Sunday, October 21, 2012

Advertising in Korea

I recently came across something I'd never seen before here in Korea. Mini commercials.  Of course, in the US and in Korea there are often popups at the bottom of the screen advertising the next show or something, but this was a bit different.

In the upper right corner of the screen, they'd show a commercial during a show. It is like picture-in-picture.  I think it was possibly because the drama I was watching was very long but they wanted to get all their advertisements in. 

Commercials in Korea are weirdly sparratic. You can be watching a drama and have only three commercials during the whole thing, but as soon as it ends its like a ten-fifteen minute span of just commercials.  It all really depends on the channel and what's airing.

They also have advertising on trucks specifically made just to be an advertisment.

Seoul also has a lot of giant big screens outside. Think of Times Square, but many more. Every big area in Seoul has these outdoor screens.

But.. other than that, advertising is nearly the same as anywhere else in the world. It's in your face and everywhere.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sharing food culture

Korea is the type of culture that shares everything, so it shouldn't come as a surprise to sit down at a table with one plate in the middle and just dig it.

At first, it's unusual to a lot of people because some people don't like "other people's germs" or they want the food to themselves.

It's something to be embrased though. I personally really like it because it creates a weird bond with you and the person you're eating with.

Also, you can try more foods. If theres two things at a restaurant you want, you order both and share them both. 

Another reason I like it is because I am a relatively small eater.  When I first came to Korea, the Koreans all asumed that I hated Korean food because I didn't eat much of it, when the truth of the matter is that even back home I eat very little. So, when we all eat out of the same pot, there's not a big plate of leftovers for me to worry about.  I think some koreans can feel insulted if I don't eat much of their food so it takes some pressure off of me. 

Of course, this makes paying a bit different. Technically in more formal dinners, the eldest pays. Though when I go out to eat with my friends, we split the bill. Though, you never ask the restaurant to split the bill! This is unheard of practically. You instead gather all the money beforehand and pay it together. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Shoe sizes in Korea

To the left, my adult Korean friend. To the right, me. Finding my shoe size in Korea... I have no luck there! The usual size for women goes up to 250. My shoe size would be around... 270? 275? I'm not sure since they don't have my size.

I've heard rumors it is possible to find shoes, but I have yet to find a place. They always give me a pitying look....

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Haehwa is a pretty cool place in the city to hang out. It has a lot of arcades, food and places for young people to hang out. We went there to check out a duck restaurant and afterwards we climbed a nearby mountain and Trenton took these pictures below.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Drink Bags

Drink bags, making life easier.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Parking in Korea

So, Seoul is a pretty crowded place. Most people take public transportation because of this, but there are still a lot of cars. There are many different ways they take care of this with such little space. One way is they have ferris wheel like places where you park your car and it gets lifted up into the air.

As shown in the picture above though, people double park there cars. How do you get out then? Well when you double park, you keep your car in neutral! Then the owners of the trapped cars will simply push your car out of the way! I thought it was so crazy when I first saw it.. just people pushing other people's cars out of the way...

It doesn't always work though, haha~ Sometimes it's too packed and theres no where to push it!

Monday, October 8, 2012


During my long Chuseok holiday, I was able to spend a day going out with my friends to Everland.  Everland is one of the large amusement parks here in Korea.  It's about an hour from Gangnam station.

This amusement park has many rides and attractions and even has its own zoo.  Having already been to the biggest zoo in Korea though I steered clear of that part and just enjoyed everything else the place had to offer.

Like most amusement parks, the place was crawling with kids.  There was also magical music playing everywhere giving the place an almost fairy like feel with the mystical fake trees and characters everywhere.

I didn't notice it until afterwards, but the park had a bit of a split feel to it.  Half of it was mystical and fantasy themed, and the other half was American 50's themed, with Elvis like costumes, diner's and retro posters at every turn. 

We spend about half our day there, but were only able to ride three rides. This was because we spent a majority of our time exploring, and of course, there were long lines.  The one roller coaster I wanted to ride the most, for example, was a two hour wait and so I'll have to try to ride it again some other time.  The sun was very bright that day so waiting in line was rather torturous for us...

