Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #22: K-POP!!!

...and the countdown continues! For number 22 I thought I would mention a little something known as K-POP! Basically Korean Pop music, which is actually HUGE all over Asia not only in Korea. I realize that I can get Korean music in North America, but I won't be able to hear all the latest hits in Cafes, restaurants, emanating from cars or on the street...and to be frank I am going to miss it! As silly and, in some cases, ridiculous as pop music is, I have to admit that I have caught myself humming some K-Pop melodies on occasion. A lot of the music is very similar to Western pop, but not knowing what the singers/groups are actually singing makes it all the more fun...and let's face it-it's catchy, fun to dance to, upbeat and usually puts a smile on my face so what's not to miss???
I have included 4 videos from www.youtube.com. These include: #1 a video from a band called BIG BANG (think Asian Backstreet boys at the height of their popularity with better moves and cooler haircuts!)#2 and #3 videos from a Korean Rock band with a female vocalist called Jaurim (a personal favorite) and finally a video from the Korea 'Britney Spears', minus the kids and dramatic and neurotic freak outs, called 이효리(Lee HyoRi). Enjoy...









Love K

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #23: Jeju Loveland

I know I already wrote about this magical place once before, but it wasn't in this same context so I figured it makes it okay for me to write about it one more time! (If nothing else this really indicates just how much I will miss this place :-) Jeju Loveland...Hmmm what can one say about such a destination? Well in order to fully appreciate the absurdity of it one must have a bit of background on WHY it's so unusual to have a sex museum in Jeju. First off, Jeju (and South Korea for the most part) is SUPER conservative, especially when it comes to talking, dealing and exhibiting sex and sexually explicit things. So, it comes as quite a surprise when one ventures to a place such as Jeju Loveland and encounters a plethora of sexual commodities, sculptures, paraphernalia, and exhibits. This place is truly a wonder in Korea! But what's even more entertaining than going there, you ask. It's people-watching. Apparently (or so I have been told) Jeju Loveland is actually a popular "date destination" among young people in Jeju. It's actually cute to see couples conservatively posing in front of, beside and behind obscene statues. Overall, however, I would argue that the best part of an excursion to Loveland is the reactions from the older women who visit by bus loads and fight over who gets to open the penis-shaped door to the washroom!
Love K

Monday, February 23, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #24: DVD Bongs

In case any of you were wondering, the word "bong" in Korean means room and NOT a device which one would smoke a certain somethin' somethin' from :-) Now that that's all cleared up...DVD Bongs/Rooms in Korea are awesome! They are sort of like your very own private theater (except smaller of course), which can fit, on average, about 4-5 people. The way these work is that you rent a movie and it comes with a room for you and your party to view it in. The cost per viewing ranges depending on the size of the room, but it's usually anywhere between $4-7 dollars per person. Not a bad deal considering you choose your own movie and you can bring snacks and drinks...plus the couches are usually super comfortable and the screen quite big. The only problem with these rooms is that apparently high school kids use them for make-out sessions and other stuff, which we won't think about...So if you do end up going to one, just be sure it's either new, or well sterilized before you sit, watch and relax :-)
Love K

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #25: Korean Fashion!

I LOVE FASHION: I love wearing it, talking about it, admiring it, participating in it, writing about it, taking pictures of it, looking at pictures of it...basically anything and everything that deals with fashion-I pretty much LOVE! What I LOVE about Korean fashion, however, is how daring but conformist it can be both at the same time. Much like Japan, the motto for fashionistas in Korea seems to be "anything goes!" On the streets that is, because most professional environments in Korea require uniforms, or uniform-like attire. Nonetheless, most of the fashion you see on the streets is nothing short of inspiring! Unfortunately I don't have too many of my own photos and the ones I do have, my computer at work can't seem to read so instead I posted some images from http://www.korean-fashion-online.com/, and I also included some of my favorite links for Korean Fashion below. Enjoy and be inspired!







