Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Gosh... I haven't updated in so long. I haven't made Korean food *yet* because of some social engagements along with work, chores, and making sure I'm all updated with my medical shots.. I've been pretty busy. Downtown Vancouver is teeming with Korean people and restaurants, especially down Robson near Denman street. There has got to be at least 13 different Korean restaurants in that 2 block vicinity! Last week, I had donkatsu (pork cutlet) at a small Korean restaurant called DaeJi (which means "pig") around Dunsmuir and Seymour... and I ate one of my favourite bulgogi dishes at a restaurant on Robson called "Apgujeong" (wasn't anything nice as some of the restaurants in the actual Apgujeong district, though). I'm happy that Korean food in Vancouver is just as good as in Korea. Funny how we have different side dishes, though! For example, I've never had the potato dish in Korea -- not once!

I got my aunt and mom (my mom especially) into that 2004 classic (self-deemed) Korean drama, Full house with Song Hye Gyo and Rain. I got to re-watch about 1/4 of the episodes, which was nice. They have a lot of cute/sweet scenes in that drama. The other day, I caught my mom re-watching the episodes! haha.. I thought it was amusing considering she was someone who wasn't interested in anything remotely Korean all this time (since my first love for Korean entertainment in 2005). Anyway, I can't wait to get my hands on the Boys Over Flowers drama with English subs soon!

This is Brown Eyed Girls (브라운 아이드 걸스) song called Abracadabra. It's the #1 song on the weekly K-pop Music Charts on Soompi right now. Brown Eyed Girls is a group made out of 4 women (3 of the members were born in 1983). and they all happen to look pretty sleek in this music video. They debuted in 2006, but I had never really paid much attention to them. I'm a tad surprised this music video wasn't banned in Korea considering how conservative Korean entertainment can be (I think we can all contest to that... I mean, even this Chae Yeon MV - Shake was banned and I think this BEG MV is a bit more explicit).
The hip swinging seems to be the new move in Korean dance these days...
Evidence is seen in Baek Ji Young ft. Tacyeon from 2PM's song - My Ear's Candy
This is their performance from Aug 15th on the Chocolate stage. Thanks, Bern!

Monday, August 17, 2009

바나나 [Banana]

This is Anam Street (next to Korea University). I always saw this truck on my way up the hill to the dorm. The ajusshi who owned the truck sold a different kind of produce every day. Most often than not, though, he sold bananas (for a very reasonable price, too, might I add... at 2,000won per bunch).
I distinctly remember wanting to buy bananas that night, but the ajusshi was nowhere to be found! It was around 9:30PM. We chose our bananas and even put them in the thin, black bags with handles on the side. My friends and I stood around for at least 5 more minutes, waiting for some man to show up. Finally, we asked the man who owned the cart beside the truck if we could give him the money and take our bananas. He told us to wait a minute and dashed across the street into a tiny restaurant - the banana seller was eating dinner! I couldn't believe it hahaha! All this time, I was thinking how this would never happen in Vancouver. Nobody would dare to leave their produce out in the open like this... so easy to take. I tell ya, the level of trust business owners have is pretty darn high. Down the street, this other store sold a bunch of small knicknacks and umbrellas displayed outside.. all unmanned.

Above my favourite chamchi kimbap restaurant! Wish I could have chamchi kimbap right now...
So I clearly don't want to say goodbye to this blog, but I must go on to concentrate on other things (not yet, though)... and work hard and save so I can afford to go on another big trip abroad.
I hope to take a couple of smaller trips to Vegas or New York in the meantime, but Greece (with side trips to Italy + Spain.. + possibly Paris again and Germany), here I come in a year!!
I'm back at SFU in the Fall and will *hopefully* be graduating in the Spring... so 2 more semesters.
Aja aja hwaiting!
Btw, stay tuned... I am going to attempt cooking some Korean food next week! Wish me luck~

Saturday, August 15, 2009

DBSK - Picture of You (Afterglow)

My favourite Korean music group, DongBangShinKi, came out with a new music video for their Korean song, Picture of You (Afterglow). The song is actually pretty old - it's from their Mirotic album (Sept, 2008). It's a beautiful song written by Junsu (one of the members)..... he's one talented guy.

I want his dog, Xiahky (a Samoyed).
Anyway, the video was shot earlier in the year in Saipan. The concept is kind of cheesy at parts, but... the boys look good! I love listening to DBSK harmonize! Unfortunately, I couldn't find a HD music video with English subs.... so this one will have to do! Yay~
Thanks, Soompi!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Stepped Into North Korea...

DMZ = Demilitarized Zone.

For many guys, this day trip to the DMZ is the highlight of their trip to Korea. Since it has been almost 3 months since my visit to the border between South and North Korea, I can't really remember all the details... and also, I don't want to give too much information away, especially if you plan to go there.

The DMZ is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Korea (pretty much only available for tourists... I believe I heard that Koreans need to do a bunch of paperwork - lots of hassle - in order to do it). From comparisons to other tour packages and from what we were most interested in seeing, I believe the tour USO offers is one with the most value. The tour cost something along the lines of $59 USD.. compared to ones I've seen that cost over $115USD and did not cover all the sites we went through.

It seemed as though people were flocking to join these tours because of all the speculation regarding North Korea's plan to restart their nuclear program and how it was becoming ever so unsafe to tour that it could be canceled. We had no problems, though... and it was reassuring to know that this border is the most heavily guarded in the world.

