One Month in Korea - Part 11

In another life, before I was adopted, I had different name.  Park Nam Ho.  These traditional seals (도장) use Chinese characters, not the Korean alphabet, as they did in old school Korea.  Many adopted Koreans never know their "true" names because their Chinese characters get lost in the giving your child up shuffle.  It's not as easy as a one to one translation, there are often many Chinese character possibilities for one Korean word.  So I had to guess my characters our of the many possibilities for Nam (I chose south) and Ho (I chose tiger).  And the last name Park has just one possibility.  This concept of once having a different name is heavy and I don't know if it's registered fully in my brain.
I dug a little into the internet and found a guy that recommended this place in Insadong for getting a seal made.  Myung Sin Dang Brush Store 명신당필방 and I can recommend this place.  They were very nice and seemed like they knew what they were doing, I would later find out their credentials are the highest
I had already researched the characters I wanted to use and they agreed it was good

designing the style of the seal.  Jen also got one that says Yoo for her and her sister.


putting my name on the side of the granite seal bar.

whilst waiting I saw that the Obamas, the Queen of Spain, the Dutch King, and Queen Elizabeth all had seals made here.  Queen Elizabeth got just an owl, WTH.  At least the Obamas got their seals in Korean letters (which is a new trend in Korea, trying to not do or say things with Chinese origins).  For example now to say thank you you should say 고맙습니다 instead of 감사합니다 which I guess has Chinese roots.  And you'll see more and more seals with Korean letters instead of Chinese characters.
Forgot to buy flowers for your expensive garosugil date?  Say no more fam, just buy it from the vending machine outside of the parking garage, she will never know.  Also we went to the same ALand store 4 times during our month in Korea because someone had to keep looking at coats there.


huge dumplings at 강서면옥 Gangseomyeonok in Apgujeong.

their specialty is Pyongyang Mul Naengmyeon, North Korean style cold noodles.  All mul naengmyeon is North Korean cuz it came from Pyongyang so It's redundant to call it that.  Wikipedia says South Koreans don't use exclusively beef broth and sugar.

bibim naengmyun originated from another city in North Korea.  The water noodle version is better here but usually I prefer the non brother version.  This place was tasty.



Galbitang at Sariwon in Coex mall.

lack of bars in Korea.  This is the only place to get a casual drink it seems like in the Kosok bus terminal.  The style of establishment they copied is the sh!ttiest kind of establishment they could have copied which is sh!tty JFK airport generic bar and grill.
dinner with Jen's mom in Shinsaegae.  These things were good but too expensive.

afterwards we went along the vast vast corridors of the basement shopping area below the express bus terminal where a lot of it has transitioned to Christmas shops.  I was determined to find a real tree and not the ubiquitous fake trees.  We eventually did find one for like $10 and we got some little lights and had ourselves the smallest most Charlie Brownest xmas tree ever in our Airbnb.  Oh also at this point we moved to an airbnb in Yeonnandong for 2 weeks
that's supposed to be Jen and Jason.



One Month in Korea - Part 10

It was like almost all of the other days, cripplingly cold.  This makes exploring my old neighborhoods of Sinchon and Ewha less fun and shopping based as you have to hop from store to store to stay warm.  On this day Jen finally gave in and bought a Uniqlo ultra light down bubble jacket to wear under her coat like I had a week before and like tons of Koreans do. 
I guess there aren't as many photos as there would be in a new country for me because I've lived in Seoul and visited 7 or 8 times after that.  $1 for egg bread in Ehwa.  By chance we walked down the very hill of the hasookjip (boarding house, and one for Ehwa students which is an all girls school, but my friend lived there and there was a spare room and the ajuma liked me so I was able to stay during that winter recess).  that I lived in during the winter of 2000 into 01. 


