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My First Visit to a Korean Dentist

Tue, 2015-10-06 13:00
My First Visit to a Korean Dentist

I’m pretty fortunate my teeth have not rotted out of my head by now.

I feel so exposed.

Not that I don’t take reasonably not terrible care of my chompers. I brush twice a day (usually) and floss regularly. But, I remember how my mother always said she was born with “soft gums,” which resulted in her having poor teeth. When she eventually got false teeth, not an afternoon went by where she got home from work and took them out at her earliest opportunity because they were so uncomfortable. I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure she could eat an apple with those gums.

This unfortunate condition, whether real or imagined, has touched various branches of the family tree. Thankfully, my branch is relatively intact, despite at one point not seeing a dentist for 14 years.

I have now been in Korea for over two-and-a-half years, however. And, at 36 years old, have noticed various wear and tear everywhere. A shoulder that often aches, several fingers which may be arthritic or just screwed, the ankle I popped early last year and never had surgery to fix. That one’s on me. The others I can probably blame on being 36.

“Think simple! We plus a smile in your heart.”

I was supposed to get a crown for one tooth in 2005 (a high-five if you can figure out which one from the picture above and post in the comments!), right before the first time I tried to come to Korea. The dentist told me I needed to come right back after my year was up to get that crown put on or else the temporary concrete filling will crack. I stayed that time in Korea less than two months, but I never went back to that dentist. And, that concrete-filled temporary stump still remains. Despite 10 years of good fortune, I realized it was time to visit a dentist.

I admit it wasn’t just laziness keeping me out of the dentist’s chair here. I was also a frightened little man baby. There had been the stories of Korean dentists being a bit too thorough in their approach, leaving gums red and raw as they scrape, scrape, scrape along that gum line. There also had been tales of opportunistic dentists declaring this, that and the other thing (especially the other thing) needing additional work, requiring additional visits, requiring lots and lots of additional won.

But, when a friend recommended a dentist in the Kyungsung University area in Busan, I decided it was time to pop my Chia Cherry  (chia, pronounced ch-yah, is a word for tooth).

One of the pluses of going to this dentist’s office is there is a very nice girl there who speaks enough English to help out the lost and confused foreigners walking in circles in the lobby. Everything was explained well enough to know I wasn’t getting screwed, either from ignorance or deceit, and I was in a dentist’s chair within 10 minutes.

Simple commands the dental hygienist knew (stop, it’s OK, etc., especially etc.) helped move the process along. And, no, there wasn’t any of the aforementioned scrape, scrape, scrape to leave my mouth a ravaged mess. I was told I should get a new filling for a tooth, but wasn’t told it had to be done right away, which was appreciated (since I have no money to do that).

Happy foreigners.

For the cleaning, which felt more thorough but not more painful than what I would have gotten in the U.S., I was charged 15,000. This was odd, considering the friend who recommended the place to me was charged 4,500. And her friend who recommended the place to her was charged my price. What gives? Apparently, the cost fluctuates depending on when the patient is serviced. Does that make any sense?

Regardless of the higher price tag, I was happy to have had the treatment, which the English translator said is available once a year through Korean health insurance. It’s still a small price to pay for a more thorough cleaning than my floss and brush can do.

So, if you’ve been thinking about going to a dentist here but have been on the fence for any of the reasons I mentioned, hopefully this little missive has helped ease some of your worries. Of course, I could have gotten lucky with a hygienist who has a gentle touch, and another might get all up in that mouth of yours. If that is still a concern, hopefully this bloated container full of toothbrushes will be enough balm to soothe you into the office.

Your teeth will be SO CLEAN.

Walk-in’s welcome!

KSU subway stop, exit 6. It’s in this building, which you’ll see almost immediately.

JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Cut your Luck and Draw your Face!

Mon, 2015-10-05 08:18
Cut your Luck and Draw your Face!

I was just shocked out of my socks when I read this report on today's The Korea Times! The gist being that young jobseekers in Korea have resorted to plastic surgery to look more appealing to the interviewers and now have also started to cut luck lines on their palms to make their palm lines stand out to induce luck. They even have resorted to injecting botox into their vocal cords to make them sound confident!

It is impossible to live in Korea and not to know about plastic surgery: How many times have I seen girls crouching in the corner of the "Chuk" or the porridge shop (typically a restaurant where you go when you are sick) with a bandages over her nose or eyes! It is impossible to miss the sheer number of ads and clinics promising immediate appointments, free consultations, easy payments, state-of-the-art equipment for the actual operations in Gangnam Gu, "the Beverly Hills" of Korea. It is not possible to miss the shocking discounts available enticing you to attempt for surgery on more than one part of your body. And of course, we cannot neglect the power of the "sobeesu" or the free/complimentary items available at your disposal after, you are done with the surgery. Korea maintains the worlds market share of plastic surgery by an astounding 24%. Almost 1 in 5 women have undergone plastic surgery in Korea and the stats are not very for men either. It is accounted that Korean women use 10-18 cosmetic products on top of their already perfected face. The results are not off. Koreans are the perfect-looking people I have ever seen! Even if they are out on the park on a lazy Sunday, they look perfect! All of them look good, all of them look like film stars!

Why all this obsession about looking good, all the time? Why this eagerness to look good for others? Why all this passion to please others? Why go through all this trouble, pain and money to please your interviewer, who might not be the one you will work for ultimately even? Where will this stop? Will you change your chin to please your supervisor, and then nick your nose for your manager? What will you teach your kids? " Don't worry, my dear, just Botox your voice to sound confident" or "Just cut your palm lines for an luckier life!"?

With a teenager about to enter the age group prone to do these stuff, I really feel sad, tensed and scared at the environment these young people are subjected to. Young minds should be raised to be at peace with themselves, confident of their bodies and abilities and be leaders themselves and not mere followers.  I wouldn't want my son, whose nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of our world would have changed, coming in with a shorter button nose. If he did though, he might also have to consider getting his palm lines stand out more, but I seriously doubt if it will help him in anyway!

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

강풀만화거리 (Gangpul Cartoon Alley)

Mon, 2015-10-05 05:37
강풀만화거리 (Gangpul Cartoon Alley)

Seoul, South Korea — If we ask about a mural village in Seoul, many would suggest and are familiar with Ihwa Mural Village in Hyehwa. But, in a quiet neighborhood of 성안 (Seong-an) in 강동구 (Gangdong) district, which literally means East of the Han River, a colorful village also exists. The 50 paintings are actually from a famous Korean webcomic artist named 강풀 (Gang Pul).

Due to time constraint, I only got to see about 20+ artworks. Enjoy my snaps:

I would want to become a fool for you.

say kimchi!

salamat din po!

2015 | 지도 크게 보기 ©  NAVER Corp.

Directions: Gangdong Station (Seoul Subway Line 5) Exit 4. Go straight until Parkland then turn left on that narrow alley.



Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

101 Guide to 11 Must Have Korean Cosmetics

Sun, 2015-10-04 02:35
101 Guide to 11 Must Have Korean Cosmetics


South Korea is known for its beauty. We’re talking known known. People from all over the world flock to Korea in an effort to achieve the flawless skin of so many K-pop stars and actors. You wanna know how it’s done? An impeccable skin care routine. Korean cosmetic stores line the streets of Seoul like no other. There are literally 4 or 5 on each block brimming with the latest skin care innovations and make up.

Who’s the Korean Beauty Queen?

Look below to find top picks for Cushion Compacts, BB/CC Creams, Skin Care, Mascara, Primers, Masks and more!


These are the new contenders on the scene after the BB cream boom. Compacts are essentially foundation on the go which makes them perfect for mess-free touch ups. No need to carry a foundation brush with you, all compacts come with a sponge applicator.

The idea is to stamp the product onto your skin to give an airbrushed look and avoid the streaks that make up brushes can give. You push the sponge down into the cushion to dispense the foundation, pat onto your skin, keep patting til you’re done! No blending required! Lightly tap the sponge 2-3 times into the cushion to avoid cakey applicaiton.  Apply thin layers to the skin and then build it up to desired coverage. Set with powder for added make up staying power.

Tip: products with high spf tend to look shinier on the skin, so keep that in mind if you have combination/ oily skin.

IOPE – Air Cushion Sunblock Ex-Cover SPF 50 [38,000 won]

This sunblock cushion can be worn on its own to blot out redness or under foundation to give a luminous glow. Even dry skin can achieve a super glowy dewy effect with this as a base. This cushion nourishes skin with added minerals and vitamins that make skin feel soft and supple after make up removal. The coverage is enough to camouflage for everyday wear and provides light coverage. There are two shades, N21 and N23, which are comparable to MACs NW20-30. Perfect for those with very fair skin who struggle to find their shade. Comes in 3 finishes: Natural, Cover, and Shimmer.


Etude – Precious Mineral Any Cushion [18,000 won]

This 6-in-1 foundation counts as a moisturizer, sunscreen, oil controller, skin cooler, and brightening. This compact has a liquidy texture that absorbs quickly with a slight dewy finish. You can see the luminosity right after application. Ideal for combination/ oily skin types since it moisturizes without building oil. This light weight and refreshing compact provides a sheer look and is buildable to medium coverage. Also, it wont settle into fine lines or wrinkles and lasts about 4-5 hours without touch ups. Available in two shades.


Laneige – Snow BB Soothing Cushion SPF 50+ PA+++ [40,000 won]

This compact provides brightening, sunscreen, water resistant, soothing, and boosts make up effects. Provides good coverage that’s buildable to medium and even full coverage without caking. Comes with a special dual structure type puff meant to absorb moisture and give supple and glossy skin.  This foundation has a cool and refreshing sensation when applying, so it’s great for those hot and humid Summer days. Long lasting formula leaves skin clean and radiant all day. This product gives your skin a velvety dewy finish without settling into fine lines or accentuate pores. Ideal for dry/normal skin types looking for a dewy finish. Combination/ oily skin may see oil build up with this compact. Available in four shades: #13 true beige, #21 natural beige, #23 sand beige, and #31 brown beige.