Love K
Some of my favorite sites:
1. http://good-times.webshots.com/album/558783748nJCGZl
2. http://love-k.co.kr/
3. http://chocolate365.co.kr/
4. http://www.pony.nz.com/
5. http://www.fashionscandal.co.kr
6.
http://www.labodaboo.co.kr
7.
http://www.proom.kr
8.
http://www.coolgirls.co.kr
9.
http://www.oh-youna.com

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #26: Dongdaemun Midnight Market

If New York is the city that never sleeps, then Seoul is the city that just keeps on going...literally. Nowhere else on this earth can you go out for dinner, go to a bar, then go for a cathartic norebang session (Korean Karyokee) and emerge somewhere in the wee hours of the morning and go shopping! Seriously, this is the land of shopping till you're dropping (literally)! One of the most famous places for such an excursion is the Dongdaemun Midnight Market. This used to be an open-air market, but has since been bulldozed over to give way to a new stadium, I believe...Anyway, it's still home to a few skyscraper malls that are open 24 hours!!! And when I say skyscrapers, I am talking 30+ floors of anything and everything you can imagine...there is no limit to consumption here. In order to get a better idea of what I mean, I posted some pictures from the original midnight market...enjoy...

Love K

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #27: Funny/Funky/Silly Photo booths

Judge me all you want, but these super tacky, silly, funky and fun photo booths are AWESOME! After a night on the town there is no better way to keep a memory alive than through these fabulous little souvenirs. I realize that photo booths also exist in North America, however, I have never ever seen one opened in the wee hours of the morning, as they are in Korea. I have many-a memories stored in photo booth format, some great, some vague and some that make me cringe, however all are wonderfully colourful and TACKY!!! Now that my time is nearing an end, however, I have to start collecting more and more photo booth photos...and quickly!



Love K

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #28: Konglish!!!

I don't think I need to introduce this blog entry in much detail, as I have been sporadically posting Konglish pictures since I started this blog. Instead I made a collage of this wonderful phenomena, which is a mix of English words with Korean grammar...and who knows what else...Konglish truly never seizes to amaze and entertain me. I will miss it very much when I go back to the lands of proper (and somewhat boring) English grammar :-)
Love K

Monday, February 16, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #29: Oedelgae ("Lonely Rock")

Considering the beauty of this place, I probably should have put it in my top 10! However, because I still have so many more things to mention, I figured why not just add it now. This magical place, called Oedelgae (pronounced Way-dal-gay), means "the Lonely Rock", and it is truly magnificent. Reminiscent of the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland, albeit on a smaller scale, it makes you feel like you are standing on the edge of the earth. Oedelgae is situated in the south part of the island, just outside of Seogwipo. It is beautiful at all hours of the day, so I tried to post pictures at different times in order to really get across just how gorgeous this place is. Last year, when we lived in Seogwipo, this was my main running ground and I miss it very much, but nowhere near as much as I will miss it when I leave.
Love K

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #30: Temples

Since I am in Asia, and it is the land of beautiful temples, I had to put this in at some point. I don't consider myself a temple-hopper or an Asian History buff by any means, but it's really hard NOT be inspired by some of the gorgeous temple architecture that one sees on this peninsula. Although Jeju is not known for its temples, per say, there are some magnificent replicas located on the island. The real temple haven in Korea, for those interested, is in Kyangju, where most of the temples from the Chosun Dynasty have been preserved. Sadly, I haven't had the pleasure of visiting this area of Korea but maybe one day if I return again it will most definitely be on my list of "things to do and see!" Nonetheless, because I live in Jeju (and am unashamedly biased of its beauty :-) I have included a picture of a beautiful temple replica in this blog entry. The photo was taken in Jungmun, a south-side resort town just outside of Seogwipo. Enjoy...
Love K

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #31: Everyday Randomness...

