I see a lot of people have been reading my post about the Korean Setting Perm. On it, I mentioned that the curls were quite tight, but that I thought they would loosen up over time. Well I just want to update and say that they no, they haven’t really loosened up at all, and it’s been over eight months. Eight months later and those curls are still holding tight.
Setting perm is described by Koreans as the “elegant” waves versus the digital perm, which is supposed to be curlier and more slightly more fun? I’m not sure how to describe it, but setting perm is what you see when you see classic, sophisticated Korean girls. I don’t think it turned out the way it was supposed to have on my hair because my hair is naturally very frizzy, so I’m sorry if my pictures weren’t of much help to you.
Funny thing I just searched up “setting perm before and after” and my picture came up. Maybe I shouldn’t have put such a dismal picture of the after shot (sobs).
In retrospect, the Korean magic straightener was not nearly as good as the Japanese straighteners I’ve gotten before, so here’s some real advice: definitely go for the Japanese straighteners over the Korean magic one if you want straight hair. Okay, that’s enough talking!
Since I started this blog back in August, it’s been about eight months of me blogging about Korea and its beautiful language, people, culture, etc. And thank you lovely people for visiting my site, whether through references or just randomly stumbling upon it from Google search. I’m truly grateful.
Since I’m not longer in Korea right now, I haven’t been able to update the blog regularly with experiences and stories from Korea – because I’m no longer there. However, I’ve met a lot of people with equal amounts of enthusiasm for the language and culture, and I just wanted to plug them a bit.
If you’re looking for a network of friends to study Korean with you, go to Self Study Korean. The site is run by a bunch of really awesome people from all walks of life with one thing in common – their love for the beautiful language that is Korean. I’ve been frequenting it because not only does it help me in my journey to mastering Korean, there’s a feeling of community and belonging on the site.
If you’re looking for a Korean pen pal, go to Interpals. You can pick what language you want to be your target language, and you can make friends who you can share languages with. I think the website is fairly safe, and I haven’t heard any creepo stories from it, so I think you will be okay trying to find friends on it.
If you’re looking for a westerner’s perspective on Korean culture, go to Noonablog. Paula, the writer behind Noonablog, has been living in Seoul for the past couple of years, and she has a lot of insight into Korean culture. She’s also into fashion, so a lot of her posts are about fashion (happy for me ^^), and I’ve met her personally (she’s awesome), so I promise you you won’t be bored by her blog!
If you’re looking for a good website for authentic Korean merchandise, go to G Market. This website is one of Korean’s largest e-markets, and it has everything, from clothes to cosmetics to food to furniture. The prices are decent, and they have worldwide shipping. I haven’t personally bought from the website, but I have friends who have, and I’ve heard no complaints. If nothing else, the endless pages of cute clothes (and the guys’ clothing section has a lot of cute models ^^) should keep you occupied.
Right now, I’m a little out of ideas, but if you think of any other good resources for Korean-related things, let me know! And also, if you want me to blog about anything in particular, feedback is always appreciated <3
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!
Yesterday I took my camera with me (and my friend) and just walked around Hongdae taking random pictures of interesting-looking buildings and things. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.
I somehow stumbled upon the Coffee Prince coffee shop! It’s right behind the Hello Kitty on the hill. Here are some pictures.
And then we settled into Toms N Toms, which is just like my familiar Starbucks, but it had 3 floors, so it was nice and lovely. Because the day had kind of gone south, I got a honey bread thing to compensate. It is so cute-looking and delicious at the same time. I almost didn’t know what to do with it. I mean, just look:
And then we went home. But not until after I got some delicious street food. Actually, the 2nd time I was eating street food, a car crashed into me. Or rather, my backpack. It was so unbelievable, and I almost didn’t feel it too. But even though the windows of the car were tinted, I could see the driver and front-seat passenger bowing to me in apology. I waved my hand, as if to say ‘No problem!,’ in a daze. And that was my day. Actually Saturday was much more exciting, but I’ll update about that later. Until next time!~
So this blog post title today is really lame, I know, but it’s kind of the best thing I could think of. Last Sunday, I did a little photo shoot with lovely Paula, one of my fashion inspirations here in Seoul. She has a great blog, filled mostly of fashion, but also of life, love, and how beautiful Seoul is, which I’ve also discovered myself the two or some months I’ve been here so far.
