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Earlier this month, a panel discussion titled “The Glass Zoo: Women in Journalism” was jointly organized & moderated by Korea Exposé managing editor Haeryun Kang & Mediati manager Mijin Lee. Much of the audio of that discussion is contained in this podcast episode as well as a brief interview with panel moderator & Korea Exposé managing editor Haeryun Kang. Find more about the event at https://koreaexpose.com/glass-zoo-tales-veteran-women-journalists/.
(Photo courtesy of Mediati’s Sanghyun Park)
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UOBEI (魚べい 渋谷道玄坂店) is one of my favorite dining experiences in Tokyo. It may look touristy from the outside and even if the line looks long, it moves suprt fast. If you get there early (around 4:30-5pm), you should be able to avoid the wait.
It’s good sushi at a fair price, and it’s awesome ordering from the tablet at your seat. Then, the sushi comes really quick on a track in front of you.
Address: 道玄坂2-29-11 (第六セントラルビル 1F) Shibuya, Tōkyō
Phone: +81 3-3462-0241
Hours: Every day 11:00 am to midnight
I receive a lot of messages and comments asking for tips for how to improve your Korean pronunciation. So finally I have a video that I can share with you. These are some of my personal tips for improving your pronunciation. You can watch the video below, and read along.
Here are my five tips:
1) Increase your exposure
2) Record yourself
3) Imitate Koreans
4) Relax your mouth
5) Fix it now
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So, what happened was, I had this post all written up and saved in my drafts, ready to go up for White Day, on March 14th, with some minor final edits. Shortly before that day arrived, some major stuff went down in my personal life, and the blog and everything else fell by the wayside for about a month.
I’m on the mend and ready to move forward now. Some other things happened in the meantime that added to the delay, like my back going out so severely that I was on bedrest for over a week — I’m still not fully recovered, but I am able to sit at my desk for longer periods now and am going so stir crazy from being trapped in the house outside of anything more than a short walk that if I don’t do something that at least feels productive, I may delve headlong into an existential crisis I’m not sure I’ll recover from.
2017 feels like a glitch in the machine — a major one. I know I am far from the only one who feels this way. Aside from all of the political upheaval back home, things have been, shall we say, tense on the peninsula this past month. It seems we’ve made it through the most worrisome period unscathed and un-plunged into an unnecessary war. Nonetheless, I will feel much better once South Korea has her own leader at the helm once again, at the beginning of May.
Since I feel like the original post had some information about a particular set of Korean holidays that may be of interest to some, I will leave that bit in tact, although it is no longer timely. The good thing about chocolate is it never goes out of season. Moreover, it is a classic stress-eating food, and although you may not be having the particular kind of whale of a time with life I am at the moment, I’m pretty sure most of the world is stressed right now for one reason or another. Chocolates for everyone.
In Korea, there are two Valentine’s days. Well, two versions of the holiday — three if you count the one for singles. On Valentine’s Day, women traditionally give chocolates or other gifts to men. Someone very clever (a confectionary company in Japan, as it turns out) chose yet another day a month later for the men to return the sentiment — White Day on March 14th. A month following that the singles finally get their moment with Black Day, when it’s customary to eat a Chinese-Korean dish of black noodles called jajangmyeon. Black Day is my favorite, because it is a unique kind of Korean-funny, and manages to be sarcastic and self-pitying at the same time.
While the holidays are rarely celebrated by people over 25, B and I tend to celebrate them on a whim. In years past, before we were married, I made him some truly elaborate cakes to celebrate Valentine’s, but the day kind of snuck up on me this year, and anyway, he’s gotten so used to coming home to a cake or some other baked thing that it’s become truly difficult to impress him.
So instead, I went for White Day chocolates. After tasting the hallabong orange syrup I made for the Persian love cake, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kept wondering what would happen if I reduced it down and used it as a spread or filling for something.
Good things, as it turns out. These chocolates, to be more specific.
The process here is a bit time-consuming (and messy), but the chocolates themselves are not difficult to make. It will go more smoothly if you happen to have a filled chocolate mold, but it is completely possible to do it without one. In fact, you could even use an ice cube tray if that’s what it comes down to.
