Launching Buku “Menggapai Asa di Korea” di KBRI Seoul

credit: koreanmate

credit: koreanmate

Hari Sabtu tanggal 14 Maret 2015 lalu,bertempat di Ruang Serbaguna KBRI Seoul,- Perpika (Persatuan Pelajar Indonesia di Korea) bekerja sama dengan KBRI Seoul, Senior Public Diplomacy Group-Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea (SPDG-MOFA) serta INAKOS (International Association of Korean Studies in Indonesia) mengadakan peluncuran buku “PERPIKA untuk Indonesia” yang pada edisi perdana ini berjudul Menggapai Asa ke Korea. Buku ini berkisah tentang berbagai cerita kehidupan pelajar Indonesia di Korea Selatan. Peluncuran buku dihadir oleh Duta Besar RI, Bapak John A. Prasetio, perwakilan dari Senior Public Diplomacy Group, MoFA yang dipimpin oleh Bapak Choi Ha-kyung, Prof. Yang Seung Yoon dari Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Staf KBRI Seoul, Pengurus Perpika, para penulis buku dan mahasiswa Indonesia lainnya.

Dalam sambutannya Dubes RI menyatakan bahwa buku ini merupakan cerminan perjuangan pelajar Indonesia di Korea, terutama bagi pekerja Indonesia yang juga tergabung dalam Univeritas Terbuka Korea. Perjuangan mereka memang tidak mudah, karena selain bekerja juga harus menempuh pendidikan di Universitas Terbuka. Beliau juga mengutip alur film Korea berjudul “Ode to My Father” yang menceritakan seorang anak yang berjuang dalam hidupnya untuk menjadi sukses dengan membawa pesan-pesan dari ayahnya.

credit: koreanmate

credit: koreanmate

Presiden Senior Public Diplomacy Group, MoFA, Bapak Choi Ha-kyung menyatakan kebanggannya atas terbitnya buku ini dan diharapkan dapat menjadi bahan acuan bagi pelajar-pelajar lainnya. Ia juga mengatakan bahwa kian hari makin banyak orang Korea yang mengenal dan tertarik dengan Indonesia. Memang,selain anggota PERPIKA, pada malam itu hadir juga mahasiswa-mahasiswa Korea yang belajar sastra Melayu-Indonesia di HUFS (Hankuk University of Foreign Studies).

Buku ini merupakan wadah sejumlah 23 anak bangsa dalam menuangkan pengalaman belajar dan berkarya mereka di Korea. Dari semua penulis itu, sebagian besar adalah mahasiswa Indonesia yang tengah menempuh ilmu di berbagai universitas di Korea. Sementara itu, 5 orang di antaranya adalah para pekerja migran Indonesia yang juga menyandang status sebagai mahasiswa Universitas Terbuka Indonesia di Korea (UT Korea) ditambah 2 orang yang merupakan mantan tenaga migran Indonesia. Buku ini merupakan hasil kerja keras dari Kementrian Akademik dan Riset yang dipunggawai oleh Adam F. Nugraha, Suray A. Nugroho, Riezqa Andika, Theresia Ratih, Yus Chaniago, Anne Soraya, dan Fardhila Rochman.

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Buku Menggapai Asa di Korea ini penuh inspirasi karena penulisnya menceritakan perjuangan mereka mendapatkan beasiswa/ pekerjaan di Korea secara lugas dan jujur. Mereka menyemangati para adik-adik kelas atau siapapun yang ingin ke Korea untuk percaya bahwa dengan semangat dan kerja keras, semuanya tidak mustahil untuk diraih. Buku ini juga mengulik adanya perbedaan budaya antara Indonesia dengan Korea yang harus dijembatani oleh para pelajar Indonesia di Korea.

IMG_20150314_231559

[purchase_link id=”http://www.perpika.kr/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Artikel-Peluncuran-Buku-PERPIKA-untuk-Indonesia-plus.pdf” style=”button” color=”orange” text=”Download here”]

THE NEW PRE-PAID EG SIM CARD: THE BEST SOLUTION WHEN YOU TRAVEL IN KOREA

card2

Annyeong!

