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Busan

Ridin' Solo


Kudeta


How do you Sunday Funday?




I've been staying in on Saturday nights to take full advantage of Sunday mornings and it's been paying off.  The past couple of Sundays have been pretty spectacular.  Great friends, great food, lots of walking - just a grand ol' time before heading back to work on Monday (let's be candid - my job is great and I don't start work until 12 PM Noon so every weekend feels a little longer than back home!).

Teacher Kimbap



Kim Seon Saeng: If you see this Kimbap Chain make sure to head inside and check it out.  Not that my kimbap experiences have exactly been vast, but having lived in Vancouver I experienced my fair share of sushi and kimbap and know what I like (and this, my friends, I liked!).

Gamcheon: Rain or Shine

First day of Spring at Oryukdo, Busan

The thing I love most about Spring, is that every Spring feels like the first Spring. It feels like a discovery, a revelation, and a homecoming. Especially in Korea, where the rains come in early summer rather than May, and everyone waits with anticipation for the cherry blossoms to come alive again. There is even a cherry blossom forecast here–it’s pretty amazing. But Spring is also fleeting, as are the cherry blossoms, and every year I find myself wishing I could make time stand still, every March 21st. It’s that feeling that I live for every year, that makes parts of me awaken that I had long forgotten throughout winter. I become whole again.


Saturday in Seomyeon


Working it Out Abroad



Britney said it best: "You want a hot body?...You better work, b*tch".  I had gained about 30 stubborn pounds in Toronto over the course of my 3 years since leaving Vancouver.  I had a trainer, I would diet, but nothing seemed to work.  I've kind of come to the conclusion that I'm getting into those twilight years of my twenties where rather than losing weight I'm just working out to avoid the inevitable gain my body so desperately wants to waddle into.

Apartment hunting in Korea

I recently went through the harrowing experience of finding a new apartment in Busan, Korea. Finding a new apartment anywhere is stressful, but things felt even more unstable with the language barrier and culture differences. I wanted to share some quick thoughts in hopes that this would help someone else.

Koreans tend to live by a “bali-bali” (fast-fast) lifestyle, and apartment hunting is no exception. Start searching for an apartment 2-4 weeks before you need to move. It is very common to look an apartment and transfer money (the initial deposit) on the same day. 


Haeundae Beach Holi Hai 2015

Taking Chances


Nampo-dong and Jagalchi Market


Makgeolli, Monster Craft, and many good times!

Look Both Ways

by Chris Tharp

I blame it on Valium. I had popped one the night before to put me down, to guarantee a full night’s rest before a busy work week, and it performed with aplomb. I was lowered into the depths of a gelatinous envelope of sleep. This was a soothing black slumber, embracing me softly while massaging the hardened flesh of my inner brain. The Valium plied its magic with chemical tendrils that, while delivering on the sleep front, also stubbornly fought release come morning time. That’s right, that magic little pill will knock you the hell out, but with that comes a price: your bones become leaden, your eyes balls of cotton, and your head a cloud of steam. A proper Valium hangover can drag on for hours and hours. It’s a stubborn thing to shake.


It just keeps getting better!


Rebranding Freddie: From Korean Adoptee to Swedish Design Star

A casual glance at 32-year-old Swedish branding-design mastermind Fredrik (Freddie) ֖st and one would hardly label him a Swede. His smallish frame, long black hair, and Asian eyes place him from this part of the world.

Born somewhere in South Korea, sometime in July 1981 to unknown parents, his entrance into the world contrasts the style and flair of the man now. Not long after birth, he was found wrapped up and abandoned in a police station; a discarded infant, barely a few days full of breath. He was sent to an orphanage to await his fate as an international adoptee. A few months later, he was sent to Sweden, as two new parents awaited anxiously.


My SoKo digs!

Busan Begins


Playing with Fire – Korea’s Great Full Moon

The Great Full Moon Party (대보름날 Daeboreum Nal)

Not so long ago – before Korea was divided into commie and capitalist-puppet halves and before it was annexed into a fascist empire – Buddhism and the folk traditions of the peninsular reigned supreme. I have no idea what the folk religions were, but they have to be way more fun than worshipping a skinny jewish guy who was nailed to a cross and whose father cares way too much about where people stick their genitals. Of course there was Confucianism, which isn’t so much a religion as it is a set of strict societal rules.


