Archive for the 'Korea (Culture)' Category

Sinterklaas

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Although I should say “European Christmas Market” I suppose.

There was, over this weekend, a “European Christmas Market”. Now, I’ve been to these before and they’re quite fun. You may imagine this:

or

Important to realize though, that this is Korea. There is a christmas market here, it’s just not quite that scale.

What we had instead was this.

Raclette

Dutch stand



8 little stalls, passing off Chili con carne as European (or Christmassy for that matter) and the Dutch saying “Fuck you, we’re doing Sinterklaas instead”.

So, here’s from me. Fijn Sinterklaas gewenst.


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Completely unrelated by everything other than it happening on the same date was the Camarata Music Company’s Chamber Singers’ Christmas concert, or CMCCSCC (That’s a lot of capitalization).

Notable songs include the English version of Shchedryk, one of my favourite Choral numbers. I enjoyed my first exposure to the English version though I think someone should have pushed the lyricist for something more varied.

The start of the concert was good. Toward the end though . . . look at those noobs, you can’t get good volume looking down at your sheets like that, blocking off your windpipe. Almost better off having the audiance participate.

More pictures can be found here.

Seoul Lantern Festival

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

There’s a Lantern Festival in Seoul now.

It’s kind of neat.

Shouldn’t have gone on a Saturday though.




Kind of busy.
The festival was along Cheonggyecheon. For those of us that live here and are familiar with the place, there was a 1 hour queue to get down next to the water and get close up views of what I merely took pictures off from up above.










More Pictures here.

Parental visit – the non pictures.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

The last post was primarily pictures.  And while a picture can say more than 1000 words (or more than that if you believe these guys).

So I want to provide you with some of the things that happened off camera and that can’t really be said with a picture.

Like: “Oh dear LORD, not more fish head stew”
Although . . . .
Photobucket
Photobucket
That was the first fish head stew and those were pictures.
You see, after a year-and-a-half in Korea I still don’t understand most of what is written on the walls of Korean diners. Most of it just doesn’t show up in my little dictionary.

So there was this dish which, on the next table, looked exactly like tofu and noodle stew.
The tofu was tofu, the noodles were fish brain. Hoorah.
Underneath the tofu and fish brain was an assortment of different organ meat aaaaaaaaaaaand fish heads.

What you see on the side there are different Kimchi side-dishes. You may have heard me bitch about kimchi. Kimchi comes in many different varieties wrt season and the like. I like some of them, but the poster child of kimchi is the napa cabbage Kimchi. After 3 days of getting this with every meal my parents were able to accede that it does indeed suck balls.

The problem with this conclusion was that it came too soon. You see, they reached this conclusion while still in Seoul. In Seoul, non-Korean eateries are quite numerous and one can get away from kimchi if one so desires.

We subsequently left Seoul!

Can you guess where this is going?

I was asked to lead my parents to small villages to get away from the Korean Big city™, meanign generic Korean cities which all kind of look the same anyway. Consequently, we ended up here.

I’ll give you a guess what our options were regarding breakfast.
It involved fish guts. Well, it would likely have been fish guts. It’s not like we checked the 8 seafood restaurants if they offered croissants.

Due to that and the only source of coffee being a vending machine we left for the Gyeongju, referred to as museum without walls here, before 8 in the morning and didn’t stop till we found a place that offered coffee and some things Koreans consider rolls.

 

Parental Visit

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Hello Readers.

Been a while, hasn’t it.
Things have been slow, nothing noteworthy to report. Life is good, things are happening, just nothing to write on the internet about. In this age of Twitter this is a strange sentiment, I know.

My job search continues. If you know something, please let me know. And if you think just because it is in Venezuela I won’t be interested well . . . let me know anyway. As my good friend Marco reminded me Libya has some interesting positions open, high-end management even, but I’m afraid there’s some unfortunate history between me and certain Libyans that would make applying for those positions awkward.

In the midst of my frantic job search I was forced to take two weeks off to play shepherd to some clueless tourists.

After seeing Japan to visit me in 2008 and some visits to the States to visit the other child, South Korea was next on the destination list.
Here’s a tip to would-be parents. Make sure your kids leave to all sort of exotic locations so you have a good excuse to go there. To be honest it’s a bit of a shame marrying a French person binds you to your place of residence for the wedding ceremony, otherwise I’d have a nice excuse to invite people to say . . . Tahiti, Machu Pichu or maybe Kilimanjaro.

