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South Korea Wins Baking World Cup

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In February, a team of South Koreans won gold at the Bakery World Cup in France. Korea FM spoke with previous Baking World Cup gold medal winner & American team coach Jeff Yankellow & Louis Lesaffre Cup project manager Nadine Debailis to learn more about the competition & South Korea’s surprise victory.

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Korean Independence Day (Gwangbokjeol)

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If you are traveling around the Jamsil area of Seoul between the Olympic Stadium and Olympic Park, then you are bound to notice the flags of different world countries that are hung in the middle of the road. Every now and then, all of the flags are all taken down and replaced with Korean national flags. When this happens, then you know that there is a national holiday coming up. One time that these Korean flags might be seen is in the run-up to August 15th, which is Korean Independence Day.

Isolated south korean flag on a white background

For non-Koreans, it may be difficult to understand the difference between Samil Day (March 1st), Korean Independence Day (August 15th), and National Foundation Day (October 3rd). However, by understanding their difference, you can learn a lot about Korean history. The USA was founded at around the same time as it gained its independence. Korea, on the other hand has been a nation for thousands of years, 4,349 years to be exact. National Foundation Day, in October, celebrates the founding of the Korean nation in 2333 B.C.

Korean History of Independence Day

Since then, Korea has gone through a lot. The country has been invaded countless times and undergone many hardships. One of the worst periods in Korean history happened in the first half of the 20th century, when Korea became a colony of Japan. Under Japanese rule, people were forced to have Japanese names, and many Koreans were forcibly conscripted to provide labor for Japan, and were also forcibly drafted into the Japanese army towards the end of the Second World War. During the time of Japanese oppression, many Koreans stood up against the Japanese, and often paid for their defiance with their lives. Samil Day, on March 1st, commemorates one of the most important uprisings of this period. On Samil Day, several Korean nationalists declared Korea independent, however the struggle for independence would continue for another 25 years until Korea actually gained its freedom.

The day when Korea finally through off its Japanese rulers is Korean Independence Day. In 1945, Korea was finally liberated from its occupation, and exactly three years later, on August 15th 1948, the Republic of Korea was officially established.

August 15th is celebrated by many countries as the day when Japan was defeated and the Second World War finally came to an end. Known as V-J Day, or Victory over Japan day, this day marks the day that Japan announced its surrender. With Japan’s surrender, Korea could finally gain its independence. In the USA, V-J day is celebrated in September when the Japanese formally signed a declaration of surrender, rather than the day when Japan announced its surrender.

Restoration of Light Day

korean independence day

In Korean, Korean Independence Day is called 광복절(Gwangbokjeol), which means ‘Restoration of Light Day’. Such a name symbolizes how the day represents an end of the darkness of Japan’s rule over the Korean peninsula. Its name is made from the Korean characters of ‘광’ (gwang), meaning ‘light’; ‘복’ (bok), meaning ‘restoration’; and ‘절’ (jeol), meaning ‘holiday’. The word ‘restoration’ is used rather than the word for ‘independence’, 독립 (dok-rip), in order to highlight how Korea has a long and proud history and how the Korean nation was ‘restored’ in 1945, rather than ‘founded’. As a result, many Koreans call this day ‘Korean Liberation Day’ or ‘National Liberation Day of Korea’ when they translate ‘Gwangbokjeol’ into English.

Commemoration on Gwangbokjeol

On this day, around Korea, local governments hang the Korean flag on streetlights and outside public buildings. In 2015, Lotte Group even put a huge Korean flag on the side of the under-construction Lotte Tower in Jamsil to commemorate the day. As well as companies and public buildings, Korean flags can be seen hung from the windows of houses and apartments around the country. You may even see or hear announcements reminding people to hand their flag if your apartment has a particularly patriotic owner. The government holds an official ceremony on this day, and the day also has an official song. It was during one of these ceremonies that the mother of current Korean president Park Geun-Hye was killed during an assassination attempt on Park Geun-Hye’s father, President Park Chung-Hee.

There are some fireworks displays on Gwangbokjeol, but the main fireworks displays in Korea are held on National Foundation Day in October instead.

Koreans who are descendants of independence activists can visit museums and ride public transport for free on this day. The Korean government can also give special pardons to prisoners on this day. This special pardon was the theme for 2002 comedy film ‘Jail Breakers’ (광복절특사), where the main characters escape from prison, only to find out that they are due to be pardoned the very next day.

