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Teaching Writing Skills-It Just Got Easier

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Teaching Writing Skills Just Got a Whole Lot Easier


During my decade teaching in South Korean universities, I taught a whole lot of writing. Beginners, intermediate, advanced. Everything from how to write a basic sentence to 5-paragraph academic essays. For all the details about that, check out these posts:

Teaching Writing in Korean Universities

A Major Frustration of Mine about Teaching Writing Skills

One of my major frustrations about teaching writing was that most of the textbooks I was given by the administration of my university were crap. Although the Great Writing Series from Keith Folse was less terrible than the others, it still wasn’t great. I guess it mostly had to do with the fact that teaching my students to write a 5-paragraph academic essay was kind of a waste of time. Maybe 1/20 of them would ever have to do that if they went to grad school in Canada or the US or whatever. The other 19 of them? Well, they’d have to write business emails, a bit of content for a website, a job application form or resume, or a text to a foreign friend. I wanted to teach my students more how to write coherently and cohesively and less about the structure of an academic essay.

Where I Turned for Help when Teaching Writing

Anyway, I did try to incorporate quite a bit of teaching my students to write with style in my classes. When I did, I almost always turned to ESL Writing for help. Unlike most of the other crap out there on the Internet, it was solid. Really solid. I liked teaching it, the students enjoyed learning it and the worksheets were really well done.

So, it was with great happiness when I found out that Rob Whyte (from ESL Writing) pulled together all that awesome stuff on his website into a single book. I checked it out and it’s even better than the website because it’s well-organized into a single book. I only wish he’d done it years earlier when I was still teaching writing!

Teach Essential Writing Skills: Love It!


The book focuses on the following four things:

  • Fluency
  • Proficiency
  • Style
  • Inquiry-based reasoning

If you teach writing to intermediate teenagers or adults, this is your book. The best part about it is that Rob offers a money-back guarantee. Use it for a week and if you don’t like it, he’ll refund your money with no-hassle. But, I think you’ll love it. It’ll make your lesson planning easier when you’re teaching writing because you can stop wasting your time searching here and there all over the Internet for the golden nugget. It’s all there in this book. $9.99 well spent.

—>Buy Teach Essential Writing Skills Now<—

The post Teaching Writing Skills-It Just Got Easier appeared first on .

Jackie Bolen: How to Get a University Job In Korea


My Life! Teaching in a Korean University

University Jobs



Dear Korea #142: No Spoilers, Please!

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I feel like anyone who likes to consume popular media and spends too much time online has experienced this at least once since they came to Korea. Whether it’s with sports, television shows, or even movies, there will always be someone out there to ruin those happy surprises. While I won’t go as far as to claim that such unfortunate circumstances are terrible enough to taint the entire experience for me, I do miss being pleasantly surprised.

In case no one noticed, this comic ended up getting done a week later than planned. What’s kept me so busy? Well, there’s been a lot going on. For example..


That’s right, folks! I’m coming to Seoul to sell some books and eat some food! If you happen to be in the area and have some time to kill, come by and say hello! I’d love to meet you!

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!


This Might Not Work: Overcoming Failure in Photography

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Beomosa Main Gate

This past Saturday was an eventful day. I was pretty much shooting and editing from sun up to sundown. I had to get footage for a documentary that I am a part of in the morning and then I was running a workshop at Beomosa temple that evening. It was a great feeling to know that I have built a day around what I love to do. However, there was this thought in the back of my head that kept me from getting too excited. It was telling me that there was a possibility that this workshop could be a failure. I ignored it and pushed through. Little did I know that the gut-feeling was right.

I left Ulsan with more than an hour and a half to get to Beomosa which normally only takes about 50 minutes on an average day. Sadly, just as we go near Busan a fender-bender slowed traffic to a crawl. It too forever! A we finally made it the to the toll gate, it was already time to start the workshop. I was expecting messages to start flooding in. Nothing came and I expected it was because people were also stuck in traffic too. Beomosa was flooded with people. It took another 30 minutes just to make it to the temple and get parked. I nervously checked my phone, but there was nothing. Not a single message from anyone about the workshop. I walked to the meeting point and there was no one waiting. I looked around to see any photographers with gear looking for me and there was just crowds of people heading up to the ancient temple.

