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Namjijangsa Temple – 남지장사 (Daegu, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The view from the Samseong-gak at Namjijangsa Temple in southern Daegu.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Situated south of the Daegu city centre, and south of the towering Mt. Choijeongsan (905m), is Namjijangsa Temple. The name of the temple means “South Bodhisattva of the Afterlife,” which shouldn’t be confused with Bukjijangsa Temple to the north of the Daegu city centre.

Namjijangsa Temple was first established in 684 A.D. by the monk Yanggae. Eventually, Namjijangsa Temple would grow to eight shrine halls, as well as a bell pavilion and the Cheonwangmun Gate. However, in 1592, like much of Korea, the temple was completely destroyed by the Japanese during the Imjin War (1592-98). Afterwards, from 1652 to 1769, the temple underwent an extensive rebuild. Historically, the famed warrior monk Samyeong-daesa used Namjijangsa Temple as the staging site for battles against the Japanese during the Imjin War. The temple functioned as a headquarters for the Yeongnam region. Also, it was home, at one point in his life, to the monk Muhak, who would help advise the Goryeo Dynasty founding king, King Taejo.

You first approach Namjijangsa Temple down some country roads, until you eventually arrive at the temple parking lot. It’s next to a beautiful large water fountain that you’ll climb a set of stone stairs on your way through the temple entry gate. The entry gate, rather uniquely, houses the temple bell. At some temples, the temple bell is housed on the second floor, but not at Namjijangsa Temple. As you pass through the entry gate, you’ll see the bell to your right through wooden slats.

Finally entering the main temple courtyard, you’ll notice the monks’ quarters to your left and the visitors’ centre to your right. Straight ahead rests the Daeung-jeon Hall. In front of the main hall stands a five tier stone pagoda that’s adorned with various trinkets that visitors have left behind as a sign of devotion. Adorning the exterior walls to the main hall is a beautiful set of Palsang-do murals, which depict the eight scenes from the Buddha’s life. As for the interior, and resting on the main altar, are a triad of statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on both sides by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). Rounding out the interior of the main hall is a massive guardian mural hanging on the far right wall.

To the right rear of the main hall is the temple’s Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Both the Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) and Chilseong (The Seven Stars) murals are of a red hue, but it’s the angry tiger tail holding Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) that is the main highlight to this shaman shrine hall.

To the left of the main hall sits the newly constructed Geukrak-jeon Hall. As you enter the hall have a look at the amazing dragon doors. At the base of these doors are some amazing Nathwi (Monster Masks). As for the interior, and resting on the packed main altar, are a triad of statues centred by 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 Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul).

And just left of the Geukrak-jeon Hall, in an open pavilion under a canopy, is a shrine for Yongwang (The Dragon King). The large painting dedicated to Yongwang is joined by a spring.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Daegu train station, walk about 15 minutes (930 metres), to get to Chilseong market (where the NH Bank is located) bus stop. Take the bus that reads “Gachang2” on it. After 50 stops, or one hour, get off at the “Urokri” (last stop) and walk about 2.7 km, or 41 minutes, to get to the temple.

You can take a bus or simply take a taxi from the Daegu train station. The ride takes about 50 minutes and costs 23,000 won.

OVERALL RATING: 6/10. Without a doubt, the biggest highlight to this temple is the curmudgeonly Sanshin painting in the Samseong-gak. Adding to the temple’s overall appeal is the large guardian mural inside the main hall, the Yongwang mural, as well as the temple’s beautiful location.

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The entry to Namjijangsa Temple.

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The temple bell that’s housed inside the entry gate.

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The slender five-tier pagoda with the Daeung-jeon Hall behind it.

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One of the Palsang-do murals that depicts the Buddha’s life.

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The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon Hall with Seokgamoni-bul front and centre.

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The view from the Daeung-jeon Hall out towards the main temple courtyard.

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The visitors’ centre at Namjijangsa Temple.

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The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall at the temple.

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An all-red Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) mural.

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Joined by this angry looking Sanshin inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.

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The beautiful view at Namjijangsa Temple.

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The Geukrak-jeon Hall to the left of the main hall.

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This amazing Nathwi adorns one of the Geukrak-jeon Hall’s doors.

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The main altar inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall with Amita-bul sitting in the centre.

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And to the left of the Geukrak-jeon Hall is this shrine for Yongwang (The Dragon King).

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An up close of the Yongwang mural.


