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Frozen Friday: Korean Ice Cream Tasting! #2

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This time we taste a famous Korean ice cream bar – the 돼지 바 Dwegi Bar! Is it good?! Why would they call it a pig bar? We have no idea!

The post Frozen Friday: Korean Ice Cream Tasting! #2 appeared first on Evan and Rachel.



Exam season

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Exam season
Wanderings and Ramblings of an ESL teacher currently based in a tiny mountain town near the North Korean border.

A Day in Damyang – Bamboo Haven

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The town of Damyang is located near Gwangju in Jeollanam-do.  This to …

Stories of Seoul: Mason

7 Warning Signs You Need to Learn Korean

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There are many reasons you may procrastinate starting a big new project, and learning a new language is no different. When you think too much about learning a foreign language – especially an Asian language like Korean – the task can become a real mental monster. There may also be other reasons to avoid learning it, and one may be that you don’t see it as necessary. But the fact is, even if you’re just travelling to Korea short term, a little bit of basic language knowledge will go a long way.

If you are living in Korea and have still not started learning Korean, here are 7 warning signs you need to start doing so immediately:

1. You rely on a lot of gestures, body language and pointing!

Yes, nonverbal communication is important. But it should be used to supplement  your (even basic) language skills. If you’re the person in the restaurant who just repeats yourself faster and louder in English and flails your arms around when someone doesn’t understand you, it’s time to buckle down and study Korean.

Knowing just the basics will help you out in a variety of situations and make things less awkward for all involved.

2. People look scared when you approach them and speak to them…then even more scared after you start speaking!

If you’re an expat in Korea, many Koreans just assume you are going to speak English to them when you approach. That explains their look of anxiety! But it’s easy to make them feel comfortable and relaxed if you show you’re making an effort to speak Korean. Greet them with a friendly smile and an 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo)!

On the other hand, if they look even more scared after you start speaking in English and you make no effort to make them comfortable, then it’s high time you crack out the study books.

3. You expect others to speak English and force it on them

Imagine the reverse in your country – a foreigner comes up to you and starts speaking their language, assuming you should help them and understand them! Yes, there are many cases where Koreans are happy to assist in English, but just make sure you’re not forcing English on them and putting them into awkward situations.

Perhaps learn the phrase “영어 말 할수있어요?” (yeongeo-mal-hal-su-isseoyo?) meaning “Can you speak English?” At least this way, they have a chance to help you find another individual who can speak English without making the situation awkward.

4. You are dating a Korean and only speak in English

Relationships can be stressful on one partner if they bear the burden of all the language responsibilities. Think of the difficult situations where they want to express something but cannot do so in their native language. Even if your partner is comfortable speaking English with general topics does not mean that they are able to fully communicate their feelings in more delicate situations – especially when they are feeling emotional and it’s harder to think in a second language.

Try learning some Korean if for no other reason than to help take the burden off your partner. Show them you’re interested in them and their culture. If you’re just complacent and taking for granted that they are the one who should speak your language, they may begin to sense this.

Is it time to start studying?

And hey, if you’re not dating a Korean but hope to some day, not knowing any Korean significantly decreases your dating pool. Use this as motivation to begin the journey of learning Korean!

5. You’re constantly asking others to help you with everything

Let’s face it, it’s nice to be independent.

It’s ok to ask for help, but if it’s for every little thing, you may wish to take back some of your independence. Start learning how to do everyday tasks in Korean. Start small. Learn how to talk to taxi drivers. Get comfortable ordering food in a  restaurant. Then try calling up to order delivery to your house.

After a short time, you’ll become confident speaking basic sentences whereas before you may have avoided Korean-style places or asked others to help you because you were afraid of the language barrier.

This warning sign is an important one because it means lots of missed opportunities. There are so many things you can do, see and learn really easily if you know basic Korean. Take back your independence and instead of asking someone to do it for you next time, ask them to teach you how to do it for yourself!

