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KoreaFM: Seoul “Asia’s Unlikely Expat Haven”

Thu, 2017-03-30 11:26
KoreaFM: Seoul “Asia’s Unlikely Expat Haven”

Seoul-based reporter Jason Strother recently wrote for the BBC that “while not an obvious choice for the jet-setting expat, South Korea’s high-energy capital has a lot to offer foreign professionals.” Strother joins Korea FM reporter Chance Dorland to discuss the pros & cons of Seoul’s expat lifestyle & how that differs from typical expat favorites in the region such as Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo. Check out his BBC article at http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20170326-seoul-power-asias-unlikely-expat-haven/.

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This episode is brought to you by SeoulStartups.com, an English speaking community for workers in Korea. Designers, developers and entrepreneurs share and discuss ideas, work, culture, startups, language and integration to the market and life in Korea. Networking in Korea when you don’t speak the local language fluently can be hard. Seoul Startups wants to bring the currently fragmented community into one place, where people can ask for help, advice, learn and make connections that will help them succeed in their career in Korea. Join today at SeoulStartups.com/.

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The post Seoul “Asia’s Unlikely Expat Haven” appeared first on Korea FM.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Why is April the Best Time to Visit Korea?

Wed, 2017-03-29 09:08
Why is April the Best Time to Visit Korea?

South Korea is a fascinating country to visit at any time of year, and there’s no better time to do so than in the spring, particularly in April.

Read on to find out why you never really need an excuse to visit Korea in April.

1. Hello, Sunshine!

In Korea, April is the month of spring breeze and warm sunlight and the weather continues to get warmer throughout the month.

While the average April’s high temperatures in Seoul are around 12~18ºC (53.6~64.4ºF), the temperatures in the southern region of Korea, including Busan, Gyeongju and Jeju Island, are 2~3 degrees higher.

※There may be some sporadic cold snaps and big gaps in temperatures at night, so make sure you bring a couple of warm sweaters or a light-weight jacket or coat!

At this time of the year, you will start seeing restaurants and cafes reopen their beautiful terraces and locals going outdoors to enjoy family outing or spring picnic.

Travelers enjoying the outdoors in ‘Hanbok’

The weather in April also offers travelers and tourists the perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors dressed in Korean traditional outfit ‘hanbok‘ as well.

2. Blooms ‘n’ Blossoms

Weather is not the only reason why April is the best time to visit Korea.

It is when travelers and tourists can witness the spring’s splendor and admire the colorful blooming flowers and the vibrant colors on the streets everywhere.

Here are some of the best features of Spring not to be missed in Korea are: cherry blossoms, tulips and spring flower gardens.

1) Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossom season reaches its peak in early April and they tend to bloom earlier in the southern parts of Korea. Most of them fall when there is a strong wind or rain, so be sure to catch them before they are gone!

Breathtaking cherry blossoms at Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

2) Tulips

Don’t be disappointed when the cherry blossoms are gone as there are colorful tulips for you to enjoy.

A. Taean Tulip Festival

Taean Tulip Festival is by far the largest tulip festival in Korea, which features more than 1.5 million of colorful tulips. It is also known as one of the world’s top 5 tulip festivals!

  • Date: April 13~May 10
  • Location: Taean County, Chungcheong-do (mid-west province)
  • Best things to see: Flower gardens (tulips, canola, digitalis, lupine)
  • Book a tour

For more information, click here.

B. Everland Tulip Festival

If you want to celebrate spring somewhere closer to Seoul, head out to Korea’s largest theme park, Everland. There is an annual tulip festival and a fantastic garden of spring blooms called Four Seasons Garden for visitors to enjoy.

Browse more deals on Everland here.

3) Azaleas

Azaleas are the late-bloomers of the spring season in Korea. You will be able to see them until late-April, so catch them before they are gone.

Goryeosan Mountain Festival

Only a two-hour bus ride from Seoul, you can enjoy a short excursion to Goryeosan Mountain Azalea Festival. Covered with various shades of pink and magenta azaleas, Goyreosan Mountain in April just seems like an otherworldly place!

  • Date: April 12~23, 2017
  • Location: Gangwha County, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do (mid-west province)
  • Best things to see: azaleas, azalea tea tasting, azalea rice pancake making experience
  • Book a tour

For more information, click here.

4) Spring Flower Gardens & Parks

This April, visit two of Korea’s best-loved spring flower garden and park: The Garden of Morning Calm and Hallim Park. Featuring from fascinating displays of seasonal flowers, tropical gardens, exotic plants to scenic paths, they are the perfect places to revel in spring.

A. The Garden of Morning Calm

The Garden of Morning Calm is a popular tourist destination near Seoul where visitors can admire fantastic botanical gardens and flowers all year round.

Every April, Spring Festival is held from mid-April to the end of May at the Garden of the Morning Calm.

  • Date: Mid-April~Late May
  • Location: Gapyeong County, Gyeonggi-do (mid-west province)
  • Best things to see: Wildflower exhibition, cherry blossoms, magnolia, azalea, Japanese apricot, forsythia
  • Book our recommended tour

For more information, click here.

B. Hallim Park

Stop and smell the flowers at Hallim Park in northwest Jeju. Unlike other botanical gardens that display flowers, this park is dedicated to different flowers every month.

In April, the cherry blossoms and canola flowers burst into bloom all over the park!

  • Date: Throughout April
  • Location: Hallim-eup, Jeju City, Jeju Island
  • Best things to see: Cherry blossoms, canola flowers, botanical gardens, Ssangyonggul Cave
  • Buy a discount ticket

For more information, click here.

3. It’s a Festival Frenzy!

Throughout April, a series of unique and authentic festivals will be held across Korea. Here are some of the best festivals where you can release all the pent up energy you’ve been storing up during the winter!

1) Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival

Every April, thousands of visitors flock to Jindo Sea Parting Festival, a.k.a Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival, to see ‘the modern Mose’s miracle’ in Jindo Island and walk on the exposed sea road when the sea opens up!

  • Date: April 26~29, 2017
  • Location: Jindo Island, Jeolla-do (southwest province)
  • Best things to enjoy: Miracle sea road walking experience, hands-on programs including learning Korean folk song ‘Jindo Arirang’ and traditional music ‘Gukak’, Jindo Hongju experience (Jindo traditional alcohol tasting)
  • Book a tour

For more information, click here.

2) Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal (Tea Bowl) Festival

If you still haven’t experienced Korean tea culture, Mungyeong Traditional Chasabal Festival is the perfect place to be.

The festival gives you the chance to spin the potter’s wheel, paint designs and make your own ceramic tea sets for 4,000 won. You can also taste different types of Korean teas, including omija, dandelion and lotus leaf.

  • Date: April 28~30, 2017
  • Location: Mungyeong, Gyeongsang-do (southeast province)
  • Best things to enjoy: Hands-on programs for making pottery and teaware, Korean tea tasting
  • Book a tour

For more information, click here.

3) Lotus Lantern Festival (Yeondeunghoe)

The annual Lotus Lantern Festival, or Yeondeunghoe, is a major lantern festival in Seoul that is held to celebrate Buddha’s birthday. There will be a fascinating lantern parade and traditional cultural events along the Jongno Street and spectacular lantern displays at Jogyesa Temple and Bongeunsa Temple.

  • Date: April 28~30, 2017
  • Location: Jogyesa, Bongeunsa temple, along the Jongno Street (Seoul)
  • Best things & places to see: A lotus lantern parade on April 29 (Sat) (Dongdaemun Gate → Jogyesa Temple 7:00pm-9:30pm), Bongeunsa Temple exhibition, Jogyesa Temple exhibition, Cheonggyecheon Stream exhibition

Now, if you are planning your spring trip to Korea, April is surely the best time to do so.

Check out the best tours and travel deals for April!

For more spring tours and travel deals for Korea, make sure you visit Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop!

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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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Wed, 2017-03-29 02:04
Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense Photographer: danist sohLetters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense

Getting “that message” from an ex both incredibly gratifying and infuriating.  It seems like it’s the new vogue to write an apology letter to your ex-girlfriend.  It’s like it just sits there waiting and waiting for the exact moment she’s over you.  The moment she’s moved on and might just finally be happy, he clicks ‘send’.  Is this man’s 6th sense?  Has Google created a new alert?  Am I the last to know that they’ve created the latest algorithm in social media f*ckery?

Photographer: Adam BirkettHe Hurt You

In this letter, he finally takes responsibility for all the things he did wrong.  All the times he lied (and the corresponding gaslighting), all the times he perpetuated gender stereotypes, all the times he just wouldn’t listen.  How did he come to the realization that this was the perfect moment to bare it all?  Why is right now the perfect time for him to come to his senses?  How does man’s 6th sense determine the right time to connect?

Photographer: Wilfred IvenCreep…Creep…Creepin’

I have no doubt that a recent post encouraging communication between partners is the most recent source for “the apology letter”.  What about the other times, though?  My rebound after H got his friend to message me on Facebook to see if I was going to Busan for an event.  This friend owns a travel company and it was pretty clear that there was no way in hell I was getting on the bus for this sold out trip.  How do these people know that you’re off the market?  Most of these messages come from men with whom I’m no longer even connected through social media.  Even if they are able to look on Facebook or instagram, the messages are sent before there’s any sort of public trail of the relationship.  It’s like how dogs can sniff out fear.  These douche-canoes can sniff out happiness and want to stifle that shit immediately.

Photographer: Brigitte TohmTell Me Sweet Little Lies

I went out with a military man who was just dying to make the blog.  He was, indeed, a Tinder fail story.  He lied to me about his location for no reason with the full knowledge that Tinder shows you the distance between you both.  We lived pretty close to one another already.  When he said he was out in the bush running drills, he was actually cursing the high cost of a side of guac at Lotte World Mall.  I wouldn’t have cared if he was too busy to hang, but don’t tell me you’re being eaten alive by mosquitoes out in the peninsula.  The night before H came to Korea, I got a lengthy message from MM apologising for it all.  He even told me he had gone deaf in one ear and had nearly lost his job.  We had only been out maybe 3 or 4 times.  He owed me nothing.  Some cosmic force in the universe (or man’s 6th sense) must have whispered that Cartier might be happy so it was the perfect moment to insert his thinly-veiled attempt at roping me back in.

Photographer: Matthew WheelerHieroglyphics

What does it all mean?  Well, man’s 6th sense seems to hit him like a pile of bricks once he realizes there’s a chance you won’t agree to another shot.  It’s not that he wants you back, he wants you to want him back.  Toxic relationships are less partnership, more power struggle.  He wants to have the upper hand back and he can feel that it’s gone.  The best part?  By this point you really should no longer care.

Photographer: Chelsea FrancisGet Creative

Gentleman, what you must realise is that your messages contain several of the same phrases.  When you all write the same thing, it doesn’t sound genuine.  Here are some of the canned phrases in each message I’ve received:

  • “I just want you to be happy.”
  • “You’re an incredible woman.”
  • “You deserve the best in life.”
  • “Even if we don’t get back together, I hope we can at least be friends down the road.”
Photographer: Corinne KutzIt is well.

It’s lovely for you to admit that you were wrong.  It’s validating to have all those worries and frustrations confirmed as your own f*ck ups.  I’m glad you’ve managed to clear your conscience.  Next time, don’t bother drudging up the past.  The notion that I’ll ever see a travel romance again is ridiculous.  We didn’t work out.  I’ve released your ghost.  It is well.

Like it? Pin it! Hover over the images to pin ’em to your board.

The post Letters from the Ex-Boyfriend: An Expat’s Guide to Man’s 6th Sense appeared first on That Girl Cartier.

The Toronto Socialite
       That Girl Cartier


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Pyeongchang’s Future, 2018 and Beyond

Mon, 2017-03-27 08:13
Pyeongchang’s Future, 2018 and Beyond

An imagined conversation in a city meeting room:

“I think we should host the Olympics.”


“It’s a great idea. It will bring in exceptional revenue in the form of tourists and sponsorships, and it will truly put [insert city, region or country here] on the map as far as respect and recognition in the world!”