Paula is working at a vintage shop called OldOld. The store is located near Konkuk station (Line 2). It’s a cute little store in the basement of an old building, but there are a lot of gems just waiting to be discovered. For my friend and I, Paula decided on a knit-only look that was kind of angelic, and to play up that aspect, we shot only on a roof-top. It was a really fun experience, and I’d be happy to work with Paula again for any other fashion ideas she has. She was the first fashion blogger in Seoul that I found, and I was so happy to finally meet her. She’s perhaps even friendlier in person than online, and that’s saying something ^^
So here are some of the photos:
They turned out really nice and artsy, right? I really loved the outfits Paula picked. She’s a natural stylist :) I really love the fashion here in Korea – it was one of the drawing points for me. At long last, I got to work on a fashion project here…I’m grateful :)
So last Friday I finally got my butt down to Yeouido, where the KBS Broadcasting Station is located, to see Music Bank.
Now I have to precursor you guys on what it means to “see” Music Bank (or any other music show). Each artist/group has to do about 15-30 minutes of pre-recording before the live show, which starts at 6 pm (for Music Bank). The recordings start late morning and end before the live show. Each group that is performing that week, whether it be Super Junior or F.T. Island, or whoever else, has to pre-record their performance several times before the start of the live show, so that instead of rushing between set changes, some groups might not get to perform it live during the live show (I’m not sure who doesn’t get to perform…I might have to get back to you on that one).
Getting into the pre-recordings: It’s not hard to get into the pre-recordings. All you have to do is show up at the KBS Station about 2 hours before the start of pre-recording with a copy of the latest album of the group you want to see. You will almost always need this in order to get in. Go to the person in charge of the fan club (they will probably be wearing a badge that says they are fan club staff) and tell them you want to see the show. Show them your album, and they will collect your name and (in my case) write a number on your wrist. And then all you have to do is wait until the pre-recording starts, and then enter with everyone else :)
What to do in the pre-recording: The authorities say no photography or videos once you’re inside the KBS Building, and if you’re caught, you will probably be thrown out. They’re kind of strict about this. My friend, however, sneaked a picture inside the studio…so it is possible, if you’re sly enough. Fangirls (in my experience, a lot more girls than guys love kpop) are SO crazy. When I went to see Infinite, the girls around me were all screaming the members’ names at the top of their lungs, and waving incessantly, in the attempt to have the members wave and smile at them. And the fan chants during the actual pre-recording performances are so intense. Half the time my ears were bleeding from the fangirl screams. It’s like you’re at a sports match or something….maybe this is the sports culture of Korea :o
About the live show: I’ve never had any experience getting into the live show, and none of my friends have had either. For Music Bank, Music Core, and Inkigayo, there’s apparently some lottery system online for getting tickets. This most certainly requires a Korean social security number, which none of us have. There really must be another way to get tickets to the live show, but I just haven’t figure it out yet. I hear that Music Core is possible, but you’d have to get there really in the morning, and right now I don’t have that kind of patience. I will update later if I get any more information.
Now, finally let’s get to my experience!
So I got to the KBS Station via the National Assembly station on Line 9 (next to Yeouido). Unfortunately I don’t quite remember the exit I took right at this moment, but I will update with that information later. The KBS building is quite close to the subway, only about a 5-10 minute walk away. When you get to the KBS Station, make a right at the first intersection (after the traffic bars) and walk straight until you see a sign for KBS Hall (written in Korean), turn left, and walk up the stairs. It’s like an open space with a roof overhead, and the entrance to the recording studio is to the right. Find the fan club staff roaming around in that area.
This is what the place looked like when I got there (the entrance is actually on the left side of this picture):
And we waited a longer than I thought we would, actually. We were supposed to enter for Infinite at around 2:30 and I think we waited all the way until 4:10 pm…and I might’ve caught a cold, but it’s so worth it. INFINITE!!
