Monday, July 28, 2008

Libraries are fun

What's better than quality time spent in the library? A pretty library! Namely, Yonsei's grand spanking new beauty. It was my second time in the extension building, but my first time actually being productive in it. ^^

Plasma touch screens, seat reservation systems, movie rentals (with a multimedia center to watch them in), language lab booths, beautiful shiny new computers, ample hang out space, and study areas very reminiscent of an Apple Store (it must have been the white pod-like desks)... With this type of atmosphere - wide, open, modern, dust-free, and super duper conducive to studying - you could practically live here (says the inner nerd in me)! It certainly brought me back to college days.

Here are a few photos taken from the 7th floor roof deck -

Severance Hospital and Namsan in the background.

The northeast-ish side of Yonsei's campus.

The law school's future mock court building.

Sinchon and the 63 Building in the distance.

The (slow) glass lifts.

I heart you, Yonsei Samsung Library.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Good reads: Korean criticism

Ask A Korean posts yet another stimulating blog, this time on Korean criticism.

With analogies to Hitler, Tupac, and a Pebble Beach minefield, he ought to be writing for an editorial magazine, no?
Now you can imagine the proper difficulty of being a non-Korean, constructive critic. Could you imagine yourself walking up to Tupac (bless his soul) and his crew saying:

“How are you Mr. Shakur? You know, I think you really should stop rapping about shooting the police. I understand where you are coming from, but really, times have changed, and the police now protect all of us. I mean, just look at the number of African-American police officers we have around the country now. It’s really a terrible influence for children, so I really think it’s time for you to move on.”

Read on...

Korean texting and spacing

I wasn't much of a texter in the States, as I didn't have a data plan nor felt the need to upgrade to one. (I enjoyed my month-to-month billing too much to get stuck in another contract, thank you very much!) Besides, not many of my friends were really into texting anyway (or perhaps I was unknowingly excluded from the club). I like to think they were traditionalists - you know, the people who actually used a cell phone to make a phone call? And surely, if anything short, witty, and random had to be said, there was always MySpace or Facebook.

In London, I definitely texted and limited outgoing calls like it was my job. (I kid.) "Topping up" on a prepaid phone in the UK wasn't very fun at two dollars to the pound.

In Korea, I've finally come to appreciate the art of text messaging, although I'm sure I've got a long way ahead of me. A few great things about texting in Hangul, as opposed to English, are that:
  1. You can say a lot more in a lot less space!
  2. It's faster!
  3. You can skimp on the spacing!
Here's my brief 60 second analysis. Ready?

1. You can say a lot more in a lot less space. This is especially useful for those who skillfully avoid turning an SMS into an MMS. Speaking of which, what exactly is the $ difference between the two, and other than having to wait for an MMS to download (I've noticed it can be a little slow at times), are there any other reasons people would rather send 2-3 SMS messages rather a long MMS?

Anyway, let's say you want to apologize to a friend and inform him/her that you might be running a few minutes late.

Sorry, it seems like I'll be a little late (42 characters, including spaces)
미안한데 좀 늦을 것 같아. (14 characters, including spaces)

Ok, maybe that's a bit unfair. I suppose that if we really wanted to, we might cut it down to this:

Sorry will be a little late (27 characters)
Sorry will be lil late (22 characters)
Sorry will b lil l8 (19 characters)

Numbers! We had to resort to numbers and it was still longer in English. I suppose you could get even more creative, but not without significant butchering (or a bit of thinking, trying to come up with shorter ways to get the main (similar, but not same) point across: i.e. "Sorry runnin l8!") You get the point.

2. It's faster. Well, for me anyway. ^^ But that's because my thumbs aren't fully trained English-mobile-keypad-style.

3. You can skimp on the spacing.

Let's take the same sentences and get rid of the spacing.


In this case, it's easier to decipher the Korean upon first glance than the English, plus we haven't sacrificed any spelling or grammar. ^^ S'pose we could capitalize the first letter of each word to make it clearer, but that requires shifting from capital letter mode to lowercase letter mode, which means going through the 가 - a - A - 특 - 1 keys on a Korean phone multiple times - quite an effort for lazy fingers if you ask me.

However... there is a downfall!

My convenient, non-spaced text messaging habits have resulted in a bit of laziness, when it comes to recognizing how to properly space Korean words. Unfortunately, there's a little more to it than simply adding one after each word.

I recently came across this blogger's post, which lists some common misunderstandings that can occur because of spacing. For example:

오늘밤 나무 사왔어.
I bought a tree tonight.

