31 October 2007

Happy Halloween from the Motherland

In honor of Halloween this year, I dressed up as Waldo of "Where's Waldo?" fame, and randomly posed among the crowds of Myeongdong, to the embarrassment, but also slight amusement of my unnie posse, Cyndi, Heng, and Bo.

By the way, did you know that Waldo is known as Willy in Korea?

In honor of Halloween, Annalog & Co. presents a very special interactive post. It's a multimedia extravaganza!

WHERE'S WANNA?


















Okay. This first one is very obvious, but I wanted you to check out the "sleeping" couple. Can you guess what item they're promoting? The rest of the photos are slightly less obvious, but still pretty easy. We didn't have the means to take any wide angled shots.



















































































HALLOWEEN MOVIE

I also enlisted the help of Cyndi to make this fun Halloween video. It's my first time using iMovieHD, so the clip is pretty short. I hope you'll take a look.


"This is Halloween"
video

Also, here's a special Hollaween greeting from Bandito & Stacy:
Look into their crazy eyes.

28 October 2007

Halloween Tips from the Motherland

Halloween is almost upon us, and you know what that means -- costume time! Unfortunately, the selection of cheap costumes are rather limited in Korea, since Halloween is only celebrated at a handful of foreign elementary schools or night clubs in Hongdae and Itaewon. Without the option of any cheap French fry or muscle man costumes from the Goodwill, this year requires a bit more creativity.

Here's what you can do with a pair of fake glasses, clip-on devil horns or bunny ears from Partytopia (2500 won), a beanie, long hair, and some extra attitude.

"V-line Devil"














"Kawaii Bunny"














"Smart Bunny"














"Bunnicula"


















"깡페" (Korean Gangster)














"귀신" (Korean Ghost)














Here's a bonus "yupgi" vignette entitled, "The Devil's Influence."
Or, as HY calls it, "American 사이코."






































































사이 + 코 = Psycho
Get it?

25 October 2007

사과 날 (Apple Day)



















October 24th is "Apple Day" in Korea. According to some of my students, this is the day when people are supposed to apologize to someone and present them with an apple. They tell me that it was initiated around ten years ago by parents. Apparently, there was an alarmingly high rate of teen suicides linked to conflicts at school (or conflicts with their friends?). It is known as "Apple Day" because the Korean word 사과 (sagwa) means both "apple" and "apology."
I asked my students if they gave out any apples and apologies, and they replied with a resounding, "No!"

I personally would be open to forgiving people if they brought me an Apple...computer.

Apple Day shares the date with United Nations Day. Not sure if that's all coincidence, but be sure to give peace and forgiveness a shout out on the 24th of October.

Perhaps the U.S. needs to take up this tradition and designate a new holiday, "Forgiving Day." On this day of apologies, people will feel obliged to seek forgiveness and collect cans of beets and tuna on behalf of homeless shelters; ABC will air a new, very special Charlie Brown episode, where Lucy begrudgingly offers Brown an apology; and Walmart sponsors a nationally televised parade of floats and balloons in New York City, including an extravagant concoction of disco balls and sparkles, sponsored by Geico, featuring Lindsay Lohan, belting a pop version of that song that goes, "I'm sorry, so sorry..." This would also be a good time for the U.S. to make amends with the rest of the world, and apologize for any, of course, alleged crimes against the international community.

Instead of turkey, we shall eat pork and apple pie.

















Also, unrelatedly, I got this adorable little 떡 (dduk) cake, rice-cake cake from work. I hadn't eaten it for the past couple of days, because it's so darn cute. It tastes like a dense, sticky white bread, with a bit of extra sugar.

Happy Forgiving Day!

23 October 2007

Grrrr....

I just wanted to say that I'm still alive. I'm swamped with work this week, and maybe for the rest of the month. I'm looking forward to Halloween...



19 October 2007

Hongdae: Where You Get Your Eyelashes Did

Another day spent in Hongdae...I know what you're thinking. Hongdae? Again? Yes, it's true. I enjoy that little neighborhood, but there's a reason for our frequent excursions to Hongdae -- eyelash extensions!

