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Japan Photo Blog: July 2010

Nexen Heros!

We went to see Seoul’s #1 baseball team in action.

Pretender

With a VIP pass and full kit (with custom embroidery), I was looked after by Jan and the team. Good times!

Junior Jan

Jan’s nephew showed us the ropes. He’s a regular of course, and knew all the chants.

Winners

The Heroes took the win against the Giants, after a slow start.

Hard Ball

Koreans are mad for baseball.

Impressed?

The little fellas thought the cheerleaders got in the way of the game.

Aussie Connection

My souvenir from Adrian Burnside, Aussie (from Alice Springs) baseballer playing in Seoul for the Nexen Heroes. I remember him from the Atlanta olympics. A very down to earth guy.

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Escape Kot

What do you do if your hotel doesn’t a fire escape? You get a ‘Simplicity descending life line’! .

You basically hook the rope onto the window and absail down like a swat team.

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Warning

No cool poses and no head spins.

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Ready to Burn!

The veggies are always so fresh, ready for the pot.

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‘The Bike’ Guys

Lim and Hae-Lyun from The Bike Magazine did an interview with me, then we went out for hot pot.

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Face the music

Trying to get motivated to face the bucketing rain outside.

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Permanent Socks

More dirty tan lines.

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Water Park

The nearby water park provided a good day of much needed R&R. Although climbing all the stairs was like training anyway.

The time didn’t seem to change.

The speed slide. This one got a workout.

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Steel Collar

What happens when you smash your collarbone into a few pieces? They replace it with metal. It didn’t get De-Gyun out of hit 2 years army service though.

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Chook

Nothing like a pile of BBQ chicken after a long day in the pool.

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Kanji

The roots of Korea’s language also lie in Chinese.

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Framed

The bike paths, normally along the rivers and/or under freeways, are usually decorated with graffiti. In this case, framed pictures. Real frames!

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Old Fellas

Old men playing cards or other games, or just drinking, also lined the bike paths.

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Whole

Leg? Wing? Breast? Just give me the whole thing, in the broth.

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Grand Master Champ and Young Champ

Two generations of mountain bikers in Korea. It’s a growing sport and it looks like cycling will boom soon in South Korea.

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Chips

Bets are on!

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Lounge Room Golf

Our golf tournaments didn’t help my skills, but did cost me some Won.

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Young Surgeons

Dr Ha and Dr Chyon enjoying a night on the town. Luckily both of them speak good english, which isn’t so common in Korea.

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Super Socks

Will these help me??

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Goma

The fresh stuff.

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The Bomb

Soju and Beer – the standard South Korean ‘bomb’, as they call it.

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Dr BBQ

Dr Ha, the BBQ guru.

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Old School Item #1

Our BBQ background music was old school music played on an old school player.

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Old School Item #2

These yellow rubber-filled things (complete with V-Brakes) brought back memories, circa ’96.

Cruelty

Not what I wanted to see in front of me after a huge day riding in 35 degrees, with no food or drink left.

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Back in Town

After a massive day in the saddle, with lots of climbing, on unknown roads, it was a relief to see the town sign.

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Made It

The little Korean battler, De-Gyun, made it eventually.

Flying High

Jiri-San provided it’s fair share of uphill.

Jiri San

Jiri-San is Korea’s second highest peak. 45 minutes of hard climbing later and the view was awesome.

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Bugger

We collected plenty of these guys on the way to Seoul.

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Bare

Japan has trained me well for Korean living. Shoes off, even in public restaurants.

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Best Soju

The best Soju so far – 100% premium, no crap.

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Side Dish Efficiency Methods

With the amount of side dishes you get at a standard Kirean Restaurant, it usually takes ages for staff to server them all up. We’re talking up to 30 dishes in one dinner sometimes. So it seems some places have looked at saving time and effort…

Efficiency Method #1: Take the food around to the tables (in this case in their own huts), on little trolleys on rails.

Efficiency Method #2: Take the whole table out in one go.

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Hangover Cure

These little guys, along with the liquid, are Korea’s standard hangover remedy.

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Home Cookin’

Mrs Jan makes the best stew in Korea. Experiencing the genuine stuff, rather than restaurant food, was special.

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Dinner Guest

Dragon flies clearly aren’t shy here.

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Scooter Drag

Dark, raining, thongs, no lids, no problem. Korea’s delivery scooters rip around the streets like there’s no tomorrow.

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Piling it up

What happens when you have free and unlimited ice cream?

You get brain freeze.

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Korean Lunch Box

Step 1: Grab an old-school, genuine Korean tin lunchbox.

Step 2: Make sure it has the best ingredients in it.

Step 3: Shake it up, open, and eat!

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Moooo

On go the gloves, in go the ribs.