Worth the mess, in my opinion, but if you’d rather not fuss about with the chocolate, you can always just make the marmalade and save it in a jar as a nice spread for toast or scones (which I will be posting a recipe for next week). And if you have any extra candied orange peel (and you should), those can always be dipped in any extra chocolate and eaten as candies on their own.
- 2 hallabong oranges, sliced thinly (any kind of citrus can be subbed)
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 16 cardamom pods
- 2 vanilla beans
- 4 cups of semi-sweet or dark melting chocolate
- dried rose petals and pistachios for decoration (optional)
- Place the orange slices, cardamom and water into a shallow pan. Cut the vanilla beans open and scrape the contents into the pan, dropping the pods in afterward.
- Cut a circle of parchment paper big enough to cover the surface of the pan and press it down on top of the oranges to keep them submerged. Bring the pan to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 35-45 minutes, until the orange peels are cooked through and the syrup coats the back of the spoon.
- Let the mixture cool and strain out the solids. Reserve the syrup. Remove the orange peel from the orange pulp and cut the peel into strips. Place the strips on parchment paper to dry and toss the pulp, cardamom and vanilla beans.
- Put the syrup back on the stove in a clean pan and continue to simmer until the mixture is thick enough to solidify when cooled. To test, dip a metal spoon into the syrup and allow it to cool on the counter for a couple of minutes. If the syrup takes on a solid, jam-like texture when it cools, you have reduced enough. Take the syrup off the stove and allow to cool to room temperature before chilling in the fridge for 2 hours before constructing the chocolates.
- Melt one cup of the melting chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave, being careful not to burn it. Let the chocolate cool slightly so that it will cling to the sides of the mold when you tilt it. Spoon a small amount of chocolate into each mold cavity. Tilt the tray until the bottoms and all of the sides are thoroughly coated -- if there are any gaps, the jam may ooze out of the side. Place the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chocolates from the freezer and add enough jam to each shell to fill each mold cavity to about 2/3. Place the molds back in the freezer for another 10 minutes.
- Melt another cup of the melting chocolate and allow it to cool slightly. Remove the chocolates from the freezer and top up each mold so that it is filled to the brim. Place the molds back in the freezer for a final 20 minutes.
- For the last step -- the final coating of chocolate -- you will want to prepare a work station ahead of time, because things will move very quickly, and you don't want your chocolates to solidify before you can decorate them. Set out a cooling rack over parchment paper for the finished chocolates. Chop the orange peel slices into whatever size you'd like them to be -- you could finely chop them or cut them into thin strips, as I did. Prepare bowls with each of your toppings and place them near the cooling rack. Make sure you have two spoons on hand for rolling the chocolates in melted chocolate and removing them to the cooling rack.
- Place the last two cups of melting chocolate into a deep bowl with a narrow mouth -- you need the melted chocolate to be as deep as possible. Carefully remove the frozen chocolates from the molds and line them up for easy access on the cooling rack. Drop each chocolate into the bowl of melted chocolate one at a time and roll them thoroughly. Remove them to the drying rack and top before moving to the next chocolate.
Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.
In January and February I was doing a lot of…Seoul searching. I was deliberating between heading back to Canada, traveling, and staying in South Korea. I had been nursing a broken heart for a couple of months and felt like I really didn’t know where to turn. Fellow blogger, Gillian Witter came to my rescue one night. She dropped everything and got on Skype with me to let me talk out my fears and frustrations. Gillian Witter is also a Spiritual Consultant, you see. Before long, our girl-talk time turned from negative to positive. I wanted to make necessary changes in my life. Sometimes you just need someone to put it in perspective. Sometimes, you need a little help from the stars…
What originally brought you to Korea?
I actually wrote a blog about it. (Here’s a little excerpt:)
(There was a particularly difficult) winter in Toronto…for me, emotionally and spiritually. I was fortunate to have people around me who gave me the space and support I needed to help me figure out my next steps. For years, I’ve wanted to teach and travel abroad. The timing was never right. The first spark of desire arouse when I graduated from university and wanted to teach in Japan. My boyfriend at the time gave me an ultimatum between our relationship and my desire to travel. I chose to stay in that relationship. The travel bug stayed dormant for five years. After that relationship ended, I attempted again to get a teaching gig in Japan. I was ready to proceed when the earthquake and tsunami of 2011 hit the country. Another four years have gone by and this past February, after coming out of a dark place, the desire surfaced again. This was the right time.