오늘밤 나 무 사왔어.
I bought radish tonight.

오늘 밤나무 사왔어.
I bought a chestnut tree today.

Thankfully, my spacing problems aren't quite that dramatic... it's more of a 앉아있다 vs. 앉아 있다 thing (which for the record, is correct both ways apparently).

But no worries, Naver is here to save the day with their trusty Beta autospacer!

But it begs the question... Is this a problem for Koreans as well? Why else would Naver develop an autospacer? Does Google have one cooking up in their labs as too? Probably, but I'm assuming it's for code, not plain English. ^^

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The best way to eat ramyun

You see, I've been eating well in Korea, 엄마. ^^

The Korean fish game!

And since I'm on a fishy roll, I present to you: THE KOREAN FISH GAME!

The object of this $3 game is to throw a dizzy fish into the water, and see where it ends up swimming to, which determines your prize. See how the contestant shakes the fish in an effort to confuse it (you know he's aiming for that gigantic Hello Kitty pillow), but the fish are trained like ninjas!

Something smells fishy, a pictoblog

I recently took my first trip to Noryangjin Fish Market (노량진역/Noryangjin Station, Line 1). It's similar to most other fish markets in the country - rows and rows of fresh sea creatures straight off the boat - cleaned, sliced, and diced in front of your very eyes.

You can pretty much find anything here - small shrimp, medium shrimp, big shrimp, ginormous shrimp (or prawns?), crabs, stingrays, octopus, mussels, clams, and a wide range of unidentifiable squirmy looking things.

The fun part, however, is buying your fish and having it sashimi-ed on the spot, or alternatively, taken to a restaurant in the vicinity to have your just-purchased meal prepared right then and there. (Noryangjin also has a handful of these places, located on the 2nd floor.)

A word of caution: enough time spent walking around the market will make you VERY fishy... you just might not smell it till you get home!

We opted out of trying Noryangjin's selection this time around, but I thought I'd share some of my recent fish experiences (mostly in Gangwondo)...

An octopus let out of his cage.

Filleted "Korean style" sashimi, or hwe (회). The fish head was still "breathing."

If anyone can help me identify this lovely sea monster pictured below, I'd appreciate it. I have a sneaking suspicion it might be gaebul (개벌)... and if that's the case, I swear I had no idea what it was at the time of force-fed-consumption.

The fish we bought from the market - cooked to perfection.

Mysterious spicy fish soup...

More mysterious spicy soup. If raw fish isn't your thing, wait for the soup to arrive, and throw it in shabu shabu style.

Typical side dishes at a seafood restaurant.

Don't forget the soju!

The only place I've seen this yummy broiled corn-mayo concoction is at seafood restaurants. I usually eat about 2.

Great place to go sightseeing.

Who needs an aquarium when you've got Korean fish markets, really?

I can't get enough of...

...CORN BEARD TEA! And not just any oksusu suyum cha (옥수수 수염 차) - the one with that Corn Mermaid on the bottle (made by Lotte).

Someone ought to write a song about it. It's like a corn drinking addiction!

What's your favorite beverage?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Korean is hard

My Korean... sucks. I was reminded of that on several occasions over the last couple days...

#1 Can you say that again?

I swung by my local Baskin Robbins to pick up some ice cream to-go on my way home, and for some reason or another, I could not for the life of me understand what the employee was trying to communicate. She even resorted to English, clearly annoyed with me, stammering, "Time! Time! Time!" And I still had no idea what she was trying to say. As my guilt started to sink in, she repeated it slowly one last time, and luckily, a little light bulb went off in my head: "Ohhh, you want to know how long it'll take for me to get home, so you can pack my ice cream accordingly? Why didn't you say that in the first place? ; )" Ding Ding Dong!

Lesson #1: Stop eating ice cream; you need to go on a diet anyway.

#2 Nash equilibrium... how do you say that in Korean again?

Flipping through notes from a friend's economics class, my mind almost instantaneously shut off as it entered shock-confused-lazy mode, begging me to cease all attempts at comprehension. Perhaps upon seeing the graphs I could have faked a conversation... "Oh, I see you're studying game theory now?" Oh, crap. I don't know how to say game theory (게임이론?) in Korean...

Lesson #2: Drop in on a summer business lecture at Yonsei. This will create even more confusion, and hopefully lead to an increase in motivation to read more articles from the piles of 매일경제 collecting at the front door.

#3 Debating... in Korean

We had a "debate" on 성형수술 (plastic surgery) today, and the gap between what I wanted to say and what I ended up saying was about as wide as... 한강? 재주도? 동해?

