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Toronto Gym Alternatives for Busy Fitness Buffs

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The Toronto Seoulcialite Fit Club

Toronto has plenty of ways to have fun while keeping fit! I’ve been on the hunt for the best introductory deals and the best way to break a sweat in the city. It has been a very busy few months for me! This summer has seen me through a job search (repeated throughout the job find because I was on a contract), an epic apartment search, tons of terrible tinder dates, and a weight gain that has me a little worried. I haven’t been able to settle down and be consistent about anything (not an excuse for not posting – sorry!) except my new piss poor eating habits! This week I’m starting a new job and am kicking the bad habits with the old j-o-b. Anyone down for a Toronto Seoulcialite Health & Fit Club?

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While trying to get settled in Toronto, I’ve given a few different workouts a try and wanted to share with you my best bets for those of you who aren’t into traditional gym experiences. Some of these I found to be pretty mild, while others kicked my ass – literally. I’ll start from the easiest (comparatively and in my opinion) and work my way up to the toughest. I encourage you to let me know if there’s a cool new workout you want me to review so that this list can become more comprehensive!

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Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred

While in Vancouver I was introduced to Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred”. I used to watch “The Biggest Loser” and has all kinds of opinions on that, but the workout itself is effective! The 30 Day Shred has 3 levels. In each level, you have cardio and strength training which target different areas of the body. This is a perfect workout for beginners because it’s in the comfort of your own home, you can build up as you get stronger, and you can use elements from the videos if and when you decide to join a gym in Toronto. Workouts should be challenging, but not so tough that you don’t want to go back and give them another shot. I’ve used this video and its techniques in Vancouver, Toronto, Atlanta, Busan, and Seoul!

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Calories Burned/ Workout (approximate): 165 for a 150 lb. person
  • Cost: $8.00 from Walmart Canada
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location(s): The comfort of your home!

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Moksha Yoga 

Moksha Yoga has changed quite a bit since I moved back to Toronto! Not only do they have more locations, they’re offering plenty of new classes like barre fitness (designed with a dance element) as well as jock yoga, and plenty of others. Their schedule is pretty packed throughout the day, so if you work from home you can get in on classes with fewer people. I used to take their 6 AM classes before work and felt like my day began with intent (and a great sweat!) More often than not they have partnerships around the city, so see if your office can get you a corporate discount at any of the many Toronto locations!

  • Time Commitment: 60 – 75 Minutes
  • Cost: $18/ drop-in class, but packages vary. $60 gets you 1 month unlimited
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location(s): Plenty of Toronto/ GTA locations! Moksha Yoga can be found in Midtown, St. Clair West, The Danforth, Downtown, Bloor West, Etobicoke, Thornhill, and more.

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Barreworks

I actually took a class at Barreworks when I was a member of Soho House Toronto. On a sunny Saturday afternoon,  handful of us headed over to Barreworks where our instructor led us through a mild workout blending core conditioning, stretching, dance, yoga, and pilates elements. Since my last visit they’ve also added barreboxing which I’d love to try out! Their earliest class begins at 7, so if you start work before 9 then it might be an after work affair for you. Either way, they offer lockers, showers, towel-service (thank goodness), toiletries, and a judgement-free atmosphere!

  • Time Commitment: 50 Minutes
  • Cost: $25/ Drop-in Class, packages vary, and $50 gets you two weeks unlimited for first-timers.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location(s): Barreworks has 2 Toronto locations: downtown (Queen and Bathurst) and Uptown (Yonge and Eglinton). Perfect!

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Big Hit Kickboxing Studios

Big Hit Kickboxing Studios in Toronto has created an amazing community for boxers at every level. In the past, I’ve found that some Muay Thai/ MMA gyms have been tough for female clientele especially when it came to sparring. I just wanted to get some of my stress out by hitting something, but it turns out guys are a little scared when it comes to fighting with women. Who knew? At Big Hit, you get to punch and kick the crap out of “Bob” – your friend and foe for the duration of the high energy, musically-enhanced class of punching, kicking, and resistance training which will leave you sweating like you’ve never sweat before. I loved the instructors who came around and made helpful suggestions in a constructive manner. It didn’t feel embarrassing when I was accepting their feedback. I also had to adjust some elements based on recent surgery, and am excited to go back and try out all the different classes as I rebuild my strength.

  • Time Commitment: 30 – 60 Minutes (most classes are 45 Minutes)
  • Cost: $30/ Drop-in Class, packages vary, and $59 gets you gloves, wraps, and 2 weeks of unlimited classes!
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Location(s): 4 Locations around Toronto/ the GTA and a new one opening up on The Danforth soon!

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Pop Physique Toronto

I’m still waiting on those 6 AM classes to start. So far, Pop Physique offers 2 styles of workout with classes running from 9 AM through 8 PM. Pop Physique is a ballet barre-style class with yoga, pilates, strength, and conditioning elements. I wouldn’t say much dance training comes through, but it’s still a pretty effective workout. Pop Yoga is a hip-hop yoga class I haven’t taken quite yet, but am eager to try. Some people in our class had done one of each, so they’re not impossible, but they’re not simple, either.

