Korean pop culture

A Video about Fashion and also Beauty in Korea

After watching this video:



It made me think about these aspects of Korean culture that I have found interesting, creative but at the same time at odds about. The video at the beginning goes into underground fashion and sort of what "real" fashion is like here in Korea. Then it veers off into plastic surgery and how it's "extreme". 

I for one am not a fashionable person. I mean I like fashion and appreciate it, but don't really go out of my way to embrace it. 

On this coldest day in December...



From what my friend tells me this is the coldest day in December that Korea has seen in 27 years. That not only made my eyebrows raise but at the same time give me chills. Temperatures in the teens usually doesn't come around till January. But it looks like things will "warm" up next week, a bit.

To beat the cold my friend and I enjoyed watching a movie and TV in the comfort of my warm home. For dinner we had homemade bulgolgi and japchae, with lettuce for wraps. It was a warming meal and also quite wholesome.

Little Rock Concert at Hansung University

As I sat inside a small auditorium at Hansung University watching a small rock concert put on by students, I couldn't help but look around and consider that in a year I would be far-far away from this place.



Let's go to the Movies: Korean Films with English Subtitles

Thanks to Psy and the constant replay of Gangnam Style (which was recently just declared the second most watched video on YouTube EVER), the world now knows that there's much more to Korea than kimchi and electronics companies.  Finally, westerners are seeing this other, hipper side of the country that Korea's neighbors discovered long ago.  Korean pop culture, particularly its music (K-pop), TV shows, and and cinema have become increasingly popular around Asia and in Europe over the past decade or so.  This trend, also known as the Hallyu Wave has become a big export of Korea and is one of the primary reasons tourists flock to Seoul, the Hollywood of Asia, on a regular basis.

Although music may seem to be the bigger component of The Wave, Korean cinema has become increasingly recognized and celebrated around the world.  Just recently, the Korean film Pieta took home the win at the Venice Film Festival.  The Thieves was just proclaimed to be the most popular closing night film ever at the International Hawaii Film Festival.  Even Hollywood is getting in on the Korean film action.  Oldboy, a  controversial revenge film, is currently being remade by Spike Lee and is expected to come out in October of next year.

Although I have always been a fan of foreign films, I didn't get into Korean films until I moved here.  I've seen my fair share of them via MySoju, a web database of Korean movies and TV shows that can be streamed with English subtitles.  I have, for the most part, been impressed with the ones that I've seen.  Romances tend to be a bit cheesy (with inevitable endings of cancer or amnesia) but dramas and horror flicks are done quite well.  I've also learned a lot about Korean culture in addition to some useful phrases through these movies.  Still, watching the films on a 10 inch netbook with the occasional error or freeze leaves something to be desired.  Fortunately, I, along with other foreigners in Korea, no longer have to rely on the internet to get our Korean film fix.
 


Walls


Bikes in front of Cafes


The bike in front of the cafe must be a charming way to get customers inside. "Oh, look at me! I'm a cafe with a trendy bike in front of it. Come in, and enjoy your Americano on ice in this comfy place!"

Or maybe the two just naturally go together...

Cat Cafe: Ycat (previously known as Gio Cat)

R-16 World B-Boy Masters Championships: Pop, Lock, and Drop It

One of the cool things about Korea is that there is a number of subcultures flourishing, but many of them are so far underground that visitors (and even some locals) might never even suspect their existence. B-boy culture is one of these and while I knew it was present here, my exposure to it had been minimal. In areas like Hongdae and Hyehwa, it is fairly common to see young guys sporting the hip-hop look, but until this weekend, I had had no idea how big of a player Korea was in the b-boy world.

Oasis (오아시스): Korean Movie Review

Oasis, the movie directed by Lee Chang-dong, is an incredible piece of work where you can see a very acute and tactful observation of the human condition. The kind that is brought on by the people in society who are forgotten and at the very end of the line.

Krys Lee Book Reading at What The Book?


On a warm early summer evening I joined some friends for a book reading at What The Book?, in Itaewon. There the author Krys Lee shared a few stories and thoughts from her book, "Drifting House." I mostly came to the event because it was something different to go to, from the usual line up of weekly things to do. I didn't know who this author was, but was interested anyways.

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