Lesson #3: Work on my "I'm nodding like I totally understand everything you're saying" look. I should start blogging in Korean for practice!

#4 Stop laughing at me!

There are some people that I don't normally speak in Korean with, for various reasons - i.e. we're used to speaking English to each other b/c that's what we did in the States, their English is 99.9999% fluent, and... I hate to admit this one... but I can get a bit shy. Therefore, K-E combo convos are pretty common, and I can only imagine it's at least somewhat amusing to listen to from the outside. An acquaintance recently asked about that #1 barrier...

왜 웃어요?!
부끄럽다고? 하하하하!
뭐가 웃겨요?

At this point I gave up, until his laughter subsided. Apparently, 부끄럽다 isn't used as much as 쪽팔리다 in this situation. So I asked good ol' Mom, who in turn gave me a 10 minute lecture on the appropriateness of certain vocabulary (and prefers that I don't incorporate 쪽팔리다 into my everyday speech.) Then again, I also told her I learned 그닥 (a shortening of 그다지) from my pal YS, and she said she preferred to stick with 그다지 because it sounded nicer than 그닥. Hmmm.

Coincidentally, I recall a recent conversation about Korean grandparents not understanding the lingo of today's youth (and perhaps, vice versa). Ah, times a changin!

Lesson #4 comes from Ask a Korean, who brought up a good point in his latest post:
Neither of the English editions of the two papers contained a headline that was on the front page of Dong-A Ilbo, one of the largest newspapers in Korea in circulation. The lesson: even if you keep up with the English media coming out of Korea, you will only get about half of Korean news, which sometimes miss very important news. If you wish to really understand Korea, you have to learn Korean and read the Korean media. Until English-language media in Korea becomes a lot more exhaustive, there is no alternative.

You ate WHERE?

I don't normally find myself at casual dining chains very often in the US - well, The Cheesecake Factory and CPK are rare exceptions, and local chains don't count (i.e. I love you, Boloco). However, familiarity often brings comfort, especially when you're thousands of miles away from a decent bowl of garlic smashed potatoes. Sometimes, it's just not a jjiggae type of day, if you know what I mean.

That feeling led me straight into the doors of Hooters. Well, that, and it was strategically located while I was starving and it started to pour (장마 is an entirely different conversation for another time.)

I've visited Hooters on one other occasion (in Honolulu) and I have to say, based on my slightly grayed recollection, although I knew short shorts were part of the deal, the waitresses in Gangnam (강남) might have as well been wearing a one piece swimsuit. As my Korean friend looked about the restaurant, I couldn't help but laugh at his innocent remarks...

"So, is a hooter a type of owl?"

"Then what does hoot mean?"

"I feel burdened."

Right. The food.

Fish and chips! I'm pretty sure this isn't worth a twenty... but it wasn't bad. (This isn't a London pub; what can you expect?) The fish was surprisingly tender, the batter nicely fried and softly salted. I just wish they didn't serve it with curly fries.

Moving on to my next confession...

On a whim, a friend and I decided to check out On the Border in Sinchon (신촌).

While the dinner prices are comparatively ridiculous, a lunch set starts off at just $10, where you can choose a side (salad/rice/soup) and a dish (i.e. enchilada, taco, burrito), as well as add on some other items like a non-alcoholic margarita for a few extra dollars.

It's nothing to write home about, but if you're craving colorful sit down "Mexican," you know where to go!

Hooters: 02-3448-1231~2
If you take Exit 2 from Gangnam Station and keep walking straight for a few minutes, it'll be on the right side of the street, on the 2nd floor. There's another location in Apgujeong.

On the Border: 02-324-0682
Take Exit 3 or 4 at Sinchon Station. From McDonald's, keep walking straight (towards Burger King) until you see a Coffee Bean on your left. The restaurant is on the 2nd floor. There's another location in the COEX Mall.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pasta 12: Spaghetti on a $6 budget

Pasta 12 has unknowingly become a default for satisfying impulse pasta cravings on a budget in Sinchon (신촌). I've visited the quaintly-decorated basement restaurant a handful of times, mostly for lunch, where you can order any dish on the menu for less than 6500 won. They'll even throw in a small salad, a beverage (cola/cider/hot coffee), and of course, sweet pickles (to cut the grease, according to Koreans.) Not a bad deal.

