Cherry Blossom around Jeongdok Library and a stroll in Bukchon

jeongdok library

Cherry blossom season only really lasts about a week, so I popped over to catch the cherry blossom at Jeongdok library in Bukchon. This is where Gyeonggi High School used to be – it was the oldest and most prestigious school in Korea. The library nestles in Bukchon hanok village so I took an early morning stroll around there too! Continue reading “Cherry Blossom around Jeongdok Library and a stroll in Bukchon” »

It’s moving season in Seoul. So which is better – an apartment or a villa?

seoul apartments

Spring is moving season in Seoul, so we can see these ladders everywhere reaching up to balconies to unload or load up belongings. Everything can be delivered up the ladders – sofas, fridges, beds. The lot. :) We’ve moved in Seoul a few times! Continue reading “It’s moving season in Seoul. So which is better – an apartment or a villa?” »

Why do Korean students want to have an English name in class?

post war school desk

A very cute school desk

Spring is in the air and new English classes are starting in schools and companies everywhere. The first thing I do when I get a new class of students is to go down the register and ask each student how they would like to be addressed – by me and the other students in the class. Then I write their preference next to their Korean name. The youngest members of the class are often OK with using their first names. Older students may prefer a more formal Mr. Kim or Mrs. Park.

But many students will use an English name. They may already have one or if not, they ask me to give them an English name. When I ask them why they want one the answer is usually that they think their Korean name is ‘too difficult’ for me to pronounce. Perhaps this is true. Perhaps they are simply thinking of me. But if I insist that I CAN learn their Korean name if they want to use it, these students STILL want to use an English name… Continue reading “Why do Korean students want to have an English name in class?” »

sageuk drama Dong Yi (MBC 2010) review

The Hwangsa yellow dust season is here. So even though the temperature has been pretty warm and pleasant (16 degrees), the Korea Meteorological Administration advises people to stay indoors when the concentration of yellow dust in the air is high (it was over 200 micrograms per m3 over the weekend :( ). But then what better excuse is there to stay in and watch Korean dramas! ;)

dongyi

I’m now watching sageuk dramas set in the period of the late Joseon kings (1649 – 1910). (here’s more information about dramas and the early Joseon Kings and mid Joseon Kings). I’ve just finished watching Dong Yi again (MBC 2010) a 60 episode historical drama about the romance between King Sukjong (r.1674-1720)  and one of his concubines Choi Dong Yi who became a top ranking concubine and was given the title Suk Bin.

But the unusual thing about Suk Bin was that she came from the chonin class – the lowest class in Joseon. (read more about the Joseon class system here) So the fact that she actually made it to this level in the royal court is pretty remarkable.

And it gets better … despite some opposition in the government due to his mother’s modest background, Suk Bin’s son became King Yeongjo (r.1724-1776), who reigned for 52 years and was the longest ruling monarch of the Joseon Dynasty. I enjoyed watching this drama more the second time around! Continue reading “sageuk drama Dong Yi (MBC 2010) review” »

Haewoori sashimi restaurant in Seoul

Since T-shirt weather is approaching I am facing up to the sad fact that I should lose some weight. So of course now all I can think about is FOOD and all my favourite restaurants …especially the ones that I shouldn’t go to since I’m supposed to be on a diet. :(

haewoori

But it’s still ok to eat sashimi, isn’t it? (not sure about all the soju and beer that goes with it though ….) One of my favourite sashimi restaurants in Seoul is 해우리 Haewoori. It’s different to other sashimi restaurants because their sashimi sets are served with a range of seaweed and kimchi as well as the usual lettuce and sesame leaves to wrap the sashimi.

It’s a very Korean way to eat sashimi. You can eat the sashimi just with a soy sauce or chilli sauce dip or wrap it with kelp seaweed with mustard leaf kimchi on the side. I think this is great diet food. Tasty and healthy. Love it. Continue reading “Haewoori sashimi restaurant in Seoul” »

Sweet adzuki bean patjuk and rice cakes

rice cakes

I never knew that red adzuki beans were so versatile. I used to think that they could only be used in the occasional savoury dish – a vegetarian lasagne perhaps. I’d buy a bag of them, put them in the cupboard, and then wonder what on earth to do with them. It’s a pity I didn’t know back then that you can put red beans into a whole range of dishes ranging from boiled savoury rice, to noodle soup, sweet rice cakes (above), bread, waffles, and ice cream. In summer the signature red bean dish here is bingsu, but in winter it’s bean porridge – patjuk. (below)

adzuki beans Continue reading “Sweet adzuki bean patjuk and rice cakes” »