And once we got in, I was so amazed. The studio was a lot smaller than I thought, but the set was beautiful! Really gorgeous. They were promoting Paradise, which I think is a great song. The choreography is really smooth, less intense than the Be Mine choreo, but great nonetheless. And the boys…well, they were a lot smaller than I thought they would be. They were sooo skinny, like malnutritioned kids from a third world country. Yes, I did just have to make that comparison. They looked exactly the same as they did on camera, so that was a happy surprise. Myungsoo looked really tired, so he was the only one who was not really waving back at us, but all the others were really enthusiastic at waving and smiling at us. It was a really good experience. I really didn’t want it to end, but sure enough, after 3 takes, the security guards were ushering us out the door. They were a bit rude about it too, but oh well.
Afterwards, we went to Handel & Gretel, which is the little cafe owned by Yesung (from Super Junior)’s parents. It’s right outside the main KBS gate – you cannot miss it. It was beyond adorable, but it was tiny as hell. We had to sit outside in the cold >___< Here are some pictures of the place.
And there’s the conclusion of my first attempt at going to Music Bank! I will actually be going back again this week, and seeing if I can get any more information. Hope this was helpful and I love reading comments, so please do comment below!
요즘은 바빠서 블로그에 글을 못 썼어요…너무 미안해요 :(
I’ve been so busy these days, so I haven’t had a chance to update this blog as frequently as I would like to. I know I said I would blog at least once a week, but it really has been crazy. Mid-terms are coming up next week, and I need to study this week.
But my 약속 or promise to you guys is that after mid-terms are over on Tuesday, I will be blogging a lot! I have a bunch of things to blog about…for one, I finally attended a music show! This past Friday, my friends and I went to the SBS Broadcasting Building and watched a pre-taping of Infinite for Music Bank! It was like a dream come true. Even though I didn’t get to see the boys super up close, I would say I was maybe 30 feet away from them at one point. The stage and the auditorium for Music Bank were awfully small, and also it’s kind of impossible to get into the live show without getting tickets off an online lottery. However, I met some people when I went who will be going back and also going to other shows (Music Core, Inkigayo, etc) so I will be going back. Next week’s Infinite’s goodbye stage so I will most definitely be attending! I will be making a full blog post about this soon, so stay tuned!
For now, here is a picture of the Paradise stage at Music Bank that my friend sneakily took. We aren’t supposed to take pictures inside the building >___< so strict!
Look! There’s Myungsoo/L :)
Ahhh so I have abandoned my blog for about two weeks now! So sad…it’s mostly been because I’ve been too busy and and then when I’m free, too tired/lazy to post. Let’s see, what have I done since I last blogged?
1) I started tutoring a KU student in English. The experience will come in handy when I want to come back to Korea and find a teaching job, I think :)
2) KO-YON JEON!! The annual sporting games between Korea University and Yonsei University are always a blast. Actually, I wasn’t expecting that much because I’m not a huge fan of watching sports, but Ko-Yon Jeon was so much fun. In fact, I have to deem it as the most fun I’ve had in Korea so far. Why? The cheering. At KU and at YU, each school has their own particular school cheering songs and cheers that go along with them. At the games (baseball, basketball, ice hockey, rugby, and soccer), you don’t sit to watch the game – you stand for hours at a time and cheer your heart out for your school. It’s really touching to see a huge stadium full of red shirts (KU’s official school color) moving in tandem to the cheers, and every time we score, it’s like a huge celebration. It’s school spirit like I’ve never seen before, and for once I was so excited to feel a part of this unique kind of patriotism. The cheering songs are SO addicting – I was listening to them on my iPod for a week after the games. This was the highlight of my experience so far. I wish I could come back to KU every fall just to attend Ko-Yon Jeon :)
3) I actually have done a fair amount of “partying,” as I would classify it. I had been pretty opposed to drinking and clubbing and the like, as evidenced in my previous blog entries, but the conclusion to the Ko-Yon Jeon was a night out in Sinchon, the area around Yonsei. And so everyone in our KUBA group went to a club in Sinchon. I told myself I’d make an exception since it was Ko-Yon Jeon (and we won!! It’s been years since KU won the games!!). And I actually had a decent time – enough to convince me to go clubbing again when my friend asked me to go a couple of days ago. Went to Club Cocoon in Hongdae – it was a really nice club and I’d definitely go again. My friend told me NB2 in Hongdae is the it place, so I plan on going sometime.