The menu is oddly separated into "pasta" and "spaghetti" (hmm, I thought spaghetti was pasta?) and then conveniently divided by sauce type: tomato, tomato-cream, cream, Shanghai (insert question mark here), soy cream, olive oil, and demi-glace. (Where's the pesto?)

But the real prize winner here is the soy cream mushroom spaghetti. Yes, I said soy milk - all the richness with a subtle nuttiness and half the fat (maybe), helping us all keep (or aspire to) the all important "S line" trend!

Pasta 12 is located next door to Doughnut Plant in Sinchon (Exit 3).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

He found himself... on the Internet

I recently got a message from one of the sergeants who led our DMZ tour last month. He kindly requested that I not make my DMZ video public (since he's in it), while also acknowledging that there are no restrictions for recording/uploading such video. Out of respect for his privacy, it is no longer available for the general YouTube community.

I thought this was pretty interesting.

Almost in a "Duh...the Internet really works?!" sense. Never once did the thought of crossing paths again with this stranger, who - for the record - was a damn good security escort, enter my mind, let alone via my YouTube inbox, which I (and a lot of YouTubers, ahem) just about never check.

I didn't tag his name (I didn't remember it to start with), and the video, like many others available online, was uploaded to share with those interested in what it's like to be in the Demilitarized Zone, and particularly, around the Joint Security Area. Funny that he found himself (or perhaps a friend shared the news?) on big ol' WWW - likely after searching for keywords such as "DMZ Tour."

I know I should hardly be surprised. And I don't need a class on Web 2.0 or "the power of the Internet" - this is hardly a comment on collaboration tools, marketing opportunities, social influences, or the like - I simply wanted to take a moment to say, "Wow."

We generally take the Interweb for granted, but it's pretty darn neat (and potentially scary?) if you think about it. ; )

Around Ichon-dong: Mitaniya restaurant, the National Museum of Korea, and K-drama filming

Ichon-dong (이촌동) may be deemed Seoul's "Little Tokyo," but the name's a bit deceiving. Sure, there's a Japanese mini-mart or two, and even a few signs in Hiragana, but if you're really expecting, well, a smaller version of Tokyo, you won't find it here (as I discovered my first time around.) Rather, Ichon-dong is quiet, filled with residential high rises and a few smart looking cafes. And if you take a close enough look, you're bound to find some good eats. After hearing about Mitaniya (02-797-4060), a small Japanese restaurant in the basement of the Samik Shopping Mall, I went with 4 other pals (from Japan) to find it, and see if it'd pass the test.

I have to say, they were quite pleased upon receiving the menu alone, seeing that it was 4 pages long, all in Japanese (of course, with Korean descriptions). It took us a while to figure out a plan, but as soon as the neighboring table's plates arrived, everyone confirmed their decision - the curry and tonkatsu looked, smelled - and we soon discovered - tasted pretty damn good. (I, on the other hand, opted for the kitsune udon, which was perfectly cooked in a mild, refreshing broth.) Overall, Mitaniya gets a thumbs up - a satisfactory, no-frills place to satiate your non-Koreanized, Japanese meal needs.

Besides "Little Tokyo," Ichon-dong is also home to the National Museum of Korea (국립중앙박물관). Personally, it's not my favorite museum, but I did enjoy the Pensive Bodhisattva sculpture, along with a few of the fine art pieces. The museum itself is located on beautiful grounds, which would be a perfect setting for a summer picnic (on a cool day).

I had the opportunity to make my very own seal/stamp at the museum's educational center - and it's harder than it looks! Unfortunately, writing my last name in Kanji was too complex a task (you have to carve everything with a blade backwards!) so I finally settled with my Korean-sided name using Hangul. It's read in the following order: top right - bottom right - top left - bottom left corners.

Finally, what better way to cap off a trip to Ichon-dong than to see a K-drama filming!

To be completely honest, I had no idea what was going on, and had to be informed that they were shooting a scene for 밤이면 밤마다, a drama that's currently airing in Korea. Had I known (about 10 seconds prior) it was Lee Dong-geon (이동건) in that car (Ono says he saw him), I wouldn't have walked by so quickly and nonchalantly! ㅠㅠ We debated for a few seconds whether to go take a few steps backward but decided to let the crew have their peace.

Here's the MBC truck that was parked a few meters behind...

Is it just me, or is it a little odd to advertise your drama while on location? Maybe it stirs up interest from passersby? It did for me - I'm tuning in! ^^;;

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Will it blend?