One of the problems that we (as foreigners) have when travelling to Korea is that it is not that easy to buy a SIM-card here. Unlike Indonesia,-who has so many providers like XL or Simpati,- Korea only has a few providers to choose from . In Korea, there are three mobile telecommunications service providers: KT, SKT, and LG U+. These providers operate authorized service centers and phone retail stores called 공식 인증 대리점 (gongsik injeung daerijeom), where you can subscribe to a phone service and purchase a mobile phone. An authorized store should carry the logo of its parent company (and not others), as well as a sign that says “공식 인증 대리점.”

Mobile phone subscriptions require proper identification and proof of residency. Usually, a valid passport and an alien registration card suffice as documents for review by the service providers. The Status of Stay, shown on every alien registration card, determines the eligibility for subscription to either pre- or post-payment plan. Some foreigners may not be eligible to subscribe to the post-payment plan. If you subscribe to a pre-payment plan, you must either have your own mobile phone or purchase a new one.

These three main providers have the largest area of Wi-Fi connections including in subways and roads.

However, if you are only travelling or staying in Korea for less than 6 months, then it would be so difficult for you to get a SIM-Card. They usually charge a very high price if you don’t stay that long. The other options would be renting a phone (which would also cost a lot but easier than buying a SIM card) or buying a Wi-Fi egg (if you go in groups).

As I would only live in Korea for 5 months, then it would be so expensive if I need to buy or rent a phone here; but in the other hand  it would be difficult for me to connect with my family and friends if I don’t have any SIM-Card. However worry no more, because there is a new Pre-Paid SIM card called the EG (Ever Green) Sim Card in Korea!! *celebration time*

EG%20SIM%20Card%20-1

To find out more about EG SIM card, you can visit their official website : http://www.egsimcard.co.kr and click the “ENGLISH” button if you don’t understand Korean!

With EG SIM card, you can enjoy:

  • Both voice and data with your own phone at affordable prices
  • Access to internet anywhere in Korea using Korea’s best quality mobile network
  • Various ways to recharge – through homepage, smart phone application and local convenient stores

EG Sim Card is perfect for:

  • Tourists with smartphone who need or want internet access anytime & anywhere regardless of Wi-Fi hotspot availability
  • Foreigners who live temporarily in South Korea

There are two ways to buy this simcard : Via online and offline. If you want to buy it via online, then you could simply go to http://www.egsimcard.co.kr/eng/buy-eg-sim-card/online/buy-egsimcard.asp and follow the instructions!

I got a brochure about this new sim card and was totally interested in buying it so I decided to visit their offices. Rather than buying it online, I chose to buy offline so I visited the Mobile Agency in Myeong Dong Area. It is near the China Embassy.

EG Mobile agency (Myeongdong)

34, Myeongdong 2-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, 100-011

OPEN 10:00 ~ 18:30 , Monday~Sunday

(Please be aware that you must be in Korea for 5 days before you could buy a sim card via offline).

EG Mobile Agency in Myeongdong

EG Mobile Agency in Myeongdong

The office is quite small but comfortable. There were two women sitting there who speak fluent Korean,English,Japanese and Chinese- so you do not need to worry about communication!

Make sure to bring your passport or Alien Registration Card with you because they need it for registration. You could also choose the 4 number digits for your new phone number! After they explain about the data usage and charges, you need to wait for 20 minutes for the sim card to be activated. There is a coffee shop downstairs so you could go and relax yourself there!

After 20 minutes, your sim card is now ready to use! The price is 30,000 won but it already includes a 40,000 won balance that you can use for internet, calling, messaging and others. Please be aware about the validity (Expiry date) of your data package! If the expiry date passes, you cannot use the service anymore. If the balance is empty, the service is also no longer valid. So please be careful to top-up your balance before the expiry date!


