Groove Korea 2016 January

Page 1

THE JOURNEY OF THE MAGPIE: Seoul's sweetheart brewery plots its next venture

KOREA • Issue 111 • January 2016








ROLL THE DICE: Cafe Latte's Board Game Surprises

Ice Fishing: HEADING





January 2016

irst thing’s first: Happy New Year to everyone from the Groove Korea team. It’s been a season of celebration, and with the winter in full swing, festivities are set to continue into the New Year. To keep us warm from the chilly days and nights, Cale Noonan shares his thoughts on coffee culture across the peninsula while Thomas Godfrey finds his own unique café experience in the Dice Latte. Looking for a different kind of therapy in horses, Barbara Bierbrauer finds out more about Grace Stables and Celeste Maturen visits Seoul St Mary’s Hospital for an insight into their monthly expat volunteering scheme. Staying indoors, and although many sports teams are on their winter break this month, Liam Ring tells us more about the Itaewon Pool League


January 2016

For a taste of French Food, L’impasse 81 impress with their selection of cured meats, sausages and staple French favourites. Jordan Redmond delves into their succulent menu and shares his thoughts on the Hongdae Restaurant.

Cover Photo by Peter Kim

which continues through any season. Groove Korea also speaks to Seoul DDP Golden Eagle’s man for all positions, Dan Szigeti about their success from 2015. For those getting itchy feet, Luke Butcher previews how preparations for the forthcoming Pyeongchang Winter Events are coming along. Food delights include Dave Hazzan trying some edible alcohol while Rob Shelley finds out about Magpie Brewery’s latest venture. Jason Newland tries some of Joo’s Dim Sum and Jordan Redmond discovers what all the hype is about when it comes to Tangerine and Banana chips. In entertainment, Naomi Blenkinsop meets the Sons of Tiger to discover their performance secrets and Emma Kalka takes a closer look at live music venue Freebird. The exhibition spotlight falls on the National Geographic

exhibition World Of Mystery which has brought more than 200 breathtaking photos to display at the Seoul Arts Center until March. For some travel ideas, Luc Tremblay keeps it local and offers some advice with the forthcoming Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival as he tries his hand at some ice fishing. However, the winter usually means traveling abroad and for some, home may beckon (as Thomas Godfrey shares his culture shock experiences) and for others, we look for something completely different (such as cock fighting in Bali). Finally, Hallie Bradley shares some couple secrets with monthly dates that every BF/GF should keep while Simon McEnteggart looks at K-Film movies by their relationship narratives. Oh yes, love is in the air… but more to come on that next month.

What's in this issue KOREA

Vol. 111 January 2016




KEY PEOPLE Meet Groove’s editorial team and a few of our talented contributors

32 National Geographic bring a selection of outstanding images to Seoul


WHAT'S ON Festivals, concerts, happy hours, networking and events for every day of the month


THE NEWS • Pentagon denies lying about anthrax in May • 11-year-old held captive and starved for two years • Police dispatched to Philippines




THE DICE LATTE Whether you are after a trivial, strategic or competitive afternoon, the Dice Latte has the perfect board game for any event

THE EVOLUTION OF FREEBIRD Emma Kalka finds out more about Hongdae's flagship venue, Freebird

CUEING UP TO GET INVOLVED Racking up with the Itaewon Pool League



THE QUIRKY 2016 COUPLES’ HOLIDAY CALENDAR Forget the public holidays. Couples now have their own holiday every 14th of the month.


PARADISE ON EARTH LIES ON THE BACK OF THE HORSE… Therapy with a difference as Grace Stables share their unique course with a horse.


6 January 2016

COFFEE’S GOT SEOUL It's coffee time. Cale Noonan discovers why Seoul is mad about it.


SEOUL ST. MARY’S HOSPITAL NEEDS YOU Seoul St Mary's Hospital talk about why expats are integral to their unit and explain more about their monthly volunteering opportunities



HEAR OUR ROAR Sons of Tiger review their year and look forward to a fruitful 2016


INTERNATIONAL WORLD OF MYSTERY National Georgraphic are in town with their World Of Mystery exhibition displaying some amazing and breathtaking photos until March 2016.


K-FILM: THREE BY…RELATIONSHIP With Valentine's Day just around the corner, K-Film look ahead to three movies about relationships English radio



PYEONGCHANG TEST EVENTS OFFER WINTER SOLACE FOR SNOW SPORTS FANS Korea's 2018 Olympic venue gets into the dress rehearsal mood


SEOUL DDP GOLDEN EAGLES American football on the peninsula is fit and raring to go


Staple indie music venue reinvents the live music experience

What's in this issue KOREA

Vol. 111 January 2016


THE WHOLE TEN YARDS The curtain drops on a fantastic 12 months for the Seoul Golden Eagles



Dressing Alike Isn’t All Couples Do In Korea

THE 2015 ALTERNATIVE K-LEAGUE AWARDS The 48 Shades of Football chaps return with a sequel as anticipated as Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull


HATCHING A CRAFT BEER MOVEMENT IN KYUNGRIDAN Groove's Rob Shelley caught up with Magpie's Erik Moynihan about how far they've come what's next


A SPOONFUL OF BOOZE MARKS AN 800-YEAR-OLD KOREAN TRADITION All about ewahju Korea's 800-year-old edible booze tradition


L'IMPASSE 81 MIXES FRENCH TRADITION AND PURE COMFORT L'impasse 81 departs from the traditional French eatery without sacrificing any of the taste


FINALLY A GOOD REASON TO GO TO SONGDO: Songdo's got itself a craft beer hot spot


STEEP THAT STEAMED DUMPLING COMPULSION AT JOO’S DIM SUM Dim sum delights for the dedicated in Sinsa-dong




THE SWEETNESS OF SOURS Groove's resident beer writer touts the virtues of sour beers


8 January 2016

LAST OF THE OAXACANS This month's cocktail is mad for mezcal RESTAURANT BUZZ Dining resolutions for 2016


ICE FISHING AT THE HWACHEON SANCHEONEO ICE FESTIVAL Luc Tremblay shares his experiences of Ice Fishing at the popular Hwacheon Sancheoneo festival


THE BALINESE COCKFIGHT Bali is not all about the beaches - there's a competitive side to the locals too.


GOING HOME: CULTURE SHOCK? Every expat has to do it some time. Tom Godfrey shares his experiences of going home and how things have changed - or have they?


Ewhaju is a rare, old and slightly bizarre edible alcoholic ‘yogurt’

Key people

Rob Shelley

is from Newfoundland, Canada but has found a home in Korea teaching Leadership to kindergarten children and writing for

Barbara Bierbrauer

Naomi Blenkinsop

lives in Seoul but originally hails from Quebec. After completing her degree, she lived in Montreal for many years before making the big move to South Korea. Now, she teaches EFL in Gangnam and loves working with children. When not in the classroom, she enjoys cooking, practising yoga or exploring new places around the peninsula.

10 January 2016

Hallie Bradley

Hallie has lived and worked in Korea for over eight years. She runs the blog The Soul of Seoul and the newly launched The Soul of Seoul Tours as well as curates for the CrazyMultiply Art Collective. She enjoys townie festivals with good food listening to her guitarist husband jam.

works as a journalist and a board member of the Songdo International Dog Club, that she founded, while rising two kids and two dogs. She holds a master´s degree in political sciences and used to work as an executive headhunter in Germany. When not working she enjoys running half marathon, train her dogs and practices for a triathlon.Â

Jason Newland moved to Korea in 2012 for spicy eats, which to his dismay are harder to find than he expected, but he remains vigilant in his search. He studied English and Philosophy at East Tennessee State University and, in a past life, he dabbled with computers. During the week he spends two hours a day commuting by bicycle along the Han River. His time between cycling commutes is spent learning life lessons from elementary school students and day-dreaming of his next, hopefully, spicy meal.cycling commutes is spent learning life lessons from elementary school students and day-dreaming of his next, hopefully, spicy meal.

KOREA 5th floor, Shinwoo Bldg. 5-7 Yongsan 3-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea.

Contact info (010) 5348-0212 / (02) 6925-5057 Advertising General inquiries E DITORIAL DIRECTOR




gil coombe, celeste maturen WR ITERS & CONTRIBUTORS

Jordan Redmond, Bobby Kim, Jason Newland, Rob Shelley, Joe McPherson, Mike Hanrahan, Dave Hazzan, Cale Noonan, Tom Godfrey, Hallie Bradley, Barbara Bierbrauer, Naomi Blenkinsop, Celeste Maturen, Simon, McEnteggart, Emma Kalka, Luc Tremblay, Seoul Insider, Mark Kelly, Paul Carver, Luke Butcher, National Geographic, Grace Stables, Seoul St Mary’s Hospital, HanCinema, Sons Of Tiger, 1024 Photography, Sieun Kim, narafestival. com, Skyler Jeong, KNFL, Korea American Football Association, Woon Nala Ko, PyeongChang 2018, Magpie Bewing Company, Nick Bruneau, 48 Shades Of Football, Shutterstock, EE.KI HYANG (KO.E PROJECT), Peter Kim, Jared Hatch

Illustrators Rachel McDonald ART & DESIGN



sean CHOI

To contribute to Groove Korea, email or the appropriate editor. To have Groove Korea delivered to your home or business, email To contribute to groovekorea, promote an event or share your opinions, please email or the appropriate editor. The articles are the sole property of GROOVE MEDIA CO. Ltd. No reproduction is permitted without the express written consent of GROOVE MEDIA CO. Ltd. The opinions expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher.


All rights reserved Groove Korea Magazine 2016

What's on MON

Stanley Kubrick exhibition @ Seoul Museum of Art / adults 13,000w, Children (7-12 yrs) 8,000w / until March 13





Nat ional Geographic : World of Mys tery @ Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul Arts Center / Adults 13,000w, Children (4-7 yrs) 8,000w / until March 20

William Kent ridge National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul / Admission fee 4,000w



T he Hateful Eight

T he Brit ish Museum Human Image exhibition @ Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul Arts Center / Adults 15,000w, Children (5-6 yrs) 8,000w / until March 20 11

Busan Polar Bear Swim @ Haeundae beach



Alessandro Mendini The poetry of design @ DDP / Adults 14,000w, Children (7-12) 8,000w / until Feb. 28

Adam Lamber t 5 Nights II presented by HYUNDAI CARD @ Ax Hall


12 January 2016

Vienna Walt z Orches t ra New Year`s Concer t 20 @ Seoul Arts Center Paint ings, Sculpt ures and Object s of t he Prince of Liechtens tein – Rubens and ot her mas ters @ National Museum of Korea 25

27 28

James Bay 5 Nights II presented by HYUNDAI CARD @ Ax Hall

5N by






Jeju Seogwipo Penguin Swim @ Joongmun beach 8

ZEDD 5 Nights II presented by HYUNDAI CARD @ Ax Hall

Heis t


T he Revenant

Pawn Sacrifice



2016 Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Fes t ival Jan. 9-31

Seoul Philharmonic Orches t ra Maestro Chung’s Mahler, Symphony No. 6 @ Seoul Arts Center


Philippe Garrel 23 A Dazzling Despair @ National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul / Admission fee 4,000w

Rut h & Alex

T he 1975 Nights II presented y HYUNDAI CARD @ Ax Hall 29

Spat ial Illuminat ion 9 Light s in 9 Room @ D Museum in Hannam-dong Seoul / until May


Nate Ruess 5 Nights II presented by HYUNDAI CARD @ Ax Hall


All stories are culled with consent from Korea JoongAng Daily’s website and edited by Groove Korea for length and clarity. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Groove Korea. — Ed.

In association with january 2016 /


14 January 2016

v U.S. Department of Defense adamantly denied accusations that it lied to Korea about the number of anthrax samples shipped to the country, implying on Saturday through an email interview with the JoongAng Ilbo that local media had misunderstood the context of a former press release. Answering an email sent by the JoongAng Ilbo’s Washington correspondent asking why the United States Forces Korea (USFK) misstated the number of anthrax samples sent to Korea in a May 29 statement, Pentagon spokesman Bill Urban replied some five and a half hours later in a 183-word letter that the USFK had “correctly informed” the public about the issue at the time. “Following the inadvertent delivery of potentially live Bacillus anthracis, the 51st Fighter Wing at Osan Air Base correctly informed the public in the Osan area that the shipment supported the first Joint U.S. Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition program’s training at that location,” he wrote.

When a joint probe between Seoul and Washington announced on December 17 that a total of 16 anthrax samples were brought into the country by the USFK without the knowledge of Korean authorities, local media pointed to a May 29 press release uploaded on the website of the Osan Air Base, titled “Officials confirm no public risk at Osan Air Base,” and accused Washington of getting the numbers wrong. The May press release read: “The laboratory biological defense training, part of the Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition Program at Osan Air Base, has been halted pending further review… This was the first time the training has been conducted.” Korean media outlets reported the previous week that the USFK had announced earlier 2015 the biological defense training, which incorporated anthrax samples, were first held in 2015, assuming it was also the first time the samples had been imported. Urban’s reply over the weekend, however, suggests that the local public had mistaken “the first time” of the training

as in the first in Korea, when the USFK had actually meant the first in Osan. The anthrax case dates back to late April, when a live anthrax sample was mistakenly shipped to the Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi, where 22 personnel were possibly exposed to live anthrax spores. The scope of the problem suggested extensive flaws in procedures used by the U.S. Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, where the samples were supposed to be made fully inert before shipping them to overseas labs. The exposed researchers and staff took antibiotics and vaccines and have yet to contract the disease. The live bacteria sample was immediately destroyed. The joint investigation revealed 15 other anthrax samples were shipped to the U.S. military base in Yongsan District, central Seoul, between 2009 and 2014 for biological testing purposes. Korean authorities said the previous week they were unaware of these anthrax shipments because customs officials here are not authorized to look into biochemical samples for the USFK that are labeled “inactivated.”

This is the place where you can experience Korean culture and get information about travelling in Seoul.





HANBOK (Korean Traditional Costume)





Euljiro 1-ga Station

WEBSITE (English support) FACEBOOK

Myeong-dong Tourist Information Center

10 min. walk

OPENING HOURS 10:30am - 7:30pm open everyday except New Year’s Day & Chuseok

Myeong-dong Theater

TEL 02.3789.7961




5 min. walk

5 min. walk

ADDRESS 5th FL, M-Plaza, 27 Myeong-dong 8-gil, Junggu, Seoul



Myeong-dong Station




16 January 2016

v11-year-old girl

was caught stealing bread in a supermarket. The store’s owner had a hunch she had good reason to take it. Days later, the girl’s 32-year-old father and two of his lady friends were arrested for starving the girl for two years. The father and his live-in girlfriend admitted abusing the girl, Incheon Yeonsu Police Precinct said on December 21. A second woman living in the house denied it. The girl escaped from the second floor of her house on December 12 by climbing down a gas pipe. It was her first time out of the house in two years. She was expressly forbidden to leave the house by her father - and beaten if she disobeyed. “My father didn’t lock the door, but I felt I would be punished if I went out,” she told police. “I was starving to death as I could only drink water every day. That’s

why I sneaked out of the home.” The girl told police her father beat her with his fists, a cane and even with a steel pipe. When the owner of the supermarket caught her stealing bread, he noticed she was barefoot and wearing a summer shirt and pants. He took her to the police rather than returning her home, suspecting child abuse. She was 120 centimeters (3.9 feet) tall, the standard height of a 7-yearold, and weighed 16 kilograms (35.3 pounds), average for a 4-year-old. She had bruises and scars on her body and was diagnosed with fractured ribs. Police said her father divorced the biological mother of the girl when she was an infant. He is allegedly an Internet game addict and lives off his girlfriend’s earnings. The couple has lived together for six years and when they moved to Incheon two years ago, a friend of the girlfriend joined them along with a dog.

HELD CAPTIVE AND STARVED FOR TWO YEARS Since then, the father didn’t allow his daughter to go to school, and claimed to be homeschooling her. While the girl was totally neglected, a cherished Maltese dog was over-fed and well maintained. “How is my dog?” the father asked police when he was held after being arrested. A police officer said the girl was doing well in police custody. When the police explained they were removing her from her father’s care, she said, “Thank you.”

In association with





investigation led by the local police,” he said. “This is not an independent, direct investigation by Korean investigators.” Kang added that the team would assist local police in forensic work and advise the direction of the investigation if necessary, but would refrain from directly questioning locals. However, with approval from Filipino authorities, the Korean team could take part in questioning potential suspects in the case. The probe follows an agreement made in November 2015 between Korean and Filipino authorities stating that the two nations would cooperate in investigations in the face of increasingly violent crimes that have left more than 10 Koreans dead in 2015 alone. Prompted by a series of murders there in 2015, the government imposed a travel ban on parts of the country in November that includes the southern island of Mindanao, Zamboanga, Basilan and TawiTawi. That ban is still in effect. Violators could face up to a year in prison or a 10 million won ($8,490) fine.

