Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yellow Dust

Two weekends a go (yeah, I'm catching up!) Andrew and I woke up to some gloomy weather. The way our apartment is set up doesn't allow us direct access to an outside window. We have a large smoked glass window, which opens to our "laundry room" (best described as a crawl space, seeing as we can't stand up straight in it)... outside the laundry room is the window which looks outside. So, we could tell the day was gloomy because we weren't getting much light in the windows.

However, once we opened our smoked glass window and looked outside we thought the sky looked a bit off. It was pretty creepy, looking like it was pre/post-tornado sky. We went out to the store, not knowing what was going on. We thought maybe there was a volcano eruption? An earthquake? Should we be outside? It was pretty windy, but some people seemed to be going about their business, so we went to the store anyway. Many people had face masks on, but I'd sad half the people are wearing face masks on any given day, so it didn't seem unusual.

The weather was actually low 50's, so I had the window opened wide to dry our laundry.

At work on Monday, I asked my co-worker what was going on with the sky on Saturday. He said, "Oh, yeah... that was the yellow dust storms from China. You shouldn't have gone outside and should have closed your windows. It is dangerous to breathe in."

Uh... what?! There is no news in English here. If something like this happens, we have no clue about it! We got home and researched a bit more. Apparently it is a meteorological phenomenon which dust from China's desert makes its way to our skies. The dust is said to have heavy metals in it, which are very damaging to health. This was, apparently, the worst yellow dust storm on record (lucky us). We were told the dust storms were likely to reoccur within the next month or so... so if the skies look suspicious, we should wear our face masks.

I gathered some pictures from the internet for you to see:

See what I mean by eerie skies? 

Car wash! Our taxi's window looked like this. 

That's not smog... 

Sweeping after the dust.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Tokyo World Trade Center

It was our last day in Tokyo, we had a late flight so we had some time to see the city before taking off. We headed to the Tokyo World Trade Center Building. 

Our Ninja hostel had some props to take pictures with.

Tokyo World Trade Center Building. 

A daytime view of Tokyo. 

The red and white Tokyo Tower. 

We tried to take a picture of ourselves... but failed. 

We had a worker take a picture of us... but we got mainly ceiling and a cropped tower. I did my best to crop it properly! 

We were then off to the airport. Let me tell you - flying with a sinus infection is a horrible idea! It felt really good to get back to Korea... Japan seemed so foreign to us. We felt comfortable getting back to the familiarity of Korea... there is a lot of comfort knowing you are able to read signs and speak bits of a language!

More Tokyo

The next day it was back to raining. I was in the workings of a very terrible sinus infection. I felt fatigued, fevered, and extremely disappointed. We spent the beginning of the day relaxing at our hostel. I was in no condition to go roaming around. 

Once 5:00 came around, we decided to go to the Sega Joypolis. This was an indoor amusement park. (I know, the perfect place to go to with a sinus infection). It was a lot of fun... they had a roller coaster, and a ton of virtual reality rides. We spent all evening there... and every time I'd get off a ride I had to grab on to something because all my sinus pressure was messing with my inner ear balance. (I'm sure the rides didn't help)

Tokyo does not have much room - so this is how they did their parking!

Something corrupted my file... so there are grey lines, sorry. 

Japanese is way more confusing to us than Korean!

Just like Korea, Japan has a lot of funny English signs. This is on the outside of a clothing store. 

Inside the Sega Joypolis. 

The Rainbow Bridge. 

Outside the Sega Joypolis. 

Hobos live in class here!