Hera UV Mist Cushion [45,000 won]

This multi-award winning cushion is known for it’s longevity. You can expect a good 6-7 hours of staying power before needing touch ups. This compact also offers brightening, sebum control, cools the skin, and hydrates with mineral clay water. Don’t forget the SPF 50+/PA+++! There are two shades (21 & 23) available with two levels of coverage, but may not match the fairest of skin tones. 21 is for those with pale skin and salmon undertones with 23 is for those with a slight tan or olive undertone. The two coverage levels are C (for more coverage) and N (for a natural look with less coverage). This mist cushion glides on like a dream and very blend-able. It goes on light and build-able to medium coverage to give a nice glow and a dewy finish. It may be pricey, but includes the compact plus a refill. Recommended for normal and combination skin types.


If you haven’t heard about the buzz yet, BB (beauty balms) and CC (Color Correctors) have been widely popular in Asia for years and entered the Western market in 2012. These are all-in-one products meant to moisturize and care for the skin while also providing make up coverage. Essentially, a foundation and moisturizer all in one! They are notorious for their skin care benefits and for the naturally beautiful look they give the skin. Here are our picks for Korea’s must try BB creams.

Holika Holika – Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream [26,000 won]

To start off our list is Holika Holika’s #1 smash hit product. Contains 80% Aqua Mint Water, this water based BB cream is a cult favorite among beauty enthusiasts. This light weight BB cream is great for those with normal to combination skin. The mousse texture provides a natural finish with light coverage that’s biddable to medium. Comes in a beautiful frosted bottle that’s shaped like a jelly cup. Includes a spatula cap and free cotton puffs. The peppermint ingredient gives a cooling sensation and dries quickly without clinging to dry patches. Available in 2 shades: 01 Aqua Beige and 02 Aqua Natural.




Missa – M Perfect Cover BB Cream SPF 42 PA+++ [22,000  won]   

This is Missha’s best selling product with 30 million sold world wide. One of Missha’s most higly raved and reviewed about products. Provides a moderate to full coverage that lasts about four to six hours before needing a touch up. One pump is enough for the whole face. The texture is a bit thicker, so blend quickly! Natural finish to cover up all your blemishes. Available in 5 shades from fair to tan.


Missa – M Signature Real Complete BB Cream SPF25 PA++(45G) [20,000 won]

Another hit from Missha, here comes a lightweight BB cream that provides the coveted dewy finish. This cake free formula provides full coverage and works well with concealer. Dry skin have no fear! This wont accentuate your dry patches. Be wary if you have oily skin, you might have to blot down your T-zone. Photographs beautifully.

Nature Republic – Snail Therapy BB Cream [30,000 won]

This moisturizing BB cream leaves a natural finish with good coverage. It’s creamy, smooth texture glides on the skin and makes blending a breeze. This is the smooth flawless skin finish you’ve been looking for. Feels natural on the skin and lasts all day. Try doubling it up as a concealer!



Skin79 – Super Plus Beblesh Balm Triple Functions – VIP Gold [35,000]

One of the best selling BB creams on the market. This is suitable for normal to oily skin types to keep shininess at bay. This gives excellent coverage for a BB cream, comparable to the full coverage of liquid foundation. However, it can also be sheered out for a lighter look. Due to this good coverage, the formula creamy and on the thicker side.This BB creams makes achieving a natural glow effortless. Blend-ability is a dream and is biddable to full coverage without getting cakey. Comes in just one shade which is comparable to MAC’s NC15 shade. Also check out Skin 79’s widely popular Super Plus Beblesh Balm Triple Functions Whitening UV Protection SPF25 PA++ in hot pink packaging!

                                     3. CONCEALER

Skinfood – Salmon Darkcricle Concealer [10,000 won]

The lonely one in the category, but only because of its awesomeness. This is one of SkinFood’s best seller and for good reason. This goes on creamy and blends effortlessly. Feel free to use it as a concealer or as a highlight to get a fresh dew finish. Apply it under the eyes to make yourself look awake and glowing. Nicely scented and known to be long lasting. Available in 2 shades. Shade #1 Salmon Blooming is comparable to Mac’s NC 25 while Shade #2 Salmon Beige matches NC 30 or NW 25.


Nature Republic -Aloe Vera Soothing Gel [4,200 won]

This top selling product is an all over moisturizer made from 92% aloe vera. It’s cool and refreshing which is perfect for calming irritated skin from acne or sun exposure. Use it from head to toe to condition your hair or moisturize those dry feet! You can also layer it over clay masks to combine the firming of the mask with the high moisture. Also an excellent last step to your skin care routine to seal in your eye and night creams. Apply it as an after shave sooth any cuts or razor burn.


Etude House – Collagen Moistfull Cream [15,000 won]

This knock out punch has been a long standing favorite. In fact, the entire collagen line is a cult favorite among beauty fanatics. The sweet citrus scent alone is enough to love it! The Moistful Collagen Cream gives skin elasticity and fights wrinkles with anti-aging ingredients. Good for low-maintenance skin care that won’t turn your face into an oil slick. The cream is gel textured and rich, meaning you only need very little. Great for dry skin to achieve a radiant glow and to keep skin feeling light and pretty. Say goodbye to those dry patches!


Skin Food – Miracle Food 10 Solution Cream [30,000 won]

Another top seller from Skin Food. It gets it’s name from the 10 “miracle” food ingrediants it has (Ganoderma, Raspberry Wine, Dark Green Tea, Macchie, Artemisia Capillaris, Spinach, White Ginseng, Quinoa, Honey, and Carrot) which promise to improve you skin in 10 days. This rich cream lovingly nourishes the face for healthy moisturized skin. The perfect pick-me-up for dry dull skin to boost vitality and elasticity. This also offers sebum control to control oil production throughout the day. Not to mention it will help out with those dark circles!



Innisfree – Orchid Enriched Cream  [25,000 won]

Innisfree is known for being paraben free and for using very natural ingredients. It’s made from Jeju Island (an island south of the Korean peninsula) orchids that can survive the harsh winter weather of Jeju. This anti-aging cream gives dry, thirsty skin the moisture it’s looking for without being too heavy. Not to mention it also brightens the skin with a gorgeous glow the next morning. This also works well for those looking to minimize pores and tighten the skin.The gel texture hugs the skin and gives the experience of a luxurious night cream, but can feel a tad sticky. True to it’s name, this light violet cream smells like beautiful soft Orchids on a cool Summer night. This cream is great for parched skin, but may be too rich for oily or acne prone skin.





The Face Shop – Mango Seed Butter   [24,900 won]

This moisturizer is the Power Room Hit Item (Korean beauty app) of 2014 and also voted best moisturizer in Get It Beauty’s (Korean TV show) blind test. It’s dermatologist tested and uses fair trade ingredients. Described as the perfect night time moisturizer, this thick cream absorbs quickly and seals in moisture. A little goes a long way with this smooth emollient texture, so it’ll last you a while. Let’s not forget it’ll leave your face smelling absolutely delicious like a mango smoothie! You’ll wake up with plump moisturized skin that won’t stop glowing. Ideal for dry and normal skin types.





Missha – Time Revolution First Treatment [35,000 won]

This baby popped onto the scene to compete against the very high-end SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Not only is it an affordable alternative, it actually lives up to the hype! Ideal for acne prone skin types to control break outs and prevent new ones. This essence lovingly moisturizes the skin to give a healthy natural glow. Not to mention it does wonders for brightening and provides a delicate dewy finish. The heavy luxurious bottle will remind you that you’re not sacrificing quality for its affordable price.






 Nature Republic – Hawaiian Fresh Clear Serum [13,000 won]

Formulated to improve enlarged pores, purge impurities, and aid oily t-zones. This serum goes in deep to cleanse pores of impurities and control sebum while moisturizing the skin. It’s light enough to use in your daytime routine to mattify the skin and wear under your make up. This light formulation is ideal for those with combination to oily skin. This may not be moisturizing enough for those with dry skin. The air pump packaging helps keep the ingredients fresh by keeping it from the air which could oxidize and spoil the product. Use this in conjunction with another pore minimizing product (check our our primer section for some ideas) and you’ll reap maximum pore tightening and mattifying  benefits.



Innisfree Green Barley Bubble Cleanser [10,000 won]

Winner of both the Get it Beauty and Allure Korea awards, here comes this ultra gentle cleanser from Innisfree. This eco-friendly cleanser is made from rich dietary fiver from Jeju Island green barely, hence it’s name. As said before, Innisfree is know for using natural ingredients and is paraben free (woo!). Wet your hands, and behold as this cleanser foams up before your eyes. This gentle foam goes into all the tricky crevices while the bubbles gently cleanse the skin without tugging on it.






The Face Shop: Herb Day Cleansing Foam, Clarifying Acerola [3,300 won]

This foam cleanser has an amazingly creamy texture that willl make you want to wash your face for hours. The second it hits your wet hands, it instantly turns into foam to gently cleans  skin without pulling on it (don’t want wrinkles!). This cleanser comes in five different scents: Lemon, Aloe Vera, Peach, Acerola (cherry) and Mung Bean. The most popular one, acerola, smells Ah-Mazing and will leave skin soft and glowing.



Etude House One Shot Clean [4,000 won]

This eye make up remover is both crazy effective and ridiculously affordable. This is your fancy two phase liquid formula that you need to shake up before using. This works like a charm for water proof make up, especially stubborn water proof mascara. Just apply to a cotton pad, hold over your eye for 30 seconds, then wipe away. It’s truly a one shot clean! It’s gentle on the eye plus comes in adorably cute packaging.