Where to Learn More About Korean Independence Day

korean independence day

If you want to learn more about Gwangbokjeol, a good place to visit would be the Independence Hall of Korea, which is located in Cheonan. Here you can learn about the Japanese occupation of Korea. If Cheonan is too far to travel, then Seodaemun Prison in Seoul can help you learn about Korea’s struggle for independence. It was at Seodaemun Prison that independence fighters were imprisoned and tortured. Outside the prison is ‘Independence Gate’, which despite its misleading name, was built just before the Japanese occupation by the at-the-time pro-Japanese government. It was supposed to symbolize Korea’s independence from China. However at that time Korea was more-or-less independent from China, and the treaty that gave Korea its ‘independence’ from China allowed Japan to make Korea into a Japanese colony just a few years later.

With relations between Korea and Japan always in the news, learning about Korea’s past can help visitors to Korea understand why so there is still so much antipathy between the two countries.

If visiting Seodaemun Prison or the Independence Hall of Korea isn’t the sort of thing that interests you then there are plenty of other places that you can visit instead. Why not make the most of August 15th being a public holiday by going out and exploring somewhere new in Korea and learning something new about this fascinating country.

What do you do on Gwangbokjeol? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jagalchi Market (자갈치시장) represents part of what makes Busan...

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Jagalchi Market (자갈치시장) represents part of what makes Busan famous: seafood, strong-willed people, and beautiful views of the ocean. Even if you don’t plan on eating, go for the sights. Also, you’ll be close to other sightseeing in the area, like Nampo and Busan Tower

Address: 52, Jagalchihaean-ro, Jung-gu, Busan
부산광역시 중구 자갈치해안로 52 (남포동4가)

Directions: Subway to Jagalchi Station (line 1).  Go out exit 10, and walk straight until you see the market gate on your right.


Hi, I'm Stacy. I'm from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living in Busan, South Korea. Check me out on: Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Lastfm, and Flickr.


Top 10 ESL Review Activities and Games

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If you’re looking to make sure your students understood what you taught them in a previous lesson, consider using one of these top 10 ESL review activities and games. They’re fun, engaging and interesting, which will equal happy students and happy teachers! Most of them are appropriate for just about any age or level of student, just adjust them accordingly. Click on the titles of each ESL review game to be taken to the full description of the activity.

#1: Odd One Out

This ESL warm-up activity is also one of my favourite ESL review activities. It’s fast, easy and great for making sure that students not only understand new vocabulary words, but the meaning behind them as well.

#2: Dictogloss

Dictogloss is another one of my favourite ESL review activities. It’s heavy on the listening and then students can either respond with writing or speaking, depending on your preference. You can use it to reinforce any grammar or vocabulary that you’ve taught the students in previous classes.

#3: Flip-Chart Vocabulary Review

This is another one of my favourite ESL review games that works best for smaller classes of 12 or fewer students. In bigger classes, it’ll get too chaotic. Basically, the students have to describe a word to a captain, who has to say it.

#4: Concentration

This is a fun ESL game that kids love, although you can use it for beginner teenagers or adults too. It’s perfect for reviewing new vocabulary words and definitions.

#5: Disappearing Text

Try out this ESL review activity at the end of class to review grammar concepts or vocabulary. It helps these things become a bit more automatic.

#6: Running Dictation

This 4-skills, student-centred ESL activity is one of my favourites. You can use it to review just about anything! Try it out in some of your classes today and I’m sure your students will love it. It’s perfect for those “dead” classes who are apathetic to just about everything! It has a serious element of competition to it that students seem to love.

#7: Board Games

I love to play board games in my real life and so I’m always sure to use them frequently in my classes. They’re one of the best ESL review activities I can think of! It’s really, really easy to make your own ESL board games and it’ll only take a few minutes once you get the hang of it. Students really love them and they work in a class of any size. You just have to divide the students up into groups of 3-5. Don’t forget to bring a little prize for the winner in each group–it makes these ESL board games a bit more fun!

#8: Surveys

Surveys are one of my favourite “end of unit” ESL review activities. They get the students up and out of their seats and talking to their classmates. They also encourage active listening and follow-up questions, which students are often quite weak at. Click on the link above to see six of them that I use in my own classes in South Korean universities.

#9: Rock-Scissor-Paper

If you have very low-level students who are struggling to put together basic questions and answers, this is the ESL review activity for you! The best part about it is that it gets the students up out of their seats and moving around the classroom.

#10: Role-Plays

Role-plays are often quite a nice way to round out a unit. They one of my favourite ESL review activities, especially for lower-level students. They encourage students to get a bit creative with the language that they’ve learned. Personalizing it can often make it far more memorable.

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You can easily get the book on Amazon today. There are two formats: digital + print. The digital one can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app.

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The post Top 10 ESL Review Activities and Games appeared first on ESL Speaking.

