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My mom and I had a nice trip to Tongdosa (통도사) in Yangsan (양산),...

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small stream as it hasn't been raining much lately



my mom says the water is "medicinal"

My mom and I had a nice trip to Tongdosa (통도사) in Yangsan (양산), which is super easy to get to from Busan. There’s a bus leaving Nopo Bus Terminal every twenty minutes, and the 25-minute ride is only 2,200₩ a person. Once you arrive, ask someone which direction the temple is in and you’ll walk straight for ~15 minutes to the entrance. A ticket is 3,000₩ per person.

You’ll walk for a bit with a small stream to your left and beautiful, thin trees on your right. Eventually, you’ll see old graffiti carved into the rocks on your right, where you’ll curb right, on your way to the temple.

Korea’s largest temple, Tongdosa, is often called “the temple without a Buddha” because it contains no outdoor statues of the Buddha. Tongdosa is one of Korea’s 3 Jewel Temples so it is highly regarded amongst the Buddhists. Of South Korea’s three ‘jewel’ temples, Tongdosa is the easiest to access. While it’s a beautiful tourist spot, it’s important to remember to be respectful because people do still come to this temple to pray.

The temple is impressive to walk around but I especially enjoyed eating nearby. Just slide open the doors to a restaurant, walk in, and order + pay at the register. Then, sit down and enjoy! Prices are reasonable and the food is really good. Don’t forget to go to the cafe and have the dessert, patbingsu –yum!

Hours: 8:30 am - 6:00 pm

Address: 경상남도 양산시 하북면 통도사로 108 (하북면)
108, Tongdosa-ro, Habuk-myeon, Yangsan-si, Gyeongsangnam-do


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.


Korea This Week (June 11 – 17)

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A selection of this week’s news and commentary on Korean culture


I must admit feeling very spoiled reading this recent WSJ piece about the difficulty (read: ‘virtual impossibility’) of wiring the rural United States for broadband. The problem of course boils down to too few customers spread over too large an area, which, barring some massive infrastructure spending initiative, makes laying the requisite amount of fiber optic cable unprofitable.


A Nebraska small-business owner waits for an e-mail to load.

Clocking in at 28.6 Mbps, South Korea still has the highest average broadband connection speed in the world, at something like a third of the price of broadband subscriptions in my country of birth (The U.S.), which just barely cracked the top ten at 18.7 Mbps. Three cheers for population density!



A recent viral video showing Korean lawmaker Kim Moo-sung shoving a wheeled suitcase through an airport arrival gate door without looking has touched some nerves in Korea. In the video, one of Kim’s aids scurries to collect the bag without receiving any form of greeting or even simple acknowledgment, and many people who have viewed the clip have pounced on what they see as a symptom of a work culture whose demands for deference go far beyond simple etiquette and often seem to require something closer to slavish devotion to the boss.

I don’t really have a dog in that race, but the video does strike me as somewhat unflattering to Mr. Kim, though to be fair, his no-look pass could have been intended to fake out someone off-camera, perhaps his wife, who had warned him not to come home with duty-free cigarettes and whiskey…


No-look pass (the cool kind)


Every week, I come across a few articles talking about the spread of Korean cultural products (film, TV, food, music, fashion) to some new corner of the globe, a wide-ranging trend/global marketing strategy better known as Hallyu, or “The Korean Wave”. Some of these articles are legit, others are promotional flak for Korea Incorporated, and some are a bit of both.

Others, like this one noting the popularity of Korean films and music in Northeastern India, are oddly fascinating. In 2002, the People’s Liberation Army banned Hindi films and television broadcasts and suppressed songs sung in Hindi in the Northeastern state of Manipur, where the PLA has been waging an independence movement for several decades. Because nature abhors a vacuum, the people of the region have turned to popular Korean entertainment, which, according to several sources, has become “the prime source of entertainment” in the region.


Pirated DVDs of Korean films and TV dramas have flooded Manipur’s markets

The trend was noted in this 2014 Al Jazeera piece, and by this young Indian blogger, who describes the Korean “cultural imperialism” that has many young people in Manipur greeting each other in Korean, imitating Korean hairstyles and fashion trends, and even heading to Korea for schooling.

