Sunday, June 20, 2010
A fourth day, it was not. The plane to Komatsu Airport leaves quite early in the morning, about 9:30 am. So our tour conductor saw it fit to pick us up at 5:20 am, in order to make the obligatory return duty-free stop before reaching the airport. We had to pass on the kimchi sample, and spent our time drinking a coffee. Note to self: do yourself a favor and buy your gifts before reaching the airport, preferably in the city (prices get higher and higher the closer you get to the airport).
Our trip to Seoul was a short one, but it really made a lasting impression on me. This was the first time I've ever traveled in Asia outside of Japan, and the trip really got me exited to try other Asian countries. Being an English speaker, I take it for granted that people in many countries know some English to a certain extent. As I found out in Seoul, English did not seem to be commonly spoken, even in the touristy areas. Surprisingly, I was communicating in Japanese more than English.
Incidently, I was really happy I brought along my electronic dictionary, the handy-dandy XD-A9800. If you're a traveler (and can read Japanese), it's got travel dictionaries for 12 languages. They're entitled ひとり歩きの [Language] 自遊自在 (Hitori Aruki no ... Jiyuu-Jizai), which roughly translated means "get around on your own in (insert language)."
Naturally, I was able to use the Korean language dictionary during my trip. It's quite easy to navigate, the top selection breaks all the phrases into situations, like at the hotel or meeting someone, etc. Once you find the phrase you want, just press the speech button, and you can hear the phrase spoken by a native speaker, pretty cool stuff. Let's take a look at how I was able to order beer at the first restaurant I was at, on my first day:
After selecting the 場面から探す (bamen kara sagasu, search by situation), I got into 食べる (taberu, eat).
Then メニュー（飲み物）(menu nomimono, drinks).
Finally, I highlight ビール (biiru, beer) and pressed the speech button: mecchu! As you can see they've got OB mecchu and Hite mecchu, but unfortunately they don't list my favorite MAX mecchu, and second favorite Cass mecchu, but you can just replace the words. Of course, there are plenty of other phrases, and I definitely recommend the basic phrase section. I spent quite a lot of time practicing Korean in the hotel room.
There you have it, one more reason to get yourself a Casio Ex-word. And with that, my Korea series is fini. Please stop by beNippon.com and check out our wide selection of denshijisho at great prices.