The Face Shop – Rice Water Eye and Lip Makeup Remover [6,900 won]

Rice water has long been known for it’s brightening effects. Made from rice water extract, this eye remover is gentle on skin while also brightening eyes. Great for removing makeup that regular cleansers leave behind such as eye make up and lip color, hence it’s name This is a dual phase cleanser with two layers, one emulsion based and one water based. Since it is water based and not oil based, it won’t leave skin feeling greasy after use. Make sure to shake the bottle well to mix the two layers. The remover is milky in color and has a pleasant mild rice scent. The consistency is think and watery, so be careful not to poor too much on your cotton pad.


Laneige – Strawberry Yogurt Peeling Gel [22,000 won]

Another hit from Laneige, make way for this oh-so-delightful peeling gel. Why is it delightful? For one it’s pink and smells of strawberry goodness! That not enough for you? It leaves you face smelling delicious too. Now let’s talk about what a peeling gel is. This is an very gentle expoliator that balls up when you rub it on your face. No abrasion, no micro tears, no fuss. Great for those who have sensitive and acne prone skin. This amazingly creamy texture will leave your skin supple and glowing from within. Just dispense a dime size amount of this fluffy pink gel onto your finger tips and watch in awe as it magically balls up as you rub it along your face. A little goes a long way and this product can last year well up to a year.


The Face Shop – Face It Oil Cut Pore Balm [13,000 won]

Number one winner in Get It Beauty’s blind test for pore balms. This balm is great if you are going after a soft look and want to achieve the perfect finish. This will reduce and blur the size of your pores wile also cutting down on oiliness through out the day. Unlike traditional primers, this is mean to go over your make up to keep your make up in place. Pat it over your make up (rubbing it will remove your make up) to estimate shine, fine lines, and pores. The clear bomb comes in a compact with a screw on lid and includes a white sponge for application. If you’re worrying about dirtying the sponge, you can also apply this on clean skin before your routine. The extremely soft and smooth texture makes it a breeze to spread onto the face. Also has a slight lemon scent.

The Face Shop – Face It Primer Velvet Skin [13,000 won]

Right next to the Face It Oil Cut Pore Balm comes another winner of the Get It Beauty Blind Test – this time in the primer category. This non-sticky formula it spreads like butter across the face and leaves skin feeling like velvet, true to it’s name! This gel-texture primer covers up pores and fine lines, creating a smooth and perfect canvas. Your face will feel silky soft to the touch and let make up glide on effortlessly. It also acts as a sebum controller and prevents sheen from popping up through out the day. This oil-free formula is great for those with oily and acne prone skin.


Etude House – Proof 10 Eye Primer [5,500 won]

Brings instant life and vitality to any eye shadow! This eye primer is down right bullet proof and stands up to any challenge. Oily eyelids, rejoice! You no longer have to fear your eyes gobbling up eye shadows like dessert. This gen stands up to the oiliest of eyelids and withstands even the most humid of of hot Summer days. It goes on clear and dries to a matte finish on the lids. Just pat it on your eyes and all eye shadows and liners will stay in tact — no smudging or creasing to be seen. This is often compared to the cult favorite Urban Decay Primer Potion, but for a fraction of the price. A little bit goes a long way with this product. Just make sure to let it dry on your lids before patting on eye shadow. Comes in a cute little bottle with a sponge tip applicator.

Pro tip: Don’t throw out the bottle when you think it’s empty! The shape of the bottle means that a lot of product is unreachable and is stuck inside. To get the rest out, take a sharp knife and carefully cut off the top of the bottle horizontally over the widest part. You’ll be amazed when you see how much product is left. Scoop your newly accessible product into a small jar and you’re good to go!

Tony Moly – Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm [8,800 won]

The cute packaging is alone to make you fall in love. Who can resist this cute yet elegant little egg packaging? Any who, this is essentially a silicon primer in a pot, but advertised as a pore balm. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll still cover up pores and fine lines like no body’s business. A little goes a long way and it’s think texture is good for dry skin. You’ll definitely see an increase your make up’s staying power with this. Also, enjoy the lemony fresh scent!





Etude House – Dear My Milky Gloss [6,000 won]

Ceci K-Beauty award winner. Comes in adorably cute and shiny packaging. They come in eight different shades all labeled as different latte flavors such as mango-orange latte, strawberry latte, and more (yum~)! It’s get’s it’s name from the “milky” finish it has. Its more of a matte natural finish rather than a shiny or sparkly finish. Two popular colors are the Chocolate Latte and the Papaya Latte. Papaya Latte is a gorgeous coral color that is orange tinted with a pink base. ;The Chocolate Latte as the “your lips but better” Effect to it. These glosses are long lasting and won’t bleed or slide off. Welcome your lips to a comfortable and fully moisturized journey.

Etude house Fresh Cherry Tint [6,000 won]

You can get this tint in four different colors: Cherry Peach, Milky Lavender, Cherry Coral, and Cherry Lavender. This is your go to product if you want to get that gradient lip look that’s all the rage in Korea. The creamy formula is non-drying and evens out any lip discoloration. It’s also very pigmented yet gives a natural pop of color. Best of all, it tastes like tart cherries! Comes in a small portable tube with a wand sponge applicator.


Holika Holika Magic Pole Mascara 2x Long Lash [8,910 won]

Holika Holika is known for is bewitching theme and this fiber mascara lives up to it. This unique wand has for flat sides with spikes protruding from each side. But the real joy is the spiked ball on top. It reaches the tiniest lashes in the inner corner while separating and defining lashes. This formula is both lengthens, thickens, and holds a curl – very impressive. It’s also water resistant which means no panda eyes in those hot Summer days. The flexible plastic wand means is durable and the true black color is to die for.




Etude House Packs [500-1,000 won]

Etude House is known for their cute and dirt cheap face packs. The black Charcoal chin pack removes accumulated black heads. Make your chin smooth and sebum free with the help of charcoal! The very popular Green Tea Nose Pack obliterates clogged pores and black heads from your nose. Use it once or twice a week for best results. It tightens pores and leaves skin smooth and clear. The Collagen Eye patches are great for revitalizing skin and clearing dark circles. Just gently lay them around the eye area to make skin feel smooth and elastic.


The Face Shop – Blackhead Out Charcoal Pore Strips [3,300 won]

These things are so affordable, you’ll feel like you robbed the place! Not only are thy affordable, but they exceptional quality. Say farewell to blackheads! Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully for maximum effect. Thorough wet your nose and carefully pat down the mask over your nose. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes until it’s hard and then slowly peel it off. You’ll be amazed what comes out of your nose! These are comparable to The Biore strips and Origins Charcoal mask, bu far less expensive. Tip: Open your pores by with hot water or by steaming them in the shower to make the blacak heads easier to remove.


Laneige – Water Sleeping Pack [25,000 won]

This has been a top seller for at least half a decade. A sleeping pack is used as the final step to your skin care routine and usually used in place of a night cream. You put it on right before bed and let it soak in over night. It acts like a sealant to lock in the benefits of your night time skin treatments. When you wake up, wash it off to reveal glowing, plump, and beautifully moisturized skin. It creates a smooth canvas to glide your make up upon the next morning. The Laneige water sleeping pack dries within 20 minutes, so no need to worry about getting your pillow dirty. This is perfect for all skin types, especially those craving more moisture. This light blue gel cream is delightfully floral scented and has a cooling sensation when applied.

SkinFood – Black Sugar Mask [7,700 won]

This has been a top seller for years and possibly SkinFood’s most recognized product. This mask doubles as an expoliator with black sugar crystals embedded in the gel. For ease of application, first wet your face and slide on mask. You’ll nose will be greeted with a deep, warm, sugary smell as your spread it across your face. The mask isn’t overly abrasice and sutiable for everyone, included sensitive and mature skin. Leave the mask on for about 10 minutes and watch as the granuals melt away while washing. You’ll be treated to soft, glowing, and radiant skin. Your skin will be so smooth and touchable that you can’t keep your fingers off! Also try SkinFood’s widely popular Rice Mask for brightening. It’s just as delightful and comes with a soft, yummy rice scent.



Innis Free – Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask [12,000 won]

This mask is great for those with acne prone and sensitive skin. This non-drying clay mask draws out the impurities in your pores while also tightening them. You can also use it as a great spot treatment to dry out pesky acne. To help spread the product, moisten the face to let the clay glide on easily. It’s recommended to lie on your back while the masks dries so it doesn’t dry downward, which promotes sagging. Once you wash it off, you’ll find your skin smooth and supple and will see a reduction in oil. If you have oily skin, make sure to check out the Super Volcanic version.


Now you have a full shopping list of products to try out. Great! But where to shop? If you want one stop shopping where you’ll find all these items in more, then definitely go toMyeongdong. Nearly every product mentioned on this list can for sure be found there. Brands such as Laneige and IOPE can be found in Amore Pacific Aritaum shops. Hera can be found in upscale department stores such as the Lotte Gangnam Hotel.

  1. Myeongdong Kyoja (명동교자)

Feeling a tad hungry? Well Myeongdong is home to some of Seoul’s finest and oldest restaurants. First stop on your list should be Myeongdong Kyoja (명동교자) which has been in business for nearly 40 years. They are best known for their knife-cut handmade ‘kalguksu’ noodles, which is their main menu item. There’s always a line, but it goes by fast!

2. Cafe Coin (카페 코인)

If you’re looking for desert, then head on over to Cafe Coin (카페 코인). This is one of the oldest and most popular cafes in Myeongdong and has been around for 17 years. Come here to stretch your legs after a long day of shopping and enjoy their unique real paintings from Japan, France, and the UK. Best of all, the selection is huge with nearly 80 items on their menu! To find out more and to get an exclusive coupon, click over to Cafe Coin Trazy page.