As a citizen of the country that gave the world Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Hollywood, I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t occasionally cheer me to hear another country donning the “cultural imperialist” label for a change. It almost even makes up for the slow internet. Almost.

And how was your week?





Baekheungam Hermitage – 백흥암 (Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The entry to Baekheungam Hermitage near Eunhaesa Temple in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Like Unbuam Hermitage, Baekheungam Hermitage is a hermitage directly associated with the neighbouring Eunhaesa Temple in Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do. And like almost all hermitages associated with Eunhaesa Temple, Baekheungam Hermitage is situated to the west of the main temple.

Baekheungam Hermitage was first established in the mid Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Originally, the hermitage directly belonged to Eunhaesa Temple. The shrine, which was to become Baekheungam Hermitage, was first constructed in 1546 to commemorate the spirit of King Injong (r. 1544-45). It was later in 1643 that the main hall, the Geukrak-jeon Hall, was constructed.

You first approach the temple up a long road. To the right, you’ll finally arrive at the hermitage and be greeted by a large Boje-ru Pavilion (much like the one at Unbuam Hermitage). Unlike Unbuam Hermitage, you can’t walk up the stairs at the centre of the pavilion to gain entrance to the hermitage courtyard. Instead, you’ll need to walk to the right through an entry that opens between the nuns’ living quarters and the right exterior wall of the Boje-ru Pavilion. Baekheungam Hermitage is very similar in its architectural layout as Unbuam Hermitage. Book-ending the main hall are a pair of living quarters for the nuns. And to the far left and right, outside the hermitage main courtyard, are the facilities for the nuns like the gardens and the kitchen.

Straight ahead is the main highlight to Baekheungam Hermitage: the Geukrak-jeon Hall. Unfortunately, this hall is off-limits to both visitors and photography except on Buddha’s birthday. I was, however, lucky enough to run into a nun that allowed me entry to this historic building. The Geukrak-jeon Hall is designated Korean Treasure #790. The exterior walls of the building are unpainted. However, once you step inside the main hall, you’ll instantly notice the amazing altar that stands in the middle of the historic hall. Sitting in the centre of the altar is a seated statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). This statue is then joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul). This altar is one of the best examples of Joseon artistry that you’ll find in Korea. The Buddhist altar also just so happens to be Korean Treasure #486. Have a close look at the intricate wood engravings on the five tiers of the altar.

Filling out the rest of the Geukrak-jeon Hall is a haunting Gamno-do (The Sweet Dew Painting) on the far left wall. And this painting is joined on the far right wall by a mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), a guardian mural, as well as a mural dedicated to one of the Ten Kings of the Afterlife.

Depending on when you visit Baekheungam Hermitage, especially during the spring and summer months, the grounds are naturally graced with an assortment of beautiful flowers.

Admittance to Eunhaesa Temple is 3,000 won.

HOW TO GET THERE: You can either catch a bus from Hayang or Yeongcheon bus station. The bus ride will cost you about 2,000 won. It’s probably easier to get to Yeongcheon bus station. The bus to Eunhaesa Temple, from Yeongcheon, leaves 8 times a day and it takes about 45 minutes. The first bus leaves at 6:20 a.m. and the last bus leaves at 8:00 p.m. And from Eunhaesa Temple, you’ll need to continue to walk west of the temple, and along the central road, towards Baekheungam Hermitage. The walk takes about 3.5 km.

OVERALL RATING: 3/10. Baekheungam Hermitage is one of the most difficult hermitages to rate, because it’s so rare that you’ll find a main hall at a temple or hermitage off-limits to the public. With that said, if you’re lucky enough to enter the Geukrak-jeon Hall at Baekheungam Hermitage, the overall rating easily climbs to a six or seven out of ten with its amazing artistry all around the main hall like the main altar and the Gamno-do painting.

Some of the beautiful flowers in and around Baekheungam Hermitage.

A better look at the Boje-ru Pavilion.

The side entry to the hermitage courtyard.

An inside look at the Boje-ru Pavilion that first greeted you at the entry of the hermitage.

The entry to one of the nuns’ quarters at Baekheungam Hermitage.

The exterior of the amazing Geukrak-jeon Hall at Baekheungam Hermitage.

And the view out towards the hermitage courtyard from the Geukrak-jeon Hall.

