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Letter from Korea, April 2014

Suwon, South Korea 28/4/2014 Dear Ireland I haven’t written in several months, I know. Perhaps Thailand got in the way of my regular correspondence, although there was little to stop me from writing a Letter from Thailand, other than the sunshine and other things I was writing. So here is my first letter of 2014, and […]

Slovakia Embassy prepares for KOTFA with Korea Brochure Launch

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In preparation for the Korea World Travel Fair, the Embassy of Slovakia hosted an event on Tuesday April 15 introducing Slovakia as an attractive tourism destination in Central Europe. They also launched a brochure showcasing the country entitled “Slovakia” in the Korean Language.


Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy: Awkward Questions in Korea

I’m not the most private of people, but I was raised on the idea that there are certain topics that are accepted as taboo in casual conversations: religion, how much money you make, weight, politics, etc. Unless speaking to a close friend, I’ve always avoided these topics out of a combination of politeness and a horrible fear of insulting someone. But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked I moved to Korea.

I’ll give some examples of questions that no longer shock me.


Trick Eye Museum

Trick Eye Museum

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My sister recently visited Seoul and I made sure she had the trip of a life time.  We had lots of great adventures, but on her last day  here we had a full itinerary including:

  • Drinking Tea with King Sejong
  • Swimming with Olympic Athletes
  • Climbing bamboo with pandas
  • Learninf to levitate
  • Hitting the jackpot
  • And much MUCHHHH more!

Impossible to do all in a day?  Well who can argue when we now have the Facebook pictures to prove it!


SIWA’s Art and Exhibitions chair, Mihe Shin

An interview with SIWA’s Art and Exhibitions chair, Mihe Shin
By Megan Fox
Mihe Shin is a fine arts photographer who was born and raised in Seoul.  Currently she holds the title of Arts and Exhibitions chair for SIWA.  I joined Mihe at her stunning studio located in Seoul’s designated art district Buamdong to learn mor

Korea in Chiang Mai

 

You spend enough time in Asia as an Irishman and you give up expecting to find Irish stuff. You know you’ll stumble across something here or there, but at the best of times all you can find is a can of Guinness and a Westlife song. Chiang Mai, despite its large expat population and even larger tourist numbers was no better than Korea, or anywhere else I’ve been. I had hoped for half a day or so, but any hopes I had were soon dashed by the obvious.


Why does it Happen? Some Korean Cultural Conclusions

It has come to my attention that foreigners in Korea (including me) often use cultural explanations for much of the behaviour that can be seen by Korean people and also sometimes draw conclusions from it.  Why is that?

There will be a significant number of people who will chalk it down to prejudice or a lack of understanding, and to be fair in some people, and with some issues, this may very well be the case.  However, the story is not a simple as that.  In my opinion, there are obvious traits about Korean culture that stand-out and that guide us to cultural conclusions, and these are very often the right ones.  Let's go through a few and I will highlight the simplified cultural explanation (SCE) and see if there is any truth to it:


Plastic Surgery


Bitter, Sweet, Seoul

Bitter, Sweet, Seoul

 
This week [Monday, February 11, 2014] was the premier of Bitter, Sweet, Seoul.

On Tolerance

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It was one of the most physically taxing things I’ve done in a while – a mountain hike up one of Daegu’s beautiful peaks, Mt. Apsan. It was also something that I only could have done with the help, encouragement and understanding of my fellow hikers, most of whom barely knew any English.


Hiking in Hanboks to Samseonggung Shrine 삼성궁

Roadtrippin!

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We took advantage of the beautiful weather one Saturday to head down to Jeolla-do, the south-west area of Korea. The fog seeped back into the mountains, the air smelled like dirt and trees, we moved through highways and roads that would leave us southbound. We were pleasantly surprised to find a persimmon farm.


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