There are so many things that can happen to a person on an everyday basis. But I think that most people who live, or have lived, in Korea will agree that this is the land of the RANDOMNESS!!! If I was to list all the random and strange things that happen to me on a daily basis I think this blog entry would take me at least a month to write. So instead I will provide two very good examples of exactly what I mean...I won't spoil these with an explanation, just watch the videos and see for yourself...enjoy...





Love K

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #32: Kimbap Heaven (김밥나라 )

I am not a huge fan of fast food, as a matter of fact I rarely eat it-or at least try to avoid it as much as possible (shut up Michelle :-) However, in Korea, there is a whole different world of "fast food" and much healthier than you'd expect. Although it is common to see places such as McDonald's or Burger King scattered around the penninsula, what one will notice even more is the bright orange 'diner-style' restaurants called "Kimbap Heaven." These little gems are actually restaurants that serve fast, very cheap, convenient and (somewhat) healthy Korean food, and they are situated on almost every corner of every city in Korea. They aren't much in terms of aesthetics, and you definitely wouldn't want to come here in order to impress a date-but they are great if you are looking for a quick, cheap and satisfying meal. My personal favorite (and keep in mind I am not a huge Kimchi fan by any means) is the "champchi-kimchi chigae," basically a spicy tuna-kimchi stew (okay it sounds unappealing but don't knock it till you've tried it :-) Kimbap Heaven also offers such delights as: pork cutlets, kimbap (korean version of a californian role), ramen noodless, oodong noodless (Japanese noodles and broth), various fried rice and omelet dishes etc. The menu is, unfortunately, all in Korean but the "agimas" (an endearing term in Korean meaning "old married lady") are more than happy to help explain (via hand and facial gestures) what each item is. Going is an experience in itself, one that will be missed for sure!

Love K

(Note: the last two pictures I cannot take credit for as I "borrowed" them from the following blog:http://maryeats.com/2006/11/16/kimbap-nara-menu/-Thank you!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #33: Alleys/Alleyways

This may be the strangest thing for anyone to miss about any place, but given the fact that I am amused by simple, beautiful, and mostly odd things-it makes perfect sense. I love Korean alleyways-there I said it! I think they are beautiful, unique and inviting (which is a rare thing for alleyways to be!) I think this may stem from the fact that, for the most part, Korea is a very safe country so alleys aren't the daunting, creepy places they are in North America. In fact, they are warm inviting places, with some of the prettiest, and quirkiest architecture one can find on this penninsula. I honestly don't avoid them, as I would in other parts of the world, but actually take the time to explore them with great fascination and joy (that says a lot!) So, although they can be on the dirty side sometimes, alleys in Korea captivate me and they are something I will most definitely miss about living here...





Love K

Monday, February 9, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #34: Led Zeppelin Bar + Chung Wu & Meayong Ae

I was actually going to put this entry closer to my Top 10, however (and sadly) as it turns out Led Zeppelin is actually no more...Either way I felt that it was really important to mention this amazing place because it will forever remain in my heart (and my sober memories!). Zep's was the watering hole for most foreigners on the island. An ecclectic space that was lined with posters of old rock bands and vinyl records, it always made everyone feel right at home-there was no pretention (pretentiousness???) here... The owners, Chung Wu and Meayong Ae (who, incidentally is opening a new bar called Factory), are amazing people, who I am lucky to know personally, and they will be missed terribly by me and others who have and will depart this island one day.
One of the greatest aspects of Led Zep (besides the fact that everbody knows your name :-) was the brilliant practice of letting everyone request songs (on paper) which almost always got some airplay. ChungWu was responsible for making sure your song got played, and although the bar was small, a lot of the times some major dancing ensued (which Meayong Ae occassionally joined in for :-) So this is my official "good bye" to an amazing bar with amazing people...you will be greatly missed...sigh...
(NOTE: my apologies to Meayong Ae for two things: #1-I am sorry for probably spelling your name wrong and #2-for not having any pictures of you actually at Led Zeppelin and only inluding the following photo from Michelle's party--I hope you're not too mad at me--Love K:-)
Love K

