Sunday, April 5, 2009

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

This weekend we went to the largest cherry blossom festival in Korea! Jinhae is a little town on the south coast about three hours from Gwangju. Jinhae is known for its cherry blossoms and that the Korean Naval Academy is there. It was kind of like a bizarro Annapolis- cute little town, midshipmen everywhere, they even had a bar names "Annapolis", which you'll see more of later. Jinhae is a really beautiful little city, very un-Korean in its layout. This is because this particular city was designed by the Japanese during their occupation. Don't tell Korea, but Japan is better at city planning simply because there is city planning at all (Korea does not excel in this subject). There were nice, wide sidewalks, rotundas, and cherry blossom  lines streets. All the building were low, not towering concrete masses. 

Before going this weekend, I read in different sources that Jinhae has anywhere between 70,000 and 340,000 cherry trees. I didn't count them, but there were a lot! It was very beautiful and I'll probably never see that many flowering trees at once again. Therefore, this post is really picture heavy! 

Matt pouts on the bus saying, "there aren't that many flowers." We aren't there yet!

A prime example of an adjumma. She is a scary one. 

This Korean man was fascinated by Matt's pull up. He walked up to the bar next to Matt and I think he was about to challenge him, but we left. 

Holy Shit! Sarah is here! Eating Korean street food with me! 

For many, the Cherry Blossom Festival is an opportunity to take ever so cute photos of one another. As you see below, I didn't miss this opportunity. Remember, for optimum cuteness you should put your hands near your face!

This is the view from the top of Jinhae Tower. All the pink you can see are cherry trees. Cherry blossoms are everywhere!

Matching couples' hoodies! They say "Mungky".

I'm trying my hand at a six foot, very heavy hula hoop. It proved rather difficult. 

Photo op. 

Matt made friends with a man who was eating a raw sea creature of some kind. He feeds Matt the first bite, which Matt said was kind of like a raw oyster. Then he fed Matt some of the tough outer skin of the creature, which was un-chewable. Matt freaked out, laughing, telling the man "no no no" and then spit it in the gutter. It was hilarious from across the street. 

Delicious scallops grilled in their shell with onions, tomato, and more!

Bizarro Annapolis! Here I am harrassing some nice, young Korean midshipmen. Below is the bar called "Annapolis". It was a real dive and largely empty. I tried to tell them I was from Annapolis and they basically didn't understand or care even though I was quite excited to be in a bar called Annapolis in a tiny Korean town. 
Naval Academy blanket inside the bar. 

Cherry Blossoms at night outside our yeogwan, a simple hotel you share with several people and sleep on blankets on the floor. 

On Sunday, we walked down the Naval Academy to tour a ship. However, it was done in the typical Korean fashion- wait in a long line to move slowly and in a single file around the ship. Matt was very dejected and disappointed. We didn't wait in the line, but hung around the harbor a bit. Korean sailors are funny to me. 

Good weekend! 


Kathleen said...

sweet! Those trees looked amazing.

Daphne Duke said...

whoa! i'm glad you guys had a good time~ it looks beautiful there!

oh, do you think you'll be in gyeongju next weekend? some friends and I are meeting up with Sarah there and it'd be so cool if you guys'd be there too. let's have a major weigook festival of flowers!

James said...

Thanks very much for sharing your experiences at the Jinhae Festival. I sensed that you truly enjoyed your visit to that fascinating town. My first and only attendance at the Festival was in the spring of 1953 when South Korea was mostly torn apart. My, how things have changed!

From an old Korean War vet who was greatly influenced by Rev. Lee Yak Sin, pastor of Chinhae Presbyterian Church and director of the Chinhae Orphanage.

Rev James Lewis Lowe at -- Feb. 15, 2010.