Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween in Seoul



    Although Halloween is an American holiday, Koreans and expats all over Seoul party even harder then the American's back home! Of course Itaewon which is an expat heaven was a popular destination. However, all of the video footage above was taken in Hongdae which is home to several universities in Seoul.  The young college crowd provides a great atmosphere and there are tons of clubs and restaurants which offer costume contests and drink specials. Seoul is clearly the place to be for Halloween as many expats and Koreans travel from throughout Korea to celebrate.

Halloween recommendations in Seoul:

1. Make a costume- Finding Halloween costumes in Korea can be difficult. Get creative and made a costume. For example you can be the three blind mice. Simply buy 3 of everything: a gray H&M sweatshirt for 20,000, a gray head band 2,000, round make up puffs 2,000, pink paper 1,000, a swiffer mop from Daiso 3,000. Glue the round make up puffs to the head band and attach cut outs of the pink paper for the mouse ears. Twist the handle of the swiffer mop loose and attach red or purple tape to the bottom for a blind person walking cane. Wear your sweatshirt and dark sunglasses and walk around pretending your a blind mouse!

2. Buy a random costume the day of Halloween- Although costumes are hard to find, there will be tons of stands on Halloween Day selling weird masks, hats, and all sorts of crazy costumes for those that weren't planning on dressing up. This is totally last minute, so expect to pay a bit more for your costumes. A horse head mask will cost around 20,000 to 30,000 the day of Halloween.





3. Ride the Subway- Riding the subway to your destination is one of the best ways to get a close look at some of the crazy costumes; and you will be surprised at how much effort some of the Koreans put into their costumes! Plus, who wouldn't want to see a chicken sitting on the subway, or a Korean guy dressed up as sleeping beauty!
4. Get a window seat- At some point in the night you will need to sit down to recharge that dancing battery. Get a window seat at any restaurant on the main street, this might even be worth waiting for if there aren't any open. People watching from inside the restaurant on Halloween is amazing, you might even get a window full of scream faces like in the video above!





If you have any questions or comments about "Halloween in Seoul" please leave them in the comment box below or email goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.

Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.








Kung fu Koreans

 


    As I have said many times, crime in Korea is very low. That is why I was shocked when two men were fighting in the middle of a busy intersection in downtown Seoul! The men clearly had a little too much soju to drink, and at first appeared to be bickering. Then the next thing I knew, one of the men yanked his belt off and started waving it around in the air at the other guy. Immediately I knew this would make a great video and so I started recording.




My favorite parts of this video:

1. The guy waving his belt around.
2. The second guy ripping his shirt off.
3. The fact that they are fighting in an intersection in downtown Seoul!
4.  At the end of this video I abruptly stopped recording because I looked up from my camera and some old guy was standing with his face a good foot away from mine not saying a word! I thought that he was mad at me for recording the two Koreans fighting. But he was simply curious about me. He looked like Frankenstein and I immediately screamed and turned away. Frankenstein was so drunk he waddled down the street like a turtle that had no chance of catching up with me. I only wish I had the guts to catch this on video!

If you have any questions or comments about "Kung fu Koreans" please leave them in the comment box below or email them to goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.

Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.





Sunday, October 24, 2010

Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch Tours deliver great views of Korea


    This weekend I went on my first tour in Korea with the Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch. RASKB truly stands out of the crowd among other expat English speaking tours. This is because of their excellent coordination and tour guides.
    To be completely honest, I am still new to Korea and was a little sketched out by paying for the tour via a wired bank account transfer. However, just by looking at the company website and giving the guides a phone call you can tell that they are trustworthy. RASKB is  non-profit organization that seeks to spread knowledge of arts, customs, history, and literature of Korea. According to their about us page, the RASKB has over 1500 members in more than 20 countries!
    RASKB tours are much smaller and low key than Adventure Korea tours. This is nice because you are not dealing with the stress of traveling with a big group. We all know that waiting around for other people can be annoying. I highly recommend RASKB tours for those that want a smaller and more intimate tour experience. My tour had its own private bus which seated about 20 people.
   Most people on the tours are much older than myself which was nice. Personally, I did not want to be with a group of young and loud party animals all day long on my one day off of work. Also because we were traveling to such a peaceful and serene location! Some peace and quiet was definitely nice for the one day Danyang tour to Woraksan National Park, Gosu Cave, and Chungju Lake.
   I would definitely go on another RASKB trip in a heart beat! My tour guide Ms. Areum Choi was very nice, and kept the group moving so that we did not get behind schedule. Areum speaks English very well as she studied in Australia and just returned to Korea recently. She currently the assistant to Sue Bae who is the regular tour guide on most of the RAS tours. Although I did not meet Sue, many of my fellow tour members said that she is great at keeping the tour organized and fun. 
    Thanks RASKB for a wonderful Sunday in North Chungcheong Province!

If you have any questions or comments about The Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch please leave them in the comment box below or email goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.


Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.






Thursday, October 21, 2010

Changes to the E2 Visa Process- Diploma

Gone Seoul Searching's diploma!
 