January 2016 17

National Police Agency has sent four officials to the Philippines to investigate, in collaboration with local authorities, the killing of a 57-year-old Korean national who was fatally shot on December 20. It is the first time the Korean police have ever dispatched investigators overseas to take part in a joint investigation. The officials left for the Philippines on December 20 afternoon. The team consists of a criminology expert, a professional identification expert, a weapons expert and a surveillance analyst, Commissioner General Kang Shin-myeong said. The victim, surnamed Cho, who ran a construction business in the central province of Batangas, was fatally shot by a group of four unidentified men who broke into his house at around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. Cho is the 11th Korean killed in the Philippines in 2015 alone. Kang said the crime appeared to have been a burglary. “This can strictly be defined as our collaborating in an

C OMMUNI TY Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

THE DICE LATTE Community through Gaming

18 January 2016

Story and Photos by Tom Godfrey

oey Croner, a PhD candidate from Idaho, is bringing a little more community to Korea. A former college lecturer with a master’s degree in TESOL, he has recently opened The Dice Latte - the first expat owned board game cafe. Located very close to Hoegi Station and nearby a number of universities, The Dice Latte is already playing a valuable role for life in Seoul. “I'd been teaching at a university,” says Croner. “And I wanted to try something different. We [Croner and his wife] had a decent collection of games.” Croner and his wife, Cleo, started spending their spare time researching how to open a business in Korea. They acquired a stockpile of games to satisfy every need and started looking at real estate on weekends. Eventually, they landed on the third floor of a non-descript building in a neighborhood more famed for pajeon and makgeolli than RPGs (role play games) and strategy games. “People suggested we should be closer to Itaewon,” says Croner, “but we wanted to make a place that was for everyone.” In fact, one of the difficulties Croner faced was the constant question of whether The Dice Latte was just a place for foreigners. Croner insists that this is not reality. The Dice Latte is near three universities. According to Croner, the clientele is mostly Korean throughout the week, with larger groups of expats settling into the cafe over the weekend. Ultimately, Croner welcomes everybody. “It's a place for everyone who likes games, coffee, and cake,”

says Croner. “It's about getting people to try something new. A lot of the expats that get involved in gaming want to do something other than go out drinking. We have a lot of couples, groups of co-workers, church groups, and gaming friends.” Croner encourages further togetherness by hosting regular language exchanges on Thursdays, as well as events aimed at bringing the two communities together via their interest in gaming. While a natural segregation between locals and expats exists at The Dice Latte like every other place, Croner sees gaming as a way to bridge the divide. “A lot of times there is a big table full of Koreans and another full of expats,” he admits. “Sometimes there are crossovers, though. A lot of games aren’t language based so this could be a good cultural exchange.” Halloween saw an all night gaming party with dedicated tables for English and Korean, but there were also games being played by people speaking both languages. The Dice Latte is certainly filled with games. They are stacked or lined up neatly on shelves in the middle of the cafe and along the back walls. A message board has fliers and notes for upcoming events and groups looking for new members. A glass cabinet is full of fantasy miniatures. Giant die of various numbers of sides are in a box next to a well-worn rule book for card games. There is also a large library of role-playing guides and indexes for the novice players amongst us. “People come in to play some heavy games,” says Croner as he searches a back shelf. He is looking for a copy of Bruxelles 1893, which has a double board and is apparently a bidding game with architectural themes, maybe. Croner says that it is one of the games he would have to play with a novice to help them understand. The Dice Latte's game selection is vast enough to keep most gamers happy, whether they are casual or dedicated. The most popular title in the cafe is Rumi Cube. He owns several copies and they are often all out on the tables at once. The second most popular game is Clue. “We have about 230 games here,” says Croner. “On slow nights they [the staff] learn the different games; that way if someone comes in and doesn't know how to play something, we can help them out.” On a busy Saturday, his staff is bouncing back and forth from tables with game help and coffee. The Dice Latte serves a range of cafe favorites as well as pastries. His most popular food item is the rum cake, but his Nutella cheese cake is incredible. Croner has used his previous experiences of cooking for restaurants in the US while working his way through college to serve up game friendly, nostalgia fueled comfort foods like lasagna and chili on the weekends. “I make the pasta from scratch,” he says with obvi-

Dec 4-Feb 29 Ice Rink & Sledding Slope

Dec 4- Mar 16 2016 The Garden of the Morning Calm Lighting Festival

11am-9pm (until 11pm on Sat) Adults KRW 9,000 / Students KRW 6,500 / Children KRW 5,500, Mongolia Culture Town, Gapyeong Sledding Hills

Jan 2 (and every Saturday) KISS Salsa Classes ous pride. Customer Piotr Konieczny PhD, a professor at Hanyang University's Department of Information Sociology, remarks on the café's unique features. “There are dozens of gaming cafes in Korea,” says the professor, “but The Dice Latte is the first gaming place run by an expat, so it is unique because it is easy for us expats to talk to him.” Konieczny is in between games. He is a frequent customer and can be found at The Dice Latte on most Saturdays. He is with a group of fellow game enthusiasts that are about to play an involved-looking game with colorful miniatures. He is also, conveniently enough, writing an article about the sociology of gaming. “I think places [like The Dice Latte] allow the gamers to 'come out', admit they are geeks, and enjoy gaming face-to-face, not just online,” he says. He adds that there is a comfort in places like The Dice Latte that is simply inviting to the expat living so far from home. “The Dice Latte is the first [gaming location] in Korea where I feel back home,” he says, “where I can chat to the shop owner about games and stuff.” When Croner finally sits down in the middle of that Saturday rush, he is obviously pleased. The weather in Seoul had finally turned wintery, adding that little something to the café that tends to keep folks in the warmth of home. It is a measure of success that there is not an empty table in the house. In fact, some tables have had to be moved to accommodate a large group of Koreans that have just walked in. “It is a lot of work,” admits Croner. “There's the food and drink and keeping up on the games but it is enjoyable.” “My original concept was a lot simpler,” he says. “My wife jumped in and made it a lot bigger than I expected.” Starting a business in Korea is difficult, but Croner considers himself lucky that he didn't encounter any serious roadblocks. He found the community to be supportive. “A lot of people really want you to do well,” says Croner. “Even the contractors want you to be happy. I was really lucky that way because this is something you really can’t do by yourself. Everyone comes here to have a good time. There aren't a lot of bad days because we are surrounded by happy people.”

Jan 8 Yongsan Center for the Disabled

2pm-4pm, Free but sign-up prior to the session, http://global., Itaewon Global Village Center, 5f Hannam Building, 737-37 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 140-893

Jan 10 Stitch n Bitch Meet

2.30pm, Free, De Lambre Coffee Shop Jongno-gu Jongno 2-ga 75-812pm-8pm, Free, Seongbukchon Fountain Square, Hansung University Station (Line 4, Exit 2)

Jan 12 Silver Ring Making Class 10am-12pm, KRW 10,000, Yeoksam Global Village Center, 16, Yeoksam-ro 7-gil, GangnamGu, Seoul Sign up at ygvc0417@

Jan 15 Taekwondo Class

3pm-5pm Free, Yeoksam Global Village Center, 16, Yeoksam-ro 7-gil, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, Sign up at ygvc0417@

K-Pop Dance Class for Kids & Young Adults (Including Psy’s “Napalbaji”)

4pm-5.30pm, Free, Itaewon Global Village Center, 5f Hannam Building, 737-37 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 140-893

Jan 19 and 21 Registration for Korean Leather Passport Case Making Class

11am-1pm, KRW 12,000, Yeoksam Global Village Center, 16, Yeoksam-ro 7-gil, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, Sign up at

Jan 20 Volunteer Activity: Young Nak Aenea’s Home

2pm-4pm, Free but sign-up prior to the session http://global., Itaewon Global Village Center, 5f Hannam Building, 737-37 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 140-893

Jan 20 Manduguk & Cockle in sauce (Kkomak Muchim)

10.30am-12.30pm, KRW 10,000, Yeoksam Global Village Center, 16, Yeoksam-ro 7-gil, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, Sign up at ygvc0417@gmail. com

Jan 22 Bronze Pendant Making Class

1pm-3pm KRW 17,000, Itaewon Global Village Center, 5f Hannam Building, 737-37 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 140-893

Jan 23 Seoul St Mary’s Hospital Volunteering Program

10am-12pm, Free, Yeoksam Global Village Center 16, Yeoksam-ro 7-gil, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul, Sign up at

Jan 24 Stitch n Bitch Meet 2.30pm, Free, De Lambre Coffee Shop Jongno-gu Jongno 2-ga 75-8

Jan 29 Vegetarian Cooking Class (Yeonbap & Namul jeon) 10am-12pm, KRW 20,000, Itaewon Global Village Center, 5f Hannam Building, 737-37 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 140-893

January 2016 19

Time: Tues – Fri 1pm – 11pm Sat-Sun 11am – 11pm (Closed Mondays) Contact info:, Transport: Line 1 or the Jungang line to Hoegi Station (Line 1, Exit 2) Turn left and walk to the major intersection. The entrance is under the yellow "New Bee" sign on the other side of the crosswalk.

7.30pm-8.30pm, (beginner), 8.30pm-9.30pm (intermediate), KRW 10,000 won non-band nights/KRW 15,000 won band nights, SAMOS, Yonsero-5-dakil 22-3, 3rd floor, Chang Cheondong Sodemun-gu, Seoul

1pm-2pm, Free but sign-up prior to the session Itaewon, Itaewon Global Village Center, 5f Hannam Building, 737-37 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 140-893

Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

Check Website, Weekday (MonThur) Adults KRW 27,500 / Child KRW 16,500, Weekend (Fri-Sun) Adults KRW 40,000 / Child KRW 30,000, Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul, 60, JangChungdan-Ro, Jung-Gu, Seoul 100-857 Korea,

Jan 19 Registration for Korean Leather Volunteer Activity: Yongsan Senior Welfare Center


Everyone comes here to have a good time. There aren't a lot of bad days because we are surrounded by happy people.

C OMMUNI TY Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (


Couples’ Holiday Calendar Dressing Alike Isn’t All Couples Do In Korea Story by: Hallie Bradley Photos by: Shutterstock

January 14: Diary Day To get the year started off right, head to the stationary store and buy the cutest little diary/ yearly planner you can find. In the planner, couples mark their birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates and plans for the year. Guys, yes: most likely a girl thought this one up. And let’s be honest; isn’t it helpful to have all of those special dates written down so there’s no forgetting them and then having to endure all that subsequent pouting and arguing? Get that yearly planner now!

20 January 2016

February 14: Valentine’s Day This is pretty obvious, isn’t it? This was of course the original “14th day” holiday from which all others have sprung. There is one important difference between a Western and

all seen them; the couples dressed alike from matching shirts down to their matching polka dot shoes. And, yes, the underwear is probably matching too. Young Koreans love to celebrate couple-hood. From couple rings to couple clothes and even celebrating Christmas as a couple’s holiday rather than a family holiday, there’s one thing or another around almost every corner devoted to celebrating the all-important couple. While the matching shirts might be obvious enough, there is actually an unofficial holiday on the 14 of every month, either for the couple, or the lonesome single, that many probably haven’t heard about. Mark those calendars and get ready to celebrate the year in true Korean couple fashion.

Korean Valentine’s. On Valentine’s Day in Korea, the man can sit back and relax as the woman in the partnership stocks up on chocolates and other romantic delicacies and showers her partner with affection. To be a smart and cost-efficient couple though, maybe decide to celebrate this holiday just a couple of days later after all of the chocolates and other cutesy knick-knacks have gone on sale.

March 14: White Day Not to worry ladies. While Valentine’s Day was all about the man, now it’s time for the ladies to get in on all that action. White Day is the time for that special guy to step up and show his affection. Rather than chocolate being the gift of choice though, candy, jewelry and of course flowers make for that big gesture.

June 14: Kiss Day While some say this holiday is for couples to kiss each other, others now purport that this holiday is for everyone to kiss anyone and everyone they meet that day. Just imagine the kissing mayhem in Myeongdong on June 14! Lipstick, breath mint, gum and other lip-centered brands tend to offer special promotions around this time to get those smackers in kissing-shape. So whether kissing that special person or just any ‘ole Joe or Jane spotted while out and about, get those lips puckered up and ready!

August 14: Green Day Yet another holiday that can go either way. While some couples meet up and take a nice romantic walk outside enjoying nature and relaxing, others have decided green can also stand for the color of that ubiquitous soju bottle. Hanging out in groups of singles and getting plastered on that harsh alcohol or trying to drink it romantically with your partner, the companies that produce soju have somehow managed to make this day all about that colorless yet intoxicating beverage. September 14: Photo Day As if taking a photo with a lover wasn’t common enough on any other average day of the year, September 14 is celebrated by the quirky and gimmicky photo booths around the country as couples everywhere head to their nearby photo booth shack or portrait studio to get some official pictures. Whether it be silly hats and wigs in a photo booth or all dressed up in a legit portrait studio, couples want to get their photo taken and, of course, share it with all on social media.

October 14: Wine Day Wine companies apparently weren’t happy that the soju companies had taken over an entire day on the calendar when they have enough attention as it is. So October 14 is for all of those (age appropriate, of course) couples to grab a bottle from their favorite vineyard and drink it with each other, while possibly watching some remake of a classy chick flick. November 14: Movie Day November 14 is NOT the day to head to a nearby movie theater unless “fun” is purposefully sitting in an odd numbered seat to prevent couples from sitting together. Inevitably, an unattached individual will have an empty seat next to them as everyone else in the audience will want to sit with their partner on Movie Day. Nearby private movie rooms will also be packed, so plan on getting your movie fix another day unless you want to celebrate with the rest of the happy couples around the country.

Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

May 14: Yellow Day/Rose Day This holiday is two-fold. First, couples gather their brightest, cheeriest yellow clothes, (most likely matching) and wear them out for all to see. While they’re out, they will also swap roses - because dressing alike wasn’t quite enough to make the day special. Those still mourning (or rejoicing) in their single lifestyle can once again head to a local eatery, but this time order some yellow curry to “spice up” their life. Yes, it seems that if you are single, eating is what the unofficial holiday calendar calls for at almost all times.

July 14: Silver Day A couple that stays together shops together and when they shop together, silver accessories (of the couple ring sort) will need to be purchased and placed on the finger to show all who walk by that a couple is near (and dear). If single - though it isn’t said to be common - why not just buy yourself a special silver accessory? Or, there’s always eating something that is metallic looking since eating is usually what the lone wolf is required to do on these holidays, right?


April 14: Black Day While all of those couples have been rejoicing in their love the past few months, it’s no wonder everyone else not in a relationship has become pretty moody, even with the arrival of spring. So roll on Black Day: the day for singles around the country to head to their local Chinese eatery and order some jjajangmyeon, or black noodles. Single friends may even have dressed the part, by wearing black attire from head to toe (including black nails) to meet up and eat out, all the while consoling each other - or rejoicing - in their independence.

Yes, it seems if in the single state, eating is what the unofficial holiday calendar calls for at almost all times

December 14: Hug Day Come December, the things to celebrate are few and far between so couples give each other hugs to keep those cold chills away. If it’s anything like Kiss Day, well, then singles might jump on the bandwagon and claim it for themselves as they hug anyone around. Either way, look for a hug from that special someone or just from an old friend.

January 2016 21

C OMMUNI TY Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

Paradise on Earth

LIES ON THE BACK OF THE HORSE… …and Sarah Shechner helps North Korean refugee children find it at Grace Stables.

22 January 2016

Story by Barbara Bierbrauer Photos used by permission of Grace Stables

beautiful road leads up the hill, offering a calm view over snow-capped treetops and lazy smoke from the chimneys of the houses below. Ahead is the new home of Grace Stables, which has been built by a private entrepreneur and politician. Complying with all new state-of-the-art architecture, the stable grounds are embedded by naturalistic and peacefully idyllic picturesque surroundings. Inside, there is much more action; despite the construction in progress, the horses are bustling with energy, enjoying their morning hay and stamping their hooves every now and then. Here they stand – Gwacheon Bisang and Miss SeMyeong – as partners to Grace Stables owner Sarah Shechner in her therapeutic work which battles fear, anxiety, depression, insecurity and

other issues with traumatized kids and young adults. Sarah, an aspiring recording artist and professor at a Korean university, came into horse therapeutic work through her own struggles. Three years ago, a botched operation by surgeon Kang Se-Hoon - now infamous for the death of famous singer Shin Hae Chul - left the hand of this classically trained musician and pianist damaged. As if that were not enough, Sarah was sued by the doctor who was responsible for her permanent nerve damage. From one day to the next, the young woman found herself managing her health and rehabilitation while battling through an expensive lawsuit. “Physically, since the nerve damage is permanent, I continuously have challenges with my right, dominant hand.” Sar-

ah was also overwhelmed emotionally, not only because of her loss, but also because of the lack of justice. She explains: “It was even more frustrating when Shin Hae Chul died because I had warned so many people, including the judges in my court case, that this doctor was dangerous, and no one believed me. So, truthfully, I am still waiting for justice in the Seoul High Court.” Sarah's horses were her rescue: “At first, I couldn't ride for a few months, but just being with them brought me so much joy, which I was lacking everywhere else in my life. When I started riding again, I realized how much better I felt physically too, despite the nerve damage in my hand. Overall, the horses were, and still are, my panacea in life. Horses are naturally born therapists. Their whole appearance, beautiful and attentive eyes, their silence, their body statue and their movements all have a calming effect. The warmth


Horses are mirroring their counterparts, giving an immediate, intuitive and honest reaction to any actions they experience.

