Jared and I were honored to host Flat Matt for a few weeks. My second cousin Matt is doing the Flat Stanley project at his school, and he asked if we would host his Flat Matt. We took him everywhere with us for the last few weeks… During his time with us, Flat Matt toured the island of Geoje in South Korea, as well as touring Kyoto and Tokyo in Japan!
Jared and I live on an island in Southern South Korea. The name of the island is Geoje. It’s about 870 square miles. One of our favorite things to do on the island is hiking. Koreans love to hike, and there are numerous trails on every mountain.
Most trails have an outdoor workout facility where hikers can take a break and use the equipment for stretching, strength training, or hula hooping!
Flat Matt was plum exhausted after his first hike!
Jared and I are English teachers. We teach children aged 3 to 12. We introduced Flat Matt to our students, and they loved learning about how he traveled all the way from the U.S.A. to visit them!
Flat Matt made many new friends that he already misses!
Flat Matt helped us teach some classes. All the interacting with children made him very tired.
We invited our co-teachers over for a craft night to make Christmas cards. Flat Matt loved eating the cookies. He even helped me make a few cards!
We took Flat Matt to the beach to see the ocean! It was a beautiful day.
Flat Matt’s favorite thing to do was to collect sea shells.
Geoje Island was a P.O.W. camp back in the Korean war. There are still ruins on the island from before the war. Flat Matt enjoyed exploring the ruins and taking in the view from the top of the mountain.
From the top of the mountain, he could see our apartment building–way way down below.
After Christmas, Flat Matt traveled with us to Japan!
Our first stop in Japan was Kyoto. We went to the Fushimi Inari Shrines. In Japan, Inari is known as the god of rice, and the mountain on which the famous orange shrines line the slope is also named Inari. Traditionally, Inari is known to bring prosperity to businesses, so each shrine is donated by a Japanese business.
Flat Matt also went to see the Kiyomizu Temple. The temple is named after a nearby waterfall. Kiyomizu means clear water. The temple was first built in 798, but it has been rebuilt various times due to fire destruction and damage. The the latest reconstruction was done 1633, and the entire things was built without using a single nail.
Flat Matt thought the accommodations in Japan were strange. He was not used to sleeping on mats on hard floors.
Flat Matt also went to Gion, the Geisha district in Kyoto. Traditionally, Geisha are Japanese female entertainers who specialize in art, music, and various traditional games. Nowadays, it is very rare to see a real Geisha, however, there are many tourists dressed up as Geishas who love to roam the historic district.
He was disappointed he didn’t get to see a real Geisha.
Flat Matt thought the restaurants in Japan were strange too. He wasn’t used to sitting on the floor while he ate. Japanese people usually sit on the floor at a low table to eat their meals.
Flat Matt thought the food was very interesting. He had many different types of soups and he also tried sushi! These pieces of sushi have fish eggs on top!
After Kyoto, Flat Matt traveled to Japan’s capital city Tokyo. There are 13.23 million people who live in Tokyo, which makes it the largest city in the world!
While we were in Tokyo, we stayed at a capsule hotel. Flat Matt thought the capsules were quite strange. He was happy to find that they had a TV in them, but unfortunately, all of the channels were in Japanese, so he didn’t understand much of what he watched.
While in Tokyo, Flatt Matt went to the Shibuya Crossing. This crossing is known as the world’s largest street crossing. When the walk light turns green, the entire street is flooded with people.
Flatt Matt enjoyed being in such a big city. He thought all of the lights and big building were pretty neat. Flat Matt really liked the Akihabara Electric Town. Akihabara is a huge shopping district for video games, computer stuff, and Japanese anime.
Flat Matt had a great time in Asia. When all was said and done, he was ready to go home. Asia was beautiful, unique, and cultural, but noting beats being in one’s home country.
Thanks for coming to visit Flat Matt, we miss you already!