    As of September 2010 a notarized copy of your diploma with an apostille is now required to receive an E2 visa. (This is also required if you are already living in Korea with an E2 visa!)
    Luckily this process is less time consuming than the FBI National Criminal Background Check. Now you just have to get a copy of your diploma notarized by a notary public. Bigger universities might have a notary right on campus. Most of the time a statement must be included from the notary in order to receive an apostille on your notarized diploma copy. Find out if your secretary of State requires this. The Califonia Secratary of State requires this statement along with the ORIGINAL notarized document.

Attention: Some States such as California require the original notarized document in order to receive an apostille. Thus a copy of your diploma is not sufficient for the apostille! However, a copy of the diploma is sufficient when turning in the notarized documents to Korean Immigration. This means you do not have to mail your original diploma overseas anymore. 

Getting an Apostille in California: information provided from the California State Secretary

1. Authentication requests can be submitted by mail to: 

Mailing Address
Notary Public Section
P.O. Box 942877
Sacramento, CA 94277-0001

The processing time is typically three to five business days from the date the request is received in the Sacramento office.

When submitting a request for authentication by mail, please include the following items:

  • The original notarized and/or certified document(s). A photocopy is not acceptable.
  • A cover letter stating the country in which the document will be used.
  • A check or money order for the authentication fee of $20 per authentication certificate made payable to Secretary of State and payable in U.S. dollars.
  • A self-addressed envelope for the return mail. If you wish to use a mail tracking service, please provide a pre-paid air bill. If you do not use a prepaid service, our office will mail your document(s) by U.S. Postal Service regular mail at no charge.
If you have any questions or comments about getting your diploma notarized and apostilled for the E2 Visa please leave them in the comment box below or email goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.

Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.







Koreans believe in fan death


    Yesterday  I was teaching students a lesson on how to talk about urban legends and conspiracies. The course was going great, until I opened up the book and saw the picture to the left. Really? Why on earth would there be a picture with a skull and a fan? Little did I know, that my students actually believe in the urban legend of fan death.
     I could not wrap my mind around this idea so I intently listened to their conversations. Most of the students said that they should be very careful during the summer. They should not leave their fans on at night while sleeping because their body temperature will get so low that they will die! I didn't want to interrupt their great conversations, so I let the fan death topic slide until the end of class.
     Meanwhile I was dying of laughter in-side! During the summer I sleep with my ceiling fan on and I have never died! I explained this to my students and they said "Well maybe it is because the fan is on the ceiling, and not pointing directly at your face."   Finally the last five minutes of class came and I asked them why they all believed in this urban legend. All of my students except for two believe that fans will kill you while you sleep! They explained to me that during the summer they see warnings on the news and read articles about how dangerous fans are.One of them even warned me to be careful!

Reasons for electric fan death

1. Your body temperature gets too low: This is the answer that most Koreans will give foreigners. They have been told this from such a young age, that they have a deep fear of fans instilled in them. This is why most fans in Korea have a timer.

2.  Asphyxiation: Asphyxia simply means suffocation. Many Koreans believe that the fan actually makes CO2 build up in a room which causes people to suffocate to do a lack of oxygen.

3. Splits oxygen particles: Of course this rumor can't be true! There is no way that a fan has the power to chop up oxygen particles, which is then said to create a fatal amount of CO2 in a room! 

4. Bernoulli's principle: Some people trust the Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernouli who published a book titled "Hydrodynamica" in 1738. This theory states that when the speed of a fluid increases, there is a simultaneous decrease in pressure. When this is applied to fan death, it means that the fan will actually suck away all of the air that a person is breathing!


After reading these explanations from numerous websites and hearing about them from students I couldn't believe my eyes and ears! Who in their right mind would believe in this urban legend? This entire topic sound totally crazy! After hearing about this from so many people in Korea, I am looking forward to coming across some type of warning on TV or the Internet. As soon as I find one, I will make sure to share it with everyone!

If you have any questions or comments about fan death in Korea please leave them in the comment box below, or email goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.


Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.









Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lock your love at Seoul Tower

     Couples from all over Korea visit Seoul Tower not only for the great views, but to lock their love!

    The Seoul Tower which is also known as Namsan Tower, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in central Seoul.  Located on Namsan Mountain, this 777 foot observatory and communication tower overlooks all of downtown Seoul. The views from the top of the mountain are a favorite among those visiting Seoul. However, the observation tower is an even bigger hit with the locals.
    Ever since the tower opened to the public in 1980 couples have been traveling to the towers grounds to "lock their love." Throughout the railings of the observatory you will see millions of colorful locks. Most of the locks have names and wishes written on them from a couple who recently started dating. Locking your love at Seoul Tower is said to be good luck for your relationship. Thus, a majority of men take their girlfriends on a date to the tower when they think their relationship is getting serious.
    My Korean friends have given me mixed reviews on the magical powers of The Seoul Tower. Some say that the date really helps solidify and further their relationships. Others say, that locking your love is a childish thing to do.