More Info:

January 2016 23

towards school and other everyday challenges and started putting much more effort into succeeding. Also therapy helps the kids to speak about what they experienced. “One of the young girls at our first anniversary party looked a little sad when eating cake. So we asked her what was wrong. She replied that she remembered when she was so hungry, she wished she could die”. Sarah continues, “We must be prepared to experience the stories and the feelings that the children have. But the fact that the children are able to talk about it is a very good part of the therapy.” Experiencing therapy sessions with North Korean refugees in her stables, talking and playing with the children that have arrived has also made Sarah more attentive to the political problems of refugees in general. While the world's attention is currently focused on Syrian refugees flooding into European countries, there are an estimated 10 million stateless persons worldwide according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. These people are denied self-understanding rights – the right to work,

the right to go to school, the right to rent an apartment, or the right to open a bank account. As the only representative from South Korea, Sarah participated in the first Global Forum on Statelessness, hosted by Tilburg University and co-hosted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in The Hague, where she helped to address the issue of statelessness and raise awareness of the problems that North Korean refugees face, not only on their way over the border, but also after reaching South Korea. “I feel that in our modern world, there is no excuse for such suffering and pain. The stark awareness that the UNHCR 1st Global Forum brought to me certainly continues to inspire and motivate the future work I plan to do here in South Korea.” By the time we finish talking, the horses have finished their breakfast and are now curiously stretching their heads towards their newly arrived guests. A family has brought their autistic child for a therapy ride and Sarah has to get ready. “Realizing how precious life is, you want to help others who have their own problems.” And this is what brought Sarah through difficult times. While playing the piano professionally will never be possible due to her arm injury, she has switched focus to her vocal talents and has recently produced her first album. With a little therapy, perseverance and support, anything is possible.

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of their bodies and their silky coats invite petting. In the wildness, horses survive primarily by fleeing from predators, thus making them incredibly responsive to their surroundings. Horses also mirror their counterparts, giving an immediate, intuitive and honest reaction to any actions they experience. “When people understand the psychology of the horse, and provide them with the correct environment and care, horses can offer terrific benefits for all types of human ailments and disorders: physical, mental, psychological, social, and emotional.” Sarah explains further how “they are extremely social creatures by nature, responsive to physical touch, as well as human emotions. This provides a unique opportunity for the horse and the patient to communicate, not to mention the obvious physical benefits from riding”. While the horses' appearance alone can help one better understand how people interact with their surroundings, there are many other helpful ways our hoofed partners can help therapists. Concentration on the horse helps patients “reboot” their mind, as they have to put their problems and worries behind them and fully concentrate on their interaction with the animal. Seeing the therapist work and explain how the horse has to be taken care of can give a patient, especially kids who have suffered through difficult times, a sense of trust and respect, and leads to rebuilding their trust towards adults in general. Horse-back riding literally lifts the kids up, giving them an incredible experience of looking down on the world (and their problems). “I encourage my patients to try and form their own special relationship with their horse. When these relationships are cultivated, healing of many forms is evident.” Sarah explains. While struggling with her own post-operative rehabilitation, Sarah started researching horse therapy in Korea and the outcome was chilling. While equine assisted therapy (EAT) and equine facilitated therapy (EFT) are known and offered in several places in Korea, it is expensive and thus unaffordable for many of those who really need it. Trying to keep her chin up, Sarah decided to offer the specialized healing therapy to kids and young adults herself, providing therapy sessions in cooperation with the Mulmangcho Foundation, who aid and support North Korean refugees struggling with difficulties from their past and battling the challenges of their present. The charitable work has also shown some beneficial results. Sometimes the impact of the interaction with horses is surprising to everyone, like for one of the North Korean kids that has attended Grace Stables. Sarah tells the story with a sparkle in her eyes, as the child who became so fascinated by horses after a single meeting decided to dedicate his own life to horse training. The child changed his attitude

C OMMUNI TY Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring



The True Blend Behind Coffee Culture in Korea Story and Photos by Cale Noonan

24 January 2016


orea has become a country obsessed with coffee. Predictably, Seoul is where the coffee revolution has taken off the fastest and strongest. As we find ourselves in the midst of winter, many of us seek solace in the warmth and comfort which coffee shops provide. There's nothing quite like getting in from the cold to be seated with a warm frothy cappuccino in front of us, to read a book or chat with a friend after a long day's work. There are numerous café franchises that provide this for us, and what's nice is that they are never more than a stone's throw away. There are also many specialty coffee shops opening around the city for those who are seeking that perfect cup of expertly roasted and prepared coffee. However, Korea’s obsession with coffee hasn't always been like this. So what is it about

coffee and coffee shops that has allowed them to thrive in Korea? Coffee Culture Traditionally a tea-consuming nation, Korea has acquired such a strong taste for coffee over the last couple of decades that it has now become the 11th largest coffee market in

the world. According to an article published in International Business Times earlier this year, people in Korea consumed more coffee in 2013 than kimchi – astounding considering this is the national dish! The forces driving the market economy are the increased interest in coffee by Korea's younger generation and the strong coffee shop culture present around the country.

noisseurs are so fond of. You can order a shot of espresso if looking for a quick jolt of caffeine with a strong and rich flavor. If the bitterness is too much, simply dollop a teaspoon of sugar in to take the edge off. With an Americano, a shot or two of that rich espresso with hot water produces a dark, rich cup of coffee with a foamy, aromatic crema gracing its surface. Many people's favorite is the cappuccino, which is composed of equal parts espresso, hot milk, and frothed milk. Mild in flavour, coupled with its soft and cloudy consistency, make it arguably the most satisfying cup of coffee to enjoy on a blustery winter’s evening. In these shops, every cup is made by a trained barista who is genuinely dedicated to the perfection of their craft. They'll make it beautiful for you too, with a delicate little heart or rose looking up at you. It's hard not to break a smile at the little pleasures in life, right? To really appreciate coffee for what it is - that is, for its richness and diversity of flavors - ask for a house roasted, single origin coffee. When ordering a single origin coffee, the delicate tastes of the beans grown from a single farm offer a taste and quality that is uniform and

unique. The shops that roast their own beans will usually offer several methods of brewing as well, so pick and choose whichever one suits your palate best. With a pour-over coffee, get a cleaner and more flavorful brew that really brings out the individual characteristics of the coffee. Coffee made from an Aeropress, on the other hand, produces a silkier cup somewhat akin to a French press, although with much brighter and full-bodied flavors. At several coffee shops throughout Seoul, you can even try a coffee made in a siphon. It may be more memorable for the theatrics of its creation, but siphon coffee still produces a well-balanced, clean cup of coffee that highlights the more delicate flavor notes of any single origin coffee. The options for coffee and cafés in Korea are truly endless. For your next visit to a café, though, try something new. Try a style of coffee you've never had before, or seek out a more hidden café. Chances are, that drink you'd begun to take for granted will pleasantly surprise you once again. Join Cale next month in Groove for a guide to the best cafés around the capital

January 2016 25

Coffee Cup Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to what style of coffee they like. There is no correct way to consume it, but there are better ways for you to drink coffee depending on what you expect from your cup. Specialty coffee shops offer the classics that coffee con-


Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

Coffee Experience Cafés are historically places where people gather to socialize. It’s a place to go to vent about daily woes, share ideas, or simply spend time with friends and loved ones. A large number of Koreans claim that their main reasons for visiting coffee shops are precisely these. A friend of mine Herim, a very busy corporate English teacher, said, “For me, the atmosphere of the coffee shop is the most important. I usually go there to have a chat with friends or kill time.” Like many, Herim is constantly commuting around the city, so coffee shops provide a perfect retreat. What is interesting, however, is that she claims, “The taste of coffee doesn't really matter.” Surprisingly, many Koreans that I spoke to share Herim's view, and consider the atmosphere and location of the coffee shop of prime importance compared to the coffee experience itself. Sure, the taste of coffee isn't for everyone. Perhaps for some, it is merely a token requirement for being able to spend time in cafés. For the real coffee lover though, there is a movement that has been gaining momentum for some time now: typically off the beaten path and hard to find for the average foreigner in Korea, is the specialty roasting coffee shop. Now popping up everywhere around the city, there is a growing demand among the younger generation for higher quality, single origin coffees. These shops usually roast green coffee beans in-house with some of the most internationally respected coffee roasting machines such as Probat, Giesen, or Loring. Although more difficult to find than their more commercial counterparts, these shops – and the consequent search for them – are always well worth the cup.


Along with the overall growth in coffee sales, café culture has become a permanent fixture of life in Korea ever since Starbucks exploded onto the scene in 1999. Since then, Korea has seen a number of café franchises spread throughout the country, each purportedly offering its own unique sense of style, taste, and atmosphere. Many of these chains, such as Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, and Krispy Kreme, originated in the U.S. However, Korean coffee shop chains like Caffé Bene and Tous Les Jours, have now outgrown the tiny peninsula from whence they came, and sought to establish themselves internationally in the U.S. and other countries abroad.

C OMMUNI TY Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (


Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital and Yeoksam Global Village Center give something back to the local community

26 January 2016

Story by Celeste Maturen Photos By: Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital

morning in 2010, Deuk Nam Chung, the director of international collaboration and affairs at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital in Seoul, picked up the newspaper to flip through its pages when an article caught her eye. The piece sang the praises of five foreign public directors of Global Village Centers in Seoul. Chung saw an opportunity to build a stronger community with all of the citizens of Seoul so she invited the foreign directors to Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital to take a familiar tour, or as Chung has affectionately coined it, a “fam tour”. By the end of their meeting, the then-director Cristina Confalonieri of the Yeoksam Global Village Center was hooked. Together Confalonieri and Chung created the St. Mary’s Volunteer program, a partnership between Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital and the Yeoksam Global Village Center. The Gangnam based foreigner center recruits expats, many of whom have utilized the lan-

guage classes and services of the Global Village Center, to volunteer a few hours of their time every third Saturday of the month. Volunteers are able to help Seoul St. Mary’s with four different activities. The most popular of the four is volunteering on the bone marrow transplant floor where the expats play with young children suffering from Leukemia. Saddled to their IV machines and separated from friends and family a majority of the time, the children are often depressed. While the recovery rate is higher than 80%, it takes at least two to three months to complete treatment, so the Korean government has set up a school program that allows the children to continue their curriculum while the hospital is their home. Before the volunteers can interact with the kids, they scrub their hands with soap and hot water and cover their mouths and noses with masks. Though most volunteers can’t communicate fluently in Korean, it really doesn’t seem to matter; from outside the play-room’s glass

windows that separate the young patients from a world full of harmful germs, only the sound of laughter, keys pounding on a piano and the occasional collapse of a Jenga tower can be heard. Though the two activities in which volunteers hang out with children (one on the bone marrow transplant floor and the other in general pediatrics) are the most popular, some volunteers, like Sharon Gould, prefer to do something a bit more subdued. Expats can participate in cleaning the hallways and common areas of the hospital or spend a few hours organizing and packaging medical supplies for nurses and surgical teams. Gould has volunteered three times at St. Mary’s so far. After volunteering on the pediatrics floor during her first visit, Gould found that she would rather sort and package items like tongue clamps, catheters and IV bags. “I loved working with the children, but prefer working with the medical equipment, as it’s more methodical and relaxing.” Gould is currently completing a public health program at

C OMMUNI TY Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

BEFORE THE VOLUNTEERS CAN INTERACT WITH THE KIDS, THEY SCRUB THEIR HANDS WITH SOAP AND HOT WATER AND COVER THEIR MOUTHS AND NOSES WITH MASKS. the staff at St. Mary’s. As the general population of Korea has become more ethnically diverse, Chung has worked to create a hospital that is comforting to everyone. St. Mary’s offers a clinic for foreigners and the twenty-first floor of the hospital is reserved for foreign patients. There

the staff speak English and patients can choose from cuisine options including halal. “The volunteering program is a good start,” Says Chung, but she wants to create more opportunities for the foreign community to work with the Korean community, and many of the volunteers at Seoul St. Mary’s, like Gould, agree. “There are plenty of opportunities to teach English to lower income families or refugees, but there aren’t many other opportunities for (expat) volunteers in Korea.” For expats who are interested in volunteering a few hours of their time information on the program at St. Mary’s can be accessed through the Yeoksam Global Village Center. The next volunteering date is Saturday January 23, 2016.

Yeoksam Global Village Centre: Phone: 02-3453-9038~9 Website: Email:

January 2016 27

an American university and plans to move into a career in the health sector when she returns home. For her, volunteering is an excellent way to help those who need it the most, while gaining hands on experience in a hospital setting. Five years on the Seoul St. Mary’s volunteering program remains strong despite some difficulties. When Confalonieri left her position at the Yeoksam GVC, a number of volunteers stopped attending. Then MERS shook Korea and the program was canceled for a few months while the hospital assessed the risk. Now, an average of 10 to 15 volunteers show up each month - though the hospital allows up to 20 to volunteer at a time. Chung hopes to raise the limit of volunteers as the program continues to grow, and she has other plans to connect the foreign and Korean communities of Seoul. Chung has her hands in so many projects that it’s hard for her to pin-point which one will come to fruition next. “If we see there is a need, we try to make it happen.” Chung says of


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evolution of Freebird

Story by Emma Kalka | Photos by Skyler Jeong

28 January 2016

Staple indie music venue re-invents the live music experience hile the indie music scene in Korea has been he was first introduced to the indie rock scene. Freebird just happened around for over 20 years, one of the biggest to be the first indie rock venue that he visited. Before moving to its current location, it could be found down a small hurdles that many live venues face is staying power. Few clubs have made it past a few years. alley near Hongdae Playground, the one rock club located in a sea of However, Freebird has been one of those few bars and dance clubs. He said this location made things difficult for the live venues that have made it, becoming a staple club, as only “kids who wanted to dance” would come around. Not to mention, the rent was very expensive. club in the indie music scene. The old venue gave off a bar atmosphere and was much smaller MAAN member Kim Perry said that this staying power is the most and more intimate, something that bands and musicians such as Nils important role Freebird has played. “I think the most important role of Freebird in the past and now is that Germain from the group Wasted Johnnys enjoyed when playing there. it’s remained… I want to applaud those that have survived from the “It was small but that way, even if many people came to the show, we felt very close to them and the atmosphere was always great,” he remembers. early days of indie music to the present and thank them,” he said. Opening in 1995, Freebird has been run since 2007 by Skyler Jeong. He “Now that it’s moved to a bigger place, Freebird is struggling to gather a lot said he bought the club because at the time he had found his career as a of people and we can feel it on stage; people are spread away, some go to producer in pop music unfulfilling and he needed something new after the second floor, so it’s hard to see everyone and feel them.”

Until Feb 14 Exhibition A Journey to the modern Seoul City Wall

9am-8pm (Mon-Fri), Sat-Sun 9am-6pm, Free Special Exhibition Room, Seoul City Wall Museum, Seoul Museum of History.

Until March 13 Exhibition Hyundai Card Culture Project 19: Stanley Kubrick

10am-8pm (Tues-Fri), 10am-6pm (SatSun), KRW 13,000 (adults), KRW 10,000 (Children), Seoul Museum of Art,61 Deoksugung-gil , Jung-gu, Seoul, 100-813

Until Mar 29 Exhibition ‘Human Image’: The British Museum Collection

11am-5pm (until 8pm in March), KRW 15,000 (adults), KRW 10,000 (age 7-18),KRW 8,000 (age 5-6), 1F, Hangaram Art Museum in Seoul Arts Center

January Film Mood Of The Day

Check general Listings, General release Around Korea

Jan 7 Film Don’t Forget Me

Check general Listings, General release Around Korea, Check general Listings, General release Around Korea

Jan 8 Music Zedd

8pm, KRW 110,000, Uniqlo AX,

Jan 9 Film Robot, Sori

Check general Listings, General release Around Korea

Jan 10 Music Rolling Hall 21st Anniversary (with Black Hole, Black Syndrome and Diablo) 5pm, KRW 33,000, Rolling Hall, http://

Jan 19 Music Adam Lambert

8pm, KRW 110,000, Uniqlo AX, http://ax-korea.

Jan 23 Music Grimes (with Hana)

5pm, KRW 65,000- KRW 75,000, MUV Hall, Hongdae

Jan 28 Music The 1975

8pm, KRW 110,000, Uniqlo AX, http://ax-korea.