And this isn’t really an event, per se, but I need to categorize this. 4) Everywhere I go, I get Koreans asking me if I’m Korean. And when I tell them I’m not, I get this look of disbelief every time. “But you look so Korean!”, I hear. But I don’t actually think I look that Korean. It is pretty frustrating, because I feel like Koreans feel special kinship with other Koreans and a bit more resistance when you’re not Korean. I don’t think it’s surprising – I think every culture is like this, but Koreans are really proud of their country, so it was a bit intimidating at first. Now, though, I think it’s not so bad. Once you get to know them a bit more, they will realize you’re basically all the same. People are people.
5) More language things. I’m already involved in one language exchange program, but it doesn’t meet regularly. So I started going to a Korean tutoring (kind of) thing that’s on Saturdays. It’s held at a church in Gangnam, and the people are a bit older than I had expected, but they are very nice and really try to help you with your Korean (by talking slowly and in simple sentences and by explaining as much as they can). It was quite encouraging, so I think I will definitely continue with it. There is KU ISF Korean Class on Thursdays in the science campus, and it is a semester-long course, so I will be updating on how that goes. Ahh learning Korean is so difficult. My least favorite thing are the verb endings. There are different endings for every situation! I think there are hundreds of verb endings…that are impossible to completely comprehend. I’m starting to doubt if I can ever truly become fluent in Korean, but…I have to keep trying.
Once again, a very long entry, and not that exciting. Sorry guys! My brain is so fried these days. I’m just trying to keep updating, so that those who are interested can continue to follow me on my adventures. I realize this is my most incomprehensible and poorest written blog entry. Please excuse any grammar mistakes or just plainly stupid sentences, like this one.
I will update again when my brain is more in tact ^^ Annyong!
I know there is supposed to be Cute of the Week every week (hence the name), but I’ve been kind of lazy with updating my blog lately, so I’m going to make the post about Lotte World into a Cute of the Week post.
I wasn’t necessarily planning on going to Lotte World (pronounced Loh-tay), but there was a Chuseok (Korean fall harvest/Thanksgiving holiday) discount for foreigners, and a bunch of KU students decided to go, so I thought, what the hell and decided to go last-minute.
Some background on Lotte World: it is the world’s largest indoor amusement park, but it also has an outdoor part that isn’t shabby either. The indoor part was my favorite, though, because I’d never seen anything like it before. Since Lotte World is located in Seoul (it is surrounded by tall apartments), it has limited space. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and it was definitely the case with Lotte World. Since most amusement parks are outdoors and spread out on a large land base, there’s usually a considerable amount of space between rides and shops. Lotte World is crammed in a pretty small space, but the architects/designers did a fantastic, fantastic job with it. With a huge glass dome for a sky roof, an ice skating rink dipping two levels below the main floor, and 3 more levels above the main floor, the indoor park gives off a feeling of being spacious and a fantastical aura of being bigger than life. Here are some pictures if you don’t believe me.
I couldn’t take many panoramic photos because I wasn’t from a high enough altitude to do so. So this is the best I could do :/ However, Lotte World is kind of like a kid’s dream. Just look at the beautiful details!
The Adventures of Sindbad (6/10) – This was the first ride I went on. It is completely underground, and you are basically cruising along on a cart in the dark. It’s supposed to tell a story – most of the time, you are moving slowly through dark chambers with mechanical dolls voiced over by actors. It has a Harry Potter/Phantom of the Opera feel to it – mysterious, but pretty boring overall. There are two drops in it – none of which I expected, so I was a bit iffy about them, haha. I would recommend this ride if you want a longer ride and don’t mind a bit of bad voice over acting and unrealistic-looking actors. Don’t wait in line for it if it’s longer than 20 minutes.
The Conquistador (7.5) – This is your classic boat swing ride. I was excited for a bit more excitement, so I rode this after Sindbad, and it wasn’t bad. It was as expected, which is both good and a bit boring.
Giant Loop (7/10) – I was kind of excited by this ride, because it is a full loop. Your cart is on this loop train and it never goes anywhere else. You do full 360 degree rotations, and the concept was pretty cool. The speed is rather slow, so if you’re expecting a fast ride, you’ll be in for a disappointment. However, it was enjoyable, as I’d never been on a ride like it before. I would give this ride an 8, but there was one thing about it I really didn’t like. You are belted in on the top well, but the bottom part (your bottom and legs) aren’t secured well. There were times I was upside down and my legs were literally hanging in midair. This was a bit scary…but overall it was a good ride.
