gamjatang the best places for this meaty spicy,and funky stew
how to make kimchi
keeping up with kimchi learn the secrets behind korea's national dish
vietnam traditions, trains and traffic
What's in this issue Vol. 124 MARCH 2017
Former Seoul ex-pat gaining international success
What's on Festivals, concerts, happy hours, networking and events for every day of the month
National News National news with Korea JoongAng Daily
Hope and Life AHEad It's time for Mozart and Mahler
Studio Black The start-up office space you've been waiting for - Studio Black
www.groovekorea.com March 2017
How toâ€Ś Make kimchi Think you can't make kimchi? Yes you kan at Kimchikan Museum! Make kimchi at one of the world's top food museums
Interview With Stand-Up Comedian Brian Aylward Former Seoul ex-pat gaining international success
Bringing the islands to Korea Group works to bring Korean reggae into the future
Opportunity of a lifetime Streetguns takes kimchibilly to Latin America
22 A time to give back A time to give back
What to do if your school doesnâ€™t give you a book What to do when your school doesn't give you curriculum
Group works to bring Korean reggae into the future
Groove Goes Art Renoir, Carreras and more
seduction, sci-fi and STARLIGHT Starlight Productions brings theater and burlesque to Seoul
An exhibit of emotions An artist tells her story through the click of the shutter and the beat of her heart
What's in this issue Vol. 124 MARCH 2017
Three institutions where best to enjoy this humble stew
Three by... Inebriation, investigation, and incarceration
Amazing Homebrewing Competition An insider's guide to Seoul's biggest homebrew competition
www.groovekorea.com March 2017
Richmond dim sum Three institutions where best to enjoy this humble stew
Are You Game for Gamjatang Three institutions where best to enjoy this humble stew
Sing a Song of Seongbuk-dong Dive into the food culture of one of Seoul's oldest neighborhoods
beyond Juknokwon Make the most of the region with these spots when staying at Damyang House
vietnam Train travels and UNESCO heritage
we create balance
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When people think representative Korean dishes, they rarely think of gamjatang, the gnarly-looking pork spine stew. However, it is one of Korean cuisine's most satisfying dishes. This issue, we will share with you three earthy institutions where best to enjoy this fulfilling dish. Cover Photo by Blair Kitcheneritchener
What's on MON
Jeju Deulbul (fire) Festival Mar 2-5 | Aewol, Jeju
Renoir: Images of Women - Mar 26 | SeMA Seosomun
10 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
Youth D Museum, Hannamdong, Seoul
Seoul Motor Show March 31-April 9 | KINTEX
Beauty and the Beast
17FW HERA Seoul Fashion Week March 27- April 1 | DDP
CALENDAR MARCH 2017 FRI
Uljin Crab Festival Mar 2-5 | Hupo Port
Legendary Tenor Jose Carreras [A Life in Music] Final World Tour Mar 4, 8pm | Seoul Arts Center
Gwangyang Apricot Blossom Festival Mar 11-19 | Jeonnam Province
Yuhki Kuramoto Whiteday Concert Mar 14, 8pm | Seoul Arts Center
Gurye Sansuyu Flower Festival Mar 18-26 | Jeonnam Province
Jinhae Gunhangje (cheery blossom festival) April 1-10 / Changwon, Gyeongnam
Konzerthausorchester Berlin Blair Witch â€˜Mozart Piano Concerto No.20, Mahler Symphony N0.5 | April 24, 8pm | Seoul Arts Center
11 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
Youngdeok Crab Festival Mar 23-26 | Ganggu Port
Eliahu Inbal with Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra and Hyejion Kim in Seoul Edited by Rob Shelley Story by Barbara Bierbrauer
his month Seoul Arts Center is welcoming one of the most renowned conductors in the world – Eliahu Inbal, who will lead the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the pianist Hyejion Kim, one of the shining stars at South Koreas classical stages, through Mozart's fabulous Piano Concerto No. 20 and one of the masterpieces of the 20th century – Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5. Similar to his other D-minor works, Mozart's Concerto No. 20 is one of the most dramatic, turbulent and restless pieces with lyrical, soft and harmonious themes. Mozart shows the ups and downs anyone has experienced in his or her life. And, with his life-affirming and positive attitude, offers a happy end and an example that, no matter how difficult the struggles are, and how heart-breaking the dramas, there is always a place for a party and a glass of wine. The story that Mahler's symphony tells is more tragic. You will hear the funeral and feel the black ribbons blowing in the stormy wind; it is the story of loss, suffering, longing and overcoming hardship. From the endless mourning, where one hits bottom and can not fall any deeper, Mahler guides the listeners to rebirth, and shows that even hardest tragedies stay in the past: And there is hope and there is life ahead.
More Info Date March 24, 2017 Time 8 PM Location Seoul Arts Center, Concert Hall Tickets From KRW 50 000 website www.sacticket.co.kr
To the great Korean public, warm and enthusiastic music lovers, I extend my greetings and express my satisfaction to perform again in Seoul and the great South Korean country, with its stunning nature beauty, Culture and tradition. With Mahler 5th and Mozart we propose magnificent works for your enjoyement, with the great Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra. My wife joins me to wish you the greatest happiness and pleasure. -Eliahu Inbal
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Start-up office space without the start-up challenges! Story and Photos by Steve Smith
14 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
f you’re starting off on a new venture, especially if you’re in the young foreign startup world, life can be full of challenges. Finding office space for your new enterprise can be a real challenge, for example. Next to identifying your market, it may be your second biggest worry! And it could certainly be this expense that brings your hatchling idea down in flames due to endless fees and unexpected events with an unknown space. The high cost of Seoul real estate down payments, furniture, and utilities can drain your budget before you have even turned any revenue at all. It’s customary for a business to lose money for some time… a year or two in cases...before turning a profit. If you’re already starting out on a shoestring budget, this is a deal-killer. And, if you can just find enough money to get a property, it’s going to be pretty spartan. Forget comfort features in your bare-bones startup office and tell yourself that in 5 or 10 years you can have some luxuries. Fancy architecture? No. New
new niche, called Studio Black. A shared offurniture? No. Great lighting and inspiring fice environment, Studio Black houses a large work locations? Forget it. And what about loselection of flexible spaces just perfect for the cation? Will you be able to claim a high-class young, energetic startup lifestyle. Complete address on your business cards, or will you with large communal spaces, inspirational have to settle for an address you’d rather not collaboration spaces, cozy studio offices, softeven mention? Being close to your clients is ware testing labs, 3D printers, a important, but that can also be photo studio, conference rooms, very expensive. It has to be this well supplied kitchens, showers, way, right? You have to pay your The start-up and even a luxurious and quiet dues? No. It doesn’t have to be office space you've been nap area, Studio Black impresthat way at all. waiting for sively anchors itself as a go-to Just a few floors above the location to establish a small ofhustling and bustling of the ev-Studio Black fice in Seoul. The office space er-busy Gangnam streets, is a is on two floors, in the center quiet, modern space that promof Gangnam, right where you want to be. The ises to be exactly what you’ve been looking first floor is floating-use office space, providing for. Imagine, the furniture, interior design, places for team-building, rest and relaxation, materials selection, construction, and maintemodeling your ideas, receiving clients, and nance have already been done. All you have refreshing time-out space. Well lit, it provides to do is move in. Hyundai Card, previousan environment not only operationally useful ly focused on benefits for their very focused for your new business, but also feels like the business plan, is now branching out beyond space you’d design for yourself, if you only had the credit and music library businesses into a
Studio Black had its grand opening Jan 3, 2017 in Gangnam. Memberships are filling quickly. Contact Jungeun Koo at koojungeun@hyundaicapita. com for a tour and membership information. Website Studioblack.hyundaicard.com tel 02.6308.7000 Add 10th fl. Hongwoo2 bldg., Seocho-daero 78gil 22, Seocho-gu, Seoul hours Mon-Fri 9am -9pm / Sat 9am-4pm
and teach Studio members lessons from their diverse backgrounds. The idea here is one of upper-level collaboration. Hyundai Card know that up-and-comers struggle with understanding their clients, capturing the trends in business, or even the simple how-to of getting started. They want to â€œgive backâ€? to the market in the form of outstanding support at this grass-roots level of business. Each of their invited experts brings both foundational and complementary knowledge to the workspace, allowing communal growth and prosperity. Studio Black also includes a number of scalable work spaces, quiet rooms, rooftop access, and perhaps best of all, several happy hour events. In these events, the company provides opportunities for networking, with some music and refreshments to help their customers have a great time. Marketed toward a strong mix of Korean and foreign clientele, this unique office space has its sights set on being the go-to office space for entrepreneurs and international creators in Korea.
15 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
enough money. Beautiful wood flooring and easy-on-the-eyes decorating make focusing in your work, and not your surroundings, an easy thing to do. Upstairs on the second floor, Studio Black has more focused office spaces for more established businesses. Modular and scalable in design, these workspaces accommodate teams as small as two people, and still accommodates very large staff needs when required. Complete with its own cafe seating arrangement, which is perfect for receiving clients and making them feel comfortable, the second floor office space is an ideal location for businesses that need a little more structure to their organization. Management staff is friendly and keen to help their clients with their needs and wants while working in Studio Black. Maintenance is taken care of by Hyundai Card and management, so that burden is off your chest as well. Adding to the value are Hyundai Card classes, wherein Hyundai Card brings in interesting guest speakers such as novelists and Hyundai executives to discuss
Nati on a l News
In association with MARCH 2017 / www.koreajoongangdaily.com 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.
Toxic nerve agent VX found on
16 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
Kim Jong-nam K UALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police announced March 24 that the poison used to kill Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was VX nerve agent, a type of chemical weapon. “The chemical substance on the exhibits has been identified as VX nerve agent,” Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar said in a press briefing. The inspector general added that the chemical was detected from swabs of Kim’s eyes and face, citing a preliminary toxicology test by the Malaysian government’s chemistry department. The odorless and colorless VX nerve agent is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies VX as “the most potent of all nerve agents.” The Malaysian authorities said they are investigating how the internationally banned chemical weapon made its way into Malaysia. South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense stated in its 2014 Defense White Paper that the North is suspected to have stockpiled some 5,000 tons of sarin and VX nerve agents. The inspector general refused to comment on whether the North Korean government was behind the assassination. South Korea’s intelligence chief told lawmakers in a closeddoor meeting after the murder that it was a “standing order” of Kim Jong-un to kill his half-brother for at least five years. The Malaysian police announced earlier that a second secretary at the North Korean Embassy in Malaysia was a suspect sought in the assassination. The highly toxic chemical
can take the form of gas or liquid, and a hu- der of the estranged half-brother of the North Korean leader, Malaysian police arrested man coming into contact with as little as 10 March 22 a Malaysian suspect at a condominmilligrams by skin, eye or inhalation will die ium in Kuala Lumpur, the Star, a local paper, within minutes. The CDC said symptoms of VX reported. exposure include abnormally low or high blood Authorities found the man in his 30s had pressure, blurred vision, chest tightness, confustocked up chemicals at another condominision, drowsiness, headache, nausea, vomiting um he was staying at. They are investigating and abdominal pain. Experts have conjectured that an Indo- whether he was involved in the assassination and had communicated with Ri Jong-chol, a nesian woman and Vietnamese woman held North Korean suspect held in Malaysia. Four by authorities in Malaysia as suspects applied North Korean suspects were reported to be the chemical to Kim’s face from the front and back in Pyongyang by Malaysian media. behind using their hands. Though there have been media reports Satoshi Numazawa, a toxicology professor that a relative of Kim is expected to arrive in of Showa University in Japan, told local media Malaysia to identify and claim his body, the outlets that he suspected the VX nerve agent inspector general of Malaysian police refused in its liquid form was mixed with a type of cream and used by the suspects. He conjec- to confirm it. He said the police requested tured that the suspects may have been wear- information about Kim’s relatives from the North Korean Embassy. ing gloves. “Or they may have gotten atropine shots immediately after,” said a chemical expert in Korea. “Atropine would counteract the VX nerve agent and stop the nerve agent from spreading throughout the body.” Malaysian authorities have not confirmed how it was that the two female suspects used the lethal VX nerve agents and managed to survive. In the ongoing inA police officer checks his phone inside the forensic department at Kuala Lumpur Hospital in Malaysia March 24. Police announced the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was vestigation into the murused in the murder of Kim Jong-nam at the airport in Kuala Lumpur. [AP/YONHAP]
pposition parties, on March 24, condemned Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn for distributing souvenir watches with his title inscribed on them. The controversy sparked after a photo of the watches, which have “Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn” written on them, went viral online. The parties claimed the move can be seen as reflecting Hwang’s presidential ambitions. The acting president has not yet expressed a plan to run in the upcoming election, but has been the front-runner in local opinion polls among conservative hopefuls. “(Hwang) should focus on his duty as the prime minister and the acting president,” Rep. Park Jie-won, head of the People’s Party said. “If he wishes to become a presidential candi-
date, he should promptly resign.” The lawmaker said Goh Kun, who was the acting president in 2004 after the impeachment of late former president Roh Moo-hyun, did not make such souvenirs. “Hwang should not play like the president and should instead focus A viral photo of the watches inscribed with “Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn.” [YONHAP] on improving the lives of the people,” Rep. Ha in December after it ran out of previous modTae-keung of the Bareun els with the prime minister’s title inscribed. Party said. “The watch should not have been The office said the watches are used as gifts for made. It is commemorating the impeachment of the president as well as the national tragedy.” limited occasions, and that it is customary to use the formal title. Hwang’s office said it produced the watch
Opposition slams prime minister’s gift watches
Nati on a l News
Busan encouraged to move statue
orea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a letter to the Busan city government encouraging the removal of a statue representing victims of Japan’s wartime sexual slavery, the cause of diplomatic tensions with Tokyo. But after receiving the letter, Busan’s Dong District Office declared it has no intention of removing the monument. The Foreign Ministry on March 23 confirmed it sent an official letter on Feb. 14 to the Busan Metropolitan Government and its Dong District Office, where the statue was installed at the end of last year. In a statement, it quoted the letter as saying, “The location of the statue is not desirable in terms of international comity and custom involving the protection of diplomatic missions.” A local civic group installed the tribute to women forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army before and during World War II, euphemistically referred to as comfort women, near the back gate of the Japanese consulate in Busan.