“Yes, maybe, sir. But, aren’t you at all concerned about all the other past Olympic cities, whose facilities ended up costing way, way more than planned and many of which were all but abandoned after the events were over? How expected revenue windfalls didn’t appear? Not to mention how all that respect and recognition never really materialized?”

“Well, yes, I did think of those things. It never seems to work out for them…But, it might work for us.”

The not-so-great news: If the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang were held today, people would be welcomed by unfinished Olympic villages, infrastructure projects that are incomplete and a scarred landscape where a quiet, rural region has been thrust into the world sphere by Olympic fever.

The better news: The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang (not to be confused with Pyeongyang, another issue that has reared its unfortunate head) are still almost a year away. And, as anyone who has spent any amount of time in Korea knows, Koreans are very good at turning a plot of land into a building in less time than you’d think possible.

What promoters expect the area will look like come showtime.

The cautious news: Too often (and, to be sure, even once is one time too many), those aforementioned buildings have been of questionable construction quality. This is absolutely by no means an accusation toward those constructing the Olympic facilities in Pyeongchang. But, the thought is unavoidable when, time and again, priority seems to have been placed on getting projects done, rather than on safety and stability. One hopes they are aware of past disasters and will be able to learn from them, especially for an event that is so very much under the world lens.

The non-Olympic news: There’s more than just the Winter Olympics to enjoy in this small, humble region of Gangwon-do, one of South Korea’s most rural provinces. And, you don’t even need to go in the winter to enjoy them! On a recent trip, I was more impressed with the Sky Ranch and Woljeong and Sangwon temples, than I was with anything associated with the Olympics. Though, to be honest, I am probably not the demographic to ask when it comes to the Olympics.

[Full disclosure: the trip, on March 18, 19, was sponsored by Korea Tourism Organization, to promote the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and the greater Pyeongchang region and to seek opinions from visitors leading up to the Olympics next year.]

As already mentioned, the Pyeongchang Olympic areas that I got to see on my trip are, as of now, still quite raw. Event facilities are still being built and area infrastructure is still in various states of incompletion.

Is this typical for Olympic sites at this stage of assembly? I have no idea, so take from this what you will. But, considering how rural this area is, it should also come as little surprise that a lot would need to be built from scratch for it to possibly be considered viable to host a world-promoted-and-attended event. The idea of a  high-speed rail connecting it to Seoul in particular seems strange, but would have seemed even stranger than it does now before the Alpensia sports park and resort opened in 2011. That it, too, was apparently a bargaining chip toward getting the Winter Olympics eventually should not come as a surprise. This is not a Seoul suburb, this is over 100 miles away. And yet, here we are.

Then, there is perhaps the largest gorilla in the room. Now known as the Jeongseon Alpine Center, one of the most remote places in all of South Korea had once enjoyed protections from the government that were promptly lifted when the country was awarded its Olympic bid. Although officials have claimed some of the estimated 58,000 trees that were removed will be replanted after the games, protestors have called it a “patronizing” effort as some of the trees clear cut for the three-day event were reportedly 500 years old.

All of these dark clouds over what for many is an enjoyable, historical event is a shame. And, it’s as yet unknown whether that high speed rail will help boost the local tourism economy (not to mention how much use it will get after the Olympics are over) or simply ferry visitors into the Olympic village and then back out to Seoul, without ever showcasing the other excellent non-Olympic attractions in the region.

Some members of the tour group taking in a bit of “deok” or rice cake making.Some of the local youth in a quiet downtown part of the area.*flexes* “The temple is that way.”Even during winter, this bridge is beautiful.The author, in his element.

Both Woljeong and Sangwon temples, which are part of the larger Odaesan National Park area, are relaxing and peaceful, a polar opposite from the crowds that took advantage of the currently-free admissions to the Olympic practice events. The Sky Ranch felt like a world away from your typical Korean city, where one is constantly bombarded by some form of noise at every turn. These are the things I enjoyed most during my weekend in the Pyeongchang region.

First-class transportation.

The difficulties regions face in the face of outsized hopes for economic windfalls from the Olympics have become almost cliche. I don’t think anyone really wants Pyeongchang to fail. And, I don’t think it will, during the games. It’s the uncertainty of what happens after the world leaves, and the region is left wondering what to do with what’s left, that is always the concern. And while Pyeongchang does not have to be Rio, or Sochi, or Beijing, or Athens, or Munich, or others that have already seen their Olympic villages go either severely underused or completely abandoned, the concern remains for the country I’ve called home for over four years.

The 2018 Winter Olympics will change Pyeongchang forever. It remains to be seen if that change will be for the better or worse. We’ll find out in about a year.

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

Tillerson is, Regrettably, Wrong. Strategic Patience is a Good Idea

Sun, 2017-03-26 01:59
Tillerson is, Regrettably, Wrong. Strategic Patience is a Good Idea.

This is a local re-posting of an essay I wrote for The National Interest a few weeks ago. And Rex Tillerson’s recent comment that  Obama’s ‘strategic patience’ approach to North Korea is over, just highlights my argument. He’s almost certainly wrong, even if he is saying it out of a frustration which most in the analyst community share. We all want to do some kind of game-changer to alter the arc of North Korean behavior, but the non-strategic patience options are all terrible unfortunately.

The Trump people are said to be considering all options, including kinetic choices or meeting with the North Koreans. An internal policy review is occurring. It all sounds very dramatic, but I’ll say for the record that, barring some bizzaro Trumpian meltdown, any major shift is unlikely.

Strategic patience – best understood as containment and deterrence – has more or less been US, South Korean, and Japanese policy toward North Korea for decades. Sure we didn’t call it that, but that’s pretty much what it has been. We’ve had lot of provocations over the years which reasonably warranted counter-strikes, just as we’ve had lots of chances to talk. Neither have worked. So we end up defaulting back to containment and deterrence – waiting for North Korea’s internal contradictions to bring its collapse, and constantly, frustratingly negotiating with the Chinese to cut, or at least constrict, the umbilical which keeps Pyongyang afloat. This is fatiguing and uninspiring, but just about every conceivable policy, barring bombing, has been tried, so I doubt Trump has anything new. Are the Trump really read to risk a major regional conflict?

The full essay follows the jump:



Recently in these pages and elsewhere, I have defended the unpopular notion of ‘strategic patience’ regarding North Korea. The term is an informal one which emerged from the administration of former American President Barack Obama. Like that other informal Obama meme, ‘leading from behind,’ it received wide criticism from proponents – neoconservative and liberal internationalist – of an activist US foreign policy. A common line of criticism is that strategic patience is indistinguishable from doing nothing, and indeed the moniker does suggest that, which is unfortunate. The following is an effort at a more robust defense.

Patience does indeed suggest waiting, and while this seems demoralizing, I defend it, because more active approaches have huge downsides. This is why, despite the regular ritual of North Korea policy reviews when new administrations take over in Washington or Seoul, we usually end up defaulting back to deterrence and waiting for North Korea and its Chinese patron to change.

Specifically, we are waiting for North Korea to liberalize and/or China to realize that its support for North Korea is more damaging than beneficial. Much as we waited for the internal contradictions of communism to catch up with the Soviet Union – which they did by the 1980s – so we are waiting for some kind of opening in Pyongyang. We must also wait on China, because Beijing’s assistance to North Korea buys the regime time and space to escape those contradictions. If North Korea were truly isolated, without its Chinese sponsor and with Chinese cooperation on United Nations sanctions, the failures of the North Korean system would accumulate rapidly, much as they did in the late 1990s.

Obviously, these are high hopes. We will indeed be waiting for a long time. But that does not obviate the strategy. It worked in the Cold War, and just as more active approaches toward the Soviets, like rollback, had large risks that ultimately made patience and continuing deterrence the best choice, so it is in Korea.

Alternatives are Tempting But Risky

On the right, hawks would have us consider kinetic options. Indeed, now that North Korea is talking of a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile, US President Donald Trump’s administration is apparently considering airstrikes. South Korean administrations too have considered forceful options, most recently in 2010 after two North Korean provocations in six months killed around fifty South Koreans. At the last minute, the South Korean president at the time, Lee Myung Bak, demurred for reasons that are instructive and continue to hobble all kinetic deliberations.

There is little doubt that US and/or South Korea airpower could deal punishing blows to North Korean missile and nuclear sites. North Korean air defense is far behind the allies’ hi-tech capabilities. Rather the concerns are:

1. Airstrikes might provoke a war. The allies would indeed win that war, but the civilian death toll would likely be in the hundreds of thousands, and maybe reach the millions if North Korea were to use nuclear weapons. We do not know what the red-lines of the Korean People’s Army are, but its massive role in the state is predicated on its ability to defend the homeland. Airstrikes would directly challenge that rationale; the brass would like demand a major response.

2. Seoul is hugely vulnerable to retaliation. Even if kinetic action does not spark an all-out war, South Korea is still poorly configured for any kind of lesser, tit-for-tat escalation with the North, because its capital, Seoul, begins just thirty miles from the demilitarized zone. That puts it within artillery range and is the reason why South Korean leaders have never green-lit extensive counter-strikes to North Korean provocations. Seoul is just too vulnerable.

On the left, doves would have us engage North Korea. Yet here too the downsides are large. Just talking to North Korea gives it major benefits, regardless of whether the talks actually go anywhere (this is why North Korea always wants to talk). And North Korea’s history of keeping its word in negotiations is famously terrible. The last major US-North Korea agreement was the ‘leap day deal’ of 2012 (so named because it was struck on February 29). As Ankit Panda notes, it started falling apart within weeks, and taught US negotiators that North Korea under the new Kim was still the slippery, bad faith negotiator it had always been. Indeed in a meeting last year, I heard former US ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert say that the North Koreans starting reneging on the deal within days.

Probably the most egregious example of bad faith though is the continuation of the North Korean missile and nuclear programs through the ‘Sunshine Policy’ period. Two consecutive South Korean liberal presidents reached out to North Korea over ten years, 1998-2008. Tremendous efforts were made by the South to bring North Korea in from the cold, garnering one of those presidents the Nobel Peace Prize. Yet North Korea made no real concessions, did not change, and continued its weapons programs and other bad behavior like proliferation, counterfeiting, drug running, and so on. Hence the large risk that deals with North Korea de facto subsidize the regime, because the North will not keep its word, nor tolerate the highly intrusive inspections which would be needed to insure it did.

Given those poor choices on the right and left, the ‘centrist’ status quo of waiting on North Korea, and China, does not look so bad. It is certainly not ideal. It is bland and rather inert, especially for Americans with our tendency towards activism and manicheanism in foreign policy. But it has kept the peace for decades, and the Soviet example suggests that waiting out North Korea may work.

Finally, strategic patience need not mean passivity among the democracies germane to the problem, namely South Korea, Japan, and the US. While we wait for China and North Korea to come around, those democracies can: expand their defense spending (especially Japan), significantly improve missile defense, start taking seriously civil defense against missile strikes on their cities, tighten sanctions, push China at the UN and elsewhere regarding sanctions enforcement, and trim away North Korea’s diplomatic contacts which it uses for illicit, hard-currency raising programs, especially in Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. So yes, we must be ‘patient’ regarding North Korea and China – there is little other choice – but we need not passive at home.

Filed under: Defense, Korea (North), Korea (South), Strategic Patience, The National Interest, Trump

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



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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

How to Shoot Cherry Blossoms

Sun, 2017-03-19 01:42
How to Shoot Cherry Blossoms


This is one of my favourite times of the year. I know it sounds strange and I should really be talking about “grinding out photos” [insert macho voice] of nightclubs or showing the gritty side of photography by shooting a plate of spaghetti or a stop sign in black and white. This is a time of year that I really do enjoy getting and and just shooting nature. There is a sense of renewal this time of year and I love it. The hardest thing is to try and capture this period of renewal to show other people the beauty.

The blossoms are tricky things to shoot because to our eyes everything is beautiful and evenly lit. However, once you click the shutter everything can change. The reason is that often your camera will expose the image differently depending on how it is metering for the light. Blossoms sometimes trick your camera’s meter because they simply scatter the light or diffuse it in a way that is hard for your camera to automatically meter for. So do be aware of this when shooting the blossoms.