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Makgeolli Brewing Certificate Program 2016

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TEaching time
We are officially in Year 3 of the English language Makgeolli Brewing Certificate Course, and we are excited to announce this year’s course dates and lineup!  After much feedback from last year regarding extended scheduling and time constraints, we have adjusted the course into two modules which will follow a weekly schedule every Monday evening from 7pm – 10pm.  The first module will cover all the rice preparation techniques required to follow any recipe, with the second module offering a higher level of chemistry, analysis and commercial context.  Completion of each module will award you a certificate from Gyeonggi University and Susubori Academy.


What Is Involved in Module 1:  Brewing Foundations?

This course is designed to equip you with all the various techniques that allow for not only following traditional recipes, but also experimenting and developing your own brew.  Each technique class will have a theoretical and practical component, as well as introducing a new recipe each week.  A tasting will be included in each class featuring completed recipes from each technique, as well as representing brews available on the market.


         What is Involved in Module 2:  Practical Applications and Analysis?

After arming yourself with all the skills and techniques makgeolli brewing fundamentals, you can then choose to further your knowledge and brewing arsenal with this more in depth course.  More theory based, this course will focus on the scientific elements of makgeolli fermentation as well as cultural and industry perspectives.

Soaking Rice Makgeolli

Draining Rice

Do I Have to Take All Classes, or Can I Just Take a Few?

This year the course will be running as a full module.  In order to receive the certificate, you must sign up before the commencement of the course and attend all 8 classes.  However, if at the time of course commencement there are additional places available, these will be offered to the public on a first come first served basis.

     I’ve Taken a Class Last Year, Can I Use that Class as Credit for the 2016 Course?

Yes!  We welcome anyone who has taken an Intro or Intermediate Class last year.  In the event that the class you took is repeated in Module 1, you will receive a discount on that class so as only to pay for the materials used.  In your registration, be sure to specify which classes you have taken in the past to receive your new quote.

yeast and nuruk

Paul sticky










What is the Susubori Brewer’s Club?

This is an online forum for all experienced makgeolli brewers to share their experiences, issues and to share feedback on their brewing progress.  You can join the group here, and share your own experiences, ask questions and learn from others in the community.

How Much Does The Course Cost?

The full cost for each module is 450,000won all materials and tuition included.

Mak mixing

What is the Refund/Cancellation Policy?

If you sign up for the course and for some reason can no longer attend, refunds can only be offered before the commencement of the course.  Therefore please make sure you are 100 percent sure you will be able to attend before making your payment.  If in the event we are unable to hold the class due to low registration numbers or any unforeseen circumstances, your class fee may be refunded.


How Do I Register?

Simply follow the link here to the course page here and click ‘Register’.

I Have More Questions!!

Go ahead and send us an email!  If there is anything you would like to ask us, please send an email to and we will do our best to answer it for you.

Makgeolli Class outside Susubori

We look forward to brewing, tasting and learning more about this amazing drink with you all :)


Makgeolli Mamas & Papas

Nano Galmaegi (나노갈매기) starts at 17,000₩ for 450g of pork (갈매기살)...

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Nano Galmaegi (나노갈매기) starts at 17,000₩ for 450g of pork (갈매기살) but the unlimited steamed egg (계란찜, gyeran jjim) makes me so happy. The garlic marinated pork is the best here.

Beyond Busan: Seoul Searching

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I have been in Seoul nearly two weeks now and it feels like a year’s worth of events have taken place in the blink of an eye.  What is “sleep”?  What is “free time”?  In this video, you’ll see the progression from my suitcases exploding in my new apartment to a place that feels like home.  It feels like a dorm room, and while I’d much rather live in an environment I’ve decorated in a sophisticated manner, my biggest priority this year is using my 2 generous vacation periods to see the world.

My work day is an hour shorter in theory, but realistically I’m doing a lot more work than I did in Busan.  It’s exciting because my day passes by quickly and I have quite a bit of control over what my students are learning.  The environment is friendly and helpful.  The decor of the school uses bright pastels and is organized, simple, and understated.  My classroom has resources on the walls – not distractions.  It’s perfect for me as I found I was constantly battling kids playing with things on the walls in previous environments.  Without going into too much detail, I have polite, energetic, and studious kids.  I really enjoy the way my schedule has been presented to me (even if I’m exhausted by the end of the day!).

I’ve joined a gym and a Korean language class held weekly at WinK Taphouse.  This week I plan to lock in a routine of work, gym, Korean homework, blogging, and an early night’s rest in an attempt to get settled.  This adjustment has not been easy, but it was certainly been interesting!  I get the feeling that in Seoul creativity is encouraged and inspiration could strike at any moment.  As an artist, the ability to take risks and be whimsical and silly is really exciting!  Expect several posts in the coming days about my whirlwind final weeks living in Busan and my first couple of fast-paced weeks living an authentic Seoulcialite life.