  • Time Commitment: 45 Minutes? An Hour? There’s rest time at the end…
  • Cost: First class = FREE! $25/ Drop-in Class. New Client Special: $100 unlimited first month.
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Location(s): 1560 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4T 1Z7 One lonely Toronto location on Yonge north of St. Clair.

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6IX Cycle Toronto

6IX Cycle is your standard spin class with an added layer of fear: pitch black, loud music, and a seizure-inducing laser light show. I’m not particularly partial to clip-in shoes as it can be tough to clip out and if they do by mistake while you’re riding the stationary bike it can be pretty dangerous. The room is quite small so you’re very close to your sweaty neighbours. I’m a big fan of spin, but this one was a bit of a miss for me as I felt like I was going to go over the handlebars and fall headfirst into the front row. Maybe I’m ancient already, but it was just way too loud and dark for this gal!

  • Time Commitment: 50 Minutes
  • Cost: $25/ Drop-in Class. New Client Special: $60 unlimited two weeks.
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Location(s): 1163 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M6J 1J4

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Barry’s Bootcamp

Let me tell you – I was not ready for Barry’s Bootcamp. I entered Barry’s Toronto knowing full well that it was an intense workout which could burn around 1,000 calories. The idea is that each day targets a different area of the body. Mondays are arms and abs. Tuesdays work your butt and legs. On Wednesdays you target chest, back, and abs. Thursdays are for hardcore abs. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are full body workouts. Having already walked to work (40 minutes) and hit the gym (legs and running), I should definitely not have tried to crush the class. It’s VERY intense – you get called out for not going fast enough or adjusting your incline high enough. I had no idea there was so much actual running involved in the class I took. I’m sure if I went every day, I’d be in peak physical condition. It’s a tad inaccessible (it would be half my salary to go 5 times a week), so I’m not quite sure how the cult following affords it. I know one thing’s for certain – I want to be fit enough to crush a Barry’s workout 5 times a week!

  • Time Commitment: 50 Minutes (of pure torture)
  • Cost: $32/ Drop-in Class. No first-timer deals.
  • Difficulty: HARD
  • Location(s): 310 Richmond St W unit 1, Toronto, ON M5V 1X2

Woman Sweaty Workout Strong Toronto Fitness

Bonus – any of these group classes offer online registration at their Toronto locations! Have you checked out any of these Toronto gym alternatives? Got any great suggestions? Let us know in the comments!

The post Toronto Gym Alternatives for Busy Fitness Buffs appeared first on The Toronto Seoulcialite.


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Korean School System + Renting School Uniforms | Glass with Billy

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By now most of you probably know about my friend Jinyoung, since she's appeared in several videos over the past 4 years.

I've known about Hanbok rentals since I first visited Korea, but I never knew you could also rent school uniforms in Korea - until last year when I decided to search.

We found a place in Hongdae that had rentals, and it was easy to get to and fun to try. It definitely isn't something that most Koreans are aware of, and I can't imagine any tourists going there.

The total cost was about 30,000 for both of ours, since we returned it the same day. They also offer packages to rent them for several days, but we just wanted to take some fun photos with them.

It was my first time ever wearing any sort of school uniform (we don't really have them much in the US) and Jinyoung's first time since she graduated high school. It was a lot of fun, and I'd do it again. Thanks for coming along Jinyoung!

The post Korean School System + Renting School Uniforms | Glass with Billy appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


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K-Drama Words and Phrases: Strong Girl Bong-soon

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At 90 Day Korean, it’s no surprise that we love all things Korean and Korean dramas are no exception! We’re big fans of studying Korean but also doing it in a fun and interesting way. Whether it’s studying with television, music, or movies, learning through a medium you enjoy is a surefire way to learn Korean fast! So for that reason, we’re going to start an article series of some of our favorite dramas and words you can look for to supplement your Korean studies while you watch.

So heat up your popcorn and grab a pencil because we’re starting with the 2017 hit drama 힘쎈여자 도봉순 (himssen-yeoja dobongsun) or in English, “Strong Girl Bong-soon”. Let’s get started!

 

Strong Girl Bong-Soon Overview:

This drama centers on a woman named Do Bong Soon who possesses extraordinary strength which she inherited from her mother. She meets Ahn Minhyuk, a CEO of a gaming company who is being harassed by an anonymous person. Because of her strength, she was able to work at Ahn Minhyuk’s company as his bodyguard. With Do Bong Soon’s strength and Ahn Minhyuk’s smart mind, they’ll try to end the series of attacks against women in Do Bong Soon’s neighborhood.

 

Why you should watch it:

For all K-Drama lovers, having Park Hyungsik and Park Bo Young play the main characters is enough reason to watch this drama. You can witness their amazing chemistry and cuteness. Aside from that, this drama is a breath of fresh air to K-Drama lovers since it’s not your ordinary romantic comedy series. For one, it doesn’t follow the usual concept of rom-com series. It emphasizes the character of the female lead having an extraordinary power; her physical strength. It somewhat takes the classic concept of a “damsel in distress” and flips it on its head. In this drama you can expect extreme girl power. For another reason, there is feel of a crime investigation in this drama which is a pleasant twist. Another strong point is its comedic aspect. You’ll find yourself laughing quite hard while watching, especially if you’re a fan of slapstick humor. Check it out at the link below.

