Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Around The House

A few pictures of the facilities I'm beginning to use more and more at CJ International Dormitory:

The iCafe
CNN in the morning on TV. There are also PC and MAC comps with internet for you to use on the left.
I like the ceiling -- a collage of KU's past significant eventsFor lunch, you have to tell the lady in the kitchen what you want. They only have 2 types of sandwiches for both breakfast and dinner: Tuna and Chicken Bacon Club (3 layers of bread). She makes it fresh for you and even (lovingly) cuts off the crusts!
The gym! It wasn't open when I took this picture, which is why it looks so dark. I like the fact that it's hardly used (at least when I'm there at 8AM) so I can hop from one piece of equipment to the next without waiting. All the treadmills and bikes have TVs connected to them. You gotta bring your own headphones. I love watching SBS or KBS ('cause they play the latest music videos and performances in HQ - I've only watched them on YouTube before!) so much that I always stay on much longer than I intend to because I can't pry myself away!
Very clean -- I believe the guy at the desk wipes down all the equipment for us after every session. The gym is only open in the morning (like 7-9AM, 6-10PM).Going to make a trip to Home Plus after dinner today. It's my turn to lug the pack of 36 toilet paper rolls back to my dorm room.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Korean Twist

I changed the songs on right hand side to ones more current (they both came out last week). I especially love the song sang by Davichi. I can't believe I've never given them the time of day before! They're 2 really talented, charismatic singers!

The street I walk down every day is now zig zagged with lanterns. It's especially pretty at night when they're all lit up. Apparently it's to celebrate something religious... like perhaps a Buddhist holiday.
Had gamjatang for the first time today! It's a savoury soup made with pork bones, vegetables and hot peppers (though it's not very spicy). "The backbones of swine have abundant nutrition of protein, calcium, vitamine B1 which can help the growth of young children. For male, it's advantageous for stamina food and for female, gamjatang can be low calorie food." You use your chopsticks to clean the meat off the bone (spine). I think my daddy would enjoy this. It reminds me of when he makes his yummy pork bone broth... [I miss homecooked meals!]
Everything (and I mean everything) in Korea has some sort of Korean twist to it. Pizza has sweet potatoes and canned corn on it. When you order steak from The Outback Steakhouse (an American/Australian chain), it comes with a side of kimchi. Their Coca Cola definitely tastes different. I haven't been to their McDonalds yet, but apparently it's a bit different too.
Baskin Robbins in Korea has their own twist, too. Not sure about the taste of the ice cream as I never have Baskin Robbin's ice cream at home, but they advertise Boys Over Flowers everywhere (Gu Jun Pyo!)!
And I don't think we would see such cute cakes at the Baskin Robbins in Vancouver! So Korean-ized...Speaking of Boys Over Flowers, I saw these @ Build-A-Bear on the way to Lotte World - the Boys Over Flowers character stuffed animals! They're all dressed in the preppy school uniforms the characters in the drama wore. The lamb in the middle is the most well-known out of them all - a friendship stuffie.
I don't usually go for these things, but I have my eyes set on Latte Teddy... he's cuuuuuute. I might get him lambie's uniform as a souvenir! haha

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lotte World

Oops.. It's been over a week since I've been to Lotte World and I still haven't posted the pictures! I went with a bunch of international students from China, HK and Peru!
Lotte World puts people in their happy place 365 days a year from 9:30AM to 11:00PM!
Part of the indoor amusement park (looks pretty cool at night).
You can ride those "hot air balloons" around the indoor park.
This is the Garden Stage Show -- fun dance and musical performances are held here all day.
Their mascots: Lotty and Lorry (happy raccoons)
The theme was a masquerade!
I bought a little lanyard as a souvenir to hold my ticket for convenience because we had to show our ticket before every ride. It wasn't busy at all so we didn't have to wait very long for the rides!Their rides aren't exactly thrillers, but they're all fun anyway =)
Giant Loop! I'm a ride-aholic (meaning, I love rides, I never get tired of them, and want to go on every one), but nowadays, I sometimes get motion sickness ='( Is this a sign of aging? Nooooooo!
This one made me dizzy so I couldn't join them for a second or third round.
They have a parade twice a day with tons of elaborate costumes! Fun for kids, especially.
YouTube video of the parade! I like the theme song.
Random Korean Scots?
In the insect hall....... these huge larvae/worms are live and this little girl had no problem picking them up...
This place is sort of a mix of Disneyland and well-known fictional characters and fairy tales.
Heading over to the Magic Island (outdoor part).
Look familiar?
Gingerbread house. When you go inside, you take a long escalator underground and you're led to a sloooooow train ride (a lot like the Small World ride @ Disneyland) for babies... we sure looked funny sitting in the same train as a bunch of 2 year olds! At least we were looking for something mellow after our lunch... aha
Everyone's favourite ride: Atlantis Adventure!! We rode this one a few times =D
It's a really fast roller coaster ride. You can see the monorail in this picture -- it travels around the whole theme park.More rides!
Gyro Drop =
Just looking at this one (short YouTube vid) makes me feel sick!

