16 December 2009


I promise. I'll be back to blogging soonish. My term at the Elementary School is winding down, so I will have more time to dedicate to unpaid work.

In the mean time, check out my opening act: The Chipettes

21 September 2009

Hangul in Indonesia

I was at Tom N Tom's today, perusing Asiana's in-flight magazine, and learned that a small Indonesia tribe in the city of Bau-Bau (Bauer-Bauer) have adopted hangul as their written alphabet. Though the tribe has their own oral language called Cia-Cia, they have not been successful in maintaing an official system of writing. The Yonhap News Agency has more on this news story.

Though I still have issues with its patchims and some vowel sounds, I do have to admit that hangul is quite a nifty little alphabet. I think it's definitely better than the English alphabet. Come on now. Is it really necessay to have a 'c', 'k', AND 'q'?

13 September 2009


My cousin VP likes to take an occasional gander through the work 'n' play forums, and somehow she always manages to find jems like this posting:

hello, i'm a goose father who sent my family to chicago 3 yrs ago. so i live alone in mok-dong.(we call it 'goose father' hahaha)

i'll get a green card in the near future, and then i'm going to fly to chicago. i wanna speak english more fluently before i go there. i'm looking for a person who is a native english speaker, wants to learn korean, and lives around mok-dong area.

i've experienced language exchange in san fransisco in 1997 when i worked as kind of a correspondent of a newspaper. i taught korean to a berkley graduate who was supposed to be a english teacher in high school in korea. and he helped me learn english. nevertheless, i'm still not good at speaking and listening english like most koreans. but i'm confident of grammar and writing(do u agree with that? hahaha) so the most needed for me is spoken english.

i was a reporter, and i am a general director in charge of a business department in a newspaper. well, i'm willing to buy u a meal during our language exchange class. i know a very good italian restaurant around here. hahaha

if u live in an area a lttle far from mok-dong, i ask u to come here. mok-dong is very convenient for u to come by subway no.5.

it doesn't matter if u are male or female. i'm, of course, male in the 40s. too old? hahaha

why don't u give me a email, meet twice a week in mok-dong, and exchage languages with me? my email address is xxxxxxx@naver.com


I bolded the bits that I found most memorable. I'm particularly taken with the way he sprinkles his message with *laughter* (I'm sure the hahahas would sound less creepy in Korean. ㅋㅋㅋ).

I think I need to meet this guy. hahaha

10 September 2009

Hanaro Club

I've been meaning to blog about Nonghyup's Hanaro Club for some time now because I've never seen a mart quite like it. Resembling a large warehouse, the Hanaro Club in Yangjae-dong is sometimes described as the "Korean Costco." Membership is not required, nor do you have to buy in bulk, but Hanaro Club does sort of have a warehouse feel to it. It's like the food section of E-mart, only five times larger. (If I had to guesstimate, I'd say the store was at least the length of a football field and a half.) What I find most appealing about Hanaro Club is that it's like an outdoor shijang (market), only it's INDOORS, i.e., air conditioned and slightly less dusty. It feels like a colossal farmer's market, only, without the farmers. The produce seems remarkably fresh, as if some farmer just boxed it all up and dropped it off that morning.

The store is milling with people, but at least the warehouse is large enough that you can maintain your personal space, and not get run over by some woman's cart as you're trying to grab something from the sample tray.

Is it just me, or are Korean veggies unnaturally large? Check out the 대파 (large green onions)! Surely, these green onions are meant to garnish the dishes of giants and not my little bowl of ramyun.

I also encountered a number of unfamiliar veggies including this root vegetable 안동마 (andongma). It's similar to a potato, only with a stringier(?) texture. Apparently, when steamed, it makes a good snack.

I also realized that Korean farmers have been getting all mad scientist out in the shigol, and have concocted some amazing new products. Check out this lime-colored cucumber chili pepper. As the name suggests, this mild pepper does indeed taste like a cucumber. Yes, it's as good as it sounds.

Some farmer even invented the root vegetable of my dreams: 밤고구마, the chestnut sweet potato! Unfortunately, I'm the only one in my household who likes goguma, so I didn't feel like purchasing a box. I'll just have to look for it sold by the pound.

I wish that we had a Hanaro Club near my 'hood. I was told that there is a Hanaro Mart in Yongsan, but I'm assuming that it's not as magnificent as the Hanaro Club in Yangjae.

06 September 2009

Caribbean Bay

With H1N1 running rampant throughout Seoul, I decided that there was no better way to challenge my now 27-year-old immune system than a trip to a Korean water park.

Thanks to Summer's foresight and Cyndi's hotness, we were able to wrangle a ride from our ultra-friendly real estate agent. Thank goodness we got a ride, because Caribbean's a bit of a drive. Part of the expansive Everland theme park, Caribbean Bay is located in some lush valley in Yongin. It's a bit of a fortress, actually.

Despite the swarms of people, prevalence of mesh shirts*, and the chattiness of our real estate agent, I had quite a good time.

Caribbean Bay is not prettiest water park I've ever seen, but it's definitely the largest. The pseudo-Spanish/Mediterranean decor reminded me of a Tex-Mex restaurant back in the Homeland.