Eyelash extensions are different from those fake, spidery eyelashes that you find at the drugstore. Individual lash pieces are glued to your lash line to create longer, fuller lashes. The end results are basically what'd you get with your favorite mascara (but better), without any smudging or raccoon eyes.

Like the need for a straight perm, eyelash extensions may sound rather silly, but in my personal experience, they're well worth it. Eyelash extensions make me look like I put some effort into my makeup, when in reality, I only spent a minute on my face. Eyelash extensions are ideal for folks who want longer, fuller lashes, but do not wear a lot of additional eye makeup, particularly eyeliner. The constant application of other eye makeup may cause the lash extensions to fall out sooner.

Thanks to EK & HY, we met an 언니 who just got into the lash extension business. Since she's just starting out, she offered us a very generous discounted rate for the time being. The regular price is 50,000 won, which is still significantly cheaper than salons in the U.S. I've heard that the lashes last around six weeks.

If you're interested and in the Seoul area, then you should definitely check out Seum Therapy in Hongdae (Call 02-322-7472). Just ask for Summer 언니. Summer also does nail art. She speaks a bit of English, though prefers to speak in Korean.

Here's a pic of Cyndi with the lash extensions. The difference is not evident in this photo, but it looks great in person.














After we got our lashes on, we headed a few doors down to Yogi for a little snack. There always appears to be a line, so it must be quite popular. It kind of reminded me of Santa Ramen.














거짓말! Why did you keep pushing us outside, mister!














Before I move on to the food. Check out this guy's haircut.














The place is very cozy. It could probably seat thirty people at most. The food was decent and cheap, and I enjoyed all of the sketches posted throughout the restaurant.




























The menu is simple and casual, just how I like it.














Here's Cyndi & HY looking gangsta. Do you think they're getting tired of all my photos? Maybe some folks can drop some compliments in the comments section, so that they don't punch me the next time I snap a photo? Gracias.














This is where all the frying happens; adeptly executed by the ajumma to the left.














Open kitchen. That's what I like to see. It makes me believe that they have nothing to hide.














Yogi is most famous for their thin, handmade noodles. I forgot what this dish is called. It may look harmless, but it definitely packs some heat.














We also tried the 납작만두 (flat mandoo). These pan fried mandoo are stuffed with noodles and nothing else. A little plain, but still interesting. Almost like eating a very oily tortilla. But not really.














My favorite was the jumbo rice cakes, boiled in broth. Overall, the food was all a bit bland, but much tastier once you dipped it in the house sauce, a blend of shoyu and chili paste.














If they use a machine to cut out the noodles, are they still considered handmade? In any case, the noodles are made fresh. That's cool.














After the noodles, I dragged Cyndi and HY to Vinyl Robot, also a block or two from Seum Therapy. We passed by this place previously, and I thought it was a juice bar, until I saw it featured on a TV program. Turns out that it's a bar that serves cocktails in vinyl bags.


















Not only that, you see that little window? You can take your cocktail to go! You definitely don't see this in the States.















This bar totally fit my aesthetic. It was bright, colorful, and full of magazines and an eclectic assortment of posters and knickknacks. As most interesting places are in Hongdae (and Seoul at large), the bar was quite small. But that's not a problem since you can take your cocktail to go!


















The bar's proprietor also serves as the resident DJ, mixing some jazzy, hipster tunes.














Cocktails are around 4000 won per bag. They feature an interesting assortment of mixed drinks, but they are mostly fruity and girly. You can also order appetizers or beer.














Do you think that alcohol in a bag would be popular back home? Someone should tell Randy to consider the possibility.














I wonder if bags are better or worse for the enviroment?














Holla.














Cyndi's drink, Peach something or other was really good. I ordered a drink called "Jungle Juice", but there wasn't enough juice. HY ordered something with cranberry juice.

It's almost like drinking a super-sized Capri Sun. All I need are some graham crackers, and I'm set for snack time.














Open container laws prohibit drinking on public streets in America, so I was surprised to learn that it's kosher in Korea.














Public drunkenness is also not allowed in America.














(When I asked HY & Cyndi to look drunk, that's what I got. This totally would not have been acceptable on America's Next Top Model.)