What’s your favourite thing about living in Korea?
Friends, living abroad, being in an ideal place to travel in Asia, and Foooooood!
I love the friends that I’ve met so far. Before I arrived in Korea, I had researched that Koreans are extremely racist. When I arrived I had nothing but positive loving connections with not only Koreans but people from all around the world.
I really enjoy living aboard. I love to be different from the rest. That’s a very easy thing to do in a monoculture such as Korea. I love learning about new cultures and customs. It helps me grow as a person and learn more about others to have compassion and understanding.
Korea is in a prime spot to travel. To travel to Asia from Toronto cost a pretty penny. However, once you are here you can travel and experience all of Asia for a minimal amount of dollars. Lastly, the food! I love all the delicious food here in Korea. I love japchae, galibi, and anything BBQed. Life is great here in Korea.
What’s your favourite thing about Seoul in particular?
Honestly, it’s people and food. I love the good friendships I’ve developed in Seoul. I feel I connected with like-minded people that love similar things such as energy work and trying to manifest our dreams. I LOVE the food! I love all the yummy restaurants and new places to discover. I feel like a country mouse coming to the big city when I go to Seoul. I love it!
Tell us a little about your services
I offer a range of services such as Tarot Card Readings (one-on-one, small groups, and parties), Reiki energy healing, Energetic Space Clearing, Spiritual Cleanse, and BARS energy work.
My most popular service is tarot readings. A tarot reading is an opportunity to discuss life events from a non-judgmental and different perspective. Your reading with me can help you get “out of your head,” choose where to go next, or feel reassured about your decisions or path. Our sessions are conversations, an opportunity to ask questions, and share as much or as little as you wish.
You will receive a detailed and highly accurate reading that covers the aspects of your life where you feel you need the most guidance. I am available in the evenings after 6:30 pm and on most weekends. If we are not in the same city of Jincheon, Ochang, or Cheongju, and sometime Seoul, I am happy to offer Skype readings.
What makes your style stand out?
My approach stands out. My main intention is healing and empowerment. It is very important for me that clients feel comfortable with me. I also like to teach others about the cards, so that they can make an informed decision about working with me. I create a safe space for you to look at the events, circumstances, and relationships in your life from a new perspective. Not every reader does the same thing.
My regular clients come to me because I am honest and share personal stories of my journey and healing process. Finding the right reader is like finding the right hairdresser. You need to do your research, try a few places, and get recommendations, if you hope to consult someone long term.
This work requires trust and connection. I recommend consulting the reader to get to know them a bit, before you do a reading. You will hear about their experiences and their own healing journey. A good reader must do their work: they need their own emotional healing, too. This is important because readings are so personal. You don’t want the reader’s emotional energy to cloud or pour into a reading. Also, you’ll want to see a reader who is constantly trying to improve and evolve. This a strong, positive sign that they will be able to understand, relate, and share sound information, so you can learn how to connect to it and act upon it.
Tell us about some of the packages you offer
How much lead time might people need to book you?
Depending on our schedules, a reading can be booked on the same day.
On what kind of projects would you prefer to work?
I would have a healing retreat centre in Hawaii on the beach. I would like to work more with though who want to heal their family emotional pain and live a more full-fill life. I would do that through energy healing, family constellations, and psychotherapy.
Share one of your favourite memories
My favourite memory was working with a client that was about to get married. She felt there was some energetic baggage hanging around her that need to be cleared. We worked together to do a spiritual cleanse and a tarot reading. She was so moved by the experience two of the cards that was in the reading her and her partner got tattoos about it. Then, when it was time to get married, they asked me to spiritually officiate the wedding. Officiating the wedding was the most moving beautiful experience.
