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“The beauty of nomadic life is that you’re detached from the flaws of the surrounding society while you soak up the best it has to offer. You’re an observer. You have no stake. You’re just passing through.”- Richard Boudreaux

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“Korean Age”: Old Before My Time

by John Bocskay

People say age is just a number. Koreans say it’s just a slightly larger number.


 


Nature’s paradise in Jeju

When I posted on why NOT to visit Jeju some months back, some of you disagreed with me, so for the record, here’s what I do like about Jeju.

Jeju Island was voted as one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature a few years ago, and you can probably guess that it wasn’t for the Teddy Bear Museum or Loveland Sex Park. Formed by violent volcanic eruptions 2 million years ago, Jeju is a true geological marvel with natural attractions found nowhere else on earth. So if you’re not heading to Jeju prepared for some outdoor exploration (at bare minimum, comfortable walking shoes, rain protection and clothes suitable for the season) then you’re missing out on the best Jeju has to offer.


Engagement Session - Diversifying the Hanbok


Photo by David Tran, 8 Degrees Inc.
I should start this post by saying that Ryan and I were not initially planning to do engagement photos, but... I got lucky at a work gala silent auction and happened to win an e-session with David Tran of 8 Degrees Inc. I'm SO glad we did!



Fresh, wriggling seafood at Busan’s Jagalchi market

If you want to shock your friends with huge, squirmy octopuses and giant crabs, Jagalchi market in western Busan is the place to be. Forget Seoul’s Noryangjin market, Busan is Korea’s biggest port city and has far fresher (and cheaper) bounty straight from the Pacific ocean.

This is where you can try the infamous “san-nakji” or live octopus. If you’re not sure how to swallow it, it could be dangerous to eat it whole, so do ask the stallholder to slice it up for you. Even sliced into small bits, the wriggling pieces will try to avoid your chopsticks or stick their suckers to your teeth – anything to escape being eaten!

Crabs at Busan’s Jagalchi market


Useful Or Not? Foreign English Teachers In Korea

 

 

During the last few years, the number of jobs available for foreign English teachers in Korean public schools has significantly decreased. According to an article on The Korean Observer, the number of foreign teachers has dropped from over 9,000 to 6,785 in three years. Meanwhile jobs at hagwons are becoming more competitive between foreigners. The question is whether these cuts are beneficial, or detrimental, for Korean students.


Korea’s 400-year-old Andong Hahoe village

The Andong Hahoe (pronounced ha-hwe) village is known for its traditional mask dance, which you can read about here.

But it’s also a really special part of Korea where the traditional homes have been preserved for up to 400 years. That makes it the perfect setting for historical dramas like Arang and the Magistrate (starring Lee Joon-ki and Shin Min-ah).

Traditional Korean houses at Andong Hahoe village


Monoculture?

This post started life months ago as the third in a series about clashing cultural norms. After more time in Korea and (hopefully) more understanding on my part, it turned into something a bit different…you can read where it all started here.

Here are some criticisms of the UK according to other Europeans:

1. Opaque communications: Our morbid fear of conflict makes our language indirect and gives us a reputation, amongst our continental counterparts, for being dishonest and sneaky. The rest of the English-speaking world, too, complains of the bafflingly high incidence of coded language in British English. For those new to this phenomenon, this handy chart should help:

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Now and Then: Beopjusa Temple

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Beopjusa Temple in the early 20th century.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Beopjusa Temple was first established in 553 A.D. by the monk Uisin. The name of the temple means “The Place Where the Dharma Resides Temple,” in English. The reason that the temple was named Beopjusa Temple is that Uisin brought back a number of Indian sutras from his travels that he wanted to house at the temple.



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