Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Korea block" and floods

Writer's block? The inability to produce new work or think creatively. You may lose your thoughts, you may lose the ability to think and the words you need to say, they may just not come to you easily. Well, I feel like I am at a loss for words and therefore thinking I may have a "Korea block."  Korea is not far from my mind. In fact, it is really close. however, I'm far from anything Korean whether it be food, culture, education or Korean people themselves.  I have to promise myself that from today this "block" or distance will not block me from creatively thinking about ways to portray Korea from my little shigol town.

I've been keeping up with the flood stories.  Really sad to see how damaging the monsoon rains are this year. In one month alone Korea reached its average full year's worth of rainfall! Can you believe it?  A mudslide also took several individuals' lives in Seoul.  College students on a trip doing volunteer service in Chuncheon were also affected by the heavy rains that set off mudslides. Tragic mother nature taking over!

Keeping Korea in thought and prayer.  Travelers need to keep busy and avoid driving in the rain as much as possible.  Here are 5 things you can do on a rainy in Korea.  Although the post is targeting those enduring the typhoon -ish weather it most certainly does not address how to fight the floods.  Maybe you have some suggestions? This weather definitely calls for  thigh high rain boots!!!

Check out some of the popular youtube videos floating around.  (Literally everything is floating around!)  Be safe everyone!

Exiting the subway: You could always be like the individuals seen here.  Standby and be amazed!

In the subway station and around town:

Dramatic video of the slides and rescue efforts:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Collection: Canned beverages in Korea

Here is the start to a collection of photos of can drinks.  Korea is full of fun delicious canned beverages. Just find the nearest vending machine at the train, subway, or bus stations or venture through some alleys or markets. Find a machine, plop some small won coins in, and select your choice of various tasty drinks. Here are few pics I could find.  There are more creative can designs out there, but the small cans are really cute and the perfect size to quench a thirst on a very humid warm summer day.

Aloe juice                          Pomegranate juice                     Plum drink
*NOTE: The bottom row contains some of my favorite juice/health drinks: aloe, pomegranate, and plum. They're all tasty in their own way and have lots of health benefits.  They're in order of increasing sweetness.  The aloe doesn't have much of a flavor other than something very unique. Most foreigners will probably make a face gulping down their first can.  You'll have to try it yourself.  I love anything all things pomegranate (from my soap and body spray to lip gloss) so I need not say much more other than I am biased and like it.  Maeshil (plum) is probably the sweetest of the three in my opinion.  I wasn't sure of this beverage the first time I sampled it. However, upon finishing my first glass of maeshil, I was very satisfied and ready for more.  Be careful not to drink too much and risk a stomach ache.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cool things happening at the "local" Korean Culture Center in LA

Kimchi Chronicles showing of episode 2

No, I am not in LA right now, but I would like to promote the Kimchi Chronicles. If you are in the area go catch a sneak peak of the 2nd and 3rd episodes in a 13 episode series to air on PBS about Korean culture and food! Made in high definition with some meaningful fun clips.

Day:  Thursday, July 14
Time: 7:30 - 8:30 pm
Where: Korean Culture Center LA

Moon Tides: The Women Divers of Jeju Island.

Attend this book session and meet the photojournalist/author Brenda Paik Sunsoo.  She will be presenting images and stories from Moon Tides. The haenyo or women of Jeju search the seas to harvest seaweed, shells, urchins, abalone among other things.  They dive deep into the waters holding their breaths for long periods of time to complete their task and work well into their 80s. Yeah, those ahjummas and halmonis are tough. Don't think about crossing them for a minute.

Peggy Myo Young Choi will also be a guest dance performer. You won't want to miss it.  Check out all the details and find out how to make reservations here.  You won't want to miss it.

Quick details:
Day: Friday, July 15, 2011
Time: 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Korean Culture Center LA, 3rd Floor Ari Hall.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Collection: Sulwhasoo cosmetic product

While in Korea, I received this cute sample set of Sulwhasoo products from a kind woman that I met through her daughter. They are an 'oriental' cosmetic clarifying water and cream products that are widely used in Korea among a slightly older (possibly middle age) generation.  People that sell and use this product claim that it makes you look 10 years younger. As for me, I tend to have the opposite problem and would prefer to look about 5 to 10 years older. However, this product did make my skin very smooth and clear. 

I thought these bottles were adorable.  The full-sized bottles are even nicer.  They also have the oriental or scent of products and medicines used in the past.  You can still visit oriental medicine doctors or shops and take in a bit of this smell. I believe Sulwhasoo products are made of some natural more medicinal herbs - hence the more medicinal scent. 

full set
photo courtesy of google

Anyways, I was cleaning out the junk in my closet and life and wanted to remember these sweet products or at least the people that gifted them to me. Little things that I hold onto, I must let go... but the memory of them shall not be lost. 

I might start a collection of containers or pictures of containers  or anything I find cute, happy, or even inspiring.  I'm really weird for liking shopping bags, cosmetic containers, pop cans, and all things with a flare of foreign or art in them more for the wrapping than the item itself. I usually try to maintain a frugal lifestyle but enjoy eye-shopping for all such products and people watching those that purchase them.  Maybe it's because I love aesthetically pleasing and pretty things?