Recent Blog Posts

All Recent Posts

Where Travelers Should Go in Seoul During Seollal 2017

Printer-friendly version

Happy New Year! Can you believe 2016 is officially over? Neither can we!

2017 is the Year of the Rooster and Koreans celebrate the Lunar New Year, or ‘Seollal’ in Korean, which is one of the biggest holidays in Korea. This year, Seollal is from the 27th to 30th of January.

During the holiday period, many Koreans head back to their hometown to see their families and pay respect to ancestors. As most people head out of Seoul during this time to see their families, the city that is usually bustling with people becomes a lot more peaceful and quiet.

Also, many businesses including major department stores and small local shops close during the holiday period. But don’t be in despair as travelers (or you!) can find and partake in Seollal events at many tourist attractions and destinations within and around Seoul.

Check out these destinations where you can celebrate and make the most of your trip during the Korean Lunar New Year holiday!

1. Theme Parks

South Korea’s three best theme parks, Lotte WorldEverland and Seoul Land are open during the Korean Lunar New Year and they offer various attractions and winter-themed events like sledding, light shows and parades.

Lotte World is holding a special parade where performers wearing colorful “Hanbok” (Korean traditional costume) will play traditional Korean instruments as they sing and dance. Seoul Land.jpgSeoul Land is also hosting a Pond Smelt Festival consisting of a sledding slope, fishing area, indoor children’s playground and food trucks selling delicious food.

2. Korean Royal Palaces

If the royal palaces are somewhere you’ve been meaning to visit, Seollal is the perfect time to go. Four of the royal palaces in Seoul (GyeongbokgungChangdeokgungChanggyeonggungDeoksugung) will be open and will showcase different programs for the guests.

Programs include traditional rituals and games, activities that you can participate in and performances like the famous “changing of the guards” ceremony with the palace as the perfect backdrop. You can also have an in-depth tour of the Korean royal palaces here.

3. National Folk Museum of Korea

You may perceive museums as mundane places, but head to one during Seollal and you’ll find that it’s actually quite fun and exciting!

During Seollal, the National Folk Museum of Korea, located in Gyeongbokgung Palace offers a range of hands-on programs and exhibitions such as arts and crafts and traditional folk games for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

You can try playing Korean traditional games like “paengichigi (top spinning)”, “jegichagi (hacky sack)” and “yutnori (a board game where you throw sticks)”.

4. Namsangol Hanok Village

The Namsangol Hanok Village is a collection of five traditional Korean houses from the Joseon Dynasty that have been restored. As part of the Seollal festivities, here you can register for various experiences involving Korean traditional percussions, folk songs, games and more. It’s sure to be a lot of fun!

5. Korean Folk Village

The Korean Folk Village is also hosting Seollal events such as folk games and traditional Korean music performances.

There are also performances like tightrope walking, horseback martial arts and role playing by actors donned in makeup and outfits that make it look like they’re from the Joseon dynasty.

Have a private tour to the UNESCO-designated Suwon Hwaseong Fortress and Korean Folk Village in one day here.

6. National Gugak Center

The National Gugak Center is a place that preserves and promotes Korean traditional music and performances.

During Seollal, there are special cultural performances about the history of Korea that are both educational and entertaining!

Other destinations to visit during Seollal holiday in Seoul

Other major tourist attractions that are also open during the Korean Lunar New Year holiday period include COEX AquariumN Seoul Tower and Myeong Dong Nanta Theatre. All of them are easy to reach by subway and they are truly wonderful places to visit with your family and friends and have a great time together.

So, what are you waiting for? Do try a visit to one of these spots during Seollal!

If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to check out, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop for more fun and exciting posts like this one!
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. 

An Interview with John Pilger

Printer-friendly version

THERE is a scene in George Orwell’s 1984 at a mass rally when the main character Winston Smith realises the state’s official enemy has just changed from Eurasia to Eastasia.

Though this enormous policy change happens in the middle of a government speech, no-one else in the crowd seems to notice it.

Finding the flags of their former allies, now their eternal enemies, strewn around them, they tear them down screaming: “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia!”


We find ourselves in a somewhat similar case. Not so long ago when this whole “war on terror” began, we were always at war with Islamic fundamentalists; Libya’s Muammar Gadaffi, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Tunisa’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad’s were our strategic allies and Vladimir Putin’s Russia was a slight annoyance but generally ignored.

Now, at the end of 2016, it seems we have always been at war with Russia and Syria.

Occasionally we are always at war with China, especially when the communists get all uppity about the South China Sea.

However, at least for the moment, it appears all media attention is focused on Syria where the “moderate” terrorists are now our allies.