Free hugs in Korea!
This park is very couples-oriented. Everyone was either with their significant other, on a double date, with a kids camp, or in a young family. SO they cater to couples... like couple-meal-deals... everywhere!
Waiting for the ghost movie.... don't know why I'm smiling =(

Magic Island (outdoor side) about the same size as the PNE.haha fat Garfield...Leaving Magic Island...
A glow-in-the-dark store where my teeth blinded people.Food is not expensive here unlike most amusement parks -- cotton candy is only 2,000won (like $1.70CDN).. meals are almost all under $6CDN. They have Korean snacks like this peanut buttered roasted squid (really good and I don't like squid).
Lotte World's Adventure Indoor part also holds Korea's largest indoor sports complex with an ice rink (below), bowling centre, swimming pool, and fitness centre.At 9:30 every night, there's a laser show inside! Click here to watch part of it.

Then, just as we were about to leave, I heard some familiar songs in the Garden Stage -- it was a band from the Philippines singing popular Korean songs! A clip of the girl singing Ave Maria (from a Korean movie). Tons of fun, especially 'cause the audience got so involved later on!

I wish I could come here again with ALL my friends from back home -- we would have such a blast!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Laundry Day

Visited Dongdaemun again and this time the other newer buildings (Good Morning City, hello aPM, and Doota!) were open =)
I don't know if it was because it was a Friday (last time we went on a Tuesday), but the vendors weren't as willing to let us bargain as much as last time. When they say "no", they mean no! First, we went to hello aPM which was fairly new and sold some similar items as Migliore. But, to my surprise (and happiness), there were boutiques at the very top floor! There were probably only a handful of people walking around. So many things were on sale -- I got 2 scarves for 5,000won each among quite a few other things heheThen we hopped on over next door to Good Morning City that opened just last month. I can't get over how amazing customer service is in Korea!Everything was really clean. The brightness and emptiness sort of reminded me a lot of Aberdeen Centre in Richmond... not too many people come here either.. which means they're more willing to give you a discount. They have a few open nail salons here too. I got a simple manicure (just colour) that included shaping, a lot of cuticle cutting + oil, lotion-ing, (chocolate) and a hand massage for 7,000won. We had plans for after shopping but didn't end up going due to the giganticness of Dongdaemun's shopping centres... we almost lost track of time and barely caught the last subway train home!

Went to a PC Bang for the first time. A PC Bang (which translates to PC room) is pretty much a room with a bunch of computers in it. You pay 1,000won for 1 hour. It's usually either on the 2nd or 3rd floor of a building or underground. When you go in, you pick up a card with a number on it and type that number into the computer.. then the time starts ticking. The guy at the front offers to get you a complimentary coffee or cold drink.
The computer screens are huge and the internet is super fast. A lot of guys come here to play competitive online games that require them to sit in front of the computer for hours on end so the chairs are really comfortable, too.

NEWS: Seems as though I may have gotten a job! It involves teaching English (conversationally) and a cultural exchange with middle school students twice a month (Saturdays). Hopefully it won't conflict with my weekend travel plans, though =S

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I've been listening to this song on repeat:
Tiffany - 나 혼자서 By Myself (OST)
Tiffany is one of 9 members of the popular SM Entertainment all-girl group, So Nyeo Shi Dae (SNSD, 소녀시대 AKA Girls' Generation). She's also one of two members who was raised in California so she's fluent in English. The group has a very feminine, doll-like, and cutesy concept that I'm not too fond of, but they do churn out some catchy songs. Tiffany's voice has improved so much since their debut in 2007 so I was very impressed when I heard this song (her first solo)!
Check out my new fridge!
I'm going for the industrial, minimalist look. It's my window sill! It's made of metal so it keeps cold all day and all night and it's very easily accessible (next to my desk) haha... sometimes you just gotta get creative when there's no space in the actual refrigerator...
I did another quick grocery shop -- got a couple more jeuk bowls (abalone + veggie) to try for lunch for when I'm in a rush, a few vegetable drinks... trying to be healthy here..AND the super popular Korean convenience store drink, banana milk! [Banana phone]
I was hesitant to try this because I don't usually like bananas and it looked like the banana-flavoured antibiotics I took when I was young
... but I like this! It's the #1 drink sold at convenience stores -- it even outsold cigarettes (shocking)!
The stubby bottle apparently resembles a traditional kimchi pot (or a hand grenade...). It was created over 20 years ago because many Koreans thought that regular milk tasted funny. They also have strawberry flavoured milk, chestnut milk, and taro milk. Kids love this drink. Kumbae! lol

