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Dear Korea #141: Gyopo Problems

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While I didn’t post this in the morning, the important part is that I posted it on the right day! Yay!

For anyone who may be curious, the writing on the kid’s arm says 방구, which translates to “fart”.

As much as I wish I could say this really happened, I was too much of a wuss, even if literally no one else in my school could read any Korean. That being said, due to the high demand for me to draw marker-based temporary tattoos, there were many children running around with very badly written Korean characters on their hands and arms. When they insisted that I write things in Chinese, I just drew in a bunch of random lines to appease the masses. It’s probably for the best that I never went into the tattoo business.

Jen Lee's Dear Korea

This is Jen Lee. She likes to draw.
She also likes green tea.

Got any questions, comments, or maybe even some delicious cookies you want to send through the internet? Feel free to contact us at dearkoreacomic at gmail dot com.

You can also leave comments on the comic’s Facebook Page!


Life in the Meantime

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So I had all these cool cooking projects planned for this week and even bought my groceries a few days earlier than usual so I’d be all set to hit the ground running this lovely Monday morning, and then I went to pour my steamed milk into my coffee yesterday, and something funky was going on.

The milk was off. Thinking maybe I’d grabbed a bottle with a borderline expiration date while not paying attention, I checked the date on the side, but it said May 4. Come to think of it, I had to throw some pork out the night before for smelling off, too.

I reckon I’m some kind of genius, because it took me two or three days to realize the fridge was on the fritz. Not completely dead, mind you, but just not cooling properly at all. B wanted to call a repair guy at first, but our fridge is one we got secondhand for 50,000 won a few years ago when we had to furnish an entire apartment all at once. It didn’t make sense to pay 100,000 won or so to fix the fridge we payed half that amount for in the first place.

Now I’m in a bit of a state worrying over the kimchi and various expensive jangs (fermented sauces) I’ve got in there, because the new fridge isn’t set to arrive for another day or two. The other stuff is a bummer, but the freezer’s still working, so the meat will make it out alive (so to speak), at least. Of course this had to happen in May and not three months ago, when I could’ve just put everything out on the veranda.

But the fridge conundrum finally put some pressure on an issue that’s been lying dormant since we returned from Europe: The Move. While paying more than we paid for the fridge in the first place to repair it doesn’t make sense, buying a new one if we are going to sell everything and leave the country in a year or so doesn’t really make sense either.

Similar things have been happening all month — the frying pan is finally done for. Do I spring for a nice cast iron pan that we could use for over a decade or run down to Emart to grab a cheap nonstick pan to get us through the next year? I wanted a nice set of Japanese knives for my birthday, but would I be able to take them on the plane to Germany?

I bypassed both the cast iron and the knives, but by the time we got to the fridge, I felt like it was time to have a little chat.

By the end of 2015, I was pretty much done with Korea. Not forever, obviously, but for the foreseeable future. I was ready for a break. My job was… all the worst things about Korea in overdrive, basically, and it was consuming my life. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I was in some serious need of some absence.

Now things are looking a little bit different. I vowed to myself, while we were in Europe, to return to Seoul and live here the way I did while I was on vacation, taking advantage of everything the city has to offer, looking for new and exciting things to do and eat, new places to visit. I’d fallen into a terrible rut of working and sleeping, sleeping and working, grabbing dinner at the same three places near the office, making the same few boring meals at home when I had time, and ordering in to fill in the gaps. I didn’t have time for anything else.

My days were full of pushy commutes, rush hour grocery shopping, weird office politics, way too much unpaid overtime, a never-ending struggle to keep on top of the laundry and a litany of canceled plans with friends. Now, instead, I take a walk around the neighborhood or down by the river every morning. I visit the markets during the day to chat with the women there and get their advice about ingredients, what and how to cook. I write and research what I want, when I want. I bake fresh bread every other day. I’m signing up for a pottery class at the studio up the road, visiting the neighborhood mill, eating at some of the best and coolest restaurants the city has to offer and visiting neighborhoods I haven’t seen yet in nearly three years of living in Seoul.

