Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I-Buzz Real Touch Korea - The Video

Here is the video from our session of  Real Touch Korea Season 1. Seoul Tou
Can you see me and Rocketman?  They did a wonderful job with the video they shot:

Here are some of the photos Rocketman shot of the day.

 You can read more about the day here and here.  I remember how magical it was to enter the auditorium to these drums called the janggu.
 Then to see it played by a professional was amazing.  I had to remember to breathe at times.  Rocketman really got a great shot of the moment.
                                                              I was sad to see it end.
Rocketman got a great shot of me putting together my ssam.  Every bite was delicious.

Here is one of my favorite Korea Tourism videos.  Of course, I love ours the best:

We were really spoiled by the staff at the Korea Tourism Organization.  We plan on doing a lot more exploring of this great country and I just wish we had them along to help.  We were planning on vacationing outside of Korea like Thailand or Japan but now, thanks to this tour, we are going to spend vacation time seeing Korea.  There is so much we haven't seen yet and I can't wait to discover the hidden treasures of Korea!

If you want to find out about South Korea, check out buzzKorea!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dang, That Was Harder Than I Thought It Would Be

 Chuseok is just under two weeks away and I wanted to get a little something for my teachers.  I thought a Home Plus gift card would be perfect.  Today was a yoga day and Choi, my 74 year old yoga buddy, was there.  I hadn't seen him for a few weeks so after yoga he asked if I wanted to eat lunch.  Mr. Pizza is now in our yoga building so that's where we went. 

We ordered a pizza and as we waited we caught up with each other.  I asked how his wife was and he said that she had been sick.  She had pain in her chest but after a CT scan and a MRI, the doctors found nothing wrong.  So they went to a Eastern medicine doctor who said she had too much heat in her chest and she would need acupuncture every day.  I asked how much the acupuncture was and he said only 2000 WON ($1.80 USD).  Wow, I'm still amazed at how cheap things like that are over here.

I told him he should call her and tell her that we went to lunch.  I was worried that she was sitting home with lunch made waiting for me.  He thought that was a good idea and called her.  The entire conversation lasted about five seconds.  I asked him what he had said to her and he said he told her he was eating.  He never mentioned he was eating lunch with me which I thought was really strange.

After lunch Choi and I parted ways and I walked to Home Plus to buy the gift cards and a few other things.  I went to the checkout and when she saw the gift cards, she held them up to me and I wrote on a piece of paper how much I wanted on each.  She still wasn't satisfied and I had no idea what she was saying.  I offered my credit card and then cash thinking maybe gift cards have to be paid in cash.

I gave up and tried to reclaim them to return them and she wouldn't give them back to me.  She called over all sorts of people but no one was able to translate what the problem was.  I panicked and called Rocketman.  I told him what was happening and if he could grab a Korean co-worker for me.  He did and it took two conversations with the checkout lady to get it all straightened out.

Each giftcard had to be a separate transaction.  I still don't know why she didn't take my credit card and do just that but in the end and 15-20 minutes later, I left with my gift cards.
I also found this!  I had some at Su-Mi, my maedeup teacher's house last year and I loved it.  It's makes a tea.  You put some in a cup and add hot water and it makes the most delicious tea I've ever tasted.  You don't eat the fruit either and I'm not sure why that is.  But I was so excited to find it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hanji - The Korean Medicine Cabinet Part 3

 Now, it is really starting to look like a medicine cabinet.  I am still amazed at how this came together and there is still a lot of work ahead of me.

 The first thing I did today in hanji class was glue thin strips to the sides of the cabinet for reinforcement.
                                          Next I glued a black strip to the top side of the front and the back.
                         Then came very narrow strips to cover the seams on the front of the cabinet.
The last thing I worked on was covering seams with thin white strips of hanji.  From now on you will be seeing a lot of hanji paper being glued to the cabinet.

I had an interesting bus ride to hanji.  My stop was next and I made my way to the exit in the back of the bus like everyone else who were exiting.  All of a sudden I find my self being pushed and I fell into the lap of two bus passengers.  Apparently, an ajosshi (older Korean man) wanted a wider space than I was giving him to walk by me and took it upon himself to shove me out of the way.  I hurt my knee and shoulder with the fall but was more embarassed than anything else.  The women whose laps I fell into were very nice and grumbled about the rude ajosshi.  I haven't had any bad experiences with ajosshis in such a long time that I forgot to be on my guard.  Oh well.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our Local Coppee (Coffee) Shop

 This Sunday morning we caught the bus to Suwon Station for some lunch and it was such a beautiful sunny day for a change that Rocketman suggested we stop by our local coffee shop.  It opened soon after we moved back into our apartment and it's only a few short steps from our apartment building. 