Sounds Koreans Make – Improve Your Korean with Filler Words

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Ever wondered about some of the sounds Korean people make when speaking Korean? Some of these are called "filler words," and they fill space while adding meaning to your sentence. Using "filler words" can help your Korean to sound more like a native's, and they're easy to remember.

Some of the filler words we'll cover are 있잖아(요), 그, 저, Khhhh (however it's spelled), hissing in, 에이, and extended sounds.

Are there any other sounds or filler words you're curious about? Leave a comment here or on the video.

The post Sounds Koreans Make – Improve Your Korean with Filler Words appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





Expat Summer Vacation Plans Depend On Your Job

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It’s summer time, so Chance & Dan discuss some of their previous trips while living in South Korea & what they plan to do over the next few months. Dan will be heading to Jeju, while Chance will be bitter for working in a profession notorious for never having any days off. Dan also shares another tale from his time as an illegal worker at a Florida bingo hall.

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The post Expat Summer Vacation Plans Depend On Your Job appeared first on Korea FM.

Financial Management for English Teachers

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Financial Management: Let’s Talk Money Money-I know it’s kind of an uncomfortable subject for a whole lot of people and some of you might have the “out of sight, out of mind” attitude towards it. Or, the plan to just enjoy life now and worry about the rest of it …

The post Financial Management for English Teachers appeared first on My Life! Teaching in a Korean University.

Jackie Bolen: How to Get a University Job In Korea


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There’s a Lot of North Korean Alarmism

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BN-SY909_31Zmp_TOP_20170415020347This is a local re-post of a piece I just wrote for The National Interest. Basically my concern here is the regular over-reaction in the West to almost anything military North Korea does. Yes, I am a hawk on Pyongyang; and yes, I worry about the missile program as much as anyone. But I am always amazed at how much hyperbole North Korea can elicit from otherwise smart people who should know better. The missile in pic above got dubbed ‘franken-missile’ – exactly the kind of unnecessarily heated rhetoric that just scares the s*** of people but not much more. But I guess when folks in this area have to worry about what Dennis Rodman thinks, you have to allow them to lose their mind once in awhile.

The full essay follows the jump:

This week North Korea claimed to test an intercontinental ballistic missile, and Western alarmism over that rogue state kicked into over-drive once again. It is true that North Korea is marching toward an ICBM. The North Koreans have hinted for years that they seek the capability to strike the US homeland, and in his January new year’s address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un openly said his country would pursue such a weapon. This is indeed frightening, but the hysteria of the last few months should be tempered by several basic insights:

1. The North Koreans lie.

Just because the North Koreans say they have an ICBM hardly makes it so. Last year, North Korea claimed to detonate a hydrogen bomb. This was false. In trying to resolve the abductee problem with Japan, Pyongyang was nabbed returning incorrect human remains. The George W. Bush administration caught the North Koreans cheating on the Agreed Framework. Pyongyang’s lying on human rights in the North is of epic, orwellian proportions. Throughout various talks and engagement since the early 1990s, the North Koreans continued nuclear development even as they professed denuclearization. Without independent verification, I see no reason why we should accept North Korean claims on almost anything of significance.

California is 5,500 miles from North Korea. No one has actually seen a North Korean missile with that sort of range yet, and the South Korea military is now reporting that the Hwasong-12 missile is just a medium-range rocket after all. In other words, Pyongyang lied. Firing short- and medium-range rockets into the Sea of Japan is hardly evidence the North can strike the Western Hemisphere.

2. North Korean guidance capability is unknown, and likely mediocre at best.

There is also no independent verification that North Korea can actually guide a missile to narrowly defined target at a great distance. ‘Throw-weight’ – the thrust required to ‘throw’ a missile a long way – is necessary but not sufficient for an ICBM program. Dated Soviet technologies are generally considered to be the basis of the Northern missile program, and the Soviets always had trouble with guidance. In the 1970s ‘throw-weight debate,’ US conservatives worried about the sheer size of Soviet missiles, but their bulk was to compensate for the Soviets’ less precise targeting.

