Japan


After a wandering around looking at things and a quick visit at the Swedish School of Nairobi, Wille and I had supper at a Korean restaurant. I wasn’t expecting myself to eat Kimchi when I woke up this morning, that’s for sure :)

Back at Sandavy Guesthouse I met Derrick (American NGO-worker, monitoring development projects) and his friend Simon who is of Maasai origin and still lives as a true Maasai even though he is comfortable in the western society as well.
I sat down and listened to his life story for four hours; from him being sent out to the hyenas at the age of ten to kill or get killed; to the life he lives today: counting assets in number of cows and rather killing his son than allowing him to divorce (luckily not an issue), but at the same time working via a laptop and owning several schools, freshwater wells and 56 churches (and investing heavily to reach 200 soon).

This kind of experiences and insights from remote societies and parallel cultures are very valuable to me, and I wish that more people got -and took- the opportunities to do the same!

Maasai

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So, yesterday became 23h of work, but really fun and inspiring hours!

Today has been kind of the same; going through the inbox and physiotherapy in the morning, lunch with my mentor and interviewing Axis’ global sales director; before getting interviewed twice myself. Got back home and started to arrange for renting out my flat during the trip, found a person and we signed the contract after a meeting here. She had been commuting from Stockholm on a daily basis the whole semester and was just about to throw in the towel regarding LiU; ‘check’ on today’s good deed.

A good day, just as the ones we spent in Tokyo and Shibuya. Anyways, now it’s probably time check the inbox again…

An intense Wednesday

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KHU main gate at full moon
So, the time has come. After waiving off all the exchange students, one at the time, am I now waiving bye to Korea myself.

This has been a truly amazing year and I am filled with gratefulness to all of you who have shared those experiences with me. The biggest and most important gift of being here is obviously the wealth of perspectives, and the friendships themselves, by spending time with amazing people from allover the world.

A deep, humble and happy thank you to my new friends from
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ghana, Guatemala, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Sweden, Tunisia, UK, USA, Vietnam…and of course everyone from Korea.

You will always have a place in my heart.

Goodbye

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Street view of Shibuya
The Tokyo weekend meant not just having a really good (!) time; we visited museums, parks, expensive shopping districts, Tsukiji (the world’s biggest fish market), the crazy nerd quarters of Akiba, capsule-hotel, just-opened Tokyo Sky Tree, a dedicated Moomin-café and numerous Japanese restaurants – all the time with Lena in wheelchair or with crutches.

Claudia, Lena and Erik at Tokyo National Museum
Even so, one of the most interesting things was to compare Tokyo with Seoul, two giant and adjacent metropolises that in fact are very different.

Painting showing Japanese dog hunt
Koreans are runners; chasing top salaries no matter the costs in boring tasks, immense work hours or crowdedness – which have given them the infamous top position on cheating statistics.

Japanese woman
Japanese are much more down-to-earth and calmer; being loyal to the same employer and wife throughout their lifetime, rather living in a (metro-) remote villa and being less playacting.

Happy fishermen at Tsukiji Market
It is obvious that Tokyo has been Seoul’s role model for a long time – but the genuine confidence and European-indoor-clean streets are still far from reached.

Capsule Hotel in Asakusa
A surprising observation compared to Stockholm regards the subway systems; the stressful and patience less behavior back in Sweden is not found in either city here. I guess the friendlier behavior comes from their collectivism, which also shines through in the help you get when asking a question.

東京 vs 서울

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Three months have passed since I arrived in Seoul for the spring semester. Three super fast and fun months with lots of new and old faces. But with one more month to go, including numerous exams and hand-ins, is it perfect timing for testing another metropolis “in the neighborhood” and celebrate Buddha’s birthday with a few days in Tokyo!

Accompanied by Finish Lena and Austrian Claudia am I leaving Korea on Thursday, expecting lots to see and hard times to communicate; despite that we speak more than ten languages together :)

Picture from January, showing Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Buddha’s birthday

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