3. Myeongdong Cathedral

Before leaving, make sure to swing by the Myeongdong Cathedral to snap some shots. It is the first Western-style brick building in Korea and was built in 1898. You can even attend English Mass at 9 am on Sundays.

As always, check out Trazy for more hints, tips, and tricks to find your way around Korea! :)

a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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Travel: A Korean's Guide To America

Sat, 2015-10-03 01:47
Travel: A Korean's Guide To America



My book is FINALLY available to read in ebook format.   It is a book for Korean's traveling to America.   Please tell Korean students about my work and support the expat community of writers.


Here is the description.

Travel: A Korean's Guide To America brings the teachings of Youngsan University English professor Danny Kessler into comprehensive book form. This book is written as a guide for Koreans who have decided to travel, study, or live in the United States. You (or your parents) are spending a lot of money to go to America. This experience is an investment in your future, and this book is about maximizing that investment. 

Traveling and living in another part of the world is one of the most significant and unforgettable experiences you will ever have, but it is also an experience that requires preparation and education. The culture you will be exposed to is just as important to understand as the language; however, every year thousands of Koreans invest millions of hours in learning English with virtually no time invested in understanding the cultures in which they will be using it. In this book, you will learn: 

Basic travel tips to save money, stay safe and be stress free. 

How to fit in and avoid offending people through a deeper understanding of American manners and values. 

What Americans think of Korea. 

How to avoid dangerous people and dangerous places when traveling around America. 

The major cultural differences between Korea and America that you NEED to know. 

How to avoid gaining weight when living in America. 

The differences between Korean and American dating cultures and how to date an American.

While this book is for Korean's traveling to America, it contains a very interesting chapter on cultural differences and a controversial chapter on dating differences that my expat readers would enjoy learning about.

If you are in Busan, South Korea and you buy my book this month of October and show me the receipt, I will buy you a free coffee at the cafe or a drink at the bar. Thank you in advance!


Danny Kessler

Full Time Professor at Youngsan University
 My BookAngels with Attitude:  The Socially Intelligent Woman's Guide To Personal Safety My Websites:

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10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Kimchi

Tue, 2015-09-29 22:05
10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Kimchi Korean Food and Cooking

10 Reasons Why You Should Eat Kimchi

by Debbie Wolfe, CKC Writer

Skip the chicken soup the next time you are feeling under the weather; grab a bowl of kimchi instead! This spicy, fermented side dish has been a staple on Korean tables for thousands of years. Koreans believe that kimchi can soothe an upset stomach, help you lose weight, cure a hangover, keep you from aging and much more. Kimchi is becoming readily available in many restaurants and health food stores due to the popularity and health benefits of fermented foods. In addition to being a delicious accompaniment to your next meal, kimchi may be your ticket to good health.

Baechu Kimchi (Nappa Kimchi)

1. A Rich Source of Probiotics
One gram of well fermented kimchi contains 4 times the amount of probiotic bacteria found in yogurt. Probiotics are the good bacteria that populate your digestive tract.

2. Digestive Health
The vast amounts of probiotics in kimchi promote healthy digestion and regularity, improve the amount of nutrients absorbed from food and contributes to the overall health of your digestive system.

Chong-gak Kimchi (Ponytail Radish Kimchi)

3. Helps You Lose Weight
Need to shed a few pounds? Pile on the kimchi! The fiber content present in kimchi keeps your body full and hunger satisfied for long periods, preventing you from frequent and over eating. Kimchi is also low in fat and calories. On top of that, the spicy peppers in kimchi give your metabolism a boost!

4. Helps Lower Cholesterol
In addition to the high levels of fiber that aid in reducing cholesterol, kimchi contains a large amount of garlic. Garlic is a good source of selenium and allicin, which actively help reduce plaque in arteries thus preventing diseases such as high blood pressure and stroke.

Baek Kimchi (White Non-spicy Kimchi)

5. Strengthens the immune system
Beat those seasonal sniffles with a dose of kimchi. Common kimchi ingredients include garlic, ginger, and peppers, which are great immune builders: a tastier alternative to cough syrup.

6. Full of Vitamins
No need for a vitamin supplement if you are eat kimchi daily. Kimchi is high in B vitamins ,vitamin A and C as well as enzymes that are beneficial to your digestion process,vision and blood flow.

Oi Kimchi (Cucumber Kimchi)

7. Detoxifier
Skip those expensive “cleansing” diets. Cabbage kimchi is a great detoxifier that helps eliminate toxins and waste from your body. It’s a tasty way to rid your body of toxins and much easier on the wallet.

8. Anti-Aging
Ever wonder why Koreans look ageless? Kimchi is full of antioxidants that help protect the body from free radical damage. The high amounts of antioxidants in kimchi slows down the aging of skin. Garlic is a rich source of selenium and an essential ingredient in kimchi. This mineral helps keep your skin and hair healthy.

Nabak Kimchi (Pink Water Kimchi)

9. Lowers Blood Sugar
Combat type 2 diabetes and dips in blood sugar levels with kimchi. Regular consumption of kimchi helps maintain better glucose tolerance and lower levels of fasting glucose.

10. Reduces the Risk for Cancer
Kimchi can help reduce the development of various cancers. The ingredients in kimchi (cabbage,garlic,ginger, onions,hot peppers) contain healthful flavonoids, which are known to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

There you have it, ten awesome reasons why you should eat kimchi daily. Not only can it help improve your health, it’s a delicious way to spice up your meals. If you can’t find kimchi in your area, no worries. Kimchi is not hard to make. Check out these sources for all your kimchi making needs:

Find delicious Kimchi Recipes here.

Buy Organic Gochugaru, Korean Hot Chili Pepper Flakes here.

Buy Fermentation and storage container for kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles here.

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Korean Culture: 제사 (Jesa)

Mon, 2015-09-28 03:13
Korean Culture: 제사 (Jesa)

South Korea — I was thinking of not writing about Jesa since Wikipedia has already explained it thoroughly. Instead, I am writing this based on what I have observed and experienced and probably quote some information from Wikipedia. This picture I got from Koreatimes tells the proper way to prepare the table:

Basically, Jesa (제사) is a traditional ceremony practiced by Buddhist and non-believers in Korea while the Roman Catholics acknowledged this as a civil practice. There are few types of ancestorial rites such as gijesa (기제사), charye (차례), seongmyo (성묘), and myosa (묘사). Gijesa is performed at the house of the eldest son on the night before the ancestor’s death anniversary. Charye, on the other hand, is performed during the major Korean holidays – Chuseok or New Year’s Day. While seongmyo and myosa are performed in front of the ancestors’ tombs.

Two weeks ago, it was my first time to encounter an actual gijesa to offer for Danny’s grandfather. The aunts and sister-in-law fetched me at home because Danny was still at work and uncle’s (the only son in the family) house is only about 20-minute distance. We arrived there around 6 in the evening, aunt-in-law was still busy in the kitchen preparing tasty home-cooked dinner for everyone. A bit later, we enjoyed a hearty meal. At around 9pm, we prepared the offering table. Everyone helped put food such as rice, fish, meat, vegetables, rice cake, etc. on the bowls while uncle arranged them on the table and then, everyone put on socks before the ceremony. A revised rite of our family went like this: (taken from Wikipedia)
1. 강신 (kangshin) – Ritual greetings to call the spirits down.
2. 초헌 (choheon / initial offering) – The eldest male descendant makes the first offering of rice wine and show his respects by performing a ritual bow twice. Danny and I were asked to do it, too. I poured the liquor on the first bowl, Danny circled it around twice and placed it on the table. Did the same thing for another bowl. Then, we both deep (ritual) bowed twice.
3. 삽시 (sapsi / spoon insertion) – The main course is served by the eldest male ancestor, to the memorial tablet, by sticking a spoon into the middle of the rice bowl.
4. 유식 (yushik / urged meal) – The ancestors receive the offerings and partake in the meal. To do so, participants leave the room, called 합문 (hapmun). But, we just about faced for few seconds.
5. 철상 (cheolsang / removal of table) – All the attendants at the ceremony bow twice and the spirits are sent off until the next year. The table with the food and wine offerings is then cleared 음복 (eumbok / drink blessings) – Participants divide the sacrificial offerings and partake in the feast. Consuming the ritual food and wine is considered to be an integral part of the ceremony, as it symbolizes the receiving of the blessings bestowed upon the family.

Even though we had dinner already, we ate more and tasted the rice wine, chitchat a little before leaving uncle’s house. Chinese incense and bowing aren’t unfamiliar to me. Similar to this ritual is what we usually did few years ago during November 1 (All Saint’s Day) in the Philippines. We would meet with the whole clan to visit the tomb of our grandparents, spend the day at the cemetery, chatting and feasting with the ritual food.

ritual table

More thoughts:
The eldest male children are expected to take care of their parents when they get older and weaker and by the time they pass away, the sons would also prepare such ancestral rituals at least every year especially for the traditional-oriented family. Morever, marrying the eldest son would also mean big loads of responsibility specifically the cooking part and for that, let us honor these ajumonis for their hard work and dedication.

By the way, how was your Chuseok holiday?




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포천 허브아일랜드 (Herb Island)

Fri, 2015-09-25 03:01
포천 허브아일랜드 (Herb Island)

Pocheon, South Korea — Danny’s cousin recommended for us to visit this 82-acre tourist spot called Herb Island that’s located in Pocheon, a province of Gyeonggi. Ironically, it is not an island but a theme park showcasing many sorts of herbs.



Our trip started right after lunch time. So, it was quite warm and sunny. We purchased our tickets upon entering the entrance gate before parking the car. Then, headed straight to their indoor botanical garden. Inside the greenhouse are tons of plants, a mini man-made waterfalls, and beautiful and colorful flowers in various sizes that I’ve never seen before.

