one girl's journey across kpop paradise

Monthly Archives: January 2012

More like a life stump. I’ve started school again, and I don’t know if I’m glad I’m a bit more busy now or a bit annoyed I generally have less time to study Korean.

The weird thing is that there are actually a lot of Koreans in my school, but they always travel in packs, and I don’t have any classes with them (I’m a Media major, I mean, maybe I should just change my major again to Business or something =____=), so it’s awkward to try to make friends with them. – End pointless interjection –

I’ve more or less readjusted to life back at home, sad to say, a life removed from excitement and intrigue :( Another random rant – I’m planning on going to the SM Global Audition in two weeks at NYC, so if any of you guys reading right now are planning on going as well, please let me know so that we can meet up! It would be good to have mutual support ^^ Instead of singing, I’m actually considering doing a monologue…I’m going to be so nervous omg lol

Anyway, my main point in typing this post today is to talk about a source I think is kind of awesome for helping learn Korean. And the source of the day is – K-pop Lyric Videos! The ones I’m talking about are the ones with hangul, romanization, and English translation, like so:

This is the first k-pop song I ever loved, back when I first discovered k-pop in the summer of 2009. I was a hardcore E.LF, seriously. I had “It’s You” on repeat for forever. The lyrics are actually surprisingly easy, using relatively easy vocabulary and grammar. I can understand 95% of it without the English translation, which makes me almost proud of myself. If I had started learning Korean back when I first discovered k-pop, just think of how good my Korean would be now…oh well, no point dwelling in the past.

But this Youtube user is really amazing – I’m not sure if it’s a girl or guy but I will assume it’s a girl – all of her videos have really pretty and mellow backgrounds to accompany the songs, so the video isn’t distracting. I have all of her songs on my ‘Watch Later’ list, so I just have it on the background while it plays the whole list, so whenever I’m inspired to read the lyrics, I can. It makes learning Korean less daunting and more fun!

Time to end (almost) pointless rant of the day!

Last week, my new semester started, so I’ve been kind of busy. I still try to study a bit of Korean everyday, and I think I’m improving a bit, but it’s still hard trying to understand natural Korean dialogue. Yesterday I found this interview of Kevin from U-Kiss conducted in English and Korean, and it was a good exercise trying to understand his and the interviewer’s Korean, because both of their native tongues are English (so their Korean is a bit slower than native Korean speakers’). I still can’t understand everything, but I think and intermediate level Korean learner would be able to understand most of it. Means I still have a long way’s to go!

Tomorrow I’m going to a Korean Language Exchange meet up, so hopefully it will be good and I’ll be able to practice my Korean. I really haven’t been able to practice speaking Korean to people lately, since I no longer live in Korea. Lately, I’ve been speaking Korean to my dog when I walk him, because it feels better than talking to no one at all, but he doesn’t understand anyway, so I don’t feel inhibited from speaking Korean wrong.

Next week I’m finally starting my Korean language class! It’s not at my university; it’s at a separate institution, it’s 10 weeks, twice a week, and we’ll be working off the textbook Integrated Korean Beginner 2. I looked through the book a bit, and I know a bunch of it, but I think it will be good review to reinforce the grammar and vocabulary I’ve learned in the past couple of months. I’ll update you guys on how it goes ~

Hope your Korean learning is going well!

P.S. I’ve been spending most of my online time on Tumblr. If you have tumblr, follow me!

여러분 나는 지금 한국어 열심히 공부하고 있는지 알죠? 맨날 맨날 한국어 공부하는 게 노력해 본데 가끔씩 너무 피곤하거나 싫어서 안 해요. 그게 안 좋잖아, 근데 난 이미 진짜 열심히 공부하고 있어요. 이제 그만 영어로 쓸게요!

Woot, that was hard! As for a translation of my previous Korean (I don’t think all of it was grammatically correct, but anyway):

Everyone, you know how hard I’m studying Korean now, right? Everyday, I try to study Korean but sometimes I’m too tired or I don’t want to, so I don’t. This isn’t good, but I’m already working really hard. Now I’m going to write in English!

Haha wow that was really sad Korean-writing skills. I can’t really come up with anything better for now, but I’m going to write more Korean in my entries, so I can practice. If you spot the grammar mistakes, feel free to correct me (because otherwise I probably would never know!). I’m going to come up with a new topic every time I have a writing exercise in Korean now…perhaps you can give me some suggestions for topics!

Until next time :) Happy studying Korean!

One of the main things I love about Korean culture is their food. Before I went to Korea, I hadn’t eaten too much Korean food, just bibimbap and Korean BBQ. But even then, I knew I loved the vibrant colors and intense flavor of Korean food.