This is one reason why John Pilger’s latest film The Coming War on China is an essential wake-up call.

When it comes to China, the media rarely, if ever, mentions why the country is so protective over access to the South China Sea. And, as Pilger’s film points out, the media never speaks on how the United States surrounded China with a ring of military bases and an arsenal of nukes aimed at it.


It is in the midst of all this that I got in touch with the eminent journalist with a few questions about his film.

Ben Cowles: Why did you decide to make this film now?

John Pilger: I have been planning this film since 2011 when President Barack Obama announced his “pivot to Asia.”

That strange, innocuous term meant the beginning of the greatest build-up of US naval and air forces in Asia and the Pacific since World War II. The implications were clear — the US was declaring another enemy: China.

I have been a reporter in the Asia-Pacific region and I think I understand the importance of the region to the United States’s sense of its own dominance. Hillary Clinton, in one of her leaked speeches, said the Pacific should be renamed “the American Sea.”

The US Pacific Command’s symbol, or logo, has an eagle with one talon over Seattle, the other over Beijing. “We control of 52 per cent of the world’s surface,” they say. By its rapid economic rise, China is perceived in Washington as a challenger to the top dog.

BC: What were some of the challenges making the film?

JP: The main challenges were raising the money (successful, but only just) and persuading Obama’s Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, the most verbose war provocateur since Donald Rumsfeld, to speak to me (unsuccessful).

The sheer physical harshness of filming in the Marshall Islands also took its toll.

BC: With the business interests both countries have with each other, it is hard to see how either side would benefit from war — although people were saying exactly the same thing about Britain and Germany before the first world war. Could the US’s encirclement of China be empty saber-rattling and nothing else?

JP: Neither side would benefit from war — that’s exactly right. And nuclear war is not a remote possibility; in response to the threats and pressure, which include a full-scale rehearsal of a blockade of China by the US Navy, China has put its nuclear weapons on high alert. Of course, a lot of sabre-rattling is posturing, but as history shows, it also generates an atmosphere of distrust and, as one strategist describes it, “a landscape of potential miscalculation, mistake and accident.”

When one side begins to believe that the other is about to launch nuclear weapons, there is — as a US panel of experts concluded — less than 12 minutes to decide whether or not to retaliate.


BC: What do you make of the arms trade’s role in this? The US spends a huge chunk of its GDP on the military; could China be a useful enemy for this expenditure?

JP: The US arms business is central to the risk of war. In 2014, Congress approved federal contracts worth $440 billion; at the top of the list of recipients were the arms companies.

All but one of the world’s 10 leading arms companies backed Hillary Clinton for president. By the way, Britain is now the world’s second biggest arms dealer. Theresa May’s government says it will send the new multibillion-pound aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to the South China Sea — plus a squadron of Tornado fighters — to join in the fun.

BC: You’ve mentioned that the US’s way of thinking is rooted in 19th-century thinking, could you explain what you mean by that?

JP: US foreign policy has pretty much run in a straight line since the Korean war in the early 1950s. It’s about control of strategic territory, especially the gates to fossil-fuel sources.

This is a classic gunboats policy; there is nothing subtle about it.

Many countries and their governments are perceived in terms of their usefulness or expendability. Genuine independence is barely tolerated.

Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela are “enemies” basically because they are independent, to a considerable degree, of US diktats and influence. That’s classic 19th-century thinking.

This took a different form during the 20th-century cold war, which was fought mostly by the US in so-called Third World countries for strategic and resources gain, as Britain had done. The pith helmet and robocop helmet may look very different but have much in common.

Listen to Admiral Harry Harris, chief of the US Navy in the Pacific, who does a brilliant impression of Lord Curzon.

Unfortunately, imperialism, once a term of great civic pride and endeavour, has been banished from the dictionary of journalists and transatlantic scholars (“realists”) since the nazis gave it a bad name.

BC: Have you had any reaction on the film from China? If so, how has that been?

JP: The response has been unlike any other I’ve had. In China, social media has carried the trailer and almost certainly the film itself to a huge audience.That a Westerner should make a political and historical documentary analysing and critical of both sides, that relates something of the “hidden” history of China, must seem exotic.

As one of the film’s Chinese interviewees says, the Chinese are used to being regarded, behind polite exteriors, as the “yellow peril.”

BC: What do you hope people will come away from the film thinking?

JP: “Information is power” is an enduring truth. I hope people take from the film information that challenges the myths and stereotypes, and lies, that are often everyday currency.

BC: You say in the film that ordinary people can act as a superpower themselves. How can ordinary people stand up to the might of Western imperialism?

JP: Ordinary people in countries that have stood up to Western power, often against the odds and without the privileges we enjoy in the West, don’t have to ask that question.

