Saturday, 31 July 2010

Close To North Korea

Finally we got one day off! The night before was very long, but we had to wake up early to drive to the Northern border Line between North Korea and South Korea. We first stopped at the Station on the Gyeoungui Line where the famous steam locomotive at Jangdan is located. Next we went to the Advance Camp at the Demilitarized Zone. The Joint Security Area (JSA) or Panmunjeom, was one of the most interesting parts. At this zone South and North Korean forces stand face-to-face. We entered the Mac conference room, and took pictures with the soldiers. We always had to listen to their advice and follow rules. Don't laugh at the soldiers, don't touch them, don't wear clothes with holes, because they could be used for propaganda etc. Next we went to the Freedom House and the Bridge of Return. All in all it was a very good experience. In most areas it was absolutely forbidden to take pictures.

Karaoke Night

We had a very nice Korean dinner in Seoul city with all the students. Next we went to a Karaoke bar to test the voices of our colleagues. Karaoke is very popular in Japan and Korea. Young people like to sing with their friends and I can confirm that they are really good at it. I sang "Hit me baby one more time" by Britney Spears and "I gotta feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas. All in all the students had been shy and nobody really wanted to sing, except our British colleague who loved to stay on stage and perform, haha. Afterwards we went out with a couple of students, to the Cocoon club. It was very crowded. The air conditioner in the club didn't work and everyone was really sweating. I haven't sweated so much in a club before. The atmosphere was amazing. One of the best clubs I've ever been to, but you couldn't dance for much more than one hour in there, the air was too bad.

Fancy Plush Toys

Friday: the day of the exam. The case study: Amore Pacific: From Local to Global Beauty. We had four hours to prepare for the exam. After the exam we visited the Plush toy company, Aurora World. The employees presented to us the history and vision of the firm and showed us the structure of the whole company. Finally we also got one plush toy as a present to take home with us.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Mobile Changing Room

Next day, new program. We moved to the Namsangol Hanok Village at 2 p.m. to see the traditional tea ceremony and to go in the Kimono. In the village you'll find traditional Korean style gardens and five houses. It's a very peaceful and beautiful place. We got a really detailed explanation of the way Koreans drink tea and afterwards three ladies sang and played instruments for us. Next we walked through the village with a tour guide. After having seen every corner, we drove to Myungdong where each one of us could start shopping. I walked with Jenny, the Korean student, in the city. We had a short Chinese dinner together. She left me at 8 p.m. and I continued shopping until 11 p.m. Shopping is so much fun in Seoul. In some stores you can try to negotiate. My most successful barter was to pay 5,000 Won less than the asking price. As the Korean shops are small, they don’t have any space for changing rooms! The shop assistant just gives you a large skirt to cover you and then you can take off your pants to try out the new ones. A very interesting method, which I've seen more than once this evening! Myunddong is definitely a very good place to go shopping! I can recommend it!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

National Museum Of Korea

After our lunch we went to the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan-gu, built in 1945. When we arrived in Itaewon we only had 30 minutes to walk around and get an impression of the city. There are many little stores, but to be honest, it wasn't enough time to find something to buy. We met in the Maple House where we had dinner with all the students. They had prepared for us a Korean barbecue with beef and garlic, and salad. It was very delicious. After our meal we got on the bus and returned to our hotel. On the bus we sang karaoke again. At 9 p.m. I met with some students to go out to the city, and have a few drinks. We went into two bars, learned about Korean drinking games and had a nice chat with the Korean students.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

First Korean Cooking Lesson

The day started with a lesson in leadership and corporate strategy. Next we had lunch in the university canteen. Korean food is quite different. We had a lot of vegetables, like spicy kimchi. The dessert was very weird: Salad with a sweet apple sauce and chocolate pieces. At 2.30 p.m. we arrived at the Female Monk's Association. We learnt how to pray correctly and after that we got a cooking lesson to make temple food which is "clean" and "healthy".

Later we arrived in Samsung town, and went into the Samsung delight store. We then passed the river, and went to the Dongdaemun market near to our hotel. We tasted some dry was horrible!!

This is another impressive toilet in Korea.

