Thursday, April 30, 2009

What I miss most about Korea #4: Game Bongs (rooms)

I think I have mentioned a few times now that Korea is the land of "bongs" (sp???) or "rooms". This country seriously has a "room" for almost everything: DVDs, Singing, PCs, Photographs etc. Given the fact that all these rooms are so readily available it's hard to be bored in Korea. However, one of my favourite "rooms" on the peninsula is the board game room. It is exactly as it sounds-it is a room where one goes to play board games! So brilliant in its simplicity!!! Truthfully I have only been to one in Jeju, but I know they exist all round the country. Basically Board game rooms work like this: there is usually a huge room set up with a plethora of medium to large size tables throughout. The seating is usually comfortable, because as you can imagine people usually spend hours in these places-therefore comfort is key. Usually there is a menu of games -that's right a HUGE menu of all the available board games-isn't that awesome?Snacks and drinks are available for purchase but most places are okay with you bringing your own refreshments as well. The proprietors usually charge per hour but I believe this can vary  so make sure you check before you start playing-either way, like most entertainment venues in Korea, game bongs tend to be a super cheap way stay entertained!  So at the expense of sounding cheesy-game rooms are a great way to "get your game on" (I know I know-LAME :-)
note: this is a great article from Jeju Life magazine about
 one particular game room on the island-enjoy:
http://jejulife.net/2008/05/25/fun-cafe-board-game-room-city-hall-jeju-south-korea/
Love K

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What I miss most about Korea #5: NOREBONGS!!!

When one thinks of Asia, it is almost certain that one will think of Karaoke! It's no surprise either because the culture of  Karaoke in Asia is HUGE! It's what people of all ages do to wind down, have fun, stimulate romance, or relax with. In Korea, this tradition is called Norebong (literally "singing room") and let me tell you, when I say it's ingrained in the culture I mean IT IS INGRAINED!!! People of all ages (and I mean ALL ages) participate in this particular pastime-no exceptions! My personal opinion of Norebongs has changed over the years. First I was straight-up petrified of the idea of singing to a room full of people (given the fact that I am utterly tone deaf this is not surprising). However, over the last three years I have warmed and now even love the whole spectacle. The great thing about Norebongs in Korea, is the fact that it's as private an experience as you want it to be-meaning that you actually rent a room for your friends (as many as you feel comfortable with) and in the privacy of your very own room you get to wail out all of your feelings and emotions. Plus you get to bring in whatever you want: drinks, food, pent-up emotions...It's a fantastically cathartic exercise, one that I have come to enjoy and appreciate greatly. So today, I raise my glass to the great Korean Norebongs, and all the friends that have made them FABULOUS (you know who you are "bunny" and PTL!) both of which I miss EXTREMELY about living in Korea!




Love K

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What I miss most about Korea #6: Bagdad Cafe, Jeju-si

It's no secret that one of my favorite activities is eating-I love to enjoy food-this is true:-) However, what I love even more than consuming a good meal is the atmosphere in which the meal is served. This is why I absolutely LOVE Bagdad Cafe in Jeju city. Not only does this gorgeous little place serve some of the best Indian Cuisine I have EVER tasted, the atmosphere really cannot be beat. It's a cosy little space with a covered and heated patio on the side, a full bar, blankets for chilly times and it's dog friendly as well (as long as your pooch is well behaved and you sit outside on the patio). Another great thing about Bagdad is the two owners-Ju Ryong and Sebon (Sorry if I spelled your names wrong guys). These guys know exactly how to make you feel right at home with good friends, adding to the already fantastic ambiance (Ju Ryong is the lovely lady in photo#5 and Sebon is the handsome guy in photo#3 :-) I miss this place terribly, as a matter of fact I think if I had a ticket back to Korea right now, this would be my first stop back in Jeju!
**Note: all the amazing photos featured below are courtesy of Brian Miller, my good friend and the photographer extraordinaire in Jeju Island. For more of his photos check out: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/album.php?aid=215586&id=854800430
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/album.php?aid=166704&id=854800430&op=12





Love K

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What I miss most about Korea #7: The beaches and the Ocean

Sitting here in my folk's house in cold Toronto,  as I look outside my window and see snow-in APRIL!!!  Man do I ever miss Korea, especially Jeju right at this moment! So what better aspect to write about than the beautiful warm beaches and ocean in Jeju-which I think at this point I miss more than anything else (well except maybe for some friends-Michelle!) Seeing as I lived in Jeju for two years and experienced two full summers on this gorgeous island, I came to know my way around some of the best beaches there quite well. I won't go through all of the places one can visit, swim and sunbathe on the island, but I will mention my three favourite watering holes (no pun intended). The first is not exactly a beach but literally an ocean watering hole where the diving, snorkelling and swimming is fantastic! The place, Oedelgae, isn't great for sun tanning, mainly for the fact that it is too rocky to enjoy such activities, but it is a phenomenal place for cliff diving and snorkelling. (Just be careful and avoid the water if it seems too rough). The second place is a beach and it isn't too far from Oedelgae. Jungmun Beach is the most famous beach on the island and it is especially popular with honeymooners and Japanese tourists . Jungmun Beach is a white sand beach which can get super crowded in the summer months, however outside of the Korean beach season (which starts end of June and lasts roughly until the end of August) it is the best place for swimming, wading and sun bathing. Jungmun is also a great place for Bon fires and just hanging out with friends. Both aforementioned places are located on the south side of the island near the city of Seogwipo. The last beach I want to mention is actually my favorite on Jeju. It's called Hamdok beach, it is located on the North side very close to Jeju-si and although it isn't as large as Jungmun, it is also definitely not as busy. This place is great for swimming, snorkelling, wading, camping and bonfires as well. During the busy summer months vendors set up carnival-esque games and shooting ranges, and there is even a derelict (but somewhat functional) roller-coaster park nearby (good for taking pictures not sure if I would ever recommend the rides). I think I'll end here because just writing about beaches and the ocean is making me miss my old home even more. But if you want any more information about the beaches on Jeju check out the following article written by my good friend Henry for JejuLife magazine: http://jejulife.net/2008/07/12/the-beaches-of-jeju-island-jeju-south-korea/





Love K

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What I miss most about Korea #8: Cafes and Coffee Shops

I know I have been extremely bad at updating my blog, but finally here it is! It's funny, now that I am away from Korea I can truly sit back and appreciate what I really miss about the wonderful peninsula (okay I know that I am definitely going to romanticize most of this but still....)  One MAJOR aspect I am already missing more than anything is the cafes and coffee shops that are in Korea. Whether it be the interior design, the actual coffee and tea served, or the adorable exterior of most (if not all) cafes, I miss it all!!! I absolutely LOVE the cafes in Korea, they are both welcoming and whimsical and not to mention extremely adorable! (plus it doesn't hurt that they actually serve good tea and coffee!)...anyway here are some images from some of the coffee houses and cafes that I managed to take pictures of...enjoy...













Love K
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