The letter repeated the ministry’s position that the central government, municipal government and civic organizations need to consider “moving the statue to a more appropriate location where the sexual slavery issue can be remembered as a lesson of history for a long time.” This letter was sent just ahead of a meeting between Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in Germany on Feb. 17. It is seen as a gesture to Tokyo that Seoul has been putting some effort into resolving the diplomatic contretemps over the statue. However, Park Sam-seok, head of Busan’s Dong District Office, declared on March 23, “The Foreign Ministry may have sent such an official letter to fulfil its obligations, but what use is it? The Dong District Office cannot remove the statue and has no plan to do so.” Busan’s version of the bronze statue of a young girl, similar to the Peace Monument across from the Japanese Embassy in central Seoul, was financed by 8.5 million won
($7,470) in individual donations from locals and had over 8,000 people petitioning for it. The Dong District Office initially tried to block the civic group from installing the statue on Dec. 28, even hauling it away by truck. But it restored it to its original location a few days later after massive public complaints. Tokyo temporarily recalled Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Yasumasa Nagamine and Yasuhiro Morimoto, Japan’s consul general in Busan in January in protest. The Korean and Japanese foreign ministries struck a deal to resolve the so-called comfort women issue on Dec. 28, 2015, consisting of the Japanese prime minister’s apology and a 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) fund for the victims. Some victims and civic organizations raised concerns about a clause that says the Korean government “acknowledges” that Japan is concerned about a comfort women statue in Seoul. Daegu’s Jung District Office is clashing with a civic organization over a plan to erect another comfort women statue on March 1, Independence Movement Day.
Doctors face ethics panel for selfie
18 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
n Instagram post that featured five happy doctors in surgery gowns will be the latest focus of an ethics panel at the Korean Medical Association (KMA) as the country’s largest physicians’ group acted on February 7 to end a viral controversy that the photo sparked online. The doctors, wearing an air of accomplishment, were posing right behind the feet of a cadaver intended for dissection. A doctor who appears to have been among the group recently uploaded the picture on his personal Instagram account and wrote: “Saturday cadaver workshop. Very informative … and stimulating.” The picture landed on an online community group, instantly setting off a public debate
on medical ethics. A spokesperson from the KMA said the case will be sent to an ethics committee in the association as soon as they figure out who the doctors in the photo are. If the committee finds them guilty of injuring the dignity of the medical profession, the heaviest penalty they could get is a suspension of their professional licenses. The Catholic University of Korea Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital in Seocho District, southern Seoul, conceded in a statement that the photo was taken at their institute last February 4 during a foot-related workshop, which included an anatomy session. The hospital identified the five people as one professor of Inha University Hospital in Incheon, who led the class, and four doctors from other hospitals who participated as stu-
dents. The Catholic University of Korea Seoul St. Mary’s denied any involvement, however, saying the doctors hadn’t received permission from them to take the picture. “It’s unheard of to take a ‘commemorative photo’ in front of a cadaver,” said Uhm Changsub, a professor at Korea University College of Medicine, adding that the transgression would be “totally beyond medical ethics rules.” Another medical professor who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the Catholic University of Korea Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital wasn’t entirely exempt from blame. “The doctors were clearly wrong here, but the hospital shares a great part of the blunder because it failed to block them beforehand,” he said.
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How to… Make Kimchi
Get hands on with one of the most preserved elements of Korea’s culture Story and Photos by Heather Allman
f you live in Korea, it is inevitable that you’ve heard of kimchi. You’ve tasted kimchi, you’ve been served kimchi with almost every meal, and you’ve possibly even purchased kimchi at your local grocery store. But, have you ever taken the time to learn about where kimchi comes from and how it’s made? Kimchi originated from the word ‘jeo (菹),’ meaning pickled vegetables, in the ancient Chinese book of poetry Shijing (The Book of Odes). It is believed that pickled vegetables first appeared in Korean meals with the introduction of the farming culture, so that people could preserve and eat vegetables in the winter. Salted fish first appeared during the Three Kingdoms Period as a type of pickled food, and in the Goryeo Dynasty, it evolved into a dish made by mixing salted fish and condiment vegetables with cabbage, cucumber, or other vegetables. The history and traditions of kimchi came into full bloom during the Joseon Dynasty, and it was not until less than 100
years ago that Koreans started to eat kimchi seasoned with red pepper powder, resulting in the evolvement of the napa cabbage kimchi that is served today. As time has progressed, the popularity and necessity of kimchi in the Korean diet has undoubtedly grown, as its history and traditions have been handed down from generation to generation by the Korean people. Kimchi is more than just a side dish. It has become an integral part of the Korean culture and way of life. Kimjang season, a time dedicated to the arduous, yet culturally respected process of making kimchi, is carried out each year by Korean nationals. Kimchi refrigerators are sold for the sole purpose of preserving the year’s kimchi supply. Named by Health Magazine (U.S.) in 2016 as one of the healthiest foods in the world, kimchi is served on or in everything from burgers to pizzas, jjigaes (찌개) to pancakes (전). It is undeniable that kimchi has become a cultural institution synonymous with Korean values and family traditions,
both inside and outside of the nation’s borders. Unless you’ve been invited to a Kimjang weekend by a Korean family, or have had the exhausting experience of a kimchi making field trip with over a hundred screaming kindergarteners, it’s likely that you have not had the chance to enjoy the process of preparing kimchi from scratch. Museum Kimchikan in Insadong, Seoul, offers visitors the unique experience to not only learn about kimchi, but also make it with their own two hands. The museum believes that visitors are interested in learning how to make kimchi, “because kimchi is a food that represents Korea.” Museum Kimchikan is situated over three floors, and offers guests an array of culturally immersive activities. Visitors are invited to try on hanboks, learn the history and health benefits of kimchi, visit a kimchi tasting room, watch videos of nationals explaining the influences of kimchi, and to step into a storage room with pickled foods from around the world. The museum does not only aim to teach
who eat it, and keep this in their minds when they make kimchi.” The opportunity to make kimchi is more than a way to get hands on with one of the most preserved elements of Korean culture. When many people visit or move to Korea, they use photographs or souvenirs to remember their experiences after they’ve left. There’s no greater memento than the knowledge and understanding of one of the greatest institutions of Korea’s history. Learning to make kimchi is a time-honored tradition that visitors to Korea can later continue in their own home, to not only appreciate Korea, but also use as a piece of nostalgia from time passed. If that’s not reason enough, kimchi is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as lactobacilli bacteria (a probiotic), which aids in digestion and fighting off viruses and infections. Roh Jeeyeon concluded, “Korean kimchi is evolving continuously. There are currently about 200 different kinds of kimchi, but it keeps changing on the tables of every home and by the hands of researchers at every moment. Cabbage kimchi with thick seasoning containing red pepper powder is being challenged by new varieties of mild, low-salt kimchi made with fresh fruits that continue to emerge. We hope you will open your heart to kimchi and remember its diversity.” Museum Kimchikan add 35-4, Insa-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul Tel 02-6002-6456 E-mail email@example.com Website www.kimchikan.co.kr
21 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
each cabbage leaf. visitors how to make the celebrated food, but Once the cabbage is stuffed and wrapped, also how to understand the importance of its participants are provided with a container history. to store their kimchi in and take it home. InMuseum Kimchikan offers two 40 minute structed to wait at least 2-3 days before tastclasses, one for whole cabbage kimchi, and ing the kimchi, the instructors advise guests one for white kimchi, each able to accommoto allow the kimchi to ferment for 2-3 weeks. date both small and large groups. The classes After the class, guests are able are taught in a state of the art to make postcards with stamps kitchen, where the walls lined Kimchi has showing the patterns of the key with stainless steel appliances become ingredients of Kimchi, and buy and handmade kimchi pots rea cultural souvenirs ranging from key flect the historic, yet timeless institution, rings to tools essential for kimrelevance that kimchi carries in synonymous with chi production. Korean society. Separated ingreKorean values Museum Kimchikan fodients: red pepper, garlic, ginger, and family cuses on the authenticity of the anchovy aekjeot, shrimp aekjetraditions, both kimchi making experience. Roh ot, plum extract, anchovy powinside and outside Jeeyeon, Sales and Marketing der, and sticky rice starch, line of the nation’s director of Museum Kimchithe pristine cooking countertops. borders. kan, says that, “What is special Large, earthenware jandong (장 about the kimchi making classes 동) style bowls house the main in our museum is that no matter how many components of the fare: napa cabbage, radishingredients the recipe lists, we actually use es, green onions and chives. all of them when making kimchi. Notably, in As the class begins, the instructor divulgthe case of glutinous rice paste, it is not sold es into the history and importance of kimchi in stores or markets; so we make our own and in Korea. Each ingredient and its necessity are provide it to the program participants. It is explained in great length, and the instructors cumbersome work to mix glutinous rice poware happy to answer any questions about the der with water and make the paste slowly on process its history. As the cooking process below heat, but it is one of the key ingredients gins, participants first julienne the radishes, that must be included in kimchi.” Museum chop the onion and chives, and begin to mix Kimchikan hopes that participants in the proingredients individually, in specific motions gram “will understand the fact that kimchi is a and for specific amounts of time. Each step is food created based on the devotion of Korean explained with in depth, while the sauce and people, who hope for the wellbeing of those ingredients are intricately spread between
C O MMU NI TY
A time to
k c a B Give
The Songdo santa shoebox project 2016 Edited by Rob Shelley Story by Lala Warner Photos by Lala Warner and Jimin Yoo
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lone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Indeed these words by Helen Keller hold great value, especially for me after experiencing the success of what started out as a mere vision but transformed into a reality thanks to the incredibly generous and kind hearted people of the Songdo community. When I arrived in Korea four years ago I was an ignorant, carefree, young expat and like so many others I was blissfully unaware of Korea’s struggles. I experienced the “honeymoon” phase, a term created by foreigners living in Korea. It is that sense of expat euphoria that we feel, and the carefree way of life that we get to indulge in this wonderful little country. I enjoyed this life for a good two years in Korea but, for any expat who has been
increase in the number of children remainliving here as long as I have, I am sure you ing in the orphanages. This is a heart breakwill agree that as the years roll by the “honeying and perhaps for some even an impossible moon” phase starts to fade and the more aware situation to comprehend as Korea is known to you become of the real struggles and issues be a country that prides itself on that exist in the country. family, love, and care. Towards the end of my Living in Incheon for the last first year in Korea I started Alone we can two years has made me even volunteering at a local ordo so little , more aware and concerned about phanage. It is during my time together we can the situation in Korea. Incheon here that I finally became do so much has a large number of orphanages, aware of one of the very seri-Helen Keller many of which were established ous struggles that Korea faces during the war due to the baby today. In the past, Korea was boom . These orphanages are still around today known to be the country that had the largest and although the government provides finannumber of international adoptions. Howevcial support to these orphanages, as the numer in recent years the numbers have started ber of children continues to increase in these to decline due to changes in Korean policy facilities, the government are unable to provide which are preventing large scale adoptions enough to cater for the needs of each child. outside of Korea. As a result this has led to an