It's sad to admit that I've spent the past 20 minutes watching nearly 10 episodes of "Will It Blend?" Yes, a blender company's shameless marketing tactic - for which I'm surprised the company has not yet been sued by some crazy parent whose silly kid burnt the house down trying to blend gasoline and cigarettes - but somewhat entertaining nonetheless, and very reminiscent (some might say "rip-off") of Letterman's "Will It Float?"

I think Tom should localize his commercials, and perhaps in the Korean version, he might blend some kimchi and a TOEIC book...? Hmph, I'm sure we can think of a cleverer combination.

Thanks, MC, for the link. How have I not seen one of these until now?

Daily distractions: kimchee jun, organic jam, and babies

My life's a bit boring at the moment besides being in the middle of deciding some big "next steps." I thought I'd share a few distractions.

I made kimchee jun for dinner tonight, on top of my eggplant and tofu stir fry. "Diet starts tomorrow." Or maybe Friday.

Bought some organic strawberry jam for the first time in Korea, to accompany my huge bottle of Jif which I don't really know what to do with... peanut butter popcorn?

It's not quite Bonne Maman but I'm not complaining. Anyone got any good Korean brand jam recommendations by chance?

Jihey Onni's been babysitting this kid...

...He makes the funniest faces but doesn't say a word.

Just imagine the looks you get while transporting a blue-eyed, red-headed cutie on the subway (in Korea)?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why do expats complain? A good read

There's an interesting joint post by Ask A Korean and Roboseyo on the following topic:

Why do expats complain?

Ask A Korean brings up a good point - as my family have noted many times before - most of us foreigners (myself included, minus time spent with family) tend to gravitate towards comparatively well-off, 20-somethings who speak nearly fluent English, which can lead to a very skewed view of Korean society.
On one hand you have your Koreans in their 60s who grew up in constant danger of death from war and starvation, and on the other hand you have your Koreans in their teens who are self-absorbed, battling obesity problem.
Few people (including younger Koreans themselves) understand this point, no matter how many times the Korean screams about it: only 50 years ago, Korea was DIRT FUCKING POOR. It was one of the poorest countries in the world. Here is an example: when the Korean War happened, Ethiopia was one of the countries that sent a contingent to aid South Korea. Ethiopia!
Roboseyo does a wonderful job of categorizing "complainers" by type -
  • The Snark Olympians: Harsher! Meaner! Ruder!
  • The Misdirected Culture-Shockers and Disappointed Orientalists: Next rung up on the ladder are the expats who complain not so much for the sport, but because they don't know any other way to articulate the culture-shock they're experiencing.
  • The Off-Duty Diplomats: The next level goes especially for people who complain online, or expats who always run Korea down when they're around other expats.
  • Alternate View Pointer-Outers like to divide complainers into the cathartic complainers and the social critics.
  • The Kimcheerleading Counterbalances: Closely related to the off-duty diplomats.
  • The (Maybe You Didn't Notice It Was) Affectionately Sarcastic: Some readers and listeners don't notice, can't notice, or intentionally ignore, the fact that some of us comment on this stuff because it amuses us, and we're not trying to be negative at all.
  • The Social Critic
  • The Constructive Social Critic
I'd like to think of myself as the "affectionately sarcastic" type, at least in my online world, where the "heavy" stuff is rarely discussed (I conveniently talk about elementary journal-esque topics such as "What I Ate for Dinner") simply because I originally intended for this blog to serve as a life-updater for my family and friends, in lieu of mass emails and Facebook/MySpace album uploads and what not, rather than a destination for essays on society. It's also a simple way for me to document some of my adventures, as well as a means to keeping my sanity when bored or restless. Personally, writing is cathartic, and for that, I have many other outlets (other blogs, joint blogs, email, snail mail, a "real" journal, etc.) that I'd rather keep to myself, or within a smaller circle, at times.

The majority of my complaining typically gets dished out to good ol' Mom (who is from Korea, I might add). Her reactions - sometimes based on her mood, whether or not Dad vacuumed the house, and the level of agitation in my voice - vary from, "Korea needs to work on changing that" to "I know how you feel, but just try to understand" to "Well, then come home already!"

I dare not "complain" to family members in Korea... rather, we discuss "how things differ in other parts of the world." For the most part, my family does a pretty good of understanding how I, the American, can often have an alternative perspective on culture, and like my mom, their reactions also vary from time to time. One thing, however, will never change - the constant requests to "Please learn how to eat ____ (i.e. goelbaengi or samgyeopsal) since you're in Korea," fully aware that what they say won't really make a difference - I will not give into eating snails or pork, people, no matter who you are or how nicely you ask me!

Anyway, I digress.