Open Up and Isolate

Roy Cruz offered some great tips in his latest newsletter about zooming in tight to catch some of the details and widening your aperture to get some background separation. This is a great technique and is really popular when it comes to shooting blossoms. The reason is that the isolated subject really focuses your attention on one particular part of the image. With so many blossoms in the frame your brain gets a little overwhelmed. By isolating the subject you can really direct the viewer to that one part of the image that you want to highlight. It also helps keep unwanted details out of focus and could possibly create the illusion of more blossoms.

To achieve this effect I would suggest shooting Aperture Priority and setting it to f/2.8 or wider. You will see a lot of photographers using a 70-200mm lens for this as it allows them to get a bit more reach to focus on blossoms that are a little farther away. However, do be aware that this technique is extremely overused and can lack interest. So take some time and compose your shot well.

Lines and Colour

Adding basic rules of composition will help any photo but here is makes your images have a lot more impact. As I said before, the shallow depth of field shots where all you can see is one blossom up close are used a lot. So it is time to think about other ways to show the beauty of this season. Incorporating leading lines is a great way to add more visual appeal to your image. It takes the reader through the frame and lets them explore a bit of the beauty that you created. These lines can be created using paths or fences but even try to use the branches themselves. Don’t just go for the obvious.

Colour is also what makes this season great. Thus, you should use it to your advantage. This is a season erupting with soft pastel colours and vibrant pops of purple. People are expecting the colour as we welcome the change from the muted drab palette of winter. So try using different filters and effects. Afterall, you are creating art here and not a boring documentary, so feel free to make the colours pop a little bit more than usual.

Subjects and Foreground

Having a portfolio completely full of similar-looking flowers can turn off almost  anyone. It also lacks a story and a sense of place. Cherry blossoms are a symbol of spring a rebirth in many parts of Asia, particularly Korea and Japan. Not to mention places like Vancouver and Washington, D.C. are also famous for their blossoms. Purely focussing on the flowers loses the sense of place and if you are wanting to show the blossoms in a magazine, you really should let the viewer know where you took the images from. However, it doesn’t have to shout “This is Korea!” but rather at least hint that this is somewhere in Asia or proceed to tell a story. This is where your subject can be important.

Adding something of interest in the foreground of your image and letting the blossoms take a backseat is another way to create more interest in the image. This time of  year you can see blossoms everywhere. This is about the ways that you can use them to accent your image. Not to mention, if you are shooting travel pieces and want to show off the location the blossoms should take a backseat in order to give more focus on the location and subject.


Be a Tourist

With all these techniques and ideas circulating around your cranium, now is the time to get out there! Steve Robinson and I commented recently about collecting so many tips and tricks from ebooks and videos but rarely using them. Here is a great way to finally make use out of that great content that you purchased from places like 5DayDeal. The basic thing that I also hear is from a lot of photographers these days is “I have to get out more” and that goes for me to.

The best way is to do some research and join some groups. For example the Dynamic Busan page has a great post on where to go in Busan to capture the blossoms. Check around your area to see what is available. Perhaps a trip to Kyoto or Busan might not be in the cards for your but do check and see what is going on in your area. Guaranteed there will be a few groups going to shoot, so join there and see what you come up with!

The post How to Shoot Cherry Blossoms appeared first on The Sajin.


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Donghae Line: Busan’s Newest Way to Ride

Fri, 2017-03-17 05:21
Donghae Line: Busan’s Newest Way to Ride

Perhaps I have an outsized interest in the Busan metro system.

To call it a “subway” would be somewhat incorrect, although that’s what I usually say. Even for the Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit, which is entirely aboveground. To call it “sub”way is to imply it is “sub,” or underground. Even some parts of the Busan Transportation Corporation system could not technically be called subways, since they are above ground. On the orange line, line 1, the train goes aboveground from 125 at Dongnae Station, through 130 at Guseo, then back underground for its remainder. Likewise, the green line, line 2, goes aboveground as it approaches neighboring Yangsan in the north. Line 4, the blue line, also spends some of its time above ground, and even ground level. One could not consider a ground level train as a subway, could they?

Perhaps I have an outsized interest in the Busan metro system.

Thus, it was with great interest that I first heard about the “Donghae” line over a year ago. Living in Gimhae at the time, I did not often spy the ongoing construction of the additional rails, which currently begin at Bujeon Station (the train station, not to be confused with the subway line. See, here I can call it the “subway” since it’s underground) and head east, cutting through parts of line 3, the brown line, line 1 and line 2, then head north into Gijang County, to parts that are as yet untouched by Busan’s 32-year-old metro system. The line officially opened for service at the end of 2016.

The Donghae Line (which, confusingly, is depicted in a shade of blue very similar to line 4, which debuted in 2011) is actually part of what was known as the greater Donghae-Nambu train line, which has connected Busan to Pohang for almost 100 years. The whole thing is rather confusing, since the current Donghae Line that serves Busan finishes north in Ilgwang, home to one of the city’s less widely known beaches. That is the part we’re going to concern ourselves with today.

The Donghae Line is not technically part of the Busan Metro system, as it’s not operated by the Busan Transportation Corporation. So, instead of the 101, 102, 103 of that system’s stations, the Donghae Line operates under Korail’s K110, K111 system. Is this useful information? I’m not sure after writing the above paragraph, but use it if you can. It shows up in all informational materials as being part of the whole transit system, like the Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit, so we might as well just call it as such. Also like the Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit, transfers are possible from the Busan Metro. You need to scan out and in to the separate transit ecosystem, however, unlike transfers between metro lines, which do not require an additional scan.

For my maiden voyage on the Donghae Line, I transferred at BEXCO, 205 on line 2, which is presently one of three stations where direct transfers from the metro to Donghae is possible (the other two are at Busan National University of Education, 124 on line 1, and Geoje, 306 on line 3). From there, I followed the easy-to-navigate signage on the walls and floor to a new set of turnstyles that take passengers exclusively to the new BEXCO Donghae station via a pair of long, long airport style moving sidewalks and a long escalator.

As expected, the new station was clean and bright. Nothing super fancy, but all very easy to navigate. What was more impressive was the platform, where copious amounts of light flowed into its partially open-air expanse. Dramatic red metal curved above the train’s tracks, as people waited for their trains to arrive.

And, be prepared to potentially wait. While its DNA might be similar to a metro system, it’s still its own beast. During rush hour, trains will arrive about every 15 minutes. Other times, such as when I went around 3pm, trains come about every half hour. So, be smart and figure out when the trains come and go, just like if you were taking any other regular, non-metro train. Or, chill out and people watch, as I did.

A fun, soft little melody played out as our train came into the station that reminded me of some of the fun little tunes I would hear waiting for trains in Japan. Then, we all hopped aboard what can easily be mistaken for line 5 of the Busan Metro (another line altogether, which is currently scheduled to open in 2021).

Unlike your average train that has rows of seating, the Donghae line’s trains are set up identically to those on the Busan Metro and Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit. Like BG Metro, this line is all aboveground (save for Sinhaeundae, which is listed as partially underground and which I have yet to pass through). But, other than that, I think it’s perfectly suitable to lump this in with the five other lines that are presently serving South Korea’s second-largest city.

Busan’s metro connectivity grows.

The train is obviously getting used, as can be seen from the included pictures. Lots of people. Of course, the somewhat sparse train schedule could also be playing a part. But, whether I was standing or sitting, I was very comfortable and the ride was very smooth.

My trip took me to Bujeon, which, as mentioned before, is not the same Bujeon as the subway line. But, you can get from one two the other from the street in minutes. I’m not sure if plans are on the table to connect the two underground, as has been done with Geoje, Busan National University of Education and BEXCO. Plans for additional stops past Ilgwang on the other end are in the works, but as all the subway maps are presently being updated to just include up to Ilgwang, I wouldn’t hold my breath for whenever those are to be completed.

Overall, I enjoyed my brief (about 25 minutes) trip across town on the new Donghae Line. I hope to take a complete trip, from Bujeon to Ilgwang, in the near future and will update accordingly.

So, yes, I guess I do have a bit of an outsized interest in the Busan metro system. At least conceptually. Ultimately, it was just a ride on a train, albeit a comfortable ride. For me, it’s not just about the nuts and bolts of the operation. I never collected trains growing up. I don’t really care about any other metro systems elsewhere.

But, as I have lived in Korea for four years, two of those in Busan and the other two one city over but still served by the same transportation system, the additions of the new lines and stations (such as the six additional stations coming to the end of line 1 in April, which will make accessible by subway a part of the city I lived in when I first arrived in 2013), a very real excitement has existed when something opens up and changes in my current home. Had I visited Busan the first time I was in Korea in 2005, I would have only been served by lines 1 and 2. Now, there are 6, including the Busan-Gimhae Lightrail Transit and the Donghae Line. For me, it represents an evolution, as well as a greater opportunity to explore this still-interesting, curious place called Busan, South Korea.

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

Prof Robert Kelly is back & this time his wife & children are meant to be in shot! BBC News

Wed, 2017-03-15 10:25

Prof Robert E Kelly has returned to BBC News to talk about his unexpected viral fame last week, when his children crashed his live TV interview to the amusement of millions of people who later watched the clip. Prof Kelly, an expert on South Korea, was joined in the follow-up video with his wife, Jung-a Kim and children Marion and James.
He confirmed to the BBC's James Menendez that he was, despite online speculation, wearing trousers during the interview.

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Kelly Family Press Release on the ‘BBC Dad’ Viral Video

Wed, 2017-03-15 08:53
Kelly Family Press Release on the ‘BBC Dad’ Viral Video

Today, my family and I conducted a select set of interviews, with the BBC for the international audience, with the Wall Street Journal for the American audience, and with the Korean media for the local audience here. Here is our statement on the video incident. Thank you.   Robert E. Kelly


“My family and I would like to thank our many well-wishers. We are just a regular family, and raising two young children can be a lot of work. Because of that, it seems that the video has resonated with parents around the world, and we are flattered at the many gentle sentiments about our children. Thank you. We love them very much, and we are happy that our family blooper brought some laughter to so many.

We would also like to thank the British Broadcasting Corporation for its gentle and tactful treatment of the video. We are grateful for their professionalism in handling the exposure of our young children. We especially thank James Menendez, the announcer in the clip, for his kindness during the interview itself.

To the media, we would like to apologize for our reticence. We have been deluged with requests since Friday. We were unsure how to respond, and as the attention accelerated, we became genuinely unnerved. We had no idea how to handle this. We therefore decided to return to the BBC for a follow-up interview for the international audience, to speak with the Wall Street Journal for the US domestic audience, and to hold today’s press conference for the Korean audience. We apologize to the many outlets that seem to find this dissatisfactory. We are doing the best we can. Some have asked for interviews in our home. At this point, we are unready for that. We are hoping to return to normality in the next few days. Perhaps next week if there is still interest.

Finally, we would like to clear up a few of the rumors and controversies around the video:

– Yes, the woman in the video is my wife, Jung-A Kim/김정아, not my nanny.

– The first child to enter is our daughter, Marion Yena Kelly/켈리 매리언 예나, age 4.

– The second is our son, James Yousup Kelly/켈리 제임스 유섭, age 9 months.

– No, Jung-A did not use too much force in removing the children from the room. It is quite apparent from the video that she is frantically trying to salvage the professionalism of the interview. The children were not injured. When Marion speaks in the clip, she says, in Korean, ‘why Mom?’ She is responding in surprise, because we normally do not treat out children this way. Marion’s willingness to comfortably traipse into my home office illustrates her usual ease with her parents.

– No, I was not shoving Marion out of the way. I was trying to slide her behind my chair where there are children’s toys and books, in hopes she would play with them for a few moments until the interview ended.

– Yes, I was wearing pants. I choose not to stand, because I was trying to salvage the interview.

– No, this was not staged.

– Yes, the flat surface to my left was in fact a covered-up air-mattress. Our children like to play and jump on it.

– No, the map was not hung there as a prop. It was a gift and genuinely helps me learn world place names in Korean.