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projects, and educate them from a young age Coming from South Africa where poverty about the importance of helping those that are and orphans are prevalent, I have grown up less fortunate than ourselves, then we will be being taught how important it is to help those have an incredible generation of future global that are in need and less fortunate than ourleaders. selves. In South Africa I was involved in a I never imagined that this project would Christmas charity project, a project that pertake off like it did. I am eternally grateful for haps some of you have been involved with in every single person that took the time to help your home countries, The Santa Shoebox prowith this project. ject. It is a global project that aims to provide As expats in Korea I do feel that we all orphans all over the world with Christmas lead pretty wonderful lives and, as guests in presents. The idea is that every child receives this country, I do believe that we have a duty a Christmas present in a shoebox. It is a project to try and do our part and that has truly brought so much joy give back where we can. At and happiness to so many children AS EXPATS times we may feel helpless around the world. IN KOREA I DO FEEL and unsure as to how we Last October I sat wondering if THAT WE ALL LEAD can do our part to make a perhaps I could replicate such a proPRETTY WONDERFUL difference, especially with ject within the Songdo community LIVES AND, AS the language barrier that and provide Christmas shoeboxes to GUESTS IN THIS exists, but I do believe that the orphanages in the Incheon area. COUNTRY, this project is proof that My goal was to get 200 children from I DO BELIEVE WE anything can be achieved three different orphanages sponHAVE A DUTY TO TRY when we come together for sored with a Christmas shoebox TO DO OUR PART AND a common cause of love. filled with gifts. I was unsure and GIVE BACK WHERE My hope is that this sceptical to initiate such a project WE CAN project will continue to and if such a goal could be reached grow in the years to come within such a short time frame, but and that schools, companies, and others in just a few hours after going live on Facebook to the Songdo community will get involved in propose the idea people were replying asking the future; but an even bigto be signed up as a sponsor. Ninety generous, ger hope is that this project kind hearted people from Songdo and the surspreads throughout the rest rounding areas signed up for the project and of Korea and that Korea can pledged to sponsor a child. Some people were become part of the Santa so generous as to sponsor 10 children. Shoebox project on a yearly The deadline for the boxes was December basis. 1st and weeks leading up to the deadline were anything but easy. The dedication, support Songdo santa shoebox and generosity displayed during this time by project Facebook www.facebook.com/ the people involved in the project was just trugroups/102168090266259/ ly amazing. From the wonderful couple that Youtube www.youtube.com/ offered their house to store the 200 boxes, and watch?v=6yRUbgh8oTc. the moms with families who sacrificed their website www.facebook.com/ weekends to come and help wrap and organise KoreanKids all the shoeboxes on the weekends I was truly the project truly I was truly overwhelmed and grateful for the support that I received. After receiving, organising, and sorting the 200 boxes together the next mammoth task awaited us, which was delivering all the boxes to the various orphanages in Incheon. Many people were willing to sacrifice their precious weekends in order to help deliver and hand out the Christmas boxes to the children at the orphanages. Again I was overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of the Songdo community. It was truly a beautiful sight to see so many people from various countries and cultures coming together for a common cause of love, but what was even more beautiful was witnessing some of the expat children taking part in the project. I truly believe that if we can get the younger generation involved in such
C O MMU NI TY
What to do if your school doesn’t give you My school never trained me. Never game me curriculum. This is how I figured out how to teach. Edited by Rob Shelley Story by Steve Lemlek
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y school never gave me a textbook. Not a lesson plan or worksheet. In fact, during my first year as a public school teacher in Korea, they never so much as gave me a day of hands on training. Whether I liked it or not, I was left to my own devices. When I first arrived, way back in 2012, I was placed in a public school in the Paju countryside. It was a scenic little town. And by scenic, I mean truly barren, but in a good way. Standing on top of the roof of my school, you’d only find a single convenience store, a few homes, and a local bus stop as landmarks. For about two miles in any direction, farms were the only sign of life. It was beautiful, I suppose. And probably the best introduction to Korea that I could hope for. We only had about 60 students total. Divided amongst 3 classes. Between the special test prep courses and festivals, my classes only ever held 15 kiddos. But that was enough to cause a novice teacher nightmares. You might not know this about me, but I was never trained to be a teacher. I know that’s not so strange, especially here in Korea, where the only qualification for native teachers is a Bachelor’s degree. But I say that to emphasize how incredibly ill-prepared I was to begin my life as an instructor at a rural school. I had never taught. I had never been trained to teach. And, perhaps, the greatest sin of all was that I expected the Korean school to give me some type of training. Well, training never arrived. On my very first day of school, I realized that I would have
k o o ab
these kids would be alright. They smiled. They to figure it all out on my own. Although, I hoped laughed. Their eyes said, “Don’t worry dude, my co-teacher would help lighten the burden. the first day’s not going to be that bad.” Mine didn’t. Through no fault of her own, So I took out a pack of peach taffy. That’s she couldn’t come to my class. She was already my trick. Whenever I start a new class with overbooked with other obligations, like tedientirely new students, I win them over by reously pencilling in her weekly lesson plans or warding every small task with candy. writing away at novel-sized progress reports. “Hello, what’s your name?” I asked a She simply didn’t have time. student at the front of the class. He was a bit And what that meant for me was… a hellrough around the edges: a disheveled hair cut, ish start. snack crumbs dusted along the After half-a-week of offront of his shirt, and a secret pile fice work, I was ready for my I had never of snacks in his desk. My type of first class. With a dapper red taught. I had student. pin-striped shirt, and matchnever been “Mulla.” It was the first time ing shorts, I rolled into the 7th trained to teach. I heard that word. The harbinger grade’s classroom — 15 bright And perhaps, the of failure. “Mulla,” if you don’t eyed Korean kiddos stared at greatest sin of already know, means “I don’t me. I remember that moment. all, was that know” in Korean. It’s the word I walked in the classroom, like I expected the kill any class. some type of celebrity. I was Korean school to that can “What’s your name?” with their first “American teacher.” In give me some type a bit of peach candy held out in that brief moment, I imagined I of training. one hand. A perfect bribe for a could be their greatest mentor. small task like telling someone Their greatest teacher. That I your name. could pull a Robin Williams circa Dead Po“Mulla” the second student said. ets Society, and really turn these kids into I asked the entire class their name. Only over-achieving English maestros. 3 kids out of 15 responded. But then class started. These kids didn’t know English. WhatevI said, “Hello, students!” er they had learned in their Korean teacher’s Silence. class was only applicable to the strange, standI repeated, “Hello, students!” ardized English tests that are required of chilA bit of Korean mumbling, but silence dren by the Korean government. again. They didn’t know the language. So my Well, it was the first day and they problesson, which was based on their “level” as inably weren’t comfortable with me yet. So I dicated in their Korean teacher’s book, was a decided to ingratiate myself to them. I introcomplete disaster. duced myself, and as I watched them nod their And all of my lessons for the first month heads, I became more and more reassured that
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were a disaster. At first I thought, Well, if they can’t speak, at least they can read. After all, that’s what the Korean teacher’s claimed. “We know they can’t speak well, but we teach them grammar.” So I switched my lessons up. The next week, I focused on writing and storytelling, with lower level speaking tasks snuck in so that they’d learn the basics. They couldn’t read. At least, they couldn’t read at the level their Korean English teacher’s curriculum indicated. I don’t know how they learned in their Korean teacher’s class, or how they managed to pass any of their English tests, but my students were three years lower than their curriculum. And my meager twice-a-week class wasn’t going to be able to rectify that problem. So I decided, after a month of failures, to change my expectations for the class. Instead of creating great speakers, or writers, or listeners, I would create confident kids. Kids that could use whatever amount of English they knew to their advantage. I turned to Waygook.org, Dave’s ESL, Genki English… the whole lot of ESL gurus on the internet. I used their lessons for inspiration. I saved about 10 games from each of them, so that I would always have a perfect roster of up-beat activities. You know, just in case any of my lesson plans fell short. I took their ideas, customized them, butchered them, or frankensteined them into anything I needed. It saved my career as an ESL teacher. I could never become Robin Williams in the Dead Poets Society. That just wasn’t going to work out. So I became me. And I used the tools that I gathered from experienced teachers to help become a damn good version of me. If you’re still trying to figure out what to do in your curriculum-less school, then I recommend you do the same. Turn to outside resources, especially the ones I mentioned. Create a back catalogue of activities so that you’re always prepared. And never rely on a book, because you’re far better off without one.
Interview With Stand-Up Comedian d
r a w l A y Brian
in t e r v iew
Former Seoul ex-pat gaining international success
Edited by Rob Shelley Story by Ali Saleh
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rian Aylward is a former expat of Korea who is now a professional stand-up comedian. He got his start in Korea and founded Stand Up Seoul in March 2009. Since then he’s moved abroad to pursue his career and has done well: He was named "Best Standup Comic" at the 2016 Canadian Comedy Awards and nominated for “Best Comedy” in February 2017 at the Fringe World Festival in Perth, Australia. He is currently touring around the globe.
When did you first arrive to Korea? Why become an ESL teacher in Korea? I first arrived in Korea in December 2003. I flew from my hometown in Newfoundland, Canada, to Yang Yang International Airport. I got a job as an ESL Teacher in Sokcho, in northern South Korea. In Canada, I was an assistant-janitor. An assistant-janitor! I had to do stuff the janitor refused to do. So, that's why ESL. Being an ESL Teacher in Korea is a great gig. I won't say anything bad about it. I lived in Korea for 7 years in Sokcho, Uiwang, Itaewon, and Jamsil. Before I came to Korea, I was an assistant janitor! It's a loophole in the matrix. Your rent is paid, you're working 25 hours a week, and you meet people from all over the
world. I got my start in comedy in Korea because of all the artists I met and the creative influence I got from hanging out with the musicians and poets of Seoul Artists Network. The expat community in Korea is loaded with talent. A great place to network and develop. I'm still in touch lots of people from my Korea days. It was a special time for sure. How did you get the idea to start Stand Up Seoul? I started it because I had to. I was the only expat doing stand-up around Seoul at that time. I would go to any place that would have me and force my shitty jokes on people. Art galleries, rooftops, rock bars after midnight. I figured there had to be more idiots like me out there. I was right. From the start, Stand Up Seoul had momentum. The first time, I think we had nine people get on stage and a crowd of about 60. I loved the crowds at Rocky Mountain Tavern and the staff were awesome support as well. Great memories. I'm not involved in the day to day operations of Stand Up Seoul anymore, although I will always support it and help out whenever needed. However, to this day, I meet people at shows all over the world who were at the Stand Up Seoul shows I did in
Korea. I love that. Tell me about your earliest relationship(s) with comedy. Who were your favorite comedians? I was always the class clown in school and I've always found it difficult to take things seriously. My favourite comedians as a kid were Denis Leary, Eddie Murphy, Louie Anderson, and David Letterman. Growing up in Newfoundland in the 1980's, we didn't have much access to stand up comedy besides what made network television. CODCO, a legendary Canadian comedy sketch group from Newfoundland, was my favourite at the time. I loved their silliness and irreverence. I still watch old clips online when I need some big laughs. Walk me through the bet you had about doing stand-up for the first time. What was the actual bet? It was a bet with my girlfriend at the time. The bet was if she quit smoking, for a month, I would go on stage and give comedy a go since I talked about it a lot. My first time was November 11th, 2005, at Rockssins Bar in Anyang. I did 14 minutes in a rowdy bar of drunk ESL teachers and US military. I was not good but
That's the funny business. There was military police who sat front row at my show in Yangon, Myanmar; driving over 600km to a show for four people; and I even followed a North Korean refugee who told his story of personal hell on stage. Endless shenanigans.
When did you realize you had a real talent for stand-up? And when did it turn from a fun thing to do on the weekends to a possible career choice? After more than nine years and 2000 shows, I started to really feel I was good at this. I put in the work. There were flashes of funny in the previous years but, at year nine, I felt I found my voice. Talk to me about your unofficial title as world record holder of most sets in least amount of time. It was 21 different ten-minute sets at 21 different venues, in less than 11 hours, at Seoul's HBC Fest 2014. It was something I did as a challenge and an ode to central Seoul's open mic scene, where I got my start. It was a full day. Great, complete shit, and in between. Perfect. When and why did you leave Korea? Is it "easier" being a comic back home? I left Korea in October 2010 to pursue standup comedy full-time. It's easier back home, of
course, because there is an actual industry for stand up. I'm very proud of the scene we created in Korea and it's a great start for new comics to get comfortable on stage. Stage time is the most important thing, especially for new comics. You have to get comfortable up there first before the funny comes. There is a booming comedy circuit now throughout Asia, in places like Singapore, Malaysia, China, India and elsewhere. It's great to see. Being exposed to world class comedy is important for new acts. It keeps you humble and respectful of the craft of comedy. Which other comics have you worked with? What are some stories you've had while doing comedy? I've worked with and shared the stage with some of the best comedians in the world. Dan Aykroyd, Gilbert Gottfried, Emo Phillips, Tom Rhodes, Steve Carlin, Ted Alexandro, and many more. Funny, crazy, interesting things are always happening. That's the funny business. There was military police who sat front row at my show in Yangon, Myanmar; driving over 600km to a show for four people; and I even followed a North Korean refugee who told his story of personal hell on stage. End-
less shenanigans. What's next for you? I'm constantly on tour. This year alone I'm touring Australia, Canada, Korea, India, Ireland and several countries in Asia. I'm writing a book that I was hoping to have published by now, before I realized how much work was involved. My podcast will be launched soon because the world needs another podcast! There is also a documentary in the works that I can't comment on. Whatâ€™s the end goal? The end goal is to not die alone in a motel room in a small town. Actually, I don't really have an end goal. I'm trying to live in the moment more and more. Tomorrow isn't promised. Right now, I have to go to an open mic and work on this new bit about sharks. What's your advice to other creative people in South Korea? Be nice. Work hard. Don't quit. website www.brianaylwardcomedy.com Stand Up Seoul celebrates its eighth anniversary on March 3rd at Rocky Mountain Tavern at 9pm. Check out Stand Up Seoul at www.facebook.com/StandUpSeoul
27 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
the fear of that first time was gone. I moved to Toronto not long after to pursue it. That girlfriend became my ex-wife.