I was in Bali for 12 days in April 2016. It was my first time to...

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I was in Bali for 12 days in April 2016. It was my first time to Indonesia but I hope to return. It’s the world’s largest island country with more than thirteen thousand islands. It’s hard to write about how wonderful my trip was without thinking of the recent Ramadan violence in Java. And, even though ISIS is declaring war on Malaysia and Indonesia, I still think that these are safe countries to travel to. Please pray for the people there.

As much as I discourage being in the Kuta neighborhood, if you arrive late or are just spending a night in Bali, I’d suggest staying somewhere near the airport. You’ll have to walk through a horde of aggressive taxi drivers and a parking lot, but there are plenty of places to stay within a 15-minute walk of the airport. I stayed at the Manggar Indonesia Hotel for $19.67 a night when I had to fly out the next morning.

And, the great thing is that the beach is just a short walk away in the morning too! I’d suggest booking accommodation before you arrive (Agoda always has deals), buying a SIM card at the airport (mine was 200K Indonesian Rupiah), and then use Google Maps to walk to your hotel. Everything seems scary at night so keep your valuables on you and walk diligently. You’ll see in the morning that there was nothing to be scared of.

Walking from my hotel, I went shopping at Lippo Mall and ate at Cosmic Diner. This diner isn’t authentic Indonesian food, but it’s super cute. I loved the decor, including the bean bag chairs. 

But, if you’re in Bali for more than a day, get far away from Kuta!

The island’s not that big -about 100 miles from north to south and 175 miles from west to east- but is chock full of variety. You can stay in everything from eclectic hostels to luxurious resorts, hidden lush mountain retreats to epic parties on the beach. Lots of different areas to explore. Seminyak is a luxurious beach resort area, Ubud and Canggu full of artsy and active types, and plenty of mellow beach towns (e.g. Amed, Lovina, and Pemuteran) to relax in. Keep in mind that with a population of 4.2 million and tiny, windy roads, traffic is congested. Always gotta haggle with taxi drivers and set a price before your ride starts!

Bali is not an extremely cheap place, but it is a good value on a moderate budget. Indonesian food is delicious and there’s plenty of good quality foreign food. If you’re not drinking, you can easily have a great meal for less than $10 USD. Indonesia is primarily a Muslim country which means that in places you can buy beer, it’s ~$5 USD. Also, keep in mind that drugs are punishable by death.

I had such a blast in Bali, it’s hard to remember what’s worth mentioning. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just a magical place and everything’s good. I spent some time in Ubud where I stayed at The Onion Collective, a chill co-working spot (RP150K-200K/night) recommended by my friend, Nik Wood. From there, had a bag of laundry washed down the street for ~RP30K. Had some great meals at Taco Casa and Bebek Bengil (~RP220K a person). Also hung out with monkeys at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (entrance fee RP40K). Took a class at the Yoga Barn.

Skrobo and I rented scooters, RP300K for three nights. Guided by Google Maps we drove 77km from Ubud to Amed. If you do this, take the coastal route. We didn’t at first and both fell while scooting up a muddy mountain, but were very fortunate as we only got a few scratches. Always wear your helmet!

We felt badass scooting up to the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, and stayed at The Cave Hotel for a night along the way, which has a stunning view of Kintamani Volcano and Mount Batur. The restaurant next door, Warung Baling-Baling, had some of the best food I had in Bali.

In Amed, we stayed at Citra Lestari Cottages (RP300K-350K/night) and scuba dove the USS Liberty Wreck with Baruna Dive Center. What an incredible dive site! Sunsets were gorgeous in Amed. My favorite place to eat was Warung Enak, where the owner serves vegetables fresh from her garden. The highlight was probably when my friend, Skrobo, paid a local to go fishing one morning and came back with a bag of just caught mackerel.

I ended my trip with a comped stay at Tugu Hotel in Canggu. The hotel is everything luxury, situated right by the beach. You’ll be treated to daily tea time and beautiful art; this boutique hotel is a great way to relax or hole away and get some serious work done. Beyond the beach, I loved lazying my way to nearby Grocer & Grind, Nalu Bowls, Crate Cafe, and Deus Ex Machina.


About 

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.

 


Spicy Baby Octopus - JUGGUMI (주꾸미)

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Juggumi (주꾸미) is also known as "baby octopus," "short arm octopus," or "octopus ocellatus." It's served chopped into large pieces, and is hot and spicy. It also comes with cabbage and some other spices to help fill you up.