Pig

Getting some pork into us after a big day on the bike.

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Korean Dumplings

Kim Chi dumplings. Big, soft and tasty.

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Yeeaah

OK then. No problems.

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Local Produce

It’s good to see local markets are still thriving here. It’s the way it should be everywhere…

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Wet Season

Rain rain rain. But it’s drier than Japan at the moment, and warmer than Australia. So it’s all good.

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Dry

It rains a lot here, especially at this time of year. So forget your old newspaper. Bring in the shoe driers.

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Moto Dinner

Dinner on the go. There are more people without helmets on motorbikes here, than those with helmets. And most drivers seem to forget where their indicator lights are too.

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Crossed the line

+1 filthy tan line. Still not cool.

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Menu

I’m not about to start learning another Asian alphabet, so luckily my mates were there to translate.

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Leafy

Korean style appetisers. Wack in what you want and voila!

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Here Fishy!

Their little eyes make me feel somewhat bad for eating them, until I taste them. So good.

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Dinner?

This little guy was roaming the back of the restaurants. Why did he look so stressed, I wonder?

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More Meat!

Jang serving turning more cow over. This stuff was marinated in the local ‘secret sauce’, so I’ll never know why it tasted so good.

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The Champ!

BUT, Sanghoon took it out for our camp. So we were all smiles.

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Jammed

Trying to work out why neither of my front or rear gears worked. Maybe it was the piles of sand and mud in my cables?

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Anti-Climax

Despite leading a lap, my race was over before I knew it.

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Korean Pottery Class

First section of my first Korean National XC Race. And the mud was like clay. Clogging up and killing my drivetrain.

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Contemplating

At the race site waiting to see what the weather does, before choosing tyres. My chunkiest mud tyres ended up being the go, with 2 days of non-stop rain hitting.

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Go the Red Shirts!

Cheering for the Red Shirts (South Korea) on World Cup night in Uslan.

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Sideways

The ride on Suncheon’s main river involves a lot of dodging crabs.

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Chunky

Training on this chunky bad boy for a month, even on the road, should get me toughened up a bit.

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Stocked up

Stocking up for a big week. Korea’s prices are about half of Japan’s.

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#1 Eel

I never thought I’d say it, but Japan’s Unagi (eel) has been beaten. New winner – Suncheon’s fresh eel with special sauce.

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Spot of trouble


We found these guys deep in the mountains, one with a broken rear mech. A long roll (and walk) home.

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The Main Man

Dr Ha and I in Suncheon Bay. This is the man that makes it happen, supporting riders in Korea is one of his many ventures.

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Suncheon

First ride in Suncheon, along the river. This city has a good feel. Not too big, not too small; nature all around; plenty of action.

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Fans

Even these tools couldn’t save Korea from a world cup loss that night.

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Billiard King

Jang the Billiard master. I was crap.

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+Sweat

The beef stew (Blugogi) was even too hot for the locals, who were sweating like pigs.

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Korean Paparazzi

When he’s not shooting top fashion brands, Tae Kyu frequents MTB races.

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Korean Pizza

Kul Chon is Korean’s equivalent of pizza, with oysters wacked in.

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That one!

I was average, but still got a prize.

Sniper

After 2 years of military service (standard for South Korean men), Sanghoon hit every target with precision.

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The Man

Sanghoon looking relaxed and ready for action. He won his race the next day.

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REAL Bibinba!

I finally got to try geniune Bibinba, the real day. The best ever, 2 nights in a row. I think it’s all in the hot pot, the sticky rice and fresh veggies.

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Champions

Tae Kyu and Jang – #1 photographer and #1 manager enjoying a feed after a hard day’s work.

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Floor Action

Another cosy setup, Korean style.

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Sanghoon +1

Sanghoon and De Gyung (aka Plus One) winding down.

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Park Life

My team for the week hanging in the park before practise.

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Industrial

Ulsan is the most industrial town I’ve ever seen. Hyundai own the place. Contruction is going on everywhere, in many forms. Mainly new apartments and massive ships being built.

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No fat tyres!

We were greeted at Ulsan’s race site with protests. Luckily they weren’t protesting the MTB race. Something more important I’m sure.

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Steel Bike

Na’s hand-made steel creation.

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Sweet Pan

The region’s famous sweet bread. Too good.

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Driver

Na taking us to Ulsan in Korea’s south-east.

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Pumpked

All you can drink pumkin tea. Most meals here come with something that’s free and unlimited.

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Sanghoon!

Na Sanghoon, Korea’s no.1 rider and all round nice guy, about to enjoy some beef.

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Side Dish Heaven

The land of the tasty side dish.

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Saucy

Koreans know how to do sauce.

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Round 1

First meal in Korea. Spicey, tasty, healthy, awesome. The first of many.

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