A note from the editor-in-chimp: This interview originally appeared in the Morning Star, where I work as the deputy features editor.

The post An Interview with John Pilger appeared first on Monkeyboy Goes.




Lightroom Basics

Printer-friendly version

With the new year already here, it is the perfect time to start improving your skills at editing photos inside of lightroom. In this basic lesson, I am going to take you through each of the modules that are important to the beginner lightroom user. Basically, this will compliment my upcoming lightroom for beginners tutorial on At any rate, what you will find here is an explanation of the steps that you need to take in order to get your photos from your memory card to your lightroom catalogue and then start editing them.

In future articles,  I will explain in more detail what each of the modules do and how to get the best out of everyone of them. However, for this article, I just want to get your photos into lightroom and get you editing them.

Importing Photos

After you have taken your masterpieces and you have lightroom up and running on your computer it is time to import your images. Typically, for beginners I don’t recommend making too many changes here. However, if you are feeling more comfortable with the program and you have a particular way you want to organize your files then by all means make the changes.

Once you plug your card into your computer of card reader the import dialogue will pop up. On the left side you will see where your images are coming from and on the right you will see where they are going. One spot that I always check is the little box on the upper left that says “eject card after import” To me this is important as lightroom will then left you know when it is done with your card and eject it for you. This could save you sometimes if you try to grab your card before if is finished importing your pics.

import screen

Along the top are a few choices on how to handle your files. I would suggest at this point to just select “copy as DNG” That will copy the files and create a “digital negative” or DNG file that lightroom uses to keep track of your edits. This will increase the upload time as lightroom will upload the images first and then convert to DNG after but I prefer this method and use the extra time to grab a coffee before I start editing.

The other thing to take note of is where your images are going. You can make a lot of changes here. However, I store all of my images on external hard drives. Thus, you should make sure that the images are going where you want them too and not in some random place. Also keep an eye on the file names. Depending on how you want to set things up, you can add in shoot names or simply the dates. I usually go for just the dates. For me it is just more organized that way.  Once you are ready, hit the import button and your are away for the races!

The Library Module

This is where you collect and organize all of your photos inside of the lightroom catalogue. Initially, I was annoyed that I had to import all of my photos into lightroom, when I was just getting started. However, now I understand how well this system works and why it is more useful to import the images rather than store them randomly in odd places around my computer.

Grid view in Lightroom

Think of this area as your base of operations. This is what you will see when you first open Lightroom and this is where you will make some critical decisions. You can choose, rate, assign colours, delete, make collections and compare images all from within this module. It is an essential part of the lightroom workflow.

The Develop Module

This is what basically makes lightroom… well… lightroom. It is the place where you will most likely spend a lot of time and it is one that you should take some time getting to know. For many of us, this is the best part of lightroom. From this module you can edit your photos, use presets, make panoramas, merge to HDR, and export to photoshop and other programs. It is also nondestructive. That means that you are not actually working on the original file, so you can really play around and see what works.

The beauty of this module is that it is really a powerhouse of features designed specifically to improve your photos. In earlier versions, you would have to jump back and forth between lightroom and photoshop. With the release of Lightroom CC and even version 5, you really don’t need photoshop unless you are really planning to do some heavy editing. It can all be done from right inside this module. If future blog posts, we are going to explore this module in depth so that you can harness the power of lightroom.

The main thing that you understand is that you can at anytime, reset your image. Thus, you don’t worry about damaging or getting to crazy with an image. You can always reset your image to it’s original form with the click of a button. The other cool thing is that you are not actually editing the image itself, so that means you will always have the original raw image incase you need to come back and re-edit your photo.

Exporting Photos

This is usually the final step in the process for most photographers. Lightroom gives you the option to publish to many different sites and many different forms. In most cases, new users should look to set up at least the facebook option. This will save you a lot of time as you can export directly from lightroom to facebook without having to worry about resizing and saving to your hard drive.

Lightroom also has a number of features to export your photos into other formats from web pages to books. We’ll explore these at a later date. However, if you don’t automatically see these options at the top-right of your Library module, simply right-click over the existing modules and you will see a list appear. Click to check the modules that you want to have onscreen and they will appear.

Now that we have a general idea of the basic premise behind lightroom, we can now dive deeper into each module. If you would like to findout when my course will be available on signup for my newsletter below and I will let you know when it is available.

The post Lightroom Basics appeared first on The Sajin.

Top 10 Blog Posts on ESL Speaking

Printer-friendly version


Top 10 Blog Posts of All-Time on ESL Speaking

We’re going to take a little trip down memory lane with this blog post. I’ve looked back in time and found the 10 most popular blog posts here at ESL Speaking. Find out what other people have found most helpful!