15 October 2007

Welcome to my hood.

We decided to 엽기 it up in Bundang. After a yummy, homemade meal of spaghetti at June 언니's house, Cyndi and I met up with HY언니 at Samsung Plaza. We began the night at Su noraebang, a franchise of "luxury" karaoke rooms. At 18,000 - 25,000 won/hr, Su is a little pricier than your average karaoke room, but still cheaper than the karaoke places back home. Based on the very feminine decor, Su appears to have been designed with female customers in mind. I didn't get a chance to check out all of the rooms, but each room is supposed to be themed, including a bathroom style room (?) and large windowed rooms that face out onto the street so that any passerby can watch you sing. Su has several locations throughout Seoul (including Hongdae).

This sign reads, "Harmony of fantastic for customer"
This statement is too philosophical for me to comprehend.














You can feel the "luxury" as soon as you walk into the place. Instead of dim lighting and unattractively upholstered furniture with suspect levels of cleanliness, you are greeted by elegant decor, chandeliers, and an inviting ambiance.















Floral walkways lead you to further luxury.





































Don't forget to pick out some free ice cream before you settle in your room.














I'm not sure what the theme of our room was, but I'm thinking it was something like a "six year old girl's bedroom." The seating area is recessed so that...














... there is room for a stage! The room also comes with tambourines, maracas, and a plastic mallet -- everything you could possibly need to unleash your inner 가수.














There are also ottomans to better perform those emotional, heart-wrenching ballads.














Even the bathrooms are luxurious. Here's Cyndi refreshing her vocal chords with some complementary gargle.














This sign reads, "We prepare sanitary napkin for woman. Ask us, whenever you need."
Woman grateful. Thank you. I will.




























Su was very nice, but we didn't get any "service"; free additional singing time. Most places give you at least 30 additional minutes if there isn't a high demand for rooms.

After, Su, we walked through Samsung Plaza, where I bumped into some chic Bundang ajummas, contemplating the latest trends in fur. We all became quick friends.














Then, HY took us to a tiny 오뎅 (oden/ fishcake) bar on the other side of Samsung Plaza. On our way to the bar, we found this man passed out in front of the mini mart. Mature folks like Korean pop singer, Lee Hyori would probably show some concern for this man's safety, however, 엽기 girls like me simply see this as another photo opportunity. The photo is a little blurry, because we all couldn't stop giggling.


































Anyway, back to the tiny oden bar. When I say "tiny", I mean tiny. This place could hold ten people at most.















There were also sorts of oden: chili pepper oden, cheese oden, curry oden, spicy oden -- the list goes on.














Of course, I had to try the cheese oden. I couldn't really taste the cheese, but I thought it was tasty nonetheless. The oden broth was also quite flavorful.














You can't hang at an oden bar without a little soju. Packs of soju often come with this free metal bottle cooler, but you should note that this cooler is specially defined to fit the unique shape of Chamisul, and no other brand.














Our oden snack came courtesy of our new friends, Busan 갈매기 (seagull) ajusshis. These gentleman all hail from Busan. The man on the far left is HY's colleague. The man in the middle works for NongShim and offered to hook us up with some free ramyun after he mentioned how much we love NongShim products. The man on the right works for Samsung, but did not offer to hook us with any Samsung products :) He did, however, pay for our oden.














We concluded the evening with some fried glinko beans. I learned that glinko is an acquired taste. It's fried and seasoned with salt, and yet, I'm not a fan. Go figure.














After the oden bar, we swung back around the mini mart to take photos, I mean, check on our drunken friend. Fortunately, he seemed to have roused from his state of semi-consciousness, but perhaps he would have been better off sleeping.














We made many new friends that evening, but I suspect that most of them didn't remember us the next morning. These incidents are what lead HY to refer to Cyndi and I as " 엽기 (yupgi) American girls." I was lead to believe that this word meant silly and offbeat, but I just looked up the term in the dictionary and it seems to mean something like "bizarrely curious." I prefer my definition of "silly and offbeat", but I'm not going to lie, I am definitely bizarre and curious.