A North Korean ICBM may eventually have engines large enough to propel it all the way to the Western Hemisphere, and that in itself is quite frightening. But actually striking a precise target like a city – rather just somewhere in the Rocky Mountains, for example – requires information processing and computerization, not just raw thrust. These are skills closed political systems always struggle to develop, and North Korea is sanctioned as well. The regular troubles of the North’s ‘space program’ illustrate this problem.

This is not impossible of course; the Soviets/Russians and Chinese adapted over time. And almost certainly the North Koreans are working away at this problem. But there is no open-source information that North Korea has mastered this problem, and test-firing rockets into target-less sea spaces is not strong proof. Indeed, this is likely why North Korea has flirted with submarine-launched ballistic missiles; the shorter required range should improve accuracy.

3. The Northern elite is rational.

One of the laziest tropes of pop North Korean analysis is that the Kim family is ‘crazy,’ ‘insane,’ and so on. Even Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte joined in the baseless alarmism this spring by suggesting that Kim Jong Un ‘wants to end the world.’ This makes for great comedy and outrageous villains in the movies but is almost certainly inaccurate. Were the Kim family suicidally mad, they have had many chances to launch a cataclysmic war. They never have.

Crazy people do not rise to the top of powerful states, and if they were to somehow by quirk, they would not last long in the brutally competitive and dangerous politics of most autocracies. We may loathe Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot and the rest, but they were not mentally ill (except perhaps at the end). This is part of why they are so frightening. Their atrocities – which required scale, planning, and complexity – would have been hard to perpetrate if they were insane. The Kim family would not have survived in the unforgiving northeast Asian neighborhood, nor against internal threats, were they not viciously rational, cutthroat survivors.

Similarly, the Kims are not nihilists. They are dangerous norm-breakers, prone to violent outbursts, and have little concern for other people’s lives. But there is much evidence that they value their own lives and indeed use their position at the top of North Korean society to live quite indulgently. Suicide bombing is indeed a frightening element of the war on terror, but there is little to suggest that that applies here. In fact, the Kims are quite crafty and tactical – pushing when they can, pulling back when they must, playing their neighbors against one another for gain, and so on.

This is not a suicidal, ideological, ISIS-like state bent on apocalyptic war but rather a post-ideological gangsterish dictatorship looking to survive.

4. Northern nuclear weapons are almost certainly for regime security, not offense.

The best way to guarantee the North’s survival is nuclear deterrence. North Korea is globally loathed. Even China and Russia worry and would like to see it reform along the lines of post-communist Vietnam or China. Surrounded by enemies, and occasionally threatened by the United States, which has supported regime change in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and so on, nuclear weapons are in fact an excellent Northern (read: Kims and elites) strategic choice. It is a rational decision, given Pyongyang’s goals to, 1) not change internally, and 2) not be attacked externally.

Hawks occasionally suggest North Korean nukes could be used to force unification on Northern terms. Barring their use in a war, I do not see how that is possible, especially given the US-South Korean alliance. And if the North did use them in a unification war, US nuclear retaliation would obviate their value. Indeed, China might well invade an offensive, nuke-launching North Korea just out of sheer terror. Finally, it is hard to see North Korea’s ossified feudal system absorbing a larger, modernized people accustomed to liberal democracy. It is far more realistic to suggest that the North simply wants to hold what it has and sees nuclear weapons as an ultima ratio to do so.

This is not ideal of course. Best would be a de-nuclearized North Korea. But this is highly unlikely at this point. South Korea and Japan have already slowly accustomed themselves to living with the Northern threat over the decades. And the US, after the hysteria of the Cuban Missile Crisis, learned to live with Soviet and Chinese capabilities to strike the homeland with nuclear weapons. Whether the US can also adapt to a North Korean ICBM is one of the great geopolitical questions of the next decade. Alarmism does not help.

Robert E. Kelly is an associate professor of international relations in the Department of Political Science at Pusan National University. More of his writing can be found at his website. He tweets at @Robert_E_Kelly

Filed under: Korea (North), Missiles/Missile Defense, Nuclear Weapons, Strategy, The National Interest

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University




Day 2: Sprout Seoul Food Vegan Menu Review

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Seoul Vegan Food Menu Review Sprout Seoul Natural Healthy Whole Food Service That Girl Cartier Korea Day 2

Be sure to pin this on Pinterest and mention *That Girl Cartier* when you order from Sprout Seoul to get a free snack!