Guesthouse COOOOL: A Grown-Up Hostel on Haeundae Beach

Once a hostel fanatic, I've found myself disliking them more and more as I get older. I'm no longer up for the late night partying I once enjoyed in my younger days, and I much more prefer a clean, comfortable and private space to grimy communal ones. Of course, because I travel frequently, I do appreciate a good deal, but budget accommodations that don't compromise these aforementioned qualities aren't so easy to find.

A cross-country endeavour!


10 Reasons Why Ulsan Rocks!

With only about 1 million people calling it home, Ulsan is not the biggest city in South Korea. To many, it’s also not the most “happening” place. But, as I said previously in a similar post, there are still a number of things that make it a GREAT place to live!


Donut Miss Your Flight

8: 25 AM

2/14/15 – Incheon International Airport

“Excuse me! Sorry! Excuse me! Excuse me!” Trying to keep up with my sprinting legs, these words flew out of my mouth as I barreled through the bowels of the international departures terminal. My 40-liter backpack bounced awkwardly with each massive stride, despite the white knuckle grip I had on the straps to keep it as close to me as possible. Families and businessmen came into focus only long enough for me to gauge whether to weave right or left. Unwilling to rid my side of the cramp that had developed since passing the food court, I held my pace as I closed in on Terminal E – Gate 6, hoping like crazy that Terminal E – Gate 6 wouldn’t close on me


Busan Shark Dive: Up Close and Personal with Jaws

When I was a young gal, I had an ungodly fear of sharks. Perhaps it was the animatronics at the Jaws ride at Universal Studios, or the threat constantly reiterated by the warning signs on the beaches of Destin, a beachside town in Florida where my family and I spent our summer vacations. So, it came as a surprise to me that I had an extreme desire to swim with them when I learned of the opportunity offered by the Sea Life Aquarium in Busan.

So, I left my nerves (and inhibitions) in Seoul and headed down to the southern coastal city to take a dive with Aquatic Frontier, a foreigner-owned and -operated diving company based just outside of Seoul.

Inspiration through Dance - Dance To Connect in Busan

Being part of a multi-racial society can be a barrier to making friends due to the limitations of language, but recently here in Busan four groups of people crossed that divide in a most unusual way.

The Dance-To-Connect workshop arranged by the American Embassy Seoul and the American Prescence Post in Busan invited the Battery Dance Company (BDC) from New York to hold a week long workshop in Busan.

The worksop was hosted at the Sohyang Music Theatre near Centum in Busan and comprised of four groups of people numbering about a hundred strong.

The four groups were split into, North Korean family members, disadvantaged children, a choir and multi-national housewives.

The theme of the show was to highlight the emotions of the lives of people in each group. I was very fortunate that my wife, a Filipina was one of the housewife group members and became the photographer for the event.


I post this hoping to sound more like a supportive girlfriend...



I post this hoping to sound more like a supportive girlfriend rather than a silly groupie. (Then again, no shame in being a groupie…) My boyfriend is part of an acoustic rap duo and they’re releasing their first album. Please enjoy the video. If you’re in Busan on Valentine’s Day, come party with us. If you like them, find ‘Robscenity’ on Facebook.


Now and Then: Beomeosa Temple

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A bird’s-eye-view of Beomeosa Temple from the turn of the last century.

Hello Again Everyone!!


The Bucket List


Colouring in the Favelas of Busan

The past six decades have absolutely transmogrified South Korea from poorest nation on Earth to one of great opulence and wealth. Busan has benefited mightily from the country’s change in fortunes, but like cities the world over, booming Busan has its fair share of poor neighbourhoods. Pushed out to the margins of the city, these hidden districts face a similar situation to the famous favelas(shantytowns) of Brazil. With rising costs of city living, it seems that Busan’s incoming tourist and business dollars are forever out of reach for these communities. But a few of these rustic areas are using colourful street art in hopes of attracting visitors.


Takoyaki in Busan, Korea

I had takoyaki for the first time last summer in Japan. Takoyaki is one of Japan’s quintessential street foods. It even originated in Osaka. It’s a sphere-shaped hot snack of flour-based batter with various scraps, often including diced octopus (take), ginger, and green onions. I really like this snack with dark takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, and shavings of dried bonito on top.

I did enjoy this food in Japan, but found that the balls were too big (meaning too hot!) for my mouth. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel to Japan for takoyaki. My boyfriend is a big fan of this street food in Korea, and I’m happy to say I like takoyaki more in Korea. The snack is smaller here, and much more pleasurable to eat.

There is a really good street vendor that serves them outside of Kyungsung University subway station exit 5. 


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