the islands to
Reggae group hopes to further build Caribbean music in Korea Story by Emma Kalka Photos by Cool Running
t’s no secret that reggae is a minor part of the Korean music scene. One could name all of the reggae artists in the country on two hands. However, what it lacks in size it makes up for in dynamism, in part due to the passion of the artists who work in it. Cool Running is one such group. Formed recently, the trio – rapper/singer King Kong, rapper M.Tyson, and producer DMNT – have only one EP out, but have performed at major reggae shows such as Rise Again Vol. 4 at Freebird in December and have another EP with music videos in the works. The three have been in music for years as individual artists. King Kong came to prominence in season two of Show Me the Money in 2012, where he was famously told by producer Lee Hyun-do not to do reggae. He then more recently teamed up with singer/producer Nuol for an album and shows. M.Tyson has worked with big Korean names such as Skull and Haha, who have done much for reggae in Korea. King Kong and M.Tyson have also worked together before, with the latter featuring on the former’s single in the past. It was because of this that they decided to form the project group. “We made the group together because we both have a common interest in reggae. We wanted to try something new with our music. DMNT joined us when we asked him to - M.Tyson help with the music because he’s a talented producer,” M.Tyson said. “A few days before we released our first single, we decided why don’t we all just become a team together because we all work together well.” The name – to no surprise – comes from the 1993 film Cool Runnings, which is based on the true story of the first Jamaican bobsled team to compete in the Winter Olympics in 1988. “The name came from my ex-girlfriend’s mom,” King Kong admitted while laughing. “She suggested, ‘Why don’t you just call yourself Cool Running since you guys like reggae music and the whole movie fits that theme.’” While it is reggae that brought the group together, M.Tyson said Cool Running isn’t only about that genre. “We’re Caribbean-based,” he said. “Like soca,
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I liked the sound of it and I was moved by the music. But because of the language barrier, I wondered, could Asian artists enter this area? Can we do reggae music?
reggae artists, today they spend more time reggae, dancehall… Also, we’re going to comlistening to new and up-and-coming artists. bine different genres like electronic music and King Kong said that as music is always changrock and reggae.” ing, they are always researching and always The various influences are apparent on expanding their knowledge of Caribbean mutheir first EP Cool Running, released in Nosic. vember 2016. Using reggae and soca as the The group said they saw potential for regbase for all the songs, some of the four tracks gae in Korea, which is why one of their shared have rock or electronic blended in, creating goals is to build up the scene and introduce music that fits the image that the group is trymore Korean listeners to reggae. King Kong ing to create. said that a fair amount of people in Korea lis“Reggae music makes you think of sumten to reggae, but they just don’t know that it mer, so we want to show how we party through is reggae. He is in charge of booking shows for the summer with our music,” King Kong said. Cool Running and said his goal for this year And they do create that party atmosphere, is to hold more performances and show more invigorating the audience at every perforpeople what reggae is. mance with so much energy “We want to do more perthat the crowd can’t help but formances so people can have dance along with them. fun and see the essence of regTheir mutual love for reggae. And make the music more gae started long ago. M.Tyson approachable and more relatsaid while living in the U.S. able to the audience in Korea during middle school, he hapso they can have fun with the pened to go to the Bahamas. music,” he said. While there, he saw artists M.Tyson said that back busking and it immediately left in the 90s, there were a fair an impression on him. amount of Korean artists that “I liked the sound of it and were experimenting with regI was moved by the music. But gae and it went over well and because of the language barrier, was popular, though currently I wondered, could Asian artists it isn’t that well known. He said enter this area? Can we do regthat right now is just a low end gae music?” he said. in the cycle and that reggae He said one day after that, will come back and be more he just started shouting in Japopular soon. maican, mimicking what he had “It’s already in Korea. It’s heard, and a friend said it - King Kong just we need to work a little sounded good. It was then more for the trend to come back,” he said. he realized that his voice could fit the Currently the group is working on anothmusic and from there, he veered away er EP, scheduled to be released around May, from the hip-hop he had been into and with another to hopefully follow in the fall. started devoting himself completely to They didn’t have time to do music videos for reggae and Caribbean music. the first EP, so they want to put out a few with For King Kong, it was similar. the next one. He said he was heavily influenced Everything they hope to do this year plays by Shaggy back in the day, so startinto the overarching goal of building up Koreed practicing and working until he an reggae. A goal that M.Tyson said many regfound his voice could fit the reggae gae artists have for this year as well. sound. “There are going to be other artists trying “I just felt good vibes when I to push and promote their music this year – started listening to reggae music. I reggae music. And there are going to be more liked the beat – the slowness of the artists that come onto the scene,” M.Tyson music. But I also liked the upbeatsaid. “They are really going to produce good ness as well,” he said. music for the fans.” For DMNT, his introduction to King Kong added that while there aren’t reggae was a little more recent – many reggae artists right now, they are all and more compulsory. working hard. “King Kong and M.Tyson “We’re working hard to make the music kind of forced me to get into regknown and we [Cool Running] hope that this gae. It’s a recent thing for me,” he year we’ll be able to take one step forward and joked. show Cool Running’s passion for this music,” And while in the beginning all he said. of them were influenced by older
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We want to do more performances so people can have fun and see the essence of reggae. And make the music more approachable and more relatable to the audience in Korea so they can have fun with the music.
Opportunity ofA Lifetime
Global win opens next chapter for Street Guns
Story by Emma Kalka Photos by Blair Kitchener
ig things are happening for Korean rockabilly band Street Guns. While it’s been over six months since it was crowned the global winner of the Hard Rock Rising contest, beating out 10,000 entrants from around the world, it’s only been recently that the band has been able to reap some of the benefits. They used part of their $50,000 cash prize to fund their new EP Summer Time Machine Blues, which dropped on February 2. They also released a music video funded by Hard Rock and directed by Kim Se-myung, “너란여 자” on January 31. And they held a showcase in Panama at the end of January, the first time the band has been to South America. They performed with the regional Hard Rock Rising winners for South America/Caribbean/Mexico, a band called Les Indigents who hail from Panama.
included some old songs and new, and invited members of punk band Crying Nut on stage to perform together on the song “Rose Motel.” The band brought their trademark energy and liveliness, performing music that harkens back to another time, yet is perfectly married with Korean music and contemporary lyrics. Tiger, who wrote the songs for the EP, said they wanted to experiment more with their latest release. “This album we are experimenting a bit more outside of the traditional rockabilly music we had been doing. Often when we describe our music, we say this is Korean rockabilly or kimchibilly. I think this album shows that sound – what we’ve been talking about. We carry a lot of messages in a Korean way,” he explained. “Instead of playing traditional rockabilly, usually the Korean music is melted in,” continued Roy. Tiger said the lyrics – which he wrote first and later went back to write the music - are mostly just based off feelings he has about life in general. From here out, the band has more to look forward to. To congratulate them on their win, Fred Gretsch, the president of instrument maker Gretsch, sent a personal letter, guitars, and a banjo to the band. Street Guns was also invited to perform at the HUSH Full Beach Concert in Macau. It’s the first time for the band to play there and unlike some other Korean indie bands, they received full sponsorship for the trip. Outside that, the band members say they just want to spend the year improving their music and live performances. “I hope we play a lot of venues and shows and do a lot of promotion. We’re going to try and do as much as possible. Be on the radio or TV,” Kyu-kyu said. Tiger said that, originally, the band was concerned about how they would promote their music and find commercial success. However, that has become a thing of the past. “Now, we’re more concerned about how we are going to make our music better and how we are going to perform better in our shows. So, doing it that way, I think success and everything will naturally come,” he said. They also hope that they can attract more fans, especially foreigners. “I know that people hope to know more about underground music in Korea. We can make you happy. We play music from your home,” Tiger said. The other members echoed this sentiment, urging folks to check out their music. They also encouraged other rockabilly bands to reach out to them through social media. “Like ska, punk, and other genres have their own specific shows, we’d like to have one too for rockabilly,” Cheol-su said.
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didn’t let it stand in their way. “The crowd The show itself was mostly for Hard Rock seemed really engaged in our music and havstaff and workers; however, guitarist Tiger said ing a lot of fun,” said singer Cheol-su. “Overall they had a lot fun. Not to mention, they were it was good.” able to hand out about 200 promotional packOutside of performing, all the members ets and signed autographs after the show. The said they enjoyed their time in Panama and lively band also received a warm reception, hope to go back someday. The weather was imaccording Roy, who plays the upright bass. mediately their favorite thing about the coun“We’re an indie band in Korea; however, try. Outside that, they each walked away with we were treated very nicely. Like rock stars. various memories from the trip. We felt really good and it was an “It was nice to see all these overwhelming experience,” he This album we are animals and nature outside of a recalled. experimenting zoo,” Tiger said, before cheekily “There was actually a funa bit more outside adding that his second favorite ny experience where the wife of of the traditional thing about Panama was the someone in the crowd, she liked rockabilly music women. “South American womit so much that her husband had we had been doing. en are very beautiful and attracto drag her out at the end,” he Often when we tive,” he admitted as the entire joked. describe our music, band dissolved into laughter. While there was potential we say this is And while the band was enfor a language barrier, the band Korean rockabilly joying their impressions of the or kimchibilly. country, it seemed as though I think this album shows that sound the locals were enjoying the – what we’ve been band. Bassist Roy surmised that there must not be many Asians talking about. We carry a lot of in Panama as they would attract a lot of attention while out messages in in public. Granted it could have a Korean way. also been the fact the band - Tiger, guitarist dons a rockabilly style which is heavily reminiscent of the 1950s – including pompadours, leather jackets, bowling shirts, and neckerchiefs. “When we dressed up and walked down the streets, people were amused by us,” he said, smiling. “They kept asking if we were Chinese and were really surprised to find out we were Korean.” Guitarist Kyu-kyu said there was one man on the trip who kept recommending a certain restaurant to the band. He assumed it was because the man must have really liked it. “Turned out he was the owner,” he exclaimed while the band laughed. “He pulled out a menu and it had a Chinese section. We were surprised.” If anything, the band hopes to go back to experience the local music scene more, something that unfortunately wasn’t on the books this trip. Since getting back, Street Guns has kept busy preparing for the release of Summer Time Machine Blues and a showcase that took place on February 6. Singer Cheol-su said they put a lot of time and preparation into the show, hoping to make it something exciting. They
Groove Goes Art Ideal Women, Humus Toilette and more
Story and Photo by Barbara Bierbrauer
32 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
ing beauty, but also the world of men, where here are probably not many mothe role of the woman is that of a decoration, ments in life when we get the of an object, with a purpose of beeing an ornachance to really witness somement to life, not a human beeing. The women thing epic, catch a last glimpse are feminine, young, or very young, opulent, of the star, that is waving goodbye. Seoul in flawless, sit still and hold their tonques. This March is offering one of these precious opporis a must-see, then seldom has a collection of tunities, presenting Josep (José) Carreras on his paintings (of doubtlessly immense artistic valfinal tour “A Life In Music”. One of the legue) has also been so subtlely political. Visiting endary Three Tenors, and one of the greatest the exhibition is like a weekend at Willy Wonopera stars of the modern times, with a voice ka's Chocolate Factory – it is an experience of a lover, soft as velvet, will be visiting Seoul you will not forget, enjoying all and giving a concert on the 03d the beauty and colors and techof March in the Concert Hall of nics, but at the end … well, too the Seoul Art Center. Thus, hurThe women are much sugar is not healthy and ry up, get a ticket and let this exfeminine, young, can make even the healthiest ceptional gentleman take you to or very young, the moon and back. opulent, flawless, stomach go on barricades. Next, leave the gagged, Girls out there looking for a sit still and hold whose most challenging task of different kind of entertainment? their tonques. the day is the arrangement of Is a pussy-grabbing president flowers on the hat and check out not shocking enough? We live in the collection of works of another gentleman at striking times, and there is a fun opportunity the Seonjo Museum at Gwangwamun square. to look back and see, what role a woman had The Austrian artist Friedensreich Hunderjust around 100 years ago. I have an insider for twasser, similar to Renoir, also dedicated you, that will stir up the blood of every femhimself to the search for harmony. Only his inist. Seoul Museum of Art and The Kyunparadise is not a paradise of a patriarch, who ghyang Shinmun present a fantastic collection surrounds himself with females, but one of a of female paintings by Pierre-August Renoir, conscious and revolutionary Visionaire. He is one of the Grand Maître of the Impressionism. questioning the implicitness of the world itself. Have a look at the world, created by Renoir, Have you ever asked yourself, why do the the world of perfect harmony and breathtak-