Flower Garden

We also visited the Santa Claus Village and mini barn for donkeys, peacocks, pigs and goats.

Santa Claus Village

There are few shops that sell candles, scents, herbal pillows, teas, spices, etc., and some products are DIY. Furthermore, pension, a performance hall, restaurants, a cafe, and a bakery can be found near the parking lot. They also accept wedding ceremonies and reception.

Gondola Riding Place

DIY shop

Herb Ateliers

Herb Ateliers

Herb Ateliers

Herb Ateliers

FREE tea-tasting


Korea in 1970s to 1990s:

Oriental Medicine

Classroom and Studio

Wedding Hall


Not only those, Hyde, Jekyll, Me, a 2015 Korean drama, and Running Man, a popular variety show, also filmed at this place.

In conclusion, I would recommend this place to amateur photographers ’cause every corner of Herb Island offers a great picturesque landscape and to people who just love nature and solemnity.

Entrance Fee:

Regular : KRW 6,000 (US$6)

PWD, Children and Senior Citizens : KRW 4,000 (US$3.5)

2015 | 지도 크게 보기©  NAVER Corp.


경기도 포천시 신북면 청신로 947번길 35

35, Cheongsin-ro 947beon-gil, Sinbuk-myeon, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea

Operating Hours: Daily 10:00am to 10:00pm


  1. Seoul Station (Seoul Subway Line 1) – 38km (58min) → Uijeongbu Station – 21km (48min) → Dongducheon Station – 16km (28min). Get off at Mt. Soyosan or Dongducheon Station. Then take Herb Island bus No. 57 or No. 57-1 bus from the bus stop across the street.
  2. Seoul Station – 38km (58min) → Uijeongbu Station – 23km (47min) → Pocheon Bus Terminal – 14km (24min) → Get off at Daejin University when you take bus 3001 or 3002. Then take the bus to Herb Island (No. 57 or No. 61) from the bus stop across from Daejin University.




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3 Interesting Facts about Korean Thanksgiving- Chuseok

Thu, 2015-09-24 09:24
3 Interesting Facts about Korean Thanksgiving- Chuseok Photo credit to http://blog.daum.net/xyz1423/738

It’s that time of the year again, “the season with clear skies and stout horses.” Nothing depicts what Korean fall looks alike more accurate than this old saying. During the fall season, the weather is the best and the harvested crops are so plentiful that even livestock get to enrich themselves. Therefore, what’s not to like about this peaceful season? Besides beautiful autumn scenery on the street alongside clear blue skies with cool breeze, smell of pumpkin spice and roasted chestnuts, there’s another reason we wait for fall to come… it is Chuseok time!

1. Chuseok, Happy Korean thanksgiving day!

Chuseok is a harvest festival where the whole nation celebrates together. Many scholars claim that it contains some shamanistic characteristic that may have started from a worship ritual for full moon. Just like many other countries, autumn in Korea is the harvest time of the year. Back in the days when the farmers beard fruits, they celebrated the hard work and humbly showed their gratitude to the ancestors while wishing richer season for the next coming year. Nowadays, all families travel to meet their relatives and celebrate the festival together, which cause a huge traffic we call “mass migration of Chuesok.”

About Charye Charye (차례)

It is an ancestor memorial rite that has been done for thousands of years in Korea. In the morning of Chuseok, all family members hold a memorial service for their ancestors, usually up to around four generations above (it won’t be possible to celebrate all the ancestors over thousands of years!). During the ceremony, food, fruits, and beverage are offered and people bow to the ancestors.

After the ceremony, all family members gather up and eat the food they prepared and used for the ceremony. Koreans see their brothers, sisters, and relatives that you haven’t talked for a long time. It’s the time to reunite and bond with the family.

2. You don’t call it a festival without food!

No food, No party. That’s the universal code for festival and Chuseok is no exception to that. It takes a lot of hands to prepare Chuseok cuisines due to the variety and amount of food that you need to make. The food is meant to serve the ancestors; therefore, Koreans believed that the more heart you put on it, the higher respect you show to your ancestors. Once you taste it, you will fall in love with its delicateness.

About Song pyeon Song Pyeon (송편)

This lunar moon shaped rice cake filled with bean paste is a representative food for Chuseok. Traditionally, it’s made with the rice of the first harvest of the year. The various fillings you choose to stuff, such as, bean, chestnut, sesame seeds and honey give a unique taste to the song pyeon. After stuffing your rice dough with fillings, you steam them with pine needles to spice them up. It adds distinctive and fresh flavor. It used to be the women’s job to make song pyeon. There’s a saying that if you can shape rice dough close to half moon well, you will have a cute baby, but if you do it poorly… you know where it’s going with. Nowadays it’s not just done by women, but rather by all the family members together.

Alongside Song Pyeon, various foods and fruits are served during the festival. Seasoned vegetables, pork, beef, and fish are mainly served in common. The remaining choices vary by region. In the northern part of Gyeongsang province, they serve a dried shark meat called Dombaegi and octopus because their main harvest is seafood. It is quite interesting to see all different kinds of food setting of the regions.

Dombaegi (돔배기), dried shark meat 3. Eat, pray and … play!!

So you saw your long-missed families and filled your stomach with delicious food. That sounds quite satisfying, now it’s time to head to the living room and relax… NOT! The real fun begins after the ceremony. There are many fun activities that await for you to hop in.

About Ganggangsulae Dance Ganggangsulae dance (강강술래)

This almost impossible to pronounce dance is traditionally done by women to pray for a bountiful harvest. The dancers would come together under the brightest full moon and make a circle and then they hold each other’s hands. As a lead singer starts singing, the rest sings the refrain “Ganggangsulae” and rotate clockwise. The dance goes faster and faster and it can last until dawn.

No one exactly knows its origin, but many people claim that it’s originated from during the 16c when the Japanese attacked Korea. A naval commander, Yi Sun-shin ordered women to do the dance in military uniform to scare the enemy off. This story is known to be the first form of the dance. If you have never seen the dance, it’s quite interesting and exciting to see, better yet, join the dance too.

About Ssireum Ssireum (씨름), Korean wrestling

Ssiruem is a traditional sport of Korea. Two opponents wrestle while holding each other’s belt called Satba. To win, the player must bring his opponent down to the sandy ground. Unlike Japanese wrestling Sumo, pushing the player outside of circle doesn’t make you win. The biggest contest is being held during the festival. It can be compared to American football on the Thanksgiving Day. Many families enjoy watching the games on TV. Traditionally, the champion of the contest gets a bull and rice as the victory prize along with “the world’s strongest man” title.

Can you imagine what an honor it would be for a man to be called the world’s strongest to bring home a bull in one hand and a rice bag in another?

About Bull Fighting Bull fighting (소싸움)

There is no written record of its origin, but bullfighting has been done traditionally over many countries. However, Korean bullfights doesn’t depict much blood nor killing. So if you’re an animal lover, you can still enjoy the show. As a matter of fact, the bulls are treated much fairly with love. The trainers take care of them in a respectable way. The bulls run several miles daily along with the trainers, and get fed gourmet meals.

The show isn’t all about competition. It’s rather to show how great they raised their livestock. In a contest, these thick-necked bulls are butting their heads until one yields. It could take just a few minutes or many hours to win. Basically, it’s a bull version of Ssiruem. Chungdo is the city known for their annual bullfights festival. They have an exclusive stadium, and small festivals related to bulls. So if you are interested in this unique traditional and exciting game, Chuseok is the good time to visit Chungdo.

Well, last but not least, Happy Chuseok Holidays!! 

a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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No Naval Base on Jeju - The Korea File

Thu, 2015-09-24 04:26
No Naval Base on Jeju - The Korea File

Download mp3

After more than 3000 days of action, what's the state of the anti-naval base protest in Gangjeong Village? 

I speak with Sunny, an activist with the Catholic Workers Movement, about the morale and momentum of the movement moving forward. 

Music on this episode is taken from the pansori/butoh collective performing live in front of the navy base construction site at last June's Gangjeong Peace Market.

For more information on the anti-base protests, go to savejejunow.org

   The Korea File

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An Evening in Kyeongju

Sun, 2015-09-20 09:17
An Evening in Kyeongju

For some reason, I kept thinking about heading to Kyeongju and getting some photos. Not really sure why but I could shake the feeling that something good was happening out there. Not sure what I would find, I jumped into my car, heeded my wife’s warning about the traffic and took off.

I can’t stress this enough, I had no idea what I wanted to shoot there. I felt like my shots of the Woljeong Bridge were a little boring and so I was heading out that way. However, beyond that I was not really sure what to do. I was just heading out to a beautiful city and hoping for the best and then something caught my eye.

The sun was entering the golden hour and it was illuminating the fields alongside the highway in the most beautiful way. It was an elderly farmer that caught my eye as he walked through his field. Wishing that I could just stop and take a shot, I was about to just carry on. Then I saw a rest stop. I couldn’t pass this up, not even for the dude that was tailgating me.

I pulled over and wandered back the field. Upon noticing that the farmer was slowing making HIS way back home, I decided to run and catch him in the field before he left. Not the most subtle of techniques but I was willing to risk it. I must state that I almost never take pictures of people. Fact is that I almost try and avoid them when possible. However, for this shot the farmer added so much to the shot.

After taking a few shots, the old farmer was a little curious about what I was doing. As I walked up, I greeted him and we talked about the weather and how nice the night was. He saw my camera and immediately lit up. “oh! you’re taking pictures” I asked if I could take his picture and he declined but gave in after I pressed him a bit. This was the first time that I have ever done this sort of thing. Talk to strangers is hard for me, let alone in another language. Taking their picture is just as difficult as I am never satisfied with the results. This time was a little better and I felt good about my time with the farmer.