Path to Enlightenment

Keep Your Chin Up

I could have just given up there. I could have just turned around and drove home. However, I had brought out a good friend and I was not about to waste his time. The other thing is that it is not worth the hassle. I just kept thinking about what I could learn from this failure. There is no point in becoming depressed about it. Just learn from it and treat these failures as lessons. Obviously, I need to improve my marketing and a number of other elements in order to attract my tart market.

The thing is that you can’t learned if you are pissed off or angry. People not liking your work or not coming out to your events is not something personal. Think about how many events that you see on facebook and how many you actually go to. It is the same here. For me, I know that I have to work on a lot with regards to my reputation in Korea and who I want to teach. Again, I can’t slow down and feel hurt because of this one night.


You Will Fail

I hear a lot of new photographers brag as they promote themselves about where they were published or who they are working with. However, the fact of the matter is that they will fail at some point in time. They will throw their hands up in the air and shout “is the worth it?” and what they do next is what will determine their future. If you choose to give up, sell your gear and go home, that is fine. However, if you choose to push on, know that people will not always love your work and that there are going to be some ups and downs. Just understand that not everything that you do will turn you into the next Chase Jarvis or Trey Ratcliff.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

The biggest mistake that I routinely make is that I compare myself to other photographers. I let self-doubt creep in and I look at photographers with 10K followers or my friends that have landed a big contract. I look at how long they’ve been taking pictures for and compare that to the years that I have seemingly spent honing my craft. What I fail to see is that they put in a lot of effort regardless of their talent and I have spent many years just sitting back and hoping someone sees my website that I rarely update. The fact of the matter is that you are your own photographer. You decide your own level of effort and that effort will determine what you get out of it. Sitting in the dark wondering why no one knows your name and “other photographers” seem to be doing better will not help you. Be your own photographer and get out there and take photos. If you want recognition, contact  with people and pitch them ideas.

The Red Door

Keep Doing What You Love

At the end of 2015 I was in a bad place. I was working a job that I hated, my best friend died of cancer, and felt empty when it came to my photography. I felt like I was getting passed over despite the years that I’ve put into my photography. However, I couldn’t give up. It kept going and working different approaches.

Within a few months I was published in a number of magazines and did a few interviews. That got me a few clients and a number of new ideas. Sure, some of these may not pan out but a few might. To me that is all that matters.

Even with this more recent failure, I am still planning more workshops and video tutorials because I know things will get better. It is all about learning from your failures. I learned that I have to market smarter and choose better locations. For others it may just be improving different aspects of your skill set. All of which is left unknown if you take these little failures to heart.



The post This Might Not Work: Overcoming Failure in Photography appeared first on The Sajin.

Sous le Gui: Pastry in Hannam-dong

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Sous le Gui, dessert cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

Sous le Gui, dessert cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

Today, the war drill sirens went off. I never used to think much of them, but now that I live near the American army base, everything seems just a little louder and more intense. The fighter jets flew right over the house sending the cats scattering under the bed for cover.

I checked the time. 2pm. Definitely a drill. Everything is fine.

But for the rest of the afternoon, it seems I’ve heard nonstop sirens. Probably no more than usual — it’s a beautiful day, but my subconscious mind seems to be inventing emergencies.

But it is a beautiful day, and all of the store fronts and restaurants are beginning to peel back their facades and open up to the world outside, which is one of my favorite things about Korea.

The back alleys of Hannam-dong are particularly lovely at the moment. The open air kitchens of cafes like Sous le Gui are pumping the streets full of the smell of pastry and coffee.

Sous le Gui, dessert cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

Sous le Gui, dessert cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

“Sous le gui” means “under the mistletoe,” and while there isn’t any mistletoe to be found inside the cafe, and while the cafe is not particularly Christmasy, it’s not too hard to figure out where the name comes from. Dangling from metal pipes and beams that run the width and length of the cafe are dozens of air plants. The cream tiled back room nestles under a skylight with gravel for flooring and a large bush positioned in the center. It kind of reminded me of a bombed out and long abandoned early 80s bathroom. In a nice way.