January 2016 29

Jan 27 Music James Bay

8pm, KRW 110,000, Uniqlo AX, http://ax-korea. Check out Freebird’s Facebook page for more details Emma Kalka is a freelance writer who runs the blog “Discovering the Korean Underground” on Tumblr, which focuses on the Korean underground hip-hop scene.

Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

industry. And it can also create new music,” he said. Maho Yang from Oops Nice said the club has brought cultural diversity to the indie scene by hosting various stages and styles of performances for rookie musicians. The venue and its workers have also always been willing to invest in the indie scene to help it grow. Germain from Wasted Johnnys said club manager Ryu Shin-hong loaned the band money to make their first EP, then called them for performances, which allowed them to gain exposure and a fan base. Eventually, because of his help, they were able to perform at Ansan Valley Rock Festival in 2013. Shin of ROK Gi Yeon Promotions believes Freebird has played two major roles for bands and the scene itself. He said that it is a one-of-a-kind venue in rock that puts on shows nearly every day of the week. Also, it’s “a recording studio, learning space, developing studio and more for rising bands in the Hongdae scene.” “They know talent when they see it and they use their resources to further these newer bands on the scene,” Shin said. “It’s amazing to watch these bands grow so quickly with the help of this club and its staff.” For owner Jeong, he said Freebird is still not done growing and evolving. He plans to put in wood floors and have the venue function as a music bar when there are no live shows scheduled. He’s also recruited the main DJ from legendary club Hodge Podge to man the music. And more than that, he wants Freebird to be a place where all music lovers, foreign and Korean, can come together. “Many clubs in Korea have their own color. Some clubs only have Korean visitors and the others only have foreign visitors… I think it is very bad. I think the good thing about music is that you can listen to it together and exchange your opinions,” he said. It’s this idea that Jeong has followed since the days of Freebird 1 and plans to continue working towards in the years to come by consistently upgrading the club’s quality and creating more new experiences for music lovers of all kinds.


Jeong said what drew him to the new location was its unique design and larger size. Upon walking into the new Freebird, one feels as though they are entering an underground cave with high ceilings, rock pillars and nooks and crannies where one can sit and enjoy the music from anywhere. “I am a sound engineer so the room acoustic and ambiance are very important for sound,” he said. “And, I don’t like modern style. Many clubs in Korea are too modernized and I think the downside of that is it’s uncomfortable. I like vintage and old-style; even my house is old… So, when I got here, I thought, ‘This is the place!’” Jeong’s main focus has been to create a live venue that is part-bar, part-club, with the sound quality of a big concert hall. He wanted to create a new type of music, and for that, it required a better sound system, operating system and more space. However, he does feel that for newer bands or shows, the size is sometimes viewed as an obstacle since they worry they cannot fill the space. And the effort has paid off, with bands and concert planners alike taking notice. Shin Gi Yeon, head of ROK Gi Yeon Promotions, confirms that the improving quality of the space is something that he has enjoyed about the club. “As a true music lover, Skyler has always put the music first. As such, sound at Freebird 1 was always improving and with the move to the new venue, the equipment has been set up to fully utilize the unique space and acoustics. As a music fan, I have always been impressed with how fantastic the bands sound from the floor, and the current location has made for some truly beautiful live music.” Not only has the sound and look of Freebird changed, but Jeong believes he has opened the club up to more diversity. Freebird was always known as a live rock venue, but over the past year, it’s hosted an electronic music festival, world music events, burlesque shows and hiphop shows. Believing it was important for him as a venue owner and music lover to bring variety to the venue, they can host live music concerts, DJ sets, parties or a mix of all three. “I want rock musicians to come here and listen to hip-hop music and vice versa with hip-hop musicians. I think it is very important for musicians to exchange, mix and communicate with each other’s music for the development of the Korean music

30 January 2016

Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (


HEAR HEAR OUR OUR Sons of Tiger pounce into 2016 Story by Naomi Blenkinsop Photos by Sons of Tiger

last 12 months has certainly been the year of the tiger - for Sons of Tiger, that is. Seoul’s very own indie rock n roll band may have only been officially playing together since last spring, but they have already become a popular fixture in Seoul’s burgeoning indie music scene. They have managed to play at almost every bar and club in Hongdae and several more in Itaewon and HBC, establishing the band on the music circuit. So who are Sons of Tiger anyway? This young, charismatic trio is made up of two brothers, Jo Seong-min on guitar and vocals and Jo Seong-hyun on drums, with Lim Hak-young on bass guitar. Named after the Jo brothers’ parents, who just happen to be born in the year of the tiger, they are naturally, Sons of Tiger. Seong-min and Seong-hyun originally hail from Yeong-gwang, a small town next to Gwang-ju. The limited opportunities for musicians or bands out in the countryside prompted a move to Seoul for the brothers: Seong-min in 2012 and Seong-hyun in 2014. Hak-young also moved to Seoul from Yeoncheon, Gyeonggi-do, which is very close to the North Korean border. Sons of Tiger initially played in clubs with another bass guitarist for approximately a year; Hak-young joined the brothers as the band’s second bass player after posting his musical talents on, a popular website for musicians looking for other musicians in Seoul. Coincidentally, Seong-min and Hak-young had posted advertisements on the website at the same time and after getting in

touch with Hak-young, they met up and the rest - as they say - is rock n roll history. Even more serendipitous is that Hak-young’s mother was also born in the year of the tiger. The band practiced together for four months before starting to play live. Once they started circulating their demo tape, it didn’t take long to find interested club owners. In fact, after handing out their first demo CD to bars and clubs all over Hongdae, it only took the band three days to land their first gig at the former Salon Babadie. Hongdae, Itaewon and HBC venues also offered performance slots and Sons then branched out to play at Busan, Incheon, and Gwangju clubs. Music venue Ruailrock in Hongdae has really helped the band to gain visibility in the indie music scene by building relationships with other musicians. Seong Min started working at Ruailrock in 2014 and the band has played there several times since. In fact, the trio have become so familiar with the venue that they think of it as a second home. Seong Min even leaves his instruments there and uses the venue for writing songs. September 2015 saw the band release their first self-titled EP Sons of Tiger. The five-track EP, which includes the self-penned track “The Eye of Desire,” was recorded in just three days using one-track recording, inspired by Seong-min’s favorite band Galaxy Express, who also used onetrack recording. So the Sons decided that the rough, raw style would be chosen to encapsulate the sound of their first EP. Needless to say, the band first and foremost consider themselves a rock n roll band with a rough, unpolished sound. However, Seong-min acknowledges many genres influence their music. “Each song is a blend of rock n roll, blues, indie, garage and punk.” Seong-min is the self-appointed dictator of the band and jokingly calls the other band members his “slaves.” However, Seong-hyun and Hak-young don’t seem to mind Seong-min calling the


Each song is a blend of rock n roll, blues, indie, garage and punk

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shots as the leader has a degree in writing and is the band’s principle songwriter. “Seongmin usually makes the layout and lyrics of the songs and we arrange them together when we are practicing” explains Seong-hyun. The band finds inspiration for their music in daily life and from everyday situations. “We are inspired by everything around us such as

some stories about our friends”, says Seong-min. They have also been inspired by other bands in Seoul like The Monotones and Galaxy Express, who they see as idols. Without a doubt, Sons of Tiger have worked extremely hard this year to become one of the fastest growing indie bands in Seoul. Some high points for the band members include playing with Galaxy Express and The Monotones. They also released their first EP and held their EP release show at Ruailrock in September last year. For Hak-young, the highlight of his year goes a little further back to Christmas 2014, which was the very first gig he played with the band at Daddy J. It’s been virtually smooth sailing for Sons of Tiger in 2015 with several high points and no obstacles standing in their way. The band will be taking a much needed winter break in January this year. And what does 2016 hold? Future plans include continuing to play at as many venues as possible this year and manager Dave Kim will certainly embark on promoting the band abroad to reach a wider fan base. Ultimately, Seong-Min has the last word. In a half-joking, half--serious tone, he contemplates For more information on future how the band would like to pursue “a life which is shows or what’s coming next full of music and can be supported by music itself. for Sons of Tiger, please visit It is very simple but it is hard mission for us here in Korea.” It’s all eyes on Sons to see if they can or twitter/bandsonsoftiger achieve their dreams in 2016.

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National Geographic bring a selection of outstanding images to Seoul

32 January 2016

Story by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring Photos by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring and National Geographic:

veryone knows National Geographic. First published in 1888, it has become an international icon for sourcing and printing some of the most eye-catching and astounding images. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the National Geographic archive has been organized into The World of Mystery, an exhibition celebrating a number of periods through time. The selections include some zeitgeist-defining photographs which have established National Geographic’s reputation over the years – and it’s in town until March. In a special exhibit, National Geographic have curated and selected over 200 items to display, with 29 iconic photos divided between the exhibition sections. Divided into six areas, visitors can view the organization’s vast selection of photos taken by both

amateur and professional photographers over the years. The exhibit starts with A History of National Geographic, which focuses on people and places over time. The oldest photo on display dates back to the 1880s and which has now been digitally restored and resized, alongside the most recent photo of President Obama in a meeting at the White House in 2012. All photographs on display represent some defining moments which have been captured on camera. From the baby and the orangutan bath in Borneo to the Sri Lankan men fishing while balancing precariously on poles, some of the images are breath-taking, celebrating different cultures around the world. The second area, The Mystery of Civilization, displays various artifacts including a skull and the boots of previous explorers. Showing different countries in different periods of time, some of the more renowned shots

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34 January 2016

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Check out Freebird’s Facebook page for more details Emma Kalka is a freelance writer who runs the blog “Discovering the Korean Underground” on Tumblr, which focuses on the Korean underground hip-hop scene.

January 2016 35

alongside haunting headlines which have been resized to emphasize the severity of the disaster. The last section showcases The Deepsea Challenge Project. The expedition, led by James Cameron, recorded the events of a record breaking 35,787 foot (or 10,908 meter) solo dive at the deepest place known on Earth, the Mariana Trench off the coast of Guam. Cameron and his expedition team decided to explore one the most remote places on Earth and in addition to recording the event, the

team also collected deep-sea data for further scientific analysis. The dive, which took place on March 26, 2012, has been documented with a full feature-length documentary released in movie theaters. Here, discover the wonders of the dive and also experience your own deep sea challenge with photo opportunities and information to see more about the expedition. The exhibition has many of National Geographic’s most renowned photographs on display, most notably Steve McCurry’s Afghan Girl. The iconic image of Shabat Gula shows the original 1985 shot and displayed next to it, the 2002 Mona List follow up. The well-known cover can also be seen at the start of the exhibition as one of National Geographic’s most famous issues. In National Geographic’s 127-year history, its reputation has grown to become the publication to buy for vivid, iconic photographs. This is the third time the organization has exhibited its work in Seoul, with previous displays in 2010 and 2012 bringing the themes of Nature and the Environment and Humans and Nature together, respectively. This year’s exploration through time and the wonders of the world celebrates National Geographic’s vast back catalog of snaps to bring an international collection of wonders. Only on display until March 20, experience some of the biggest wonders in our small world.

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include Paul Atanu’s Jainism photo of a man at the foot of the gods and Robert Clark’s impressive Nazca Line from Peru displaying the magnificent geoglyphs of yester-year. The next section, The Mystery of The Universe, offers visitors an insight into space with the photos a mixture of previous space voyages and images captured from probes on various expeditions. Jupiter, Earth, and the Moon are on display alongside other images of man on the moon and astronauts in spaceships. The 1947 launch of Freedom 7 is also on display and NASA has provided some images of astronauts drifting in space while on missions for a look into life in space. Back on Earth, section four brings The Mystery of the Wild to Seoul with animals and humans and everything in between. Particularly eye-catching is Mark Moffett’s Little Frog of A Man in Brazil, which puts the size of the tiny animal into perspective. People in the wild are also displayed in this section, with explorer Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner’s summit photo capturing some of her more daring moments, representing those intrepid travelers who have escaped their comfort zones. Moving on to The Mystery of Water World, a mini-submarine used in previous explorations of the sea is on display. Images include the water life captured in the seas of the Galapagos Islands and David Daubilet’s image of a diver at the bow of an underwater wreck. Additionally, images of the Titanic tragedy highlight the ship’s wreckage



RELEASE DATE: January 7 DIRECTED BY: Lee Yoon-jung STARRING: Jeong Woo-sung, Kim Ha-neul DISTRIBUTED BY: CJ Entertainment

Story by Simon McEnteggart / Photos courtesy of HanCinema

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January’s K-Film releases look toward the perfect recipe for romance


ROBOT, SORI RELEASE DATE: January 9 DIRECTED BY: Lee Ho-jae STARRING: Lee Sung-min, Lee Hee-joon, Lee Honey, Chae Soo-bin DISTRIBUTED BY: Lotte Entertainment

36 January 2016

MOOD OF THE DAY ith the New Year already upon us, what better time is there to celebrate the beginning of new relationships? This month, the Korean film industry offers audiences three very different forms of burgeoning connections, all of which endeavour to capture the powerful emotional resonances such associations bring. Whether it’s an amnesiac attempting to discover love, an AI robot seeking to reconnect a family, or a couple debating the merits of a one-night stand, January provides something for everyone to identify with and enjoy.

RELEASE DATE: January DIRECTED BY: Jo Kyu-jang STARRING: Moon Chae-won, Yoo Yeon-seok DISTRIBUTED BY: Showbox Mediaplex

Ten years ago, Hae-gwan’s daughter Yoo-joo went missing. Although distraught, he never gave up that one day they would be reunited. Continuing to search for her despite calls for him to accept that she has gone, Hae-gwan’s hope in finding his daughter is rekindled when an AI satellite with voice recognition abilities crashes in Korea; the duo then join forces to find Yoo-joo once and for all. Blending science-fiction and melodrama, Robot, Sori looks set to be the big family movie of the month. Featuring the extremely likeable presence of Lee Sung-min in the lead alongside former

romantic film and TV dramas, making her a household name, while Jeong appeared in the K-classic melodrama A Moment to Remember (2004), which is still widely regarded as one of the best examples of the genre to come from the peninsula.

DID YOU KNOW? Don’t Forget Me is actually a feature length adaptation of director Lee Yoon-jung’s short film Remember O Goddess starring Kim Jungtae. Using Kickstarter to initially raise over USD 30,000 for the project, the film picked up even greater traction when superstar Jeong Woo-song joined the team as both producer and male lead.


Don’t Forget Me tells the story of Seokwon, a man who struggles with loneliness and isolation following the loss of his memory. While struggling to forge a new existence, Seok-won meets Jinyoung, and as their relationship deepens and love blossoms, the memories that have previously eluded him slowly begin to resurface. A-listers Jeong Woo-song and Kim Haneul are no strangers to the romantic-drama genre, with netizens and fans of the Korean Wave (Hallyu) making it known online that their pairing within Don’t Forget Me is hotly anticipated. Indeed, Kim’s career has been largely dominated by lead roles in multiple

Miss Korea Lee Honey and up-andcoming star Chae Soo-bin, the film’s story of an anxious parent racing against time to find his missing daughter whilst on the run from government agencies is likely to strike a chord with audiences.

DID YOU KNOW? If Lee Sungmin’s face seems familiar, that’s likely because he’s one of the hardest working and most prolific supporting actors in the industry. Lee has performed in over 30 films and 25 TV dramas to date, with arguably his most memorable role as Oh Sang-sik in recent TV sensation Misaeng.

a departure from his previous work, though that is certainly not the case for the film’s two stars. Moon Chaewon last hit screens in rom-com Love Forecast, while Yoo Yeon-seok featured in all-star fantasy romance The Beauty Inside.

DID YOU KNOW? From 2011 to 2013, actress Moon Chae-won has been bestowed with Best Actress, Popularity, and Best Couple accolades for her work in the TV dramas The Princess’ Man, The Innocent Man, and Good Doctor, respectively.