#1: Small Talk ESL Activity

This small talk ESL activity is the most popular blog post here at ESL Speaking! Small talk is one of those extremely important skills for our students to learn. But for some reason, it’s also something that is rarely practicing in the ESL classroom. My goal is to change that! I came up with this fun, engaging, and interesting way to help my ESL/EFL students practice small talk.

Check out this ESL activity here:

Small Talk ESL Activity

#2: Presentation Project-Some Ideas

Presentations for ESL Students

Presentation ideas for ESL students

I love to do presentations with my students. I think they’re a useful life-skill, and can give our students something solid to take with them away from my class. Plus, they really do help students with their English writing, speaking and listening! If you need a few ideas for presentation projects, then you’ll need to check out this blog post.

Find it here:

Some Ideas for Presentation Projects

#3: 6 ESL Survey Ideas 

I love ESL surveys. And I don’t use the word “love” lightly! I use them in all my speaking and conversation classes at least once a month. They’re so great because they hit all four skills (speaking, listening, reading, writing), get students moving around the class talking to their classmates, and they also get students practicing an oft-neglected skill, follow-up questions. In short, ESL surveys are one of the ultimate ESL activities that you should be using all the time!

More details here:

6 ESL Survey Ideas your Students Will Love

#4: Running Dictation

Running Dictation ESL GameRunning Dictation is another one of those ultimate ESL activities. Similar to ESL surveys, running dictation hits all four skills in a fun, engaging way. It also gets the students up and out of their seats, having fun while learning English. You can use this activity with any level of students, as long as they can read and write.

Check out all the details here:

Running Dictation: A Classic ESL Game

#5: 81 Ways to Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome

If you teach ESL speaking and need a bit more awesome in your classes, then you’ll need to check out this post. There are a ton of tips to help you make your classes more engaging, and helpful to your students!

Get some more awesome in your life here:

81 Ways to Make your ESL Speaking Class Awesome

#6: Conversation Starters for Adults

ESL conversation activitiesI like to use ESL conversation starters at the beginning of some of my speaking classes. They work best with intermediate to advanced students. But, you can use some very simple ones for beginners, and also make sure you give them a very short amount of time to discuss the question with a partner.

Although there are thousands of potential questions that you could have your students discuss, I’ve listed 10 of my favourites. These ones work for almost all teenagers or adults in just about any country around the world.

See them here:

Top 10 ESL Conversation Starters for Adults

#7: ESL Textbooks for Adults

In this blog post, I share my favourite ESL textbooks for adults, with a focus on the 4-skills ones. I give a brief summary and then talk about why I like each textbook so much. If you get to choose the textbook for your teenage or adult speaking, conversation or general English classes, then you’ll find this blog post very useful!

Find out the details here:

Top 10 ESL Textbooks for Adults

#8: How to Teach English Conversation

This blog post is a round-up kind of one. I have links to tons of resources around the web from ESL games and activities to lesson planning. If you’re just getting started with teaching English conversation, then you’ll definitely find this post about how to teach English conversation very useful!

Check it out here:

How to Teach English Conversation

#9: Top 5 ESL Activities for Beginners

It can sometimes be challenging to come up with ESL activities for beginners, particularly if they’re adults. While the activity or game you do has to be really simple, you can’t treat adults like babies (of course!). This is what makes it a bit more difficult than teaching higher level adults, or total beginner children. In this blog post, I have my Top 5 ESL activities that you can use with students who are total beginners.

More details here:

Top 5 ESL Activities for Beginners

#10: Top 10 ESL Icebreakers

Rounding out the list of Top 10 Blog Posts on ESL Speaking is one about ESL icebreakers. I like to use a few icebreakers at the beginning of each semester because they help the students get to know you, as well as each other. By using these icebreakers at the beginning, the rest of the classes seem to go better, particularly in a place like South Korea where students can be kind of shy in a classroom environment.

Check them out in this blog post:

Top 10 ESL Icebreakers

101 ESL Activities For Teenagers and Adults

101 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults
List Price: $15.99
Price: $15.99
Price Disclaimer

That concludes our list of the Top 10 Blog Posts on ESL Speaking. I’m sure that you’ll have found something useful for your specific teaching situation. If you’re on this website looking for ESL games and activities for teenagers or adults, the resource I recommend is this book over on Amazon, 101 ESL Activities: For Teenagers and Adults.

It’ll help make your lesson planning easy, guaranteed. There are ESL activities that you can use with just about any topic or grammar point. While a few of them are specific to a certain skill, most of them are very general and can be adapted to just about anything! Stop searching around on the Internet for hours looking for that fun, new activity you can use in class. Instead, just grab this book off your shelf, flip it open and find something awesome.

