Book Review: The Annals of King Taejo

If you are interested in Korean historical drama then The Annals of King Taejo (translated and annotated by Choi Byong Hyon, Harvard University Press) is a fascinating read. There are 1,893 volumes of the Annals of Joseon but the volumes of King Taejo, the founder of Joseon, are the only ones that have been translated so far! So it’s a fantastic opportunity to really get a sense of the first few years of the new dynasty in the late 14th century.

I spent many hours this week skimming through the 897 pages. It’s not the kind of book you read from cover to cover like a novel and then put away. The records are written in diary-form with notes entered almost every day of the 7-year reign. Some days have short entries on the weather, other days have long descriptions on serious happenings such as the execution of high officials for treason. But even the weather notes are interesting because bad weather was interpreted as being a message from Heaven to the King. Continue reading “Book Review: The Annals of King Taejo” »

Yeouido Fireworks Display 2015


Last Saturday, October 3rd, was the Annual International Fireworks Display held in Yeouido on the Han River. It’s been held every autumn since 2000, and as always there were huge crowds that came to see the displays. This year there were three teams: The Philippines, The USA, and Korea. It’s pretty manic out there so I don’t venture down to the river bank but I did manage to get some pictures from a nearby window. :) There are also several events on the river leading up to the main fireworks performance so we popped out to take a look at the night bazaar.  Continue reading “Yeouido Fireworks Display 2015” »

Autumn in the Korean Countryside


There’s a trend these days for office workers living in Seoul to get out of the city and into the countryside for a weekend getaway where they can get in tune with nature and perhaps do some work on a farm. (good experience for people who are contemplating a change of career) I think farming would be pretty hard work as a full time job but it is relaxing to get out of the city for a few days. Since we spent the Chuseok weekend with my parents-in-law in the countryside, we did a TINY bit of work on the vegetable farm. And I mean TINY.  My only task was to pick beautiful beans out of their pods. And that was a fun job. :)  Continue reading “Autumn in the Korean Countryside” »

Chuseok in Seorak mountain Gangwon Province


So yesterday I wrote about getting ready for Chuseok. By 9:30am on Chuseok morning we had prepared all the ceremonial dishes, carried out the morning service to the ancestors, eaten a lot of the food for our breakfast, and washed up all the dishes. And the day was still young. So we decided to go for a day out. As we were already staying in Gangwon Province, Sokcho was the obvious choice – it’s only an hour away and we can go to the famous national park there with the rocky terrain of Seoraksan the third highest mountain in Korea.   Continue reading “Chuseok in Seorak mountain Gangwon Province” »

Chuseok 2015


This year 추석 Chuseok – Thanksgiving – was last Sunday, 27th September. It’s the time that many daughters-in-law around the country take a deep sigh (not me of course 😉 ) as they get ready to spend their time in the kitchen of the in-laws’ home cooking and washing up for all the visitors that turn up throughout the day :(

But every year it seems that more and more people are giving up the whole business of cooking and just going away on holiday instead. Or at least cutting down on the work. This year we celebrated Chuseok with my parents-in-law in the countryside in Kangwon Province where they grow their own veg on a small farm.  Continue reading “Chuseok 2015” »

What’s kimbap like from the Korean supermarket Emart?

emart kimbap

The trend for premium kimbap is still full on and high quality kimbap shops continue to pop up around Seoul. I’ve tried several premium kimbap stores but sometimes I just grab something from the kimbap counter at my local Emart supermarket and take it home. Everything is already made and there’s a choice of not only kimbap and Japanese style sushi but also ready to eat Korean Chinese dishes like yangjangpi Continue reading “What’s kimbap like from the Korean supermarket Emart?” »

Young Architects Roof Installation at the MMCA in Seoul

young architects

After a class in Jongno this afternoon I headed over to take a look at the young architects installation outside the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. It’s a project to foster young talented architects sponsored by Hyundai Card. This is the winning entry -Roof Sentiment, by Society of Architecture, SoA (Lee Chihoon, Kang Yerin). The curved reed roof is meant to resemble the roof of Gyeongbokgung the palace which is right opposite the museum.  Continue reading “Young Architects Roof Installation at the MMCA in Seoul” »