We were going to finish off our day with a haunted house... but it was sold out! However, we finished the day fine as we headed back to the city and grabbed some warm soup and chatting up the cook before heading our seperate ways.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I found this concert completely randomly. I knew of the group Led Apple and liked their music, but I wasn't a mega fan or anything like that. I was looking for theatre tickets and saw the listing for it though, and it was only twenty bucks! I couldn't pass up a concert of a group I liked for that price so I immediately bought the tickets.

What I experienced... was completely different than what I had thought.  Yes, they were considered a 'rock' group, but I personally considered them more of a pop group due to the style of their music videos. Seeing them live though... they are definitely a rock group! I was pleasantly surprised to hear them strum out some Metallica in between their songs. Even their own songs sounded so much better in person. I learned that they got their name, Led Apple, from the group Led Zeppelin.

Don't get me wrong, I love kpop music, but there's something about rock music that is just exhilarating. It was great to see the band as their normal selves rather than being plastered with makeup and fancy clothes like in their music videos.  They personally looked much sexier in just plain t-shirts. (Or lack of a t-shirt..)

I also was really close to the stage. Luckily the band isn't very well known yet so they played in a relatively small venue in a basement of a building. I was maybe 10-15 feet from the stage and could have easily fought my way to the front.

I tried to get photos and video, but it was hard because there was one lady that kept walking around telling people to stop. I managed to sneak a few before being caught.

Oh, and here's one of their music videos. It totally does not do them justice:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I happened to see an advertisement for a drum festival here in Seoul.  I've always been a fan of percussion, and it was fueled even more when I discovered Korean Pungmul. (traditional korean drumming/performing)

I had the day off because of the extended Chuseok Holiday and it was free so I decided to give it a chance. I was very glad I did! It was amazing! The performances were really top notch.

The only downside was that it was so packed I had to sit on the ground, and it was very cold doing so. 

Here are the performances I saw:

Dinoman: The story was cute and the drumming was great, though you could tell it was aimed more at children, since they were dressed as dinosaus.

Exotic Percussion: This group were part of Thailand's Got Talent and were inspired by STOMP. So they do a lot of beating on random things. This was one of my favorite bands since they were young and did a lot of performing with their drumming. They would dance and jump onto their drums and the like.

Jojo Mayer & Nerve: This group had some really cool jazz/techno mix of music. I really liked them their first ten minutes... then it kinda got a little boring. The music was still good, but they didn't do anything. I understand they aren't the performance driven type, but it was hard to hold my attention.

Jo Yun-Sik: A ten year old child prodigy! An absolutely amazing drummer, and he caught us all by performing 'Eye of the Tiger' seamlessly about halfway through.

Balkwang: This group was a mix of everything. They played traditional instruments, new instruments, and also recyclables like tin cans as well. They were also able to make all of it blend very naturally.

Maestro Kwon Oh-Hyun: I'd honestly never heard of him before, but he is supposed to be very famous. He was a man with a lot of humor and he was able to fully orchestrate the entire crowd into making a song simply by clapping alone. It was impressive and it sounded really great.

Sweet Beats: This was another one of my favorites. They were an american group and so their music was very familiar to me.  They were also a humor based group so they did cool tricks but with hints of humor in them. They also did part of their performance without drums -- they only used their hands to make music.

There were a few more performances after this, but alas, I didn't make it through. The ground was so cold and my back was hunched from sitting for hours on it.  The finale sounded like it would have been really cool though, next time I'll have to prepare more and bring a pillow and blanket!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Deoksugung Palace on Chuseok

I went to Deoksungung Palace on the actual day of Chuseok.  It was beautiful of course, and they had many performances, but I can't help but think it fell short of the other Chuseok performances i've seen.  The palace is nice as well, but not as impressive as the other palaces here in Seoul.

The performances were good but there wasn't enough variety.  I saw about 5-6 singing performances in a row! The singing was fine but anyone would get bored if they aren't paced.  I felt bad for the later performers, since people were starting to leave.

Below is some drummers I saw at City hall, right outside the palace. They were suspended from a crane and performed in the air! Now that was pretty cool!


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