Link to watch: https://www.dramafever.com/drama/4988/strong-woman-do-bong-soon/

 

Can't read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

 

Episode 1 Overview

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Ahn Minhyuk was riding a bus when he sees a short girl wearing a pink hoody save his bus from danger. This piqued his curiosity as to how such a small woman could be capable of such strength. That small woman made a mark on him that day.

K-Drama Vocabulary:

Korean Word (한국어)How it SoundsEnglish Translation
협박(hyeobbag)threat
비겁하다(bigeobhada)coward
자신(jasin)confidence
도망가(domang-ga)escape or run away
현실(hyeonsil)reality

K-Drama Phrases:

 

지금 당장!!! (jigeum dangjang

Right now.

그것도 아주 많이 (geugeosdo aju manh-i

That is also too much.

 

Episode 2 Overview

strong girl bong soon ep2

Do Bong Soon decides to take on the job of a bodyguard for Ahn Minhyuk. He discovers that Do Bong Soon lives in the neighborhood with crimes involving women. The two of them work together to figure out how to stop the series of assaults on women.  

K-Drama Vocabulary:

Korean Word (한국어)How it SoundsEnglish Translation
우주(uju)the universe
범인(beom-in)criminal
서명(seomyeong)signature
반대하다(bandaehada)oppose
고민(gomin)problem
백화점(baeghwajeom)department store
서점(seojeom)bookstore
운전(unjeon)drive
자연스럽게(jayeonseuleobge)naturally

K-Drama Phrases:

 

범인 빨리 잡히만 좋겠다. (beom-in ppalli jabhiman johgessda)

I hope the criminal will be caught soon.

저줌 잠깐 봐요. (jeojum jamkkan bwayo)

Look at me.

나 오늘 놀거야. 기분 나빠서 일 못하겠어. (na oneul nolgeoya. gibun nappaseo il moshagess-eo)

I’ll have fun today. I don’t feel good today so I can’t work.

 

So now that you know some words and phrases from this series, check it out and learn even more! Let us know how you like it, and let us know what your favorite Korean dramas are in the comments below.

 

Want more great K-drama phrases for learning Korean? Check out our other great article about K-drama Phrases for learning Korean!

The post K-Drama Words and Phrases: Strong Girl Bong-soon appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.


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Dating in Toronto: Are Local Men Commitment-Phobes?

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Dating in Toronto: Are Women Too Intimidating?

Now that I’m back in Toronto I’m trying to assess the dating pool from the outside looking in.  While I’m more focused on finding a job than a date (current job ✓, new job August 20th ✓), my gal pals are on the prowl.  I’ve returned from Korea to find I only have a handful of single male friends.  It seems like I have more single female friends in my age-group than ever, and they are all experiencing the same problem.  Is it that Toronto men are scared of commitment or scared of a confident, successful woman?  Let’s take a look at some examples of my single pals and other gals dating in Toronto.

 

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Lisa Fotios

 

Dating in Toronto: Lisa

Lisa and I have known one another for over 10 years.  She’s got a pretty dominant personality at first, but is pretty chilled out and easygoing when it comes to making plans.  She finished her MBA a few years ago and has taken on a senior role at a start up.  She’s passionate about her work, her dog, and her family.  I haven’t seen my friend Lisa in 4 months.  Why?  Well, she’s been pretty heavily into the Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid scenes.  For her, Dating in Toronto is a full-time job, too.  She’s met a pretty attractive man who seems to take up a lot of her time, yet another commitment-phobe, plus she’s juggling a gazillion first dates.  Seems like she’s collecting a variety of styles, throwing them at the wall, and just seeing what sticks.  So far she hasn’t really gotten anywhere, and I haven’t really seen my friend!

 

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Dating in Toronto: Abby

Abby is 25.  She goes out every Friday to the exact same bar hoping to find a husband.  I shit you not, this girl honestly thinks that the first guy who doesn’t back away when she smashes her face into his is going to make for a great provider for her 2.5 children, dog, and white picket fence in Thornhill.  Abby joined ultimate frisbee because she thought it would be a great way for her to meet guys.  She does it all for the ‘gram.  She captions with the likes of “your vibe attracts your tribe” on a picture of a group of people who don’t actually know one another.  With someone like Abby, you can’t share your interest in a particular member of the opposite sex.  She will undermine any sort of connection you had by trotting over, tits out, making the game real easy for ya man over there.  Why work an hour for $100 when someone’s dangling a $20 note in your face, right?  She gets off on creating competition with her remaining female friends.  She’s a juvenile, insecure, little girl who needs the validation of strange men more than the loyalty and support of gal pals.  Don’t be an Abby, don’t take home an Abby, don’t befriend an Abby.

female model pose art hat girl woman beautiful attractive thinking pensive Dating in Toronto: Are Local Men Commitment-Phobes? That Girl Cartier
Eneida Nieves