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The romance has started to wane between Soo-jung and her boyfriend after 10 years together, so the news of her best friend’s impending marriage causes her considerable anxiety. On her way to a business meeting in the port city of Busan, Soo-jung meets playboy wannabe Jae-hyun who consistently attempts to win her over for a night of passion. Mood of the Day is director Jo Kyujang’s return to the big screen following writing/helming duties on the oddly titled independent film A Camel Doesn’t Leave Desert in 2008. The romantic comedy drama is quite

CUEING UP TO GET INVOLVED An evening among the Itaewon Pool League’s finest

38 January 2016

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Story by Liam Ring Photos by Nick Bruneau

here’s 70s rock playing and a few patrons propping up the bar. A group of university exchange students are doing shots and getting less and less purchase from a nearby darts board as they search for that perfect balance of alcohol consumption and accuracy so beloved of the casual darts player. To their right, a group stand united in concentration, staring at the green beize as two gladiators circle the table. While we may be far from Ames Pool Hall and duels between Fast Eddie Felson and Minnesota Fats, the usual bonhomie generated by an evening around the table has been replaced by a steely determination. Joking and chat has been replaced by analysis; camaraderie has given way to tension. This is no ordinary night for the Itaewon Pool League (IPL); Saturday’s quarter-finals had whittled the remaining combatants down to four, and it’s now semi-final night at Shenanigans in Itaewon. Local heroes the Boomtown Rats are hosting last season’s champions the Scrooge Pub Wonky Triangles in a best of 15 battle for more than just bragging rights. With the top-seeded (and usually unstoppable) Bull

& Barrel Rising Stars facing Bulldog Estyle at nearby JJ’s, it promises to be an unusually tense night for all concerned, with the usual camaraderie and joking left outside the door - at least until the final black is potted. Considering that the Rats had beaten the Triangles 8-3 in an earlier round and are ranked second to the Triangles seventh, some would sniff at the idea of a surprise. This higher ranking has given them home advantage tonight; something not to be sneered at considering the “idiosyncrasies” that each table can harbor. Ignoring recent form and rankings, the seventh-ranked Triangles have history as last season’s champions and the side that put a halt to a Rising Stars side that had swept all before them in previous seasons. Order-of-play lists have been exchanged and the first six players know exactly who they will be facing in the opening frames. Neither side is for budging early doors as the first two frames are split, and with concentration this intense, even an awkwardly placed, over-eager photographer can be kindly but firmly told to push off. American rules apply, meaning that each foul means a ball in hand for the opponent and trying to snooker oppo-

nents is all the harder as tucking up is almost impossible. For some used to two shots for a foul, it can take time to get used to things, but as Sam Higgins from Ireland points out, he has little time for British rules when he goes home now. Higgins is seen as one of the Triangles’ best players, but grimaces in frustration as missing a tough black means losing a close game to Boomtown captain Lenny Erickson. 3-1 to the home side and it will soon be 4-1. News filters through of a close battle between Bulldog and the Rising Stars (the Stars will eventually fall to the last black of the match in an 8-7 thriller) and with the tide not for turning, the Triangles ultimately bow out on a score of 8-4. Players such as the perhaps aptly named Rickie Ball (who went 25 games undefeated earlier in the season) and Eric Scheusner will march onto the final. For the Triangles - perhaps paying for an over-reliance on key personnel such as Higgins and Will “The Skill” Doherty - it’s a third place play-off against Rising Stars before a return to the practice tables. Recruitment may be necessary during the short close season in preparation for a new league format on January 6. Meantime, a Boomtown vs. Estyle final awaits. .

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SPORTS Edited by liam ring (

40 January 2016


assistance of Bernard Crudeau’s webmaster expertise allowing for competitors to keep up to date with the latest news and statistics throughout the season. Sides are always on the look-out for interested players, with most guaranteed at least two games a night in addition to plenty of chat and a thriving expatriate community. All skill levels are encouraged to get involved, with the new divisional structure allowing for rookie players to find a comfortable level at which to compete as many bars have more than one team sponsored. Such bar support is vital for the continued growth and well-being of the league, and bars such as Scrooge, Shenanigans, and Sin Bin are just some that have helped the league since its initial formation. Vital to those early years was the work of the founder, the late Bob Denny. Denny’s contribution to the sport in Itaewon is remembered in the Bob Denny Sportsmanship award given each season and in his position as the inaugural member of the IPL’s Hall of Fame, showing that the league, despite the onus placed on competition in the business-end of the season, is still committed to friendship and respect that has seen hundreds play thousands of frames over the years.


tarting in early January, the latest round of the Itaewon Pool League (IPL) will run through to June this year with awards, camaraderie and respect in ample supply Wednesday nights throughout the season. New proposals adopted by the league mean that, starting this month, the top-eight seeded teams from last season will enter Division 1, with further brackets of eight separated into other divisions. This system will add the excitement of promotion and relegation to the regular end of season play-offs, with the bottom team swapping places with the top team from the division below. The new format promises to bring a more balanced competition to Wednesday nights, with teams matched more evenly across home and away contests over the following months before the play-offs in June. To qualify for these end of season white-knuckle encounters, players will need to have participated in at least five rounds of matches, with any team falling foul of that rule finding themselves sin-binned. The league is ably curated by Dominic “Mashter Yoda” Johnson with the

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Head to for further details Contact Dominic Johnson at or chat to your friendly pool-obsessed barman on how to get involved.

January 2016 41

Boomtown went on the overcome Estyle 8-3 in the final for its first ever Championship win. The new season starts with a captain’s meeting and sign up for new players at Scrooge Pub (above the ABC shoe shop in Itaewon) on January 6 at 7.30pm. Regular singles and doubles tournaments take place throughout the year.

SPORTS Edited by liam ring (


Story by Luke Butcher Photos by Pyeongchang 2018,

42 January 2016

Ski and Snowboard World Cups find their way to Bokwang Snow Park in February snow sports fans that cannot wait until the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a short trip to Bokwang Snow Park next month should be top of your winter to-do list. Some of the world’s finest will descend on the upgraded slopes for four separate legs of the 2016 FIS Snowboard World Cup and the 2016 FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup. With free access, there is no reason not to watch how the pros do it before heading out on the slopes yourself. Taking place in two stints - February 18-21 and February

25-28 - the competitions are part of the ongoing preparations for the Olympics in 2018 and will be seen as an early test for the organizers ahead of the first ever Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea. The games have been dogged by controversy so far, from the furore over the legacy (or lack of) of the ice rinks in Gangneung to the funding battle between Gangwon province and the central government, but these two World Cups will be seen as an opportunity to show that Pyeongchang is on its way to hosting a top-class Olympics.

All four legs will be held at Bokwang Snow Park, otherwise known as Phoenix Park, which is one of the venues undergoing a revamp to increase the difficulty of the slopes, but remains one of the most popular destinations for skiers of all abilities from world champions to Bambis on ice. Located just two hours away from Seoul and easily accessible by bus from the Dong Seoul Bus Terminal to Jangpyeong, Phoenix Park has been made famous in the classic Korean way, mainly thanks to various TV programmes and dramas shot on location there. Alongside being mesmerized by

January 2016 43

Ski Slopestyle, guaranteed to show off the very best tricks and flicks you can see on snow. Both events see athletes scored for their performances and technical ability, and will please those that like a bit of finesse rather than raw speed. But for those that prefer it the other way around, the second legs from February 25 to 28 include the Snowboard Cross and Freestyle Ski Cross. Athletes race down a course of various irritating obstacles such as the banks, rollers, spines, and jumps in one the most demanding and intense World Cup categories.

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the athletes, the slopes will please experienced skiers and beginners, and the facilities and views will keep you entertained once you have decided that you have taken enough falls for the day. The good news is there is no need to book tickets to see any of the games, and skiing will still continue on the upper slopes of the park. All that means you can plan this year’s ski holiday around catching a glimpse of some of the most spectacular events on the World Cup calendar. The first legs from February 18 to 21 will see the Snowboard Slopestyle and the Freestyle



For the slopestyle events, the courses have undergone a major reconstruction. A recent inspection by the International Ski Federation (FIS) Snowboard Race Director Uwe Beier made clear how delighted he was with the upgrade, saying the event in Korea would be “the highlight of the season on the excellent courses.” IOC President Thomas Bach was also full of praise in his last visit to the country. To be the first to get a look at the work they have done and just what the field will make of the venues where they will be battling it out for gold in two years’ time, find your way to Pyeongchang this winter. Of all the events, the closest action is almost certainly to be found in the men’s snowboard cross on February 27. Last year, the battle for the title was one of the closest on the calendar, with outsider Lucas Eguibar achieving Spain’s first ever snowboard World Cup title. The more experienced riders, led by current Olympic champion Pierre Vaultier from France, will be aiming to re-establish the previous order. The Europeans dominated the opening round but expect a wide open field to be in a close contest by the time the event swings around to Pyeongchang. And for a comeback story, it will be worth heading to the final of the ladies Freestyle Ski Cross the day after, which will likely feature Swede Anna Holmlund. Back in 2011, she burst on to the scene as World Cup Champion, but after a debilitating knee injury her career looked to be on the skids. She eventually returned and battled back to find form in Sochi, where she took the bronze. Last year she completed her return by winning the World Cup in dominating fashion, and already she has started this season with back-to-back wins. She will take some stopping here in Korea. The performance of the athletes will not be the only thing under scrutiny. This winter is the beginning of a crucial two years of testing for organizers. From time keepers to scorers, athlete support staff to volunteers keeping the fans informed, these events are vital in ironing out any cracks. This winter won’t be the finished article, but it is shaping up to be an exciting and important one all the same.


TEN YARDS The curtain drops on a fantastic 12 months for the Seoul DDP Golden Eagles

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Story by Liam Ring Photos by Woon Nala Ko, Korea American Football Association, KNFL

ridiron and the Land of the Morning Calm are far from synonymous, despite the impact of former Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward. A lack of financing at the high school and university levels leaves under-age sides often at the behest of keen former players when it comes to making ends meet, while at the senior level, the Korean national team suffered straight defeats at the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Cup in Canton, Ohio last year. Nevertheless, a nine team senior league playing spring and fall seasons offers a way for both Korean and non-Korean players to compete and build their skills. The desire is there to make the 2016 year one of the best

ever for the Korea National Football League (KNFL). What the league wants now is both the players and the spectators to help it over the goal line. The Korea American Football Association (KAFA), a non-profit organisation that runs both the university league and the KNFL league, also oversees the yearly Kimchi Bowl between the university and fall season KNFL winners. The spring season - seen as an “unofficial� season by the KAFA - has no cap on non-Korean players, which gives new recruits an opportunity to get a few months game time under their belts before the main business of the fall season and the Gwangaetto Bowl title game. The fall season has a 3-player cap on non-Koreans, meaning that only those who have proven

themselves can compete for the championship. The nine teams are divided into Seoul and South divisions, with the top two sides from each division entering the play-off rounds. Most teams are lucky enough to have corporate sponsorship, allowing for financial assistance with travel, training, and some equipment. Over the last few years, bragging rights in Seoul have been passed between the Seoul DDP Golden Eagles and the Seoul Vikings, with the Golden Eagles coming out on top in the season just completed. Down south, Daegu Pheonix and the Samsung Blue Storm have both been successful in the past. The differences between the most successful teams and the also-rans often comes down to passing, with sides that lack a solid quarterback resorting

DS: The level of completion varies considerably. You can have some division talent mixed out there with the Korean who has never really played competitive football. No matter what, you have grown men playing tackle football, the games are played to win, and with great passion. What is the infrastructure for training like? Is equipment supplied? DS: We go to Gangwando twice a year for a training camp and then practice 2 to 3 times a week during the season. We have some equipment but there’s a company in Korea from which you can order a custom fit, so most players go that route. How did your team’s season go? What was the highlight of your season? DS: We won the championship and beat the national team in the spring so it was a very successful 8 months of football. My personal highlights were being named MVP of both

the Gwangaetto Bowl and the game against the national team. I honestly played some of the best football of my life this past year. Were there any lowlights? DS: The lowlight is always saying goodbye to the brothers whom you’ve sweat and bled with on the gridiron. You become a family out there, so it’s always hard at the end of the season when some move and others retire. What is your future in the league? What is your future within American football? DS: I’m about to be 33, so these might have been my last games, especially with my going out on top. Football takes a serious toll on your body no matter the level, so think it’s time to call it a day. I love football, and if I’m done playing I will be involved in other ways. Either growing the sport here or coaching there, I’m not ready to say goodbye completely quite yet.

KAFA Website (Korean only): Seoul DDP Golden Eagles: Contact the Seoul Golden Eagles: Gun Choi at 010-3510-1090

January 2016 45

What was your American football background? Dan Szigeti: Started playing football at the age of 8 through high school. I had some collegiate offers but no scholarships so I decided to put football on hold and go to a big university at Colorado State. How will the start of the season look? DS: Our spring training camp will take place in the beginning of April and will probably be at Seoul National University. And our camp in the fall is the first week of August at Point Hwangji Middle School in Taebeck. That will be a sleepover camp where we stay in dorms. Where are the games played? DS: Games in Seoul are often played at Simms field on the army base, while the South division venues include either the Samsung ship yard in Geoje-do or a Daegu or Busan University field. What is the level of competition like?

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to a running game in order to gain yardage. Appearances on television - particularly in the run-up to the World Cup - had helped the KNFL to build a nascent following, but with the results not reflecting performances, some at the KAFA may be left wondering if the sport can truly grow. Domestic American football continues to be under-represented in the sports pages, leading to an overall lack of knowledge about the competition. To get more people to pay attention - thereby giving the league the boost that more players and better attendances can offer - the league needs to take things beyond word of mouth. Perhaps, with the right kind of support, 2016 can be the year where gridiron action on the peninsula begins to make some downs.

Just as tiny acorns can form great oaks, Dan Szigeti’s decision to play in a flag football tournament in 2011 led to his involvement in the Korea American Football Association (KAFA) and some of the best times he has had as an expatriate on the peninsula. First with the Seoul Warriors, and more recently with the Seoul DDP Golden Eagles, the Colorado State alumnus has seen championships, MVP awards and even a victory over the Korean national side during his time on the Korean gridiron.


OOver the past few years, bragging rights in Seoul have been passed between the Seoul Golden Eagles and the Seoul Vikings, with the Golden Eagles coming out on top in the season just completed.

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46 January 2016


The 48 Shades of Football chaps return with a sequel as anticipated as Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

Story by Mark Kelly and Paul Carver of 48 Shades of Football with special thanks to @ korearacing and Jinro Soju Photos by 48 Shades of Football

team at 48 Shades of Football return parched with the second half of their 2015 K-League review. Cheaply-priced Korean alcoholic beverage at the ready? The best stadium for a first date We’ve all been there, we settle down into our seats, ready to crack open a well-deserved Ball Beer when suddenly the couple in front whip out that selfie stick and ubiquitous excited giggle/chatter follows. Yup, it’s the first date couple about to indulge in a sickening show of unending happiness that makes the rest of us frustrated and lovelorn mortals feel just that little more worthless than you did while buying your KRW 8,000 ticket to see Bucheon on a Saturday eve-

this season, the bus, normally put on by the club for away trips, was cancelled due to a lack of interest. Rumours that the club couldn’t even fill a motorbike and sidecar remain unconfirmed, but fans of the yo-yo should get their practice in for next season. Winner – Suwon Samsung Bluewings: The self-professed best-supported club in Korea have been suffering this year. Attendances have roughly halved and they are in danger of not even being among the top three best-supported clubs in Korea. Speculation is rife that fans have defected to watch Suwon’s new rounders team, others think that previous years attendances were inflated by distributing vast amounts of free tickets, but as K-League experts we believe that the birthday cake hats the players were forced to wear for the opening home game combined with six years with no silverware has lead the people of Suwon to real-

You can catch the 48 Shades guys on their weekly podcast on Soundcloud and iTunes or on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Also check out and www.the48club. or for all you need to know about Korean football.