Screenshot (5)

You can top-up as much money as you want before the expiry date. The balance must be only recharged per 10,000 won. There are three ways to top-up your balance :

  1. Payment by Credit card (VISA/MASTER/JCB/AMEX)

Just click the EG SIM Card application in your phone-Top Up menu- Top Up for Voice-Payment option- credit card

  1. Payment by Bank Credit Transfer

Hana Bank 190-910331-19907 (but I don’t recommend this way because it’s too complicated)

  1. PAYMENT BY CASH!! *the easiest*

Just go to the MyeongDong Mobile Agency office and buy it there!

I’ve been using it for a week now and I must say that EG-Sim Card works very well! Before, I need to go to coffee shops, Cafes, or big malls just to get wi-fi and contact my family/friends but now I could chat online or browse the internet anywhere anytime, even inside the subway trains (that is like 3 levels underground LOL)

Wishing you a safe and fun experience during your trip/stay in Korea!

Best regards,

KoreanMate

March 2nd: The Spring Semester Begins!

Chalkboard with words "back to school"

Annyeong!

So I had arrived in Korea for 4 days and now I am currently living in Seoul, South Korea. In Korea, there are two academic semesters each year which are the Fall Semester and Spring Semester. Most Korean universities admit new students twice a year. For Spring semester starting in March applications are usually opened from September 1 to November 30. For Fall semester starting in September applications are opened from April 1 to June 31. Each semester is about 4 months. Vacations are in Summer and Winter, with each vacation each spanning about 2 months. There are also summer and winter classes, and many Korean universities offer Korean Language Courses in summer and winter for international students.

The interesting thing is, unlike in Indonesia, almost all universities start their semester in the exact same day. Today is March 2nd and guess what…it’s the first day of Spring Semester! For the past few days, I always see Korean students in streets, subways and buses bringing small bags to go hang out with their friends. Late at night, they will still be seen in the streets and clubs, playing until midnight or maybe dawn.

But as today is the first day of spring semester, the view changes. Since 8 am in the morning, the subways-buses-and streets are filled with Korean students bringing their laptop and backpacks walking to their own universities, including my university: KyungHee university. Usually, the dorm is still quiet in 9-10 am in the morning as everyone is still sleeping. But today, the dorm is so busy and crowded with students being fully dressed since 8 am in the morning! It’s crazy how they really wake up early to eat breakfast, shower, get make up and dressed nicely to go to the class. They really don’t want to be late at their classes.

Yes, one of the important things in the university life here is your attendance. The attendance is counted as a percentage of your final grade and you must have a minimum of 70% full attendance to be able to join the final exams. If you miss the class more than 30%, then you will be given an “F” grade. So basically, being absent can make you fail immediately. I don’t know how all universities in Indonesia is working but at least in my university in Indonesia, your attendance does not affect your grade. You have a “maximum absence” for each course, depending on the credits. And those attendance only determines whether you are able to take the final exam or not.

During lunch, almost all book stores, libraries and study rooms are occupied with students. I personally think that Koreans really prioritize their study. One of the most common grading system here is called a “relative grading” which means that your grade is affected by the class proportion. For example, only 20% of the class could get an A. The rest got a B, C and D. So that is the reason why everyone seems eager to study. It’s because the competition level among each students are really high here.

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spring semester starts!!

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wearing full gear lol

As for the weather information, it is still really cold here in Seoul. In the morning and night, the temperature could drop to below zero. Sometimes it reaches -7 degree celcius so it is really cold here. Everyone is still wearing jackets and long pants. As for me, who came from a tropical country like Indonesia, wears layers of clothes, gloves, and masks on. Yep.

So wish me luck for the Spring Semester!

MjAxMy1mMzc4MzE4MzNmZGU1MDIy

Best regards,

KoreanMate

Fenomena “Yellow Dust” yang Menyelimuti Korea Selatan

credit :koreaherald.com

credit :koreaherald.com

Annyeong!