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Instant Congee

I was browsing around the tiny market (shijang) near my dorm and found cups of instant Korean congee (AKA jook in Cantonese).
I've actually been quite the sicky which is really rare for me as I haven't been this sick in years. I've had a cold three times already and I'm still recovering from one but I haven't let it get in the way of outings. I think it's because of the combination of insufficient sleep (I can't sleep past 8AM no matter how late I go to bed) and lack of well balanced meals (they love carbs and protein here way too much and fruit is quite pricey).
Anyway, jook is eaten when one is sick... a Korean chingu (friend) of mine in Baltimore heard that I was sick and offered to order jook (in Korean, it's called jeuk) for me and have it delivered to my dorm! How sweet is that? Unfortunately, after trying a few restaurants, he couldn't find one that delivered so I didn't end up having any... so this cup is my closest alternative until I come across a jeuk shop!

They had different flavours like tuna, abalone, and vegetable. I chose beef.
It came with a package of seaweed flakes, a spoon, and some sesame oil, I think.
I couldn't read the instructions (no pictures, all in Korean) so I assumed I needed to heat it up... so I did via microwave for a minute.Not bad. Some flavourful stuff -- of course, I'm sure the real thing will be better, but this was quite edible and temporarily filling for 2,000won!

Today, in Korean Culture and Society class, we further discussed how Korean culture and values are based upon Shamanism (the belief that everything in life has a spirit and that spirits have influence on our life and fate) through Korean names. Most Korean names have some sort of meaning attached to them. For example, my KUBA buddy, YeJin, means politeness (Ye) and truth (Jin). A lot of the time, the meanings have to do with success, prosperity, and being a 'good person'. BUT, some people have funny names like Jonggi (which means zit... and also my classmate's father's name), Am (cancer), Moosik (moron), SeongByong (STD), Mechunbu (prostitute), and Hongsu (a male name meaning sister-in-law)... and many many more. WHY on earth would parents name their children such things, might you ask? Shamanism! Shamanism involves fortune telling and healing. When a child is born, some parents go to fortune tellers to gain insight regarding their child's future. These fortune tellers tell them, for instance, that they must name their baby __[insert auspicious name]__ or else their baby would die within three years. Isn't that awful (and totally ridiculous)?! So now the baby is stuck with this embarassing name. Because of these superstitious parents, over 2,000 Koreans have legally changed their name since 2000 (when name changing became legal) because they felt it brought them bad luck (and probably a lot of teasing, too)!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Talk about fickle weather! Remember how it was 20 degrees just a few days ago? Well, today it was SNOWING (very lightly.. but it was still snow!) and -3 degrees!!!!! Thank goodness I bought a coat...
Had a great time hanging out with some KUBA buddies today. YeJin + KS treated me out for puldak (which literally translates into fire chicken) and a short round of noraebang (they sing well) around campus. The restaurant (or shikdang as I just learned yesterday) specialized in puldak. Puldak is a really spicy chicken dish. I could only eat a few pieces and even so, I downed 3/4 of the communal water mug! KS is wearing a plastic glove in the picture... we were all given one. You use it to mix up the rice with seaweed and roll it into a ball to eat! We were also given a steamed egg dish. Quite an interesting experience -- I had no idea such thing existed!
Then YeJin, Ji Hee, K, F, Gina, and I went to watch He's Just Not That Into You at the Wara Wara theatre.
They have assigned seating here! We all sat in the last row. Cute movie, a few laughs, good ending, but not one to watch again.

OH -- today was the final baseball game of the season. It was Korea vs. Japan! The game was showing on every TV on campus.. and in front of each TV screen were at least 3 dozen students, necks craned, mouths open, eyes glazed over. In buildings without a public TV, students crowded around the security booth, trying to peek at the score on a 10 inch TV hahaha It was even being showed on the shuttle bus! I heard some classes were canceled so that the professors could watch. At the end, Japan won. So sad... so sad...

Anyway, I just got back 15 minutes ago and have to brainstorm ideas for tomorrow's Marketing case study. My group has a 15 page (max) essay due on Monday!