I suggest you all take 10 minutes out of your day for this read!

Ask A Korean

Weekend in Geumsan

Geumsan (금산) is a little town best known for its ginseng (apparently responsible for 70% of Korea's ginseng production). However, our weekend was spent camping on the Geumgang (금강), which reminded me of a mini-vacay to California's Russian River from years past... Let's just say while I do enjoy being outdoors, I prefer AC-ed, bug-free environments with access to clean toilets and showers during sleep hours. I'm a wimp, I know, but this was one tough weekend... ^^;;

  • Gleefully swimming in the river...
  • ...until we saw a pregnant COW pee in it!
  • Doing dishes in the river (before the cow peed in it)
  • No bathrooms (don't ask)
  • Sleeping not sleeping in a tent with snorers ㅋㅋ and insects (grr) and no breeze! (Hence, the desperate text messages some might have received from me... ^^;;)
  • Playing with one of the calmest, cutest babies ever
  • Catching golbaengi (골뱅이) aka SNAILS and picking them out of their shells with safety pins (yes, for consumption; no, I don't eat golbaengi, but for people who do, can you tell me -1- what's so tasty about them, and -2- why they're green when boiled?)
  • Watching our neighbor de-scale and gut (still alive) fish for breakfast soup
  • Sunburns!
  • Jihee and I sneaking off in search of ice cream and the Dae Jang Geum filming location...
  • Developing a new appreciation for COLD water and tea
  • Quality people and nature time ^^
  • Sitting in the car to cool down in the AC
  • (First time) riding the KTX... Daejeon to Seoul in less than 1 hour!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jjimdak and tea

As I proudly ate my jjimdak (찜닭) without wincing or gulping down a half gallon of water, I thought my tolerance for spice was improving, having been in Korea for half a year. That was, until, my friend informed me in blunt Korean fashion, "I asked them not to make it too hot for you."

I've always loved jjimdak - no, I take that back - the very first time I had it, I thought a fire had broken out in my mouth, and at that point, I only sort of liked it. But jjimdak - a braised chicken dish served in a shoyu based sauce (usually accompanied with chewy glass noodles, potatoes, onions, and the occasional carrot and mushroom) - has since grown on me. You see, its unassuming heat makes it all the more adventurous. As you begin to dig in, the first thing your taste buds notice is the powerful mixture of sweet n salty. It isn't until a second or two later that you realize you're dealing with a healthy dose of garlic and chili pepper.

Having eaten jjimdak with three people from Hawaii - they (and I) have all agreed that it somehow reminds us of home. Shoyu chicken, maybe? Sukiyaki, perhaps? As we try to wrap our heads around what makes it so familiar, one thing's for certain - jjimdak is packed with flavor. There are quite a few places that serve jjimdak, and based on personal experience, it seems pretty hard to go wrong. However, Andong Jjim Dak and Bongchu Jjim Dak are popular choices, and if you happen to be in the Myeongdong (명동) area, simply ask around, and you shall find.

If you're looking for a way to soothe yourself from all that heated flavor, I recommend taking a trip to O'Sulloc Tea House. According to Lonely Planet, "Everything is produced from the green tea picked on the company's tea plantation on Jejudo." We ordered the tropical dream green tea, which was recommended by our waitress. Quite rightly one of the most popular selections, it's a mild tea that packs a wonderful fruity scent. The desserts didn't disappoint either, but it was the cafe's light wood and green surroundings that topped it off, allowing for a relaxing break away from the busy crowds, bright lights, and noise of Myeongdong.

After having been rejuvenated, we continued our walk all the way to Cheonggyecheon. Despite the heat, the people couples were out in force!

I'll miss you guys! ㅠㅠ

Jake Shimabukuro in MA

It's hot here. The muggy, sticky grossness that's called a Korean summer. I have the feeling that native Koreans are a lot better at handling the heat than I am... Anyway, I can't sleep, and need to be up in 5 hours, so why not blog? Lately, I've been on quite a roll. ^^ This one's for the Boston-ers. I was listening to one of my favorite videos tonight...

...which got me thinking, "Where's Jake touring this year?" You lucky Bostonians get the chance to see him not once, not twice, but three times - Northampton on 8/1, Cambridge on 8/2, and/or Newport on 8/3... will someone go so I can live vicariously? ^^

PS Thank you to MC for the Stove Top (plus Easy Mac, Craisins, Cheetos, Orville popcorn, Nature Valley granola bars, and Quaker Oatmeal! ^^)

And Malesa & Tim for the JIF!