January 2016

ise what a bunch of clowns their formerly conquering team are. No wonder rumours abound that Suwon will be leaving the Big Bird Stadium at the end of this season, presumably to a parks pitch with a couple of deckchairs set out. The “John West Packed In Like Sardines” Award We’ve all been on the green line of a Friday night, no room to breathe yet still that ajosshi in front of you insists on stubbornly wearing a backpack designed for scaling Everest atop his shoulders. What exactly do they have in those things anyway? Sadly it doesn’t often get that crowded watching the greatest game in the world but sometimes, just sometimes, you get to experience a slightly more than half-full stadium. Here we give a shout-out to those clubs that are particularly well supported. Runner-up – Hello Venus: The average attendance for a K-League Challenge match is about 1,500, but four teams have recorded attendances in excess of 10,000 representing almost half of their total attendance for the year. Why is that, you ask? K-Pop! For their 2015

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curtain raiser against Daegu FC, Bucheon FC attracted a crowd of 12,332, more than a third of their total crowd for their first 18 home games. At half time they were treated to a scintillating performance by the scantily clad Hello Venus and, by the time the second half kicked-off, most of them had left. They missed a cracking second half in which last year’s basement boys got a good win against a strong Daegu side who look to be heading back to the K-League Classic. Winner – Guangzhou Evergrande: The self-styled millionaires of Chinese football played two ACL games in Korea this season against FC Seoul in the group stage and against Seongnam FC in the last 16. Both times they marshalled thousands and thousands of locally-based Chinese to turn up and cheer (indeed if you’ve ever ordered a No. 11 or a No. 32 you probably got a flier from the Chinese Embassy). The away ends were a sea of red as free t-shirts swayed in time with the choreographed singing that echoed from the stand. It was a pretty incredible sight and even though you felt it was as fake as a pair of Calvins at an Itaewon market stall, it did add to the occasion. In comparison, when FC Seoul played away in Guangzhou in the ACL final in 2013, they took about 500 fans and rounded up another few hundred Koreans living in Guangzhou. The “Pet Shop Boys” Award We’ve spent a lot of hours watching football this year and we’ve seen some really good stuff at times. We’ve also seen a lot of sh*te. Here we give an award to the teams that are so bad, it’s a sin. Runner-up – None: We’re going to quote the Second Commandment here. Winner – Seoul Martyrs: This church team that plays in the K3 must have done something to annoy their ultimate chairman because he sent a plague of forwards to score freely against them. The goals generally went in two by two, except during the one match that was played during a literal flood, which they managed to lose only 3-0. All in all, their record for the season reads Played 25, lost 25, scored 9, and conceded 285 for a grand total of -3 points (they got a points deduction at some point for failing to have 11 disciples on too many occasions). Their worst result was a 35-0 defeat and their best result was when they only lost 2-1…Martyrs indeed!


ning. There’s no stopping the first-daters, so where should they go? Runner-up – Suwon World Cup Stadium is known as The Big Bird by the locals and The Chicken Ranch by all others and is the perfect place to bring the new love of your life. In addition, the unimaginatively-titled Big Bird Café shows those canny Samsung marketing people know a thing or two about branding. The café offers everything you need to impress, from beer and fried chicken to a foot-long sausage on a stick for the more body confident beau or adventurous belle. With an array of picnic style tables outside, there are few more perfect places to try and explain the offside rule. Winner – Jeonju World Cup Stadium. The home of the current back-to back K-League Classic champions, the World Cup Stadium in Jeonju is one of the few grounds that sees large crowds no matter which rounders match is on all three sports channels. Jeonbuk Hyundai’s fan group, known as The Mad Green Boys are a pretty loud and passionate bunch and with their fluorescent green replica shirts bring some much-needed color to Korean football. The action on the pitch is generally the best in the league so bring your new squeeze here to show her a good game of football. Jeonbuk compete in the ACL each year and so there are often midweek matches on offer too. There were some open legs when they played in the ACL this year and that would definitely help make that first date a memorable one. The “One Man and his Dog” Award for underwhelming attendances Despite most Koreans preferring the Barclays Premier League (BPL) to the K-League, each team does have its hardcore fans that go to matches week in, week out. Unfortunately, other teams play most of their matches watched by the player’s mums, a handful of kids bunking off a hakwon and some sojued up ajosshis looking for somewhere to shelter from the elements. Runner-up – Daejeon Citizens: Life as a Citizen is not particularly easy. One FA Cup triumph doesn’t really offset spending life hovering in the lower regions of the league and the club even suffered the indignity of relegation to the K-League Challenge (2nd division) in 2013. The fans had a great year in 2014 as the club stormed to promotion but 2015 formed a familiar pattern and they have been languishing at the bottom of the league all season, recording only two wins in the opening 33 rounds. Two wins in their first two post-split matches briefly sparked faint hopes of another miracle to rival 2012 but relegation was eventually mathematically confirmed after the penultimate round of fixtures. Despite having the highest average attendances in the K-League in 2003, crowds have now dwindled so far that on several occasions

FOOD & DRINK Edited by Charlotte Hammond (

HATCHING A CRAFT BEER MOVEMENT IN KYUNGRIDAN Magpie’s Erik Moynihan Reflects on the Early Days of Kyungridan and the Future of Magpie Brewing 48 January 2016

Story by Rob Shelley Photos by: Rob Shelley and Courtesy of Magpie Brewing Co.

agpie Brewing Co. got its start in a tiny alley in Kyungridan, now Korea’s best craft beer area, about five years ago. I asked Magpie co-founder Erik Moynihan what was in that area before Magpie moved in and set off a chain reaction of hipness.

“Nothing,” Moynihan said, “There was nothing.” Measured in years, it wasn’t so long ago, but measured against the typical lifecycle of Seoul’s trends, it’s been an eternity since Magpie’s three co-founders came up with the idea of making craft beer together. At a party about five years

ago, Moynihan and two friends, Tiffany Needham and Jason Lindley, were sharing homebrew and had a thought: why not pitch in together and buy a big, hundred-gallon brew kettle? “There’s never been too much beer,” Moynihan said. “No one has ever said, ‘Ah! There’s too much beer! What are we going to do with it!?’” The project was never meant to be a business, but the three brew buddies were soon flooded with requests for their beer. Nearing the end of what we now know as the Dark Ages for beer in Korea, it became obvious that there was growing support for a craft beer enlightenment. Jason Lindley knew Park Chul from brewing company Ka-Brew and eventually arranged to have some beers brewed for Magpie in their facility. It was contract brewing arrangements like the one with Ka-Brew that helped launch the Korean craft beer industry. Just five years later, the same small alley in Kyungridan is now home to Magpie, The Bottle Shop, The Booth, Beer for Geeks and Heaven for a G. Erik Moynihan had been living in this now-gentrified area since 2008. “We were always walking back and forth between [Kyungridan and HBC] and we always cut through that alley. And so we said, ‘Man, this would be a great spot for a bar.’”


Booth. Rather, the partners want to focus on being a self-sustaining brewing company, which means opening a large-scale brewery of its own. It’s no small investment and requires a lot of space. Magpie has settled on Jeju as the location for their brewery and the site is very close to completion. This is excellent news for Magpie fans. Today, Magpie’s Pale Ale, Porter, and other beers can be found in dozens of locations, but when their brewery starts production that might increase quite a bit. Currently, there’s nowhere else but Magpie pubs to enjoy their full lineup of beers. The Pale Ale and Porter are the easiest to find elsewhere; but many Magpie fans crave their delicious gose, called The Ghost; their Belgian Golden Ale, The Sinner; their Belgian IPA, The Saint; and others. Some of my all-time favorite Korean beers include The Saint along with seasonal/limited A Bird in the Hand RyePA and The Last Train Baltic Porter. Magpie hopes to introduce some cool new beers once the brewery gets ramped up to full speed. Magpie isn’t the only Korean craft beer company opening a new brewery. The Booth just opened a small one in Pangyo. Platinum had moved production to China, but will open a brewery in Korea soon. Craftworks, Korea’s craft

grandaddy, is planning on opening a major production facility in Sokcho sometime in 2016. But Magpie isn’t worried about competition. Erik Moynihan believes that the market has lots of room for growth and that most players in the craft beer scene are very cooperative. Magpie has collaborated with The Hand & Malt and Galmegi; and has brewed at Ka-Brew, 7Brau, Weizenhaus, and The Table. Although Magpie is greatly responsible for revitalizing a once-crumbling alley in Kyungridan, they are facing the threat of steeply rising rent. That’s nothing new for Korean businesses who often get punished for doing well. Still, Moynihan believes that Magpie will work something out and will continue to serve fantastic beer in their original location, as well as many new ones. More Info: Brewshop Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 3-10pm Basement Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 5pm-1am Location/Route: Noksapyoungro 54gil 7 (Yongsangu Itaewon2dong 704) Near Overpass between HBC and Kyundridan, turn in at The Baker’s Table. Cost: Beers range from 5,000-8,000won Rob Shelley writes about craft beer and keeps a Korean Beer Directory and Upcoming Events page at

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In fact, Moynihan originally wanted the space currently occupied by restaurant The Baker’s Table, which was then a clothing store selling clothing targeted for ajummas. He was turned down, so he opened up the now-iconic Magpie Brew Shop just behind it. For the first six months, Magpie was just a brew kitchen. By the time they were ready to open their doors to the public, the current Kyungridan landscape was starting to take shape. “While we were in there [before we opened the pub] there were a few little sparks of things happening... Maybe within a few months it went from ‘Oh, there’s a lot of people on the street!’ to just a mass of people.” It’s no news that the beer business in Korea is complicated and these complications will inform a growing brewing company as popular as Magpie as to what direction to head in. Although Magpie looks, smells and tastes just like a brewpub, they still do not have the space to brew on-site, a technical requirement for true brewpubs. Since opening its first location, Magpie has opened pubs in Hongdae and Jeju and continued to brew their beers with the outside help of large-scale breweries like Ka-Brew (and others). Despite the popularity of the three pubs, Magpie’s plan isn’t to start a franchise, a la The

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A Spoonful of Booze Marks an Ewhaju is a rare, old and slightly bizarre edible alcoholic ‘yogurt’ Story by Dave Hazzan | Photos by: Photos by Jo Turner

whaju is both a Korean alcohol you eat with a spoon, and a mystery rice wine no one has heard of. Despite being over 800 years old, ewhaju is unknown to almost everyone in this hard-drinking country. It tastes, looks, and feels like yogurt more than anything else. It’s a creamy, off-white color, sweet, fermented and a bit chalky. It is very similar to makgeolli but much more heavily concentrated. Ehwaju can be found at Baekseju Maeul, a spacious, well-known second floor bar in Jongno that looks down on the 14th century Bosingak belfry. It specializes in Korean wine and is one of the only places in Seoul you can find ewhaju. (One of the others, Tricycle in Hwajeong, was closed around the time of this writing.) We ordered a single jar of ewhaju from a very bemused waiter — clearly it’s not a common order — with a plate of steamed kimchi and tofu, as well as some draft baekseju to wash it down. There were six of us, all expats, and none of us knew what to expect. Ewhaju arrived in a 400 mL frosted glass jar with a large wooden serving spoon and small green lacquered bowls from which to eat the substance. It’s made off-site by Kooksoondang, a brewery famous for their baekseju. It has a strong taste and after-taste and is best shared among friends at one of Baekseju Maeul’s long tables since it’s unlikely anyone will want to eat more than a quarter of the jar by themselves. It’s not that ewhaju tastes bad, though it’s not for everyone — it’s that it is strong. These are not Korean Jell-O shots but bowls of fermented pudding. Registering at an intense 12.5 percent alc./vol., slurping it slowly down your throat, you begin to understand why solid alcohol has never become a trend. Ewhaju goes beautifully with steamed kimchi and tofu though because the salt and spice in the kimchi blends well with the fermented taste of the ewhaju. Ewhaju is also not cheap — 40,000 won a jar — and they only sell about one jar of it a day, according to a Baekseju Maeul manager. Part of this writer’s interest in ewhaju was piqued by rumors it would become the next big thing. Like the demise of God, it appears those rumours have been greatly exaggerated. Ewhaju, rather than becoming the next flavored soju-level craze, actually reveals a rare, alcoholic gem and a peek into an ancient drinking culture.

Ewhaju is not new at all but is in fact very, very old. It’s a recipe that dates back to the Koryo Dynasty, a period of Korean history that lasted from the mid-tenth to the late-fourteenth century. Though ewha means pear blossom, it is, in fact, rice-based. There is very little information about it anywhere. If you Google “ewhaju,” you are redirected to the Ewha Women’s University. But there is one YouTube video, made as part of the “Makgeolli UCC” government campaign to spread information about makgeolli that explains the process of making ewhaju. First, rice and pear blossoms are brewed up and fermented into a cake, dried in pine, and left to mold. This yields the ewha paste. More rice is then rinsed, boiled, molded into donuts, boiled again, and drained. Once the donuts are kneaded, one puts in the ewha paste and leaves it to ferment in a white ceramic pot. It is then diluted with water until it has the right consistency. According to the video, ewhaju was used traditionally for weaning babies, put in boxes for travelers and as a “nutritious drink for the old and infirm.” According to the manager at Baekseju Maeul, the substance is dried out four times and redone four times, as opposed to regular makgeolli, which is just done once. It takes about two weeks to make one batch hence the high price. As you look out onto the Bosingak belfry, you have to imagine, as you eat it, a Korean family 700 years ago, seated cross-legged on the floor in their village home, sipping white spoonfuls from their bowls. A parent spreads it on their screaming infant’s gums, and an oldest son, off to write his Confucian exams in Seoul, is getting a box of it prepared to put into his satchel. An infirm grandfather is propped against the wall, while a dutiful son spoons it into his mouth. While it isn’t for everyone, ewhaju is for the adventurous drinker who wants to sample the past to learn about the present.

800-Year-Old Korean Tradition FOOD & DRINK Edited by Charlotte Hammond (


January 2016 51

Info for Baekseju Maeul: 2F 256, Gwancheol-dong, Jongno-gu 02-720-0055

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n o i t i d a r T h Mixes Frenc t r o f m o C e and Pur


52 January 2016

Review by Jordan Redmond Photos by Peter Kim

hat we talk about when we talk about French food: foams and aspics, miniscule portions, pinch-faced chefs and bank-breaking checks. Especially here in Korea, this misconception runs deep. If this is the hoity-toity truth of French cuisine, then how could it be so beloved around the world? Enter L'impasse 81, a new French comfort food spot that wants to welcome doubters and believers alike into the cuisine's meaty, everyman bosom. L'impasse, or "The Dead End", is situated behind Donggyo-dong's snazzy new green space, just out of Hongdae Station, Exit 3. Beyond the

foreboding, paint-stripped door, the decor gets even more dungeon-y. However, hanging from all that metal is some of the most sumptuous charcuterie in the city, all concocted in-house by co-owners/chefs Gregoire Michot and Jio Jeon. Despite the initial feeling of potential dismemberment, one will find the interior strangely welcoming. Vintage French cookbooks line the shelves leading up to a high ceiling. The tables are spacious and the arm chairs enveloping. The result is something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre-meets-Martha Stewart or a reimagining of the black comedy, Delicatessen. A good place to start is with the sausages which are a veritable grand tour of regional

styles. Each plate features a couple of sizable links with various starchy sides and alone are enough to quell modest hunger. Being first on the menu is usually a reliable indicator and as such, one would do well to go right for the chipolata, a zesty spiced sausage similar to what Americans call "Italian sausage" which comes with a creamy potato gratin. Merguez should be next on your list and the go-to for any cumin addicts out there. The lamb sausage, which originates from Moroccan cuisine, sits on basmati pilaf with harissa and ratatouille. It's a fitting accompaniment considering Michot was a sous chef at La Tour d'Argent, the restaurant that inspired the setting for the animated film

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wooden cutting board: saucisson, jambon de Paris, lonza, chorizo, cervelas and on and on all 100 percent made on-site. If this doesn't curb your porcine lust, rilettes and pate en croute are also alluringly available. However, getting lost in a total meat fugue would be a mistake and one should remember to eat their vegetables. The frisee al lardons and haricot verts, although certainly plant-based, are sinful in their own right, owing either to studs of thick cut bacon or heavy applications of butter. The menu is rounded out by unimpeachable French staples such as duck confit, cassoulet, and quiche lorraine. There is also a high quality tiramisu and other dessert if, somehow, you've managed to Value:


not eat to the point of bursting. Needless to say, very well-priced wine and beer are offered. The verdict: haute cuisine this is not. And thankfully so. Instead, L'impasse 81 gives Seoulites a rare chance to experience French food as represented by the bouchon, a kind of French pub, where down-home trumps high-minded and relaxed and affordable prevails over stiff and expensive. If the phrase "neighborhood French place" has never crossed your mind, it should now. Address: Donggyo-dong 149-11 Hours: Mon-Sun 12-2:30, 5-10 Phone: 070-7779-8181 Service:


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Ratatouille. Perhaps most interesting is the andouille. Americans will associate this with Cajun cuisine's smoked andouille; however, the French original is another thing entirely. Spectacularly odiferous, this andouille is unapologetically intestinal much in the way that haggis is stoutly offal-intensive. If you're a devotee of the nasty bits, you can't do much better. Lastly, another must-try is the boudin noir, the French blood sausage which is a richer, bloodier cousin of Korean sundae. Continuing with the transmutation of pork, the menu also offers a fantastic charcuterie plate. Those lamenting Seoul's lack of quality cured meats will herein find Xanadu on a

FOOD & DRINK Edited by Charlotte Hammond (

Finally a Good Reason to go to Songdo:

54 January 2016

Beer and Pizza Thrive at CAVE nother month, another craft beer shop opens in Korea. However, CAVE in Songdo, Incheon stands out from the masses with its simplicity and quality. The new bar offers up a short but varied list of craft beers that CAVE’s in-house brewer crafts himself in Ansan. On any given night, CAVE has a pale ale, hefeweizen, IPA, and porter on tap (6,000 to 7,000 won). Their pilsner is light, crisp, and perfectly fine. The pale ale is slightly tart and even piquant, if one can use that word in a straight context. The pale ale’s bitterness is contrasted by complementary fruit and citrus flavors that don’t overwhelm the drinker. The hefeweizen is full yet feathery with lovely notes of banana and vanilla (although honestly, like a feather, a little too light). A good hefeweizen should be light and sweet but can still be full-flavored; regrettably, this one falls a little short. Lastly, their IPA doesn’t differentiate itself from many of Ambiance:


Review and photos by: Michael Hanrahan

its peers here in Korea; not bad, just unoriginal and thus uninteresting. Best for last, right? The porter is the real reason to come to CAVE. The head alone has more flavor than half the porters in the domestic craft scene. This one is top notch and everything you want in a porter. Here, there’s no mocha, fake vanilla or chocolate used to mask a substandard brewing. Instead, it’s straight aged malt, lightly carbonated with deep notes of coffee and a gentle note of vanilla. It’s a perfect beer for any time but goes down especially well in the cold months. The food available is satisfying if a bit narrow in range. Your options are: pizza and the limited topping choices of pepperoni, salami, or cheese. These pies (13,000 -15,000 won) easily serve two people and are perfectly baked and use quality cheese. While satisfying and probably the best pizza in Incheon, I would hesitate to draw comparisons to some of the better pizza spots in Seoul. Value:


