I’m all smiles because of KOREA

yours truly in orange hanbok!

안녕하세요~~

4 days trip to Korea is DEFINITELY NOT ENOUGH! And going with travel agency is also not a very good idea actually since I was rushed to all the locations we have to visit as stated in the itinerary. But for the first visit, going with travel agency is alright. At least I can get the picture on what to expect in my “next” trip to Korea. LOL. Our tour guide, Hae Min onnie was very helpful,knowledgable and friendly. So it was not that bad.

The weather was quite nice on the day of our arrival. But as nice or as good as it looked, I was freezing! The breeze was definitely different from Malaysia but alas, me and my friends enjoyed ourselves. The tiring part was the traveling we had to do in order to go to one place and then another. It actually took A LOT of our precious times! :[

I will update my sort-of travelog once I get back to work. And that’s going to be on Tuesday, I guess. Hehe. I’ll try to write a day-by-day entries so you guys can really know what I experienced during my stay in Korea.  Please click here to see my pictures. They are in my Facebook album, so I’m not really sure if you can access them or not. Till then, 안녕히가세요!!

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#8 on 50 Things about Korea – Karaoke (노래방)

Ref: My Name is Kim Sam Soon, episode 14.

From now on, I’ll be referring my blog entries to the drama that reminds me of the topic. Since I’ve done that in most of my entries I’ve written so far,so by telling you which drama you can relate to, I hope it helps. I’ll try to find clips too, but if I can’t find it then I hope the reference would do.

Today’s topic is Karaoke or as Koreans like to refer it to as Noraebang (노래방) – literally it means “Song Room”. This is definitely the TOP in my list of what-to-do-in Korea. Seriously. To those who are not familiar with the ‘culture’ might not see the difference between Noraebang and the usual karaoke-ing. But as an avid Korean drama fan, I’ve grown to adapt to this passion most (if not all) Koreans have about singing in Noraebang. And mind you, they don’t just sing in Noraebang. Lol.

There are like sort of the ‘unwritten rules’ when you go to a Noraebang. A trot song is a must. And you’ll sing while dancing like a retard (lol). And of course, there’s the maracas and tambourine to accompany your ‘performance’. Hehehe. I came to a conclusion that Koreans love singing. I should too?? Hehe.

Anyway, almost all k-dramas featured a scene in Noraebang, but the ultimate one for me is definitely in My Name is Kim Sam Soon. I’d laugh like crazy every time I watch this scene. Rotfl. Need I say more? Watch this part, and pay extra attention towards the last 3 minutes. Hehe.

-video credit to JLINK27

#6 on 50 Things about Korea – Metal Chopsticks (금속 젓가락)

Despite the fact that Korea has one of the world’s greatest ceramic-making traditions and it is also surrounded by nations (namely Japan and China) which use ceramic bowls and chopsticks made of plastic or wood, it is ironic Koreans like to use stainless steel bowls, dishes and utensils.

Being a Korean fanatic like me, I’ve taken notice of this and started using metal chopsticks since then. Back when I was in teaching college, I would go to supermarkets with my fellow Korean freak and look for metal chopsticks that are sold along with long necked spoon. Until now, I think I’ve bought a few pairs of them. LOL .

A little reading brought me to an explanation to this. It dates back to the Joseon dynasty, when kings, who were extremely cautious about security, would insist on using silver chopsticks and bowls because silver would neutralizes poisons (is this scientifically proven??). This custom caught on and was passed down to the common people, although they could only afford metal cutleries. Besides that, metal is also easy to clean, hard to break and last longer.

As for yours truly, I still can’t get used to using metal chopsticks. I’m not saying I don’t like using them, but it is a bit heavier than the usual wooden or plastic ones. By the time I finished my bowl of Ramyeon, my right hand would feel the pressure from holding the 젓가락 (cheot ka rak -chospticks). Or did I not hold them correctly? Hehe.

#4 on 50 Things about Korea – Hanbok (한복)

My favourite idol group, SNSD with their hanboks.

The first time I saw hanbok in a drama (can’t really remember which drama), my comments were; ‘what a weird looking clothes! Those dresses make the women look fat… Kimono is way much better!’ And so I thought. Not long after, when the Korean culture slowly ‘gotten into me’ and my Dad (yes, you read it correctly. MY DAD! hehe) suddenly didn’t miss an episode of “Hwangjini” on tv, I fell in love with the beauty of this traditional clothing worn by Korean women.

I started to appreciate the uniqueness of the clothing and soon after, I even thought Hanboks were much better looking than all the western dresses. The authenthicity of the Hanboks and the fact that they are a part of the local culture,captured my interest.

Unlike Malaysian Baju Kurung that is still worn regularly by the women, that is not the case for the Korean Hanboks. These days, we can only see people wearing beautiful Hanboks for weddings, festivals or other special occasions.

Urbanisation and Westernisation have made wearing a Hanbok old fashioned. However, recently fashion designers are reinventing the Hanboks for more modern-looking designs to attract youngsters to wear them. What’s more, Hanboks are being recognised widely around the world.

I don’t know why that makes me PROUD. Lol. And oh, traditional clothes for men is also called Hanboks!

p/s – as I’m writing this, KBS World is showing a clip about a Hanbok Fashion Show. Wow, I do have chemistry with Korean culture, don’t I? Hahaha.