*As this article contains a lot of technical words, I will write it both in Indonesian and English!*

As winter is almost over and Spring is on its way, South Korea has encountered the Yellow Dust Storm all over again. Originating from the deserts in southern Mongolia and northern China, the dusty air flew into the Korean Peninsula on a northwesterly wind over the weekend, the city government said. The weather office issued this year’s first advisory against yellow dust particles in the city on Sunday (22/02/2015), the Seoul metropolitan government said, asking citizens to stay indoors. South Korean meteorologists expect this year’s yellow dust season to be milder than recent years, despite an early coating during the past two days that spurred health advisories across the country.

The dust typically comes from the Chinese and Mongolian deserts, potentially bringing along with it bacteria and industrial pollutants.This week’s heavy dusting falls slightly out of the usual March to May season; however,the Korea Meteorological Administration expects a lower level of yellow dust than the country averaged between 1981 and 2010.

The prevailing winds in central and southern China are likely to undergo a cyclical change this year. As a result, South Korea won’t experience the northwesterly winds that have worsened yellow dust levels in recent years.

The dust prompted the Korea Meteorological Administration to issue warnings in Seoul and several other surrounding cities Sunday, along with yellow dust advisories from Incheon in the north to Gwangju in the south.High concentrations of the yellow dust particulates, which can cause respiratory illness, remained in the air through Monday afternoon.Yongsan Garrison measured a high of 1,044 micrograms per cubic meter of air as of 4 a.m. Monday, according to the 65th Medical Brigade website.

On Monday (22/02/2015), the dust concentration in Seoul reached 1,044 micro grams per cubic meter, the fourth-highest since 2002, when the government started to collect such measurements. Ganghwado Island in Incheon coast recorded 707 micro grams per cubic meter, followed by Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, with 696 micro grams per cubic meter, the weather agency said.

Yellow dust advisories are issued when an hour average dust concentration of more than 400 micro grams per cubic meter is expected to continue for more than two hours. More than 800 micro grams per cubic meter for over two hours triggers a warning. At 800 micro grams or greater, Korea Meteorological Administration officials recommend that all outdoor activities be canceled during yellow dust warnings, and that the young, old and infirm stay indoors.

Yellow Dust could bring many illness such as respiratory and other health problems. So to minimize those negative effects , here are some of the things that you should do during the Yellow Dust Storm:

  • Avoid outdoor activities, this applies especially to the elderly, young children and persons with heart disease, diabetes and lung diseases or respiratory problems, such as asthma.
  • Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Remove contact lenses and wear your glasses instead, the dust can scratch your lenses and damage your eyes
  • Brush your teeth and wash your hands, face and eyes with warm water when returning indoors.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your tears flowing well and prevent skin dehydration.
  • Use air filters to keep air clear and a humidifier to increase the humidity level inside your home/office.
  • Wear long sleeves as often as possible when outside.
  •  Wash your hands carefully before handling food.
  • Eat vitamin-rich and high-protein foods to help stabilize your immune system.
  • Even after the storm passes, be careful since the dust has settled and can easily be stirred by movement, wind, etc.

 

Korea Selatan, khususnya Seoul dan Incheon, sedang diliputi oleh badai Yellow Dust atau lebih dikenal dengan kata “Yellow Dust Storm” beberapa hari ini.

Yellow Dust, atau yang secara harafiah diartikan sebagai badai debu bewarna kuning, berasal dari padang gurun di Mongolia dan Cina. Udara yang mengandung debu ini bergerak menuju area Korea Selatan sejak Minggu (22/02/2014). Pemerintah Korea pun menghimbau bagi penduduk untuk tetap berada didalam ruangan dan mengurangi aktivitas di luar ruangan.Angin yang berhembus di Cina mengalami perubahan siklikal tahun ini sehingga Korea Selatan tidak akan mengalami fenomena “Yellow Dust” yang makin parah. Badan Meteorologi Korea Selatan memperkirakan bahwa Yellow Dust kali ini lebih sedikit dibanding tahun-tahun sebelumnya.