As a young student at Yonsei I skated boarded with my buddy Justin Chon everyday after class somewhere in Seoul (never here) so it's funny to see this sign on this closed down building.  It says something like Don't skateboard, you're liable for any personal injury or damage to the property.
Seen in Sinchon, I don't think they are famous

just kinda twidlin' our thumbs until dinner time after so many weeks of shopping, drinking, and eating, and oppressive cold forcing us to be inside.  Dakkalbi is something you should do in Korea and it was Jen's first time and now she's a fan.  It's chicken thighs and rice cakes and kimchi and other stuff and cheese!  you can also make fried rice in all that leftover sauce afterwards on the hotplate so it gets all crispy on the bottom.  Highly recommended, they have these places all over the place.

funny, Korean food gets very aromatic and on your clothes so thats all our coats in a plastic bag they provide.

Yogurt drink all ready for you at the cash register to calm down all that spice you just ate.  Also that's my phone on the counter that I would have to come back and get 3 minutes later after I realized I left it there to be charged.  Charging your phone at bars/restaurants is totally normal and many even have powerbanks with all the different phone charing cables available out in the open for customers.

along the Gyeongui Line Forest Park which is a great new cool looking park going from Hongdae to Yeonnam.  

We went to two LP bars which is a thing in Korea and you are supposed to request stuff.  In America if you request something from a DJ you are liable to picked up by a bouncer and thrown out.  Or at any rate being dismissed by the DJ.

Like many times in Korea people end up talking to us seemingly because we are American which is crazy because its like being American is special and cool.  If it were the other way around I don't think it would be so friendly and definitely the American guy wouldn't think the Korean guy was cool and give him special treatment.

Shingoon and Shinyang is a great LP bar in Yeonnamdong.  신군신양

I asked him for some Korean Jazz LP recommendations
Screen golf is pretty sweet.  Real clubs and camera sensors as you hit into a course projected onto a screen.  Drinking beer and eating food on the side.  We are horrible at it.


One Month in Korea - Part 9

eventually you're gonna eat Japanese food in Korea.  Here we have a tonkatsu pork cutlet set lunch and it looks like its the go to when you need to get full an satiated just like in Japan.
the most wired country in the world.  I saw in the train cars they have 3 different ones for 3 different telecom companies.

just sittin' there begging for it.

Mikkeller's bar in Seoul

soft tofu stew

I gave a talk at Jungyeon Roh's class at Seoul National University of Science and Technology 서울과기대.  Jungyeon went to school at SVA in new york and moved back to Seoul recently  http://jungyeonroh.com/

They all wanted me to sign the prints which were generously made for me by JP for free who works at a leading print company that I won't name.

You get a print, you get a print, you get a print, everybody gets a print!
Jungyeon recommended this place in Yangchae where they come and slide this entire tabletop of food onto your table.  There were tons and tons of old people in this building patronizing every cafe and restaurant.  There's a spa in the building which may be the reason.
Antiques street in in Itaewon 3 minutes from our airbnb started in the 60s when American soldiers sold their stuff before going home.




Apt Seoul is an unexpected cozy stylish multi floor hipster cafe that turns into a bar at night.  It seems like its in a back corner of Itaewon and peeps don't know about it


the refrigerator at our airbnb is too loud so we keep our booze and milk and eggs etc outside the window.


some kinda fish

What's that phoenix doing up there on that cool building with triangle windows?

not one but 5 octopuses in this budae jjigae (army stew, cuz of the hot dogs, spam, and other crap throw in like its the Korean war days and they're making stuff out of American army rations).  These octupuses weren't the most appealing to Jen or I and you couldn't go fishing around in there without pulling up an octopus head or something.

No, you don't really want to drink that soju, but you will and you must because its Korea.  Also Jen's first budae jjigae mission was a success.  Also don't forget that its freezing outside and is like 15f at night.

which is why these poor girls have gotta be freezing.  There's this strip in Hongdae where all these students are singing or dancing or performing something.

Kakao is a chat app and has turned into a huge Korean conglomerate which is interesting because the traditional conglomerates that control everything are like Samsung, Hyundai, LG etc...  Anyway these are the now famous Kakao emoji guys and these cheap plastic ornaments were $5 at the Kakao and Friends store which is like if Apple emojis had a store and it was always packed with people buying plush smiley faces or piles of poop.

yes nice SPAM does exist and it's awesome!  I love SPAM so much you guys.