Here’s her testimonial:
Gillian Witter has always known her to be a compassionate, loving spiritually connected person. She has been a source of support to me through her caring heart, warm hugs and kind soul. Gillian Witter helped me through a very difficult time by providing me with a spiritual cleanse and tarot reading. This experience changed my life. Through her empathy, kindness and her unique ability to help me open my heart, I was able to not only overcome but thrive through this transition period in my life. The experience was both accurate on so many levels as well as empowering for my future. The processes of the spiritual cleanse and reading was so profound that both myself and my partner have since gotten tattoos (King and Queen of Cups) which were part of Gillian’s reading. Before this experience I had always been skeptical of alternative healing. Gillian Witter helped me by providing an environment of non-judgment and loving support so that I could open myself up to the possibilities in the universe. I consider Gillian Witter a personal and spiritual role model. She has always accepted me for who I am at each moment in my life, at the same time inspiring me to grow continually. We have asked Gillian Witter to spiritually officiate our upcoming marriage because she represents all we believe is true in this life. Gillian Witter believes in Love, Empathy, and Compassion.
Learn More about Gillian Witter!
My travel blog : http://gillianwitter.wixsite.com/thesoulfulwanderlust
“To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the centre of the world, and yet to remain hidden from the world—impartial natures which the tongue can but clumsily define. The spectator is a prince who everywhere rejoices in his incognito.” — Charles Baudelaire, The Painter of Modern Life and Other Essays
I am going to try to remain calm and stay on subject. But it isn’t going to be easy.
A few months back, I came across an article about a free exhibition at D Museum, an offshoot of Daelim Museum (just north of Gyeongbok-gung Station and one of my favorites as far as exhibitions go) located in Hannam-dong. The exhibition, titled “Wanderland”, was curated by Hermes based on their 2015 theme, “flânerie”. The flâneur (a man who engages in flânerie) is a concept that came to prominence in the latter half of the 19th century in Paris, when Baudelaire outlined him as a quintessential part of Parisian life. He was embodied by Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Man of the Crowd”, which you can read here.
The flâneur as an academic concept is largely a product of industrialized city life and was propelled by Walter Benjamin’s 1930s reflections on Baudelaire’s writing and his own lifelong work on The Arcades Project. Basically, he is an urban wanderer. He roams the city not for any purpose other than to observe. By blending in with the crowd, he becomes anonymous and stripped of fixed identity, while he simultaneously forms intimate, fleeting relationships with the scenes and strangers he observes.
The reason why I was attracted to this exhibition, despite the fact that it was curated by Hermes, was because much of my private work at the moment centers around the concept of the flâneur, or rather, the flâneuse, the female version of the flâneur, who does not exist (her closest living relative, in 19th century Paris, was of course the prostitute).
So you can see why it would be easy for me to go off the rails a bit in this post. And actually, I guess I have. So much for that.
I suppose the exhibition did its best to embody the concept while hawking the brand. I think the fundamental issue is that there can really be no proper representation of flanerie without city streets and, more importantly, without people. Instead, Hermes seemed to have boiled the concept down until the definition shifted a bit, conveniently for them, to the concept of wandering through the city and observing curious items, like a chessboard constructed on the bottom of a chair, or a bicycle in projected, electronic rain. A French bulldog stood in front of a fire-engine-red “Hot Dog Club”.
Some other parts of the exhibition were more on target. Visitors were handed “magic” walking sticks on their way in — on the end, there was a glass lens that transformed what appeared to be blank patches of light spaced throughout the exhibition into animated scenes. There was one section that mimicked the arcades in Paris, where you could peer through simulated shop windows at unusual displays. Another window offered a peek into a home that seemed normal at first, until a jaunty song began to play, the lights went down, and the room transformed.
I think I would’ve been more keen had we not stood in line in the cold for about a half an hour to get in, but it was free, so what can you do?
Afterwards, we headed upstairs to check out one of the more popular restaurants in the museum, the humorously name IAmaBurger. While nearly every other place in the building, which houses a number of restaurants, bars and cafes, was middling to empty, we had to wait another half-hour to get into to IAmaBurger.
I don’t really know why, to be honest, other than the fact that the area of Hannam-dong where D Museum lives is a bit of a restaurant ghost town of the sort that exists in the weird suburban bubbles within Seoul where expensive high-rise apartments loom.