– No, we did not fight about the blooper afterward, nor punish our children. Rather, we were mortified. We assumed that no television network would ever call me again to speak.

– We have no comment on the many social analyses of the video. We see this simply as a very public family blooper, nothing more.”

Filed under: Media

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



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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Seoul Saint Patrick's Day Festival March 18th 2017

Wed, 2017-03-15 04:14

St. Patrick’s Day 2017 press release


St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated on March 18th here in Korea at Daesung’s wonderful D-Cube City plaza, Sindorim, Seoul


The St. Patrick’s Day festivities will begin at 1pm and continue until 6pm.

The central theme of this year event is “Visions of Ireland”.


The Irish Association of Korea wants to share Ireland’s rich culture and Celtic history with the people of Korea and it hopes to achieve this through a feast of Irish dancing, Irish traditional music and audience participation.


At the open air festival on March 18th you will hear the traditional and modern sounds of Ireland through the many talented musical and dance acts the festival has lined up. On the day you will hear a variety of instruments like the Irish tin whistle, the fiddle and the accordion. You can watch a fusion of traditional and modern Irish dance performed by award winning Korean dancers, while also listening to the sounds of old style Irish singing and Irish influenced rock music.


Since it was founded in 2000, the IAK has entertained thousands of Koreans and expats alike by sharing Irish culture and a flavor of Ireland. Experience the sounds of a country heaped in tradition, history and culture without even leaving Seoul. Irish music is alive and Irish culture is here waiting to be explored.


There are plenty of family orientated and fun cultural activities ready to be enjoyed like face painting with traditional Irish symbols, demonstrations of Irish sport by Seoul’s very own GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) team, the Seoul Gaels for children or the young at heart to participate in and a fancy dress competition based on our “visions of Ireland” theme.  The best dressed lad or lass will be in with a chance to win a great prize as will the best dressed child.


On the day you will also have the chance to win return flights for two to Ireland, thanks to our kind sponsors Etihad.


Become Irish for the day at this free event. So feel free to come along to make new friends and remember to blend in by wearing plenty of green as a nod to our national colour and to St. Patrick himself.


Once the entertainment ends at Sindorim remember that there will also be a St. Patrick’s Day after party from 7pm until 1am in the Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon. This party known as “The Hooley” is a fundraiser for future IAK events and the fun will continue with a mix of live traditional and modern music.


Irish Association Chairperson Andrew Kilbride

“The IAK is a voluntary organisation that promotes Ireland and all things Irish”

“St. Patrick’s Day is a global festival that celebrates Irish culture. This year's festival is very kindly sponsored by Etihad Airways (who are providing our grand prize), Daesung and Korean Air who have very kindly sponsored festival. They are working very hard with us to give everyone in South Korea the unique opportunity to experience the music, dance and arts from Ireland.”

“For people from Ireland or those of Irish heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a very important time to celebrate a culture familiar to them. St. Patrick’s Day is also a chance for Koreans and those from the wider community to learn and experience something new and exciting.

Come along and enjoy being Irish for the day………”


About the IAK:

The Irish Association of Korea is a voluntary organization that promotes Ireland and all things Irish in Korea. Founded in the year 2000, it hosts several big events each year as well as supporting charity projects. 


The IAK offers people the opportunity to find out more about the culture and history of Ireland and its culture. Whether you’re interested in volunteering your time with the group or simply wish to join one of the events, feel free to contact them at;


Email: irishassociationkorea@gmail.com

Twitter: @irishinkorea

Facebook: Irish Association of Korea


History of St. Patrick:

Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. St Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. He is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. Still to this day there are no snakes in Ireland.


Musicians at St. Patrick’s day:

-       Jigs and Reels - Traditional Irish music

-       Boss Hagwon - American Folk

-       Ceoiltoiri Seoul - Traditional Irish music

-       Scott Hildebrand Band - Irish / American Folk

-       Sweet Murphy’s Fancy - Irish Rock Music


and more to be confirmed.



-       Tap Pung – A Korean Irish dancing troup


2017 성 패트릭의 날 행사 보도자료

아일랜드의 국경일인 성 패트릭의 날(St.Patrick’s Day 매년 3월 17일)을 기념하는 행사가 3월 18일 신도림 디큐브시티에서 열린다.

성 패트릭의 날 소개

전 세계에서 기념하는 ‘성 패트릭의 날’은 아일랜드의 수호성인인 성 패트릭(서기 387-461) 이 세상을 떠난 3월 17일에 그를 기리는 축제이다. 성 패트릭은 5세기에 아일랜드에 처음으로 가톨릭을 전파한 성인으로, 아일랜드 교회에서 가장 존경 받는 인물로 꼽힌다. 오늘날 성 패트릭의 날은 전 세계에서 특정 종교나 민족적 정체성보다는 아일랜드 사람들의 포용성과 다양성을 축하하는 날로 자리 잡고 있다. 성 패트릭의 날이 다가오면 아일랜드의 수도 더블린과 아일랜드 이주민들이 자리잡은 세계 곳곳에서 성 패트릭의 날 축제가 열리며 이 때는 도시가 온통 초록색 물결로 넘실댄다. 한국에서는 1976년부터 다양한 방식으로 ‘성 패트릭의 날’을 기념해 왔다. 한국 아일랜드 협회(IAK)가 처음 공식적으로 성 패트릭의 날 행사와 퍼레이드를 진행한 것은 2001년으로, 매년 3월 17일에 가까운 토요일에 행사를 열고 있다. 

샴록(Shamrock) 소개

‘샴록’은 클로버와 비슷한 토끼풀로 녹색과 함께 아일랜드를 상징한다. 전설에 따르면 성 패트릭이 사람들에게 가톨릭의 삼위일체를 설명할 때 샴록을 사용해 사람들의 이해를 도왔다고 전해진다. 이 때문에 샴록의 녹색이 패트릭 성인을 상징하는 색깔로 자리 잡게 되었으며 이 때문에 성 패트릭의 날에는 사람들이 모두 녹색 옷과 모자 등으로 치장하고 축제에 참여한다. 샴록은 또한 아일랜드의 상징 중 하나로 아일랜드를 대표하는 스포츠나 정보기관의 로고에도 자주 등장한다.

성 패트릭의 날 행사 소개

성 패트릭의 날 행사는 3월 18일 오후 1시부터 6시까지 진행되며, 올 해의 주제는 “Visions of Ireland.”이다.

한국아일랜드협회는(IAK)는 이번 행사를 통해 한국인들과 국내 거주 외국인들이 모두 함께 아일랜드의 음악과 춤을 즐기고 아일랜드의 문화와 역사를 배울 수 있기를 기대한다.  

신도림의 디큐브시티 광장에서 열리는 이번 성 패트릭의 날 행사에서는 아일랜드 피리와 바이올린, 아코디언 등이 사용되는 아일랜드 전통 음악과 함께 아일랜드 락 음악 등을 들을 수 있다. 또한 국내 대표 아이리쉬 댄스 그룹이자 대회 수상 경력을 가진 ‘탭풍’이 아이리쉬 댄스를 선보인다. 국내에서 쉽게 접할 수 없는 아일랜드 문화를 성 패트릭의 날 행사에서는 음악과 춤, 그리고 다양한 이벤트들을 통해 누구나 쉽고 재미있게 배울 수 있다. 

음악과 춤 외에도 페이스 페인팅과 코스튬 콘테스트, 아일랜드 전통 스포츠인 게일릭 축구 시연 등 다채로운 행사들이 함께 준비되어 있다. 특히 IAK에서 무료로 나눠주는 초록 풍선과 비눗방울 등은 아이들이 있는 가족들에게 인기가 많다. 서울에서 활동 중인 게일릭 축구팀, 서울 게일즈(Seoul Gaels)는 게일릭 축구에 관심있는 사람들에게 게일릭 축구를 소개하고 직접 시연도 선보일 예정이다. 

매년 행사 때마다 IAK는 활동모금의 일환으로 경품권을 판매하는데, 1등에겐 에티하드 항공에서 후원하는 왕복 아일랜드 항공권 2장이 주어지며 이 밖에도 다양한 상품들이 준비되어 있다. 

신도림 역을 찾는 모든 서울 시민들에게 열려있는 성 패트릭의 날 행사는 일체 입장료나 공연비를 받지 않는 무료 행사이며 가족, 연인, 친구 모두가 함께 와 즐길 수 있는 축제이다. 

디큐브시티에서의 성 패트릭의 날 행사가 끝난 후 7시부터는 이태원에 위치한 록키 마운틴 터번(Rocky Mountain Tavern)에서 뒤풀이 행사인 “Hooley”가 열린다. “Hooley”는 “파티”를 뜻하는 게일어(아일랜드 언어)이다. Hooley에서는 성 패트릭의 날에만 맛볼 수 있는 초록 맥주와 함께 아일랜드 전통 음악과 락 음악의 라이브 공연을 즐길 수 있다. 

한국아일랜드협회 회장 앤드류 킬브라이드(Andrew Kilbride)

“한국아일랜드협회(IAK)는 한국에 아일랜드 문화를 소개하고 널리 알리기 위해 설립된 비영리 단체입니다.”

“성 패트릭의 날은 아일랜드 문화를 기념하는 전세계적인 축제의 날입니다. 저희는 이번 행사를 통해 한국인 및 한국에 거주하는 외국인들이 아일랜드 음악과 춤 및 다양한 아일랜드 문화를 접할 수 있기를 기대합니다. 기네스와 영국항공의 후원으로 올 해 행사는 더욱 풍성한 이벤트들로 이루어질 예정입니다.”

“아일랜드 사람들에게 성 패트릭의 날은 문화적으로 매우 중요한 날입니다. 하지만 저희는 이 행사를 통해 아일랜드 사람들 외에도 한국인들과 국내에 거주하는 외국인들이 즐겁고 특별한 시간을 보낼 수 있기를 바랍니다. 3월 18일 하루는 우리 모두 아이리쉬가 되어보는 건 어떨까요?” 

한국아일랜드협회(IAK) 소개

한국아일랜드협회(IAK)는 한국에서 아일랜드 문화를 소개하고 널리 알리기 위해 설립된 비영리단체이다. IAK는 2000년도에 설립된 이래 한국 내 아이리쉬 커뮤니티에게는 고국의 정서를 느끼게 하는 동시에 한국인들에게는 아일랜드 문화와 전통에 대해 배우고 체험할 수 있는 행사들을 기획하고 있다. IAK는 아일랜드와 한국 및 다양한 국적의 사람들로 구성되어 있으며 모두 자원봉사자들이다. IAK활동에 관심이 있거나 IAK에서 주최하는 행사에 자원봉사로 참여하고 싶다면 아래의 연락처로 문의하면 된다. 

Email: irishassociationkorea@gmail.com

Twitter: @irishinkorea

Facebook: Irish Association of Korea


성 패트릭의 날 행사 공연 팀:

-       Ceoiltoiri Seoul – 아일랜드 전통 음악

-       Jig and Reels - 아일랜드 전통 음악

-       Sweet Murphy’s Fancy – 아이리쉬 락 음악

-       Boss Hagwon – 아메리칸 포크 음악

-       Scott Hildebrand Band – 아이리쉬 / 아메리칸 포크 음악


최종 라인업은 추후 업데이트될 예정입니다.



댄스 팀:

-       Tap Pung – 한국인들로 구성된 아일랜드 댄스 그룹



9a8e22_0ba461d659474ebbaf623014c69e6525.png 11009974_1032640633431729_2416857554255609795_n.jpg 11012739_1031932950169164_3458955937844010528_n.jpg 11080960_1033933239969135_320584676106718853_n.jpg 12496020_1255525384476585_5024938816066800411_o.jpg St. Patricks day 2017.png AttachmentSize Hooley poster_print_300ppi.png1.08 MB
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

How to Enjoy in Gwangyang Maehwa (Plum Blossoms) Village

Mon, 2017-03-13 13:23
How to Enjoy in Gwangyang Maehwa (Plum Blossoms) Village

Gwangyang Maehwa Village, also known as Seomjin Village, is a small, charming local village tucked in the city of Gwangyang, Jeolla Province, at the downstream of Seomjin River, the cleanest water among Korea’s 5 largest rivers.