Welcome To Korea! 한국에 오신 것을 환영

At 8.30 a.m. the bus left the hotel for the airport. We landed at 4 p.m. in Seoul, and had a welcome dinner with very nice food and red wine. After that everyone checked-in. For our stay in Korea we had double rooms. There were washing machines and even a small kitchen to cook in; very sweet. I am sharing my room with Sandra, like I did in the U.S.

Farewell Party With Host Families

We met Mari’s parents at the train station. I quickly changed my clothes in the restroom and we then met all the other students in the lobby of the hotel. The directors made a speech in front of all the host families and students. The atmosphere was very nice. A buffet was ready with drinks and, of course, sushi. After the directors’ speech everyone joined the buffet and chatted to each other. The highlight of the evening was the karaoke with everybody. We sang both Japanese and German songs. At 7 p.m. the host families had to leave. We said goodbye and checked into our hotel rooms for one more night. I told Mari to join us for the rest of the evening. We wanted to go out in Tokyo. About eight of us went to Shinjuku where we met two other boys and entered a bar to have some drinks and food. After that we tried to get into some clubs, but as the boys didn’t have the right clothes, we couldn’t get in all together. We tried several times and decided at 5 a.m. to go back to the hotel.

Disneyland Store In Tokyo

Although we were in a hurry, we had time to go into the Disney store. The design of the shop is very cute. Inside they have more than just teddy bears. Mari and I enjoyed it and felt like children in the store. We greeted Minnie and Micky and took a picture as a souvenir.

Marriage At The Meiji-Schrein

The next morning we wanted to leave the house very early. We first went to the Meiji-Schrein, and took pictures of the temples and monuments. We had been lucky, because we saw a Japanese marriage that day. The bride was wearing a Kimono. Next we went shopping again. We had to hurry up, because we had to be back at the PSK hotel by 5 p.m., for dinner with all the students. We passed Shibuya for the Apple store, Disney land store and ate sushi at a sushi circle restaurant. You cannot compare the sushi taste of Europe with the one here, it’s so delicious. I bought a lot of clothes and I decided to wear one of the dresses at the party.

Traditional Japanese Massage

After dinner, Mari and I went to Shibuya to shop. She showed me one big store with a lot of small shops. A lot of clothes were cheap because of the summer sales. Girls were shouting for customers, like in Turkey. When the shops closed at 9 p.m. we had a cold coffee and went back home. Mari promised me a massage, because she had learnt how to do one. For one hour I could relax. I really enjoyed the massage and I wanted to fall asleep. At 3 a.m. we finally slept.

At A Ninja’s House

The Ninja restaurant in Akasaka is a special restaurant designed as a Ninja house. It’s not a woman who is serving you, but a Ninja in a black costume. The way to the room where our meal was, was very adventurous itself. We passed down a dark hallway, a door closed, another opened. Finally we arrived, the food was Japanese, and had an aperitif as a starter. The meal took two hours in total.

Welcome To My Host Family

At 2 p.m. I had to be back at the PSK hotel, because a host family was meeting me there. I will stay with them for one day at their home. I was super excited to see them. Mari is 23 years old and came with her parents. They have a dog, a Chihuahua, which is a really cute dog. He liked me a lot. The family hasn’t got a traditional Japanese house. It was really modern and I didn’t have to adapt at all. Mari can speak pretty good English, because she lived in Sydney. Her parents also understood English. After a green tea and giving them my present, we all went to dinner together.

Perpetuation In Tokyo

Each of the girls had three minutes to draw my face on a piece of paper. The results were amazing and interesting. The students had been very happy with me as a model and asked if I could come again. Next time, when I’m in Tokyo, I should spend a longer time there and then I am sure that my face will be immortalised in one of the most popular Universities of Arts in Tokyo.

How Would Mona Lisa Feel?

The next morning I wanted to wake up at 8 a.m. to meet Saiko at the University of Arts, but my lack of sleep caused me to oversleep. I was really delayed, so packed my luggage and called her to let her know, but she was okay with it. I went by cab to her university and four students drew pictures of my face.

Ladies Night In Tokyo!