Sous le Gui, dessert cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul. Sous le Gui, dessert cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

The floor throughout the rest of the cafe is made of cream brick, the holes filled in with soil and more gravel, while small bushes run the length of the cafe underneath the tables. In reading up about the cafe, the first thing I came across was a blog post from one of the interior designers who essentially found the entire concept to be insane. It works on an aesthetic level, but it’s not the kind of cafe where you go to hunker down with a good book for a few hours. In other words, it’s a bit uncomfortable. But that hasn’t kept it from overflowing with customers from noon to night on most days since it opened in February.

Sous le Gui, dessert cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

Sous le Gui, dessert cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

Sous le Gui, dessert cafe in Hannam-dong, Seoul.

Maybe this is why. Their pastry is beautiful.

The patissier studied at Le Cordon Bleu and she definitely knew what she was doing. While every element of both pastries my friend and I tried was understated and delicate, they somehow all came together to form a dynamic whole. The cappuccino fleur petit (left)  was crisp, but not dry. The flavor of the custard was bright and gentle, while the texture was surprisingly light for how well it held its shape. The cappuccino cream was more Korean style — very whipped and light on the butter, and there was just enough of it. The blueberry pot (right) gave way to the fork like a dream. The custard inside was, again, very light, but the heavier blueberry frosting, fresh blueberries and toasted hazelnuts balanced it out.

I’ve pretty much realized that I like my coffee much stronger than most places brew it. Surprisingly, it’s easier for me to find coffee as strong and dark as I like it in Korea, these days, than it was in Europe earlier this year. But even so, Sous le Gui offers a cappuccino that doesn’t make me feel like I’m settling.

While the design and concept of the cafe may be a bit precious, it is fortified with real substance. If you feel like straddling a bush while having a nice, strong cup of  coffee and a delicious pastry, Sous le Gui may be the only place for you.

Sous le Gui
서울시 용산구 한남동 683-65683-65 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Sunday-Saturday 12pm-9pm
Closed Mondays


The post Sous le Gui: Pastry in Hannam-dong 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

Harajuku Gyozaro (原宿餃子樓) has my favorite fried dumplings (gyoza)...

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Harajuku Gyozaro (原宿餃子樓) has my favorite fried dumplings (gyoza) in the world. Seems like it’s always busy, but people don’t tend to stay; they eat and leave. I found it during my first trip to Tokyo and I find myself eager to immediately return every time I go back. 

Address: 神宮前6-2-4 (岡島ビル), Shibuya, Tōkyō, 150-0001, Japan

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


Best Summer Korean Food in Korea

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It’s that time of year again! The days are getting longer (and hotter!), which means you have more time to stay awake and take advantage of the extra sunlight. My personal recommendation is to use the extra time to chow down on some delicious Korean summertime cuisine, because there will be no shortage of it in the months to come.

Whether you’re in the mood for a chilled, savory entrée or a refreshing frozen dessert, there’s something for everybody. Read on for some of our favorite summer Korean food and enjoy snacking the season away!


Summer Korean Food #1: Samgyetang

Korean Summer Food 1 Samgyetang

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Samgyetang is a dish that features a whole chicken (yes, you read that correctly) marinated in hot broth and stuffed with various nuts, vegetables, and herbs. Although it seems counterintuitive to start a list of summer Korean dishes with a hot and heavy meal like samgyetang, Korean diners enjoy this savory dish to offset the effects that heavy sweating have on the body. It’s no secret that hot summers mean a ton of sweat, and the process of sweating depletes the body of electrolytes that keep us feeling alert and ready to tackle the day. That’s where samgyetang comes in! The next time you’ve had a long, hot day, treat yourself to a bowl of samgyetang to reset your internal thermostat and start feeling like yourself again.


Summer Korean Food #2: Mulhui (물회)

Korean Summer Food 2 Mulhui

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What’s better than sashimi, you ask? A chilled soup full of spicy sashimi! The recipe will vary from restaurant to restaurant because all different types of seafood can be used to give this dish flavor, but it’ll always be cold, a delight for your tastebuds, and perfect for a scorching summer day. If you’re a fan of spice and seafood, order a bowl of mulhui and get some relief from the summer heat!