Of course it can’t go on forever. The center won’t hold, and eventually I’ll have to go back to earning more money. But damned if I’m not going to do my best to find a way to do it without sacrificing everything that makes living here worthwhile.

As for Germany, we didn’t reach any conclusions. I’m not really sure what B is thinking. I think life being less frantic for me has calmed it a bit for him as well. He’s got contract with a firm that doesn’t require overtime, at the moment, and I think me being free to handle a larger share of the home stuff has taken a lot of pressure off of him as well. B ended our chat about it yesterday thusly: “일단 냉장고 사고… 그것… 우리… 뭐, 생각해 보제.” For now let’s just buy the fridge and then… well…. we… you know, let’s just think about it. The phrasing was familiar. It was the same way my old editor-in-chief phrased his answers when I raised an issue about something he was asking me to do — first just do it, and we’ll talk about the specifics later. Only later never came.

Nothing has been solved, but I’m feeling okay about that, for now. And I’m more excited than any normal person should be about the new fridge.


The post Life in the Meantime appeared first on Follow the River North.

Follow the River North

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.

Books & Stuff    Cafés & Shops     Korean Food & Ingredients      Personal     Recipes       Restaurants & Bars

The Cafe la siesta 8bit bar is a hole-in-the-wall dive bar in...

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The Cafe la siesta 8bit bar is a hole-in-the-wall dive bar in Kyoto that has a bunch of old-school games you can play. It’s really small, but the decor is fun and we had so much fun just nerding out by ourselves in the bar.


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.


Translation: Homosexuality is even prying into teenager's lives

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This news report from TV Chosun on homosexuality and young adults in South Korea is alarmist and sure to make your blood boil. Luckily, it's not on one of the major networks, but it is feeding misinformation into viewers who already probably have negative views of homosexuality. I tried to replicate the ridiculousness of the style in which the news report was presented, but check out the original for the video.  

In todays news, we are looking at how homosexuality is increasing among teenagers as well, the shocking issue that has until now been solely regarded as a problem in other countries. Across the world, the number of people infected with aids has been decreasing, but only in our country is this number increasing. Specifically, the number of patients has surpassed 10,000 and the rate for teens and individuals in their 20s are reasons behind the increasing rate. While the pathology of AIDS infection is controversial, if we look at Korea in 2016, we see that clubs are continuing to be operated for gay males across cities and on the internet it is easy to come into contact with comics that deal with homosexuality.
Park Sang-hyeon reporting.  
Early morning in Itaewon, Seoul at a club exclusively for gay males. Five men are on the stage dancing a feminine dance while other men cheer on the side.  

One man wearing make-up and with long hair went as far as dressing up like a woman. In the streets you see men holding hands or walking arm in arm and can even easily see men engaged in skinship.
Itaewon Merchant:
They came from somewhere else, right? Another neighborhood. (Do they also hook up?) It seems that way so I dont really understand. During the day nobody is here, but at night I sell them things.

In Jongno, at night it becomes easy to find gay men.

During the day, Nakwon-dong is full of workers but when the sun starts to set it becomes a place for homosexuals to meet.
The rainbow is the gay males symbol. Here you can find men holding rainbow umbrellas or bars with rainbow signs.
Taxi Driver
They secretly try to do skinship so I say what are you doing (some sort of ambiguous expression about tipping and living). There are bars you know. They are done up well (pretty) so if you are a man you might be interesting.

Homosexual culture is also found between teenagers. There are even new words between teenagers with meanings related to homosexuality.

High Schooler
Do you know the acronyms BL (boy love) and GL (girl love)? These kids hook arms and hug each other from behind. (How many are in your school?) Like 4 or 5 people.
On the internet, you can also find webtoons with homosexual content. You can readily find webtoons displaying skinship between men. Teenagers indiscriminately are accepting these webtoons that have homosexuality as a subject. 

High Schooler
(Do you see a lot of gay webtoons) There are more than you would think, but its not really gross or anything. If you dont want to read them, then dont read them.

Putting aside the growing controversy of whether homosexuality should be permitted, to some extent it is seeping into the minds of young people. 