One of the best things about living in Korea is being able to eat so much cheap, delicious Korean food just by stepping outside your doorstep. In every part of Seoul (and other cities, I’m sure), there are amazing little restaurants in every street corner owned by families – they’re cheap, authentic, delicious. I found it very difficult to find a restaurant in which I had a BAD meal. Plus, Korean restaurants (along with many other restaurants in Asia) don’t charge tax or tip, so it’s really easy and convenient just to eat out basically everyday.

Some of my favorite Korean dishes were kimchi jjigae, pudae jjigae, pajeon, and labbokki. I loved pretty much everything I ate in Korea, but these were the standouts for me.

Last week I decided to make some Korean food. Now, this is a big step for me, seeing as I groan whenever my mom asks me to try cooking. Cooking to me has always been a bit of a chore, because you need to go out and buy specific ingredients, and without the right ingredients, the food won’t taste right. I basically make only ramen and spaghetti, the two easiest foods to make. But seeing as I love Korean food, and that the closest yummy Korean restaurant is over 30 minutes away, I decided to give cooking Korean food myself a go.

So since I explained to you that I kind of hate cooking and that I have very little experience, I thought it’d be best for me to try an easy dish for my first Korean experiment. I chose Kimchi jjigae because it’s pretty simple – you just put kimchi and some other simple ingredients into a pot and let it simmer for a bit, and voila! You have kimchi jjigae. I have to give a lot of credit to Maangchi for her Korean recipes, because without them, I wouldn’t even had the confidence to try making anything. Her recipes are simple and easy-to-follow, and she often includes videos, which is very helpful.

Here are my kimchi jjigae ingredients:

And here’s my kimchi jjigae after being boiled:

It turned out a lot sweeter than it’s supposed to be (it’s not supposed to be sweet, more sour), so I’ll have to work on that for the future. Also, I used the wrong tofu – it’s supposed to be the slick, smooth one, but I bought tofu that said it was “soft” on the cover – clearly smooth and soft are not the same things. But my parents said they thought it was really delicious, so I was pleased ^^

Next, I tackled kkatdugi because my mom randomly brought me home a radish from the store. So I went on Maangchi’s site again, and of course, there was a recipe for kkatdugi (cubed radish kimchi). The ingredients required for this kimchi are really commonplace – garlic, ginger, green onions – so you won’t have to go too out of your way to buy them. The one weird ingredient that it calls for that I’d never heard of before is fish sauce. Apparently we had some in our garage that we never even opened. Go figure.

Here are the ingredients pre-mixing.

And here’s post-mixing:

I have yet to try it because it’s supposed to ferment outside for several days, so I will update you later once I taste it!

Hope you guys enjoyed this blog post and if you want me to try making any other Korean food, please let me know and I will try my best!

…and not at all too happy about that fact. But I knew that as much as I wanted to stay in Korea forever, I had to come back to the States to finish up my Bachelor’s Degree…and to improve my Korean skills big time.

See, I’ve pretty much decided that I’m going to move back to Korea after college, and in order to do that, I need to master the language. It sounds really daunting, and often I’m asking myself why I’m even doing this. I’m fluent two of the most commonly used languages in the world (English and Mandarin), and Korean is rarely used anywhere, except in Korea. But Korea has captured my heart and soul, and I know I would be really doing myself a disservice if I just pushed aside that aching urge to become fluent in Korean, move to Korea and marry a cute Korean guy.

To be honest, I would really love it right now if I just became Korean and didn’t have to go through the painstaking process of learning a totally new language from the ground-up, at my age (I’m 20! =___=). It may not seem old, but at this point, learning any new language requires a very serious amount of dedication, time commitment, and perseverance. I’m not like those other k-pop fangirls who say they’re “learning” Korean and are stuck at oppa and jjincha – I’m committing basically all my free time to it. I’m sorry if I’m sounding snobby right now, but this language-learning endeavor has become the #1 in my life. And as slow as I feel that my progress is, I know I’m improved so much since 5 months ago. I can even understand most of Talk to Me In Korean‘s Iyagi series (before the 40s)!

Right now I am using Seoul National University’s Level Two book, and it is definitely the best textbook I have used thus far. Korea University’s Korean textbooks are complete rubbish, and if you ever decide to study abroad in Korea to learn Korean, I highly recommend you go to Yonsei, Seoul, or Sogang instead. Because just learning from a textbook gets boring really quickly, I am reinforcing what I’m learning (grammar, vocab) by watching variety shows (better than dramas, because variety shows often have Korean subtitles or related commentary) and as always, listening to k-pop.

My love affair with everything Korea has not come to an end simply because I’m back in the States. I will continue to improve my Korean skills and I hope to make Korean friends here ^^ Until next time!

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.