Did you miss Day 1 of my Sprout Seoul Vegan Food in Korea Menu Review?  Click here to check it out!  

Want to learn about Sprout Seoul as a whole?  Visit my rundown on details like directions and how to order on The Toronto Seoulcialite.

Seoul Seoul Vegan Food Review: Raspberry & Cream Chia Seed Pudding Sprout Seoul Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Toronto Seoulcialite Korea

Raspberry & Cream Chia Seed Pudding

I don’t love chia seeds, but I know they’re good for me.  Chia means “strength” in Mayan language.  Aren’t they super high in calories (yes, they are: 100g = 468 calories)? I’m eating about a cup of these EACH MORNING.  They have a bit of the same mouth feeling as the jelly taste of bubble tea balls, just tiny.  I’m gunna need to floss after every meal!  I guess I’m not much of a sweet person in the morning.  I like the raspberry flavour, but chia pudding just isn’t as satisfying as eggs.  I’m getting very full by eating it super slowly, though.

According to DrAxe.Com,  chia seeds have plenty of benefits:

  • Dietary fiber (11g – 42% recommended daily value)
  • Protein (4.4g – 9% RDV)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (4915 mg)
  • Omega-6 fatty acids (1620 mg)
  • Calcium (77 mg – 18% RDV)
  • Copper (0.1 mg – 3% RDV)
  • Phosphorus (265 mg – 27% RDV)
  • Potassium (44.8 mg – 1% RDV)
  • Zinc (1.0 mg – 7% RDV)

“Chia also contains essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including sulphur, iron, iodine,  magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, and they are a rich source of anti-oxidants.”

Sprout Seoul Vegan Menu Food Review Gyro Bowl Millet, Greek spiced sauteed chickpeas, purple onions, and fresh mixed greens and tomatoes with tzatziki sauce on the side.

Gyro Bowl

Millet, Greek spiced sauteed chickpeas, purple onions, and fresh mixed greens and tomatoes with tzatziki sauce on the side.

This is loaded with the greens I’ve been craving!  Only a few chickpeas, but with that cous cous, the tomato and onion I’m getting a real Mediterranean vibe.  Again, I thought I’d need to eat my snack with lunch, but I’m getting really full!  Love the dill cucumber dressing.  Definitely want this recipe!
Sprout Seoul Vegan Menu Food Review :  Texas Caviar (Sweet corn and black eyed peas)

 Texas Caviar

(Sweet corn and black eyed peas)

This snack had tons of black eyed peas and the sharp, tangy pico de gallo I crave!   A little watery, which I normally wouldn’t like. but the broth is packed with flavour.  I’ve noticed that with all the vegetables and legumes (rather than meat) my tastebuds are constantly exploding.  Is that the absence of meat or processed items?  Are there just way more fresh ingredients in Sprout Seoul’s food than I’m used to using when cooking?

Sprout Seoul Vegan Menu Food Review Singapore Noodles (sweet potato glass noodles, bok choy, carrots, bean sprouts, onions stir fried in a spicy soy sauce) Singapore Noodles

(Sweet potato glass noodles, bok choy, carrots, bean sprouts, onions stir fried in a spicy soy sauce)

The sweet potato noodles were thin noodles lots of fresh shredded carrot. It had a very tangy dressing, which I didn’t find too spicy.  While very filling, it was pretty addictive!  I find I’ve been eating small meals more frequently since I can’t finish one Sprout Seoul meal in one sitting.

Sprout Seoul Vegan Menu Food Review : Natural Healthy Whole Food Service Korea

Want to know exactly what I ate?  Stay tuned for more links to diary entries and reviews of each Sprout Seoul dish I ordered!  Thanks to Sprout Natural Healthy Whole Food Service for keeping The Toronto Seoulcialite fit, nourished, and healthy!  While this article has been written in partnership, all reviews are honest and opinions are my own.

The post Day 2: Sprout Seoul Food Vegan Menu Review appeared first on That Girl Cartier.

The Toronto Socialite
That Girl Cartier


Nami Island Guide for Foodies | Where & What to Eat

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Treat yourself after enjoying the beautiful scenery in Nami Island! For foodies and nature-lovers, we suggest you explore Nami Island while you are staying in Seoul!
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a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

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