houses have 4 walls and a roof? And is it the only way to build? Hundertwasser's reply is definitely – no! There is more – you can break the conventional forms and built something, that respects Mother Nature, that has trees on the roof and the walls merge with the landscape, creating a peaceful and harmonic place, not destroying the environment by man's hands, but creating habitats that are a part of nature. If you have visited Sagrada Familia and Park Güell in Barcelona, you know how innovative are Gaudi´s projects, with the trees that support the roof and all the colours and the forms, but Hundertwasser goes further, he is an ecologist, he is not only re-decorating the surrounding, he targets the sustainability and harmony between man and nature. And he creates a hummus toilet. It's inspirational, by all means. More Info José Carreras Seoul Arts Center, on 03.04.2017 website www.sac.or.kr/eng Images of Women by Pierre-August Renoir Seoul Museum of Art, till 03.26.2017 website sema.seoul.go.kr/global/ The Green City by Friedensreich Hundertwasser Sejong Museum of Art, till 12.03.2017 website www.sejongpac.or.kr
seduction, sci-fi and STARLIGHT Starlight productions brings burlesque and theater to Seoul
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Edited by Rob Shelley Story by Naomi Blenkinsop Photos by Robert Michael Evans
script and hold auditions. It takes another 3 months for rehearsals before the show can hit the stage. In 2016, Sacre Bleu and Flowerbomb collaborated on Le Sexe: A Podcast in the Flesh, a futuristic sci-fi, burlesque fantasty. Although the genre was quite in contrast to the more classical Pandora’s Box, similar themes of sex positivity and connecting with one’s authentic fantasies and desires were explored. This event was showcased at Club Freebird in Hongdae and was very successful. Starlight Production’s next show “HEARTCORE” is a sci-fi burlesque play that is a futuristic love story set in 2041 and tells the story of two scientists creating androids with a very fascinating twist. HEART-CORE was written by local author S.C. Clarke. LA based choreographer Keva Walker and Seoul based aerial silk artist Gillian Rhodes will be featured throughout the show, making for some very exciting collaborations. This show will also be playing at Freebird Cosmic Café in Hongdae April 1st, 7th and 8th. Before the show even hits the stage, Starlight publishes rehearsal clips, blurbs, photos and events on their facebook event pages and website in order to get their audience stoked for the show. Without spoiling the surprise, Starlight interacts with their audiences, via social media in order to provide some context to the unique and original world of their burlesque plays. It is also highly recommended for audience members to attend the pre-show, which is the show before the show. Audience participation is highly encouraged at a Starlight show and it is at the pre-show where audience members can decide the level of participation they are comfortable with. Cards are passed out to audience members which indicate their desired level of participation. If you want to sit back and enjoy the show, that’s fine; if you’re feeling more daring and want to become part of the action; that’s fine too. website starlightburlesque.com facebook www.facebook.com/ events/142401640571973/
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he burlesque scene in Seoul has come a long way since its shaky beginnings. Initially burlesque performers in South Korea were heavily censored and restricted in what they could do on stage due to the seemingly risqué, taboo nature of burlesque. It took a while for this conservative leaning country to warm up to this coquettish, seductive dance genre but thanks to a loyal and steadily growing fan base composed of both expats and Koreans, the burlesque scene in Seoul has steadily risen to grand new heights. White Lies Burlesque Revue is the original burlesque group in Seoul with many performBleu became more interested in taking a bigger ers getting their start in this exciting dance role in managing and choreographing more genre at their cabaret shows. After shaking ambitious burlesque events. Flowerbomb was off the initial controversies surrounding buralso eager to share some of the heavy worklesque dancing in South Korea, White Lies was load that comes with producing more elevatable to give their performers more artistic freeed burlesque shows and because they shared dom which really led to some interesting and similar visions the two performers set off to innovative explorations of the genre. Performwork on future events. ers were encouraged to perform in their own Starlight Productions have put out two unique style according to their own wishes. shows thus far and another is set for spring One such performer and innovator was 2017. Starlight Productions typically produce 2 Flowerbomb. Upon arriving in Seoul, she imshows a year whereas White Lies cabaret burmediately joined Seoul Shakespeare Company lesque shows occur more frequently. Because and became actively involved with the burStarlight Productions puts out neo-burlesque lesque scene. She originally performed with plays rather than individual performances, White Lies but had a dream of fusing her pasmore time and money is required sion for theater and burlesque. to create an elevated and sophisFlowerbomb has solid roots in In a Starlight ticated production. theater having graduated from show there is Although quite distinct Stara top acting program at Brenau more emphasis on light shows do not stand in opUniversity and afterwards perstorytelling and position to White Lies Burlesque forming with a repertory comdiologue fused shows. Although these two difpany in Georgia. Armed with with traditional ferent burlesque groups operate the skills and experience reburlesque different sets of core values, quired, Flowerbomb pursued elements such as from White Lies performers are often her dream to explore her own chair dance, fire cast in Starlight Productions. unique vision for burlesque by spinning, aerial White Lies Burlesque Refounding Starlight Productions. silk, pole, Shibari vue puts on more cabaret style In 2015, Starlight Producrope and many events which showcase a varitions in collaboration with more. ety of differing burlesque styles, White Lies, produced “Pandora’s whereas Starlight productions Box”, a classical theater meets fuse theater and burlesque into neo-burlesque burlesque play. During the production of this plays. In a Starlight show there is more emneo burlesque play, Flowerbomb met another phasis on storytelling and diologue fused with performer with a similar vision, Sacre Bleu. traditional burlesque elements such as chair She has an extensive background in dance dance, fire spinning, aerial silk, pole, Shibari with over 20 years of experience in a variety rope and many more. of dance genres. All performers must first audition for a Upon arriving in Seoul in 2013, Sacre Bleu role in a Starlight production whereas a White immediately got actively involved with the Lies show typically showcases a wide variburlesque scene. Having majored in Gender ety of diverse performers. Since all Starlight Studies, Sacre Bleu was drawn towards burcontent including scripts and choreography lesque dance with its emphasis on inclusivity are 100% original, longer production times are and body positive expression. It also allowed required to create everything from scratch. her to spend a lot of time off her feet, hanging Total production time for a Starlight show is upside down, which she is really quite fond of. around 6 months which is why there are only “ Life is more fun when your feet aren’t on the 2 shows typically released every year. It takes ground.” 3 months to develop the concept, write the After performing in “Pandora’s Box”, Sacre
An exhibit of s
n o i t o m E
An artist tells her story through the click of the shutter and the beat of her heart
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ÂŠ Sewon Jun
Story by Dianne Pineda
I tried to catch this moment through ordinary landscapes and convey to people my ironical motif and message that, just as the word ‘달콤’ [Dark Calm] voices dual meanings, I myself, though a lover of dark weathers, wish to be a light-hearted and warm person to others.
Cameras can be a tool to capture the moment as it happens, in other words, what you see is what you get. But for Sewon, the camera is her brush, and the landscape is her canvas. Her own imagination becomes the colors with which she paints her creation. “A lot of people say my photos look like paintings,” she says, “When I enjoy a beautiful scenery, I try to bring back happy and sad memories anyone can relate to, and use the camera to describe the memory.”
couldn’t quench my thirst for art and photos. Now I am happy to be back and absorbed in photography around the clock.” Not a year has passed when she debuted her work through an exhibit in 2016 titled “Sori-jeon2: Dream in California,” where she explored the themes “letting-it-be” and “consolations for awkward youth.” She says, “Through this exhibition, I could find the possibility that my ordinary story and works have the capacity to empathize with people.” Sharing her art through exhibits is just the beginning. Soon people will see her craft in collaboration with fashion designers for the next Fall/Winter season. She ends, “I really hope to experience making various works and be able to create valuable relationships that will help me grow step by step. And, I wish to give people like me consolation through my work.” Website cargocollective.com/sewonjun Instagram @photo_hinkchi
Artist at heart Sewon may have had the art gene running in her blood, with some members of her family inclined towards dance and music, but the realities of life intervened and kept her from pursuing her art. She worked for a foreign trade company, and for years she had to “hide her passion.” But art was calling, and she could not resist. “It was a really attractive job, but I
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The artist’s inspirations
Having studied painting and drawing for 10 years, it’s no wonder why her works don’t seem like typical photography. In relation to her exhibit, she explains, “Sometimes people face the moment when their internal feeling is different from their own external action and experience.” This style seems to pervade in her works: the object she photographs becomes subjected to her own interpretation. Her process doesn’t just end after clicking the button. She adds a tinge of whimsy to the use of the camera, and prefers to “reduce color saturation when taking a picture rather than preserve the natural color.” She says, “I don’t think it is loss of prestige of the object. If the photograph looks more pictorial after artificial adjustment, I think it would be a larger canvas that can contain one’s story without any limit caused by tools of photography.” As for her inspirations, she turns wistful, “I am inspired by the weather. Weather affects how I feel and act. I believe the air, the wind, the humidity and other ingredients that make up where I am describe my image of the day. Whenever my feelings change depending on the atmosphere, I want to tell the story by my camera.”
© Sewon Jun
hen you hear the word “dark,” images of fear, isolation, loneliness and an unsettling feeling come along with it, but photographer and artist Sewon Jun juxtaposed this rather negative theme with another meaning she perceived from behind her camera. With darkness, there can also be tranquility, silence, and stillness. In her latest exhibition, “Dark Calm,” Sewon tried to capture everyday images: a lone woman looking at the bay, a car passing by, a misty forest, and a shadow formed outside a frosted window. But what makes these images art is the little curiosities and meanings that the artist attached to them – that there is beauty in the mundane and that perhaps there is lightness in something gloomy. “ I tried to catch this moment through ordinary landscapes and convey to people my ironical motif and message that just as the word “달콤 (Dark Calm)” voices dual meanings, I myself, though a lover of dark weathers, wish to be a light-hearted and warm person to others,” Sewon shares.
© Sewon Jun
Korean Movie Preview Inebriation, investigation, and incarceration Story by Gil Coombe Photos by HanCinema
inter is finally starting to recede to make way for spring, and the Korean movies keep on coming. Most high profile releases are reserved for the summer and autumn months, so at the moment we have to be content with a glut of more modest films looking to make their mark in the crowd. Listed below are three of the most likely for the month of March.
On the Beach at Night Alone
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Release date MARCH Directed by Hong Sang-soo Starring Kim Min-hee, Seo Young-hwa, Jung Jae-young, Song Seon-mi Distributed by Contents Panda
For as long as Hong Sang-soo has been making movies (21 years give or take, if you’re counting), critics have wondered to what extent his numerous reiterations of men and women meeting and (mis)communicating (and the drinking and arguing and canoodling that goes along with that) have been autobiographical. Certainly, the parade of professors and film directors who find themselves seduced and/or bamboozled by brilliant and/or inscrutable young women has only added fuel to the fire. So you can imagine the reaction when it was reported that Hong had run off with the star of his 2015 film, Right Now, Wrong Then, Kim Min-hee, who made waves internationally last year with a showy role in Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden. Well, credit to Hong for not shying away from the topic; after last year’s smaller, more introspective Yourself and Yours, Hong has
cast Kim as a famous actress that has an affair with a married man for his 19th and latest feature film, On the Beach at Night Alone. Given that Hong and Kim have thus far refused to address the rumors about their relationship, this is certainly one way to give the press something to talk about. It remains to be seen what formal trickery Hong has up his sleeve here (think the twice retold story in Right Now, Wrong Then, the jumbled timeline of The Day He Arrives, the interlacing stories in Hahaha), but one point of difference is the fact that this is one of the few Hong movies that looks beyond Korea; Kim’s character spends some time in Hamburg as she tries to come to terms with her love life before returning to Korea to drink up a storm with friends and find direction in her life. (Night and Day is set in Paris, In
Another Country features the always luminous Isabelle Huppert and Hill of Freedom imports Japanese actor Ryo Kase into the typical bewildered Hong protagonist; apart from these, Hong has always been resolutely Korea based). The first trailer does not give anything away (it features Kim singing a song outside a bar while smoking), but On the Beach at Night Alone has been selected in competition at the Berlin Film Festival, the third Hong film to appear, so expect reactions soon. One thing is for sure; Kim has become one of Korea’s most electric actresses (check out the underappreciated Very Ordinary Couple if you can) and it will be interesting to continue to see her grow, especially in a reunification with her ever-reliable Right Now, Wrong Then co-star Jung Jae-young.
Release date MARCH Directed by Lee Soo-yeon Starring Jo Jin-woong, Kim Dae-myeong, Sin Goo, Seong Yeong-chang Distributed by Lotte Entertainment
Release date MARCH Directed by Na Hyeon Starring Han Suk-kyu, Kim Rae-won, Lee Kyoung-young Distributed by Showbox
Director Lee Soo-yeon has not helmed a feature film since the turgid horror film The Uninvited in 2003, back when Jun Ji-hyun was trying to avoid type-casting after the smash success of My Sassy Girl (and still no-one really knows what to do with her, except for throw her into another chicken advertisement). Lee finally gets another go behind the wheel, and she has stuck to genre thrills in Bluebeard, a psychological horror which stars the increasingly ever present Cho Jin-woong (The Handmaiden, Assassination, Roaring Currents). Cho plays a doctor who overhears one of his patients seemingly make a murder confession after a colonoscopy. Soon after, a dismembered body is found after the Han River begins to thaw, leading him into a dark maze of suspicion and (based on the trailer) lots and lots of raw meat, mostly courtesy of a butcher shop run by Kim Dae-myeong’s (Pandora, Inside Men, The Beauty Inside) character. Filming finished in October 2015, so this has been waiting around for a while, but when Lee has been waiting around 14 years, what’s another month or two? Certainly, Bluebeard appears to be more propulsive than The Uninvited, and it will be interesting to see how Jo handles playing the straight man role when he’s had most of his success playing showy grotesques (especially his head-turning role as the antagonist in the otherwise rather silly A Hard Day).