Summer Korean Food #3: Patbingsu (팥빙수)

Korean Summer Food 3 Patbingsu

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Looking for something on the sweeter side? Try a bowl of patbingsu! Patbingsu, a dish consisting of shaved ice topped with berries, sweet red beans, and ice cream, is one of the most popular ways to cool down during the hot Korean summer.

Patbingsu is on most Korean menus, and you’ll see a bunch of interesting variations featuring different flavors like mango and coffee. Give patbingsu a try the next time your sweet tooth is acting up, and be sure to let us know what your favorite variation is in the comments below!


Summer Korean Food #4: Naengmyeon (냉면)

Korean Summer Food 4 Naengmyeon

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Naengmyeon literally translates to “cold noodles,” and it’s exactly what it sounds like! This popular summer Korean food is made of thin, long noodles made from buckwheat and vegetables like potato and sweet potato. Naengmyeon is served with a zesty stock, and sliced cucumber, pear, and radish are often added for additional flavor and crunch. Don’t let the chilled part fool you — the broth is made from chilled beef or chicken stock, so it’s a hearty dish that will fill you up. The next time you’re out for a fun summertime lunch with friends, give naengmyeon and see why it’s such a classic!


Summer Korean Food #5: Jjolmyeon (쫄면)

Korean Summer Food 5 Jjolmyeon

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If you’re a fan of spice, look no further! Jjolmyeon is light, spicy dish that consists of chilled noodles, an optional hardboiled egg, and julienned vegetables like carrot and cucumber. This dish is perfect as a light summertime snack, as it’s much lighter than naengmyeon due to the absence of a thick meat broth. The noodles in this dish are notorious for being chewy and a bit tricky to eat, so be sure to cut them before enjoying this spicy snack or you’ll be in for a surprise!


Summer Korean Food #6: DalkKalguksu (닭칼국수)

Korean Summer Food 6 DalkKalguksu

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DalkKalguksu is a classic Korean take on chicken noodle soup. Similar to samgyetang, dalkkalguksu features chicken that has been seasoned to perfection in a hot, savory broth, served with hearty noodles. Most variations of dalkkalguksu feature zucchini and green onions tossed with vinegar, brightening up the dish and making it a summertime favorite.

Although dalkkalguksu isn’t a chilled dish, it’s popular for the same reason that samgyetang is popular: dalkkalguksu is meant to help relieve the negative effects of sweating and summer fatigue. Order this crowd pleaser after your next day in the sun and you’ll see why Korean diners say this dish helps them survive the summer!


Summer Korean Food #7: Jangeo Gui (장어구이)

Korean Summer Food 7 Jangeo gui

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If you’re an adventurous eater, jangeo gui is the dish for you! Jangeo gui, or grilled eel, is a popular summertime snack rich in vitamins and minerals that will keep your body in tip top condition this summer. Although the idea of eating eel is a little intimidating, the flavor is intensely delicious and can’t be found elsewhere! Put your fears aside and try some jangeo gui the next time your friends are grilling it up for dinner this summer. You won’t regret it!


Summer Korean Food #8: Korean Ice Cream (아이스크림)

Korean Summer Food 8 Ice Cream

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We’ve been saving the best for last! Korean ice cream is both similar and different to the ice cream in Western countries. It’s found in convenience stores and grocery stores alike, so you should have no problem locating some frozen tasty treats this summer. However, some types of Korean ice cream are like nothing you’ve ever seen before! Take Samanco, for example – Samanco is a fish-shaped waffle treat with vanilla ice cream and red bean paste sandwiched in the middle (yes, you read that right). Step outside of your comfort zone and give some of the more unique Korean ice cream desserts a try! They’re super inexpensive at most shops, so your ice cream adventure won’t break the bank.


Hopefully you feel more prepared for the scorching months ahead of us after reading this list! Be sure to try all of these delicious dishes before they become a bit harder to find as we get into the fall and winter months. Did we forget your favorite summer Korean food? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

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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Yangdeoksa Temple – 양덕사 (Eonyang, Ulsan)

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A look inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall at Yangdeoksa Temple in Eonyang, Ulsan.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Yangdeoksa Temple is located next to the turn off from Highway 1 that heads towards Ulsan along Highway 16. This newer temple that belongs to the smaller Cheontae Order lies just east of Eonyang-eup in Ulsan.