You can easily get the book on Amazon today:

The post Top 10 Blog Posts on ESL Speaking appeared first on ESL Speaking.

Jackie Bolen: How to Get a University Job In Korea


My Life! Teaching in a Korean University

University Jobs



2017 Preview, part 1: East Asian Security

Printer-friendly version


This is a local re-up of a broad predictive overview of East Asian security issues in 2017 published first at the Lowy Institute a few days ago.

The standard first line of reviews like this is to bemoan North Korea and China. I do a little of that here, but tried to look beyond facile predictions that the US and China will fight in the South China Sea shortly. Asia is a pretty status quo place, so the only big ‘disruptors’ are the usual suspects – the Kim family of North Korea and Donald Trump. The Chinese and the Japanese aren’t really interested in rocking the boat much, so they’re barely mentioned, curiously enough. For example, the next time North Korea does something dumb, we can count on China saying that we should all calm down and maintain stability – in other words, do nothing. One thing I do wonder about is if the left wins the South Korean presidency this year, will it dramatically change South Korean foreign policy by accommodating (read: appeasing) North Korea?

Part 2, next week, will focus on South Korean security issues in the new year.

The full essay follows the jump.



The consensus seems to be that 2016 was terrible – because your favorite celebrity died, or you still have not processed that Donald Trump did actually get elected – but 2017 promises to be tougher. Trump will actually take office, and in East Asia, medium-term trend lines are broadly running in favor of China and North Korea. Trump will almost certainly do little good – he lacks the necessary patience, attention span, and industry – and has the potential to trip-up badly. Nor will the region take its cues from him. Asia’s rise is increasingly distinct from the United States and its dynamics independent of Washington influence. So here are four issue areas to watch in the new year:

Will East Asian Elites Take Trump Seriously?


East Asia is generally a status quo-cleaving place, so it will be curious to see how regional leaders will respond to the orange theatricality of President Trump. Indeed, it will be curious to see if Trump himself calms down in office enough to get through an ASEAN or NATO summit without acting like a clown. So when Trump finally meets Xi Jinping and starts babbling in a press conference about how he loves Chinese people because they make great takeout, especially sushi, how will the tetchy Chinese public react?

If only for the obvious structural reason of US power, regional elites will have to deal with him. Trump, for all his ridiculousness, still represents the United States. But it is easy to foresee wars of words between the US and regional leaders, especially from China, breaking out if Trump lies or mischaracterizes his meetings with them, as he did his meeting with the Mexican president during the campaign. At the very least, Trump’s staff needs to get him off Twitter when his presidency commences.

How to Slow North Korea’s March toward Nuclear Weapons?


Trump being Trump, his antics will often dominate day-to-day news, but the big ‘tectonic’ issue of Asia 2017 is the relentless pursuit of missile power by North Korea. After five nuclear tests (2006, 2009, 2013, twice in 2016), it is now clear that North Korea has mastered the basic technology of crude atomic bomb. The yield of the last test exceeded that of the US bombs used against Japan in World War II. It claimed that its fourth test was of a hydrogen bomb. This turned out to be a lie; the traditional fission bomb was perhaps ‘spiked’ with tritium. But it does suggest North Korean interest in continuing to move up the nuclear weapons chain – to a hydrogen bomb next. North Korea sits on its own uranium deposits, making sanctions a poor tool to slow this.

The next obvious step is missilization, and in 2016, it tested furiously. After dozens of tests, leader Kim Jong Un claimed in his 2017 New Year’s address that North Korea is close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile. The obvious target of that is the continental United States. Conservative voices are already calling for such a test to be shot down, and I have long suspected that North Korea’s insistence on such an expansive nuclear program would bring calls for preemptive strikes. Throw Donald Trump’s combustible personality and hawkish cabinet selections into the mix, and it is easy to see escalation occurring (so long as China continues to drag its feet on Pyongyang, as it has for twenty years).

Will Trump Revive Taiwan as a Major Regional Issue?


The recent re-surfacing of the Taiwan issue is a nice example of the shallow unpredictability that Trump brings to the region – and the problems his theatricality raises when taken from television into geopolitics. After his victory, Trump phoned the president of Taiwan. This violated the informal ‘One China’ policy the US has traditionally pursued to calm Beijing’s nerves on the issue. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese hit back. So before he has even taken office, Trump has already picked a fight with the world’s soon-to-be largest economy. But as there was no follow-through, it is not clear why Trump even did it.