I jumped back in my car and headed on towards the historic sites in Kyeongju. Knowing that there is always a bottleneck in front of Anapji Pond, I took a back road to the Kyochon village. This presented me with a view of the Woljeong Bridge that I have not seen before. I pulled the car over again and scrambled down the ditch to the water’s edge. I soon found myself battling thorns and unstable rocks but that would lead to an outcropping that had a great view of the bridge.

After getting my fill and worrying that I would not be able to navigate my way back, I scrambled back to my car and went into the village. It was a madhouse. Overrun with tourists and couples on tandem bikes, it was hard to get an unobstructed shot. However, the water’s edge had very few people. After making a circle of the village, I went down and got some basic shots of the bridge from the other side.

Not really, sure if I got what I was looking for, I was certainly happy that I got out. The fresh air and sense of place in Kyeongju is amazing. Though my studies in tourism sometimes gets me a little worked up in places like this, I know that they are doing their best to make these areas enjoyable for everyone and not just couples on bikes. The Kyochon village is a definite gem as recent improvements have made it more accessible to tourists. Yet, sadly some of the “improvements” seem to take away from the sense of history. I do wish that they’d do away with the fabric banners and stick to signage to relates to the time of the original village.


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Korean Judo University (This is Why They WIN!)

Fri, 2015-09-18 13:38
Korean Judo University (This is Why They WIN!)

You know, it’s a long uphill battle to beat the Koreans in judo. Here’s why. As children, Koreans can enroll in one of the many elementary schools across their country that have designated judo development programs. At a young age they commence their training on a conveyer belt of winning judo standards. And this is just the beginning. They can move on to the same in middle school, and this includes all-girl’s middle schools. Again, at high school age, players are training in judo full time alongside their studies in hopes of gaining entrance to the final level of Korea’s schooling system.

University. This is the final stage before the best of the best are plucked to train in the national program.

In Busan, Korea’s second largest city, there are two universities with judo development teams: This is Dong-Eui University as I showcased early on during my time in Korea. The other university judo program is Dong-A University which is what you see here. Judo teams share large athletic facilities with other sports and martial arts like taekwondo, kendo, boxing, and wrestling at universities like these.

These are no compromise systems training students for careers in physical education, law enforcement, and potentially the highest level of play in the sport. These are the big boys and girls. They have been training in the Korean school judo system since elementary school. That’s a lot of dedicated years.

At universities such as these, students are able to receive a degree in judo instruction and development, or other related degrees such as physical education for public schools.

You don’t want to randori with these kids in your right mind. They are true mat rats who train full time and want to win. Only the best coaches are assigned to these teams and there is immense pressure to produce results.

Make no mistake, this is not local club play. Practice sessions are uchikomi and then an hour and a half of randori 5 days a week with many other high level players. The pool is large and the bench is deep with strong players whose life is judo. Some of the main judo hubs in Korea are Seoul, Gyeonggi-do, Daegu, and Busan.

There is no guesswork in Korean judo. Show up, follow the plan, win a medal. Wash, rinse, repeat. There should be no wonder why we see Korean champions all the time.

The post Korean Judo University (This is Why They WIN!) appeared first on Red Dragon Diaries.

the Red Dragon Diaries

ESL, Travel, and Judo!

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Park Geun-Hye’s Trip to that Bombastic Chinese Military Parade Was Actually a Good Idea

Thu, 2015-09-17 08:12
Park’s Trip to that Chinese Military Parade Was Actually a Good Idea



I know what your thinking: there’s the president of a democracy standing next to three dictators, one of whom insists on dressing like Mao, watching Chinese soldiers goose-step like fascists. Yikes! I agree that the optics are terrible. (Quick quiz: who’s the ‘president for life’ in blue on the left? Here.)

But Park is flattering China like this is for a purpose – to isolate North Korea. So stop all your nattering about her clothes at this event (yes, I’ve heard that); that she is Xi’s ‘girlfriend;’ that she’s a ‘sinophile;’ that she’s drifting from the US or turned her back on her friends or democracy or whatever. None of that is true. All of that is speculative.

Instead, she’s hustling hard – 6 trips to China in 3 years – to convince China that South Korea is not an enemy and that China can therefore give up the North Korean buffer. How many times have you heard American analysts, in an attempt to get China to do more on North Korea, say, ‘the road to Pyongyang runs through Beijing’? Well, here are the South Koreans taking that to heart. If you think she’s dissing the US alliance, recall that the whole purpose of the US-SK alliance is North Korea. The US alliance is not an end in itself, no matter what neocons think.

China is North Korea’s last trap-door to escape the obvious inefficiencies of its economy. Without China, the perks of running North Korea – the cars, yachts, booze, trips to Hong Kong, girls, foreign education for your kids, and all the rest – disappear. Cut that Chinese umbilical cord, and North Korean resources will diminish dramatically. As the budget steadily shrinks, regime elites will turn on each other over a diminishing pie. The Songun bargain (my term) – struck by Kim Jong Il to keep the system rolling after the Cold War, in which the KPA generals do not overthrow the Kims in exchange for the cushy lifestyle – would collapse, because the lifestyle is impossible without some access to the outside world. And the only place North Korean elites can park their money, traffick their meth and missile parts, import skiing equipment (yes, really), and all the rest, is China.

If you can finally cut off North Korea from the world – no more hidden pipelines – then I’d bet the regime would collapse within a decade from elite infighting over the small domestic, not very cushy resource pie leftover (no more Hennessey!). After the jump is a reprint of an essay I wrote for the Lowy Institute making this argument at length.



Last week, South Korean President Park Geun Hye attended the military parade for China’s 70th anniversary commemoration of the end of World War II. Officially billed as a celebration of fascism’s defeat, it looked like anything but. More than one analyst noted the obvious incongruence of observing fascism’s end with a giant military extravaganza, complete with goose-steeping soldiers and flashy hardware displays. Chinese President Xi Jinping attempted to take the edge off the bullying, nationalist signaling by declaring a force down-sizing, but that likely will not assuage China’s nervous neighbors.

Except perhaps for South Korea. Unlike leaders from the rest of the democratic world, Park Geun Hye chose to attend. Barack Obama, Shinzo Abe, and elected figures from Asia and the EU all declined to go. Much like their conspicuous absence from the Moscow 70th anniversary spectacular in May, their avoidance again sought to prevent the appearance of validation of aggressive military power. Park too avoided the Moscow event but not this one.

The decision was controversial. For weeks the South Korean media debated whether she should attend the parade, just meet Xi, or skip altogether. Conservative western analysts pointed out how Park would be the only democratic leader on the podium next to Xi and Vladimir Putin. And indeed she was in rather unseemly company. The Americans were rumored to be pushing her not to go. Korean conservatives were wary at best.

Not an Endorsement of Chinese Power or Hegemony

Despite reasonable fears of the validation of Chinese power and expansionism, Park still made the right decision to go, because she needs China to rein in North Korea. Severing that client-patron relationship is the real story behind almost everything Park does with China – all the trips (six in the three years), wooing, schmoozing, silence on Chinese bad behavior in the South China Sea, and so on. Is this unfortunate? Yes. But it serves a greater, and moral, purpose.

This is often misread. Over the years, I variously heard that: Park is thought to value the American alliance less than her predecessor, Lee Myung Bak. Or perhaps she is a sinophile who thinks South Korea’s future lies with China, its number one export destination. Korea was, after all, the most loyal member of the old tribute system, and China saved Korea from Japan in the Imjin War. Or perhaps she is her dictator father’s daughter: she just does not care that much that China is an illiberal oligarchy. And the gossipy Korean media has helpfully chimed-in occasionally that she is Xi’s ‘girlfriend.’

All these explanations rely on speculative psychological evaluations of Park herself, but miss a much more obvious account: the geopolitical value of China – North Korea’s last and only patron – to South Korea. Scott Snyder and Andrei Lankov are helpful here, and certainly South Korea should seek good relations with China, if only because of sheer proximity. But I would go a step further and say that the real point of Park’s relentless efforts with China is the final isolation and, possibly, implosion of the DPRK. Park cannot say as much publicly; she cannot look as though she is treating China so instrumentally. But her administration’s own discussion of her aggressive summit diplomacy strongly hints at this.

If we understand this to be the real driver, then the costs she is accruing – such as last week’s imagery of her on stage with a collection of dictators, or South Korea’s conspicuous silence on Chinese shenanigans in the South China Sea – make sense. These are the concessions she is making to convince China that South Korea is not an enemy, that North Korea is no longer worth the headache to China, and, ideally, that South Korea can control the whole peninsula without that threatening China.

The Chinese will Manipulate Her Presence, but it’s Worth it

So yes, her presence will almost be used by Chinese state media to suggest Korea’s ‘appreciation’ or ‘admiration’ for China. PLA generals may indeed fantasize that South Korea is drifting away from the Americans. And the propaganda value of having a democratic leader watching the goose-stepping was so obvious, that Park was placed in the middle of the front row. It was embarrassing. In fact, I think the greatest obstacle to Park’s courting of China may be South Korean public opinion. Koreans are quite nationalistic and proud; if Park’s solicitations of Xi start to look like fawning or toadying, then she will face a backlash at home.

But these costs, much like the costs of Seoul’s silence on Chinese regional bullying, are primarily reputational. South Korea has not actually provided material or verbal support to China in a conflict with a democratic power, and it almost certainly will not. So while these rhetorical costs are unfortunate, they are minor. Given China’s enormous potential leverage over North Korea, that is reason enough for democracies everywhere to give her a pass. It is worth noting in this context that Park skipped Putin’s own ‘anti-fascist’ gala. But swaying China on North Korea is so important, that a bit of instrumental flattery this time around is worth it.

What Happens to North Korea without China?

