Thursday, October 31, 2013

Visiting Hongdae Playground Saturday Flea Market tomorrow

Tomorrow is Saturday. There is a weekly Saturday flea market at the Hongdae playground area. Near to the entrance of Hong'ik University.

Hongdae Playground flea market is absolutely crowded, bohemian style(self-made arts, things, crafts, hats, wristbands)

To join in the fun, I will bring these books and perhaps other stuff and try to sell them. Successful buyer gets 25 USD rebate (terms and conditions apply)

National niece 국민조카 IU from SBS Running Man

My best times learning Korean (at super basic level 0.01) was with a great Korean speaker friend Andy Kim (korean roots, American, lived in South America). I learnt words from the barbeque table like water (mul), mulbyeong, bul (fire), and also IU. I had heard about IU a little, until he told me she is the Korean people's little sister and in Korean is 국민조카 - (translated as national niece/nephew) - gugminjokha; and she was able to sing very well and even at the crescendo (of high notes), she can do a progressive push 3 notes upwards.

Then I went back and watched the Youtube video and yes: she does it - effortlessly. (no strain in facial expression, as in most singers who are singer top of their lungs or notes, they will cringe showing much effort)

So finally now I can read some Korean words and here was the "nation's little sister" from a short skit of the Running Man TV program. IU was singing to wake up the participants on a presumably very cold winter morning. That means she woke up way ahead, prepared studio stuff (make-up etc) and mock as a singing bird to wake them. What fortunate luck those goons!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Short story - ppang shop with various types of ppang Itaewon 밤빵

During my journey to the Itaewon flea market last Saturday, I spent some time taking photos at this small booth selling all sorts of ppang or maybe it says hotteok. I bought 6 pieces of chestnut ppang (밤빵) 1000 KRW.

I think the only type she didn't sell was bungeoppang. (carp fish ppang)

Small but efficient booth space. She only has some standing area.

That pot has some secret ingredient in it. On the right is the red bean paste. 

Completed - close up image appears tempting.

Tidy, neat, strong colours. Appetizing.

These are filled with chestnut paste. 

Meticulous but effortless since it is a standard routine to "bake" a few sets of each types at the same time.

These huge ones on the left, I think it is hotteok. Looks like some type roti.
The ones of the shelves on the right too. 

Partial price list. Traditional No Fat Tay Roast Bun.
1 Hotteok (was 700) now 1000 KRW
3 Hotteoks for 2000 KRW

There are so many pre-packed. Guess hotteok can be eaten cold, while the rests seems delicious when kept warm.

Pouring. Hana hana.. one by one. 

Looks like another type. Since its on a 3x3 grid. 

You have to be there to smell the gentle fragrance. 

That's why I am planning to re-visit this booth again, today.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SPAM Singles Onion Flavour

Writing with trepidation. This word is perhaps banned in some parts of the internet.

But in Korea, SPAM luncheon meat in a can, is a revered high-quality high-valued product. In countries like Thailand, the BRAND'S Chicken Essence was a revered gift, usually packed in nice boxes, hand-woven-basket selling very well during Christmas and New Year time, when it is given to older folks and colleagues or boss or teacher or vice versa.

SPAM luncheon meat here has that same level of respect and awe. They are packed in beautiful boxes, with red ribbon and gold trimmings. Gift sets, boxed sets, double boxed sets. Complete flavour sets. Original sets!

So I had to try somehow. I bought a Singles version. It is 80 grams and retails for 1900 KRW. The discount price that day I bought was 1200 KRW. There are 3 flavours. The one I had was Fresh Onion.

Quote: The premium Black Label hamper will set you back around $75 (£50).
"It has Andalucia Olive Oil, and nine tins of Spam," the company's brand manager, Shin Hyo Eun, explains.

Start Quote

The only way to get meat in those days was to smuggle it from the army base”
Ho Gi-sukRestaurant owner
"Spam has a premium image in Korea. It's probably the most desirable gift one could receive, and to help create the high-class image, we use famous actors in our commercials.
"Anyone who gets a Spam gift-set also gets a warm feeling in their heart."

SPAM Singles on the left.
On the right is something else. Seaweed with egg.

Things You Can Make with SPAM
Sushi topping, burger, sandwich, salad toppings.

Funny little joke:
A Solid Line Would Say "NO! DO NOT CROSS" But This One Is Dotted.
Feel Free To Enter.

Raining Actually

Rainy day yesterday. I was prepared. Had my waterproof rain jacket when I went out during the day to search for King Gongmin's Shrine. It's hidden behind Hong'ik University, thus I made a full circle into the northern end of the Wausan Sport Park, beside Modern Design Museum.

This area is a mini-mountain.

Searching for this shrine.
There is a Mineral Spring. Could it be the place where IU (in the drama) gets her spring water with her family?!

There are greens and steps all the way.

King Gongmin's Shrine.

It's Rainism. Raining and caught in it. This was a heavy rain.

Triplex of the rain.

4x4 - at the junction many people where stuck.

IU's birthday cake Episode 6

IU's sister told her about the cake that their father had ordered several days ago before he died. So they opened it in the kitchen. It says "최고다 이순신" - You Are The Best Lee Soon Shin.

And that's how the title of this drama came from. The final words of her father written onto the cake.