Dating in Toronto: Jessica

Jessica has a revolving door of men.  She keeps 2 or 3 in play and has a whole bunch of guys on the bench.  She climbed the corporate ladder quickly at the same company for the last 8 years.  Recently, she bought a condo and furnished it exactly the way she wanted having lived in a shitty, run-down old building for most of her time in Toronto.  Dating in Toronto changed a lot for Jessica when she made the move.  All of a sudden the dudes who were freelancing and bartending on the side felt the need to get their shit together and move on up in the world.  Jessica was finally showing the wealth she had accumulated, and these guys were not into it.  The two men she’s currently dating have told her those three little words over and over again (“I love you”, for those of us who are jaded).  Neither of them want to date exclusively.  It’s sad, but when you’re dating in Toronto everyone is always on the look-out for something better.  They could have their perfect man or woman doing naked back-flips in their front yard, but unless they put down the phone they’ll remain completely oblivious.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor, graffiti, Street Art, Toronto, graffiti alley, YYZ, Dating in Toronto: Are Local Men Commitment-Phobes? That Girl Cartier
Jennifer Decan

Dating in Toronto – Candidly Cartier

So what’s the secret to actually meeting someone in Canada’s largest city?  I thought it would be easier than my experiences in Korea seeing as there are more native English speakers here and many of us grew up with similar cultural backgrounds.  In reality, it’s far more difficult.  Why is dating in Toronto so obnoxious?  When I met Adonis, it was an instant connection.  Our wifi signal was weak and I can honestly say, for me, it was love at first sight.  I don’t think that feeling will ever go away, and even thousands of miles apart I still feel like we’re connected.  With ex-Co-Pilot it was easy, too.  I begrudgingly met him after a series of crappy first dates and it was a “right place, right time” situation.  He was absolutely incapable of being alone, and I needed a band-aid.  Now I’m in a situation where I have a great apartment, great job, and some great friends.  I’m no longer working as a conventionally “female” gender role (as a teacher), and the intimidation factor is out of control when you’re dating in Toronto.

women shoe footwear dance nightclubs stage lights Dating in Toronto: Are Local Men Commitment-Phobes? That Girl Cartier
Caitlyn Wilson

Dating in Toronto is Exhausting

I’m too tired to get dolled up and go out on Friday nights.  I’d muuuuuch rather Netflix and Chill.  Going out clothes sold here are either hoochie-mama bralets and booty shorts or totally binding triacetate-polyester blend urban professional attire.  There is no in between, anymore.  My feet hurt.  Doing my hair and makeup, stuffing myself into spanx, then trying to get that dang zipper up by myself is exhausting – and for what?  All you see at these meet markets are people trying to get the bartender’s attention or simply sitting in a corner and swiping all night.

texting, 2 girls, iphone, Dating in Toronto: Are Local Men Commitment-Phobes? That Girl Cartier

Swipe for Your Life

Speaking of swiping, I’ve been out on my fair share of first and second dates having met through a dating app.  My aforementioned friends and I get the same message each and every time we opt to keep our legs together for more then a couple of dates.  “I think you’re looking to take things a little slower than me.  I’m looking for something more casual.”  Sir, I’ve met you twice.  It’s entirely unfair to imagine that you know what I want.  It’s cocky to think that you’re such a stud that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with you after seeing you in two different outfits.  Also, it’s pretty pathetic that apparently I’m only good enough to be your booty-call.  I was prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt after your horrendous first kiss because we had good banter.  I’m starting to think that these morons just want their tinder date to turn up and bend over before agreeing to ever meet again.

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Martin Jernberg

A Girl’s Gotta Eat

These guys seem to think that I want the ring, the house, and the 2.5 kids immediately.  It’s not that I want something serious, I just want something consistent.  I’m starting a new job and have a pretty full schedule, but a girl’s gotta eat, right?  Realistically, I’d like to have a companion with whom to do absolutely nothing on Friday nights, and maybe to go hiking with on Saturday mornings.  I like breakfast in bed, too.  Yeah – I’ll make it.  Don’t get up.  There’s still so much of the world to see, and I’m plenty happy as a solo traveler.  If you’re along for the ride, great.  Please don’t assume to know what I want.  Don’t dismiss me simply because you’re intimidated or a Toronto man scared of the first inkling of commitment.

 

The post Dating in Toronto: Are Local Men Commitment-Phobes? appeared first on That Girl Cartier.


Hyunwoo’s Tips for Setting Language Goals [TTMIK] | Glass with Billy

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Everyone has their own goals for learning Korean. Whenever I meet someone who tells me they're also learning Korean, the first thing I ask them is about their goals. Usually they'll either want to learn how to speak comfortably in the language, or just learn a few phrases to use with someone close to them. I think goals are important for learning languages, but some goals can be ineffective or even hurt your progress. Specifically I wanted to share my opinions together with Hyunwoo from "Talk To Me In Korean" and get his advice on setting goals.

Goals are an important topic that aren't often discussed when learning Korean, so I wanted to get to the bottom of it and hopefully learn something new in the process. And I did.

Why are you learning Korean? What are your goals?

Check out Hyunwoo at the “Talk To Me In Korean” YouTube channel.

The post Hyunwoo’s Tips for Setting Language Goals [TTMIK] | Glass with Billy appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


Live Korean Classes + Membership Announcement

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Thanks for being a follower of my content and Korean lessons. Today I have a special announcement, that I'll be starting live Korean classes on YouTube.

These will be completely free, interactive, and will be a chance for you to practice and ask questions about what you're learning.

My very first class will be this Saturday (late morning or early afternoon), but the date/time could change depending on what fits most people's schedules.