The stunt was classic Trump – rule-breaking, attention-grabbing, shallow, poorly thought through, and lacking follow-up. Two months later, nothing has come it. Trump has not followed through. He has dropped the issue on Twitter, has not appointed any major China hawks to his cabinet, not spoken of his anti-Chinese tariff, and so on. So what was the point? To throw the Chinese off-guard? To what end? Just because he can?

The insouciance is striking. Surely, the American president should stand with Taiwan if necessary. No one wants to see a nasty autocracy bully a small democracy. But that was not this, because it was Trump who picked this fight and for no clear purpose. This was not a precursor to a policy shift, just a media stunt. The status quo, however uncomfortable, has served Taiwan well for many years. The open fiction of ‘One China’ allows all players to avoid a clash none of them want. This is not North Korea, where a military clash may well be necessary to protect South Korea. This was easily avoided.




Will South Korean Foreign Policy Swing Widely to the Left after Park Geun Hye Leaves Office?


South Korea’s president has been partially impeached. The legislature voted to impeach her in December. The case is now before the country’s highest court, which must confirm the National Assembly’s (lopsided: 236-54) impeachment vote. Expectations here are that the Constitutional Court will concur, which would force a new election within sixty days. But even if it does not, the next normally schedule South Korean presidential election is in late 2017.

Either way will see a vote, which the left is widely expected to win. President Park has badly damaged her conservative party which is consequently in the process of splitting. Opinion polling suggests a strong, if not remarkable, presidential victory for the left. Regionally the crucial factor here is that the South Korean left is still committed to the ‘Sunshine Policy’ of accommodation and engagement with North Korea. It is widely thought that this is the reason North Korea has been so quiet since the South Korean presidential scandal broke: Pyongyang is happy to see a conservative government fall and be replaced by the left. Left-wing candidates have suggested rolling back US missile defense in South Korea and intelligence sharing with Japan, and even re-opening the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Zone. This would be a major shift.


BONUS: What will Not Happen


Perhaps the most important non-event of the year is an obvious Chinese challenge to the United States or Japan. Realists and conservatives of all stripes have predicted this for years, but China has been far more tactically cautious about challenging Western power than Imperial Germany or the Soviet Union ever were. China has obviously learned from those cases. Regional trends are running in Beijing’s way. Why not just wait for the apple – a regional sphere of influence – to ripen and fall? There is no need to fight and risk a counter-balancing coalition.

Filed under: Asia, Korea (North), Korea (South), Lowy Institute, Park Geun Hye, Taiwan, Trump

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


Korean Food Buffet – All You Can Eat (뷔페)

Printer-friendly version

Korean buffets are a fun way to experience a lot of different Korean foods while in Korea in a short amount of time. While the quality of the food isn't going to rival other restaurants, it's usually good enough - after all, Koreans are their main customers.

Check out a Korean buffet during your next trip to Korea to experience more of the food, and to help you decide which types you enjoy and which types to avoid.

The post Korean Food Buffet – All You Can Eat (뷔페) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





How to Say ‘Time’ in Korean

Printer-friendly version

Whether you are meeting a friend or catching a train; it is very important to be on time. In this article, we will look at how to say ‘time’ in Korean. This will help you make sure that you do things at the right time, and that you don’t waste your time.

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


‘Time’ in Korean

Time in Korean

The word for ‘time’ in Korean is 시간 (shigan). This word can generally be used in the same way as it is used in English.

However, you must be careful when listening for this word. In some situations, 시간 can mean ‘hour’ instead of ‘time’. It is important to listen for the context of the sentence in order to work out if 시간 means ‘hour’ or ‘time’.

Occasionally, the word 시간 can be shortened to  시 (shi). Usually, 시 means ‘hour’ or ‘o’clock’, but it can sometimes mean ‘time’.

If you want to say ‘2 hours’, then you can say 2시간 (du-shigan).

If you want to say ‘2 o’clock,’ then you can say 2시 (du-shi).


A Word of Caution About Romanization

Often in Korean, similar words contain similar parts. For example, lots of words that are about time use the word part ‘시’, such as 시계 (shigye) which means ‘clock’. If you can read the Korean alphabet, called Hangeul, then it should be easy for you to identify these parts. However, if you are reading the words in the English alphabet then it is harder to notice these common parts of words.

Learning Hangeul is easy and just takes a couple of hours. Once you can read Hangeul, you can easily identify word parts and also improve your pronunciation and grammar, not to mention your reading ability.


Alternate Uses of ‘시간

시간 only means ‘time’ in Korean, but 시 has several meanings. It can mean ‘time’, ‘hour’, or ‘o’clock’; but it can also mean ‘city’ or ‘poem’. It should be easy to guess which of these meanings is correct by looking at the context of the sentence.