I met two Japanese girlfriends in the evening and we went to a summer festival. I tried to dance to the traditional Japanese music. We ate some green beans, crushed ice with syrup and drank water with sprite a flavour. Afterwards we entered a very nice restaurant. It is one of the newest restaurants, and each group had an individual room. We ordered a couple of different things like sushi, tofu, sashimi and fish. It was really fun with three girls. We laughed a lot and couldn’t say no to the desserts. We had a crème brûlée which was traditionally burnt on top. The two girls left and I went to Soikas home. She told me that she never locks her door, because she can trust her neighbours. Most of the Japanese families don’t lock their houses. When she changed her outfit we took a cab and went to Ageha, a huge club with different kind of music. We stayed there until 4am and then I took a cab back home.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Earthquake In Kawasaki

I came home very late and while I was in the bathroom, I felt like I was drunk. The floor beneath me seemed to move, and yes, it turned out to be a small earthquake tremor in Kawasaki. At 4 p.m. I had my presentation and now the weekend can start! I am so excited!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Shady Side Of Tokyo

We did the last bits of work for our presentation today. Afterwards I went out with a friend to spend the night in Shibuya. We took the train and asked a guy to help us finding the right line. As usual in the Japanese culture, he followed us until we reached our destination. I wondered whether he really had to go the same direction as us or if he was just being kind. There is such a "never say no" attitude in Japanese Culture, which is so different to many others. People always help and say yes, but be careful as you can’t trust just anybody. However, it is a very very safe country. Marita and I walked across the streets of Shibuya. We met some locals on the streets and spent some time with them. They showed us the love hotel area where you pay around 4,500 Yen for three hours in a luxury hotel. Kissing on the streets is forbidden in Japan. The locals we met told us that Japanese people can become really rude when drunk. We saw two girls lying on the ground totally drunk and six boys standing around and trying to take them home. This was just one example. Marita and I took the first train back to our hotel at 4.30 a.m. and arrived at 6 a.m. and fell straight asleep...

A Day At Neturen

This morning started at 6 a.m. again. Today we had a meeting with Neturen, a company that develops heat technologies. The CEO's of the firm explained to us the philosophy, history and technical details of the company. For me, as a non-technological student, it was interesting to see how machines work. Afterwards we got back to hotel to have lesson in International Marketing and Communication.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A Quick Bite To Eat In Japan

I wanted to find a place to eat something quick and cheap. I entered a snack bar but couldn't understand anything. Luckily there had been pictures to identify what the writing might be. I tried to guess what the waitress was saying, and luckily I was right! She was asking if I wanted to have the noodles warm or cold. Look at the picture; the meal was 4.90 Yen and pretty tasty!

Entering The Kōdōkan - 講道館

After our lesson we took the train to the Kōdōkan, the oldest and most important school of Judo. The school is very big with eight floors, in Bunkyō. I wanted to participate, but there were only advanced sessions, so I looked on as my colleague sweat his arse off, haha. I watched him fight for half an hour.

Calamari Instead Of Chips

We started very early today. Our bus left at 6.40 a.m. straight to the Kanagawa Factory which is a corporation working with Fuji Film. The company is situated very close to the Fuji mountain, which is the highest in Japan at 3,776 meters. We couldn't see it because it was too cloudy. At a rest stop I decided to try out some calamari which was packed like chips. It was disgusting to eat, because it wasn't cooked. It was in a vinegar sauce and still looked like it was alive. The CEO of the factory told us about the history of the company and they showed us around. It was pretty interesting. After our tour we headed back to the hotel for the seminar.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

New Culture - New Habits

After a very short night we had our first seminars with a Japanese professor about General Management. After that we visited the company Greentech Solution which was situated pretty far from our hotel. We talked about our case study for Friday and then searched for a restaurant to eat some sushi. I asked a Japanese girl who showed us a very good one. I thought the sushi was so delicious that I ate close to 25 dishes, haha! Returning to the hotel always felt like a puzzle. Some words were in English, but the train system wasn’t that easy for foreigners, especially when your hotel is that far away from the city, as it was for us. It took us two hours just to find our way back home. On the way we saw the Sony’s showroom. It was very interesting to see all the new 3-D cameras which will come soon to the market. In the hotel we met with our groups to work and tomorrow we'll visit Fuji Films.

