The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “south korea”

Japanese Airlines to Alter Routes to avoid North Korean Missile. Seems Reasonable

A lot comes out of North Korea, and most of it ranges from incredible to unbelievable however recent statements that they will later this month Feb 2016 launch a satellite bearing rocket needs taking seriously. Seemingly thats the views of the two major Japanese airlines too. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines.


Pyonyang announced their window for this latest piece of joy to be between February 8th-25th at least that is what they notified the UN. However one hour ago it has been reported that this window has changed to 7th-14th. Indeed CNN report that North korea today Feb 6th may have started fuelling their rocket. So where is the missile likely to be heading? Currently missile parts and debris are expected to fall into the waters off the Phillipines. So planes that fly over these areas will get diverted.


Currently reported news suggests that the window of 8th-10th Feb is when it will likely launch. This has caused great excitement in USA even over Superbowl weekend. In anticipation of the North Korean launch in the coming days, the U.S. Navy has positioned a Japan-based guided-missile destroyer, outfitted with the latest anti-ballistic missile defense technology to successfully shoot down the missile if the U.S. military thinks it is a threat to the homeland. One always wonders who makes these decisions. A lot runs through my head including are they having a good day and do they have undiagnosed Adult ADHD.

Japan are also quite reasonably interested in this launch due to their proximity. Ahead of the expected launch, Japan has deployed PAC-3 missile batteries in the downtown Tokyo to shoot down any rocket debris.

So what do North Korea know about missile testing? My opinion is that not all is known and what we do think we know may be fallible, however there are known tests 1993-2014 and North Korea has also fired a number of short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea), apparently as political gestures.


South Korea remain largely unimpressed by this missile launch. South Korea called the plan a “direct challenge against the international community,” and warned that North Korea would pay a “grave price” if it went ahead.

So should we be concerned? Frankly yes. Actions such as these from North Korea may lead to other later joy and happiness. But the real question is what exactly are they doing?

Though North Korea says it’s putting a satellite into orbit, the launch may be viewed  as a front for a ballistic missile test.

U.S. officials have said the same type of rocket used to launch the satellite could also be used to fire a long-range missile.

A Final View on South Korea from Sherlock Holmes

There is no doubt that I would like to come back here. Based only on two days I would say that this is one of the most polite and pleasant nations I have visited. I saw no aggression nor irritation with two exceptions. A Korean man trying to check in for his flight before the counter was open ( the clue for him was a huge queue and the massive sign saying opening at 14.50) and a Korean man paying his executive level room bill with wads of cash. No smile, no communication. Deadpan face. No thanks either and no bowing. Everyone else in Korea bows to everyone else on every occasion. Let me give you an example. When the check-in desks did open at 14.47 the whole team of 7 check-in staff, stood up, said something together to the waiting travellers ( rather like one might address a church congregation ), bowed to us all, and then rapidly motioned for us to come forward. I will not criticise British Airways for not doing this, but maybe a smile instead of a bow? And not one of those sour mouthed ones either.

The other learning in South korea is that in two days with mostly affluent doctors and other souls, I saw only two overweight people ( out of hundreds if not thousands). One of these was a morbidly obese Korean man in the hotel ( BMI>30, maybe >35), and the other a slightly overweight young woman (BMI maybe 27-28). Why? Easy. They eat less. How do I surmise this? Am I Sherlock Holmes? Well, maybe….

The portions served at mealtimes are much smaller than western sized portions. The meal last night in a grand hotel ( Lotte Busan, if you want to look it up. It has a casino and theatre etc, to give context) was 4 courses. Four small courses. Fish as a starter with bread roll about half the size of UK bread rolls a la Co-Operative. Third of a bowl of asparagus soup. Small steak with side salad, other vegetables and small amount of potatoes. Dessert a small slice of a sort of light cheesecake. No alcohol served at all, and in fact only water and coffee. This was a meal served to a group of top physicians in Korea attending an important annual congress. My second observation was actually a secondary one. I was trying to work out why the airports function better and quicker than UK. The answer is essentially no shops ( certainly no unnecessary ones) and few restaurants. So the whole area is not clogged up by people rampaging for their ninth meal of the morning. Compare and contrast with any USA airport where it seems de rigeur to eat a massive meal even though one is going on a 1 hour flight. So, simple deductions,Watson. Eat less and do not get overweight.

I would definitely return here both in a professional capacity and for a holiday. And in fact I am quite taken with South Korea and shall be cheering them on in the olympics!

Busan from the 33rd floor

South Korea

There is always an expectancy about a place that mixes in awe and dread. This is my first visit. The usual British Airways debacle, arriving 3 hours before departure to Terminal 5 and then reaching the gate in good time to be told minutes before departure of a delay due to a mechanical engineering problem. This then throws out all the other arrangements and the flights subsequent get missed and so on. Do BA care? In my view no. The aircraft that transported me to Hong Kong was an old 747. It looked old and had none of the niceties that other newer planes have. The socket on the floor did not work. The design of the cabin was bizarre.

In contrast Hong Kong, Seoul Incheon , Gimpo and Busan airports were a delight. The Thai airways flight to Seoul was one of the nicest I have been on, comfortable seats and great food and service. The airports too were modern and clean and passengers just flowed through them rather than getting stuck, such as Terminal 5. When one tries to analyse why one airport works well it is interesting to note that the South Korean airports have few shops and restaurants. People turning up this morning to fly from Gimpo ( this is the smaller of the Seoul airports. Seoul is in fact about an hour on the express train from Incheon airport. ) wanted to do just that, fly. They were not piling into restaurants in hordes or shopping as though the day of destiny was approaching. A good learning . Airports are for flying from.

Busan is the second largest city in South Korea and is a modern place. My hotel has placed me on the 33rd floor , and below me is the medical institute and dentistry institute . Somewhere there is a casino. I like this place and the people. Wi-fi is free in the hotel and many other places ( Marriott are you listening?), modern defibrillators line the corridors of the airport but rather confusingly are labelled IPAD. I am sure some younger visitors will get a shock if they disturb the item……

Busan from 33rd Floor



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