I've also begun channel memberships through YouTube. This is another way to support me (separate from Patreon or other methods) that's directly through YouTube. You'll get badges for your name, and special emotes that only members can use in the chat. You'll also get special member-only posts in the Community tab of my channel (outtakes, polls, and more content).

Memberships are completely optional, and just something I wanted to do because it goes together with live streams. Please note that you don't have to pay me anything at all. I already love what I do and will keep doing it. Memberships (as well as my Patreon page) are for people who want to support me monetarily, but just watching my videos and subscribing is also supporting me. I appreciate all of you.

Feel free to leave any questions or feedback here, or send me a message (on my Contact page).

The post Live Korean Classes + Membership Announcement appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


Better beers are here in Busan (Dynamic Busan)

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It’s a pretty great time to be in South Korea if you are a craft beer drinker.

The craft beer industry is blowing up all around the world. While it’s still pretty young in South Korea (especially here in Busan), that newness and freshness are really exciting. Especially for those of us who have been here for at least a few years and remember the times when there weren’t more than a few options beyond the bland, light American-style lagers that have dominated much of the beer-drinking world here.

It’s also great to have the input of Jiyoung Moon, my Korean editor and co-writer for this piece. With Dynamic Busan, what’s starts is her Korean story, which is then translated by our capable translator Sangmin Kim. Then, it comes to me. Besides cleaning up the text to better read like native English-written text, I consult with Jiyoung on what else should be added and what can be taken away. It has been a pretty (sorry) dynamic team effort.

The story can be found below and at the Dynamic Busan website. If you’re ever in Busan, South Korea, definitely consider grabbing a pint!

BETTER BEERS ARE HERE IN BUSAN

While the craft beer industry is booming worldwide, it has seen particularly solid growth here in Korea. This is partly because it is just so different from what has been available for as long as any beer could be bought here.

The government, for its part, is helping keep up the momentum. Busan last year designated craft beer as a local business it wants to see succeed and supported craft beer-related brand design, advertisement, promotions and more as a result. Korean craft beer is not only gaining traction here, it’s getting recognized beyond the country. Rate Beer, a well-known beer evaluator from the United States, highlighted four Busan-based craft beers during “The Best Beer in Korea” in 2016. They recognize greatness. Beer enthusiasts traveling from across Korea to Busan for its brews recognize greatness. Now, it’s your turn. Are you up to the challenge?

Busan Craft Beer Festival

Head to BEXCO in Centum City Sept. 5 through 9 for the inaugural Busan Craft Beer Festival. More than 50 businesses including Busan brewers, other domestic breweries, importers, food trucks and more are expected to participate in this festival. People will be able to taste 100 different kinds of craft beer during the festival and enjoy various music performances. Beer brewing lectures are also expected to be conducted. A busanbeerfestival.com website is expected to launch soon.

*Galmegi Brewing Company

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Minsik Seo, Jiwon Jeong, Steven Allsopp and Ryan Blocker are making magic happen at Galmegi Brewing Company.

The galmegi (seagull) is not only the symbol of Busan. It has become the symbol of the emerging craft beer market here, as well. Busan craft beer began with Galmegi Brewing Company. In 2013, Galmegi opened Busan’s first western-style brew pub, located within shouting distance from Gwangalli Beach. Their beers that first year were contract brewed, which is when a business works with an outside brewery to make their beers, often using their own recipes. But, with immediate success brought rapid growth. The brewery opened a short walk away in 2014.

Their hard work has paid off. Besides the brewery in the Gwangan area, there are five Galmegi franchises, in Nampo, Seomyeon, Haeundae, the Kyungsung University/Pukyong National University area and in the Pusan National University area. Galmegi Brewing Company’s beer is also available in a number of tap houses in Seoul. Galmegi has an assortment of beer styles that range from light to dark, slightly sweet to unapologetically bitter. India Pale Ales, ambers and stouts can be found on regular rotation. But, more unique, seasonal choices are available, as well, including a ginger-infused beer, a boozy triple IPA and a refreshing beer brewed with Korean yuja fruit.

-Location: 58, Gwangnam-ro, Suyeong-gu

-How to get there: Geumnyeonsan Station (Metro line 2), exit 5. Walk down the cobblestone road toward the beach. Cross the street at the next main intersection and turn right. Walk until you see the brewery on the left.

-Informationgalmegibrewing.com, @galmegibrewing on Instagram

*Gorilla Brewing Company

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Most breweries offer samplers of their selections.

Gorilla Brewing Company has been busy. Opening in a small space in Millak-dong (neighbor-hood) in January 2016, the owners of this British-style craft beer brewery quickly realized expansion would be necessary. The following year, Gorilla moved to Gwangan, in a larger two-story location a short walk down the road from Galmegi’s brewery. Gorilla Brewing harvests its hops, the flower that is a key component in beer making, from a farm in Gyeongsangbuk-do (province), which allows them to maintain a fresh taste that is very local. About 10 different beers are brewed by Gorilla, including their enormously-popular Gorilla IPA, Busan Pale Ale and more. Special beers have included Tiramisu Extra Stout and the FM Coffee Stout, brewed utilizing coffee beans from the popular FM Coffee shop in Jeonpo-dong. Their brew pub also has a number of other Korea-based brews on constant rotation, allowing visitors a condensed opportunity to taste what all the fuss over Korean craft beer is about.