The Toronto Socialite
That Girl Cartier


Bogwangsa Temple – 보광사 (Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The historic Manse-ru Pavilion at Bogwangsa Temple in Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Located just north of the Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do city centre is Bogwangsa Temple. Bogwangsa Temple was first constructed by Uisang-daesa in the 7th century. Later, in the 14th century, the temple was designated the protector of the Cheongsong Shim family (a little more on that later).

You first approach Bogwangsa Temple up a long country road. If you’re driving, be careful because the road has undergone a fair bit of reconstruction and there are sharp rocks along the way. Don’t be like me and slice a tire open along the way.

The first signs that you’re nearing the temple are the turtle-based stele out in front of the temple grounds. A little further along, and past the temple parking lot, is the Manse-ru Pavilion that separates the outer world with the inner temple courtyard. The Manse-ru Pavilion was first constructed in 1429 as a place for the Cheongsong Shim family to meet. In fact, King Sejong ordered this pavilion to be built for his wife, Queen Soheon (1395-1446), to whom her family belonged to the Cheongsong Shim clan.

Passing to the right of the Manse-ru Pavilion, and before you enter the main temple courtyard, you’ll probably be welcomed to the temple by a friendly female Jindo dog. For the rest of your trip around the temple grounds, she’ll probably keep you company.

Having finally stepped into the main temple courtyard, you’ll first see the diminutive Geukrak-jeon main hall in front of you. Out in front of this hall is an equally smaller sized three tier stone pagoda. As for the Geukrak-jeon Hall, it was first constructed in 1429, alongside the Manse-ru Pavilion. Sometime during the early to mid-Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the Geukrak-jeon Hall was destroyed. It wasn’t until the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty, and during its renovation, that it was discovered that the newly built Geukrak-jeon Hall had been formerly constructed in 1615.

While the exterior walls to this hall are largely unadorned, it’s while stepping inside the main hall that you’ll be welcomed by beautiful murals and statues. Resting on the main altar are a triad of uniquely made sculptures. In the centre rests Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power and Wisdom for Amita-bul). This triad is then backed by a new altar mural. Filling out the rest of the main hall is a guardian mural in the same style as the large main altar painting.

To the left rear of the main hall is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Slightly elevated over top of the Geukrak-jeon Hall, and all but unadorned, once more, you’ll be welcomed inside the shaman shrine hall by a triad of shaman paintings. The first of the three, and in the far left corner, is an elaborate Sanshin mural dedicated to the Mountain Spirit. This mural is joined to the right by an older mural of Chilseong (The Seven Stars) as well as Dokseong (The Lonely Saint).

The other buildings at Bogwangsa Temple are buildings for the nuns like the nuns’ dorms and the temple kitchen.

HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest and fastest way to get to Bogwangsa Temple is to take a taxi from the Cheongsong Intercity Bus Terminal. By taxi it should take 10 minutes and cost 3,000 won.

OVERALL RATING: 6/10. Bogwangsa Temple has a royal past that’s linked closely to the famed King Sejong. The historic Manse-ru Pavilion and the Geukrak-jeon main hall are a close link to this past. And when you add into the mix the beautiful temple artwork like the main altar statues and paintings, as well as the elaborate Sanshin mural inside the Samseong-gak, and Bogwangsa Temple makes for a nice little trip outside Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.


The turtle-based stele at the entry of Bogwangsa Temple.


The temple grounds as you first approach Bogwangsa Temple.


The friendly Jindo dog with the diminutive three tier pagoda next to her.


A look inside the historic Manse-ru Pavilion at Bogwangsa Temple.


The 17th century Geukrak-jeon Hall.


The doily that welcomes you inside the main hall.


The main altar inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall.


A closer look at Amita-bul that centres the main altar.


The guardian mural inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall.


What a view!!


The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall to the left rear of the main hall.


The elaborate Sanshin mural at Bogwangsa Temple.


As well as the Chilseong mural.


And the Jindo exhausted after our little walk around the temple grounds.

Should Jeju Build An Underwater Train Tunnel To Solve Flight Problems?

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After high winds & the biggest snowfall in three decades canceled flights & stranded thousands of passengers at Jeju’s only airport in January, an old but still untested idea resurfaced. Could problems related to weather delays & increasing travel to Jeju Island be solved by an underwater train tunnel? Korea FM spoke with Kojects construction & urban development writer Nikola Medimorec & Jeju Tourism Organization representative James Shin to find out.

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