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #35: Sarabong Park

I am ashamed to say that I am not a huge outdoors-y person. I mean, I like the occasional camping trip, hike and stroll, but if I am to be honest (and feel free to judge :-) I will say that I much prefer meeting friends at a nice cafe in a cute outfit to wading through bush and water somewhere in the wilderness (not that I can't appreciate the beauty of such an endeavour!) This is one of the reasons, however, that I love living in Jeju-it combines the beauty of nature with the allure of a city. There are mountains, the ocean, parks galore on the Island-so it's the best of both worlds for city-gals such as myself and nature-lovers, such as my husband. That being said, my #35 is a BEAUTIFUL park that is nestled on an "orum" (a Jeju word meaning something between a mountain and a hill) called Sarabong. This particular "orum" is right by our house and offers a spectacular view of the city below (not to mention a fabulous running ground for our puppy, Bubak!) My husband and I make frequent morning trips to this magnificent place, and always marvel at the beauty of Jeju. It is a truly breath-taking place and definitely one of the things I will miss most about living on this gorgeous Island!


Love K

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #36: ART BOX (and other stationary stores)

It's no secret...I LOVE LOVE LOVE stationary stores and all the treasures one can find in these magical places. However, nowhere in the world (at least where I have been) has there ever been a more heavenly place (for stationary and adorable accessories) than ART BOX. I don't know when, why or how this magical place came to be but boy am I ever glad it's here in Korea (and yes I will miss it like crazy and probbaly bother my friends who are remaining in Korea to send me shiploads of goodies back!)
PS. For those of you interested, there is a website:http://www.artbox.co.kr/ but it's all in Korean...sigh!)

Love K

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #37: GS25 (and Family Mart)

This one may sound really strange to some, seeing as GS25 is a convenience store, but in my defence, A LOT of people hang out at GS25 or Family Mart in Korea. All the stores are open 24hours. They sell drinks, alcohol, snacks, food, stickers and some emergency goodies...PLUS some even have indoor and outdoor seating. It's actually a great place to sit and people watch (or pre-drink)...even better when you have roudy Korean drinkers at the table next to you! Common, you can't beat a place like that! Jim (my editor) and I used to have our monthly meetings at one right by our place (featured below), and it was always an experience. As ghetto(fabulous) as it sounds, the GS25 and Family Mart convenient stores are definitely on my list of things I will miss greatly about living in Korea!

Love K

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #38: Writing for Jeju Life

There are so many places and faces that I will miss in this beautiful little Island, but one thing that brings those two together is a fantastic magazine, which I was fortunate enough to be a a part of. Bear with me now for a few sentences as I pimp out JejuLife (http://www.jejulife.net/ :-). The magazine is a monthly publication (which has since gone completely digital) where foreigners and Koreans alike can find out about the latest and greatest happenings on Jeju Island. It's the brain child of Jim Saunders (editor extraordinaire) and with the help of Brian Miller (photographer extraordinaire), the publication has achieved somewhat of a cult status with many of Jeju's residents. I will definately miss writing and researching for this little gem, and just want to extend a warm "thanks" to Jim for letting me be a part of it all.


Love K

Monday, February 2, 2009

What I will miss most about Korea #39: The Free Cafe

The Free Cafe is one of the coolest places I have ever been to, anywhere! It is literally a FREE CAFE-everything is free (beer, tea, coffee, juice, and snacks included) you serve and clean up after yourself and, if you're so inclined, you can leave a (private) donation at the door when you leave! It's brilliant. The Cafe was founded by a native Korean man who lives in Seoul and comes down to Jeju every weekend to check up on the place. It's been his dream to one day own a cafe that's free. Rumour has it that there is also live music on some nights but I've never actually had the pleasure...Regardless, the place is cozy, cute and FREE!!! (Just so you all know I always leave a donation :-) If any of you are ever in this part of the world-this is definately one place worth checking out!





Love K
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