One Day In The Temple Of Tokyo

We arrived on Sunday night in Kawasaki. The next morning we had a long day in Tokyo.
We visited Asakusa, which is in Taito and had a look at the Buddhist Temple, the Sensō-ji. It's magnificent, and around the temple you can pray and inhale the fragrance of perfumed candles, which should bring luck in life and keep you healthy.
We went into the Hama-rikyu Garden, which is really beautiful. Afterwards we went on a ship across the Sumida River.
While we sailed down the river we passed a lot of different coloured bridges.
We saw the building home to the biggest beer company in Japan, Asahi.

For the evening we went out in Shibuya where we just sat down and watched people crossing the street. It's so interesting to watch the Japanese with their extraordinary clothing style. Women always look like dolls, which I like a lot. Afterwards we met a Japanese girl who went with us to the womb club. People here are very shy and don't dance too much on the dance floor. They prefer just to have a drink and watch people going crazy.

This picture shows a Japanese toilet and can give an answer to why people spend more time than on European toilets.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Enjoying The Sun

My little brother visited me this weekend and I showed him around. We first went to the Attersee where we tried out wakeboarding. It was my second time. The water conditions were different. It was quite wavy and some staves [what is a stave?!] were in the water which is really dangerous. My brother had difficulties getting on the board. I did pretty well, and succeeded at boarding with one hand, but only for a few seconds, haha. However, I have proof of it on the camera. Next day we went to the Fuschl Lake. It is one of the cleanest lakes around Mondsee. We swam a lot and got tanned. The city of Salzburg is very lovely when it's warm. There were lots of tourists walking around, taking pictures. We had dinner in a nice restaurant eating typical Austrian food before leaving to go to the railway station.

The Magic Stick

The guys in the digital media department had already tried out all my fun-sport products. The one they really liked was the pogo-stick. With this stick you can jump very high, but first you have to pump some air into it. For me it was a very strange feeling to stay on it. I couldn't jump at all, because I wasn’t heavy enough.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Rolling Around

The orbit wheels look fun, but they aren't that fun to move on. I tried several times to stay on them, but couldn't. I think it's a good way to make you do the splits! This is not the only product with skates. There are a lot more and you'll get to see them on my blog over the next few days. Stay tuned!

Wobbly On The Waveboard

Today I got a new model of waveboard, which looked good, but to stand on the board wasn’t easy at all. Some of my colleagues, who are skateboarders didn't have too much difficulty, but I really struggled, as you can see from my photo!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Approach to Barefoot Water Ski

While I was searching for some funny sports, I found out that there is something called "barefoot water ski". I got in touch with the trainer in Miami, Florida, Robert Teurezbacher, and luckily he was in Austria for a couple of months. I decided to drive to Wallsee for one day, and try it out. We first started with water ski. I learned it pretty quickly, training to slide on waves. After that Robert gave me special shoes with which I could practice how to get in the right position for barefoot water ski. After my third try I could stand up and it was a really nice feeling. I can't tell you yet, how it's going to be without the shoes, because it was too early to try it barefoot!

The Intended Jet Ski

Today I had the pleasure of trying out a kind of Jet Ski, but without motor. The machine functions with a rechargeable battery. The battery life lasts 30 minutes. I was trying it out at the Mondsee and from my experience I can recommend it to everyone who hasn’t had the chance to ride a Jet Ski. The racer can reach a speed of 40 km/h and it's really fun!

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Always In Search Of New Trends!

As a journalist you need to be curious. Fortunately, that is exactly what I am! My friends all agree, and it's a very good skill for my job. During my traineeship at Red Bull I worked on a pilot project, trying out new, fun and trendy sports. At the moment I am researching new products, getting in touch with all the retailers and ordering prototypes. Today I got my first package, the Eaglider, which is a kind of skate product, produced and developed in Japan. It's a very good workout for your
balance and difficult to use as a beginner. Usually you are supposed to use it with sport shoes, which I didn’t have with me, so it was pretty hard. Have a look at the picture!