Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Korea's National Student's Uniform: The North Face Jumpers

Hey, hey! Have you guys heard about this brand before?

I'm pretty sure everyone has at least heard of it.
If you want to really see it, don't go to the U.S. Just come to Korea.

This guy who works in the North Face company says that Korea is the #2 biggest market for the North Face products. Korea's probably one of the smallest countries in the world, yet it's #2 biggest buyer in the world???
And even worse, it's because of the STUDENTS?!


That can't be true.
Like... these cost up to $1000, and students can't really afford this.
Some parents may grant this, but not every parent can afford this either!


Holy mother! Yes it can!!!
Korea really is the #2 biggest buyer
thanks to Korean students very very vulnerable to trend.
As I have mentioned before, Korea is all about trend. Let me not tell you but SHOW you guys this time.


No joke.

But why???
Honestly, they look too casual to me, and there are plenty of other jackets that look just as good as North Face jackets. Why the ones from the North Face company???

Is it the celebrities wearing them bringing some kind of a trend?

Before assuming, let's hear what the students say about this.

Headline says: "Costly sports jumper as a uniform?"

These girls say: "If you don't wear this brand, you'll be looked down upon."

This guy says: "It's famous, so everyone wears this, and it kind of makes you look bigger..."

No good reason, like I expected.
It's merely a trend, just a lot more costly than other trends that came around.
Let's hope that diamond accessories for both genders will never become a trend...
I really criticize the way Koreans tend to be so vulnerable to trends :(
It'd be so much better if they could just have their own thing.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Korean Health Food: Chung Guk Jang (Part 2)

3 days later...

remove the gauze and the blanket on top of the beans,
and it should look like this:

It now has a rather brownish color than a vanilla color.
So the color is supposed to get darker during the 3 day fermentation process.

After taking out the straws, just stir them a little bit.

They should be REALLY sticky....
It was pretty hard to stir.
In this process, you can put some salt if you want.
If not, then you could just put some salt when you use this food to cook something.

You could stop here,
but if you want to make it better, here's what you do...

Put the beans in.
This Korean traditional grinder made of rock would be ideal,
but it's not easy to find these, so you can just put them in a bowl.

Then rather than grinding, just smash a part of them.
Dont' smash all because it tastes good in food when you can kind of just
taste the beans that are not smashed....
Smash maybe 30~40% of them...?

...and we're done! :)

If you made a large amount, and if you cannot finish this in a couple days,
then preserve it by putting them in a freezer.
Unfreeze as much as you would like to have that day, but keep the rest frozen to preserve!
Enjoy some healthy chung guk jang...! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sukara, Korean Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant (Part 1)

This restaurant called Sukara is not only for vegetarians but also for vegans because
this place does not use butter or eggs to make their food.
But since there's no rush, I'll show you guys their interior first just to tease you!! :)

Pretty unique door color, eh?
I think it's turquoise...

Their interior's calm and spacious.
It was amazing how people were energetic but not loud in that place.
Good way to keep the atmosphere cool.

It's also cozy in this place, too.
I meant cozy atmosphere-wise, not temperature-wise.

... and it's also like a casual cafe.
One cafe, multiple atmosphere?
That's got to count as a talent!

Here's their introduction and drink menu:
As if being a healthy vegetarian/vegan restaurant isn't enough,
this place uses organic vegetables as well!

Now, here comes our next blog about their food...
Get excited!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Korean Health Food: Chung Guk Jang (Part 1)

Chung Guk Jang (Korean) and Natto (Japan) are very similar in a way that
they are made from the same beans in very similar ways.
They even have similar health benefits.

I know some people are really interested in making them,
so I decided to show you guys how to make them...

Boil it at night and let it stay in water till the morning.
It should be so soft you could smash it easily with your finger.

Stick some straws in there...
I don't really know why,
but I think it's to provide some oxygen for the ones under the surface,
so that the healthy bacteria could breatheeeeee.....(ew?)

**btw, there is some straws on the bottom, too.

Put some thin gauze on top of it,

and then a very thin futon.
Don't use futon(blankets) that you would need when you sleep.
As the beans start getting fermented, it will start smelling,
and that smell isn't going to be all that pleasant for some people
espcially because chung guk jang and natto are food that usually requires "acquired taste"
which means you have to kind of learn to like it.