Akibat badai debu yang terjadi, Pihak Administrasi Meteorologi Korea mengeluarkan tanda peringatan di kota Seoul dan beberapa kota sekitarnya seperti Incheon dan Gwangju pada hari Minggu lalu.  Konsentrat yang tinggi didalam partikel  “Yellow Dust”ini bisa menyebabkan gangguan pernapasan dan sejumlah gangguan lainnya. Pada hari Senin (23/02/2015) lalu, di kota Seoul terdapat 1.044 mikrogram debu per meter kubik udara. Kandungan debu ini adalah keempat tertinggi sejak tahun 2002. Udara di Pulau Ganghwado di Incheon mengandung 707 mikrogram debu per kubik meter udara, sementara di Chuncheon-Provinsi Gangwon mempunyai 696 mikrogram debu per meter kubik.

Peringatan pertama akan dikeluarkan bila rata-rata konsentrat debu per meter kubik mencapai lebih dari 400 mikrogram, dan diperkirakan berlangsung selama lebih dari dua jam. Apabila mencapai angka lebih 800 mikrogram debu per meter kubik selama dua jam, maka pihak Administrasi Meteorologi Korea akan menyuruh semua penduduk untuk menghentikan aktivitas diluar ruangan (outdoor activities) dan menghimbau agar anak-anak, orang yang lanjut usia, serta orang yang memiliki kelemahan tubuh untuk tetap didalam ruangan.

Karena debu yang dibawa berakibat buruk bagi pernapasan dan gangguan kesehatan lainnya, berikut adalah beberapa hal yang penting untuk dilakukan selama fenomena “Yellow Dust” ini berlangsung:

  • Hindari kegiatan yang dilakukan di udara terbuka/ luar ruangan; terlebih lagi bagi orang lanjut usia, anak-anak, dan orang berpenyakit jantung dan gangguan pernapasan lainnya seperti asma.
  • Tutuplah jendela- jendela dan pintu-pintu untuk mencegah debu masuk kedalam ruangan tertutup.
  • Hindari pemakaian lensa kontak dan pakailah kacamata yang nyaman. Debu yang berterbangan bisa menggores lensa anda dan melukai mata anda.
  • Gosok gigi dan cuci tangan, muka, dan mata dengan air hangat setelah beraktivitas di luar.
  • Minum banyak air putih untuk menjaga kelembaban tubuh dan mencegah dehidrasi kulit.
  • Gunakan air filteres (mesin filter udara) untuk menjaga udara didalam ruangan tetap bersih dan menjaga tingkat kelembaban didalam ruangan/ kantor anda.
  • Sebisa mungkin pakailah baju berlengan panjang selama berada di luar.
  • Cucilah tangan sampai bersih sebelum memegang makanan.
  • Konsumsi makanan-makanan bervitamin dan berprotein tinggi untuk memperkuat sistem kekebalan tubuh.
  • Setelah “Yellow Dust” berlalu pun, tetaplah berhati-hati karena debu yang tersisa bisa dengan mudah terbawa angin.

(information taken from http://www.koreaherald.com)

Keep safe and be healthy during this “Yellow Dust” Storm!

Best regards,

koreanmate

Places You Don’t Wanna Miss During Seollal Holidays!

credit: gwangjublog.com

credit: gwangjublog.com

Annyeonghaseyo!

The Seollal (Lunar New Year) celebration is only one day away and everyone in Korea is now having their holiday! Most places will be closed during the Seollal holiday but these attractive places will especially hold some special Seollal events for families to enjoy and celebrate this Lunar New Year!

SEOL GRAND FESTIVAL

  1. Seoul Grand Festival in National Folk Museum of Korea

Date: 18th February until 22nd February 2015

Location: 37, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Official website: www.nfm.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, German, French, Spanish)

1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

The National Folk Museum of Korea, located in Gyeongbokgung Palace, will hold a special exhibition titled ‘Seoul Grand Festival with National Folk Museum of Korea’. In celebrating the year of the sheep, many sheep-related cultural programs are to be offered at the event. Museum visitors can join arts and crafts classes, making a tray with hanji (traditional Korean paper), a sheep doll or a bokjori (a lucky bag). Also, the festival aims to spread holiday cheer through fun folk games like paengichigi (top-spinning game), jegichagi (Korean hacky sack game) and Yutnori (Korean board game).