I’ll see about adding a “Where have I been in Korea” map under a link on the top right but I’ll just mention where we went for now and you’ll just have to google it if you want to know where on this peninsula that is.

If you don’t want to listen to where things are and just watch pictures you can find all uploaded ones here.

We visited some of the sights in Seoul and this is what they look like.
Korean Tea
Cheonggyecheon

Jongmyo


Gyeongbokgung


Bukchon Hanok Village



Olympic Park


Before I post pictures of places outside of Seoul, try this for reference.

Outside of Seoul we went to Jeonju.
Jeonju is known for it’s Hanok Village. This is the second Hanok Village so far (and there’ll be a third), it stand for: “Traditional Village” or something.




Next were the Boseong Tea fields



Jinju Fortress where we were just a little bit too early for a nice festival


Busan








Next was Gyeongju, called museum without walls. It currently hosts the world culture expo.



Onwards to Haeinsa temple. Home of the Triptake Koreana, currently celebrating its Millenial.






Worthy of mention is that we spend 1 more day than planned due to running out of cash and country-side banks (even in high tourist areas) sucking balls. It took us 3 hours, 4 towns and 9 banks before we managed to extract cash at a 7/11 (and no, countryside don’t seem to have those either)
A long walk through the hills in Woraksan National Park








Which leaves most of the east coast with Seoraksan, Seokcho and others for next visit. A visit to the DMZ as well is something on every tourists must-do list of course.

My parents made it on to their plane and rest has returned to my house. Much to my dogs chagrin btw, his grandma was really spoiling him.

Korean Spring

Monday, April 18th, 2011

It’s spring in Korea. What does that mean?
Well, it generally means a raise in temperature and teenage hormones.

And flowers.

Japan is known for its sakura season. And its underdog sibling, the ume blossom season isn’t anything to sneeze at either. But when you think of Korea, flowers isn’t what come to mind. Mostly it’s that pesky neighbour of ours, and he doesn’t look anything as nice as what I’m posting in here.

As I’ve mentioned occasionally, I live next to Namsan park. Namsan park is . . . a park. Parks have flowers. So, to get down to it, these are some pictures taken on the mountain that shapes my calves.















Now, isn’t that beautiful?

Of course, can’t please some people.

The entire album can be viewed here.

 

Seoul, 37°

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Not Celcius. North
Seoul lies 37°34’08” north of the equator as can be seen from wikipedia on the relevant page (and we all know not to doubt the great wikipedia)

It lies a good 15 degrees lower than my former place of habitation.

If we were to look at what we’d find at 37°34’08N 4°21’24″E (Seoul’s latitude, Delft’s longitude) we’d be just north of the coast of Algeria in the eternally pleasant Mediterranean. If I had to put it in holiday spots you might recognise I’d say: Sicily or perhaps Alicante. Both noted for their warm summers and mild winters.

That’s the longitude I live at. Everyone that talked to me during the summer will know that we certainly do have warm summers. Turn it down a tad, would you, I nearly went crazy without A/C.

Winters here, though, are not mild.
Living at a longitude of the southern most Grecian islands one might have expected this.

In the Netherlands we have winters. They’re characterized by some freezing, though not enough to skate 200 km between Frisian towns, a lot of rain but little snow, lots of wind and ludicrously little daylight.

Living south of this I would therefore expect: longer days, less frost, maybe rain instead of snow and a little less cutting wind please.








I was wrong. We don’t get rain, we get snow (which our neighbours clear from the street every time it drops), the pond in our park would have no problem holding a couple of thousand ice-skate enthusiasts, it’s fucking cold here and the wind isn’t helping with that.

Our shortest day of the year was over 90 minutes longer than the one in Delft though.

But seriously. This is our front door (which is made out of metal . . . I’m not sure who thought that was a good idea)

The moisture in the air condenses on the door and then freezes.

And this is the local water tower. Which, as you can tell, leaks


This is what you’ll find underneath it





It hasn’t been above 0° (Celcius this time) for a month now.
I’m conditioned for Dutch winters. Freezes don’t last this long back home, much to the annoyance of the Dutch skaters, and don’t generally go as low as this.

It’s cold here. Proper cold.

I kinda like it =)

More pictures in the winter album. Including those of the ice-skating rink

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– Quote of the day:

Friendship is like wetting your pants, everyone can see it but only you can feel the warmth

– Anon