It is spicy. It is really spicy. When a Korean tells you "this food is spicy," usually it will be spicy. However, it often will not be extremely spicy, nor will it be as spicy as many Mexican foods or some Thai foods. However, Juggumi is a really spicy dish, and it only gets hotter as you continue to eat it.

But I found a restaurant that makes fantastic Juggumi. It's spicy, slightly sweet, and tastes wonderful. Although the spices were burning my mouth the entire time, I kept wanting more. Check it out here~

The post Spicy Baby Octopus - JUGGUMI (주꾸미) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.


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The Best Korean Souvenirs & Gifts

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What’s the best part of any vacation? Buying fun souvenirs for your friends back home to show them you appreciate them while making them jealous of your awesome trip at the same time, of course! (We’re half kidding.)

The next time you’re in Korea, you have some big decisions to make: Korea is full of super fun, one-of-a-kind souvenirs for you to choose from. Your days of picking up shot glasses in an airport are over! Read on for our favorite Korean souvenirs, and be sure to let us know if we forgot anything in the comments below!

 

Korean Souvenirs #1: Buchae (부채)

Korean Souvenirs 1 Buchae

Photo credit: http://www.wikipedia.com

Summer is finally here, and it’s going to be scorchingly hot in most of the Northern hemisphere for at least another couple months. If you’re on the hunt for some cool Korean souvenirs over the next couple of weeks, consider the buchae, a fun, foldable Korean fan. They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and your friends will thank you for getting them something practical instead of a trinket that will gather dust in the back of their closet for the next few years. Pick up one for yourself as well to make exploring Korea more enjoyable this summer!

 

Korean Souvenirs #2: K-Pop Merchandise

Korean Souvenirs 2 Kpop Merchandise

Photo credit: http://gcastd.org

If you’re searching for souvenirs for friends that have been swept up in the K-Pop phenomenon, you won’t have to look far! K-Pop posters, t-shirts, and other merchandise are available pretty much everywhere in Korea due to K-Pop’s rise in popularity over the last few years across the globe. You can also pick up some of your favorite K-Pop CD’s to give your friends a taste of Korean popular culture. Who knows – maybe it will make them want to join you on your next trip to Korea!

 

Korean Souvenirs #3: Fun Socks

Korean Souvenirs 3 Fun Socks

Photo credit: http://teachingtravel.com

Alright, hear us out – socks? Yes! Korea has taken fun and adorable sucks to a whole new level, which makes them the perfect souvenir for you to pick up for your friends back home. Not to mention that they’re inexpensive, easy to find, and will take up no space in your suit case – could they be any more perfect?! In Korean culture, it is polite to remove your shoes before entering somebody’s home, so Korean designers have extra motivation to design show-stopping socks because they’ll be seen on a regular basis. Take advantage of this trend and pick up some cute socks for you and your friends the next time you’re out and about in Korea!

 

Korean Souvenirs #4: Phone Cases

Korean Souvenirs 4 Phone Cases

Photo credit: http://dhgate.com

If you’d like to go the practical route the next time you’re picking up souvenirs in Korea, you should consider picking up one of the cute Korean phone cases that are for sale at most souvenir shops. These cases often depict Korean art, Korean cartoons, and K-Pop stars. Your friends will thank you for being thoughtful AND for helping them protect their new iPhone from cracking when they inevitably drop it – everybody wins!

 

Korean Souvenirs #5: Korean cosmetics

Korean Souvenirs 5 Korean Cosmetics

Photo credit: http://gardenofshadowstore.blogspot.com

The Korean cosmetics industry has BOOMED over the past couple of years, and fun new cosmetics shops have been opening up left and right throughout Korea. Picking up a brand new BB cream or eyeshadow palette for your friends back home is the perfect way to say you care! Korean face masks are also super popular and inexpensive souvenirs – they’re made from all-natural ingredients and have been the talk of the industry because they leave skin feeling soft and taut for days on end after only one application.  Be sure to pick up something for yourself, too – you deserve to be looking your best!

 

Korean Souvenirs #6: Soju

Korean Souvenirs 6 Soju

Photo credit: http://www.theguardian.com

Soju is a quintessential Korean alcohol made from rice. There’s a reason it’s as popular as it is – soju has a clean, crisp flavor that means it pairs well with a wide variety of dishes. It’s also relatively inexpensive and available at most Korean supermarkets, so you won’t have a difficult time tracking it down! Soju is loved by pretty much everybody, so it’s a safe choice for a souvenir that your friends and family will be thanking you for. Just make sure the bottle doesn’t break in your suitcase!