CAV atmos E's ph puts y ere inside ou of de a sort stroy bomb ed shelte r

CAVE's atmosphere puts you inside a sort of destroyed bomb shelter, The decor lives up to the bar’s name. The artificially broken and worn interior is definitely at odds with the location. The bar is situated on the ground floor of a massive luxury apartment building adjacent to Central Park, one of the country’s wealthiest areas. The staff help make up for any discomfort with their attentiveness, and friendly attitude. When the brewer is in, you can expect top notch beer guidance. Overall, CAVE is worth a visit out to Songdo. Keep warm with a porter and pizza. Or wait till it warms up, take both to go, and find a spot in Central Park for a picnic. Getting there: Subway: Incheon 1 Line, Univ. of Incheon Station, Exit 4. Walk straight and cross the intersection at the corner of Central Park. It’s in Songdo Central Park Prugio Apartment 103, around the back-side from Central Park. Address: 103-163 Central Park Prugio 160, Central-ro, Yeonsu-gu, Incheon Service:


Steep that Steamed Dumpling Compulsion at Joo’s Dim Sum DIM SUM DELIGHTS FOR THE DEDICATED IN SINSA-DONG Review and photos by: Jason Newland Edited by Charlotte Hammond (



an dumpling shop. The dim sum at Joo’s is hand-crafted by chef Lee Byung-joo, who reportedly studied the culinary traditions and ways of dim sum in Beijing, China, before opening his shop in Seoul. He artfully constructs thin wonton wrappers for each of his dumplings before filling them with delicacies like pork, shrimp, crab, chilis and mushrooms, depending on which dim sum item is ordered. Speaking of, the dim sums on offer at Joo’s are pork-filled xialongbao dumplings, which are three for 3,500 won, spicy pork and chili wonton dumplings, which are five for 6,000 won, and the delectable shumai dumplings stuffed with shrimp and topped with shredded shellfish, which are three for 4,000 won. All the dumplings at Joo’s are served with hot tea, cabbage salad, and Chinese-style kimchi. Joo’s also specializes in clear and spicy noodle soups — necessary accompaniments for dim sum eats. Their headlining noodles Food:



are of the dandan sort. Dandan noodles are a Sichuan Chinese variety served in a lightly spicy red chili-oil soup with pork and scallions. Joo’s are a steal at 7,000 won. They also serve a clear wonton noodle soup for those less tolerant to hot chilies. The wonton soup is composed of al dente Chinese noodles, scallions, green leafy vegetables and a couple of large pork dumplings in a light chicken broth for 9,000 won. However, if you’re leaving your apartment now to seek Joo’s steamy heaven, beware it has a loyal fan base and limited seating. Regulars and newcomers alike stand in line outside Joo’s Dim Sum waiting on a table for an average of 20 minutes. The dining space is small, with just a handful of tables plus a bar. Good things are often worth the wait. Any diner would be hard-pressed to find a dim sum gem of this caliber elsewhere in the city. Address: 540-15 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Phone: (02) 6018-9888

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izza rolls, egg rolls, spring rolls, gyoza and mandu, the good, the bad, and the ugly progeny of dim sum — Chinese dumplings steeped in tradition seemingly tucked away within shrouded steamers in hidden alley joints when not in China. Living in Asia, heck, living in the connected world, you’d expect traditional Chinese food around every bend — it’s delicious. However, it’s not as ubiquitous as it maybe ought to be, especially considering Korea’s geographic proximity to China. Luckily for Seoul residents, there is a hidden steamer joint located in the midst of Garosugil’s plastic surgery cathedrals and opulent dessert cafes. This is Joo’s Dim Sum and, to those in the know, Joo is a hero serving up texturized dim sum, noodles in rich broth and steaming tea to Sinsa’s hungry paying customers. It’s perfect food to eat during the cold weather months. It’s great food for every other weather occasion, too. Joo’s Dim Sum is not your standard Kore-



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Story and photo by Jordan Redmond Fusion food often gets a bad wrap. And rightly so. Like the tragic liger, just taking two disparately awesome things and smashing them together to see what happens may be the peak of humanity's hubris (see: last month's churro hot dog). This month, we arrive at 7-Eleven's banana and tangerine-flavored chips. The results are as gut-wrenching as you'd expect. Imagine the artificial essence of banana Jawbreakers meeting the starchy body of a fried potato. The tangerine chips fare a bit better (see: you can sugarcoat a turd) but who has ever thought, "I have a perfectly serviceable potato chip. Let's squeeze an orange on it!". Note to the 7-Eleven snack creation demigods: how about just give us, the cowering masses, something good and simple. Chili-lime plantain chips? Hell yes, the people would flock.


56 December 2015

Story and photo by Rob Shelley Photos by Jared Hatch, Rob Shelley

our beers are not for every craft beer fan--at least at first taste. Thought to be a new gimmick by some, few realize that beer was born sour. Believe it or not, people like Shakespeare, King Arthur, Benjamin Franklin and Cleopatra all likely drank a version of sour beer. Until Louis Pasteur paved the way for microbiology in the 1800‘s, no one really knew what made barley-sweetened liquid ferment into beer. That didn’t stop humans from making beer for thousands of years prepasteurization. In the last century, scientists isolated the optimal yeast strains that brewers use today to make beer. Before that, brewers just let fresh air do its magical, spontaneous work, never recognizing the wild yeasts and bacteria that were making their beer what it was. Using these traditional microbes in beer has become popular again. You will often hear the hippest of beer fans talk about “Brett,” the shorthand for a wild, funky yeast cultivated from the skin of fruit that’s used in many sours today. Or Lactobacillus, a bacteria that makes the sour lactic acid that many beer fans now enjoy. Magpie was probably the first Korean brewery to make a sour beer. They originally brewed a style of beer known as “gose” and named their version The Ghost. Brewing it mostly for themselves, they were surprised at how well it sold and how many new people drag in their friends to give it a try. Magpie co-founder Erik Moynihan thinks sour beer will grow on customers if they just try it. “The sour is exactly the same as the pale ale, where first you’re like ‘What? Why would I want to drink this?' But halfway through the glass people are like ‘This is good. These are really interesting flavors.’” The gose, with its sour and salty taste, has made a big comeback

overseas. Part of the reason Magpie called theirs The Ghost is because it’s a resurrected beer. This past December, Korea-based homebrewer Jared Hatch organized “Funkfest” in Busan with support from Galmegi’s Stephane Turcotte and Craft Brewer, a local brewer’s supply shop. Beer lovers got together to share sours and learn more about how to make these very finicky beers. There’s lots of ways to make a sour beer. “I personally enjoy making sour beers the traditional way, which often takes a year or longer,” Hatch said. Some brewers take shortcuts, as the traditional method can take much longer and run the risk of infecting other, non-sour beers in the brew house. Hatch thinks sours have a future here in Korea because they’re so unique. “Sour beers are definitely a very trendy thing in the States right now, and for home brewers it is the new frontier of brewing, so I do think it will catch on in Korea, at least within a certain section of the Korean community.” Galmegi makes a tart, yet sweet and very refreshing Hallabong Gose made with real Jeju citrus and a Sour Red Ale made with Korean cherries and blackberries. The Booth and Mikkeller Bar both offer delicious imported sours. Pong Dang in Garosu-gil usually has a wide variety of imported sours as well as some on tap from the Busan brewshop, Wild Waves. Bottle shops like CraftBros and The Bottle Shop also carry several Belgian and American sours. Sour beers tend to be expensive because of the time and risk involved. However, for bored beer drinkers or wine lovers, the complex flavors found in well-made sour beers are very rewarding. Plus, it’s what our beerloving ancestors drank for thousands of years.

Rob Shelley writes about craft beer and keeps a Korean Beer Directory and Upcoming Events page at

Last of the Oaxacans ESCAPE THE JANUARY DOLDRUMS WITH AN EQUATORIAL LIBATION Recipe and photo by Bobby Kim 1 oz. Cilant ro Peppe r Infu sed Blanc o Tequ .75 oz ila . Mon t e Alba .5 oz. n Mez Blue A cal gave S .5 oz. yrup Lime Juice .25 oz . Sour Rhuba rb Liqueu r Sombr a Mez cal Rinse for G arnish

Edited by Charlotte Hammond (

some spice to your chilly winter nights with a slightly spicy tequila and mezcal cocktail. It’s pronounced [Wa-Ha-Kan]. Oaxaca is the state in Mexico from which mezcal hails. Quite different from other types of tequila, mezcal has a smokier, full-bodied flavor due to its specific process of cooking the heart of the agave plant in a pit oven. Pairs well with any types of food, but you can’t go wrong having this cocktail with some tacos.

Restaurant Buzz


SWEET OAK KITCHEN AND SMOKEHOUSE Bongbawi-gil 76-2, Wonju, Gangwon-do 010-8968-2855

CALI KITCHEN 224-66 Itaewon 2-dong, Yongsan-gu 070-8836-4723

EMOI 6-20 Jongno 12-gil, Jongno-gu 02-733-0588

CHEONGCHUN GEUKJANG 청춘극장 322-76 Haengdang-dong, Seongdong-gu 02-2294-6995

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The American BBQ trend grows. This one will require a road trip to Wonju, which really isn’t too far from Seoul especially considering the southern American marker of excellence, “100 Mile BBQ”. Sweet Oak Kitchen and Smokehouse is one of those destination places. Run by Gus Flores and Euna Kim, I’ve been following their progress up until opening. The buzz is that they’re the hot new thing. Great prices, generous portions. Overfilled pulled pork sliders on jet black brioche buns, cumin rubbed pork belly, smoked chicken and various sauces with global flavors to match. Want some smoky Korean BBQ in Seoul proper? Sorry guys, I’m spilling the secret about this one. Cheongchun Geukjang 청춘극장, near Haengdang Station, serves pork ribs at great prices. Make sure to get their Special Ramyeon. Lots of reviews have been coming in about CALI Kitchen in Gyungridan just behind Maloney’s. The burgers are the best value for your hard earned won. They also have piled high burrito bowls and jam-packed burritos. Yet the real find lately has been in Jongno, a new pho place called Emoi 에머이, right outside Jonggak Station. This isn’t the sad, beige-colored localized version. This is authentic punch-you-in-the-face pho and addictive fried egg rolls.

T R A V E L Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

Story by Luc Tremblay, Seoul Insider Photos by Luc Tremblay and



58 January 2016


eing from northern Ontario Canada, I grew up ice fishing and having fun with friends on the ice during winter. In Korea, it is hard to imagine an easily accessible place where you can safely catch and eat fish, have a few beers, and laugh with friends on the ice. Enter Hwacheon City and its huge annual winter festival held every January. The Hwacheon area is famous for its picturesque setting: clean streams (Class 1 water,

which is the best rating for water quality in Korea), mountain trout, and gently sloping mountain valleys. These valleys are swept by cool winds that enable the clear streams to form some of the thickest ice layers in Korea, up to an amazing 40 centimeters, which can handle the weight of ice-goers. This year’s festival theme is “Unfrozen Hearts, Unforgettable Memories.” Some of the over 30 experience-based programs and attractions include mountain trout ice fishing, ice/

snow sledding, special winter bicycles, snow sculptures, ice soccer, ATV riding, and a zip line across the river. A comprehensive English website lists all events and activities at www. From the Hwacheon bus terminal, it is just a short ten-minute walk to the creek where all the action takes place. You can just follow the people walking that way or the fish decorations that line the path towards the fishing area. For first timers, small fishing poles are on sale

More Info: Seoul Insider will be planning a few one-day group fishing tours. Keep an eye on the Seoul Insider Facebook page for more in December and January. Date: January 10 to February 1, 2016 Location/Route: Hwacheoncheon Stream, Hwacheon-gun, Gangwon-do Contact: 1688-3005 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese) Cost: KRW 12,000 won for accessing the fishing areas (and KRW 5,000 voucher for local products and activities). -Extra costs for riding ATVs, the zip line, food, ice fishing pole. -You can eat the fish that you catch for lunch (KRW 2,000 fee to have them cook it for you) or take up to three fish with you when you leave (plastic bags provided). More info Links: Festival homepage:www.narafestival. com/07_global/?lang=eng Hwacheon Tourism Homepage: http:// Seoul Insider Facebook page: https:// Transport: Take the bus from Dong Seoul Bus Terminal (Gangbyeong Station, Line 2) to Hwacheon Bus Terminal. Buses run from 7.05am and takes about 2 hours 40 minutes (KRW 13,900). Last bus to Seoul leaves at 8.10pm. global/?lang=eng&f_code=01_03

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cool winter activities at the festival. What is ice fishing and how to do it? For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, it is basically fishing on top of the ice. No boat is needed as you can walk onto the solid ice. Easier than regular fishing, instead of casting a line, just stand over a hole in the ice and set up the lure to attract the fish. Be careful as it may be a bit slippery so walk cautiously to prevent falls or getting your feet stuck in fishing holes. Small circular holes have been predrilled for everyone; however, with the thickness of the ice, it is still safe for all activities. Find a location on the ice that you like and claim a hole to use. Ensure that the hole is clear of ice and slush before you start fishing. People either scoop out the ice with their hands or use a small basket on a stick. Other ice-goers are friendly enough to lend you their baskets if you don’t want to use your hands. Now to the fishing. With the small fishing pole, unwind the fishing line and drop the lure into the water until it reaches the bottom – this is when the line is no longer tight and will just look limp. Next, rewind the fishing line around the square part of the pole to raise the lure off the bottom so it can bounce up and down but isn’t hitting the bottom. Reel the line in as little or as much as you like to play with different

Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

from the many street-side venders. Be sure to choose wisely as these fishing poles and their shiny hooks will be what lure an unsuspecting fish to bite on your line. Although some poles look more like a fly swatter than a fish catcher, they also make a nice keepsake to show your ice-fishing friends back home. Once you get to the creek, you can take part in the many different activities along the stretch of the river and its banks. Ice fishing is truly the highlight of the festival and with the water so clean, when you look into the premade hole, you’ll be able to see the bottom and the fish swimming around. If you feel brave enough, there is also a hand-fishing pool in which participants get warmed up in a sauna, then jump into waist-deep water to catch fish by hand. According to the Ice Festival’s website, two to three tons of Sancheoneo fish are brought in every day. Sancheoneo is the name of a fish from the salmon family that can only survive in fresh, cold water. The fish is fairly distinguishable with its deep blue back spot and white silver belly – and most importantly, is easy to clean and delicious to eat. So, get out there and have some fun. You will truly not regret the fun time you’ll have ice fishing, eating good food and seeing so many



depths. The next step is to jig - or move your fishing pole up and down - to make the lure move and entice the fish to bite. Once a fish bites, a small snap on the pole can set and secure the hook into the fish’s mouth. Then simply pull the line – and the fish - out of the water. Once the fish is out of the water, remove the hook from its mouth (while holding it carefully as it will be quite slippery) and put the fish in your bag. Once you have a few fish, decide where to eat them. You can pay KRW 2,000 to get it cooked for you or you can take up to three fish home with you (and the festival even provides plastic bags for you to transport them). The festival site also offers side dishes and beverages to accompany your dish. If no fish are caught (which is a rarity), there are many other food options available Advice for first timers: It’s a good idea to arrive at the site early. The fish are generally more active early in the morning and later in the afternoon. Noon is also a great time to explore around the site further and try hand fishing. Dress warmly in layers as the festival is an outdoor event on ice. Small foam pads to sit on or small foldable camping chairs are also advisable for a bit more comfort on the ice. Remember, to catch fish takes practice, so try different up and down movements and pay attention to others who are catching fish - their method might be a winner.

