now to Taku & Maki & Tsumugi!
Train to Tokyo Eki
Walk to & check in Hotel Kazusaya
Metro and Keio line to Shimo-kitazawa
Record shopping at Otonomad
Dinner at Rainbow Kitchen
Keio line to Shibuya
Walkabout in Shibuya
Metro to Mitsukoshimae, return to hotel
Pictures: Watermelons, Higashi Zushi grocery store; Japanese lunch made by T&M (pork rolls; miso soup; rice with yukari; oshitashi; Kamakura pickles); Otonomad
Breakfast in room
Morning train to Tokyo Eki
Metro to Ueno
Tokyo National Museum (Tokyo Kokuritsu Hakubutsukan)–main building
Metro to Okachimachi
Meet Taku & Maki & Tsumugi and go to sushi bar (Okachimachi North exit, cross street, go left, second alley on right–two places across from each other, same restaurant)
Metro to Jinbocho
Train home to Higashi Zushi (Green car)
Dinner at Taku & Maki’s
Train back to Yokosuka/hotel
Pictures: Best sink on earth (soap & water at top, dryer at bottom, Tokyo National Museum); Deer and maple (from “Narrative Picture Scroll of the Priest-poet Saigyo, Vol. 2,” by Tawaraya Sotasu, 17th century); sushi bar; Records-ya/Fuji records
We have arrived safely in our first apartment in Berlin after a morning
sprint through Charles De Gaulle airport (to make our connecting flight) and
an afternoon adventure on the under-construction U6 subway train. The U6 was chopped into several segments, requiring shuttles, transfers and/or walking. The BVB uses Playmobil guys to illustrate their ‘under construction’ signs. We did go by the Volkswagen Gruppe Forum where we saw an incredible Bugatti and picked up some literature for Brian and Elaine.
Anyway our first place is a cute studio. We’re going to head up to the main
drag in Kreuzberg (Bergmannstrasse), get a bite to eat and some fruit for
tomorrow, and then go to the Philharmonic tonight to see the Berlin
Staatskapelle in concert.
Kreuzberg/Bergmannstrasse: Vietnamese, market, kaffee, walk