Telling the Time in Korean

Telling the Time in Korean

In order to use the word ‘time’ in Korean, you need to know how to talk about time. Korean has two number systems, and both are used when talking about time.

If you are talking about hours then you can use the word 시 or 시간. You should use a number from the 하나, 둘, 셋 (hana, dul, set) number system when using 시 or 시간.

If you are talking about minutes then you can use the word 분 (bun). You should use a number from the 일, 이, 삼 (il, i, sam) number system when using 분.


2:30 would be 두 시, 삼십 분 (du shi, samship bun).

Two and a half hours would be 두 시간, 삼십 분 (du shigan, samship bun).


Sample Sentences

Formal / Polite:

30년은 긴 시간 입니다. (samship nyeoneun gin shiganimnida)

30 years is a long time.


시간 좀 내주실수 있나요? (shigan jom naejushil ittnayo?)

Could I borrow a minute of your time?



잠깐 시간 좀 내 줘 (jamkkan shigan jom nae jwo)

I need a moment of your time.


좋은 시간 될 거야 (joheun shigan doel geoya)

I think it would be a nice time.


Now that you know how to say ‘time’ in Korean, start arranging a time to meet your Korean friends so that you can practice Korean with them. Just make sure that you aren’t late!

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

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

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


Please share, help Korean spread! 



8 Tips You Need to Know Before Visiting Vivaldi Park

Printer-friendly version

Hello Trazers! Greetings from a member of Trazy Crew. Last time, I tried skiing (for the first time in my life) at Phoenix Park, which was crazy fun, and now it has become one of my favorite outdoor activities.

But I found out that young and hip Koreans are hooked on more “trendy” sports like snowboarding nowadays. So I headed to Vivaldi Park, or Daemyung Vivaldi Park, which is a ski resort very popular among Koreans in their 20s.

And based on my (100% real) experience, here I bring you some handy travel tips and advice that you should know before you go skiing or snowboarding to Vivaldi Park in South Korea. vivaldi-park-review-7

1. Don’t figure out your way to the resort by yourself

Just like the last time when I visited Phoenix Park, I joined a one-day tour because I found it very, very convenient. You may want to read about my skiing experience at Phoenix Park here as well.

I’ve done both independent travel and package tours, but I personally prefer tour packages over independent travel as these tour packages are the easiest and the most time-efficient way to go on a ski trip.

And thank god, I didn’t have to go through the hassle of figuring out my way to the ski resort, such as comparing the prices and so many more things that I have to deal with when planning a ski holiday!

Seriously, these ski tour packages saved my time (and will save yours, too). For more info about the tour, click here.vivaldi-park-review-3When you book your trip, take note that there are different options for you to enjoy: SkiSki Lesson and Snowboard. I chose the Snowboard option since I already tried skiing last time at Phoenix Park. Pick whichever you’d like to try this winter – all of them are fun!

Check out what’s included in the tour package:

  • round-trip transportation
  • ski lift pass (for both lift & gondola)
  • equipment & clothing rental (jacket, pants and gloves)
  • English speaking staff (they will help you with anything you need!)

*Helmets and goggles are available for rent on site for an additional 5,000 KRW. For more info, click here.

2. Pick the less crowded days

When I arrived at Vivaldi Park, I saw the ski resort was bustling with people (even though I visited on Friday) so it took a while for clothing rental. It may also be because Vivaldi Park is a very popular destination for skiing and snowboarding.vivaldi-park (7).jpgThe clothing must be returned to the rental shop by 3:30 pm, so when you consider that and the amount of time you have to enjoy the slopes (and possible delays due to long queues and such), it’s a good idea to go on a day other than Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Personally, I would advise you steer clear of the weekends and stick to going on a weekday if you want to avoid the crowd.

3. Use the changing room in the equipment rental area

If you decide to go alone, use the changing room in the ski/snowboard equipment rental area (located across from the building where you rent ski clothes).

Personally, I don’t recommend the changing room near the ski clothes rental area at Vivaldi Park inconvenient because there were no separate sections to change the clothes, which means you will have to change with all the female visitors at the resort.

But you don’t need to worry if you take the tour package because you will first drop by a rental shop near the ski resort to change into your ski/snowboard clothes and then head to the resort. The changing rooms are not super upscale, but at least you won’t have to rush at this place.

4. Take a lesson if you are a complete beginner

For me, I headed right away as soon as I was geared up, which was around 12:30 pm If you choose the Ski Lesson option, you will have the chance to learn basic skills for 2 hours.