Han Suk-kyu used to be one of Korea’s go-to leading men, starring in commercial and critical successes like Green Fish, Christmas in August, Shiri and Tell Me Something. But an interesting thing happened as he started to slow down and let the new generation of box office stars take over – he has aged into an interesting character actor, no longer relying on his familiar smirk and easy good looks. It was probably The President’s Last Bang in 2005, where his role as Agent Ju allowed him to embrace his playfully scuzzy side, that marked his turn into a more interesting actor. Well, it’s been three years since his last major role (The Royal Tailor in 2014), but he’s back in what looks to be a juicy part in unimaginatively titled The Prison as the kingpin inmate of a prison who takes under his wing an ex-detective (Kim Rae-won, fresh off the success of Gangnam Blues) who is imprisoned for numerous crimes. The trailer promises a story that seems a little stale, running through the typical mentee turns against their mentor story, but as someone once said, it is not really what the film is about, but how it is about it that counts. As long as debut director Na Hyeon, who has a number of screenwriting credits under his belt (May 18, South Bound), allows Han the room to flex his acting muscles and has an eye for a set-piece, this could prove to be a genre delight.
Film fans - remember to check The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) website regularly for updates on English subtitled screenings of Korean films occurring in Seoul. www.koreanfilm.or.kr/jsp/schedule/subtitMovie.jsp
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Amazing ing w e r b e m o H Competition
Inside Korea’s biggest homebrew showdown
40 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
FOOD & DRINK
Edited by Jordan Redmond Story by Rob Shelley Photos by Robert Michael Evans
omebrewing is the simple art of making beer at home. Back in the States, there’s over 1.2 million homebrewers and two-thirds of them started in just the past twelve years. Since the Korean craft beer boom, homebrewing has become a lot more popular here, too. As a kind of triumphant declaration of homebrewing’s legitimacy here, the Amazing Brewing Company just hosted what is possibly Asia’s biggest homebrewing competition with a grand total of KRW 10,000,000 in prizes. The first place winner received half of that and is having his beer made commercially at Amazing Brewing Co. But how do those beers get judged and who are the lucky folks who get to taste all of that sweet nectar of the gods?
The Judges A palpable air of concentration permeated the Amazing Brewing Company, closed to the public on a Saturday afternoon in early February. As if I was at a library or a classroom where students are taking an exam, I found myself whispering. Definitely not what you'd expect from a room full of beer drinkers.
I quietly approached some of the expat judges to ask them the most pressing question: Work or pleasure? “Work,” exclaimed Ryan Blocker, head brewer at Galmegi. “It’s definitely work,” echoed Magpie’s Jason Lindley. “A little bit of both,” conceded Hop Mori’s Troy Zitzelsberger. “When you drink a good beer [it’s a pleasure]. Beer’s not so good? Then it's not so pleasurable.” Casual craft beer drinkers might wonder how a day of drinking and talking about beer could be regarded as so much unpleasurable work. Isn’t that what many of us do on the weekends to relax? Brandon Fenner, head brewer of Hand and Malt, explains. “It's harder than it sounds. The palette becomes fatigued so it becomes hard to pick out the subtleties. Especially [with] having to wake up early on a Saturday and start drinking at 10am.” “We've done 17 beers today and we're kind of judging these according to very, very specific styles,” comments Jason Lindley. “So we can't just drink it and gulp it and talk. You have to sip and pause and kind of collect your
thoughts and make sure you're communicating what's happening on your tongue to the brewer and to the judging panel as well. You have to have a lot of experience in order to do that quickly.” Event organizer and head brewer of Amazing Brewing Co, Steven Park, elaborated further. “You have to focus on every single element of the beer there is. For example, if there's a metal [flavor] you're supposed to catch it, not just drink it and enjoy and forget about it.” All of the judges agreed that a big part of what makes the judging so hard is that each contestant gets feedback on their beers, good or bad, to help them improve as homebrewers. And that’s a responsibility the judges take seriously. Ryan Blocker explained, “Really the whole point of this is to help people develop their beer. When you have beer that's not so polished you want to figure out how to improve it; and that's work. You have to detect the flavors and it's a challenge because your palate gets tired after a while.” So what can judges do to keep their brains and tongues nimble? Ryan’s advice was sim-
We can't just drink it and gulp it and talk. You have to sip and pause and kind of collect your thoughts and make sure you're communicating what's happening on your tongue to the brewer and to the judging panel as well. You have to have a lot of experience in order to do that quickly. - Jason Lindley, Magpie
The Age of Homebrewing All of the judges agreed that the competition was successful in regards to the quality of homebrew they tasted. Brandon Fenner said that homebrewers are fully capable of making beer on par with craft breweries. Ryan Blocker admitted that homebrewers actually have the advantage of being able to experiment with more extreme beers without worrying about pleasing the market. Steven Park is so confident in the talent of local homebrewers that he’s promised to brew the winning recipe at his brewpub. And Troy Zitzelsberger said that he had a few homebrews during the competition that he wouldn’t send back if he paid for them in a pub. High praise, indeed! But is Seoul’s young homebrewing scene ready for a KRW 10,000,000 grand prize? The
competition had 158 entries split among 30 judges. The judging followed the internationally recognized Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) rules. Yet Steven dreams of something even bigger. “To be very honest, in the initial stage I wanted [the prize pool] to be 100 million won. Not because I wanted to spend that kind of money and burn it [but because] I wanted to have more entries, say a thousand entries, and a few hundred judges, and entries from [around the world].” But why spend so much money on a competition with no sponsors and no entry fee? “Maybe we could have spent this money in a better way [for our business] but to be honest I couldn't think of a better way [for the community] than having this beautiful competition.” Steven actually got his reputation as a brewer from winning homebrew competitions so he felt like paying that forward. “I always kind of felt that I'm in debt to the homebrewing community because I won a lot of awards, I learned a lot from the homebrewing community.”
And this is only the beginning. “Maybe, I don't know, sometime around September or October we can do it again. And I heard there's another [company’s] event to be held in April at COEX that's another $1000 for the winner's prize; so I'll probably be brewing another batch sometime around next week.” So sanitize your homebrew kits and get to Seoul Homebrew for some supplies, because there will be more homebrew competitions, with prizes and priceless feedback, coming soon. Best of Show Winner 최동혁 님의 Belgian Dark Strong Ale 2nd place Jared Hatch 님의 Schwarzbier 3rd place(공동) 최만귀 님의 Weissbier 3rd place(공동) 황희은 님의 Imperial Stout Upcoming homebrew contests Daegu’s 3rd Annual Stout Smackdown will take place on March 11th at Percent in Daegu. Submissions accepted until March 4th. Visit their FB page for entry details. The 2017 Korea Homebrewing Championship will be held at COEX Conference room on April 27th. Submissions accepted until April 25th. Visit 'siwse.com' for details.
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ple. “Eat some crackers. Drink some water. Take a break.” Troy Zitzelsberger noted that there’s only so much a judge can take, though. “You get to a point where you're getting a little drunk and your palate is fatigued and there's only so many crackers you can eat to try to counteract that.”
m u S Dim Wonton in a Million
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FOOD & DRINK
Edited by Jordan Redmond Story by Andy Hume Photos by Robert Michael Evans
from 15,000 to 21,000 KRW. But you should certainly save some space for the TanTan Noodles (tan tan mien), which sit in a deep and spicy broth of peanut oil, chilli oil, and cilantro. There are as many iterations of this famous dish as there are cooks, and some may prefer it a little spicier, but it’s beautifully balanced and completely satisfying. At 8,000 KRW, it would make a perfect lunch dish for all but the hungriest of customers. Richmond isn’t the finished article, and the constraints of working out of a small kitchen mean that the menu is smaller than a true yum cha fan might wish (though that might be addressed if Danny’s mooted second restaurant becomes a reality later in 2017). For the moment, though, Richmond is a pleasing new Itaewon option for dumpling fans and well worth checking out. Add Yongsan-gu, Itaewon-dong 449-5 Tel 02-792-9888 hours 11:30am - midnight (last food order 11:30pm), afternoon break time 3:30-5:30pm. Closed Mondays.
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they offer good value for money. herever you go in Korea If all this sounds like heaven for the dim you’re never far from great sum purist, the chef also offers a sly wink in mandu, and even those who the direction of fusion with his are partial to a M.B.C. spring roll (6,000 KRW), good gyoza are spoiled for choice. Before the whole which mixes up mashed potato, But when it comes to the Chinese orange and fruit bacon, and cheese. Traditionalvariety, good dumplings are thin IPA thing caught ists will be horrified, and your on the ground; and if you’ve been on,” Troy explains, correspondent was initially lucky enough to taste the real “I did [the Jeju skeptical, but it turned out to thing, whether in Hong Kong, Tangerine IPA] be a great combination; perfect Shanghai, or anywhere with a over five years with a cold beer from the reasubstantial Cantonese populaago here. Since sonably wide alcohol list, which tion, Seoul dim sum is hit and then you've got also includes a range of Chinese miss at best. all these orange baiju as well as the more usuPerched on the hill overlookand tangerine IPAs al Tsingtao and Harbin beers. ing Noksapyeong station, Richthat have hit the More traditional pork-and-vegmond Dim Sum aims to change market in the US. etable spring rolls are also on all that, serving up a small but the menu if you’re still not sold. tasty selection of dumplings, Apart from the dim sum dishes, Richnoodles, and stir-fried dishes that draw on Camond also offers some rice and nadian chef-owner Danny Oh’s four years of noodle dishes as well as a culinary school in China. small selection of fried pork and The dumplings are some of the better ones shrimp mains which range that you’ll find in Seoul, especially at the price. The har gow (6,000 KRW) – shrimp dumplings to you and me – come to the table piping hot, moist and flecked with chives. The shaomai pork and shrimp dumplings, optionally topped with crab meat (5,000 / 6,000 KRW), are probably the pick of the bunch, bursting with flavor and color. Stopping at just three isn’t easy, so it’s fortunate that you can add extra pieces to your order on all dim sum dishes without feeling like too much of a glutton. The famous Shanghai soup dumplings, xiao long bao, are among the hardest of dim sum dishes to faithfully reproduce; the wrapping has to be just thick enough to hold in its broth until the diner has the dumpling nestled and ready on their spoon, and not before. Richmond’s xiao long bao succeed in this regard; while on Groove’s first visit they were a little deflated and lacking in ‘soup’, a second trip the following week was much more satisfying. At just 3,900 KRW for a serving of three,
Are You Game forGamjatang?
Three institutions to try this wonderfully porky stew
FOOD & DRINK
Edited by Rob Shelley Story by Jordan Redmond Photos by Blair Kitchener
44 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
f one really wants to get to the bones of Korean cooking, a steaming pot gamjatang is the perfect place to start. First of all, a disclaimer. Anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of Korean food vocabulary would erroneously be led to believe that gamjatang is a potato stew, gamja meaning "potato" in modern parlance. But vegetarians beware! While gamjatang will always contain at least one obligatory spud, this unapologetically meaty dish purportedly got its name from the ancient Korean name for the spine of a pig. Maybe the lone potato came after some disappointed starch lover complained that there was, in fact, no "gamja" in the gamjatang. Meaty, spicy, funky, and uncompromising â€” gamjatang would be a worthy representative for Korea to send to some imaginary United Nations of Food. When gamjatang arrives at the table, it's dressed up like a bulldog in a sweater. The precious enoki mushrooms and purple-green sesame leaves mask something uglier un-
derneath. After the stew starts to boil and all of the ingredients are submerged into the broth, the bulky, craggy spine portions begin to emerge from the murky soup. Draped with the now wilted greens, the jutting bones and bubbling red-orange soup create a primordial scene. One half expects a pterodactyl to swoop down over the landscape. Like comfort food for cavemen, gamjatang delivers mounds of fatty protein as well as the daily greens all in a rich, deeply satisfying soup. For first timers, how to get at some of the more recalcitrant meat can be a problem. A good gamjatang will have quite a bit of flesh that is easily separated from the bones with a simple pull of the chopsticks. However, one always feels there is more to be had in the grooves of those blocky vertebrae. Here, it's best to embrace one's most ancient of ancestors and shamelessly utilize your hands to crack open the Lego-like joints of the spine. Chopsticks can then be employed, much like
an archaeologist's tweezers, to scrape or pry out the last succulent remains of pork from the smaller nooks and crannies. A vessel is supplied for one to dispose of the mountain of bones, which looks like something to be used for some kind of divination ritual. Said ritual would surely portend the wisdom of ordering bokkeum bap or fried rice to be made with the dregs of the stew. The end result of such a meal leading to a kind of stupefied food nirvana from being filled to the brim with rich meat, soup, and carbs. Where can one pursue such enlightenment? Around Seoul or anywhere in Korea where soju glasses are being clinked, gamjatang is ever present. There are chains which will do in a pinch such as Cham-i-mat or Jol-maru and, to be honest, it's hard to find a disagreeable version of this dish. However, listed here are a few institutions with a special character where gamjatang has been proudly served for decades on end.