ROYAL RESIDENCE

  1. Celebration of New Year in Unhyeongung Royal Residence

Date: 18th February (Wednesday) – 20th February (Friday) 2015

Location: Unni-dong 464, Samil-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

Official Website : http://www.unhyeongung.or.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Unhyeongung Royal Residence will hold a special exhibition of Charyesang (ancestor memorial service table) that will offer a great opportunity to learn about Korean customs and the folk games set to welcome visitors.

KOREAN FOLK VILLGAE

  1. Good Luck Feast in Korean Folk Village

Date: February 7 (Saturday) – 22 (Sunday), 2015

Location: Bora-dong 90, Minsokchon-ro, Giheung-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do

Official Website: http://www.koreanfolk.co.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

In celebration of Seollal, the Korean Folk Village will host Seollal events for all family members to enjoy from February 7 to February 22, 2015. Special events to welcome the New Year include daljiptaeugi (sheaf burning), jisinbalgi (praying for abundance through music), sharing tteokguk (sliced rice cake soup) and fortune telling. Also, participants can get their faces painted or exchange words of blessing, called ‘deokdam’ at the deokdam photo zone. A traditional Korean dance will be performed on February 19 (Seollal day) and a gugak b-boy dance performance will take place on February 20 and 21. The Korean Folk Village offers visitors dressed in hanbok a ‘day pass’ at a 50% discounted rate.

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  1. Five Nobleman’s Seollal Feast in Namsangol Hanok Village

Date: February 19 (Thursday) – 21 (Saturday), 2015

Location: The area of Pil-dong 2(i)-ga, 28, Toegye-ro 34-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

Official Website: hanokmaeul.seoul.go.kr (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

1330 Korea Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese)

Namsangol Hanok Village in Seoul will hold a variety of events, such as traditional performances, folk games, and traditional experience programs from February 19 to 21, 2015. Visitors can take part in traditional Seollal customs like sharing tteokguk (sliced rice cake soup), pounding steamed rice into cake, and writing wishes for the New Year. Fun folk games such as jegichagi (Korean hacky sack game), paengichigi (top-spinning game) and tuhonori (arrow-throwing game) are also prepared for visitors to enjoy.

HOWEVER,If you want to have some fun with families and friends after going to those traditional events, you could also release your stress and become a happy kid in Amusement Parks!

EVERLAND

  1. Everland Theme Park

Everland is the go-to theme park in Korea. It’s a fairy tale, magical wonderland for the kids, and it also has the most fun rides of all the theme parks. It’s the perfect getaway for this Lunar New Year (Seollal) Holiday as there will be less people, and there are cultural specific events for the holiday as well.

Admission:
Adults 46,000 won / Children 36,000 won

How to get to Everland:
[Subway] Jeondae-Everland Station (Yongin Ever Line), Exit 3 – then take shuttle
[Bus 5002] – Sinnonhyeon Station, Gangnam Station, Yangjae Station
[Bus 5700] Pangyo, Segok-dong, Suseo Station, Songpa Station, Jamsil Station, Gangbyeon Station
[Bus 1500-2] Sadang Station, Nambu Terminal
[Bus 1113] Gangbyeon Station, Gangdong Station

SEOUL LAND

  1. Seoul Land

Seoul Land has a theme park, zoo, sledding and a wide open park with plenty of space to play. It’s the perfect place to take the kids or to go on a short fun date during the holidays. The rides are very reasonable for those that don’t like to be thrown out of their wits. In addition, you’ll get a parade along with cultural experiences setup specifically for the holiday.

Admission:
Adult 20,000 won / Youth 17,000 won / Children 15,000 won

How to get to Seoul Land:
Seoul Grand Park Station (Line 4), Exit 2

After playing the whole day, you may want to relax and shop with your beloved ones. If you are still staying in Seoul, these market places will keep you awake all night!

credit: redbubble.net

credit: redbubble.net

  1. Coex Mall

Coex, Asia’s largest underground shopping mall, has been recently renovated and filled with high quality shopping, excellent eats and plenty of activities. Although the openings and closings will vary according to each store, there is enough to see and do to fill out your day.