Food Trucks Compete At Seoul Night Market In Yeouido Han River Park

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The Seoul Night Market opened earlier this month with a competition to choose which foods trucks will have permanents spots at the Yeouido Han River Park through the end of October. Korea FM attended the competition & spoke with one of the judges, A Fat Girl’s Food Guide writer Gemma Wardle, as well as food truck owners & customers who attended the event.

iTunes 96x33 Spreaker 96x33 Stitcher 96x33 Tune In Smaller Soundcloud 95x33

Interview answers, both in written & audio form, have been edited for length & clarity.








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The post Food Trucks Compete At Seoul Night Market In Yeouido Han River Park appeared first on Korea FM - Independent Podcasts, News & Music.

Daewonam Hermitage – 대원암 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do)

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The view from Daewonam Hermitage near Pyochungsa Temple in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Daewonam Hermitage is located to the west of the famed Pyochungsa Temple in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do. When you first approach the compact courtyard to Daewonam Hermitage, you’ll notice a uniquely designed entrance gate. There are two fading murals of a dragon to the left on the exterior walls of the gate. The interior has some fiercely painted guardians on either side of the gate as you first enter it. And as you pass into the courtyard, you’ll notice, what seems to be, two of the ten Ox-Herding murals.

Having passed through the uniquely illustrated gate, you’ll notice the kitchen complex to the left and the nuns’ dorms to the right. Strangely, the main hall appears more like a dorm than it does like a main hall. Stepping up onto the hallway that rests just outside the entrance of the main hall, you’ll be able to see the older-looking guardian painting tucked away in the corner on the far left. I slid the doors open nervously, not knowing if I was opening a nuns’ dorm or the main hall. Fortunately, I was opening the door to the main hall. Resting on the walls next to the main altar are a pair of stars: one pink and one gold. This is combined with a ceiling full of pink paper lotus flowers.  And sitting on the main altar is a centralized Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). And he’s flanked by Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife) to the left and Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) to the right. Other than this, there’s an altar on the far right wall for the deceased and nothing else inside the main hall.

Passing by the kitchen to your left, on the way up to the Samseong-gak shaman shrine, you’ll notice a door opening to your right. This opening is attached to the main hall, and looks to be a storage area. Resting on the wall, above a make-shift altar, is a painting of Jowang (The Fireplace King Spirit).

Continuing, you’ll walk up an uneven set of stone stairs on your way towards the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. The paintings of the three shaman deities inside this hall are beautiful. Both the Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), as well as the Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) paintings are newer looking, while the Chilseong (The Seven Stars) painting in the centre is definitely older in appearance. The exterior of this hall is painted with murals that are related to these three shaman deities.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Pyochungsa Temple, take an intercity bus to the Miryang bus terminal.  From there, you can catch a bus to Pyochungsa Temple which runs from 7:35 a.m. to 8:20 p.m. every 40 minutes.  The ride will take you between 40 to 50 minutes. Instead of heading straight towards the Iljumun Gate, head right at a road that heads towards the hermitage.

OVERALL RATING: 3/10. This hermitage will certainly not blow you away with its splendour. With that being said, there are a few highlights to Daewonam Hermitage. One highlight is the fierce looking guardians inside the entrance gate. Another is the decorative main hall and the Jowang mural in the adjacent storage area. Finally, the older looking Chilseong painting inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall is another highlight that shouldn’t be overlooked at this hermitage. In combination with Pyochungsa Temple, it can make for a nice little outing in Miryang, Gyeongsangnam.


The gate that welcomes you to Daewonam Hermitage.


A dragon mural that adorns the outer walls of the entry gate.


A look through the entry gate towards the main hall at the hermitage.


One of the guardian murals that adorns the entry gate.


As well as another guardian mural.


One of the Ox-Herding murals that adorns the inner portion of the entry gate.


The diminutive main hall at Daewonam Hermitage.


The view of the neighbouring mountains from the main hall.


The guardian mural that hangs just outside the main hall entrance.


The colourful main hall interior.


The extremely rare kitchen guardian, Jowang, at Daewonam Hermitage.


The fierce tiger that adorns the exterior walls to the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.