Meaty, spicy, funky, and uncompromising gamjatang would be a worthy representative for Korea to send to some imaginary United Nations of Food.
In amongst the fish sellers and vegetable vendors of Donam Market is the tented original location of Taejo Gamjaguk. Having ladled-out its first gamjatang in 1958, it's incredible to consider the changes that this establishment must have seen in a country where time moves so impossibly fast. Keeping with the theme of time on fast-forward, once having been ordered, the gamjatang (again, the only thing on the menu) materializes almost instantly. Waiting on the soup to cook down into a more potent concoction, one notices the yellowed newspaper clippings from long-passed features and atop a menu posted on the wall, a square of paper that exhibits the restaurant's ever-upwardly ticking age. At this point, the paper states the number "60" which was clearly glued on top of the number "50" as the restaurant has trudged headlong into its future. Nevermind the fact that it isn't yet 2018, this place seems as immovable as a boulder. The gamjatang here (again labeled as guk or "soup") is less spicy than usual and, one would think, therefore less exciting. But surprisingly the usual red pepper heat is not at all missed. Do not neglect the sujebi, or small petal-shaped pieces of dough, as they are an outstanding vessel for the rich broth. The restaurant has another location, new and shiny, just a few blocks away. On the wall there is a kind of calendar marking when each of the three generations of owners took charge of the business. Currently run by the third generation, there is a marker for when the next son will take over. Whoever gets the honor has nothing to worry about business-wise. This is truly great meat-and-potatoes food that can (and has) lasted the ages. Add Seoul, Seongbuk-gu, Dongsomun-ro 18-gil 5
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FOOD & DRINK
Somunan Seongsu Gamjatang As its name suggests, Somunan Gamjatang is a popular and well-known spot for its titular dish as dinnertime always brings lines of determined diners. Anytime a restaurant has one and only one thing on their menu, it's a sign of brazen confidence in what they serve. As such, one can rest assured that the one dish will indeed be fantastic. In this case, the quality of their pork spine stew alone has kept Somunan Gamjatang in business for nearly 33 years. In some ways, this is the prototypical gamjatang restaurant. The sizeable dish is meant for sharing amongst two or three moderately hungry eaters. The location, in Seongsu-dong's traditional shoe-crafting district, is quite spacious compared to Dongwon Jib; yet one still somehow ends up in tight with other diners sharing in the boisterous mood. It's a common feeling around gamjatang restaurants, a warmth in the atmosphere that emanates from really satisfied, perhaps slightly tipsy patrons. One pro tip to observe from others at Somunan Gamjatang is to shamelessly wear an apron, because it's much worse to get red splatter from the heartily boiling stew on one's white shirt. Regardless if this mishap occurs or not, little things like the dry cleaning bill are drowned in a wash of luscious pork. Add Seoul, Seongdong-gu, Yeonmujang-gil 45
The meat, long having given up hope of holding to the bones, floats freely in the fire red broth and is as tender and compliant as one will ever find it. In some ways, this is the easiest gamjatang you will ever eat.
Time seems immaterial at Dongwon Jib. At 5 in the early evening, just on the cusp of dinnertime, or into the soju-soaked hours of the night, this tiny place in amongst Euljiro 3-ga's lighting and bathroom fixture shops is always rammed and rollicking. For nearly 30 years, aeons in Seoul restaurant time, Dongwon Jib has been creating some of the most distinct gamjatang to be found. For one, here it is only served in individual portions, a lifeline to the lonely diner or foodie traveler. Also, it's curiously dubbed "gamjaguk" so don't be thrown by the slight name change. At Dongwon Jib, the bones are boiled for around four hours and become almost tender enough to eat. The meat, long having given up hope of holding to the bones, floats freely in the fire red broth and is as tender and compliant as one will ever find it. In some ways, this is the easiest gamjatang you will ever eat. However, be careful not to crunch down on a bone shard hidden amongst the rubble. If with a group, be sure to order a plate of meoli-gogi or pig head parts from the disassembled pig's head one will likely notice upon entering. Add Seoul, Jung-gu, Eulgiro 11-gil 22 1F
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Sing a Song of ong
d k u b Seong
Soak up the relaxed pace and delicious food of this Northern Seoul neighborhood
FOOD & DRINK
Edited by Rob Shelley Story by Jordan Redmond Photos by Peter Kim
48 www.groovekorea.com March 2017
eongbuk-dong has long been one of the best neighborhoods for living in Seoul. Nestled just north of the bustle of Jongno-gu and to the south of Bugaksan, the mood in Seongbuk-dong is an unusually calm one compared to the hurried tempo for which Seoul is famous. As the seat of old money in the city, secluded houses with gargantuan gates mingle with embassies and ambassadorsâ€™ residences. Temples, galleries, and a scenic fortress wall offer an ample amount to see and do over the course of a longish day, but when all the calories are burnt after scaling the area's slopes, where can you get some reliable grub and eat like the locals of this relatively relaxed burrough? Here are some can't miss places that reflect Seongbuk-dong's current character, which is one of left-leaning slow food ideas and up-to-the-minute Korean food obsessions.
Olle Guksu is a tiny shoebox of a restaurant that specializes in Jeju's signature porky noodles. Most Korean noodles soups you've likely had have been either a myulchi or anchovy-based broth or sometimes sagol or beef bone-based if the dish is dubbed guksi. Jeju's rendition of kalguksu called, bluntly, gogi-guksu or "meat noodles" features crescents of boiled pork with attached outer rims of velvety fat bobbing around in a pearly white pork bone broth. The noodles are firm but not too much so and are an able vehicle with which to carry the clean-cut broth to your mouth. Accompanying the considerable bowl of noodle soup are some wonderful vinegary side dishes. Also, if dining with another person or if you're just massively hungry, order a yachae-jeon as the greasy, chewy, slightly sweet pancake contrasts nicely with the gogi-guksu's clean taste. There are all of four closely arranged tables in this restaurant as well as a couple of low-perched counter seats. The plain white space, reasonable prices, and simplicity of the food here are representative of some kind of anti-corporate, pro-slow food ethos that a number of restaurants along this corridor echo.
Add Seongbuk-gu, Seongbuk-ro 50-2
Dimibang is the type of local where there always seems to be one table quite well-lubed with soju no matter what time of day you walk in. The preferred tipple here is Hallasan Soju, the charcoal-filtered Jeju rice wine which goes down a little more easily than some of its green-bottled competitors. You'll need it to put out the fire of Dimibang's jeyuk-bokkeum or spicy pork which comes still steaming in a beat-up aluminum pot, some of the pork having caramelized and stuck to the side. If you don't feel like setting your tongue alight, this place makes a mean kongbiji which is made from the curd-like remains of the tofu-making process, usually boiled with lard to make a silky-yet-hearty stew. Usually only the proprietor handles all the cooking and she might sometimes be concerned with doing some pro-bono acupuncture for a stricken regular. So come with a patient attitude and willing liver, zone out to the always awesome tunes emanating from the radio, and you will be rewarded. Add Seongbuk-gu, Seongbuk-ro 50-1
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Having just opened in the middle of 2016, F-64 Taproom reflects distinctly more current Korean sensibilities. Craft beer has been a blazing indicator of what younger Koreans want for a handful of years now and not coincidentally, a consistent harbinger of gentrification. What sets F-64 apart from the indistinctive galley of mindless craft beer trend-riders is its fixation on photography. Thwere are ever-changing photo exhibits that adorn the space's walls and even the wooden taps are in the shape of various camera lenses. Another thing that separates F-64 is its, ahem, focus on Korean draughts. At any given time, a majority of the kegs are from Korean-based breweries, like the well-known favorite Hand & Malt, or lesser known lights such as Ansan's German-Korean tag team, Kramer-Lee Brewing. There is nowhere better in Seongbuk-dong to slake your hop cravings than F-64. Add Seongbuk-gu, Seongbuk-ro 19-1
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FOOD & DRINK
Also make sure to leave with one of Napoleon's black sesame baguettes or impeccable sourdough loaves. But don't dither. Your meager basket will fill up with pastry after decadent pastry.
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The Napoleon Bakery is the magnetic center of the areas outside of Hansung University Station exits 5 and 6. Everyone in sight seems to be drawn into this massive bread-wafting mothership and then repelled out, large white-and-green paper bag in hand. Having been performing doughy alchemy since 1968, Napoleon is a neighborhood institution that has sprouted similarly swarmed outposts around the city. It's known for its Korean-style breads like red bean buns and the inimitable yakbbang, or medicine bread. Yakbbang is the breadification of the glutinous rice snack, yakbap, and is something like Korean carrot cake in its earthy sweetness and spice. At KRW 2,000, it's a weighty brick filled with chestnuts, raisins, and black sesame seeds with the assertive tastes of brown sugar, cinnamon, and jujube making this a fantasy distillation of autumn flavors. However, it is excellent anytime, especially with a glass of milk. Also make sure to leave with one of Napoleon's black sesame baguettes or impeccable sourdough loaves. But don't dither. Your meager basket will fill up with pastry after decadent pastry. Much like most of Seongbuk-dong itself, Napoleon feels time-tested and trustworthy.
Add Seongbuk-gu, Seongbuk-ro 7
Nogari Super is a simulacrum of an anju-jip or drinking house but don't let that stop you from going. Even though the scribbling on the walls is just a little too good and the feeling is one of purposely-stoked nostalgia, the same serious boozing goes on in here just as it does in any other original edition of an anju-jip. This one just so happens to be a small franchise that sits in a typically warren-like hanok. The real attraction here is the Jeonju-style hwangtae or dried pollack. After being hung and dried in the cold winter air, the hwangtae is split horizontally from head-to-tail and opened up, resembling an oblong book. At Nogari Super, they take a meat tenderizer to the dried fish, thwacking it until the meat has achieved a feathery quality. It's then quickly toasted so that the fish picks up just a little char. Lastly, the lovingly tortured hwangtae ends up at your table with an addictive sauce made of soy sauce, mayonnaise, and hot green chilis through which you should drag the fish. The result is one of the best drinking dishes in the Korean food cannon.
Add Seongbuk-gu, Seongbuk-ro 14-gil 3
Lastly, the lovingly tortured hwangtae ends up at your table with an addictive sauce made of soy sauce, mayonnaise, and hot green chilis through which you should drag the fish. The result is one of the best drinking dishes in the Korean food cannon.
o n k u J
Exploring Damyang County Story and Photos by Sean Walker
he mayor of Damyang is somewhat of a local legend, and for good reason. He is responsible for putting Damyang and its iconic bamboo forest, Juknokwon, on the map as a tourist destination. His efforts culminated in Damyang hosting the World Bamboo Fair in 2015; no small feat for a sleepy town in the heart of South Jeolla. Damyang, however, is more than Juknokwon or the surrounding development in its downtown. It is a sprawling county filled with scenic farms, mountains, lakes and parks, and plenty of tasty food. Having a car makes exploring some of these off-the-beaten path attractions much easier, but the proximity to Gwangju provides the option of exploring by bus or even by bicycle via the Four Rivers Bike Trail that connects both cities and provides easy access to the countryside as a whole.
North of Damyang City
TRAV E L
Heading north out of the downtown area you will find Geumseongsanseong Fortress Wall. Considering its age (repaired in 1610), it is amazing to see how much of the wall remains intact and hard not to fall down the historical rabbit hole of imagining what led them to build and maintain such a massive structure. The trail often puts you on top of the wall so the views, especially at each of the main gates, are spectacular. As an added bonus the Damyang Resort and Spa, with both a swimming pool and a sauna, is right down the road from the main entrance to the park and makes for a rewarding end to an afternoon of exploring. Chuwolsan Provincial Park, the domineering mountains overlooking Damyang Lake, is the next logical stop when heading north. Those experiencing vertigo may be content with the boardwalks and cafes around the scenic lake area, but hikers willing to put in the time and effort to make it to the top will be rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Koreaâ€™s aversion to switchbacks ensures a trail consisting of one long never ending staircase to the top so those views will be well earned. Just a bit further down the road from Chuwolsan you will find Gomagol Eco Park that can easily be visited in the same afternoon. Exploring this park is much less strenuous than the previous two parks as it is more of a leisurely stroll and less of a hike. The waterfalls and suspension bridge, though easily accessible from the nearby parking lot, are no less impressive and the surrounding rivers are a great place for picnicking and splashing around in the water during the warmer summer months.
South of Damyang City
It is a sprawling county filled with scenic farms, mountains, lakes and parks, and plenty of tasty food.