All this will take time. China will not give up the North Korean ‘buffer’ lightly or soon. But Park is laying the groundwork for this long-term project. By 2007, it was pretty clear to all but the most committed leftist engager in South Korea that the Sunshine Policy had failed. Despite a decade of handouts and political protection from criticism of its unique ‘system,’ the DRPK had done little to reciprocate. Its polity was so still closed and extremely brutal; it developed nuclear weapons and missiles at the same time it spoke of reconciliation. So Park’s predecessor withdrew the subsidies and fixed the relationship with the Americans after the erosion of the Sunshine period.

With the Americans back on board, Park has taken the next step – active regional diplomacy to isolate North Korea. Pyongyang has, at best, two serious semi-friends to bail out its inefficient economy – China and Russia. Russia is almost certainly too weak, especially in Asia, and especially after the Ukraine war, to prop-up North Korea.

That leaves China. China is the last and really only possible escape hatch for North Korea from the obvious need for it to change. Without China, North Korea would be exposed to crushing international criticism, sharp economic contraction, and isolation. Foreign banking would be nearly impossible, and long-standing sanctions would finally have teeth. Pyonyang elites would no longer have access to the mafia lifestyle that makes the brutal farce of North Korea nonetheless worth it to them. The goodies of their decadent lifestyle – the liquor, yachts, fuel, cars, prostitutes, and so on – would no longer have a pipeline in. North Korea’s various smuggling operations – of meth, missile parts, counterfeit currency, and who knows what else – would lose their exit venue. Tighten the screws like this enough, with real costs for Pyongyang court economy, and the DPRK’s elites will eventually turn on each other. This is the likeliest route to North Korea’s end.

So relax about South Korea’s warming relations with China. There are almost certainly strategic; that is, they are aiming at a larger goal – reunification – which democracies everywhere should share. If Park has to laugh at Xi’s jokes and put up with his nationalist bluster, that’s a small price to pay.

Filed under: China, Diplomacy, Korea (North), Korea (South), Lowy Institute, Park Geun Hye

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University


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The One thing you need to know before moving to Korea

Wed, 2015-09-16 03:03
The One thing you need to know before moving to Korea
*Disclaimer*: I began writing this piece a few months ago when I started to make new friends who seemed to be more my speed and with whom I could have long-lasting relationships while in Korea.  After speaking to a friend who is leaving in the next couple of months, I felt like this was something that should be shared.
People are disposable.  You may have experienced this back home by using Tinder or any online dating website/ app, but truly: people are disposable.  I discovered this to some degree back in Vancouver having used Plenty Of Fish on occasion, and in Toronto on Tinder.  You meet someone, they're great, but you could probably do just a little bit better.  You have no mutual friends with this person, so if you brush them off you really owe them nothing and if you behave less than admirably - who's going to know?  While you're rationalizing to yourself, the guy or girl sitting across from you is thinking the exact same thing.  Fortunately, you can always fall back on your network of friends - a highly curated group of beautiful, talented individuals with whom you have tons in common.

Flash forward to Korea.  Everyone has a degree and everyone is from one of a selected few Native English-speaking countries (Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa).  You're new here and are automatically sorted into one of two groups: "Wanderlust" or "LBH".  

"LBH" stands for: "Loser Back Home" - the kind of individual who has trouble making friends back in their home country, and even more trouble finding a career (a job beyond "Barista with a Degree").  They do tend to make friends here often out of necessity, but more often than not they're guys in their mid-twenties who have never had a girlfriend and seek to be the novelty foreigner on a hot Asian girl's arm.

"Wanderlust" is the name I've coined for the other category based on the number of tattoos with this little word in as many fonts as I can name on English Teachers and Travel Bloggers alike.  These people have an insatiable thirst for worldly knowledge.  Their ultimate best friends are the wanderlust guilt (love you, miss you Mom and Dad!) and their well-stamped passport.  Outgoing and friendly, they make new pals very easily and cultivate fun, intellectual, entertaining relationships.  Many of these people have had satisfying and impressive careers back home, but ultimately have given them up to traverse the globe.

That's the thing - the wanderlust people (well, we wanderlust people) are used to making sacrifices.  With these sacrifices comes a certain comfort over time and ease of picking up and leaving.  I've lived in several places thus far, leaving Toronto for Italy, Italy for Toronto, Toronto for Kingston, Kingston for Port Hope, Port Hope for Vancouver, Vancouver for Toronto, Toronto for Atlanta, Atlanta for Toronto, and Toronto for Korea.  Each time I leave it becomes easier to turn off the painful sense of going away, preferring to simply remember the good times I've had and the great things I've learned from all the wonderful people I've been fortunate enough to meet.  This also makes it very easy to find a new shiny friend and neglect important "classic" relationships.

In any situation that employs a large number of expats and immigrants (that's right folks - I'm both!) there's an opportunity to get welcomed (or stuck!) into a foreigner community.  Because this community is in a bubble, there's more opportunity for drama to occur and with that comes a lot of hurt feelings.  When we create immediately strong bonds with new people in our community we often forget about the people who made us feel so comfortable and special when we first arrived (the classics, if you will).  They become disposable, and in turn so will we be.  Most people that come to Korea from one of the aforementioned countries only stays for a year or two.  Three years and you're pushing it.  Beyond 3, you're a lifer.  With all of these people coming and going in the revolving door of recruitment it's tough forming real attachments knowing the person may leave before you, or that you'll be jet-setting elsewhere before they're finished their contract.

It's important to cultivate new relationships, but make sure to put in the work on your old ones (remember - the classics).  You never know when someone with whom you swiped right might get bored and decide to un-match.  In our digital society time is fleeting and everyone is disposable - even you.
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Jagalchi Fish Market • Busan, South Korea

Sat, 2015-09-12 02:17
Jagalchi Fish Market • Busan, South Korea


On a recent trip to Busan, I found myself fixated on the idea of visiting Jagalchi Fish Market. I knew absolutely nothing about the market but a few weeks earlier had spotted it as a tiny dot on a map and ever since, had an intense desire to explore it. I learned, once visiting the market and subsequently reading its history, that Jagalchi is the largest seafood market in all of Korea and was established as the Korean War ended.

The market proved fascinating, with one booth after another offering squirming varieties of every kind of live seafood imaginable, tables of dried squid and fish carcasses, bowls of live sea urchins, and hot griddles with today’s catch fried and ready to eat. After winding my way through the outdoor bazaar, I assumed my exploration was at an end and almost called it quits when I spotted an official looking sign hanging outside a large two-story building that read “Jagalchi Fish Market.” Inside were impressive stalls, much cleaner and larger than their outdoor counterparts, showcasing a wide selection of live seafood. After working through some language barriers, I learned from a vendor that any live seafood I picked out and paid for downstairs would be cleaned and prepared as I waited and then brought with me upstairs to be cooked and eaten.

Excited by the prospect of enjoying some of the freshest fish possible, I selected a feisty snow crab which would be steamed and an incredibly ugly Korean flatfish (actually called an Olive Flounder), half of which they would serve raw as sushi and half which would be grilled. Once we negotiated a price, the vendor cleaned my fish and escorted me upstairs, live crab in tow. I assumed a seat overlooking the water and in just a few short minutes time enjoyed an incredibly fresh meal with banchan (Korean side dishes) aplenty. Thankful I trusted my instinct about exploring the market, I walked back through the outdoor stalls, stopping to watch a Korean gentleman sharpening hand-made knives and picked one up as a token of the experience.

Jagalchi Fish Market
Hours: 8:00AM – 10:00PM (closed the first and third Tuesday of every month)
Address: 52, Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan (Nampo-dong 4-ga)
부산광역시 중구 자갈치해안로 52 (남포동4가)
Getting There: Jagalchi Station (Busan subway line 1), Exit 10. Turn right onto Jagalchi 3(sam)-gil Street. Walk for 5min, then turn left to arrive at Jagalchi Market.

The Brazen Gourmand



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Featured Busan Events: Weekend of Sept 10~12 and Beyond

Thu, 2015-09-10 14:20
Featured Busan Events: Weekend of Sept 10~12 and Beyond Coming Up This Weekend  



Busan New Tech Exhibition 2015 at Bexco


Repeats every day until Sat Sep 12 2015 .

Fri, 09/11/2015 - 09:00


Busan International Travel Fair at Bexco


Repeats every day until Mon Sep 14 2015 .

Fri, 09/11/2015 - 10:00


Korea Hanbok Festival at Bexco


Repeats every day until Sat Sep 12 2015 .

Fri, 09/11/2015 - 14:00


2015 Fourplay Concert @ Busan Citizens Hall
Fri, 09/11/2015 - 20:00


Cogason, Say Sue Me & Barbie Dolls @ HQ Gwangan


Fri, 09/11/2015 - 21:00


Saturday Morning Boot Camp in Haeundae 10AM


Repeats every week until Thu Dec 31 2015 .

Sat, 09/12/2015 - 10:00


Laochra Busan GAA - Gaelic Football Training


Repeats every 7 days until Sat Oct 24 2015 .

Sat, 09/12/2015 - 11:00


September Busan foreign culture markethttp://koreabridge.net/event/september-busan-foreign-culture-market-september-2015Sat, 09/12/2015 - 13:00

Dalmaji Art Market


Repeats every day every Sunday and every Saturday until Wed Nov 25 2015 .

Sat, 09/12/2015 - 14:00

Saturday Int'l Meetup
Sat, 09/12/2015 - 14:30


Poetry Pluis+42 at Eva's Ticket


Sat, 09/12/2015 - 19:30


Busan Back to School Fest at PNU


Sat, 09/12/2015 - 21:00


Onnuri English Worship Service


Repeats every week until Thu Dec 31 2015 .

Sun, 09/13/2015 - 10:00


Busan International Travel Fair at Bexco


Sun, 09/13/2015 - 10:00


Redeemer ICC Sunday Service


Repeats every week every Sunday until Mon Dec 28 2015 .