When we walked in, we noticed the manager was gone so I took the opportunity to snap some pictures.
 Rocketman fell in love with this stuffed golden retriever puppy.  It's right on the counter and the first time we say it, Rocketman thought it was a real dog.
                               He must have had a lot of inquiries because now he has one for sale.
 I love this tissue dispenser.  Yes, that is a roll of toilet paper in there but toilet paper is used here in Korea as a napkin.  You just tear off as much as you need.
                     The manager returned soon enough and we sat down to enjoy our coffee. 

Rocketman had a work function on Friday where co-workers were going to play soccer at the World Cup Stadium in Suwon.  They even bought Rocketman a soccer outfit, 3XXX, which believe it or now was still a tad too small.  He never played soccer and decided to be the photographer.  Dinner came afterwards and he came home with quite a story.

A fellow co-worker broke his nose during the game.  It wasn't a bloody mess, only  bruised and swollen from the look of it.  He went straight away to the hospital and returned for the dinner later than night.  He said that they would be doing surgery on it on Monday and that he would only be spending five days in the hospital.

Rocketman was shocked that he would even need surgery but was told that it is pretty routine over here for a broken nose.  And the five days in the hospital seems really silly by U.S. standards where you can't even get admitted unless you are practically dying.  Here they tend to stay in the hospital as long as they can especially if they are hurt in an accident.  You collect more money the longer you are in the hospital.  Just last week I saw a guy in my Home Plus shopping wearing hospital PJ's.  Strange but true.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lock & Lock Plus!

My world just got a whole lot happier!  My mom introduced me to Lock & Lock storage containers years ago.  She is an avid QVC watcher (and buyer) and that is where she first discovered them.  I love, love, love them and now a store (I didn't even know Lock & Lock had stores) has opened right across the street from my Home Plus.

I couldn't wait for it to open.  I would walk my on my way to yoga and eye the progress as they emptied the former Mr. Pizza location by gutting the entire place.  It only took them about two weeks to complete the process.  I love that about South Korea.  They are amazingly efficient when it comes to redoing a storefront.  Mr. Pizza moved in the second floor of the building where my yoga studio is.
This is what I came home with and I spent under 20,000WON ($17.00 USD).  I loved that I could see the sizes in person and they also had a huge selection compared to what I'd seen on QVC.  The other totally cool thing about Lock & Lock is that it was invented here in South Korea.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Chilbo (Korean Enameling)

I finished with the enameling of my daughter's Korean jewelry box.  I went to class three times this week to get all the painting done.  This is how it looked at the end of class today.  Next week, I will fire the pieces and then glue them onto the box.  The flowers look so beautiful and I can't wait to see it finished.

Rocketman had taken the day off to help me with a Costco run.  Usually it's a stressful trip.  The traffic to Seoul, the traffic around Costco, parking (can be a nightmare), shopping (running into rude people) and getting home can all lead to thoughts of never doing it again.  We usually average going every few months and the last time we went which was on a Saturday was horrible and we swore never to do that again.  This time, we left Suwon at around 8:30am and though traffic was nasty, traffic near Costco was sparce.  We got in and parked in record time.  We also shopped without millions of people around.  It was fantastic!  Except for the price of cashews, 28,990 WON!  That is about $26.87 USD.  Even though Rocketman loves his cashews, we passed on them.  That price was just too ridiculous.

Even the drive back was great with few traffic delays.  We were happily surprised all around.  I also thought it might be a zoo since Chuseok is only a few weeks away.  Now my freezer, refrigerator and cupboards are filled and I'm good for a few more months.  I did just run out of chili powder and found none at Costco.  But a co-worker of Rocketman is coming over in a few weeks and we are going to see if we order some on Amazon and deliver it to his place, if he will bring it over for me.  I do like to make chili once in a while.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


 No, I'm not finished with the bojagi curtain but I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  I just have to attach a five inch border to each side and finish the ends.  That by no means is inconsequential and I have a TON of work left on in.

SJ, my teacher, came with my next project which will include using these colors you see in the photo above.  They are transparent and the bojagi piece will be a transparent piece.
She also drew this pattern that she wants me to follow.  I'm not sure about measurements or anything but I know she will be helping me to figure it all out.

I also found out that Rocketman has to work during Chuseok which is one of the biggest holidays in Korea.  He has to go to Japan and I did think about flying with but the only seats available were business class and he wouldn't have any time to sightsee with me anyway.  He also felt that he would be more stressed with me there and wondering what kind of mischief I might find.  So I'm staying home but don't feel sorry for me, I have plenty of homework to keep me busy. 