T R A V E L Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (

60 January 2016


IS IT ABOUT MEN, WAR, PEACE OR WESTERN VALUES? Story and Photos by Barbara Bierbrauer

decades, the island of Bali has been considered one of the top traveling destinations in the world. It offers incredible nature, black- and white-sand beaches, crystal clear water and jungles full of entertaining monkeys. As if that wasn’t enough, the island’s waterfalls are worth an exhausting trip, with visitors experiencing an extraordinarily rich and well-preserved underwater world that leaves everyone breathless. Additionally, the wellmaintained roads make it a safe place to travel around and the delicious foods make every mealtime a delight. Balinese Hinduism, the most worshipped religion on the island, is reverently omnipresent with its elaborate flower arrangements, little house temples and joss sticks spreading a light aroma within its slow-burning, airy smoke. When meeting the Balinese, one meets people who are friendly without being too pushy, who are graceful, self-reliant and reserved. As emotions are considered to be a sign of bad manners, silent politeness is conveyed through a smile as the nation’s solid ice-breaker. For many, this is the pretty picture that Bali paints in our memory. But take a look around the corner and with a bit of luck, an experience so animalistic, wild, bloody, scary and powerful awaits. That is, the Balinese cock fight. Apart from some very rare exceptions, cock fights are highly

illegal in Bali – certainly as the Islamic background of the Indonesian state strongly opposes gambling. However, it is common to see cages with roosters on both sides of the road and find fighting places (wantilan) within 50 meters of police stations. Surprisingly, roosters born on Bali and raised to become fighters live a life that a battery farm chicken can only dream of. As chicks, they spend time under the wing of a concerned mother hen, and as young cocks they enjoy the great outdoor breeze from the ocean and the tropical sky above in complete freedom. As they get older, feeding and exercising becomes an important part of life, subject to a diet more sophisticated and complicated than even a human meal. The roosters are bathed with special herb combinations to prevent parasites, their feathers are inspected one by one, and their body and legs receive regular massages to avoid cramp. Whereas ordinary chickens would have a life expectancy of around 30-45 days, a Balinese rooster spends up to 2 years in leisure and luxury before being made to fight. Indeed, even the first steps to fighting for these future gladiators is actually behind high walls, chasing colorful and angry bugs. The cockfight in Bali is an absolute male instinct. In fact, the Balinese word for cock (Sabung) has the same sexual connotations as it does in English. Famous anthropologists Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead have even stated: "Cocks are viewed as detachable, self-operating penises, ambulant genitals with a life of their own". Perhaps this is why they are treated not as animals, but as a respected domesticated bird, anthropomorphic objects,

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the whole mysterious process results in no records, no papers, no signatures just men and their word. With all the bets are placed, it’s time for the cocks to be placed in the ring and around a second later, the fight is over. The longest fight we experienced took about 5 seconds. It all goes by so quickly and with all the commotion, there is no chance to actually see what happens. Usually the cocks fly at each other and try to hit the opponent with the blade. However, as the blade is so sharp, and the cocks are so quick, the attack is reminiscent to a snake attacking its prey. Taken out of context, cock fights are a brutal game created for sheer gambling pleasure. But if we think about the care and love that the animals received prior to their glory of being a gladiator in the ring, there is perhaps an extremely interesting phenomenon to explore. Through the placement of bets for fights, the conflicts become outspoken (I bet against your cock), apologies are then made and accepted by others (I bet for your cock) and alliances are formed (We bet together against them). Defeat is accepted with the same dignity as glory brings to a win. Cock fights are used as an instrument of solving conflict and as an extension of anger management in Balinese culture. Though it is not a community of superheroes or saints – conflicts appear in their society as it would in any other - the Balinese attempt to avoid the suppression of anger, fear, or passion that is so detrimental to our mental and physical health. While the very core of Western civilization tends to rely on conflicts, discussions or questioning, the Balinese culture tries to avoid outbursts of emotion or open conflict. As cocks represent manhood, the cock fights perhaps substitute the fights between men. Or families. Or groups. Or villages. The cock fight is a substitute war and as an examination of Balinese culture by anthropologists has found, cock fights are representative of the conflicts between men. The roosters sacrifice their blood – in place of human blood. So while we fight each other, the Balinese make the roosters fight their fights, creating an environment seemingly chaotic but still well-regulated, where blood is sacrificed and conflicts are solved.

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friends and partners.Fights take place in the late afternoon after the business day has finished. Scooters are parked in long rows. Following the sound of a large cheering crowd will bring you to a gathering around a small 5-10 square meter arena. Surrounded by men who have brought their own cocks or have come to bet on them, only one or two local ladies are present on the sidelines - bar the non-Balinese tourists - selling cigarettes or snacks. Before any fight, opponents need to be matched. To ensure an equal and fair match, each match is officiated by a “qualified” judge to make the right calls. The owners parade through the crowd with their roosters, approaching other birds to awaken the fighting spirit by teasing the cocks in front of each other. Sometimes it takes a while, but when there is some bite and opponents are found, the judge will announce the upcoming fight and prepare each cock with a blade on one leg of every rooster. The blade itself and the way it is placed on the leg is a highly sophisticated art and has to equal the chances of winning, especially if the competing birds are of different strengths. The loudest part of the fight then begins. The betting is deafening. After the bet master takes bets from the crowd – and this is a fallible system so the best way is to give your money to a person you trust to bet for you - there will be absolute chaos. Although never loud but always smiling, the Balinese go absolutely berserk, jumping, screaming and waving their hands. It is said that there is zero cheating in cock fights but once experienced,




62 January 2016

Edited by Naheen Madarbakus-Ring (



A NEW DIMENSION TO NEW ENGLAND Story by Tom Godfrey Photos by 1024 Photography, Sieun Kim, Tom Godfrey

here comes a time in expat life when the allure of a secluded beach in Thailand, the charming griminess of Phom Penh, and the neon order of Tokyo stop calling to us. It’s a time when we stop caring about stamps in our passports or wild stories. It’s a time when we just want, or need, to go home. That need beckoned me last winter. My baby sister was getting hitched. Her wild years were finished. She met a guy, started listening to country music, and got engaged. For me, I had to drag my poor Korean girlfriend Sieun into the most overwhelming “meet the parents” scenario I could ever have imagined. After more than a year of dating, I realized that this was our ultimate test. I knew she could navigate broken-down Manila at 2am but could she handle staying in a house with 8 people and one bathroom? She complimented

my ability to eat spicy food, but would she still love me when she learned I was even better at eating an entire appetizer sampler from the International House of Pancakes by myself? It is hard to go home. In fact, it can be

This is a truth of expat life: the longer you are gone, the less people care when you come back jarring. For most of our time in Korea, we can believe that we live in an alternate reality where time doesn’t exist. We communicate through messengers or pixilated screens

that are removed from reality. Going home shatters this: our parents age, our siblings grow up. And suddenly our grandparents are elderly, frail or gone. But we weather these shocks and after a bit of jet lag, we are who we were before we left home. The first thing that I noticed after landing in Boston was that I could buy both a nonAmericano coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts and a live lobster from Legal Seafood without leaving the airport. My girlfriend’s first interaction with my family was my mom explaining that we had to hurry out of Logan International Airport because my dad was fighting with a traffic cop. After excited hellos, hugs, a few tears, and a couple of awkward bows we were flying down the Massachusetts Turnpike. It was the first time my girlfriend and I had ridden in a private vehicle. It was my sister’s - my


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all of Korea to Ralph’s Diner. Sieun knew my friends only through stories that I had built into legends. In her mind, Ralph’s was a hard rocking mecca of booze and rock. I had drinks in a dark booth and tried to serve as the go-between for two lives that hardly ever came near each other. Unfortunately, the hard rocking drunks weren’t there. Instead

it was poetry night, and a bunch of hippies with mutton chops were sitting on a sofa with bongo drums. It would soon be time for my sister to marry. I took a ride with my father around town while Sieun had her hair done with my mom. The night before we had hit the brandy hard. My father gave us his rousing rendition of Quint’s Indianapolis monologue from Jaws. The thought of leaving my family again was weighing me down. He drove slowly through our changing town: half because of a hangover and half to let us savor one last “Boring Guy’s Ride” around town. The rustic cottages whose chimneys let out plumes of white smoke against a backdrop of forest that I remembered were still there, but the forest was now a neighborhood of half finished condos. The change was gradual, unnoticed, for people who lived there. For me it was sudden and jarring. My sister was married on our last night. Attending the wedding was every living family member. Together we drank and were merry. I smiled as Sieun danced with Kathleen, my cousin’s kid. I had never met Kathleen because she was born while I’ve been away. She is named after my grandmother, who died while I was living in Korea. As the music went on I felt lucky that I had come to find a life in Korea. I felt happy that I had brought a part of my life home. I knew, as she and my grandfather clicked glasses and drank soju on the rocks, that I had made the right choices when it mattered.

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me updated on their phone numbers - the rest have been lost to life. Sieun and I found ourselves at Ralph’s Diner in Worcester, a city Sieun already fears due to a highly publicized gang war. In what is ordinarily a dirty, packed dive bar in a dining car (with concerts upstairs), Sieun saw me for the first time interact with people who weren’t “other foreigners,” but people who I’ve connected with on levels beyond “we worked at the same hagwon.” A long time ago something happened at Ralph’s that sent a buddy of mine to a contract in Korea to simplify his life. He was persuasive and I followed. In a sense I owe my entire relationship with Sieun and


father’s truck is usually full of fishing junk and coffee cups. My mother’s car is, well, a huge hunk of junk, and my soon-to-be brother-in-law drives the only lifted Ford in Shrewsbury. Ah, yes, Shrewsbury – a place that exists in the same middle class suburbia as places like Smallville, Stars Hollow, and that in any given Norman Rockwell painting. It is New England small-town charm. It is quaint and as far from Seoul in every definition of “far” there is. In the fall, scarecrows haunt the town common in front of a colonial-era church. They are replaced by snowmen and carolers clasping steaming cups of cocoa in the winter. I took Sieun for a boat ride on Lake Quinsigamond. I spent my youth on this lake kayaking with my father or rowing back and forth in crew shells every day of the spring and fall rowing seasons. I throttle the tiny motor my father has jerry-rigged to an old green plastic rowboat and take Sieun under a bridge. Underneath, we pass nerdy graffiti - the tags of the crew teams that call the lake home. I tell Sieun that these were the people I knew in my younger years before Korea. These faded names, some of them just forgotten nicknames, were the people I cared about before Korea was anything more than an inconsequential country on a map for me. This is a truth of expat life: the longer you are gone, the less people care when you come back. Gone are the days when all of my friends wanted to hear stories of exotic Korea – in fact, the days of me finding Korea to be exotic are gone. Only a few friends have kept


Edited by Sean Choi (

EMBASSIES American Embassy (02) 397-4114 • 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul Canadian Embassy (02) 3783-6000 • (613) 996-8885 (Emergency Operations Center) Jeongdonggil (Jeong-dong) 21, Jung-gu, Seoul British Embassy (02) 3210-5500 • Sejong-daero 19-gil 24, Jung-gu, Seoul Australian Embassy (02) 2003-0100 • 19th fl, Kyobo bldg., 1 Jongno 1-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul Philippine Embassy (02) 796-7387~9 • 5-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul

Novotel Ambassador Gangnam (02) 567-1101 • 603 Yeoksam 1-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Seoul Samsung Hospital 1599-3114 • 50 Irwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

Grand Hilton Seoul (02) 3216-5656 • 353 Yeonhui-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

Asan Medical Center 1688-7575 • 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu, Seoul

Somerset Palace Seoul (02) 6730-8888 • 85 Susong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Keimyung University Dongsan Medical Center (053) 250-7167 (7177 / 7187) • 56 Dalseong-ro, Jung-gu, Daegu

Park Hyatt Seoul (02) 2016-1234 • 606 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Lotte Hotel Busan (051) 810-1000 • 772 Gaya-daero, Busanjin-gu, Busan Park Hyatt Busan (051) 990-1234 • 51, Marine City 1-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan 612-824, Korea

Airlines Korean Air 1588-2001 Asiana Airlines 1588-8000

Yongsan Intl. School (02) 797-5104 • San 10-213 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul Seoul Intl. School (031) 750-1200 • 388-14 Bokjeong-dong, Sujeong-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do Branksome Hall Asia (02) 6456-8405 • Daejung-eup, Seogipo-si, Jeju Island Daegu Intl. School (053) 980-2100 • 1555 Bongmu-dong, Dong-gu, Daegu

Dulwich College Seoul

Garuda Indonesia (02) 773-2092 •

Dulwich College Seoul offers an exemplary British-style international education (including IGCSE and IBDP) for over 600 expatriate students aged 2 to 18 from over 40 different countries. 6 Sinbanpo-ro 15-gil, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea. 02-3015-8500


French Embassy (02) 3149-4300 • 30 Hap-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

Gangnam St-Mary’s Hospital 1588-1511 • 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul

T’way Air 1688-8686

Yonsei Severance Hospital (Sinchon) (02) 2227-7777 • 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

British Airways (02) 774-5511

Seoul National University Hospital 1339 • 28-2 Yeongeon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Delta Airlines (02) 754-1921

Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul (02) 2250-8080 • San 5-5, Jangchung-dong 2-ga Jung-gu, Seoul


Lufthansa (02) 2019-0180

Spanish Embassy (02) 794-3581 • 726-52 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul



Jin Air 1600-6200

Cathay Pacific Airways (02) 311-2700

Emirates Airlines (02) 2022-8400




Eton House Prep (02) 749-8011 • 68-3 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul A unique British-style Prep School for children of all nationalities from 2-13 years of age. A broad, challenging and innovative curriculum preparing pupils for senior school and life beyond. / AMUSEMENT PARKS Everland Resort (031) 320-5000 • 310 Jeondae-ri, Pogok-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do Lotte World (02) 411-2000 0 • 240 Olympic-ro, Songpa-gu, Seoul Pororo Park (D-Cube city) 1661-6340 • 360-51 Sindorim-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul Children’s Grand Park (zoo) (02) 450-9311 • 216 Neungdong-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul Seoul Zoo (02) 500-7338 • 159-1 Makgye-dong, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do BOOKSTORES What the Book? (02) 797-2342 • 176-2, Itaewon 1-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul • Located in Itaewon, this English bookstore has new books, used books and children’s books. Kim & Johnson 1566-0549 • B2 fl-1317-20 Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul

HEALTH ORIENTAL MEDICINE Lee Moon Won Korean Medicine Clinic (02) 511-1079 • 3rd fl., Lee&You bldg. 69-5 Chungdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Specializes in hair loss and scalp problems and offers comprehensive treatments and services including aesthetic and hair care products. Soseng Clinic (02) 2253-8051 • 368-90 Sindang 3-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul Yaksan Obesity Clinic (02) 582-4246 • 1364-7, Seocho 2-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul • FITNESS Exxl Fitness Gangnam Finance Center, 737 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul • Daily Morning Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Classes (English) Jivamukti, Forrest, Universal Yoga (Korean) Apgujeong Rodeo Stn, Exit 4 (02) 515-6011• UROLOGY & OB Tower Urology (02) 2277-6699 • 5th fl. 119 Jongno 3-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul

ANIMAL HOSPITALS Chunghwa Animal Hospital / Korea Animal Transport (02) 792-7602 • 21-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul /

HAIR & JOY Served as Art Director at London’s Renowned RUSH SALON and nominated by the Guardian for “Best Hairdresser”

Woori Pet Hospital (02) 393-6675 • 299-1 Youngcheon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul

MUSEUM & GALLERIES National Museum of Korea (02) 2077-9000 • 168-6 Yongsandong 6-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul The NMK offers educational programs on Korean history and culture in English and Korean. National Palace Museum of Korea (02) 3701-7500 • 12 Hyoja-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul This museum has a program called Experiencing Royal Culture designed for English teachers to help learn about Joseon royal culture. Seodaemun Museum of Natural History (02) 330-8899 • 141-52 Yeonhui-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul Don’t know where to take your kids on weekends? This museum exhibits a snapshot of the world and animals. National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (02) 2188-6000 • 313 Gwangmyeong-ro, Gwacheon-si, Gyeonggi-do Leeum Samsung Museum of Art (02) 2014-6901• 747-18 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays. Kumho Museum (02) 720-5114 • 78 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Gallery Hyundai (02) 734-6111~3 • 22 Sagan-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul The first specialized art gallery in Korea and accommodates contemporary art. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays. Plateau (02) 1577-7595 • 50 Taepyung-ro 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul 10 a.m.-6 p. m. Closed on Mondays. National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (MMCA SEOUL) (02) 3701-9500 • 30 Samcheong-ro, Sogyeok-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Daegu Art Museum (053) 790-3000 • 374 Samdeok-dong, Suseong-gu, Daegu Art space for local culture presenting Daegu’s contemporary fine arts and internationally renowned artists.

Trained at TONI & GUY and VIDAL SASSOON Academy in UK Color, Perm, Magic Straight, Treatment and more English Spoken For more info, call Johnny Phone 02.363.4253 Mobile 010.5586.0243


Mapo-gu Dong gyo-dong 168-3_ 3F Seven Uniqlo Springs

HonhIk Univ. Stn. Line2 Exit8 Gangnam Apgujeong Branch


Phone 02.549.0335 10-6, Dosan-daero 45-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul

T-M-A-S Total Martial Arts System SPECIALIZING IN TRAINING MARTIAL ARTS FOR EXPAT Established in 2008, we are the first and only professional martial arts studio tailored toward the foreign adult and child community in Korea. Over the last 8 years we have trained 2000+ expat students from 32 countries in a traditional Korean syllabus. Our instructors are highly experienced in teaching both adults and children of all ages and levels, from toddler to professional fighter. All classes are conducted in English by certified Korean Masters! Total martial arts system 02-796-7976​/ 010-8944-2198 TMAS

Hamilton Hotel

Itaewon Main St. Tom N Toms


Olive Young

For free trail lesson please contact to totalmartialartssystem or 010-8944-2198

From exit 1 of itaewon Station, go straight towards Nosapyeong for 70 meters, We are on the third floor, directly across the street from Tom n Tom’s Coffee.