Still, I was quite pleased about two Americanesque factors: Ketchup and mustard on the table and a lemon in my diet coke. The patties were available in 140g or 200g, with the burgers running about 9,000 to 13,000 KRW depending. It was an additional 5,500 KRW for a set. Allegedly, you can sometimes choose the bread you want for your bun, but for some reason, we couldn’t on the day we went. They also have cajun fries. The burgers were good, but it was a bit pricey for the quality. Then again, a set from a standard American fast food chain here will run you close to 10,000 KRW, so I guess the prices aren’t too bad, comparatively speaking — I think I just have trouble settling into the pricing in the middle ground for burgers here.
Oh, and they deliver. There are also IAmaBurger restaurants in Hongdae, Hanam, Busan and Daegu.
So, I guess the prices weren’t bad, but “not bad” is also how I would describe the food. I’m keen to go back and check out some of the other restaurants there. Positioned directly opposite IAmaBurger was a place called Gamsung Tacos & Grill, which was dead empty. It appears to be a Vatos knock-off, but the food doesn’t look half bad.
D Museum offers a lot more than decent meal and a bit of art. There are evening classes a few Friday nights a month that cover a variety of subjects. Recent examples include stained-glass making, flower arranging, cocktail making and graffiti art, for 20,000 won per hour-and-a-half class. There are also a variety of Saturday “meet ups”, that have included DJ performances, indie concerts, yoga and meditation, tango and disco dancing, and all kinds of niche art meet-ups where attendees had the chance to meet famous designers and artists and other enthusiasts while enjoying a cocktail.
Sunday classes seem to be new. So far there has been one focusing on DSLR photography, one on smartphone photography, and one in December on Christmas crafts. In addition, there are regular “party” nights, concerts, events and lectures. It’s a pretty rich community resource. Some of the events, such as the lectures, would be rough on those who don’t speak much Korean, but even if your Korean isn’t stellar, I reckon you could muddle through the more hands-on classes like the art workshops, yoga sessions and dance meet-ups, and of course, there are always the concerts.
At the moment, D Museum is showing an exhibition called “Youth”, which I haven’t seen yet, but which looks as colorful, vibrant and urban as the title suggests — much more interesting, in retrospect, than the Hermes exhibition.
서울특별시 용산구 독서당로29길 5-6
Dokseodangro-29-gil 5-6, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday 10:00am-6pm
Closed Mondays and on Chuseok and Seollal
Admission: 8,000 KRW for adults; 5,000 KRW for students; 3,000 for young children
Website: English / Korean
I’ve hung out with dogs, cats, and even sheep. The next thing to hit Korea is raccoons. Yup. You’ll find Raccoonamatata (라쿠나마타타) around Kyungsung University in Busan. There are two areas: a comfortable cafe area with seating and fun raccoon themed artwork, and a separate raccoon room you can enter to play with the raccoons.
What surprised me was the quality of the drinks (grapefruit-ades at 6,500₩ and a nice Americano for 5,000₩) and strong wifi. A surprisingly great place to hang out and get some work done. You can enter and exit the “raccoon room” as often as you’d like and have a nice long stay at the cafe.
There are three raccoons:
1: Very adorable blonde type, Yulmu (율무).
2: Dark-colored raccoon, Kooni (쿠니). She’s the only female and her name is a play-on-words (정신없군 = hectic, 정신없 쿤 = 쿠니).
3: Mild and meek cutie, Choco (초코) is a big eater and especially likes bananas.
They’re really fun and reminded me a lot of cats. Be careful not to bring anything in with you as they’ll be quick to snatch it and eat anything (even paper). I made the mistake of leaving my phone down and had to wrestle it away from a raccoon. They have a strong grip! Don’t pick them up and don’t wake them if they are sleeping.
Directions: Come out Exit 5 of Kyungsung Univ. subway station, do a U-turn, and walk back towards the main street. Turn right down the main street, walk straight, and take the second right. Walk straight past a couple of buildings and Raccoonamatata will be on your right.
Address: 부산광역시 남구 용소로14번길 10 2층
Hours: Every day from 12:00 - 10:00pm