Recently a blogger from the Philippines shared her expenses in touring Korea, and her post drew flak for claiming that in her 5-days-and-4-nights of stay here, she spent only 12,000 pesos (around 235 dollars). She was able to purchase a 3,000-peso roundtrip ticket (around 59 dollars) from Jeju Air, paid 3,120 (around 61 dollars) for her 5D4N stay at a guesthouse and survived with a ‘manwon’ budget on food everyday (That’s barely 450 pesos or 9 dollars!).
If you like trekking on rocky coasts, this course is the one for you. It’s a lot of up and down, but incredible views are around every turn and the natural beauty of Busan is abundant. I started at Yongdusan Park 용두산 공원 in the middle of Course 3-2 and did my best to follow all the cultural highlights in the Nampo area 남포동. It wasn’t marked almost at all and I did a half-hearted rectangle around Ggangtong Market 깡통시장 and Jagalchi Seafood Market 자갈치 before crossing the Yeongdo Bridge 영도대교 and entering the small town vibe on the island of horses. Although this is part of Busan, it has a unique history of being used strategically by the Silla kingdom 신라 and later the Japanese for cattle grazing and horse ranching.
HANJA (한자) are Chinese characters that are occasionally used today in the Korean language. Originally, over 60% of the Korean language comes from Chinese characters. You can find them in places such as signs and newspapers. But these days, the overwhelming majority of written Korean contains no Chinese characters, although the words themselves still originated from them. Chinese to Korean is like Latin to English, so knowing the meaning of root words can definitely be helpful when understanding new words and phrases.
So does that mean that Hanja is mostly useless for learning Korean? I'll give my personal opinions on the topic, as well as the opinions of some Koreans I asked.
A discussion of contemporary Korea with authors Michael Breen ("The New Koreans"), Jeffery Miller ("Bureau 39"), and John Bocskay ("Culture Shock! Korea"), moderated by Steve Feldman, and followed by audience Q&A and book signing.
When I started this blog a couple of years ago, I vowed to myself that I will never ever abandon it no matter how busy I am… but I couldn’t keep that promise. Now that I’m back to blogging, I … Continue reading →
A Korean lawmaker has recently charged Chinese content producers with plagiarizing Korean television programs. The Korea Times piece notes that the increasingly “brazen” plagiarism is occurring on the heels of the Korean government’s decision to install the THAAD missile defense system, which China opposes and which led to a series of boycotts that included Korean dramas and other pop culture content.
Course 3-1 and 3-2 are city courses. Think sidewalks and city stairs and steep, ridged concrete. Since Busan was mostly spared from the physical destruction of the Korean war, the way is windy and narrow and veers as people did more than 100 years ago. We came across a hill with a special name and a placard to explain that it was “Going to market Hill” 장고개 as in this was the hill that people climbed to go to Busanjin Market 부산진시장 back in the day. We also got to see the famous ’40 steps’ 40계단 where Korean war refugees searched for loved ones near Nampo Station 남포역. So far, this course has been the most historically interesting. A lot of the shops we passed were decades old with that particular font and most of the people in the neighborhoods were also along in years. It was a stark contrast from Course 2 which highlights the newer and richer area of Busan.
Anthracite Coffee Roasters was one of those places I walked past a million times and thought about dropping in, but never did. Then a travel magazine contacted me about it. Located on the Hannam-dong end of the Itaewon main drag, the place is hopping on weekend afternoon, but it turns out, like most things in Seoul, it’s very quiet on a Sunday morning. Especially a rainy Sunday morning.
I'd always wanted to try pig's feet, but never wanted to pay for it. For a relatively expensive price (around $30) it seemed just out of my curiosity's reach. In addition, many Koreans dislike the smell of pig's feet, as well as the texture. So finding someone to even go together with was difficult. Then this time in Korea I found out my friend Claire (who I've filmed an interview with before) happens to really like pig's feet. This was my chance. I brought along my camera and we journeyed together to try it out (for my first time).
I should most definitely not be writing about cherry hand pies right now, for a few different reasons, but sometimes you just want to write the words that you want to write. I’ve worked really hard to get to a point in life where I get paid to write full time, but being paid to write full time means that you don’t have a lot of words left when it comes time to write the free ones.
Wow, this was the dream! Originally when I was putting down the foundation for this Camino del Chuseok, I imagined walking with my friend along well-kept coastal trails. I wanted that magic of being together and then accomplishing a shared goal. During the walk, sometimes we chatted about the big things like work and relationships. Other times, it would have been some little comments on getting ahead of the slow-going family in front of us. Megan almost got her eye poked out by some grandma’s hiking pole when we were going up some stairs at Igidae 이기대 and we got around that group as quickly as possible. We were actually running at points feeling hits of adrenaline and I came to better understand ‘trail running’ as a sport.