Did I mention the swarms of people? You'd think with the threat of H1N1 people would be more prudent and avoid crowded areas, but no, there were hundreds (maybe even thousands) of folks just as foolish as me. For goodness sake, parents. You should keep your children at home -- so that I don't have to wait 1 hour to go down a water slide!

Sorry. Nothing really exciting in this picture. Just a bunch of umbrellas and beach chairs. Though I carried my camera around in a waterproof pouch, I didn't really take very many photos. Firstly, it's quite a pain to remove your camera from a waterproof pouch. Secondly, it's quite a pain to take photos when you're wooshing down a water slide.

Here we are chilling in a hot tub. Finally! A jacuzzi where you don't have to share water with a bunch of naked ajummas. (No offense, ajummas. I just don't like sharing bath water with strangers.)

We kept coming back to the tidal wave area because it was the one attraction where we didn't have to wait in line. Not sure if you noticed our very attractive vests, but those babies were provided by the water park folk (My vest is less tropical because I got the little person's vest). I know that some girls were probably bummed that they had to wear such tacky and concealing attire over their cute two-pieces, but I for one was grateful for the life vest. For one thing, I was able to go out into the deep end of the pool without fear of drowning. Secondly, I didn't have to worry about any wardrobe malfunctions this time around. Trust me, ladies. Do not go into a wave pool in just a two piece unless you want to give the lifeguards a show.

Speaking of two-pieces, can I just say that Korean women dress to impress when it comes to the water park. I'm not just talking about the agashis. The ajummas were working the two piece. You ever see those swimsuits at Dongdaemum or your local super-mart, embellished with rhinestones, ruffles, or flowers, and wonder, where would one wear that? The answer is Caribbean Bay! In addition to their colorful swimsuits, Korean women know how to accessorize. From their hat, to their sunglasses, to a sparkly little cover-up tied at the middriff, Korean women look like they walked off the set of some summer music video.

You may also notice our headgear. Summer told us that the park requires that headgear be worn when in the water. Presumably, the head gear was to decrease the amount of hair clogging up the pools. Esther kindly loaned me her visor. I'm not sure if the visor was successful in keeping my hair in place, but it did a good job of protecting me from the sun. Thanks, Esther!

If you can put up with the massive crowds, Caribbean Bay is quite fun. It boasts a number of exciting water slides. I mean, I only got to try a few of those water slides due to long lines, but all those slides seemed like they'd be quite exciting.

I have to say many thanks to SK-unni for getting us tickets to Caribbean Bay. I owe you dinner!

*I wanted to spare people from my tangent on mesh tops, but since you've made it all they way down to this little asterisk, I'm going to assume that you're interested in what I have to say.

What's the deal with mesh tops? A number of women at Caribbean Bay were wearing mesh "cover-ups" over their swimsuits. Cover what? It's full of holes! A lot of women at the park seem to have opted for the mesh dress for the sake of a little more modesty. Am I alone in thinking that mesh tops seem more skanky? In my opinion, a bikini seems more modest than a mesh top over a bikin. In addition to their non-functionality, mesh tops are just plain ugly. I don't care if you have Heidi Klum's body. It looks like you're wearing one of those laundry hampers you buy at the dollar store. Thirdly, those mesh dress pose a safety hazard. Can you imagine your mesh dress getting caught on something? It happens to fish all the time.

28 August 2009

Birthday Food

We prepared a feast in celebration of my birthday last weekend. Unofficially, the theme was "Dishes from the Fifties." Officially, the theme was "Dishes That Are Bad for Anna's chejil." So what if I'll have indigestion and clogged pores the next morning. It's my birthday, and I'll eat cheese if I want to!

Special thanks to Cyndi and Seong for helping with all the food and to Cousin VP for cleaning the apartment!

Let us now all revel in all the yellow/brown goodness of my birthday feast:

Lemony Spinach Almond Pasta Casserole

Cyndi's Mmmmmmmmeatloaf

Tuna Casserole

Potato Gratin

Deviled Eggs

Chips and Pico de Gallo

Cyndi's Cake Made Just for Me! -- Yellow Cake and Brownie topped with a sour cream chocolate frosting. (It was all made from scratch! Well, except for the sprinkles. And the birthday candles.)

I feared that we all might have eaten our way into a food coma, but we all managed to wake up the next day for the WATER PARK! I'll have to save details for another post.

19 August 2009

I think I've earned my Ellie Badge.

Seong and I have spent the past two weeks helping seniors with their college application essays. I know that we're both getting paid for our services, but sometimes I feel like I'm doing volunteer work. Both Seong and I are committed to maintaining some standard of integrity: We might prompt a kid with essay topics or offer them some generous assistance with their grammar and syntax, but we truly try to avoid writing the essay or explicitly telling students what to write. Trust me. That's much harder than it sounds.

High schoolers can't help it. They're just prone to writing what they think admissions officers want to see. Plus, it's really hard to think and write about yourself when you only have 17 years of life under your belt. We've become writing tutors/therapists.

At the end of the day, I go away feeling like we've succeeded in helping students showcase their best qualities without creating any yarns, but it is pretty exhausting.

To help me recover, I've taken to listening to the the soundtrack for Pixar's Up. It's like optimism in a bottle. It makes me believe for a moment that helium balloons could actually carry a fully furnished house all the way to South America.