6. You still speak English to taxi drivers or call the interpreter

You’ll see the signs in the taxis in Korea – you can call for an interpreter if you need one. But why bother?

If you’re still relying on English to get you around the city, this is a severe warning sign you need to learn Korean fast!

Speaking to taxi drivers is a lot simpler than many other tasks you may try to learn to do in Korean – all you need to do is communicate where you want to go, and when you want them to stop! There is no excuse for not learning to communicate to them and it can be learned in 5 minutes.

7. You Use Romanized letters to write in Korean and not Hangeul

Using Romanized letters to write Korean takes longer, is much less accurate, and takes more time to type.

It’s much faster to write in Hangeul! For example, if you’re writing out an application form or another document where you need your address, you can write out the Korean address in half the time it takes to write it in English characters.

If you’re still using this method to write Korean, this may very well be a warning sign it’s time to learn. It takes less than an hour, so learn the Korean alphabet now! It’s actually a lot of fun to learn them and to start using them! It feels really good to be able to write in another language with an entirely different writing system!

What are your thoughts on these warning signs? Are you one of these people? Do you disagree with any of them? Start the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Neil Kremer

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  
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K-Pop Book Giveaway Winner! (K-Pop Now!)

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It was a lot of fun reading through the 130+ entries for the free K-Pop book, “K-Pop Now!”, which is offered by the folks over at Tuttle Publishing. Many great answers from people who are clearly K-Pop fans.
I enjoyed reading through the answers and getting down to the best was quite difficult. Without further adieu, here is the winner.

Also, here are some of the great answers I received.

good 4 B K Pop Book Giveaway Winner! (K Pop Now!)

good 5 B K Pop Book Giveaway Winner! (K Pop Now!)

good 7 B K Pop Book Giveaway Winner! (K Pop Now!)

good 8 B K Pop Book Giveaway Winner! (K Pop Now!)

Winner B K Pop Book Giveaway Winner! (K Pop Now!)

The post K-Pop Book Giveaway Winner! (K-Pop Now!) appeared first on The Red Dragon Diaries.

the Red Dragon Diaries

ESL, Travel, and Judo!

If you’re looking for something to outdoors in Seoul, from...

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If you’re looking for something to outdoors in Seoul, from May to October, you can check out the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain (반포대교 달빛무지개분수). It’s a light and water show (with music!) in Banpo Hangang Park, which is a pretty fun place to hang out anyway. Lots to do there, such as ride bicycles, have a picnic, fly a kite, or throw a Frisbee.

The 15 minute show is free, and you can check it out at these times:


Weekdays : 12:00, 20:00, 21:00

Weekends : 12:00, 17:00, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00, 21:30


Weekdays : 12:00, 20:00, 21:00

Weekends : 12:00, 17:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00, 21:30


Weekdays : 12:00, 20:00, 21:00

Weekends : 12:00, 17:00, 20:00, 20:30, 21:00, 21:30

Directions: Walk from Dongjak Station (subway line 4) Exit 1 or 2.

About the girl

Hi, I'm Stacy. I am from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living and teaching ESL in Busan, South Korea. Busy getting into lots of adventures, challenging myself, and loving people. Something more than an ethereal will-o-wisp.

Thank you so much for visiting and reading.

Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, LastfmFlickr, and FacebookAsk me anything


"We have to pretend to be a couple.": Weekend Adventure Part 2

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So let's see...where did I leave off? Ah yes. Bubble tea. Myeongdong. I had plans to meet Yun around 2, so I settled down on a rock...bench...thing in front of the art museum to wait, splitting my time between people watching and reading. The only problem with the choice to read a book is that when he showed up, he was able to scare the living daylights out of me. I now only possess dead daylights. It's a modern tragedy.

The view from my seat.