The older and elaborate Chilseong mural inside the shaman shrine hall.


As well as the accompanying Dokseong mural.

Depending on what you want to do, it might be a good idea to get...

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Depending on what you want to do, it might be a good idea to get the one-day bus pass to see Kyoto, Japan.

We got a bus pass the day we walked around Gion district and went to Ryozen Kannon (霊山観音) and Kinkaku-ji (金閣)

I really enjoyed playing “tourist” in Kyoto. It feels like everyone is doing that there, foreigners and Japanese alike. A lot of people even pay money to get made-up like a maiko (apprentice geisha) for a few hours and walk around Kyoto. If you want that experience, seems like this would be the perfect place to have it.

Burger Bang in Bukchon

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Yesterday my friend and I were supposed to meet at Arario for lunch, and meet at Arario for lunch we did, but about an hour after we had planned to. AWL Fridays are tending, so far, to not really go as planned, because the museum restaurants finish lunch service at 2, and — although the websites and signs out front don’t say so — then take a break. We arrived at 2 on the dot and were promptly turned away.

Luckily, my friend, being the master of Seoul north of the river that she is, knew of a place just around the corner.

Burger Bang in Bukchon, Seoul.

Burger Bang in Bukchon, Seoul.

Burger Bang (that’s 뱅, not 방, for anyone who wants to Naver it) is located in Wonseo-dong, just to the west of Changdeokgung Palace. In fact, you can see the palace from the second floor of the restaurant, which is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and full of light.

Burger Bang in Bukchon, Seoul.

Changdeokgung is one of my favorite places in Seoul — a friend took me there a few days after I first arrived in Korea, and I still try to get over there to see the rear garden at least once or twice a year (my fondness for the place has even endured a rather traumatic language school listening test about the layout of the palace). It was the perfect day to sit and have a glass of 5,000-won house wine and a fantastic burger with the palace in the background. The owner told us they’d been open for about 5 months. They also do take-out, and although I learned later that they rest from 3pm-5pm and last order is supposed to be at 2, they served us even though we walked in the door at about 2:20.

Burger French at Burger Bang in Bukchon, Seoul.

Burger French at Burger Bang in Bukchon, Seoul.

I had some reservations about ordering the French burger, which is topped with onion, mayo, bacon, a fried egg and asparagus. I love asparagus, but I knew that if it wasn’t cooked properly, I’d be begging for a burgerpocalypse. There is nothing I hate more than a burger falling apart on me — if you can’t pick up a burger and eat it with relative comfort and ease, it shouldn’t be called a burger.

Burger French at Burger Bang in Bukchon, Seoul.

Burger French at Burger Bang in Bukchon, Seoul.

I had nothing to worry about. The burger held together and was absolutely delicious. The meat was just worked enough, just pink enough and well seasoned. The runny egg yolk was sopped up by the soft, crusty brioche bun (which Burger Bang makes in house, daily), and the asparagus was crisp but not woody.

My second choice, had I decided not to go with the burger French, would have been the American chili burger, which comes topped with cheddar, onion, chili con carne and mustard sauce, but it was a distant second, and I settled for trying the chili fries instead.

Burger Bang (2 of 8)

I think I might be kind of hard to impress with chili. The flavor of this chili was nice with a good amount of heat, but where I come from, chili means black beans, kidney beans and all things dark and heavy. This chili used navy beans, which I apparently managed to get over, because we polished them off, anyway.

My friend ordered the burger bang, with cheddar, onion, tomato, bacon, spinach and mayo. We did a quarter-burger exchange, and hers was good, too, but we both agreed the burger French was the real deal. Burger Bang also offers the burger American, with onion, cheddar and mustard, and the burger Italian, with mozzarella, arugula, Parmigiano-Reggiano and tomato sauce. The burgers range from 8,000-13,000 won, and a set, with soda and fries, is an additional 4,000. A side of regular fries is 5,000 won, while the chili fries are 8,000. You can also order coffee, smoothies, and fruit ades. On the grown-up beverage side of the menu, they offer a nice selection of imported bottled beer for 8,000-12,000 won and house white and red wine, 5,000 for a glass and 30,000 for a bottle. Oh, and a note for my fellow Texans out there: They have Dr Pepper.