The French Revolution (8) – The concept of this ride is really awesome. It’s a fast-speed rollercoaster basically around the perimeter of the indoor park. It looks beautiful and the loops and drops were appropriate and thrilling. The only setback – and the reason I kind of hate Asian amusement parks – is how much the ride made my head and ears throb. During the ride, there were a lot of fast turns, and the way the seats/ride was designed caused my head to bounce violently from one side to the other, hitting the head rest (which wasn’t really cushioned) quite often. Many friends walked away from the ride with the same complaint. The ride would’ve been so much better without this very basic design flaw. I would still recommend it, however.
After this, we moved to the outdoor park, which is called Magic Island. We actually spent a considerable part of our time in this park, considering how small it is in comparison to the main park. When we got to Magic Island, we were greeted with this beautiful castle not unlike the Disney Magic Kingdom castle.
And it kind of astounded me how close Lotte World was to the city of Seoul. Look at those skyscrapers. The people living in them must look outside their window everyday and be like, what is that shit doing here.
Swing Tree (6/10): One of my favorite rides, the swing ride. The first 10 seconds were marvelous – I felt like a kid again (and granted, I was one of the oldest people on the ride. 80% of the riders were below the age of 8). And then for the rest of the ride, I felt like I was going to puke. I don’t know what it was about this ride, but it made me queasy for the rest of the time I was at the park. I don’t really recommend it :/
Waikiki Wave (4/10): Wow, this ride really seriously sucked. Like so bad. I thought it would be like the ride Hang Time in Dorney Park (I’m from PA, lol), which is like a two-row seater where you basically flip up and down in a straight line. But Waikiki Wave was like twisting and turning in all the wrong ways and places, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Not only was it not thrilling, but it succeeded in making me even sicker than before. Definitely wouldn’t recommend this one.
Comet Express (9.5/10): My favorite ride of the whole park. I feel like this ride is a bit underrated, since I never really hear too much about it. But for me, it was one of the best rides I’d ever been on in my entire life. Basically you are in a circle pod with one other person, and there’s a row of about 10 of these. And all ten of your circle pods swirl into a black tunnel of random bursts of fluorescent light and your pods spin freely during its orbit around and around a black hole. Sounds a bit dramatic and strange, huh? I LOVED IT. It wasn’t scary at all, no drops – and I was smiling/laughing the whole time. Since our pods spun, I could see my friends in the pods in front of and behind us and we even waved and talked to each other! The best time I’ve had in an amusement park – ever. I really intended on going back on it a second time, but when we returned, the line was waaay too long – 70 minutes or some ridiculous number like that. I eagerly await the day I return to Lotte World to go on Comet Express again. I’m going on this ride before I leave Korea – I will make sure of it.
Gyro Swing (7.5/10) – This ride looks intense (it goes really high), but it isn’t. In fact, I was a bit underwhelmed. I enjoyed it, yes, but it was less than a minute, and I definitely waited over 20 minutes for it. The swinging wasn’t as intense as I’d hoped, and it definitely would be improved if it had been longer. Still worth a visit though.
Atlantis (8.5) – Actually, this is one of those rides that look pretty normal but turn out to be a lot more intense than you’d imagine (read: The French Revolution). This ride was similar to the French Revolution, except more intense and partially indoors. It looks like one of those canyon splash rides, you know, where you go up a big mountain and crash down into the water and get all soaked in the end. Well, this ride is nothing like that – you don’t get wet, and the mountain isn’t that tall, and the first part of the ride is REALLY FAST. The moment you get on the ride, the attendant at the ride tells you to hold onto the bar in front of you and lean back, not forward. The sign outside the ride tells you to stretch before you ride. They really should’ve made this clearer. The ride takes off at 72 km/hr and none of us expected this. It whizzes and loops and drops at this same speed for about 30 seconds (the best 30 seconds of the ride) and it was sooo much fun. It was amazing. Unfortunately, like the French Revolution, this ride suffers from lack of care taken to human safety. My friend riding next to me said the speed and the turns caused her neck to sprain slightly. I’m a bit surprised with this ride, because the rides I went on back in the States were NEVER THIS FAST. It was slightly bewildering. In the end, though, I would still strongly recommend this ride.