Tomorrow I'm back at chilbo for the third time this week.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chilbo (Korean Enameling) Class

 I am having chilbo class three times this week because I have so much to do.  Everything seems to be hitting the fan right now.  I think I took on too many big projects which require extra work.  I have a lot of bojagi homework and hanji homework which is due to the medicine chest. 

Yesterday Nan was there was I came but left suddenly to teach a class at a high school.  She left me with an old friend I hadn't seen in some time.  She was there to babysit me and she brought a surprise but first here is what I was working on.
This is what I did in today's class with Nan there to keep an eye on me.  Everything I did yesterday which was four squares had to be washed away.  She said I put the enamel on too thick.  That was a waste of two and a half hours.  As you can see, today I did a much better job. I do really well with the blending, it just getting it the right thickness.  Five down, seven more to go.  I'm going again for an extra class on Friday.

My "babysitter" entertained me with music for the first half hour of class.  She played the Korean haegeum for me.  I videotaped her doing two songs. The first was a request by me for her to do "Arirang."

The second she offered and it was also one of my favorite songs of all times from "The Sound of Music." The song was "Edelweiss."

This was a first for me and I was so touched that she wanted to share her music with me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hanji - The Korean Medicine Cabinet Part 2

The construction of the Korean medicine chest continues.  If you are just joining us, you can go here to see where it all started.
This week it was all about legs.  This is how it started out.  The piece on the bottom was spraying with water and three of them curled around the piece on top.

This is what it looked like after one piece was attached.  We used Super Glue as the glue and masking tape to hold it in place.  You had to have the masking tape or it would pull off.
                                          Here is what it looked like with two sides attached.
                                                      Finished!  One leg down, three more to go.
Here it isplaced on the bottom of the chest.  It was a little short so my teacher cut squares of extra cardboard to glue underneath it.
Snack time!!  I was hungry so I opened the wrapper and put the whole cookie in my mouth at once.  And then almost gagged.  I thought I was tasting a lightly sugared cookie when in fact, I was eating a fish cracker.  After I choked it down, I realized that fish smell was coming from the wrapper.  It tasted horrible and I managed to hide the second one my teacher gave me.  Looks can be deceiving.
                                    Back to the cabinet, here it is with all the legs in place. 
Here it is ready for the top to go on.  My teacher is going to do that for me and I think next week we start covering it with hanji paper.  I can't wait to see it.
When I came to hanji, I found these two little guys waiting in front of the door.  I had a hard time getting in and I wondered where they were there.  I quickly learned that their mama was shopping inside.  They never once ran off or barked.  I couldn't believe how well trained they were.  They sure were a couple of cuties.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Visit to Suwon's Toilet House

 Believe it or not, just under five miles from our apartment lies the toilet house better known as Mr. Toilet House (Haewoojae).  It was built in 2007 by Sim Jae-Duck who was passionate about toilets and everyone's right to use a clean toilet.  He was the founder of the World Toilet Association.  He was also a mayor of Suwon where the toilet house is located.
 This is what you will see as you approach the street that the toilet house is on.

                                                 This is the entrance of the toilet house.

 Mr. Sim died in 2009 just two years after moving into his toilet house which he used as his own home.
                                                   This is a bust of Sim Jae-Duck.

 They are planning on adding these gardens by next year we were told.  We had a guide that introduced us to the house and allowed us to explore at our leisure.
 Here is the man himself and the actual toilet that he used.  It was in the center of the house.
 It reminded me of a spaceage room with rounded corners and nothing pointy.
                                                           Oooo, I wanted want of these.
                         He even had a child urinal for his grandchildren.  He really thought of everything.

 This was his living room and kitchen when he was still alive.  They just made it one open space now.
 Here is the toilet the I spoke of previously.  He would sit in here for hours reading we were told.  The door could be shaded with the touch of a button when in use.
                                                     Lots of funny restroom signs.

                                                     I had never seen these in Korea
                                                     But have seen these all the time.

 We were allowed to go onto the roof.  It was sooo bright out and we were temporarily blinded.  It's been such a rainy summer that we aren't use to sunlight.
                                           As I looked down, I saw some weeding going on.
                                                              Some of his personal effects.
 They took our picture to add to the wall of visitors.  I took pictures of a couple cute ones.

                                                         How about that for a legacy!

                                                            Rocketman with Sim Jae-Duck.

 I still wanted one and guess what!!!
I got one!! They have a donation box but are in no way pushy.  She gave me this for no charge.  Admission is free and I would have paid to see it.  It was fantastic.  Rocketman wasn't too thrilled about going at first but he enjoyed it as much as I did.  You can get more information on it here.

Here is a video I shot inside the house:

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