For all of the exciting, weird and wonderful things there are to eat these days in Seoul, it can still be surprisingly hard to find a good burger. I sat there for a good three minutes contemplating taking a photo of my empty plate when I was finished eating simply because it was exactly that: empty. There was no disgusting soup of improperly-rested-beef juices and unnecessary sauces. And the bun held its weight without being heavy, thanks to its proper crust. Even the little pile of young greens and tomato served beside the burger was dressed beautifully and not just thrown on the plate to take up space. Burgers are simple, but that’s why the magic is in the details, and Burger Bang manages to nail those.

Burger Bang
서울시 종로구 원서동 156
156 Wonseo-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Monday-Saturday 11:30am-9pm (closed from 3pm-5pm, last order at 2pm)

The post Burger Bang in Bukchon appeared first on Follow the River North.

How to Say ‘Honey’ in Korean

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If you have a Korean boyfriend or girlfriend, then you are going to want to call them by a special name. Terms of endearment can help you feel closer and show your feelings. In English, people often call their partners ‘honey’.

Today, we are going to learn how to say ‘honey’ in Korean. Learn the word for ‘honey’ and help make your relationship even better!

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


‘Honey’ in Korean

Honey in Korean Honey

The word for the type of honey that bees make is 꿀 (kkul), or 벌꿀 (beolkkul). 벌 means ‘bee’ so this second word is literally ‘bee honey’. Even though your boyfriend or girlfriend is undoubtedly very sweet, don’t use these words to call them honey!

If you want to call your girlfriend or boyfriend ‘honey’, then you should use the word 여보 (yeobo) or the word 자기 (jagi). Ask your partner which one they prefer and use that word to call them by. The English word ‘honey’, written in Korean as 허니 (heoni), is also sometimes used.

A Word of Caution About Romanization

Although using Romanized Korean words can be a useful way to pick up a few words, it can only get you so far. If you truly want to learn Korean, then it is a good idea to take the time to learn Hangul, the Korean alphabet.

Understanding Hangul can help you notice grammar points and articles, and separate these from vocabulary, making it easier to learn both. It will also help you with your pronunciation and intonation, and the best thing is, it is very easy to learn. In fact, Hangul can be learned in just 90 minutes!

If you want to learn some more essential phrases, check out this article or try our full Korean course.

Alternate Uses of ‘Honey’ in Korean

Honey in Korean

While the word 여보 only means ‘honey’, the word 자기 can mean ‘honey’, but it can also mean ‘self’, ‘myself’, or ‘oneself’. For example, you might hear the phrase 자기 소개 (jagi sogae). This phrase means ‘self-introduction’, not ‘introduce your honey’.

As the word for ‘self’ is usually used in formal settings, and the word ‘honey’ is usually used in informal situations, it should be easy to tell which one is which based on the context.

Sample Sentences

Formal / Polite:

Honey in Korean 2

The word ‘honey’ is not usually used in formal situations like interviews or presentations, just as it wouldn’t be used in these situations in English.

You may wish to talk about your partner in the third person when speaking politely or formally to others. In these situations, it would be better to use a term such as husband (남편), wife (아내), boyfriend, or girlfriend (read the article: How to Say ‘Friend’ in Korean to learn how to say ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ in Korean).



When talking to someone who you feel is your ‘honey’, use informal Korean.


자기, 내 열쇠 봤어? (jagi, nae yeolsoe bwasseo?)

Honey, have you seen my keys?


자기야, 나는 집이야 (jagiya, naneun jipiya.)

I’m at home, honey.

오늘 하루는 어땠어 여보? (oneul haruneun eottaesseo yeobo?)

How was your day, honey?


Now that you know how to say ‘honey’ in Korean, go out and tell your loved one that they are your ‘honey’.


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series:

Korean lessons   *  Korean Phrases    *    Korean Vocabulary *   Learn Korean   *    Learn Korean alphabet   *   Learn Korean fast   *  Motivation    *   Study Korean  


Please share, help Korean spread! 



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