Wait for 3 days.....!
See you in our Korean Health Food: Chung Guk Jang (Part 2)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chinese Kimchi and Korean Kimchi

So... there's something I would like to say about Kimchi and other Asian food...
Some people think Sushi is totally Japanese.
Some people think fried rice are totally chinese.
Likewise, some people think kimchi is totally Korean.

They are true, yet false because they do very much exist in the countries the food is known to come from,
but it's not the country's food alone...

Sushi is found in Korea and China,
and fried rice are actually more common in Japan and Korea...
and kimchi is found a lot in all three countries: Korea, Japan, and China.
Although they all differ in taste and ingredients, it's the same concept.

So, now that I made clear that Kimchi is not Korea's alone, but is shared in China and Japan,
let me tell you the difference of Chinese kimchi and Korean kimchi...
Japanese kimchi is different, too, but our kimchis are similar.

Anyway, the main difference of Chinese kimchi and Korean kimchi is that
Korean kimchi has more "stuff" in them, like
vegetables or sliced radishes.

Sliced radishes makes the kimchi more suitable to Korean taste,
and some people like just the sliced radishes without the actual cabbage that makes the kimchi.
The sliced radishes look like this:

and it is often eaten a lot with Bossam (steamed pork).

There are other types of kimchi in Korea, Japan, and China,
but when we're looking at the ordinary kimchi,
this is just about all the difference.
Not so different, is it?

Here's an extra thing just because the baby looks pretty cute eating those kimchi.

Honestly, why kimchi is hard to like is not because it's spicy.
It's mostly because of the smell and the taste of the kimchi that comes from salted fish or their extract that makes it hard for everyone to like kimchi...
Well, this kid seems to really love it.
I mean.. that's pretty damn cool!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Korean Bus System

Transportation system is pretty well organized.
You can basically go ANYWHERE in Korea just using trains and buses.
I do have to admit it's more well organized than other larger countries because
Korea's so small... yeah, surprise surprise!

There were always these neat little machines telling us how many minutes it takes for the next train to arrive,
and recently, this machine has been set up for buses, too!
It's so convenient especially if you need to decide whether to take the faster taxi.
One time, I remember getting on the taxi after waiting for the bus for 15 minutes,
and finally seeing the bus come around the corner after I was already seated in the taxi...
I wish these machines were set up earlier.

Here's another thing that's important for you guys to know:
When a bus comes, just remain seated, NOT.
You really have to let the bus driver know that you want to get on the bus.


This is what happens.
The bus just goes right past by you, who is seated elegantly waiting for the bust to stop.

What Koreans do to tell the bus driver that they want to get on is:

1. Wave at them


2. Stand up and step down on the road. Not to far into the car lane, but just about a 
step away from the sidewalk.

The second option may seem dangerous,
but so far, there hasn't been any accidents because of this action.
So if you're new to Korea and trying to catch a bus,
don't just sit there and wait for the bus to stop for ya! :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Korean Singer Psy(싸이) Rises Above K-pop

It's been more than 10 years since he has debuted,
but his popularity is still on fire unlike other singers of his age.
Well, here are two things almost everyone is certain about him:

1. He's butt-ugly.
2. But we all love him anyway because he's pure awesome and is very civil and nice.

Other facts:
I think he graduated in Berkeley school of Music....

When I say civil, I mean not only his heart but also as a Korean citizen.
It's mandatory for all Korean men to go to the army to serve the country for two years.
This guy, Psy, went to the army not once, but TWICE!
Civil and nice, eh?

For popular celebrities, going to army is like a death sentence to their popularity.
It's hard to get back their popularity after being two years in army,
but Psy just pulled if off like it was a piece of cake.

You may be tempted to put a "cho" at the end of his name and call him a "Psycho",
because he has a very unique style....

His belly fat's spilling out!!!
But I, as well as many many others, love him all the same
because he's so funny,
and many of his songs encourage positive attitude in a really cool way without being pathetic or geeky.

He's very passionate, funny, civil, and nice,
and being not-superstar-hot actually only adds to his popularity
because it shows that your looks can't get on your way
especially in such a appearance-based judging countries like Korea.
Well, this is why there are so many audiences in his show,
and it's HOT in there!

Like I said, when it comes to music,
I really should just shut my mouth and let you listen to the music...
Here it is, FINALLY:
These are the videos that someone took on his surprise concert.
Feel that heat....

Okay, too much heat from the audience...
This is how the song actually sounds:
This video encourages to express yourself and just have fun because that's what makes you a champion :)      (2002 released)

This guy really knows how to make his songs fun without swear words are sexual innuendos.
Now, that's RARE.