Saturday visitors to Gorilla Brewing Company can check out live music every Saturday night, as well as free yoga classes at noon.

-Location: 125, Gwangnam-ro, Suyeong-gu

-How to get there: Geumnyeonsan Station (Metro line 2), exit 1. Walk straight toward the beach. Turn left at the next intersection and walk straight for about five minutes. Gorilla Brewing is on the left.

-Informationgorillabrewingcompany.com, @gorilla_brewing on Instagram

*Wild Wave Brewing Co.

What began as a sour beer project in Gwangan has headed east to Songjeong Beach. While Wild Wave Brewing Co.’s Surleim sour beer is still one of its most popular brews (and available in bottles), they have expanded their choices beyond sour into other realms of deliciousness. The brewery’s regular rotation includes Surfing High, a highly drinkable kolsch-style brew, the full-bodied and flavorful Bella IPA and Hazelnut Ale, an Irish red ale made with maple syrup and hazelnuts. Enter their Songjeong brewery and the impressive array of oak casks immediately catches the eye. Wild yeasts and lactic bacteria from the air in these casks result in the sour, tropical flavors that have made Wild Wave famous. Order from their favorable menu of various pub grub, order a couple pints and prepare to have a fantastic afternoon that is only a short walk away from Songjeong Beach.

-Location: 106-1, Songjeongjungang-ro 5beon-gil, Haeundae-gu

-How to get there: Songjeong Station (Donghae line), exit 1. Cross the street and turn right down the alley near the bus stop.

-Information: wildwavebrew.com, @wildwave.brew on Instagram

*Praha 993

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A visit to F1963 in Mangmi-dong can fill up an entire afternoon. There are regular art exhibits, a bookstore, even a coffee shop. There’s also delicious Czech-style beer. Launched in 2017, Praha 993’s origins begin in its founders Czech Republic homeland. Its beers range from pilsners (which originated in the Czech Republic) and stouts to India Pale Ales and seasonal specialties like pumpkin ale that are brewed on-site. These pair well with an assortment of both Czech-inspired and pub-familiar meals including fish and chips and Koleno, savory slow-roasted pork knee that is a quintessential Czech feast. The number 993 in their name comes from the year beer is believed to have been produced for the first time in the Czech Republic. Beer drinkers can experience more than 1,000 years of beer history at not only their flagship location, but also in their Seomyeon branch and at other fine pubs across the city.

-Location: 20, Gurak-ro 123beon-gil, Suyeong-gu

-How to get there: Suyeong Station (Metro lines 2 or 3), exit 5. Take bus 54 and get off at the Sanjeong Apartment stop. Walk uphill toward F1963.

-Informationpraha993.com, @praha993_brewing on Instagram

*Hurshimchung Brau

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Hurshimchung Brau has brewed their beer in a fun German-style beer house in Nongshim Hotel since 2004. Hurshimchung Brau uses imported German malt for its beers, which include familiar German styles like pilsner, weizen and dunkel.

Enjoy an array of German/Korean beer hall food fusion favorites such as Haxen, a German-style jokbal (braised pig’s feet), deep-fried octopus and more. Their great hall holds regular live performances and offers a view of the brewery. Hurshimchung Brau also holds a popular Oktoberfest outdoor event every year that features unlimited servings of their sensational suds.

-Location: 23, Geumganggongwon-ro 20beon-gil, Dongnae-gu

-How to get there: Oncheonjang Station (Metro line 1), exit 1. Walk straight to public parking lot for two minutes. Cross the main road, then follow Geumgang gongwon-ro for three minutes. Cross the street at the intersection and Nongshim Hotel is on the right.

-Information: hotelnongshim.com

*Finger Craft

A former home and commercial milk storage building has been converted into Finger Craft, which refers to wanting to be the number one place for beer. Besides their warm and inviting flagship location along the Oncheoncheon Stream, Finger Craft has two other locations near City Hall and in Choryang. Six different contract-brewed craft beers are available utilizing their own recipes including Osige Ale, a beer created with coffee supplied by the popular Momos Coffee, also in the Oncheonjang area, the hearty Black Finger, the citrus-infused Mosaic Finger and more.

-Location: 7, Oncheoncheon-ro, Dongnae-gu

-How to get there: Oncheonjang Station (Metro line 1), exit 2. Walk toward Myeongnyun Station five minutes. Their Captain Hook-style signboard will be seen on the left.

-Information: @fingercraft on Instagram

*Owl & Pussycat Taproom

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“Good people drink good beer.” It is sound advice that adorns the wall of Owl & Pussycat Taproom in Gwangan.

This craft pub and bottle shop offers both an impressive selection of bottled beers from around the world as well as both local and international drafts. All of this with a breathtaking view of Gwangalli Beach. Owl & Pussycat Taproom features nearly a dozen different kinds of tasty contract-brewed beers created from their own recipes, including the aromatic Suri Saison, the coffee-infused Gwangan Brews, an India Pale Ale and more. Snacks that always pair well with beer such as pizza, sausages and fried chicken are also available.

-Location: 2F, 38-1, Namcheonbada-ro, Suyeong-gu

-How to get there: Geumnyeonsan Station (Metro line 2), exit 3. Walk toward the beach. It is located in the same building as Ediya Coffee.