So extremely sad.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Gummy Day And Night Najgwa Bam OST of Master's Sun

Recently after finishing the final episode of "You Are The Best Lee Soon Shin", I had to cover the front episodes that I missed. Virtually Episodes 2 to 10 are my missing pieces. If you have read my previous posts, I initially started with 10 minutes preview (ie. 16.7% of an episode) and piecing the missing links from previous and next preview's flashback or simply filling-up-the-blanks. It was fun. In a way a new way of watching movies or drama serials. So instead of linear A to Z, t0 to t100, I was on t40 to t42, then blanks, then t50 to t52. Bizarre. Crazy.
미친 = crazy (michin)

기괴한 = bizarre (gigoehan)

Well what is more bizarre. I followed Yerim's suggestion with a new drama that she was following. The title is bizarre. "Master's Sun". It was some wordplay with the main leads' name. One is "master/CEO" and even his name is Joogun (master). And the other is Tae Goong Shil. And for some strange bizarre reason, she is Tae Yang. (tai3 yang2) so Sun! It must be a case of wordplay and linguistic play. I will find out more when I master(!) the language.

What I loved about the drama (for now, I am on Episode 5) was just this song sung by a "Gummy". (bizarre?)

Singer: Gummy (거미)
Song: 낮과 밤  or Najgwa Bam (wow another bizarre clump of words)
Translated as : Day And Night
TV Drama: 주군의 태양 OST

I made a poster for the mp3. It works with latest Google Music on tablets as well showing a full screen scrolling (tested on the Nexus 10 tablet).

Ewha Women's University Area Four X Four

In Seoul, there are many established universities. At least 5-10 subway stations are named after the university. Perhaps more.

Arnaud recommended me a place to do a haircut. It is located in the front of Ewha Women's University. Apart from the obvious naming convention, it is a university catering for women only. 

Here are "four x four" style photos, using Pudding Camera on XPeria L. The stock Camera app isn't that great. Therefore, I have been testing Pudding Camera recently. These "four x four" tells a short story somehow compared to a single photo.

Seoul Daily Life - A Short Video

A Short Story. A Short Video. Enjoy!


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Voice Free Communications - An Experimental Science Project

In another 2 days, I will have been in Seoul for a month.

One experimental project that I made for myself as a research, game and life discovery is to NOT have a mobile phone telco voice line. It was subtly untitled. And after several friends asked me about it - ie. why, what, how - here is my short description about it.

There is no right nor wrong answers. Essentially it is an experiment.
Significance: To live in Seoul, without having a mobile phone voice line.
Why: Seoul is one of the most internet enabled city in the world. It is the most. Therefore, one is likely able to tap onto WiFi internet from cafes, shops, government sponsored hotspots and more.
Why 2: Several years ago, perhaps say 10 years ago, there wasn't such a complete device as a smartphone. The means of communicating and organising an event or meeting, goes into a complete high priority. People will take proper notes of the time, date, location, landmark, directions of how/when/who to meet up. When the teacher announced the sport's practise has changed venue to a new location, we diligently wrote it down, even drew pictures of landmark in the area.

There is no guessing or "laziness". Punctuality is a virtue and a respect. You could tap your mind and memories (if you're older than 15) about the "good old days".

How: I have a smartphone, it is Sony Xperia L, at 4.3 inches. There is no telephone voice line. While the phone is able to receive WiFi signals, Bluetooth, and NFC. I use it often to pre-cache some maps of places I will visit during the day. What I lack with a phone line, it adds up with a more conscious effort to ensure an appointment's venue and time is correct.

Circumstances: What if there are some circumstances that a voice line must be used to contact a number or office?
There are public phone booths everywhere. And as a BONUS, in Seoul, many subway stations have a "free call booth", a huge black box with a huge touch-screen. Beside it is a connected phone. Anyone can use it.

Would you want to try this experiment?

In another perspective, when the first phone rang, everybody was crowding around it to "use it" or be in the forefront of using a seemingly "wireless" communications system. Out of the ether. Then came the short-lived "pager". You "ping" someone's pager, and they in turn had to seek a public phone to call you! Then came the mobile phone. Basic, yet mobile. With that came the SMS, short messaging service. Essentially it is cheaper and concise to use, and the world went crazy with SMS speed typing tournaments as well. Then the next huge jump was a phone that does all that, and all of what a PDA (personal digital assistant) could do.

That and more features soon followed. Someday, the phone or "the device" could do so many more things, and inseparable from human, it might truly be implanted to our hands, or cheeks, or even brain.

It is possible to make an SOS call anywhere in Seoul.

The free black-box phone. You can dial anywhere. Not just home or office land line, you can dial a mobile phone number.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Itaewon Flea Market Once A Month

Images from Itaewon Flea Market, held once on the final Saturday of the month. Thanks for Miro for the information.

Turkish ice cream.

Some type of dessert / cake from Turkey.

Couple power of 3.

Artist. Mainly.

Artists also consist of bakers or chefs. Lots of cookies on sale.
Presumably home-made. Everyone creates their own ideas and ingredients.
Seeds, nuts, spices, organic stuff.

Pigs and others. Who doesn't love pigs? After all, pigs and pork are ingrained in East Asian cultures.
Favourite food usually has pork. Gogigui (korean bbq), dimsum, Thai rice, Balinese babi guling. 

Read the sign.

Sellers and squished up in the narrow stairways.
Eager to sell anything.

What to buy, what not to buy.
Perhaps a research: what should I sell NEXT month?

At the end of the stairways, more outlets.

Some art project, hands-on creativity.

There was an old uncle (ahjeossi, for once not ahjumma) selling bungeoppang and with a number 4.
It surely means: 1000 KRW for 4 fishes.
So here is the final one.

This ahjumma's stand has all sorts of ppang.
The chestnut (bam ppang) is 1000KRW for 6 pieces.