Every spring, the picturesque view of more than 100,000 plum trees covering the hilly Seomjin Village bursting into bloom fascinates both local and international visitors. I, a restless traveler and a member of Trazy Crew, can’t have missed it out. Let’s peep into what my wanderlust presented me this time!The village is quite far away from downtown Gwangyang, around a 4-hour ride from Seoul, and there is no way to reach Maehwa Village directly. Therefore, the easiest way is to sign up for Trazy’s one-day trip which will take you to the village hassle-free.

The tour is available only on March 18, 2017, so don’t hesitate and book the tour or you will have to wait another year to see these beautiful plum blossoms in Gwangyang Maehwa Village! Sign up for the tour here.

The tour package provides a round-trip transportation and an English speaking tour staff. And you can depart at 2 locations – Sindorim and City Hall subway stations.

For more information on the tour, click here.

Now, if you have booked the tour, take a look at the things you must try or enjoy at Gwangyang Maehwa Village!

1. Get inside Cheong Maesil Farm

The plum blossoms are the starters of spring flowers that mark the arrival of spring in Korea. So if you want to fully enjoy Korea’s spring, this village should be the first spring destination on your list.

And yes, when I got there, these plum blossoms were already greeting heaps of people with their families, lovers and also on their own at the village.

Hong Ssangri Cheong Maesil Farm

It’s this female farmer’s own devotion of 50 years that the whole mountain has turned into a vast orchard that only grows organic plums.

24-year-old young lady Hong SSangri, married to a native Seomjin villager, felt lonely in the rural countryside with a very small population. She thought more people would visit her town if the place was covered by beautiful plum flowers. So she started planting plum trees adding to already existing 5000 plum trees inherited by her father in law.

Now Hong’s Cheong Maesil (Green plum) Farm has become the biggest plum plantation in Korea and thousands of tourists visit the village to see this breathtaking scenery. She made her dream come true! A huge monument greets visitors and tells now you’ve reached the entrance of this plum orchard.

1. Take in the Plum Blossoms Off the Beaten Path

Walking in the uphill path, not only have I seen the scenic view of plum blossoms but also the 50-year dedication of the plum master who planted and grew the plum trees from the bottom of your heart as she brought up her own children.

While it is fun to walk the main orchard paths with other visitors, I also adventured to take narrow paths of which the entrances were somewhat hidden behind the bushes.In contrast to the lively main paths with street vendors, loud music and people beaming at their cameras, I was able to sit and fully appreciate the floral spring ambiance. 

2. Quench your thirst at the beautiful Hanok cafe

The day was sunny and warm, and I soon became quite thirsty. There. I found a cafe with bustling people. This touristy village but still keeping the local tradition has a Hanok cafe boasting the beauty of its curved roof.

3. Try Maesil Ice Cream!

I got out of the cafe and as I headed towards the tip of the hill, I found these countless jars used to preserve plums for various purposes. The plums will be made into plum tea, plum juice, plum ice cream etc.Curious about what it would taste like, I decided to try the ice cream out of plums.

Maesil Ice Cream Shop

A piquantly plummy-sour and sweet ice cream doubled the joy of the spring excursion! Don’t forget to try this ‘Maesil (plum) ice cream’ if you visit Gwangyang Maehwa Village. It’s a MUST!!!! The ice cream costs 3,000 KRW and you can buy it with your credit card. 

4. Cool off at the bamboo forest

After quenching my thirst with ice coffee and plum ice cream, I realized that there was much to explore. Here, as you move your step, the scenery you encounter continuously changes.

On the way to the observatory deck, there is a path that you should not miss. With plum blossoms on the left side and a bamboo forest on the right side, you will feel like walking inside a movie!

5. Hike up to the observatory deck

After passing the bamboo forest, you will see people climbing up the wooden steps, which take you to the observatory deck. It can be strenuous to walk all the way to the top, but definitely worth it.

6. Try Maesil Bibimbap & Maesil Makgeolli

Although lunch is not provided, you can find several restaurants and booths around the village and inside the Cheong Maesil Farm where you can taste a variety of local Korean food and dishes.

The dishes served at the booths inside the farm are relatively cheaper than the ones outside the farm and near the parking lot, so I strongly recommend you to have a lunch inside the farm if you want to save money. The dishes cost around 7000~10,000 KRW per person.I had ‘Bibimbap’, Korea’s famous dish, but it was extra special because it was topped with plums. Other dishes served at the booths include ‘Pajeon (Korean-style pancake)’, noodles, ‘Nakiji Bokkeum (Stir-fried Octopus)’and many more. Some of the booths seem to serve the Cherry Blossom Oysters, or ‘Beotgul’ in Korean, which are also one of the popular local specialties in the area, as well.

Another thing you may want to try or take home with you is ‘Maesil Makgeolli’, which is Korean rice wine made of plums.

7. Get down by the riverside

If you are done navigating the Cheong Maesil Farm, get down to the riverside and you will find the Toad Square. According to legend, a swarm of toads scared the Japanese army away from crossing the Seomjin into northern Jeolla. The name of Seomjin River, or Seomjin-gang, literally means “toad ferry”, from the Chinese characters ‘seom’ (toad), ‘jin’ (ferry), and ‘gang’ (river).


Do try and visit this charming local village in Gwangyang before the plum blossoms are gone!

Once again, as I have mentioned before, it can be very difficult to get to the village for foreign travelers, especially this is your first-time visit. Even driving on your own to the village can be very tiresome as it is located far south of the country. So, it will be the best for you to join Trazy’s day tour to the village on March 18.

Things to check before you visit

Around mid-March, it is warm during the day and cold in the early morning and night time in Korea. It will be wise of you to wear thin clothing inside and bring a thick outdoor jacket as well. Also, make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes as the village area is hilly and you will be doing some hiking.

See more stunning photos of Gwangyang Village and the spectacular plum blossoms that I took from the day of Trazy’s tour!




Looking for other spring festivals in Korea?

Browse more spring packages and tours at Trazy.comKorea’s #1 Travel Shop, and savor the delights of spring with us!

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We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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Korean News Update – Friday, March 10

Fri, 2017-03-10 10:12
Korean News Update – Friday, March 10

South Korea’s Constitutional Court has permanently removed President Park Geun-hye from office over a corruption scandal, triggering an automatic presidential election to be held in 60 days. All that & more on the latest Korean News Update podcast episode from Korea FM.

Stream the episode online at http://www.spreaker.com/user/seoulitup/korean-news-update-friday-march-10

Download the full episode at http://api.spreaker.com/download/episode/11352274/2017_03_10.mp3

Rate & Review this podcast at http://bit.ly/KFMReview

This episode is brought to you by Podcast Assist & its $30 per hour flat rate podcasting voice overs, editing, mastering, transcriptions & even hosting (select a topic, they’ll create & host the podcast). Visit Facebook.com/PodcastAssist for more information. 

Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.

Rate & Review this podcast at bit.ly/KFMReview

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The post Korean News Update – Friday, March 10 appeared first on Korea FM.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Korean President Park struck out

Fri, 2017-03-10 09:53
Korean President Park struck out

Good morning,

Breaking news. South Korean president Park Geun-hye got fired on Mar 10 when Constitutional Court has unanimously upheld a decision by the National Assembly to impeach her. Park became the first president to be impeached. Park's problem began on Oct 24 last year when local TV station revealed the unhealthy influence scandal Park's female confidante Choi Soon-sil had over the president. South Koreans have been deeply divided between those who were for the impeachment, and against. The downtown in Seoul near Park's Blue House was packed with tens of thousands of protesters every Saturday,holding candle lights (for impeachment) and Korean flags (against) in the past four months. 
An election will be held within 60 days to replace Park. If the election is held today, Moon Jae-in from opposition party is likely to be the next president with nearly 40% approval rating, far ahead of the runner-up with 15%. Despite the court decision, the Korean political theater is expected to be pretty noisy and chaotic until the next election.
My first son just joined the same company his father did exactly 30 years ago. Like father, like son. My son was sitting on the South Pole while his father was camping on the North Pole over Park's impeachment. Unlike father, unlike son.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

North Korea Survives. Start Hardening South Korea for a Long Contest

Thu, 2017-03-09 23:30



This essay is a local re-post of an essay I wrote last month for The National Interest. Basically this is my sketch of how to deal in the medium- and long-term with North Korea. North Korea is not going to collapse anytime soon. It has some source of strength we don’t fully grasp, and China is willing to bail out North Korea indefinitely. That means South Korea needs to start hunkering down – hardening itself – for a long-term conflict of attrition. There is not magic bullet – barring China pulling the plug, which, honestly, doesn’t look like it is going to happen soon.

So it’s time for South Korea to get more serious about winning the stand-off with North Korea and carrying the costs and inconvenience to do so. On the other hand, if South Korea only continues to manage North Korea, it will still be here in 20 years. If the ROK wants to win this stand-off – not manage, but win – then it needs to do a lot of things it doesn’t want to do, such as spending a lot more on defense, moving the national capital (so that it’s not right on the border, which makes it so vulnerable that South Korea can never hit back when North Korea provokes), consider drafting women (due to precipitous birth-rate decline), nuclear civil defense, and so on. This will be hard.

So far, South Korea has ducked these sorts of dramatic steps in the permanently short-termist expectation that North would just collapse one day, or that it could be bought off and somehow go away. But of course, it won’t. So if South Korea doesn’t still want to be ‘managing’ North Korea in 20 years, it needs to start thinking long-term now. For example, it should have moved its capital 40 years ago, like West Germany did during the Cold War, but it never did. And now North Korea has a massive city hostage it can threaten whenever it like to prevent South Korea from taking any kinetic action, like airstrikes on its missile sites. Yes, it will take a long time to unwind that, to decentralize South Korea, but then, North Korea is not going to collapse. Constantly hoping/expecting it would, and therefore taking no steps to check Seoul’s growth, is exactly the problem. Time to think long-term.

The full essay follows the jump:



With a new president in the White House, it is the season of reviews and re-assessments, with no problem more thorny than North Korea. Previous President Barack Obama apparently told incoming President Donald Trump that North Korea is now at the top of America’s foreign challenges. As North Korea continues its missile and nuclear tests, this is almost certainly the case. The yield of the North’s most recent nuclear test exceeded that of the weapons used by the US in World War II. Its missile program has dabbled in submarine-launched ballistic missile, road mobile launchers, and intercontinental ballistic missiles. If these platforms genuinely work – a huge ‘if’ – North Korea would become the first new country to be able to strike the continental United States since the depths of the Cold War decades ago. Coupled to President Trump’s explosive, erratic personality, the possibility of a serious clash is greater than it has been in years.

Yet there is simultaneously a strong sense that North Korea lives on borrowed time. As Victor Cha says, it is the ‘impossible state’: Its economy is weak. Its ostensible ideology is long since bankrupt. Its people are increasingly aware that their Southern kinsmen live vastly healthier, wealthier, and happier lives. The regime, for all its ferocity, is alienated from its own people whose uprising it fears. Its capital approximates a feudal city-state estranged from its own impoverished piedmont. It is extremely dependent on China for both licit and illicit trade and financial services. Its conventional forces are technological dated. Hence the regular references, going back decades, that North Korea’s fall is imminent. It seems like we only need to find the final magic bullet to finally put this zombie down.

But of course, it does not collapse. Even if it violates much of what we ‘know’ in political science and economics, it has some source of strength – extreme race nationalism, a genuine belief in the Kim cult, the regime’s willingness to do anything to survive? – that helps it through crises which would bring down similar states. North Korea has survived: the end of the Cold War and the cut-off of Soviet aid; the death of founder-turned-godhead Kim Il Sung (1994); the famine of the late 1990s; ever-tightening United Nations sanctions; the death of Kim Il Sung’s heir, Kim Jong Il (2011). If the North survived all this, none of the various ideas out there for change – chasing North Korean money in Chinese banks, inward information flows, airstrikes on missile sites, more sanctions – are a likely to be that magic bullet. All are worth discussion of course, but given what the regime has survived to date, we must admit North Korean survivability, that it will be with us for a long time. This will be a long, grinding stalemate – as it has been to date – in which the side that ‘hangs tough’ will triumph.