-Informationfacebook.com/opc.brewing , @opc_brewing on Instagram

*Tetrapod

Tetrapod offers customers house-branded contract-brewed beers and other beers from around Korea. From its stylish interior to curated design focus, those especially interested in design and branding will find something to enjoy. Their design aesthetic even garnered an iF product design award from International Forum Design of Germany. Familiar favorites like IPAs, pale ales and stouts are available.

-Location: 2F, 77, Jungang-daero 680beonga-gil, Busanjin-gu

-How to get there: Seomyeon Station (Metro lines 1 and 2), exit 6. Turn right after passing Electronic Land. Walk one more block and enter the alley on the left. Walk straight a little further, then walk toward the building with a brick wall on the left.

-Informationtetrapodbrewing.com, @tetrapod_brewing_co on Instagram


JPDdoesROK is a former news editor/writer in New Jersey, USA, who served a one-year tour of duty in Dadaepo/Jangnim, Saha-gu, Busan from February 2013 to February 2014. He is now a teacher in Gimhae.


‘I’m Still Here:’ Transitioning this site

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Below is my former bio page for this site, which I started in late 2012 in anticipation of my pending arrival back to South Korea a few months later. Instead of just getting rid of this for my resume, I decided to archive it as a post. It will hopefully be a nice nostalgia bomb for me at some point looking back.

I’m Still Here

(Updated 03/20/2017)

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Hammering home the importance of experiencing Korean culture since March 2017.
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The BEXCO platform on the Donghae Line, Busan’s newest metro line.
I rock a mean snowboard. Suck at guitar, though.
I rock a mean snowboard. Suck at guitar, though.
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As Ralph Cramden would say, “homina, homina.” #foodpornography #sliceoflife
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Getting a grip at Samcheok penis park.

My interest (maybe obsession) with the concept of South Korea began in the spring of 2003, as I was sleepwalking my way through my final semester at Alfred University. I was a not-entirely-lazy-but-still-pretty-damn-lazy English major about to be pooped out into the real world without any clear idea what I could be, or should be doing with the degree I was about to be bestowed. At this point in my life, I had been slowly and surely racking up credit card debt, I was soon going to be required to begin paying on student loan debt, and I still at this unenlightened time had to maintain a pack-a-day cigarette habit. Things looked shit.

One day, while Prof. Mike McDonough waxed about a childhood friend who stole a penguin and a cousin whom–“I shit you not,” he insisted–was named Ophelia Balls, I looked on the school’s job forums to find, I shit you not, an advertisement encouraging new graduates to consider a career teaching English in South Korea. “See the world!” “Pay off your debts!” “Be immersed in a foreign culture!” For someone with few prospects for travel outside the tri-state area that did not involve taller and deeper mountains of debt, I was intrigued.

It would take another two years before finally pulling the trigger. In November 2005, in what today feels like a completely different world, I arrived cold, severely jetlagged and utterly confused in Jinju, South Korea. Less than 40 days later, after posting a job listing on Koreabridge, I stuffed my suitcases like I was being hunted by the po-po and left Korea with my tail tucked between my legs. It was a different time. Far fewer coffee shops, many more PC Rooms, no Skype and, for me, only a tethered, cheap phone to make expensive, obsessive calls to an increasingly less-interested ex-girlfriend back home in New Jersey in the middle of (my) night.

The aforementioned obsession with the concept of Korea began to creep not long after I landed at Newark Liberty International Airport. I’ll leave the details to that to this musty old claptrap of a blog I obsessed over during much of the aughts and into the teens, as I prepared for my second attempt at giving a life in The Land of the Morning Calm a go.

Korea finally stuck in February 2013, when I returned to Busan, to teach at a hagwon (학원, or private school) in Dadaepo Beach, Saha-gu–which was ass-deep in subway extension construction–which as of this update is about to have its own set of subway stations, which will no doubt change the identity of that sleepy southwest Busan beach area forever.

Happy with my job, I expected to renew for at least another year. But, with a significantly-reduced number of students at the school, the foreign teacher jobs were eliminated. This took me out of Busan and into nearby Gimhae, in March 2014. I returned to Busan in February 2016, where I expect to stay until eventually, finally, my obsession with the concept of South Korea comes to a close.

I hope you enjoy reading about this third go, what I write, share and experience, and hope you can share your own personal adventures, whether they are happening for the first time or you’re just completing them to their full for the first time.


Potential plagiarism and fourteen hours of Final Fantasy (NintendoEnthusiast)

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Today was a pretty busy day writing for the Nintendo Enthusiast site. It began pretty quietly with a simple post mentioning some new artwork released for Sonic Mania. But, then there came the news that a reviewer at games juggernaut IGN might have been caught plagiarising a YouTuber’s video review and, hoo boy, it got busy. I was actually reminded of some of the particularly hectic days of yore when, while working for Patch.com, some kind of major story was happening and needing to be constantly updated. Unfortunately, one of the biggest stories of the day was when it was rumored Snookie was coming to town. Nonetheless, it felt good to get back into a breaking news kind of story mode after so long. Dynamic Busan is a monthly newspaper, so the likelihood of something urgent dropping in my lap that has to be covered immediately has been pretty nil.