Sun, 09/13/2015 - 11:00


English Worship Sevice @ Podowon Church in Yulli


Repeats every week every Sunday until Sat Dec 31 2016 .

Sun, 09/13/2015 - 12:00

Busan Wolfhound: ₩1000 OFF ALL Premium Drafts



Language cast Busan weekly meetup


Repeats every week until Thu Dec 31 2015 .

Mon, 09/14/2015 - 18:30


2 for 1 Fish & Chips at Busan Wolfhound


Repeats every week until Tue Dec 01 2015 .

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 17:00


Open Mic Night @ OL'55


Repeats every week until Wed Dec 30 2015 .

Wed, 09/16/2015 - 21:00


MokTalk - Language Exchange on Thursdays-


Repeats every week until Sat Dec 31 2016 except Wed Oct 22 2014.

Thu, 09/17/2015 - 19:00


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Wanna lose some weight? Need some motivation? Busan's Biggest Loser 5

Thu, 2015-09-10 11:14

Four years ago, I was down 100 pounds from where I am today. It took me four weight loss competitions to do it, but it was worth the money.

Yeah, I gained it all back a few years later. I like to blame it on some life events that happened, but it all comes down to bad choices.

I'm in a time of my life where I need to take it off and keep it off. I'm the happiest I've ever been, but just need that push to help me live healthier. Then, life will be perfect.

If you're ready for a push and need some motivation, kakao me at mikectam. I'll explain more how it works.

I'll explain fully on kakao, but basically it's a group that gets together and does weigh-ins and keeps everyone in check. Again, it is a competition so it makes you think about what you're eating and what exercise you should be doing each day. It's all based on percentage, so everyone has a chance.

Let's do this!!

kakao id -mikectam



Wanna lose some weight? Need some motivation? Busan's Biggest Loser 5
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How to make Mul Naengmyeon from scratch, Korean cold noodles in soup

Wed, 2015-09-09 20:56
How to make Mul Naengmyeon from scratch, Korean cold noodles in soup Do you love cold refreshing naengmyeon? Here is how to make delicious naengmyeon from scratch. It's hard work but well worth it. Happy cooking!

Detailed recipe and ingredient list are here: http://crazykoreancooking.com/recipe/...

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Do you love cold refreshing naengmyeon? Here is how to make delicious naengmyeon from scratch. It's hard work but well worth it. Happy cooking!

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Canadian in Busan, Korea: Getting a Chinese Visa

Tue, 2015-09-08 13:25
Canadian in Busan, Korea: Getting a Chinese Visa

Sometimes you need an idiot boy to frustrate you enough to buy an airplane ticket.  As much as it was a great start, the ending was long, drawn out, and just plain irritating.  I check SkyScanner pretty much every day, and when I saw a flight from Busan to Shanghai for around $200 it was an absolute no-brainer.  I purchased the ticket without hesitation, then immediately remembered the Visa application process from the last time I went to China (Beijing and Chengdu a long before this blog was born).

May 18th I bought my ticket on Expedia via SkyScanner.  The round-trip flight cost exactly $207.90 USD.  I was concerned that I would have to go to Seoul, send my passport away, or go through a travel agent to get my visa.  This is not the case AT ALL.

You can get your visa application here.  It's a pretty straightforward, albeit somewhat lengthy process.  You need to attach a passport photo with a light coloured background.  You'll also need proof of payment for your accommodations (my booking.com printout was just fine) as well as proof of payment for your round trip flight.


I took the Subway from Hwamyeong to Dongbaek on Monday September 1st, 2015 (yes, three and a half months after purchasing my ticket and only 24 days in advance of my flight).  I was not concerned about the time-frame as I had emailed the consulate and they had notified me that the Visa Centre would take approximately 4 business days to process my visa.

From Dongbaek Station, Busan: Take Exit 3.  Walk straight until you see a ramp on your left-hand side (not even a full block).  Turn left and walk down that street.  You should see the iPark buildings that mark the Haeundae Skyline so well from pretty much anywhere near the water.  Keep walking down that street until you see the Woori Bank, Korea.  From the corner where the bank is located, cross the street and keep walking down the other side until you see the Natuzzi Furniture Gallery and most notably: the Maserati dealership.  You'll see a door marked "C1" - this is where you want to be.  The building itself has a Starbucks and a Gourmet Food Market of note.  On the 5th floor is where you'll find the Visa Centre.

Office Hours & LocationChinese Visa Application Service Center in Busan 5th Floor, C1 Haeundae I’PARK, 38 Marine City 2-ro Haeundae, Busan, the Republic of Korea Business hours:Business Hours: Monday-Friday, Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.
Submission of applications: 9:00 to 15:00.Payment and collection: 9:00 to 16:00.NOTICE: Our visa counter will accept rush(express/urgent) service(2nd working day/the same day collection) application until 11:30. Contact information:Call: 1670-1888Fax: 051-920-0877E-mail: busancenter@visaforchina.org  


Take the elevator to the 5th floor and turn left.  If you're there in the morning you'll probably find it's relatively empty and getting your paperwork in order will be casual and easy with the help of one of their friendly staff members.  The only gripe I have about the whole experience is that the rep who actually took my physical application only referred to the signage they have everywhere and mistakenly told me my one-entry visa (my passport expires July 2016 thus I only get one shot at visiting China on these pages) would cost KRW 55,000.

When I returned on September 7th, they charged me KRW 110,000.  Yes, double what I was expecting with no supervisor in sight and nobody who spoke English well.  I was shocked and disappointed, but hey - I'm going to Shanghai in a few weeks.  Huzzah!  The reason I was only allowed a one-entry visa is because I have less than a year left before my passport expires (but more than 6 months - this is important.  You have to have at least 6 months left on your passport to be issued a visa to China and many other countries).  If I had had a brand new passport or even just more than a year left then I would have been issued a multiple entry visa for exactly the same price.

If you have any questions about getting a Chinese visa as a Canadian (or as a Busanite needing directions, etc.) please do not hesitate to email me at thetorontoseoulcialite@gmail.com.  I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have!

BONUS:  They have not one but TWO massive wine collections on the 2nd floor.  One of these is in the grocery store (which has foie gras and a massive cheese and cured meats selection) and the other seems to specialize in wines of the world and champagnes.  One day, my pretties.  One day.

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Top 10 Korean Snacks You Must Taste!

Fri, 2015-09-04 09:08
Top 10 Korean Snacks You Must Taste!

Have you ever been to a snack section in a big Korean supermarket? Endless stacks of snacks with vibrant wrapping must be alluring you, right? For those who have difficult time choosing which snack to buy, here are top 10 unique Korean snacks that you would find very interesting!

1. Goraebap (고래밥)

Goraebap means ‘a whale’s food.’ Goraebap is a package of small fried chips with chili seasoning. As the name of the snack shows, the small pieces are shaped in marine animals such as goldfish, squid, shark, and star fish. Even though they all taste the same, you may find a certain shape tastier.

2. Tteokbokki (떡볶이)

The most beloved school snack, Tteokbokki is chopped rice cakes that are stir-fried with a hot chili sauce. Snack Tteokbokki uses a sweet spicy sauce that tastes like real Tteokbokki. I bet you’ve never tried this kind snack anywhere before!

3. Chaltteok Pie (찰떡파이)

Don’t expect something like normal pies that you can see anywhere, as chaltteok means a chewy rice cake. This snack is a collaboration of Korean chewy rice cake with chocolate. Shaped like a thin moon pie, white rice dough is covered with thick chocolate. You will be surprised by how well the chocolate and the rice cake harmonize together in your mouth.

4. Ojingeo Ttangkong (오징어 땅콩)

Ojingeo Ttangkong means squid peanut. Even if you don’t understand the Korean name on the wrapping, you can guess something fishy from the snack wrapping. Ojingeo Ttangkong is bite- sized balls with peanuts inside. It does smell quite fishy but try with beer. The slight salty flavor of this Ojingeo Ttangkong will change your mind when it’s with beer!

5. Goguma Ggang (고구마깡)

Can you imagine a snack with a sweet potato flavor? Goguma Ggang (meaning sweet potato snack) is a steady selling snack in Korea. Covered with sweet honey sauce, fried sweet potato sticks will make you eat on and on. There are Yangpa Ggang (Onion snack) and Gamja Ggang (Potato snack) as the two other versions of the “Ggang” series.

6. Berjib Pizza (벌집핏자)

Berjib pizza is pizza flavored chips with the shape of beehive. When you open the snack, you may wonder whether the snack actually tastes like pizza, but when you try it, you can picture a slice of pizza in your mouth.

7. Yanggaeng (양갱)

If you have seen the movie ‘Snowpiercer,’ you would think that this snack looks like a protein block from the movie. However, this suspiciously looking snack is made of red beans. With the water that boiled red beans, sugar and flour are steamed together to make this sweet snack. And it’s chewy like jelly.

8. Choco Cone (초코콘)

If you are a chocolate addict, this Choco Cone is your must eat item! Soaked in deep rich chocolate, Choco Cone has a crispy texture that makes you want to touch the chocolate heaven. There are many chocolate snacks similar to this one, so choose the brand that satisfies you the most!

9. Butter Waffle (버터와플)

This snack indeed looks like a waffle and nothing seems special about this snack. However, when it comes to its taste, you can actually savor the rich yet not greasy flavor of butter in this crispy snack. Surprisingly, Butter Waffle is one of the most beloved snacks by foreigners who visit Korea.

10. Jochung Yugua (조청유과)

Jochung yugua is fried rice sticks with sweet honey syrup. It doesn’t have any pungent flavor, but you won’t get tired of eating this simple and plain rice flavored snack.

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by Dr. Radut