 

Korean Souvenirs #7: Korean tea

Korean Souvenirs 7 Korean tea

Photo credit: http://www.madeinkorea.com

If you’re looking for a souvenir for your underage friends, look no further than the tea aisle in any Korean supermarket. Tea is a big part of day to day life in Korea, so there’s a wide variety of interesting flavors (and beautiful boxes!). Tea is also way easier to transport than other beverages – you can just throw the box in your suitcase and forget about it without worrying about leakage. If you really want to go above and beyond, consider picking up a tea-set for friends – maybe they’ll host a tea part in your honor as a ‘thank you’!

 

Korean Souvenirs #8: Electronics

Korean Souvenirs 8 Electronics

Photo credit: http://www.tribute.com.pk

Korea is always on the forefront of awesome new electronics. If you can imagine it, they’ve probably already invented it! If you’re considering picking up electronics as souvenirs on your way out of Korea, you’ll be happy to know that Korea is full of inexpensive, high quality electronics like phones and MP3 players. You can also try your luck at bargaining – in many of the larger electronic stores in Korean cities, proprietors are open to bartering and will give you the best price they can. Electronics that won’t break the bank? Sign me up!

 

Korean Souvenirs #9: Korean snacks

Korean Souvenirs 9 Korean Snacks

Photo credit: http://koreabridge.net

There’s nothing in the world quite like Korean snacks – from dried squid to fried kimchi, there really is something for everybody! Bring a little taste of Korea back to your loved ones as an inexpensive, thoughtful gift – just make sure you don’t bring anything TOO addicting (we’re looking at you, pepero) or their gratitude will turn to sadness when they can’t find Korean snacks in your home country!

 

What is your favorite souvenir to surprise your friends and family with when you return home from vacation? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

 


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I was in Kota Kinabalu for five days in April 2016. Formerly...

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I was in Kota Kinabalu for five days in April 2016. Formerly known as Jesselton, it’s the capital of the state of Sabah, Malaysia. KK is a popular beach getaway for Malaysians, but I think the beach is underwhelming compared to the beautiful mountains.

One thing you’ll notice immediately upon arriving is that taking a taxi is a rip-off. I’m not sure where I hate taxis the most: The Philippines, Malaysia, or Indonesia. Thankfully, the KK airport requires taxis to comply with a standard rate, which is typically RM30 from the airport to your hotel. Unfortunately, the airport has two terminals and no shuttle, so you’re required to pay RM30 for a taxi from one terminal to the other.

The first night I stayed at The Crown Borneo Hotel for $28.75. It was a small room with spotty wifi, but the staff were really nice. There are plenty of local restaurants nearby serving Malay, Chinese, and Indian food. There’s a place to get decent massages across the street. I walked a mile to Perdana Park, which has a sweet night water fountain show. And, it seems like they have plans to build a massive library in the near future. As you can tell, that’s not really the happening area of town.

I also stayed by the waterfront for two nights and stayed at the Promenade Service Apartment (for $43.13). It’s a big complex of condominiums, apartments, and businesses. Great location but the shoddy condition of the facilities supports the low price.

It is really nice staying across the street from the Oceanus Waterfront Mall, though, and there are lots of good restaurants on the waterfront. Mai Yai Thai Orchid is likely my favorite. I bought two drinks, a som tam salad, and pad thai for RM69.65.

Next to the mall is the Pasar Kraftangan (Handicraft Market) open during the day, and then the Pasar Malam Sinsuran (Night Market) in the evening. It’s a good place to eat street food and haggle for the usual touristy fare.

I went on a 1-day Poring Hot Spring & Kinabalu Park Tour for RM190. I loved being at the park, but that wasn’t long enough in my tour. The hot spring wasn’t the best -granted I’m spoiled by Taipei and Osaka- but it peaked my interest with the tropical and butterfly gardens, canopy walkway, and Rafflesia flower site. I had to pay extra for all these things, but that could be the fault of my poor tour choice.

Despite being on the seaside, there’s basically nowhere to enjoy it. Big buildings near the water and no beach. The biggest tourist attraction (and the only nearby nice beaches) is the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. It’s a park of five islands which you have to take a 20-minute speedboat to. Boat transfers are only available 7:30am to 5pm. If you happen to get stuck on the island, you can sleep at a regular hotel for $200-300 a night.