I haven't known Yun for long, or at least, we haven't spent much time together, but I feel remarkably...relaxed and comfortable around him. Sure, he scolds me if I speak too much English and teases me when I speak Korean like an old lady, but it's in an undeniably friendly, light-hearted way. We escaped the heat in Cafe Pascucci, and eventually decided to track down a noraebang to hide in during the worst of the hot afternoon, then adventure over to the Hanok village area. I don't know what it is about Korean guys, but I feel like they either want to take you drinking, or take you to culture landmarks. Or both. I mean, I don't mind, but it's almost a sure bet that you'll end up in a bar or a palace.


I'd never been to noraebang before either A) during the day or B) while sober, so I have to admit I was a little nervous. I suppose we could have bought some beer, but Yun had a cold and didn't want any, and I didn't want to be the awkward person drinking alone. Luckily for me, for both of us I guess, everything turned out just fine! Also, may I just say, he has a surprisingly good singing voice. No offense to most of the people I go to noraebang with, but I'm used to singing with people make up in enthusiasm what they lack in skill. That's all well and good, but to sing Maroon 5 and 2ne1 with someone who appreciates my harmonies and can even call me out when I make a mistake? Glorious.

I'd been to the Hanok village before, but I didn't have the heart to nay-say his suggestion, since I'd already shot down seeing Transformers. One time seeing that hot mess was quite enough, thank you very much. And really, it did seem kinda fun to see the Hanok village again, if only to compare how it looked back in freezing January. It's nice to wander around Seoul with someone who actually knows where he's going, too. Tara, if you're reading this, I'd like to repeat that it was the SCENIC TOUR and we TOTALLY WEREN'T LOST.


We wandered past a group of performers doing the traditional song and dance, and joked around together about joining them. It got even worse, the joking I mean, when we went inside the first house, serendipitously named "Yun's Family House". I started us off by thanking him for inviting me to his house, and from then on we were...just...really dumb. When we came to a room we weren't allowed to go into, he'd mention his mom was very strict. At a bedroom he assured me I'd could stay there the next time I was in Seoul. A palanquin was offered up at my new car. I don't know if it was the heat, my own dumb sense of humor, or what, but I promise it was hilarious at the time. Really. Stop looking at me like that.

This was frozen the last time I went!

Dinner was a bit of an adventure, but after some criss-crossing we managed to find a place that was both acceptably delicious and not closed. Over steaming bowls of stone pot bibimbap, our conversation moved from favorite actors to what kind of people we want to date, from favorite Korean foods to the funny questions taxi drivers ask. He even scolded me for not trying to speak Korean more, which I actually really appreciated. It's easy for me to get lazy when I'm spending time with people who have a high level of English, but that's no excuse!

As it turns out, Yun has this magical app/car service that allows him to use cars that are all over the city. It's seriously amazing. You open the app, it tells you where all the available cars are in your area, and you unlock it straight from the app. I think you even pay for it through the app. Anyways, I bring this up because after eating, we tracked down one of said cars and headed out for what would turn into a fun and one might even say romantic tour of Seoul in the evening.

I rarely drive in Seoul, usually spending my time either walking or down in the subway, so to relax in the passenger seat and watch the city go by was novel and quite enjoyable. I'm not sure I'll ever want to drive in Seoul, though...the traffic was pretty intense and scary, but with a confident driver at the wheel, I felt totally safe. We hit a few of the big sights, past Seoul Station and the palace and the big statue of Sejong the Great and who know what else. Eventually we turned onto what was, to me, an unfamiliar side street that took us winding up a tree-lined road, slowly rising higher and higher above the city as the sun moved lower and lower in the sky, slanting warm and golden through our rolled down windows.

Our destination, and I didn't even know we'd had a destination, was the top of a mountain on the outskirts of the city. Korean mountains, I have to admit, are pretty adorable in comparison to the behemoths I'm used to. I wish I'd taken more pictures, because the place was gorgeous; a big building in the style of a Buddhist temple, trees silhouetted against the setting sun, children and couples everywhere.