If you’re interested in games, potential plagiarism stories or Sonic the Hedgehog art, definitely click the links above. I also completed and posted my newest ongoing series, Nostalgia Now, which I describe as: a look back at impactful moments in the gaming life of a man who is potentially knee-deep in a midlife crisis but doesn’t have enough money or need for overcompensation to buy a Corvette. So, he buys games. 

Click this link to take you to the story on NintendoEnthusiast or continue below. Enjoy!


Gaming memories: I have a few.

I am two months shy of 39 and one-half years old. My first memories of gaming in my life are brief snippets of Christmas Morning 1983. My older brother is playing with our new Atari 2600, then still called the Video Computer System, I am pretty sure but who cares? This site isn’t called Atari Enthusiast.

The moving pictures in my mind feel as real as if they could have happened this morning in my childhood home in suburban New Jersey, as opposed to in my humble apartment in Busan, South Korea, where the only signs of Christmas are the fairy lights wrapped around the railing leading up to the loft. Certain moments, including hearing the excitement in my brother’s voice as the system booted up, remain strong. But, they are his gaming memories. I spent more time that morning playing with the Nerf indoor basketball set attached to the entryway closet than crowded in front of the TV.

My real gaming moments, the moments that I will hopefully still remember when I am old and perhaps not quite as sharp as I once was to remember much else, arrive several years later. I’ll leave Christmas Morning 1983 to my brother. He has so few gaming memories that pretty much run out after the mid-1980s that I would hate to deprive him.

Welcome to “Nostalgia Now,” a look back at impactful moments in the gaming life of a man who is potentially knee-deep in a midlife crisis but doesn’t have enough money or need for overcompensation to buy a Corvette. So, he buys games. 

Our debut trip down memory lane starts in 1990. The Atari from Christmas 1983 has long since been boxed away somewhere in the catacombs known as our attic. The N. E. S. (as opposed to the NES) reigns supreme and will continue to do so until I receive the Super NES for my birthday in April 1992. It is an age of limited funds, which resulted in an age of limited games. With limited options, we did what most people did to feed the gaming need back then: we rented.

Blockbuster was far from the first option for borrowing games. In my New Jersey home, we opened an account at Lincroft Video. Located in what eventually became a Dunkin’ Donuts, Lincroft Video was a fun factory for a 1980s kid not yet jaded by the seemingly-unlimited options that the Internet would usher forth a couple decades later. Videos upon videos that we could watch and not have to pay $100 for (yes, some VHS tapes cost that much back in the day)! And, games!

But, not many games. What at first seemed like an endless wonderland began to show its limitations after a few years. So, the Dunphy clan moved on. We eventually landed on Choice Video, which was given a loving nod to by Kevin Smith as the imaginitively-renamed “Big Choice Video” in Clerks.

Back then, it definitely had big choices. And, we had a big choice to make. We chose Final Fantasy.

In the U.S. in 1990, Final Fantasy was still a new intellectual property. So, the choice was not quite as easy to make as it might be today. But, for myself and my brother-in-law–who drove to New York City two years earlier to pay $80 for a copy of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link–RPGs and their ilk were our jam. And, in the pre-Final Fantasy VII days, they were pretty darn hard to come by. So, anything that was even close got our attention.

Final Fantasy certainly got our attention… for 14 hours.

Many readers will nod in recognition of similar marathons. While it does not hold a candle to the most die-hard South Korean gamers who would die hard for their Starcraft, it’s a pretty impressive session.  Unlike today, however, we didn’t play for more than half-a-day simply because we wanted to. We had to. Sure, you could extend a rental an extra day or more. But, that costs dinero, dude. If you’re going to keep that game out, why don’t you just buy it? Time in 1990 was definitely money.

As I have written previously, game ownership was a lot different 28 years ago than it is today. I didn’t own hundreds upon hundreds of games, with access to thousands more through morally murky (ahem, emulators) means. I didn’t move on from Bravely Default to Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology because the battle system felt a bit out of balance and I was losing interest in the characters. If that was all it took for me to lose interest in a game in 1990, I wouldn’t have bothered with taking out Garland at the very beginning of Final Fantasy. And, if I hadn’t, I would never have known that (nearly three-decade-old spoiler), he was Chaos, the main bad guy all along. Mind blown.

I seriously doubt we would have spent 14 hours on Final Fantasy in today’s world. There’s just too much choice (but, sadly, no Choice Video. They might have been out of business before Y2K). Attention spans, mine in particular, are far more finicky and fleeting than they were 28 years ago. Can I imagine tolerating Final Fantasy beyond the 50th time one of my heroes tried to attack the air instead of an enemy? Doubtful.

It was a different time. Games were a hell of a lot harder. They were more expensive. And, they were due back to Choice Video by 11pm tonight! Our 14-hour marathon Final Fantasysession is very much locked into one day in history and, at least for me, could never happen in another time. It is for that reason, and for the enjoyment and general bonding my brother-in-law and I experienced over that solitary day almost three decades ago, that I consider this to be one of the most nostalgia-inducing gaming moments in the life of this nostalgia addict.

Postscript: Some of you might be wondering, after all of this nostalgia… did we beat the game in those 14 hours? Well, sadly, we don’t actually remember! We did beat the game at some point. But, as to whether or not it was on this fateful day, that will remain a mystery.


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