The most worthwhile thing to do in the area is to climb Kinabalu, the highest peak between the Himalayas and New Guinea at 4095m, and a Unesco World Heritage Site. You have to pay ~RM1,060 to hire a guide to take you up there, and they feed you meager meals like hot dogs, but I’ve heard the experience is amazing.


How to Say ‘Mother’ in Korean

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One of the first things people often learn when studying a foreign language is how to talk about their families. Families are very important in every country, Korea included! Therefore, it is a good idea to know how to talk about them and how to recognize if somebody else is talking about theirs. In this article, we will look at how to say ‘mother’ in Korean.

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

 

‘Mother’ in Korean

Just like in English, there is more than one way to say ‘mother’ in Korean. Let’s start off with the most formal way, and then work our way down to the more informal ways of saying ‘mother’ in Korean.

Formal ‘Mother’ in Korean

Formal mother in Korean

1. 어머님 (eomeonim)

When addressing somebody formally, we need to add the suffix ‘님’ (nim) to our subject’s name (never add this to your own name). The word for ‘mother’ is no exception, so if we want to say ‘mother’ in a formal situation, we need to say 어머님. This is the best word to use when referring to other people’s mothers.

Example:

어머님께 안부 좀 전해 주세요 (eomeonimgge anbu jom jeonhae juseyo)

Say hello to your mother for me.

Standard ‘Mother’ in Korean

Standard Mother in Korean

1. 어머니 (eomeoni)

This is the standard way to say ‘mother’ in Korean. You can use this in most situations when talking about your own mother. If you are talking about your own mother, you need to use the word 우리 (uri), meaning ‘our’, instead of the word ‘my’.

Example:

어머니들은 자식들을 사랑하길 절대 멈추지 않는다. (eomeonideuleun jashikdeuleul saranghagil jeoldae meomchuji anneunda).

Mothers never stop loving their children.

 

Informal ‘Mother’ in Korean

Informal Mother in Korean

1. 엄마 (eomma)

This word has a similar meaning to ‘mom’ in English, and should only be used when talking to your own mother. When referring to your own family in Korean, instead of saying ‘my mom’, you need to say ‘our mom’ (우리 엄마 [uri eomma])

Example:

엄마, 제발, 저는 하고 십지 않아요. (eomma, jebal, jeoneun hago shipji anayo.)

Mom, please, I don’t want to.

 

A Word of Caution About Romanization

We’ve added in the Romanization for all of these words to help with pronunciation. However, learning the Korean alphabet (Hangeul) will help you learn Korean a lot faster than if you solely rely on Romanization. Hangeul can be learned in just a couple of hours, and it will benefit your Korean massively by improving your reading ability, pronunciation, and ability to learn new words and phrases more quickly.

You will certainly benefit from learning new Korean words. However, if you really want to learn Korean fast, it’s best to make sure you have real conversations. Take a look at our free list of Korean phrases or our full Korean course for all the help you will need when conversing in  Korean.

‘Mother’ in Korean Wrap-Up

You may hear Koreans using family words when referring to non-family members. Although the word 이모 (imo), which means ‘aunt’, is the most common family word used for addressing women of a mother’s age, the word 어머니 may occasionally be used by people so don’t get confused if you hear it in this context (although I don’t recommend that you use it yourself).

Now that you know how to say ‘mother; in Korean, start asking your Korean friends about their families, and telling them about yours!

 

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


Marmot’s Hole Podcast: “Creative Korea” Faces Uphill Battle After New National Slogan Announcement

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Creative Korea Skyline

Marmot’s Hole blogger & tourism magazine editor Robert Koehler joins Korea FM host Chance Dorland to discuss South Korea’s new national slogan, “Creative Korea.”

While the government spent $3 million dollars to select the new branding campaign, the very quick revelation that “Creative France” is already in use, and doubts by commentators and industry professionals as to whether “creative” is the best term to describe the ROK and its future after the Park administration, the new campaign has experienced condemnation since the moment it was announced.

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

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The post Marmot’s Hole Podcast: “Creative Korea” Faces Uphill Battle After New National Slogan Announcement appeared first on Korea FM.


Clam: Haeundae

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Busan Food: Clam Haeundae

I won’t be saying too much about Clam’s new branch in Haeundae, as you can read my detailed review of their Seomyeon branch here. However, I wanted to give you all the chance to revel in the glory of the wonderful looking food I took photos. Tasty!