Sunset glow.

There was an amazing moment when the sun seemed to sit on a nearby peak, perfectly balanced for a few seconds before sinking below the horizon. It was hard to believe that we hadn't even really left the city. The air was still warm from the sunny day but starting to cool, there was the smallest of breezes to ruffle the trees, and I could feel my stress melting away into the air.

Say cheese.

I didn't get a picture of this, but if you walk around to the other side of the balcony, there's a gorgeous view of the city. There's nothing quite like watching the lights in a city come on as the daylight disappears. I do enjoy living in the countryside, I really do, but there's a part of my heart that will always love the city. The countryside has stars, but the city has neon, and I'm still trying to decide what I like better.

After getting our fill of sunset, we returned to the car for the final leg of our journey: a nighttime drive along the Han river. According to some it's the most beautiful night scenery in the world, and I'll not argue that it's got to be pretty high up on the list. We turned up the radio, rolled down the windows, and I soaked up the scenery. We passed bridge after bridge, some lit up in red or blue or green, some carrying cars, or trains, or subway rails. Neither of us talked, just sank into the comfortable silence of night driving, lost in our own worlds.

Our last stop was the riverside itself, a small park full of people with the same idea as us. Even though there were plenty of people, the whole place had a feeling of quiet, as if everyone was keeping their voices down. Even the raucous laughter of college students drinking beer in the grass felt muted somehow. We joked about there being too many couples, and for a moment Yun put his arm around me with the joke "We have to pretend to be a couple."

It was of those perfect nights, you know? The kind of night that makes you want to say things like "I feel infinite". The kind of night that makes you want to freeze time so you can linger in the warm night air, trying to see past the streetlights and into the stars.

Teacher Pretty
Middle school ESL teacher, lover of pink, eater of kimchi, addicted to Etude House, expert procrastinator, meeter of 2-dimensionial popstars: Ana. That's me.

About   Teaching   Advice   Beauty   How-To   Food   Langauge   Tumblr

Waygook Confessions! 외국인 고백 입니다!

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About Waygook Confessions

Waygook Confessions is an idea that Rachel had years ago, but it didn’t get made until Summer 2014! Here’s the concept: There are tons of cultural differences between Koreans and the foreigners who live in Korea. That’s the case with foreigners living in any country, right? Those differences make life as an expat interesting! Sometimes, an expat foreigner (or 외국 – waygook in Korean) adopts the cultural customs of their host country. Other times.. they don’t! It can be embarrassing when you don’t “do as the Roman’s do” – so sometimes we keep it a secret that we aren’t adhering to the social norms of our host country. Rachel wanted to make a video with people confessing those secrets! And here it is: Waygook Confessions – things that foreigners in Korea want to confess to Koreans!

Things waygooks (foreigners in Korea) want to confess to Koreans! 외국인 고백 입니다! My favorite is the last one!

Who are these people?

Waygook Confessions was filmed at SeoulTube 2014! The event was hosted in Yeouido park, by the Han river. All of the people in the Waygook Confessions video were SeoulTube 2014 attendees – and (almost) all of them have their own YouTube presence! Check them out!

(In order of appearance)

Evan: That’s me, from EvanAndRachel! ;-D
Dominic from Dom & Hyo:
Ryan Cabal:
Jason from Green Tea Graffiti:
Cory May:
Justin aka The Prince of Seoul:
Romin: Tell him to make a channel!
Stephen Worldwide:

We also have to acknowledge our amazing, super hard-working, mega awesome friend Hyojin! She took the time to translate the English confessions into Korean so that we could subtitle the video for our Korean friends and neighbors to enjoy also. Thanks Hyojin, you rock!

Do you have a confession to make? Leave it in the comments, either on the video or here on the website! It doesn’t matter if you’re an expat in Korea or not!

The post Waygook Confessions! 외국인 고백 입니다! appeared first on Evan and Rachel.

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