If you’re a complete beginner, I highly recommend you choose the lesson option especially since snowboarding is a lot more difficult. Since my friend knew how to snowboard, she taught me a few basics but I do wish I’d signed up for a private lesson to help me get a hang of it more quickly.vivaldi-park-5The 1-day package doesn’t include a snowboarding lesson option, but you can book a private lesson separately here, where you’ll learn all the basics in detail. But if you are an expert, then go straight to the slopes!

5. Don’t miss out on the eateries!

I think Vivaldi Park is a ski resort where the food’s as good as the slopes, and you don’t want to miss a thing here.

Not only you can find food trucks, a food court, restaurants, cafes and food stalls at the Main Center building, there is also a separate underground complex called Viva Plex (near the entrance of the Main Center) where you can find various dining places that offer more than casual eateries.vivaldi-park-1So even though lunch meal is not provided in the tour packages, there is something for everyone at Vivaldi Park and I personally prefer them without a lunch meal since you will want to try every treat and food offered here.

6. Take advantage of the lift pass

If you’re not that into skiing or snowboarding, I strongly recommend you to use the lift pass and try riding the gondola up to peak, which offers an amazing panoramic view of the entire resort and the surrounding winter landscapes. The 8-seater gondola takes you up to the peak about 7 minutes and what more can I say? Try and see them for yourself!vivaldi-park-review-6

7. Choose the right slopes for your level

Vivaldi Park has 12 slopes in total – 2 for beginners, 5 for intermediate to upper-intermediate, 4 for advanced and 1 for the experts. vivaldi-park-review-5If you are a beginner, go for the Blues and Ballad courses. The Blues slope has very slight inclines, making it perfect for complete beginners (like me) to practice on.

In contrast, the Ballad slope has a few steep inclines but they aren’t super intimidating. However, I was too terrified to even attempt snowboarding down it so I just went down the Blues slope twice. But my friend who was also a beginner attempted it though!

8. Spark your romance!

Last but not least, Vivaldi Park was featured in some of the scenes from the latest Korean drama called “The Legend of the Blue Sea (SBS)“, starring by famous Korean actor and actress, Jun Ji-hyun (Sim Chung) and Lee Min-ho (Heo Joon-jae). In Episode 6, Sim Chung asks Heo Joon-jae to take her somewhere with snow and the two enjoy skiing on the slopes at the resort!

Being the most visited ski resort for 7 years, Vivaldi has become even more popular after it appeared on the screen.
legend-of-the-blue-sea-vivaldiWhether you are K-drama enthusiast or not, the snowy slopes and sceneries in and around Vivaldi Park is the perfect spot to turn up the heat on your romance.

featured-image1Did you get some ideas on how to plan your trip to Vivaldi Park? Then, now is the time to start planning! When you are planning, do take these tips and advice in this post.

Or book your trip here immediately if you want to have the time of your life this winter in Korea!

To find more winter tours and ski packages, make sure you drop by and browse on, Korea’s #1 Travel Shop!

Tea for One

Printer-friendly version

Eating lunch alone or having a quiet beer at home on the couch doesn’t strike most Westerners as out of the ordinary; but in South Korea, a country whose culture is more oriented toward group affiliation, something as simple as having a sandwich at your desk could mark you as anti-social or an object of pity: the dreaded wangtta, or social outcast, doomed to a life of solitary meals and other lonely pursuits.

This stigma on eating and drinking alone however is rapidly changing, as a few recent articles note (here and here). In the past year or so, restaurants have embraced solo diners, and a new word, honbap (a compound derived from the words for “alone” (honja) and “rice” (bap)), has thus entered the Korean lexicon. Likewise, drinking alone no longer marks you as a bum or an alcoholic, but merely a practitioner of honsul (“alone” plus “alcohol” (sul)), which has a decidedly more sympathetic ring.


Cheer up, Bill. It’s cool.

As many observers have pointed out, the changes in dining habits are driven in part by the rise in single households, which now account for over one-quarter of Korean households – a significant social shift that has been playing out over the past few years as property values rise while economic uncertainty and changing personal priorities impels more young people to delay or forgo marriage.

The rise in solo living arrangements may also be having other interesting effects on consumption trends. This recent article traces a recent rise in the number of convenience stores to the same single-living trend, noting that many people who live alone simply find it easier to procure most of their daily needs at a CU Mart than at a larger store, which tend to deal in larger quantities and sizes.

On a personal level, I have noticed a steep drop in the looks of pity I used to receive from Korean students and friends whenever I was sighted sipping a coffee or scarfing down a sandwich by myself. Now it appears that I was just a man ahead of his time. Who knew?

Syndicate content

Koreabridge - RSS Feeds
Features @koreabridge     Blogs  @koreablogs
Jobs @koreabridgejobs  Classifieds @kb_classifieds

Koreabridge - Facebook Group

Koreabridge - Googe+ Group