So that morning, Bern and I woke up pretty early and made our way over to the USO building to embark on our half day tour called the USO Panmunjeom Tour. By the way, there's a semi-strict dress code. Once we signed in (we had to pay and reserve spots way in advance -- spots filled up quickly), we were split into two or three Grayhound-type buses. Each bus came with an English-speaking tour guide. Everyone on the bus, besides B and I, were English teachers, mainly from the US!

First, we went to Camp Bonifas and watched a powerpoint to help us understand the history and situation between the North and South. Throughout the trip, we were lead by either our tour guide or by a couple of dudes from the United Nations Command military personnel.
You are here.
We were not allowed to take pictures in certain places. They strictly reinforced this rule.

Panmunjeom: Joint Security Area (JSA) where negotiations are held (since 1953).
This is the closest you will ever get to North Korea.
The Military Demarcation Line (MDL) - the border that separates North from South.
South Korean military... they stay just as still as the Queen's guards...
North Koreans chatting away ^^
Unfortunately, it was a very cloudy day so we weren't able to see very far... You'll have to go to see the village yourself.

The Bridge of No Return: the only bridge connecting North and South Korea...
Once you walk one way, you're not allowed to come back... dun dun dunnnn
On the bus
Incursion Tunnels (I thought this was sooo neat). Basically, in 1974, the South Koreans found four tunnels running North to South under the DMZ! They were dug by North Korean military, presumably for invasion purposes. The North Koreans claimed that they dug the tunnel to mine coal but there is no coal in these tunnels... the North even painted some rock black to make it look like coal!! haha!
It is too small and narrow for any vehicles to pass (it had enough room for 2 average-sized people to pass at the same time... but if I stood up straight, I would hit my head on the granite (I'm 5'6)!). The tunnel tilted a bit so that the water did not stagnate (kind of high tech that way). We went through the Third Infiltration Tunnel (1.6km long, allowing 30,000 soldiers to pass through per hour). So yea - we got to go into the tunnel wearing construction hats haha

Oh yea we also had a good lunch somewhere in between.

At the store~ You can get tons of camo-wear here.
I bought my brother a gun bullet keychain. Used, perhaps? It had scratches on it.

You can also buy a plaque with a piece of barbed wire in it for around 12USD.

I thought it was quite interesting - I'm glad I went. What better way to learn about the situation than to go see for yourself? Now I can say I've been to North Korea! kk
Learn more about the USO tour HERE.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I shipped 2 decently-sized boxes full of stuff home using the cheapest shipment (the one by ship that takes 2-3 months to arrive) and I have received them both! It has only been a little over a month :) Hurray!

My transcript has also arrived to my home university and I found out that I passed all my courses - hurray again!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Sorry for the delay! I've been busy enjoying the sunshine :) Now, I'm a few shades darker. Funny how in Korea, my legs were quite dark compared to other girls on the subway... but here, people look at my legs and go "why are they so white??"

Fact: I have not had Korean food since I've arrived home. I found out that my favourite Korean restaurant downtown Vancouver serves Gamjatang for approximately 17,000won (if I were to convert)......... instead of the 6,000won I'm used to paying... nooooo!!

Fact: I had my first shift back at work today after a 5 month hiatus (I'm a server @ a Japanese Sukiyaki restaurant called Posh) and served a couple of Korean girls. I understood 80% of what they were saying (it was really simple, though).... but so neat! I didn't mention that I knew, but I ended up surprising one of them (the one who didn't know very much English) at the end when they were paying, asking them if she wanted to put everything on her debit card... "ta gachi?" kk

Fact: When someone who doesn't speak (much) English does something for me, I (still!) automatically say "kamsahamnida" (thank you), or "dae" (yes) when I reply... even if it's Chinese!

Last time riding the subway :(((
Speed Limit: Zero
Last time visiting Cafe Slow haha (sangria + good service)... :( Gosh I love that cafe.. and I don't know why I do, really.
It was kind of funny.. we asked the server to get the sangria to our table really fast (bbali bbali!) @ Cafe Slow lol... but they did it! We had to get to Eden.
I'm eating the fruit~
Then we went to Club Eden (said Ed-en.. not Eeee-den).
Located next to the Ritz Carlton (if you take a taxi from somewhere in Kangnam, just tell the driver to take you to the Ritz because it's hard to explain and most of them won't know where Eden is). Electronic music. Free cover before 11 if you become a member of the U.N.O Entertainment group on Facebook and are on the guestlist... you might need to be invited though, I just realized. (FYI - you used to be able to bring one guest per person on guestlist, but now they've changed it so I highly recommend you get your friends/SO to sign up... or they might give you a hard time or not even let your friend in). Even if it's for one night, it sure beats having to pay 30,000 for cover!! Plus, you'll get invited to the latest + exclusive events @ Club Eden if you do. Fergie is the special guest on Sept 5th... and it's "Model's Night" every Friday night. If you want to see where a lot of "beautiful people" hang out on the weekends, Eden (and Club Answer) are the places to be. People tell me that 80% of the girls who party there have had some sort of face alteration (plastic surgery... nose/eye/jaw) which is no wonder how they look kind of perfect. I often see them looking at themselves in the mirror, pinching the bridge of their nose haha VIP is upstairs... and also a hotspot for celebrities if you're interested in that sort of thing. Dress code in effect... but it seems much more strict for guys.
They have a huge washroom with seats where girls smoke and primp.
Tiiiiiiffffffffff -- if you read this, I miss you!!!!