And that concludes my list/rating of rides, since after that, the park became wildly crowded, and we were too lazy to stand in any lines. I hate it when parks become so crowded that you have to wait an hour or more for rides shorter than 1 minute. It’s kind of really frustrating and at that time, I just wanted to call it quits. There were also several attractions I wanted to go on, such as the Mirror Maze, the Ghost House, and the Tomb of of Horror, but they cost money (around 2000 won each). In retrospect, I probably should’ve tried at least one of them. I’ve always wanted to go to a mirror maze. Alas, there’s always next time.
I’m realizing now that this is probably my longest entry to date, and that’s because I really love reviewing things. I wanted to give you guys an idea of what’s good and what’s not good at the park so that when you go visit, you won’t make the same mistakes as I did. Plus, the park is only empty for so long, so you should get to the rides you like most before the lines get ridiculous.
One ride I really regret not going on is the Pharaoh’s Fury. This is apparently the most popular ride in the park and I didn’t even know what it was. The description on the map was this: ‘Take a journey to find Pharaoh’s hidden treasure.’ Whatever that means. Honestly, the descriptions on the park map are hilariously inadequate. The description of the Crazy Bumper Car was ‘Crash into other cars for fun.’ Swing Pang Pang‘s description was ‘Come to join us. Let’s bounce with Lotty & Friends.’ Awkward/hilarious much? I kind of loved it at Lotte World. The things there were kind of stupidly cute and lovable. I’m not sure when I’ll return, but I would like to return in the future sometime :)
And there’s the conclusion of my rather (extremely) long entry. And some more pictures for your enjoyment!
So…this is something I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, but just never got the chance to do it, or had enough reason to do so. But finally I feel like it is time to address this situation.
The situation I’m referring to is…the nightlife culture in Korea. Now, I will tell you off the bat that I’m not a drinker. I was not a drinker in America, nor did I ever desire to drink alcohol. I don’t enjoy the taste of alcohol; I don’t enjoy the results of alcohol consumption; and so I’ve never enjoyed drinking culture and I tend to stay far, far away from it. But here in Korea, the drinking age is 19 and everyone who’s in college drinks. And it’s not like at a frat or house party once or twice a week. People in Korea drink every single day of the week, at restaurants, at bars, at clubs, everywhere in which they can get their hands on alcohol. To them, alcohol (a bottle of beer or soju) is as common as drinking Coke or iced tea back home. They enjoy it for the pleasure and they enjoy it for the social bonding rewards. However, I don’t enjoy either of these things, and in addition, I have a slightly ridiculous alcohol allergy which turns my whole body bright red (it looks like a rash) whenever I do drink, and it’s not pleasant in the least. So you can just about guess how I’m feeling whenever my friends (both Korean and non-Korean) want to go bar-hopping or clubbing.
At first I thought to myself, “Just try it. Everyone drinks here. It’s so simple. Just take the shot glass and drink it. What’s the harm?” But after a few nights of social drinking, I remembered why I stayed away from alcohol in the first place. It doesn’t sit well with my body and I don’t enjoy the taste at all. Am I just destined to be socially outcasted while all my friends have so much fun together, drinking and partying?
I’m not sure. I’m a bit worried. I’ve never felt truly socially pressured to do things that are considered acceptable, because I’m very comfortable with myself and I know what things are important to me. But the drinking culture here in Korea is really so prominent that it makes it hard to ignore.
Some friends say, why not just come drinking with us but not actually drink? It’s more about the company anyway. But to me, it’s not the same. When you drink, you’re not on the same level as sober people. You find the most mundane things more humorous or ridiculous, and you connect more to people who are similarly intoxicated. Sitting there with a glass of water while my friends are all drinking is not my idea of fun, and I will fight you to the death if you believe that drinking alcohol is the primary way of having fun in life. There are many things I love to do, such as shopping, playing board games, trying new restaurants, learning languages, and meeting new people – all things that do not require nor are improved by alcohol consumption. I sincerely believe that for me, alcohol is not a positive thing, but a hindrance to all that I want to experience and accomplish in life.
So in the meantime, while I am doubting my future existence in Korea due to my incongruence with Korean drinking culture, I stick true to my beliefs and views. If you have anything you would like to say, please, I welcome your input in the comments below. With that said, no blatantly negative comments, please.