    Regardless of the outcomes, the millions of locks create a living modern art. The locks are constantly changing colors and designs. Some of the railings even get so weighed down that special Christmas tree like structures were built to allow more locks to be attached.
   Once at the observation you may pay 7,000 won to go to the top of the tower where you can get a 360 degree view of the city. You can also eat at the N-Grill which is a revolving restaurant inside of the observatory. There is also an Italian restaurant which turns into a bar at night, and a basic food court to satisfy everyone's wallet.
    Seoul Tower is always hosting different events and workshops which can be found on their website at http://www.nseoultower.co.kr/. The walk up the hill to Seoul Tower takes about ten minutes. The path is very steep so be sure to wear proper shoes. There is also a cable car at the bottom that will take you to the observatory. To get to the Seoul Tower cable car, get off at Myungdong subway station from exit #3 using line 4. It is a ten-minute walk from gate #3 to the Namsan cable car station.

Directions to Seoul tower: Get off at Chungmuro subway station from exit #2 using line 3 and 4, and transfer to Namsan Circular Line. Or, get off at Dongguk Univ. subway station from exit #6 using line 3, and transfer
to Namsan Circular Line.

    If you have any questions or comments about The Seoul Tower please leave them in the comment box below or send an email to goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.


Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.


                                  A view of Seoul Tower from Jongno.



Sunday, October 17, 2010

A K-pop star avoiding South Korea's draft comes as no surprise

    Recently I read an article about MC Mong, a famous Korean rapper and tv star who recently tried avoiding Korea's draft. According to the article, South Korea's Draft: MC Catch-22 The Economist, MC Mong actually had healthy teeth removed so that he was unfit to join the army. Having lived in Korea for a while now, I was not surprised at all by Mong's actions.
    Everyday at work my students tell me that the required two year service for all men is the most boring and wasteful time of their life. The men in specific complain that they barley do anything while in service, and are sometimes required to just sit and do nothing as part of their job. Most men serve after their second year in college at around age 22. So by the time most men graduate college in Korea they are between 26 and 27 years old!
Courtesy of Luke Martin, www.roketship.com.
    The other day I met a Korean man in the elevator of my apartment building. He blurted out the word Sh*t when he noticed the elevator on the 12th floor because he was late to work. Not many Koreans know curse words so I knew he spoke English and we started talking. He told me that he had been going to school in Iowa and had lived in the United States for middle school and high school. However, he had to return to Korea to do his 2 year military service. I asked him what he had to do everyday, and he replied "absolutely nothing!" 
    To my surprise not only do the men dislike serving in the Korean army. The female students say that most girls have to break up with their boyfriends during this time. Most of them cannot handle the long distance relationships, and they fear that their boyfriends will cheat on them!
    I realize that not all of the men serving in the Korean army have invaluable positions. However, if Korea has so many useless positions for a majority of their men they should strongly reconsider lowering the enlistment period or allowing alternative forms of service. The service is already being lowered to 18 months in 2014 according to the MMA (Military Manpower Administration).
   The lowered enlistment time will make many young women happy as they will have an extra four to five months of time with their boyfriends!
If you have any questions or comments about "A K-pop star avoiding South Korea's draft comes as no surprise" please leave them in the comment box below or email goneseoulsearching@gmail.com

Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.









Saturday, October 16, 2010

Just feel it at Sachoom Dance Musical

video
 Some short clips of Sachoom. My co-worker was pulled up on the stage at the end of the video!

    One of the most popular shows currently running in Seoul is Sachoom. The show has been an open run since May of 2008 with shows every day of the week except Monday. All tickets cost 50,000 won. Luckily, I got my ticket for free because one of my coworkers students is a member of the cast! (Another great perk of being a teacher!)
    The non verbal dance musical runs for 80 minutes and consists of a many different types of dance including tango, hip hop, tap, and modern dance. There are three main characters, but the musical does not portray the storyline well. The show depicts different scenes from growing up including elementary school, dating, getting pregnant, and break ups.  Some of the scenes get pretty sexual and steamy, which was funny because I never thought I'd see a student half naked and dancing so seductively! 

    Although the storyline is pretty weak, Sachoom makes up for this with great comedy and awesome dance moves and singing. The entire show is very silly and audience members are encouraged to dance throughout the show. Don't expect a Broadway type musical at this show. The atmosphere is low key and the musical solely depicts a great love of dance.
    Caution: If you have seizures do not attend this show. The strobe lights are extremely bright and the music is very loud. I personally thought the music was too loud, and had to close my eyes whenever the strobe lights started flashing!
    Sachoom Theatre is located right in Insadong on the fourth floor of the Nawkwon building. You can't miss this building, there are cars running underneath the left side, and there are tons of music stores inside. There is an entrance to the building directly horizontal of the Jongno 3-ga Station Exit 5. For more information and map of the location visit Sachoom's English website at http://www.lovedance.co.kr/eng/01_sachoom/sub01.html.

If you have any questions or comments about Sachoom Dance Musical please leave them in the comment box below or email goneseoulsearching@gmail.com





Creative Commons License
Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.

Total Pageviews

Licensing

Creative Commons License
Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.
Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More