06 August 2009


I like the Ssamzie Insadong Market in Insadong. It's always full of quirky little surprises. On our most recent trip, we came across a delightful little cart at the front of the market boldly selling 똥빵, poo-shaped bread filled with a sweet bean paste.

As far as sweet red bean buns, the ddong bread isn't anything to write home about. But, let's be real. Who buys ddong-bang for the taste.? You're buying it because it's shaped like poo!

The ddong bread comes with instructions on how to best enjoy the bread. Shall I share?
Let me warn you... It's a bit revolting.

1. Buy the ddong bread.
2. Nyam. Nyam. -- Savor the ddong bread.
3. Poo the bread out.
4. Examine your poo.
5. Put your poo in a bag (perhaps even the ddong bread bag!)
6. Save it.

(Translation by Cyndi)

Ddong bread is kind of like one of those Garbage Pail Kids -- an odd combination of cute and disgusting.

05 August 2009

"Super Magic" by Supreme Team

This song has grown on me. Despite the seemingly random string of English words (or maybe because of) I think I'm going make this my new song for the norae-bangs.
Lala. Lala. Lala.

30 July 2009

My Dongsaeng the Gisaeng

My dongsaeng, Doogal and her NP were looking to get a couple's portrait while they were visiting in Seoul last month. While strolling through Insadong we stumbled upon the Hwang Jiny Photo Cafe. I'm not sure why it's called a cafe when they don't serve coffee, but it turned out to be a great a place to dress up in Korean costume and get your photo on.

Photo packages vary in price, but my sister opted for the basic couple package at 100,000 won. The package includes one costume selection for each person, make-up, two print-outs (which are photo-shopped by the photographer), and a CD containing all of the photos from the session.

The cafe offers a variety of traditional hanboks as well as more costume-y hanboks, like the ones featured in TV dramas. My sister opted for the brightly hued look of a gisaeng, who were, for lack of a better definition, the geisha of old Korea.

*If you bring in the brochure (available at the front of the building), you get 10% off.

Check out the video to check out all the fun. My sister had a great time, I'm almost tempted to go back for myself. Though, I don't think I need more awkward pictures of me in heavy makeup and crazy hair.

My Dongsaeng the Gisaeng from Annalog on Vimeo.

Now, time for a quick "Who Wore It Best?"

The wig looks so crazy without the hanbok.

17 July 2009

School Lunch

Cyndi and Cousin VP are teaching English at a small private school in Seoul. They've both raved about the school lunch, so I've been dying to join them for lunch. I finally got a chance to join them for lunch a couple of weeks.

Can I just say that I love Korean cafeteria food? I love those little metal trays and the little compartmentalized portions. (I guess this is just further proof that I have the eating habits of a 6th grader.)

This is a student-made poster. It says "골고루 먹자!" Translation: "Let's eat a little bit of everything." The poster purports that if you eat "a little bit of everything" you won't be "bad" aka fat(?). But, if you DO eat a little bit of everything, you will be "smart" (and shorter?).

Lunch was so good: Tomato, kimchi, rice, fish filet, and chicken soup.

I was told that the students must finish everything they take. Otherwise, you have to sit at the table until you clear your plate.

Unfortunately, the day's menu was not very appealing to the mogyangs, Cyndi and Cousin VP. They couldn't partake in any of the yummy fish.

I enjoyed having lunch with the students. Lucy, the girl who sat next to me, was particularly funny.

"Do you have a boyfriend?" she asks. Then upon my response, she quickly darts around the corner. She returns a few seconds later and says. "You know, my cousin is a yuh-neh-in."

"Your cousin is a celebrity?" we all exclaim. "Who!?! Jang Do Gun?"

Lucy says his name. My cousins and I look at each other blankly. "Who's that?" we ask. We eventually figure out that he's one of the supporting actors in Coffee Prince.

"Does this mean that you're trying to set me up with your cousin?," I ask Lucy.

"He change his phone number, so I no talk to him now," says Lucy.

I guess her answer is "No."

"Contradictions taste good."

My sister sent me a link to a recent commercial for the "Starburst Contradictions" Campaign. All I can say in response is, "D'oh!" The ad features a young Scottish-Korean man, which apparently, like the new solid, yet juicy Starbursts, is a "contradiction." Scottish-Korean makes for an interesting combo, but I wouldn't say it's a "contradiction." Do the Scottish and Korean have a deep history that I don't know about?

I think the Starbursts people should just stick with the llamas.

09 July 2009

Korea, NO. KoreaN, YES.

My cousin, VP told me about this recent public service announcement produced by Kobaco. Essentially, the PSA encourages "Korea" to be warmer and more thoughtful -- to be "KoreaN." I'm guessing that the 'n' in KoreaN stands for "New Korea."

This PSA is pretty awesome. It captures a number of my gripes about living in Seoul. It's especially heartening to see that the video was produced by a Korean organization.
Hopefully the message is better received. It's like when your mother tells you to lose weight. Only a mother can get away with calling you fat.

Anyhow, I wanted to share this video with y'all, so I asked Cyndi helped me to translate the video.


KOREA [Scrolling shot of shiny skyscrapers that are allegedly in Seoul]
"We have changed, but..."
KOREAN [Shot of ajusshi yelling rabidly from his car. 짜증나!]
"We need to change more."

KOREA [Close-up of a woman using wi-fi to chat with her friend via webcam]
"We've advanced, but..."
KOREAN [The same woman is laughing loudly in the cafe, to the annoyance of the other patrons]
"We need to move further."

KOREA [Close up of a map, transitioning to a nice shot of Incheon airport]
"We've gotten closer, but..."
KOREAN [SHot of a Korean man rudely brushing past a foreign man on the escalator]
"We can get closer."

KOREA [Dynamic shot of sports fans cheering on Korea]
"Our hearts are warm, but..."
KOREAN [Shot of lonely foreign man waiting at a train stop]
"We have to be warmer."

"Korea 보다 더 자랑스러운 KoreaN."
Translation: KoreaN, prouder than Korea.

18 June 2009

I swear. I do not have Swine Flu.

I just got back from a quick trip to Seattle, where I attended my sister's college graduation. (Congrats, Doogal!) That was my second trip to and from the Homeland, over a span of two months. Of course, I had the great fortune to travel during the HINI pandemonium, I mean, pandemic.

Anyone who's arrived in Seoul by way of some swine-flu infested nation will know that shortly after your arrival, you will receive a call from the Korean Center for Disease Control. I've been called twice now by the CDC, and I have to admit, both phone calls were quite entertaining.

SCENE 1: The First Call
When I returned to Seoul in May, I had no idea that the CDC folks were calling all the Miguk-ins, so this is how my conversation went.


CDC Lady: (Speaks rapid Korean, none of which I am able to comprehend)

Annalog: Yes? (I say in terrible Korean) I'm sorry, but I don't speak Korean very well.

CDC Lady: (She kindly, yet nervously switches to English) Um... You know CDC?

Annalog: Um... you mean like the American CDC?

CDC Lady: No.

Annalog: Oh, no. Then, I don't know...

CDC Lady: (pause) Uh... you know INFLUENZA?

Annalog: (A light bulb switches on) Oh! Yes, I know.

CDC Lady: Do you feel any flu or cold symptoms?

Annalog: No.

CDC Lady: (longer pause) Um... (reverts back to Korean) If you are feeling any cold or flu symptoms over the next seven days, please call your local health center.

Annalog: Okay. Thank you,

CDC Lady: (Hangs up, and takes a shot of soju.)

SCENE II: The Second Call
It is my second day back from the States. A phone call from the Korean CDC is expected.

"Gotta get that-that..."

Young CDC Dude: (in fluent English) Hello, is this Annalog?

Annalog: Yes, speaking.

Young CDC Dude: I'm calling from the Korean Center for Disease Control. I'm calling because you arrived from America, blah, blah, blah.... Are you feeling any cold or flu symptoms.

Annalog: (Trying desperately to hide a lingering cough) No.

Young CDC Dude: Really?

Annalog: No cold or flu symptoms...

Young CDC Dude: Can I ask you one more question.

Annalog: Yes.

Young CDC Dude: Are you Korean American?

Annalog: Yes...

Young CDC Dude: Really? You don't sound Korean-American. (pause) You sound like a pure white person.

Annalog: (Is unsure whether or not that was a compliment, so she emits an awkward half-laugh) Really? Oh...

Young CDC Dude: If you experience any cold or symptoms, please call your local health center. Also, we will calling you 4-5 more times within the next two weeks.

Annalog: (Thinks to herself, WTF!?!) Ok. Thank you.

- End -

I'm not sure if the CDC rep was simply captivated by my "pure white person voice" or if one of the passenger or airline personnel narked on me, but calling me 4 to 5 more times seems a little much. I told you already. NO COLD OR FLU SYMPTOMS! Cough. Cough. Cough.

03 June 2009

What is Chejil?

I don't know if you're tired of hearing about my chejil, but I swear, it's kind of taken over my life.

So, y'all are probably wondering, what is this chejil (체질)? Here's what I've learned through my Cousin N, our hanuisa, and some cursory searches through Google. For a long while, according to findings in Oriental Medicine, humans were classified as one of four body "constitutions" or chejil. One's chejil is determined from birth and is distinguished by the relative size and strength of one's organs. In turn, one's chejil influences one's appearance, temperment, physiology, and pathology. A specially trained hauisa, is able to determine your chejil based on your pulse. source

In 1965, after extensive research and practice, a Korean Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Dr. Do Won Kwon, developed this concept of chejil further and found that humans may be classified as one of eight body types. source

Go ahead and search "8 Constitution Medicine" if you'd like the complete listing of the eight body types. I am only familiar with three.

Pretty much everyone at The Hagwon has gone to see the hanuisa - my cousins (the bosses), our office manager (kwajang-nim), and the other instructors. Funny enough, we all fall under one of three chejil: toyang (Pancreotonia), mogyang (Hepatonia) , or gu-um (Colonotonia).

Here's what I know about the three:

1. Toyang [토양]
The most common body type, according to the doctor, is toyang. Folks with the toyang chejil are advised to avoid fowl, spicy food (including mustard, green onions, and onions!), sesame oil, and nuts. Theoretically, this diet doesn't seem so bad, unless you live in Korea. The toyang chejil is apparently very common amongst Koreans. Good luck trying to get Koreans to cut out kimchi. Toyangs are known to be sweethearts, but they can also be impulsive and quick-tempered.

2. Mogyang [목양]
One's chejil is hereditary. Thus, based on the fact that all three of my co-workers/cousins are mogyangs, I've surmised that my mother is most likely a mogyang. Given that I'm surrounded by mogyangs, I learned a lot about this particular chejil. For example, typically, mogyangs are shaped like a snowman. (In English, we call such figures, pear-shaped, but I suppose that pears are round in Korea so such a term would refer to a different body shape.) Due to their weak lungs, mogyangs are told to avoid seafood and leafy vegetables. I would have thought that leafy greens are good for the lungs, but what do I know? It's also important for mogyangs to sweat. If they don't sweat, something is wrong with their body.

In terms of temperament, mogangs are known to be kind-hearted risk-takers who don't like to talk. In fact, excessive talking is bad for a mogyang's health.

Cyndi, Cousin N, and Cousin N's eldest daugter, J, have all been sticking quite faithfully to their mogyang diets for the past three weeks. They all seem to be enjoying their prescribed diets, though they're still waiting to see the results on their figures.

The doctor did note that if a person wants to lose weight, s/he must eat the same portion size for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I would have interpreted that to mean a super-sized breakfast, super-sized lunch, and super-sized dinner, but it sounds like he was saying to limit one's portion size.

3. Geu-eum [금음]

This is my chejil. Wah. Wah. Wah.
I'm told that my chejil is not very common. Probably for good reason. I think a lot of people with my chejil must have died -- out of misery. As I've whined about before, geu-eum aren't allowed to eat meat, dairy, flour, root vegetables, coffee, sugar, soy beans, and a bunch of other things that I'm going to ignore. As the doctor explained to me, I'm like a cow. If a cow can't eat it, I can't eat it. I didn't realize that cows like seafood, but I'm sure glad that it's on my "good for me" list. Geum-eums are also supposed to avoid excessive use of the computer. In fact, continuing with this long rambling post might be quite detrimental to my health.

Cousin N. translated a few passages from the book she purchased at the hauiwon. According to this book, ge-eums are very intelligent (true dat), but also ambitious, potentially tyrannical, and well-suited for politics (Who determined this? I'm going to punch his lights out and burn down his village!) Geu-eums are thought to make great marathon runners. The first reason being, we have strong lungs. More importantly, however, when a geu-eum sees a person fall in the race, she will be energized and more motivated to charge on ahead. (For the record, that's so not true...I would never run a marathon.) Famous geu-eums include Picasso and Nero, ancient Roman tyrant. I didn't realize that both Picasso and Nero went to a hanuiwon.

I've been pretty darn faithful to my chejil diet for the past three weeks. Do I think it's worth the effort? I'll have to give you my response in another post. This post is already way too long. Plus, I have to go terrorize the downtrodden.

28 May 2009


Seong, Cyndi, and I went back to see the hanuisa (Doctor of Oriental Medicine), and after a final screening, the doctor identified our respective 체질 (chejil).

I'm going to have to dedicate another post on this whole chejil concept, but here's the gist of it: all humans maybe be classified as one of eight body types. According to this holistic approach to medicine, one's physical constitution, and hence, diet, are tightly linked to one's personality, well-being, and physical health.

The doctor handed each of us a brief summary about our respective body types. I'm just going to let you all take a gander at our chejil for yourselves. I will fill you in on how the diets are affecting each of us and how we are coping in a whole 'nother post. Trust me. I have A LOT to say.

CYNDI's Chejil: 목양체질 (aka Hepatonia)

Things that are harmful to Cyndi:
All seafood, leafy greens, cucumber, egg plant, mung bean, cabbage, cocoa, chocolate, buckwheat flour, persimmon, Chinese quince, papaya, peaches, pineapples, cherries, green grapes, grape sugar/dextrose/glucose, dextrose injections, swimming, blue wallpaper, cigarettes, Vitamin E, amalgam.

Things that are good for Cyndi:
All types of meat, rice, soy beans, flour, coffee, milk, all root vegetables, garlic, pumpkin, mushroom, sugar, fresh water eel, mud fish, cat fish, carbonated drink, pears, apples, watermelon, nuts (walnuts, chestnuts, pine nuts), antlers of young deers, ginseng, Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, gold caps/filling, gold injections, aspirin, hiking, breathing exercises, reddish hues.

Basically, Cyndi should split her time between gogi BBQ places and the sauna.

ANNALOG'S Chejil: 근음체질 (aka Colonotonia)

Things that are harmful to me:
All types of meat, whale meat, garlic, deer antlers, fresh water fish, coffee, artificial flavorings, flour, pumpkin, soy beans, milk, sugar, adlay (wild grains), pears, apples, melons, chestnuts, pine nuts, ginko nuts, all root vegetables, mushrooms, taro, Vitamins A, C, D, E, aspirin, carbonated drinks, gold injections, atropine injections, hot baths, hiking, excessive use of computers and other electronic devices, residing in the forest, and penicillin.

Things that are good for me:
Buckwheat, rice, glucose/dextrose, all seafood, all leafy vegetables, bean sprouts, mung beans, cucumbers, bracken (a type of edible fern), seaweed, salted fish, grapes, peaches, persimmons, cherries, pineapples, strawberries, green onion, mustard, ginger, pepper, cocoa, chocolate, swimming, breathing exercises where I inhale quickly and exhale slowly, yellow hues.

Basically, I should hope that I never need medical care from a hospital, and I should move to Japan (and avoid forests).

25 May 2009

Po-po-po-poker Face

I had no idea that Lady GaGa could sing. I thought she was just about hair and spandex.

22 May 2009

Cover, Cover

Just when I was getting tired of Super Junior's "Sorry, Sorry", Allkpop posted a few videos of Navi, a Korean pop ballad singer, covering the popular single as well as another personal favorite, 2PM's "Again & Again."

Navi puts a nice jazzy spin on the two "hook norae."

Here she is on Kiss the Radio, performing a medley of recent megahits, including "Gee" and "Nobody."

19 May 2009


Last year I predicted that Roti Bun was going to be a huge hit. Lo and behold, roti buns are almost as ubiquitous as coffee in Seoul. Despite being featured in KBS' megahit, Boys Over Flowers, I think the popularity of roti buns are on the decline (Sorry, roti buns. Korea is a fickle, fickle market.) Move over roti buns. Here are my picks for the next big trend items.

1. Turkish döner kebab
Anyone's who been to Itaewon a few times has probably discovered the awesomness that are Turkish kebabs for him or herself. Kebabs joints have probably been around in Itaewon for quite some time. I would say, however, that kebabs have only recently become popular amongst Koreans. Case in point, they now sell kebabs in MYEONGDONG. Once an item hits the streets of Myeondong it's no longer on the cusp of trend, it is a trend. The Myeondong kebabs have even been Koreanified, i.e., lots of mayo and cabbage. Also, if you've seen any of the newly renovated kebab joints in Itaewon, it's evident that the kebab business is poppin'.

2. Forever 21
This trend item probably seems redundant given that in Standard American Mall English, "Forever 21" means "trendy." In my opinion, Forever 21 is a whole different animal in Korea. First of all, I don't know if it's just the merhcandising, but the clothes in Forever 21 Myeondong seem a lot more chic. It's definitely more expensive. Also, the Myeondong store is flanked by bodyguards in black suits and ear pieces, who all take their job very seriously. I loves me some Forever 21, but I think bodyguards are a little much. Anyhow, I've been seeing those horrendous caution-tape yellow bags all around town. Seoul folks are definitely loving Forever 21.

3. BBang Faces.
I'm not sure what they're called, but these little cellphone buns are so adorable. They're also made out of some rubbery foam that make them so squishably lovely.

4. Brunch
Brunch has been around for ages, but I definitely think that brunch is this year's roti bun. Everyone restaurateur and their umma is now serving brunch. Stroll around Itaewon, and you'll find that nearly every eatery now offers a brunch menu. It doesn't matter if it's Italian, French, or just a little cafe, they got brunch. Of course, brunch might consist of pasta and sausage, but it's called brunch.

Our latest brunch hotspot is Richard Copycat's All-American Diner in Itaewon. It's a cross between Hooters (without the "hooters") and a diner. Portions are very American, and the food's not half-bad. The staff all speak English.

5. Cupcakes
This isn't quite a trend so much as a trend I'd like to see blossom. Cupcake bakeries have been popping up around Seoul, but I've been pretty disappointed by all the cucpakes I've tried. This weekend, while cruising the food hall at Hyundae Department Store (in the Coex), we discovered a new cupcake bakery called "Good Ovening." I have to say the cupcakes there are the prettiest I've seen thus far in Seoul. They definitely look like they could be delicious. Unfortunately, I had just started my obscene diet, so I couldn't sample a cupcake. Instead, I made Seong and Cyndi try the red velvet cupcake while I looked on :(

Cyndi & Seong said that the cupcake was tasty, though skimpy on the sugar and butter. The cupcakes, are apparently, lower in calories than most other cupcakes, hence the shortage of fat and sugar. The cupcake appeared a little too dry for liking, but I won't be able to taste them for myself until after my exam next week.

16 May 2009

Don't Worry, 이모. Cyndi got a hair cut.

And, I got an
announsa-style hair cut.

Is a life without cheese a life worth living?

Cousin N told us about this great 한의사 (hanuisa), Doctor of Oriental Medicine, she saw at 새시대 한의원의 in Sinsa-dong (Kangnam). Basically, the doctor is able to determine what sort of diet is best for your body type and personality. I don't know very much about oriental medicine, but when I heard that Cousin N was instructed by the doctor to restrict her diet to meat, carbs, and root vegetables (all things my cousin had been avoiding), my interest was totally piqued. Also, I've had digestive problems in the past and suspect that my diet is a big factor in my skin issues, so I was particulary curious to hear what the doctor would say.

Thus, Seong, Cyndi (Yup. She's ba-ack!), and I headed over to the clinic for an exam. Cousin N had told us that the clinic is pretty famous. From the looks of the packed waiting room, the doctors there must be doing something right. Our appointment was at 10:00 AM, but we weren't seen until an hour later!

First, the receptionist will have you fill out a questionnaire about your eating habits, digestion, and other relevant information. (The questionnaire is all in Hangul). Next, they'll strap your right pointer finger to a device that measures...something. I'm not sure what. Electromagnewhatchamacalits? Then, they'll take your blood pressure.

Once you get to see the doctor, he'll have you lie down on the chair (Don't worry. There's no funny business), and ask you what ails you. Then, with two fingers, he'll measure the pulse(?) at each of your wrists. Lastly, he'll apply chim (acupuncture) to your legs and arm. After all that, he'll make some notes on his chart and tell you what you can or cannot eat.

Seong went first, and her examine seemed quite brief. After measuring the pulse(?) at each wrists, he pricked her right leg and arm. Then, he announced that the foods she should NOT eat. He mentioned a few items, including spicy food and chicken! Man, that sucks. How do you live in Korea and aovid spicy food and chicken. (I know. It's possible, but not preferable).

When it was Cyndi's turn, the doctor also examined her pulses(?), but this time, he applied the needles to her left leg. The doctor's instructions to Cyndi were quite simple. Absolutely do NOT eat seafood and leafy, green vegetables. I think Cyndi was relieved that soju and gogi weren't on the restricted list.

Last but not least, it was my turn. I think the doctor may have taken twice as long to examine me. Firstly, when he measured my pulses(?) he kept going back and forth to each arm, with a focused expression on his face. Then, when it was time for the needles, he pricked both legs, both arms, AND my fingers. When I had asked Seong & Cyndi if the needles hurt, they had said that it was just slightly more uncomfortable than a tickle. I'm not sure what kind of needles the doctor used on them, but the needles he used on me hurt! Either I'm huge wimp or I'm really unhealthy. Either way, it wasn't a good sign.

Then it came time for his diagnosis. Here's is how the conversation (translated into English, with some assistance from Seong and Cyndi) esentially went.

Doctor: You're [you're diet] is kind of...picky.

Anna: (inward groan)

Doctor: You may not eat flour.

Anna: (Loud gasp)

Doctor: You may NOT eat meat. ANY kind of meat.

Anna: (I flail myself onto the chair and moan in despair.) Can you ask him if SPAM counts as meat?

CYNDI: He says you can't eat SPAM.

Anna: ...

Doctor: You may eat egg whites, but you can't eat egg yolks.

Anna: Ahhhhhh! (What am I supposed to eat for breakfast?)

Doctor: You can't eat any dairy products.

Anna: You mean cheese and yogurt too? @!#$%!

Doctor: You may not eat root vegetables.

Anna: No problem --- Wait! You mean I can't eat kkakdugi and mu!!!!!!!! What about potatoes?

Doctor: You should eat potato in moderation.

Anna: :(

Doctor: You must also avoid all fried foods.

Anna: Waaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!

Doctor: If you use oil, stick with olive oil.

Anna: (Slumped over the chair in defeat)

So, let's recap. 1) I can be a bit melodramatic. 2) According to the doctor, for the next week or so, I should stick to eating seafood, vegetables, and rice, and basically avoid all other food groups.

This is not going to be easy, people.
I know what you're thinking. Why are you listening to the doctor?
The answer is: because I'm curious.

I've never thought about what I ate, and have never restricted myself when it comes to food. I see this as an interesting challenge.

Also, the doctor just wants us to try our assigned diet for the next week, then come back and see him for a follow-up. This is when he will re-examine us, as well as get our feedback on how we feel.

I'm determined to stick to this diet out for a week, and see what happens. So far, I've been good. I had seafood pho for lunch and fish and rice for dinner. One of the mother's even bought us cupcakes for teacher's day, but I resisted! I'm so impressed with myself.

If you're interested in checking out this clinic for yourself, here are the deets. (Please note that you need to speak Korean or go with someone who speaks Korean.)

Saesidae Oriental Medicine Clinic
ANC Building (4th Floor)
Get off at the Sinsa bus stop.
The building is located between Kia Motors and Woori Bank.

13 May 2009

2009 Seoul International Book Fair

The Seoul International Book Fair is this weekend at the COEX, May 13 - 17.
This is my first time hearing about SIBF, but from the looks of the website both international and domestic books will be featured. The "guest of honor" for this year's fair is Japan. That should be interesting. I am particularly interested in checking out the Children's Literature section.

The Book Fair opens today, but it's only open to professionals. The fairs is open to the public May 14 -17 Check out the website for more details.

Seoul International Book Fair
May 13 - 17
Hall A(Pacific Hall) & Hall B(Indian Hall), COEX, Seoul


- Korean Publishers
- International Publishers
- Rights Center
- Seoul International Book Arts Fair
- E-books
- Special Exhibitions
- Events
- Seminars

11 May 2009


Happy Mother's Day to my Umma and Emo!

어머니께 (To My Mother) - G.O.D.

"Mama" - Bobby Kim


MaMa 아직도 기억해요 어릴적 당신의 품을
MaMa 어느새 훌쩍 자라서 어른이 되었지만
난 언제나 당신의 무릎이 필요한 작은 아이일 뿐이죠

어디로 가야 하는지 몰라 길 헤매다 문득 뒤를 돌아보면 그곳엔
언제나 당신이 웃고 있었죠 내 그림자를 안고서

MaMa 이제 알 것 같아요 얼마나 힘들었나요
MaMa 힘들고 지쳐 쓰러져 울고 싶었을 텐데
난 한번도 엄마의 눈물을 본 적 없죠 미안해요 고마워요

이제는 내가 기다릴게요 비가 오면 우산 들고 내가 서있을게요
당신이 내게 했던 것 처럼 내가 안아 줄게요

하늘에 뜨거운 저 태양도 밤하늘에 수많은 저 별들도
당신 앞에선 그저 작은 이야기일 뿐인걸

이제는 내가 기다릴게요 비가 오면 우산 들고 내가 서있을게요
당신이 내게 했던 것 처럼 내가 안아 줄게요

그대와 영원히..

"Dear Mom" - 소녀시대 (Girl's Generation)

05 May 2009

"No Ignorant Men Wanted"

My cousin VP was looking through the Work 'n' Play forums and came across this great posting under Networking Abroad > Make Friends and Meet People.

The post, entitled, "my korean bf recently broke up with me" was topped by a modest sel-ca photo, followed by this caption:

my korean bf recently broke up with me for a thinner korean girl. i'm tired of korean men. i want to date a white man. Just i'm a university student- so i have time on weekends and evenings only. I only want educated person like minimum bachelor degree so if you are a soldier that is ok, but you must have at least college degree, no ignorant men wanted. i prefer engineer, lawyer or teacher in korea. my number is 010-XXXX-XXXX. thanks, my name is eui -XXXX

I like this girl. She knows what she wants and ain't afraid to say it.
Power to you, sister.

03 May 2009

Sorry, Sorry, Sorry, Sorry

I'm back in the Motherland...

When I left for the Homeland, Super Junior had just released their new single "Sorry Sorry" and I had passed it off as gimmicky and uninteresting (Especially because I thought the lyrics were "Sorry. Sorry. Lick 'em. Lick 'em.")

I'm not sure what happened to me during the one month I was gone, but now that I'm back in the Motherland, I'm totally into this song. I KNOW. I'm a little baffled as well. Trust me. Listen to this song a few times, and you'll find yourself rubbing your palms and saying, "Sorry, sorry." There's something about choreography for this song that's both comical and entrancing.

24 April 2009

Free Mini Food

Ever since I arrived in the Homeland, I've been wanting to try one of Jack in the Box's new mini sirloin burgers. If you've seen the poster or commercial, you'll know that they are super adorable. I had intended to eat some mini burgers, but ended up getting distracted by In N Out Burger.

Yesterday, I went to Jack in the Box and got a mini burger for FREE. Apparently, for a limited time only, you can go into any Jack in the Box and ask for a free mini sirloin burger. They'll ask you for the pass phrase, which is "JACK CHALLENGE." No purchase necessary! I'm not sure when this promotion ends, so you should go in for your free mini burger ASAP.

21 April 2009

The Yay Area

When my friends told me that they were staying for 10 days, I was a little worried. I'm already a terrible tour guide to begin with, but how I was I to fill up 10 days? It turns out that there's a lot to do between San Francisco and San Jose, and I'm not just talking about shopping at Target or The Great Mall. In addition to jaunts around San Francisco, Sausalito, and Santa Cruz, we checked out the very mysterious Mystery Spot, free wine tasting in Sonoma (less crowded than Napa), the Japanese Friendship Garden (followed by bento lunches at Minato), and the San Jose Flea Market (don't go on Fridays. There's less to look at). Of course, we also did non-touristy stuff that in my opinion, can be just as interesting, if not more so, than staring at a bunch of seals when it's overcast. We got our eyebrows done at Deepa's, cruised around the Farmer's Market, played Rock Band and karaoked with older dudes (for FREE on Monday night), peed in a seedy sex shop on Broadway, and baked some crispy chewy chocolate chip cookies.

Good times, y'all.

You can check out the highlight reel for some audio-visuals.
I just have to say that deep fried twinkies are overrated.

808 in the Bay from Annalog on Vimeo.

Shout to the gals. Special thanks to Cyndi for being our Soccer Mom.
Now, I'm off to Hawaii for some quality time with the family. Yippee!

16 April 2009

Gold Miss in English

Just before I left the Motherland, my cousin VP got me hooked on SBS' Gold Miss, a Sunday night variety program, featuring six Korean celebrity bachelorettes on the quest for love. "Gold miss" is a Korean Engrish play on "old miss" or what some knuckleheads would term as a "spinster."

Next week's episode features Hugh Jackman and Daniel Henney. (I know. Hotness!) In order to determine which of the Gold Misses are to meet the dashing duo, the ladies had to complete an assigned mission during their dates with English speaking men.

The results are pretty hilarious.
Those Gold Misses are adorable. I'd totally hang out with them.

Thanks to KmovieForYou the entire English Date episode is available on youtube -- with English subtitles!

The Daniel Henney & Hugh Jackman Episode Preview

15 April 2009

Homeland Homies

Hello, Internet! I know that it's been awhile... but I'm still on vacation in the Homeland. My high school friends from the Island flew out to Cali for a bit of a mini-reunion. Despite me being a terrible tour guide, we still managed to have a lot of fun.

I'm working on compiling a video of all our adventures, but here a few polaroids for you to gawk at it. Aren't my friends cute? :)