The southern area of Damyang County is a favorite escape for Gwangju day-trippers due to its accessibility via Gwangju city bus 187, a scenic bus route that takes you through the heart of Mudeung National Park and an adventure in and of itself. The Gwangju Lake Eco-Park is the big draw in this area and especially popular with photographers and bird-watchers. It is a small, but well maintained park with boardwalks designed to accommodate all ages and offers plenty of scenic viewpoints looking out over Gwangju Lake. It is advisable to avoid the afternoon crowds and instead visit just before dusk, when everyone else is headed home, as the sunsets over the lake during the summer months are often dramatic. Thankfully, the surrounding area is extremely walkable and there are plenty of options to keep you busy until sundown. First, find your way to the valley of rice paddies just behind the small village near the Eco-Park entrance. The 360-degree uninhibited views of Mudeung National Park and the surrounding mountains are equally as impressive yet the service roads winding through these rice paddies are oddly quiet and tourist-free. Better still, a short walk the other direction along the main road will bring
you to one of the many trails used by local fishermen heading down to Gwangju Lake. These fishing spots at the water’s edge put you face to face with spectacular views of Mudeung Mountain, excellent fishing and more often than not, the unique experience of being able to enjoy it all on your own. Still within the Eco-park neighborhood is Shikyoungjeong, a small park with functional (and historical!) gazebos used by the Korean elite hundreds of years ago. The Poetry and Literature museum is right next door if traditional Gasa poetry is your thing, but if not follow the stone staircase up to the pavilion on the ridge for better views of the lake. If you are feeling energetic, take the trail all the way to the top of the mountain where you will find a largely unknown overlook with views of the entire valley, Gwangju Lake and Mudeung National Park. If you still have time to kill, venture a few kilometers down the road from the Eco-Park to the small back entrance of Mudeung National Park where you will find a trail leading up the valley to Wonhyosa. This trail is of course scenic and offers great hiking, but the real attraction around this valley is the infamous Mudeung swimming holes that were grandfathered in as an unofficial recreation area when Mudeung was made a national park just a few years ago. Factor in the summer heat, a couple of friends and a few cold beers and you might spend your whole weekend here and save the exploring for your next visit.
Where to Eat There are plenty of restaurant options in downtown Damyang and “noodle street” near Juknokwon has its charms, but there are much better food options if you are willing to explore a bit. Here are a few suggestions of some of my favorite places in order heading south from downtown: 담주브로이(Damju Brewery), just outside the main downtown area, is a massive brewery making bamboo beer and bamboo sausage. Yes, bamboo beer and sausage. A bit further down the road, just outside of the city limits, you will find 담양애꽃 (Damyang-EhGgot). This restaurant, serving ddeokgalbi, one of many local specialties, offers a seasonal course meal and the décor and service is some of the best you will find in the area. 쌍교숮불갈비 (Ssang-GyoSut-Bul-Galbi), serving Damyang BBQ, yet another local specialty is a bit further down the road still. The 45-minute wait on weekends is well worth it if you are a fan of grilled meats. Closer to the Gwangju Lake area in the southern corner of Damyang County is a longtime destination restaurant for Gwangju locals called 대가 (Dae-Ga). This restaurant, set in an old hanok building and serving both grilled fish and ddeokgalbi, is always a crowd pleaser. And finally, just up the road from the Gwangju Lake Eco-Park entrance there is a mom and pop restaurant called 황가네 (Hwang-Ga-Nae). The house made green tea tofu and pork kimche jiggae is hard to beat for KRW 6,000.
The Damyang House is a unique expat owned vacation rental tucked away in a small traditional village near the Gwangju Lake Eco-Park. The property itself is at the base of mountain just outside Mudeung National Park and is surrounded by one of the many bamboo forests Damyang is known for. An old stone fence and gate line the only exposed side of the property ensuring privacy for guests and the deck and fire pit in the front yard are perfect for a BBQ, a game of bean-bag toss, or enjoying the deafening silence the countryside is famous for. The spacious modern kitchen, cast iron fireplace and stateof-the-art entertainment center available indoors offer a cozy retreat during the colder months. The Damyang House makes a perfect pet-friendly getaway and a great option for exploring the surrounding Damyang countryside. WEBSITE www.thedamyanghouse.com
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Where to Stay
m a n t e Vi
The pearl of Indochina
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TRAV E L
Story by Emma Kalka Photos by Blair Kitchener
here are three things in the world that one can stare at endlessly â€“ burning fire, working people and the traffic in Hanoi. Hundreds and thousands of bikes with people of all ages, working themselves through the narrow streets of the central city, are building a stream, ever changing, but steady. Bikes are omnipresent, you will hear the first honks as early as 5 AM, with the sun rising also the intensity of the soundscape will rise and rise, slowly dropping after midnight, just to give the city a short rest and start at 5 AM anew. It looks like all people in Hanoi are on a constant move, and it is fascinating to observe, how is such a traffic possible without people being killed every second minute, as there are seemingly no traffic rules, almost no signs and no traffic lights. But somehow it works, and, although Vietnam is in the number of countries with the highest traffic death rates in the world, among such as Kazakstan, Eritrea, Angola, and Chad, we have not observed a single accident during
our whole travel. Also to avoid such we, as pedestrians, had to adapt and follow the golden rule of Vietnamese traffic â€“ no matter what, don't panic! Slow and predictable movements are the key to mastering such challenges as street crossing. And you will want to cross the streets, and follow the streets and change the streets to discover Hanoi, and enjoy all kinds of small street food corners, fruit smoothie bars, Pho Ba places, and everything, what is textile or leather. Further, our way led us down south, to a small city of Hoi An, located somwhere in the middle between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. As big fans of railroad travels, we were happy to find a perfect overnight connection, that offered the comfort of a sleeping wagon, where you can get a fantastic, most luxurious bed in a 4-person cabin. While choosing train over airplane you turn your back to the stress of baggage allowance controls and security checks, waiting in the sterilized departure halls and literally flying over the land you came to see, the train is a stress free and
comfortable alternative, that puts you together with local people and fellow like-minded travelers and surrounds you with the landscapes you would miss by choosing the airplane. This time we were happy to find a great company with a young lady from Thailand and an older gentleman from Australia, who shared our travel passions, and later - beer and snacks. The train is a real time Nat Geo experience, when you leave the luxury of the most expensive cabins and work yourself through to the locomotive, with the sinking price of a ticket and lesser amenities the number of local travelers will rise, and in the last waggons, that did hardly have any seats at all, the people made themselves comfortable on the floor. We were wrong, thinking that it is the most uncomfortable way to ride this train. Later we saw some people on the roof of the wagon. It's a pity we could not find out what price does the Vietnam Railway ask for this kind of transportation. After the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, the city of Hoi An and its surrounding offered a welcomed pause and a chance to relax. The
The beaches around Hoi An are beautiful and you can almost have them by yourself, just couple of people here and there, and all the welcoming Vietnamese people will take a good care of you. Vietnam now is what Thailand used to be maybe 20 years ago, a hidden gem, not yet cut. Any place we went, the value for money was excellent everywhere, people honest and friendly, food - fresh and delicious and drinks cheap and tasty. Also, the country is looking back to a tumultuous and proud history, making visits in every available history museum a must - the Kingdoms of Vietnam, the Chinese invasions, Colonialism, Revolutions and Wars, all periods of the history are presented and explained in different museums. Besides those couple of pounds of weight we gained, we brought home much better and deeper understanding of the history and role of Indochina in general and Vietnam in particular. And that`s what traveling is about - coming back home better informed and with a wider horizon, right?
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and well cared, with probably has most pictursea there is great, water temperatures are esque roofs one will ever see. It has a unique comfortable, it was not too hot – everything mixture of three cultures – the Japanese, the was perfect for spending a couple of days at Chinese and the Vietnamese, already 500 the beach and the evening at the pool. There years ago giving an example are plenty of new hotels in this of a harmonious multicultural area, still, it is an authentic, not yet While choosing neighborhood. Nowadays the overly popular travel destination. train over airplane houses, that are sometimes But according to the huge hotel you turn your back inhabited by same families chains, that currently build thouto the stress of since hundreds of years, have sands and thousands of rooms baggage allowance been transformed to shops and bungalows on the sea shores controls and and restaurants and bars and between Da Nang and Hoi An, security checks, cafes. One can spend days just this area is booming and is getting waiting in the wandering around beautiful ready to welcome more and more sterilized streets, enjoying the shadows tourists from everywhere around departure halls of the mossy walls, having a the world. and literally flying beer here and some chicken The city of Hoi An is worth a over the land you there. An insider – the Intravel by itself. It was built as one came to see. dian restaurant in Hoi An – of the stations among the mighty Ganesh, will teleport you to Silk Road – merchants from ChiIndia, as it serves the most authentic Indian na and Japan, Italy and Spain, Thailand and food I've tried. Just come early enough – peoCambodia met here to make their deals. The ple who come late have to stand queue till they ancient city, that was built in 15 century, is a get a free table. UNESCO World Heritage Site, is preserved
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Ph otog raph er' s Spo tlig ht
Groove Korea welcomes Photographer's Spotlight. This section brings some of those special shots from our very own GK photographers to give you a snapshot into their worldâ€Ś Edited by Steve Smith
Photographer Anuj Madan
As of late, Anuj Madan has taken on a new mission: to redefine Portrait photography. He enjoys the process of getting to know his subjects on a personal level so that his photos can speak for their persona. "How can I make an extraordinary image, if you're not feeling something extraordinary inside in that instant when I capture the moment?
"I enjoy trying out new and creative techniques to capture a mood. Using a technique known as panning I created this interesting moving image with only the model in focus." The beautiful model, who also happens to be my wife, has supported me in every aspect of my creative journey and for her focused attention on me and my passion for creating images (mirrored in this photo).
instagram @whereisanuj_insta facebook @AnujMadanPhotography
Dannyseoul showcases one of his favorite genres in this selection: Portrait photography. He is always cognizant of shapes and how they interact with each other in a certain frame.
I really liked the textures of the umbrella blending with the textures of the surrounding architecture and ground. I also liked the cold tones of the photo which matched the rainy day vibe.
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Photographer Daniel Kim
LISTINGS Edited by Sean Choi (email@example.com)
HOTELS & RESORTS
EMERGENCY MEDICAL CENTERS
FAMILY & KIDS
American Embassy (02) 397-4114 • 188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-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
Canadian Embassy (02) 3783-6000 • (613) 996-8885 (Emergency Operations Center) Jeongdonggil (Jeong-dong) 21, Jung-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
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 Spanish Embassy (02) 794-3581 • 726-52 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul French Embassy (02) 3149-4300 • 30 Hap-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
HOTELS & RESORTS
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Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul (02) 2250-8080 • San 5-5, Jangchung-dong 2-ga Jung-gu, Seoul
Park Hyatt Seoul (02) 2016-1244 • 606 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul Lotte Hotel Busan (051) 810-1000 • 772 Gaya-daero, Busanjin-gu, Busan Park Hyatt Busan (051) 990-1244 • 51, Marine City 1-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan 612-824, Korea
Airlines Korean Air 1588-2001 Asiana Airlines 1588-8000 Lufthansa (02) 2019-0180 Garuda Indonesia (02) 773-2092 • garuda-indonesia.co.kr
EMERGENCY MEDICAL CENTERS Jeju Air 1599-1500 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
Jin Air 1600-6200
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 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. www.dulwich-seoul.kr firstname.lastname@example.org 02-3015-8500
Cathay Pacific Airways (02) 311-2700
Emirates Airlines (02) 2022-8400
PO NS MU
HEALTH 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. / www.etonhouseprep.com
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.
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 • whatthebook.com 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 FITNESS Exxl Fitness Gangnam Finance Center, 737 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul • www.exxl.co.kr UROLOGY & OB Sewum Urology (02) 3482-8575 • 10th fl., Dongil bldg., 429 Gangnam-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul Tower Urology (02) 2277-6699 • 5th fl. 119 Jongno 3-ga, Jongno-gu, Seoul DENTAL CLINIC Boston Dental Clinic General dentistry / Periodontics / Orthodontics (02) 3482-0028 • 92-12 5F, Banpo 4-dong (Seorae French Village), Seocho-gu, Seoul
MUSEUM & GALLERIES
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.
Hair & Joy Trained at Toni & Guy and Vidal Sassoon Academy in UK Color, Perm, Magic Straight, Treatment and more English Spoken For more info, call Johnny Tel 02.363.4253 Mobile 010.5586.0243 3rd fl. 168-3 Donggyo-dong, Mapo-gu Hair & Joy
Lotte Cinema Samsung Plaza
Qunohair Gangnam / Apgujeong Branch Tel 02.549.0335 10-6, Dosan-daero 45-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul www.qunohair.com
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Everland Resort (031) 320-5000 • 310 Jeondae-ri, Pogok-eup, Cheoin-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do
Chunghwa Animal Hospital / Korea Animal Transport (02) 792-7602 • 21-1 Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul / www.cwhospital.com
Hongik Univ. Station
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Gamjatang; the best places for this meaty spicy and funky stew, How to make Kimchi, Vietnam; Traditions, trains and traffic, Studio Black; t...