Seen in that light, the Obama administration’s much-maligned ‘strategic patience’ is not so bad after all. It recognizes that the democracies on the outside – particularly South Korea, Japan, and the United States – can do little to proactively force change in the North. They can cut it off and harden themselves against its provocations and misbehavior, but it will a long grind. Sanctions, missile defense, the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the crack-down on North Korea’s diplomatic relationships (which frequently double as sanctions-running) are necessary to slowly choke-off North Korea, pushing it back to a precarious, exclusive dependence on its Chinse patron. Just as the Soviet Union was slowly internationally isolated and eventually ground to a halt, so the democracies of this cold war can hunker down too.

The heaviest burden falls on South Korea, where the desire for the magic bullet – the solution that permits the least amount of domestic inconvenience – is strong. In the eight years I have lived here, I have always been amazed at the blitheness about North Korea. On the one hand, it is admirable. South Koreans are far less intimidated by North Korea than American cable news crisis reporting would have you think. But this has also created a insouciance that is often disturbing. My students and acquaintances have no idea what to do if there is a North Korean missile attack. No one knows where shelters are or takes civil defense seriously. When I tell my students they should go up Korea’s many mountains to escape ambient radiation in the wake of a nuclear strike, they look at me in amazement that I know such macabre details. My male students regularly find their required military duty a frustrating diversion, while my female students are shocked when I tell them that Israeli women are conscripted too. Military duty is often corroded by social stratification networking and hazing. When the previous administration sought to impose a unification tax to prepare for that eventuality, the nation revolted. North Korean defectors – immediately identifiable by their accent – are often treated poorly and slotted in close to the bottom of South Korea’s punishing social hierarchy. The South Korean government has insisted that the United States pay for installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in the country. Cooperation on North Korea with Japan continues to be seen as a concession to an enemy rather than a wise pooling of resources against a shared existential threat. And South Korea continues to spend far less on defense (2.5% of GDP) than it should.

It is long since overdue for South Korea to take more serious ownership of North Korea and gird itself to win a protracted, expensive, uncomfortable struggle. One possible model is Israel, a democracy hardened to win a long-term, low-intensity conflict of attrition. For example, South Korea might invest in civil defense. 75% of its population lives on 25% of its land space – due to the mountainous terrain – which means missile and nuclear strikes could be especially devastating. This also suggests that the government finally take decentralization seriously – not just for oft-discussed regional equity – but for national security. The Seoul-Kyeonggi-Incheon corridor now contains a staggering 55% of all South Koreans and is the heart of the nation in every field, yet it lies right on the border with North Korea. This is astonishingly irresponsible. Such hyper-centralization makes South Korea vulnerable to a decapitation strike, and that capital lies less than 50 miles from the border, placing it within artillery range, much less rocket range. It is long overdue for South Korea to learn from West Germany and move its capital. This greater security would also make kinetic counter-strike options after a North Korean provocation less risky. Finally, the South must consider female conscription. Its birthrate (1.2) is far below the replacement rate (2.1), steadily shrinking the force size. If North Korea is still here in ten or twenty years – and twenty years ago, no one thought it would still be here today – then South Korea will almost certainly have to find substantial new manpower.

More generally, there needs to be a greater, Israeli-style social commitment to a long, expensive conflict of attrition if the South truly wants to end, rather then just manage, this ongoing stalemate. North Korea is not going to soon collapse or disappear. Ignoring it or appeasing it will not make it go away or tame it either. Nor is it primarily a problem for China, the US, the UN, and so on. This is firstly a South Korean issue, and it will be costly, domestically inconvenient, time-consuming, and socially fatiguing to finally throttle North Korea into collapse. ‘Hanging tough’ worked against the Soviet bloc, even if it took forty years; hardening can work here too. 

Filed under: Defense, Domestic Politics, Korea (North), Korea (South), The National Interest

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


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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Logan’s Dystopic America, Hopeful Canada, & Invisible Korea

Wed, 2017-03-08 03:35
Logan’s Dystopic America, Hopeful Canada, & Invisible Korea

***Spoiler alert for the X Men movie: “Logan”***

Watched Logan recently and agree with many: Wolverine just is the best superhero of our time. But aside from all that, it did leave me a little depressed for ole USA. I just want to point out the America depicted in the Marvel flick is a hopeless place that they spend the entirety of the movie simply trying to avoid and/or suffer a little longer in order to escape, first to a boat, then under different circumstances, to promising Canada. The three remaining X-men have abandoned what appears to be an overtly militarized dystopic nation, controlled completely by nefarious forces, and among other reasons, nudges them to take up residence just south of the border, a very timely topic. However, the king of the X-men himself does spend his days sneaking up north into the capitalist grind as a limo driver, saving up to die in his pie in the sky boat, working tirelessly on that dream, and trying his best to avoid concerning himself with the world of power.  Logan seems tired of the America we see along his routes. Its a depraved, criminal, and moronic state of affairs. Were taken for rides with Logan as he has to suffer privileged drunken American youth in tuxedos holding champagne bottles as they taunt deportees with rabid chants of USA USA out of the sunroof. We get to sit among a ridiculous group of made for facebook bridesmaids who demand the limo driver’s attention to show him their breasts, to Logan’s distaste. The only other Americans we see are casino goers and military  or some kind of para-military force, that seem to operate carte blanche, without hindrance, across the country doing as they please. The movie left no redemption for the country. No hope in the immediate future. And in the end, all the good guys leave it to its own devices…

Oh yeah, there was one wholesome speck of America that made its way in…. that nice Black family that takes them in for what Xavier describes as the most perfect evening he’s had in a long time. But with their gruesome executions came the movie’s loudest commentary on what is left of future USA.

Korea may not be perfect and some of its humility only skin deep, even self-destructive at times, and perhaps its ethic of collectivism is being exploited by capitalist enterprise, yet there still remains  a sacrificing of self for the greater good. This ethic is perhaps most central to the health of any team…and if there was a light in this movie, if it left any redeeming quality for the USofA, it was Logan’s final act, sealed with an X.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

International Women’s Day

Tue, 2017-03-07 15:01

I swear, I’m not dead.

Jen Lee's Dear Korea

This is Jen Lee. She likes to draw.
She also likes green tea.

Got any questions, comments, or maybe even some delicious cookies you want to send through the internet? Feel free to contact us at dearkoreacomic at gmail dot com.

You can also leave comments on the comic’s Facebook Page!


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Korea’s Spring Festivals 2017 in April

Mon, 2017-03-06 08:00
Korea’s Spring Festivals 2017 in April

The spring flowering season in South Korea generally spans from mid-March to late April, which typically peaks in early April.

During the month of April, Korea offers a vibrant burst of spring blooms and a series of fascinating festivals and family fun, which makes it the best time of year to visit the country.

While cherry blossom festivals are the most well-known main spring events, there are plenty of events dedicated to spring flowers that are absolutely travel-worthy.

Here are South Korea’s 7 best spring festivals in 2017 for you and your beloved ones to enjoy the best of the spring season in Korea!

1. Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival or Jinhae Gunhangje Festival is by far the most popular and the largest cherry blossom festival in Korea which is held every April in Jinhae.

Boasting over 350,000 cherry blossom trees lining the streets, the picturesque scene of thousands of pink and white petals dancing in the air over the Yeojwacheon Stream is absolutely a must see in your lifetime.

From Seoul to Jinhae, there are no direct train or bus connections and you will have to make several transfers if you travel via train or express bus. So if this is your first time visiting the festival, booking a shuttle bus package is highly recommended.

For more information, click here.

Location: Jinhae County, Gyeongsang-do (southeast province)

2. Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival

Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival is another popular and famous festival that offers breathtaking cherry blossoms where visitors can enjoy walking along the cherry tree-lined path around the serene Bomun Lake.

From Seoul to Gyeongju, visitors will have to take a train or express bus and make several transfers to get to the festival. So booking a shuttle bus is highly recommended if you want to take away the hassle out of your trip.

For more information, click here.

Location: Gyeongju City, Gyeongsang-do (southeast province)

3. Taean Tulip Festival

Recognized by the World Tulip Summit Society, Taean Tulip Festival is one of the world’s top 5 tulip festivals that takes place every year throughout April and May.

Featuring over 1.5 million of colorful tulips, visitors will have the chance to enjoy the gardens showcasing tulips of every color and size as well as beautiful floral displays of other spring flowers including canola, digitalis and lupine.

For more information, click here.

Location: Taean County, Chungcheong-do (mid-west province)

4. Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival

Compared to the world-famous Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival, Hwagae Cherry Blossom Festival has not received much attention worldwide. However, the festival is South Korea’s one of the best-kept secrets among the locals.

Some of the best highlights not to be missed at the festival are the ’10-ri Cherry Blossom Road’, a 4 km-long road of cherry trees in full bloom, and the historic ‘Hwagae Jangteo’, or ‘Hwagae Market’, where you can enjoy cultural performances and taste local specialties.

The easiest way to get to the festival is by booking a shuttle bus as there are no direction train or bus connections from Seoul to the venue.

For more information, click here.

Location: Hadong County, Gyeongsang-do (southeast province)

5. Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival

Take a stroll along the 4.3-km long path lined with hundreds of cherry trees around the serene Gyeongpo Lake and stop by Gyeongpodae Pavilion standing at the end of the lake. Built on a small hill right next to the lake, this traditional wooden pavilion is perfect place take photos and get a view of the whole lake.

As Gyeongpo Lake is located just across the street from Gyeongpo Beach, visitors will be able to and admire the breathtaking ocean view of the East Sea as well. 

For more information, click here.

Location: Gangneung City, Gangwon-do (mid-east province)

6. Goryeosan Azalea Festival

When spring arrives in Korea, Goryeosan Mountain transforms into an out-of-this-world destination as the mountain blazes with vivid pink and magenta azaleas.

The annual Goryeosan Azalea Festival has attracted more than 400,000 people and the popularity is growing every year.

Besides the brilliant burst of azaleas in full bloom, the festival offers its visitors with other attractions including an azalea photograph exhibition and azalea pancakes.

For more information, click here.

Location: Gangwha County, Incheon, Gyeonggi-do (mid-west province)

7. Jindo Sea Parting Festival

Every April, thousands of visitors flock to Jindo Sea Parting Festival, also known as Jindo Miracle Sea Road Festival, to see what is referred to as ‘the modern Mose’s miracle’ in Jindo Island.

Here, you will be able to witness the astonishing sight of a wondrous sea parting where the sea opens up and reveals a sea road for an hour and even try walking on the sea road with your friends and family.

For more information, click here.

Location: Jindo Island, Jeolla-do (southwest province)

Click the images below to plan your 2017 spring getaway in Korea!

Browse more spring festivals and spring special tour packages at Trazy.com, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop. 

Photo Credits
Taean Tulip Festival Official Homepage
Gyeongpo Cherry Blossom Festival Official Homepage
Jindo Sea Parting Festival Official Homepage

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Loisir: Afternoon Tea in Hannam-dong

Wed, 2017-03-01 23:00
Loisir: Afternoon Tea in Hannam-dong

“There are those who love to get dirty and fix things. They drink coffee at dawn, beer after work. And those who stay clean, just appreciate things. At breakfast they have milk and juice at night. There are those who do both, they drink tea.” — Gary Snyder

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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I fear I fall into the first camp, at least when it comes to beverage of choice. And when B and I sat down for afternoon tea at Loisir (“Loser??” said B, upon seeing the neon sign out front, soft-pink in the afternoon sunlight) , we very nearly ordered coffee on instinct. At Loisir, you have the option between the two.

