North (N) Seoul Tower: Korea's Space Needle at Night

 Japan loves its observation decks; Tokyo has about a dozen between office buildings and the two iconic transmission towers. Korea has one of its own, lit up beautifully in the evening, which goes by the name N Seoul Tower.
 However, the North Seoul Tower is less about the view and more about being a romantic destination for a date. Koreans seem to like to go places on dates, like amusement parks, museums, and the zoo.
 Seoul doesn't have an iconic skyline outside of the tower itself, so being unfamiliar with the city means I spent my time up at the top looking at nameless buildings and random city streets. During the day I possibly could have identified some of the landmarks I had visited or would later see, but at night it's just a lot of city lights. That's not to say it was a waste of money; I just wish I had known more about the city or had visited during the day.
 The tower itself is pretty short but it's placed on top of a mountain in a park. There are some very dark areas in a few of the above photos which outlines the edges of the park; it's possible to walk up or down the mountain. My visit was in winter and I wouldn't advise trying it at that time of year. If time allows on a future visit, I would like to hike the mountain too. The base of the tower and the top both have souvenir shops and places to get food.
In winter you could have hot chocloate, though I'd prefer hot chocolate. The 3800 won price is about $3.80 in US money. While you're up at the top of the mountain, look for the thousands of padlocks where couples have professed their love by, well, locking a padlock to something.

There's also a teddy bear museum at Seoul Tower, and a few historically significant points in the vicinity.

To get to the tower at the top of Namsan Mountain, you can take a shuttle bus from Myeong-dong Station exit 3, Chungmuro Station exit 2, Seoul Station exit 9, Itaewon Station exit 4, or Hangangjin Station exit 2. It costs 950 won in cash, but it's cheaper if you use a transportation card and transfers are available.

From Exit 3 of Myeong-dong Station, you can also walk a ways to a cable car (8500 won round trip, 6000 won one way); this route includes using a free slanted elevator that is pretty slow. The shuttle buses are cheaper and faster. If you really want to walk up/down the mountain, it looks like the shortest route is from Seoul Station, though finding good details online is pretty tough.

North Seoul Tower is open daily, 10:00-23:00 (10:00-24:00 Fridays and Saturdays). The six restaurants open by 11:00 and close at 23:00 (22:00 for the snack bar). The observatory costs 9000 won ($9) for adults.

The National Museum of Korea, Seoul

 Japan's national museums aren't that large; I can think of only one real national museum in the country. Korea, on the other hand, really piles the artifacts on at each museum. As you've seen, the Agricultural Museum, Police Museum, and War Memorial and Museum all have significant collections and detailed information about their subjects of focus.
 The National Museum of Korea is an art history museum, and it, too, is simply massive. There are several floors in the gigantic building, each with several exhibition galleries.

 The exhibits are arranged generally by time period, with similar objects grouped together in most cases. There are so many objects that a true art lover could easily spend a whole day or more here!

 My interest lies in realistic, intricate works - usually, beautiful painted ceramics, statues and sculptures, and paintings of unique landscapes or scenes.

 However, I also enjoy seeing the art and beauty of science, industry, and society, so old writing, furniture and architecture, maps, and official seals also catch my eye.

 Three years ago, I had very little interest in Asian art. However, living in a country that creates it and visiting several others has brought me a greater appreciation for this genre. With that also comes a better (though not good) understanding of Eastern religions and, thus, enjoyment in religious works.

 It looks like the National Museum has a small collection of two-dimensional works, though there is a greater percentage than pictured. I like the styles of art for paintings you see here. But the collection of three-dimensional materials is outstanding!

 There is a large cafeteria serving local, Asian, and Western dishes that was crowded but good.
The museum opens daily (Tuesday through Sunday) at 9:00, closing at 18:00 Tuesday/Thursday/Friday, 21:00 Wednesday/Saturday, and 19:00 Sundays/holidays. Admission is free, though for 3000 won (~$3) you can rent a PDA or 1000 won you can rent an MP3 audio guide to really enhance your visit. There is a limit to the number of people who can visit the museum at the same time, though there are no tickets required. Special exhibitions might have an admission charge.

Take subway Line 4 or Jungang Line to Inchon Station and use Exit 2. There is an underpass from the subway to the museum called "Moving Museum" that was a nice addition.

Masan's Train Station, Korea

It's hot in Japan. The heat index for tomorrow (Sunday) is forecast to reach 43°C. That's about 110°F. I came home to an apartment that felt like a sauna. My air conditioner is still trying to catch up after running straight for the past hour.

Needless to say, after working all day (it's Saturday night when I'm writing) and then going clothes shopping in the late evening, I'm too tired to really hash out a long post.

So, I leave you with this nice view of the road leading up to Masan's train station. The building is visible in the background on the right side.

Watching the Hanwha Eagles at Hanbat Stadium, Daejeon, Korea

 The Eagles joined KBO in 1986 as the Binggrae Eagles. Binggrae was a part of the Hanwha conglomerate, but split off in 1993; the team was renamed the Hanwha Eagles before the start of the 1994 season. They play in Daejeon, at Hanbat Stadium.
 Hanbat Stadium was built way back in 1964, and as such has some very old standards of stadium construction. Especially of note is the second deck set way back from the field (added in the 2013 upgrades), and the large amount of foul territory. The OB Bears used to play here (1982-1986), and the stadium has hosted the KBO All-Star Game in 1984, 2003, and 2012.
 Measurements down the lines are 100 meters each, with center field being 122 meters from home plate.
 The bullpens are located in the outfield, putting spectators there even farther from the game. The Eagles sit on the first base side and the visitors are on the third base side.
 Recent renovations (2013) increased the field size and seating capacity, and the ballpark certainly isn't horrible by any means. As you can tell by my pictures, it's possibly to walk all the way around the stadium. And there are several small seating sections catering to specific groups - family sections, couples sections, and so on. It's a nice touch.
 Additionally, the concourse is open to the field for most of the trip around the field. The only place where that isn't possible is a section behind home plate. The stadium also has a nice view of a mountain (Bomunsan) off in the distance behind the outfield.
 Food selection is pretty typical - beer, tteokbokki, sausages, and plenty of typical chips and other snacks found at convenience stores. Someone else mentioned that you can find churros here, but I didn't notice any. But, you can bring whatever you'd like into the stadium, so it's possible to get some fried chicken outside or pack your own goodies.
Access is tough. There's a bus (Express #2) from Daejeon Station (served by KTX) that will take you to the stadium, but it's probably easier for those who don't speak Korean to take a taxi. Always remember to have the Korean name of your location printed in Korean text for taxi drivers to read. They almost never speak English and Korean names can be different from the English ones. The ride is around 6000 won ($6).

The sports complex name in Korean is: 대전 한밭종합운동장). The complex includes a couple gyms, a large multi-purpose stadium for soccer and track and field activities, and more. The baseball stadium itself, in Hangul, is: 대전 한밭종합운동장 야구장.

Daejeon is about 150 kilometers south of Seoul, reached from Seoul Station on the KTX line in about an hour. It's the fifth-largest city in Korea, but there isn't too much to do in town. There are several surrounding mountains that are good for a hike, though.

Tickets for adults start at $7 for weekday games, $8 on the weekends, so it's very affordable, and despite its size it's still a pretty small ballpark in the end. The view of the field is nice and the fans are pretty good.