I just arrived in Busan, South Korea by hydrofoil ferry this afternoon. What follows are my initial impressions in no particular order.
1. This place has more trash on the streets than Japan does.
2. Korean food lives up to its reputation and is quite good. I had a soup with all kinds of things in it and sampled all kinds of things little old ladies were cooking on the street. I don't know the names of any of them.
3. There are lots of Army surplus kind of places here.
4. Middle School and High School girls all wear the dorkiest glasses I have ever seen. I'm not joking they have to be seen to be believed. Were talking Steve Urkel and Woody Allen in 1984 dorky.
5. Knowing Japanese is useful in Korea. The guy who sold me the soup meal spoke Japanese pretty well.
6. Stores everywhere sell ginseng. They all have gigantic tubes with the root floating in formaldehide. If the store has too many of these, they look kind of creepy.
7. The Koreans have tons of great outdoor stores selling climbing gear and overpriced North Face waterproof shells.
Overall, Korea should be interesting. A bit rougher and more edgy than sanitized and polished Japan.