But it was afternoon tea, and while I tend to only really drink tea in either the American or Korean way (that is, hot and with honey when I’m sick or iced and with lemon, or some version of green and out of tiny cups), I thought we’d better go British. A quick look over the three-page list of tea varieties offered at the cafe, in comparison to the tiny box at the bottom of one page of the menu for coffee, supported this instinct.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-27-of-35.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-27-of-35.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1232" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-27-of-35.jpg?resize=640%2C429" alt="Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-27-of-35.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-27-of-35.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-27-of-35.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-27-of-35.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-27-of-35.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-27-of-35.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Americans have a lot of funny ideas about the British and their tea, and I was amused to find, on my first few trips over there, that the stereotype is legit — just not in the way Americans imagine it, not among my friends anyway. They are the builder’s tea type, the type that would actually fall into the first category in the quote above, or maybe the third, had Gary Snyder been English. The English version of the second category would be the afternoon tea-goers. I don’t know any of them in real life.

So basically what I’m trying to say is, I don’t know squat about afternoon tea, other than it is a recent trend here in Korea, probably due at least in part to its Instagramability. It’s a strategy that seems to be working well for Loisir, which is tucked in along a backstreet, away from any major foot traffic. If you want to have afternoon tea at Loisir, you have to make a reservation, and when we arrived promptly when the doors open, at 11:50, nearly every table was already marked a with a “reserved” sign.

While the Instagram factor may be working in Loisir’s favor, it isn’t the main driving force behind the afternoon tea set. Owner-Head chef Kim Sukyeong says she started the cafe specifically to serve afternoon tea.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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The tea was mostly Twinings, with a few Dilmah and Whittard options. Standard-issue tea-type stuff. You can get everything either hot or iced, with the exception of the sparkling teas, which the menu says they carbonate (and I’m guessing sweeten) themselves. I lingered over the Chai but in the end decided it would probably not be very good Chai, so we went for Moroccan Mint with Rose green tea and Nutty Chocolate Assam.

I expected to like the black tea better, because I generally do, but the green tea was by far my favorite. I don’t think B, who one-shotted his first cup of each, cared much either way. By that point, he was beginning to realize that while the pictures of the food may have resembled the unforgettable (and cheap) breakfasts we had in Germany, the substance was going to be quite different, and he was settling into a bit of sulk.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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I think the basic concept of afternoon tea was achieved quite well by the set we were served, but there were little quirks that stood out as well. While the cheese was of the bog-standard, plastic-wrapped variety, the bread was remarkably high-quality. The “bruschetta” was just actually nothing of the sort, but was B’s favorite item. The “madeleines” that came with the set were some kind of teeny, tiny loaf, cut in half (although I have seen photos that prove that Loisir do have at least one proper madeleine pan).

The scones were miniature, which made cutting them in half without crumbling them near impossible, never mind that the butter that replaced the clotted cream was cold, which means that by the time I’d finished attempting to spread the first one, I was left with clumps of cold butter and scone doused in strawberry jam. Tasted alright though, once I managed to shovel it up with a fork. The other one, which I opted to eat dry given the previous fiasco, was just…. well, dry.

I would think combining the mini scones into two or three decently sized scones might be a better option, especially given how dried out scones can get if they have too much surface area. B went from sulking to flat-out angry at that point, saying he’d had far better scones in our kitchen for free. But then again, B doesn’t know how much I pay for quality butter, and how much quality butter I put into my scones.

The fudge-like cream in the macarons was chilled and therefore chewy. Not ideal, texture-wise, but again, the flavor was fine. The cream-puff cream was thick and sticky — basically I just had issues with texture all around — except for the creme brulee, which was the one thing I went in thinking probably wouldn’t be very good. It was lovely — a nice solid crack that gave way to a lovely, light interior.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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It was all just really sweet. By the time we got down to the end, we were struggling. I’ve seen photos of high tea in England — I know that the portions of dessert that were served up were proper. I just don’t know how anyone does it. Poor B, in the cab on the way home, said, “I thought I had adjusted to Western food because of your cooking, but I obviously haven’t. Do I look pale?” I told him he got off easy with me — I usually cut the amount of sugar called for in a recipe down to nearly half in everything I bake. I couldn’t prepare him for this. I wasn’t prepared for this.

Essentially this one comes down to the proximity factor and what you’re looking to get out of the experience. Would I ever, ever pay 52,000 won (about $50 US) for this back in the US? No. I also wouldn’t pay 52,000 won to have it again. But given where we are and how much a cup of loose-leaf foreign tea costs (never mind two pots of it) and the standard prices charged here for items of similar quality to those included in the set, it wasn’t too bad. If you’re looking for a pleasant atmosphere, a few good photographs, or something cute to do with a date, I’d say it’s not a bad option. If you’re a purist of basically any kind, avoid at all costs — it will only make you angry. I’m not a purist, so I enjoyed myself despite my little criticisms.

(The truth is, I still don’t have this “review” mentality quite down yet — I want to give people a realistic view of what they’re walking into, but I’m not one to pan a place — or an experience — just because it isn’t perfect. But the fact is, some people don’t have 26,000 won a head to just toss toward a mediocre half-meal, no matter how pretty it is. I understand that.)

Given that I’m an old married person with whatever the opposite of a sweet tooth is, I don’t think I’ll be back for tea. Wouldn’t mind giving their coffee a try sometime, maybe on a weekday, before the hordes of Instagramming fashion bloggers arrive. The interior was done by a group called Nordic Bros. Design Community and is quite lovely. The gables that are mirrored both on the exterior and interior are supposed to evoke the arcades of Paris, while also representing the building’s former life as a family home, while the little copper details throughout that kept causing reflections of B’s pale, zoned-out face to pop up in my photos, to humorous effect, are supposed to reference Narcissus, which makes the photos that much funnier. They have a nice, second-floor outdoor space, as well.

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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(That bit of French there is, I believe, a jumbled-up paraphrase of a Voltaire quote, the basic gist of which is, “Paradise is where I am.” I don’t know — I don’t speak French, but if that’s right, I suppose the sentiment applies.)

서울특별시 용산구 한남동 745-2
745-2 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Monday-Sunday 12pm-11pm

Afternoon Tea: 27,000 won for one; 52,000 won for two
Call 02-749-1128 to make a reservation (required for afternoon tea).

Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-5-of-35.jpg?fit=203%2C300" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-5-of-35.jpg?fit=640%2C947" />
Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-6-of-35.jpg?fit=300%2C139" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-6-of-35.jpg?fit=640%2C297" />
Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-8-of-35.jpg?fit=224%2C300" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-8-of-35.jpg?fit=640%2C857" />
Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-9-of-35.jpg?fit=300%2C218" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-9-of-35.jpg?fit=640%2C466" />
Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-7-of-35.jpg?fit=300%2C102" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Loisir-Edit-7-of-35.jpg?fit=640%2C218" />
Afternoon tea at Loisir, in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

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The post Loisir: Afternoon Tea in Hannam-dong appeared first on Follow the River North.

Follow the River North

Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Into the Woods & Down By the Sea: Yangyang in Autumn

Tue, 2017-02-28 23:00
Into the Woods & Down By the Sea: Yangyang in Autumn

This trip was so long ago by now. What happened? Well, first we got a puppy. Then I got busy with work. Then B smashed his ankle, rendering himself immobile. Then, my country started to fall apart.

Since then, I’ve done nothing in the gaps between work except read the news, take Charlie for long, therapeutic walks by the river and stress-eat. Things are only getting worse and, suffice it to say, I need to refocus. It’s important to stay informed and involved. It is equally important not to let a blackhole formed by the worst part of human instincts suck me into it entirely, one executive order at a time.

You’ll notice the format here has changed quite a bit. Part of my blogging block, I realized, came from trying to shoehorn everything I wanted to say into posts about restaurants and food. So I redesigned. And redesigned. And now I think I am happy. I hope it works for everyone else as well.

Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-23-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-23-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1160" src="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-23-of-44.jpg?resize=627%2C420" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-23-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-23-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-23-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-23-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-23-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-23-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 627px) 100vw, 627px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-18-of-44.jpg?fit=201%2C300" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-18-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C955" class="alignnone wp-image-1155" src="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-18-of-44.jpg?resize=303%2C452" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-18-of-44.jpg?resize=201%2C300 201w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-18-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C1147 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-18-of-44.jpg?resize=686%2C1024 686w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-18-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C956 640w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-18-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-18-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 303px) 100vw, 303px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

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So here is a post about a trip we took back at the beginning of October, before reality began to buckle around us. At that point, we had had Charlie for about a month, and between housebreaking and crate-training, all of the 2am, 3am, 4am trips outside for a potty break, we decided we needed a break. A puppy-friendly break, to be clear.

I started searching online for pet-friendly hotels, and it was through this filter that I finally managed to find the great white whale for Americans vacationing in Korea — the cabin in the woods, sized just right for two (or, I suppose, three). Better still, it was on the east coast, in Gangwon-do, my favorite province, with one caveat: If I’m going to eat or socialize, it’s the Jeollas all the way. But you can’t beat Gangwon-do for scenery.

Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-27-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-27-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1164" src="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-27-of-44.jpg?resize=631%2C423" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-27-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-27-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-27-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-27-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-27-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-27-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 631px) 100vw, 631px" data-recalc-dims="1" /> Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-13-of-44.jpg?fit=201%2C300" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-13-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C957" class="alignnone wp-image-1150" src="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-13-of-44.jpg?resize=308%2C460" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-13-of-44.jpg?resize=201%2C300 201w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-13-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C1147 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-13-of-44.jpg?resize=685%2C1024 685w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-13-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C956 640w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-13-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-13-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 308px) 100vw, 308px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

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The leaves were changing. I wanted to hike. I wanted to cook out over an open flame the way we always used to do on the farm at Thanksgiving. I wanted to follow a creek through the woods. I wanted s’mores, chai hot chocolate and a heated floor, and to not see another person all weekend.

I don’t have any photos of the cookout or the s’mores. Well, I do, but they feature B, who prefers to keep his face to himself. I was too busy eating, cooking, laughing and talking with my husband and keeping an ornery little beagle pup out of everything (especially the chocolate) to snap more than a few quick frames for our own memories. But I do have lots and lots of photos from the hikes.

What I couldn’t take a photo of, anyway — and this is a shame, because I have a feeling you’re not going to believe me — is the smell of pine that reached out and slapped us right in the nose as soon as we climbed out of the car. I didn’t even know it was possible for the air to be that thick and heavy with the scent of anything alive.

Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-2-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-2-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1139" src="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-2-of-44.jpg?resize=314%2C210" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-2-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-2-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-2-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-2-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-2-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-2-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 314px) 100vw, 314px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

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" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-20-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-20-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1157" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-20-of-44.jpg?resize=313%2C210" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-20-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-20-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-20-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-20-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-20-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-20-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 313px) 100vw, 313px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-11-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-11-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1148" src="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-11-of-44.jpg?resize=306%2C205" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-11-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-11-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-11-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-11-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-11-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-11-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 306px) 100vw, 306px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

It was Charlie’s first time out of the house for more than a walk around the neighborhood or down to the river near our house. He was appropriately excited, curious and timid. We wanted to get him used to traveling and new places starting early. He’s an outdoorsy dog and will need a lot of trips like this in the future to counterbalance his city-dwelling status. Basically, me too.

Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-15-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-15-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1152" src="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-15-of-44.jpg?resize=627%2C420" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-15-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-15-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-15-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-15-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-15-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-15-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 627px) 100vw, 627px" data-recalc-dims="1" /> Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-8-of-44.jpg?fit=201%2C300" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-8-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C957" class="alignnone wp-image-1145" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-8-of-44.jpg?resize=209%2C312" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-8-of-44.jpg?resize=201%2C300 201w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-8-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C1147 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-8-of-44.jpg?resize=685%2C1024 685w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-8-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C956 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-8-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-8-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 209px) 100vw, 209px" data-recalc-dims="1" />  Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173011_HDR.jpg?fit=201%2C300" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173011_HDR.jpg?fit=640%2C957" class="alignnone wp-image-1135" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173011_HDR.jpg?resize=209%2C312" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173011_HDR.jpg?resize=201%2C300 201w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173011_HDR.jpg?resize=768%2C1147 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173011_HDR.jpg?resize=685%2C1024 685w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173011_HDR.jpg?resize=640%2C956 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173011_HDR.jpg?w=1099 1099w" sizes="(max-width: 209px) 100vw, 209px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_172421.jpg?fit=169%2C300" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_172421.jpg?fit=576%2C1024" class="alignnone wp-image-1133" src="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_172421.jpg?resize=177%2C314" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_172421.jpg?resize=169%2C300 169w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_172421.jpg?resize=768%2C1365 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_172421.jpg?resize=576%2C1024 576w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_172421.jpg?resize=640%2C1138 640w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_172421.jpg?w=1137 1137w" sizes="(max-width: 177px) 100vw, 177px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173737.jpg?fit=300%2C234" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173737.jpg?fit=640%2C498" class="alignnone wp-image-1136" src="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173737.jpg?resize=628%2C490" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173737.jpg?resize=300%2C234 300w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173737.jpg?resize=768%2C598 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173737.jpg?resize=1024%2C797 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173737.jpg?resize=640%2C498 640w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173737.jpg?w=1480 1480w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/20161021_173737.jpg?w=1280 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 628px) 100vw, 628px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

We felt so guilty after packing him back into his crate in the car to cart him back to the city that we decided to stop by Seorak Beach, a little ways to the north, which B scoffed and told me didn’t exist. As if he’s seen more of Korea than I have. As if I can’t read Daum Maps, too. Once his pride recovered (and he realized he wouldn’t have to drive an extra 40 minutes north, to Sokcho Beach, which was where he thought I meant when I said “Seorak”), he decided he wanted very much to see how Charlie would respond to the ocean, while I just wanted to savor the clean air and unfurled skylines a little longer.

Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-44-of-44-1.jpg?fit=300%2C182" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-44-of-44-1.jpg?fit=640%2C389" class="alignnone wp-image-1181" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-44-of-44-1.jpg?resize=630%2C382" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-44-of-44-1.jpg?resize=300%2C182 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-44-of-44-1.jpg?resize=768%2C467 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-44-of-44-1.jpg?resize=1024%2C622 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-44-of-44-1.jpg?resize=640%2C389 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-44-of-44-1.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-44-of-44-1.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 630px) 100vw, 630px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-41-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-41-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1178" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-41-of-44.jpg?resize=630%2C422" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-41-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-41-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-41-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-41-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-41-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-41-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 630px) 100vw, 630px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

The beach was mostly empty, besides a few determined surfers who sat bobbing on their surfboards while what could be referred to as waves on a technicality only made their way past them to the shore. I didn’t think I’d ever see any sadder surfers than the ones who dot the shore along the Gulf of Mexico.

Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-39-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C232" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-39-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C494" class="alignnone wp-image-1176" src="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-39-of-44.jpg?resize=615%2C476" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-39-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C232 300w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-39-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C594 768w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-39-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C791 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-39-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C495 640w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-39-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-39-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 615px) 100vw, 615px" data-recalc-dims="1" />  Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-40-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-40-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1177" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-40-of-44.jpg?resize=286%2C191" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-40-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-40-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-40-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-40-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-40-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-40-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 286px) 100vw, 286px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-36-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C179" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-36-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C381" class="alignnone wp-image-1173" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-36-of-44.jpg?resize=319%2C191" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-36-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C179 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-36-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C457 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-36-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C609 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-36-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C381 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-36-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-36-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 319px) 100vw, 319px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

Charlie watched and whined as B waded out into the surf. Eventually the temptation to follow became too much, and he summoned enough courage to take his first few cautious steps after him.

Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-37-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C178" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-37-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C381" class="alignnone wp-image-1174" src="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-37-of-44.jpg?resize=308%2C183" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-37-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C178 300w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-37-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C457 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-37-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C609 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-37-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C381 640w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-37-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-37-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 308px) 100vw, 308px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-35-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C179" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-35-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C381" class="alignnone wp-image-1172" src="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-35-of-44.jpg?resize=309%2C184" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-35-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C179 300w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-35-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C457 768w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-35-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C610 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-35-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C381 640w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-35-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-35-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 309px) 100vw, 309px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-34-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C234" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-34-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C499" class="alignnone wp-image-1171" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-34-of-44.jpg?resize=306%2C239" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-34-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C234 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-34-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C598 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-34-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C798 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-34-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C499 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-34-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-34-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 306px) 100vw, 306px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C223" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C476" class="alignnone wp-image-1170" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?resize=313%2C233" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C223 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C571 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C762 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?resize=80%2C60 80w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?resize=260%2C195 260w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?resize=485%2C360 485w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C476 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-33-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 313px) 100vw, 313px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

Then it was game on. Charlie has since become sand’s number one fan. We usually head down to a little patch of beach along the riverbank on our daily walks, and there is no end to what a little beagle nose can find lurking beneath. The number and variety of unearthed and truly huge dead fish I’ve had to hurl into the water before he can make a meal of them would horrify you.

We lingered on the beach eating ice cream and watching the clouds roll in until an internal alarm clock started to sound, warning of the rush hour traffic we would have to face driving back into Seoul if we dawdled much longer.

We packed ourselves back into the car, pulled out of the beach lot and immediately hit Seorak-san traffic. We chugged along the freeway, the exhaust fumes slowing filtering in through the air system reminding us of what we were headed back toward.

“We’re going to have to come back in the spring. And maybe the winter. Maybe every couple of months,” I said. The smell of pine still lingered in the car.

Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0358.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0358.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1137" src="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0358.jpg?resize=628%2C421" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0358.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0358.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0358.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0358.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0358.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i1.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0358.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 628px) 100vw, 628px" data-recalc-dims="1" />Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-28-of-44.jpg?fit=300%2C201" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-28-of-44.jpg?fit=640%2C428" class="alignnone wp-image-1165" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-28-of-44.jpg?resize=628%2C421" alt="Yangyang and Sokcho Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-28-of-44.jpg?resize=300%2C201 300w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-28-of-44.jpg?resize=768%2C514 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-28-of-44.jpg?resize=1024%2C685 1024w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-28-of-44.jpg?resize=640%2C428 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-28-of-44.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Yangyang-edits-28-of-44.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 628px) 100vw, 628px" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea.

" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0361.jpg?fit=275%2C300" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0361.jpg?fit=640%2C697" class="alignnone wp-image-1188" src="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0361.jpg?resize=629%2C686" alt="Yangyang and Seorak Beach, South Korea." srcset="https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0361.jpg?resize=275%2C300 275w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0361.jpg?resize=768%2C837 768w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0361.jpg?resize=940%2C1024 940w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0361.jpg?resize=640%2C697 640w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0361.jpg?w=1280 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/www.followtherivernorth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_0361.jpg?w=1920 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 629px) 100vw, 629px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

[Just a closing note, about Charlie: When we started to think about getting a dog, I knew I wanted a beagle. They are small enough to live in the city, but still active enough to enjoy things like hiking and swimming. They are notoriously energetic and stubborn dogs, but they are also well-known for other traits, such as their shyness and their hesitance to lash out at anyone.

What I didn’t know, and what I dearly wish I had before we found Charlie, is that these latter traits are what make beagles the top breed chosen for animal testing, in Korea as well as the US and other countries.

I have had some serious struggles with the animal adoption people in Korea. I have found them disorganized and condescending. The latter I could make allowances for if it weren’t for the former. Before buying Vera, I attempted to adopt a cat for nearly two months. I went through the overbearing screening process because I knew that these are people who witness the fallout of animals being abandoned by careless owners on a daily basis. But after two months of being promised cats that were given to other owners, only to have them returned and re-offered to me, setting up meetings for home visits that never materialized, and generally being mussed around, I finally gave in and headed to the pet shops.

When it came time to look for a dog, I searched in earnest for beagles among adoption groups, but beagles have a notoriously bad reputation in Korea — in Korean, they are even  referred to as 악마견 — literally, devil dogs. I could hardly find any pet shops that were selling them, let alone any up for adoption (we ended up heading way out of the city to get Charlie).

But the truth is, there are a ton of beagles who need good homes here in Korea. They are rescues from animal testing sites who have had unimaginable things done to them and who have lived their lives almost entirely in cages, only being taken out to be abused.

If you’re interested in adopting a dog, and definitely if you are looking for a beagle, please consider contacting Beagle Rescue Network. We love Charlie and wouldn’t trade him for any dog in the world, but I wish I had known about the situation for beagles before we bought a puppy who would have found a very happy home somewhere else anyway. Puppies are cute, but they are a ton of work and require months of near sleepless nights before they settle into a routine. An adult rescue is a much more manageable alternative.]

The post Into the Woods & Down By the Sea: Yangyang in Autumn appeared first on Follow the River North.

Follow the River North

Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.

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Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Making the Best of Blue Hour

Tue, 2017-02-28 04:42
Making the Best of Blue Hour


One of the best times to shoot in my opinion is “Blue Hour” This is the period of time after sunset or just before sunrise where the sky is a brilliant colour of blue. Without going into to too much detail about the proper names or the azimuth of the sun, I want to introduce you to this as it will change how you shoot long exposure/ nighttime photos.

Why is Blue Hour So Special?

The main reason is the colour and the light. Many photographers know that sunsets and sunrises are great. I have seen many pack up and leave once the sun is gone. Also I have seen many head out too late thinking that night photography is better when the sky is pitch black. However, there is a magic to this hour and it should not be ignored.

The reason blue hour is so special is because it is dark which means that water and and car lights will streak and blur. However, it is not too dark so that clouds are still visible not to mention that the sky’s a  deep blue colour adding a lot more interest than just black. This is important for cityscapes and anywhere that there is a bit of pollution.

The one thing to keep in mind is that it only lasts for an hour and realistically even less. So you have to be on the ball and set up if you want to catch it. This also makes it a bit challenging to shoot as you don’t have much time to move around during blue hour.

Also, it should be noted that blue hour during overcast or rainy skies can work as well. As the light fades blue hour will briefly appear even without a visible sun. This means that even if the sunset was disappointing, the blue hour might save the shot. However, if the skies are too dense then of course this will decrease the amount of time for blue and in some cases cause it not to appear at all.


 What Can You Shoot?

My personal favourite are cityscapes as the blue hour allows for the lights of the buildings to be on and the cars to leave light trails. Also you still have detail in the sky and that adds a lot to the frame. It is also not too dark meaning that you will also have detail in the darker part of the frame.

Moving water is another great subject as you can keep the definition in the subject areas but you are able to blur the water. This is the key as like with any long exposure you want to have that sense of motion.


What you want to get out of the blue hour is really what you want to achieve in a night time shot but with much more colour and detail throughout the image. This is why I love this time so much. You can the longer exposures of night photography but you still keep the colour in the sky.

The long and short of this is basically blue hour is great for buildings and architecture, cityscapes and landscapes and as well as anything with moving objects like cars and amusement park rides.

What Happens if I Miss it?

I would almost always say to make sure that you get there before boue hour. I better approach your be to get set up for the sunrise/sunset and then use the blue hour as a finishing point. That way you are there earlier and you already have a sense of the location.


That being said, if you just missed it you can sometimes brighten the sky a bit using a cool graduated filter inside of lightroom. I know that GD filters are pretty sweet but what I mean here is that you cool the temperature down to give a cool colour cast in the sky. This may not always work but it is good to know if you want to attempt to save your shot.

Basic Edits

One of the best things about blue hour photography is the fact that you don’t need to do and heavy editing. Most of the colour is already there. For the example below from Busan, South Korea it only took me a few moments to get this image looking great. I will also be showing how I edited this photo in an up coming tutorial over at learn.jasonteale.com so be sure to look for that.

At any rate, basically this photo was adjusted merely to sharpen and bring out the natural pop of the blue hour. It was shot about 1 stop over to make it a little brighter but that is about it. Drag the slider back and forth to see the difference.

Your Mission… Should You Choose To Accept It

Get out there and shoot some blue hour shots. Play around by increasing your f-stop to get longer exposures. If possible try getting onto a rooftop somewhere and see your city from a new angle. Let me know how you did in the comments below or post your photos in the comment section on my facebook page

The post Making the Best of Blue Hour appeared first on The Sajin.


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed