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.