After making your way through a few highway underpasses and next to several rice fields, you’ll finally stumble across Yangdeoksa Temple next to a part of the Eonyang River. The first building to greet you is the two storied main hall. On the first floor rests the temple’s visitors’ centre and kitchen. It’s up a flight of stairs to the left that you’ll see the signs pointing you towards the second story Beopdang (or main hall). Wrapped around the exterior walls to this hall are various Buddhist motif murals. But it’s stepping inside this hall that you get to be greeted by a rare occurrence. Resting on the main altar is a fiery framed picture of Sangwol Wongak (the founder of the re-established Cheontae Order). Outside of having Buddhas or Bodhisattva on the main altar, excluding Tongdosa Temple with the window that looks out onto a stone lotus bud that actually houses the partial remains of the Historical Buddha, I’ve never seen this before. To the right of this main altar picture is a guardian mural, as well as a mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And to the left of the main altar picture is the scepter symbol, in painted form, that embodies Cheontae Buddhism in Korea.

Stepping outside the main hall, and making your way to the left of the two storied main hall, you’ll notice ceramic pots. Inside these pots are soy bean products that the temple sells. But it’s to the left of the main hall, and the newly constructed Gwaneum-jeon Hall that’ll draw your attention. Housed inside this pagoda like shrine hall is a regally adorned statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). She’s joined to the left by a statue of Sangwol Wongak, once more. The entire interior to this hall is lined with murals of the 33 incarnations of Gwanseeum-bosal, and they’re really quite striking.


OVERALL RATING: 5/10. Yangdeoksa Temple has a couple of really unique features that largely centre around Sangwol Wongak, the founder of the re-established Cheontae Order. I’ve never seen a picture of a non-Buddha or Bodhisattva on the main altar of a main hall. And yet, Yangdeoksa Temple has just that. Added to this uniqueness is the beautiful new Gwaneum-jeon Hall at Yangdeoksa Temple.


A look up at the main hall at Yangdeoksa Temple.


A few rice pots in preparation for Buddha’s birthday.


The stairs that lead up to the Beopdang main hall.


Some of the beautiful lanterns at this Cheontae Order Buddhist temple.


A look towards the newly constructed Gwaneum-jeon Hall from the temple’s main hall.


Some of the soy pots at Yangdeoksa Temple.


Inside the very unique Beopdang main hall.


The main altar inside the Beopdang with a picture of the revered Sangwol Wongak front and centre.


The large guardian mural to the right of the main altar.


It’s joined by an equally large mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal.


The painting to the left of the main altar that lets you know that the temple is part of the Cheontae Order.


Lining the interior of the main hall were some murals, like this one, of Gwanseeum-bosal.


The view from the rear of the main hall towards the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.


One of the Gwaneum-jeon Hall’s murals that adorns the exterior walls with Munsu-bosal making a presence in the top right.


The view as you make your way towards the Gwaneum-jeon from the main hall.


Under a canopy of paper lanterns in preparation for Buddha’s birthday.


A look up towards the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.


A grassy dongja with some dangling paper lanterns above him.


A look inside the Gwaneum-jeon with Gwanseeum-bosal sitting in the centre of the main altar. He’s joined by Sangwol Wongak to the left.


The tall guardian mural inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.


As well as another mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal.

Akihabara: AKA Electric city, AKA Geek heaven. Certainly one of...

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Akihabara: AKA Electric city, AKA Geek heaven. 

Certainly one of the main focuses of this place is electronics. If you need anything electronic, you can get it here. This area as also however  been taken over by geek culture. Manga / Anime / Games / Toys / Figurine shops, Maid Cafes, and the like. 

Right outside the station, you might find maids handing out fliers, and girls in cosplay getting their pictures taken by a hoard of geeks. This place is definitely strange. It also has the best kebab in the city: Star Kebab

I found a really yummy conveyor-belt sushi restaurant at the top of one of the electronics stores.  

The Asakusa area and Senso-ji temple is a tourist trap, but it...

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The Asakusa area and Senso-ji temple is a tourist trap, but it has its charm. I bought a few souvenirs here, but it’s not really worth the hassle to make it a regular place to visit in Tokyo.

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