Thursday, April 30, 2009

A K-pop song and other musings.

This new Big Bang song is driving me nutty at the moment, all the kids are singing it and it is on a cellphone advertisement and it is just the beginning of this new k-pop song obsession - so I'll let it drive you nutty too.^^

We get tomorrow off yay! I think it is some sort of version of our Labour day. Of course in true Korean style this was confirmed at last minute yesterday, so not really time to make any major long weekend plans but I will deal because not working is totally awesome.

Then, Saturday is Buddha's birthday (more festival goodness) and on Tuesday is Children's Day! more time off! Personally I do not believe all children deserve a children's day as a high percentage of them are little shits but as long as I don't have have to come to work I guess it's okay.
I'm sorry - I've just taught my evil class - it's made me all angry and probably not in the best frame of mind to write a blog.

On a FANTASTIC note, I have a fellow Dunedinite joining me in Seoul as Kushana is moving here for an artist residency on Tuesday - wahoo!
And I am going to London and Portugal in just a mere 3 weeks. YAYSIES!

Goodbye April! You have gone by so quickly and for the most part have been warm, so thanks. Pinch and a punch for tomorrow!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lotus Lantern Making Festival.

In preparation for Buddha's birthday this Saturday we headed to the parade in Insadong as a part of the Lotus Lantern making festival. The only parades I can actually remember going to are the Dunedin Santa Parade and the Movie World Parade at the Gold Coast and these weren't really worth remembering, so I was rather excited. Though, I must make a point that this past weekend was bloody cold and that was not exciting.

Armed with umbrellas and newly purchased Lotus flowers, we waited for the parade to start. (Lucky Danny was surrounded by the ladies.)

The lotus flowers were so cheap and beautiful and the proceeds went to a good cause. I should have got more than one.

While waiting, we saw some beautiful Korean dancers, frighteningly young policemen and we found the lovely Japanese artist Yoko from yesterdays art gallery trip.
During the parade, every time I saw another huge, lit up, smoking "finale" float it was followed by a huge, lit up, fire breathing float.

This parade honestly went for about 2.5 we sneaked away, warming our tired. cold bodies with some tea from yet another delicious Insadong tea house.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A note from Heidi.

It's a Sunday and they want us to work at the annual Flea Market. It is easy money so of course we say yes.

Oh hold on...
What better way to highlight our foreign-ness by putting us in costumes? KIMCHI!
But the costumes aren't enough...dancing on a stage definitely needs to happen. (Luckily I blamed childhood choir trauma on why I couldn't sing.)

All in a days work huh?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

GoGo Star.

I have now learned that in Korea, that when they say doors open at 6pm and even with 5 support bands the gig will be over by 10.30pm. So when we, foreign music lovers rock on up at 10pm not even expecting the support to be about 3 bands in but really, would only get 3 songs and be gagging for more.
However, it was the best $15, 15 minute concert I have ever seen. The first thought that came to mind when I heard GoGo Star was elements of the now dispersed KOTAC, So so modern and some Teen Wolf but in Korean. Maybe they are better live than on record? But then still awesome. So much energy, heat and craziness in the crowd. I even had to break out my togs.

The crowd screamed "INCORE" and the band obliged, but when finished - fans were literally lying on the ground exhausted and drenched in sweat from all the dancing.

New favourite song is this:

It takes a while to get into it but so AWESOME!

And the best part was when after dancing on the stage with the band, one young Korean girl fell backwards into the crowd who weren't paying attention and dispersed leaving her hit the ground. Really reminded me of that scene in Mean Girls. (She was ok, so it's fine to laugh.)

Kayla! Photos! Yay!

The first stop on the super highway

Guess who I found yesterday! Well, I didn't really find her - because we had organised to meet up but lovely Ali Bramwell from Dunedin was in Seoul for an artist trip. It was the first time that I had someone from home in Seoul with me and it was so good! I don't even have photographic evidence that she was here. But it's true.

We tripped out to the wop wops - Nam June Paik Art Center for the special show "The first stop on the super highway" and it was absolutely worth the hour bus ride there. Nam June Paik is a video art GENIUS and this gallery represents his life and art in a fantastic way. There is his permanent exhibition downstairs and then upstairs there are curated shows "in the spirit" of his work. There are T.V's and robots for Africa!

TFSOTSH is curated by Tobias Berger and the idea of the show is to portray "Paik's aspiration to enlarge communication between different communities to together." There is a bit more to the concept of course but you can read about it on the website. 

I was so excited to see Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries (FAV Korean artists EVER!) and their work just keeps getting better. They collaborated with Takuji Kogo to put together a beautiful work in 2 parts called "DMZ bus tour with Bulgogi lunch" and "If I were you I would go to the palace." It is thought provoking, witty,  sentimental, sad, frustrated and I think comments very well on the relationship between North and South Korea. You can actually watch it right here. Turn your volume up. So. good.

Other highlights:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oi! Watch me.

Especially if you love watching documentaries about North Korea like I do. It is about a South Korean boarding school for escaped North Korean high school students and their visit to the DMZ.
It's interesting, heart wrenching and only 9 minutes long.

Watch it here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What's your agey?

In Korea there is a whole different age system and it can get a little confusing. 
Your age starts the minute you are conceived so when you are born you are 1 year old, so when I moved here I automatically became 24 years old rather than 23.
BUT what happens that instead of turning a year older on your birthday is that everybody turns a year older on January 1st. So now this makes me 25. There are babies here that were born in December and then in January they click over to being 2 years old.
Ugh numbers, they are exhausting. I don't really know how old I am anymore.

Anyway, this can pose some difficulty when you are teaching because when you are told what age you are going to have to prepare for - they are really 2 years younger. 
This recently came to light when we had a bunch of kindergartners visit our school and I was teaching them how to make cookies. They were BABIES! barely out of nappies - I don't even think they could speak Korean properly let alone English. It's definitely a different type of teaching when the children can't get on their chair alone and need their noses wiped often. 
Nether the less they are soooo cute and there is nothing more than a Korean baby who can melt your insides. Here are some cuties to brighten your Wednesday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

LOTTE WORLD #2: Couple Look Edition.

Hey! I hear you say...where are all the couple looks that are supposed to run rampant at these Korean theme parks? 

Do not fear, my friend: these masses needed a separate blog post all for themselves.

Obsessed? Me? Noooooooooooo...

LOTTE WORLD #!: Where dreams are made.

First thing you need when you go to Lotte World is a crew. Preferably, an awesome crew.
Oh but hang on. Your crew needs some ridiculous headbands.
Ok, that's better...

Too many rides too mention: some were death defying, some were fit for grandmas. We managed a nice mix of the two.
Look at this! The people that go on this ride must be amazingly brave...
...which is definitely not me - so I took charge of bag holding and picture taking.
Crazy costumed characters.
Oh, and then you go INSIDE where it just gets more ridiculous: Balloon rides, roller coasters, performances, boat rides, ice rink, 80's enchantment room and lots of food.
The whole experience was like a Korean Las Vegas dream in 28 degree heat. I am so sleepy, sunburnt and my tummy is still a little wobbly. Totally worth it.
Thanks to Mark, Kayla and Sarah for pictures, it's made my blog look waaaay cooler.^^