The new location is perfect. Located in the Pale de CZ building right on the eastern end of Haeundae beach, the front door is 20 seconds walk away from sand. This beach view location sits perfectly with the vibe, and makes sure that Clam: Haeundae, is almost guaranteed to be a huge success!

 

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Filed under: Food Tagged: busan, busan food, busanfood, collaboration, Food, restaurant, restaurant review, review, salmon, Spanish food, tapas, wine

 
Eat Busan, Eat The World!


This Accelerating Contradiction

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Being alone has never really bothered me. I was an only child growing up, and whenever a play-date wasn't an option, I was perfectly happy playing pretend in my room for hours, reading, or (most embarrassingly) learning how to make databases on my mom's Windows 3.1 computer. There were so many floppy disks. It wasn't even connected to the internet. Am I dating myself?

Maybe I'm getting more introverted as I get older, or maybe I'm just noticing it more, but these days it's getting harder and harder to force myself out of the house. Through all my years of shared bedrooms and roommates, I always knew I'd love living alone--I just never knew how much. I spend all day turned up to eleven at school; I have to keep my students energized, talk to coworkers, and constantly switch back and forth between Korean and English (and sometimes Japanese when the kids try to mess with me). It is, in a word, socially exhausting. The feeling of stepping into my apartment and closing the door to the outside world is magical.

Most people who've met me have a hard time believing this, because I have an uncanny ability to talk to just about anyone, but socializing is not something I'm naturally good at. I had to train myself, and going to a party or even just going to work still requires a certain...different persona. When I worked in cafes and restaurants, I called it my Customer Service Face. It's the face that smiles at rude customers, that cracks cheerful jokes no matter what's going on behind the scenes, that can run on autopilot through most types of small talk. It's convenient, but exhausting to keep up. When it's cranked into overdrive, I can get home from a party or a day at work and barely remember a thing I said to anyone.

The reason for my aforementioned talk-to-anyone skill is likely my knack for reading people, reading the room, and modulating myself to match. I have to be careful, though, or I'll change so much I don't recognize myself anymore. It's hard for me to stop thinking about how others are perceiving me, how the way I act influences the atmosphere around me. With all but the absolute closest of friends, socializing is like solving a constantly changing puzzle. I'm jealous of those people who seem to always just "be themselves" no matter the occasion. But then again, maybe people think that of me? Who knows.

The upside of having a no-roommate apartment to go back to is that I can more easily recharge after these daily bouts with humanity. The downside is that in order to have friends/any social life at all, it's sort of important to, you know, leave the house. Ever. I know that once I get to the party, to the class, to the bar, what have you, I'll have fun. Usually, socializing is fun, no matter how exhausted I am afterwards. But the problem is, staying home alone is fun 99.99% of the time, and it requires neither a bra nor pants. So you see my problem. I also genuinely enjoy traveling alone. Sure, it's harder to take pictures and eat out in restaurants, but isn't that what the selfie-stick was invented for?

When they invent something that makes eating alone less awkward, I'll be first in line to buy 10.


I may be able to talk to anyone, but making friends has always been difficult for me. It takes me a long time to get close to someone, and my tendency to drop off the face of the earth (socially) from time to time means I lose a lot of friendships that don't have a strong enough foundation yet. Living in Korea has added a bonus boss battle: my friends keep leaving.

It's totally natural. The average stay for native teachers over here is 1-3 years, so it's to be expected that people will come and go. If I were better at making and keeping friends, this wouldn't be such a big deal, but when it takes at least a year for me to feel really close to someone, if they leave right after it's almost like losing out on an investment. This is kind of horrible to say, but it's almost as if I'm an employer who's spent a year training a new recruit only to have them quit. Eventually, I don't want to hire any new people, even though I know I need them. Does that make sense?

There's clearly some lack of logic between what I want to happen and what I do. Case in point: I want to have friends, but what do I do? Avoid my nice neighbor who just wants to get brunch with me because I want to...what? Go for a walk by myself? Stay home and play videogames? I honestly can't understand my motivations in a lot of these situations, and yet they keep happening in the same way. Anxiety is tricky that way, I suppose.

So I guess that's where I am now; trying to find a balance between enjoying solitude and cutting myself off from humanity. Where do I draw the line? When does self-care turn into something bad? Tune in next never for the answer.



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.

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