How to get to Coex:
Samseong Station (Line 2), Exit 5

Insadong121

  1. Insadong

Insadong is Seoul’s mecca for tourists, and luckily for you it’s wide open for the Lunar New Year. The many arts and crafts and traditional Korean goods can be bought from the numerous stores that stay open for lost travelers. There’s also a few traditional Korean dances and musical performances as well.

How to get to Insadong:
Anguk Station (Line 3), Exit 6

dongdaemun-night

  1. Dongdaemun

Dongdaemun, one of Korea’s hottest shopping districts for domestically produced Korean designs, is also another area that stays open during the Lunar New Year. While there will be some spotty closures in regards to vendors and malls, there will definitely be some available for all your Korean shopping needs.

How to get to Dongdaemun:
Dongdaemun History and Culture Park (Line 2, 4, 5), Exit 14
Dongdaemun Station (Line 1, 4), Exit 8, 9

itaewon

  1. Itaewon

Itaewon is Seoul’s foreigner district and the newest hotspot for nightlife in Seoul. And while many of bars and clubs will be closed, there will be definitely be plenty open for all the foreigners who don’t have anywhere to go. Also, there’s plenty of shopping to do during the day, even during this Lunar New Year holiday.

How to get to Itaewon:
Itaewon Station (Line 6), Any exit

myeongond

  1. Myeongdong

Myeongdong is one of the largest downtown areas of Seoul, and one of the few places that will be bustling with people during the typically quiet holidays. Nearly all of the stores will be open and there will be plenty of street food, shopping and activities. Fair warning, however: it may be too crowded for some!

How to get to Myeongdong:
Myeongdong Station (Line 4), Exit 6
Euljiro-1-ga Station (Line 2), Exit 6

kimchi-hongdae-hostel

  1. Hongdae

Hongdae, Seoul’s heartbeat of subculture and cool kids, is filled with shopping, bars, restaurants, clubs, street performers, and anything else. And while there are plenty of places that will close, Hongdae is so massive and draws such crowds that there will undoubtedly be plenty for you to do.

How to get to Hongdae:
Hongik University Station (Line 2), Exit 9
Sangsu Station (Line 6), Exit 1 or 2

Well, hope all that information could help you imagine what Lunar New Year is like in South Korea! And if someday you get the chance to spend Seollal in Korea, don’t forget to visit these places!

Once again, happy Lunar New Year everyone!

(and because I am currently addicted to these super cute Song Triplets, ….tadaaa!)

song-il-kook_1420085032_af_org

새해복 많이 받으세요! (Sae-hae-bok-mani-ba-de-se-yo!)

(Thankyou to Seoulistic.com and visitkorea.or.kr for these informations)

Best regards,

koreanmate

Celebrating Seollal- The Lunar New Year in South Korea

credit:rsgiars.blogspot.com

credit:rsgiars.blogspot.com

Annyeonghaseyo!

Not even a week passed by after Valentine’s Day but we are already going to celebrate another big occasion: The Lunar New Year!

Lunar, or Chinese New Year in common, will be on the 19th of January this year. If you live in Asia, you must have seen all the Chinese ornaments, Lanterns, lion dances, and of course the Red Envelopes or “HongBao” in many places such as malls and streets.

Korea is also one of the country that celebrates Lunar New Year. They call it Seollal (설날).Seollal is the traditional Korean calendar’s most important holiday, along with the autumn harvest festival, Chuseok. More than just a holiday to mark the beginning of a new year, Seollal is truly a special occasion for Korean people. Not only is it a time for paying respect to ancestors, but it is also an opportunity to catch up with distant family members who will go back to their original home to get together for this special occasion. During Seollal, Koreans traditionally wear hanbok (traditional clothes), perform ancestral rites, play folk games, eat traditional foods, listen to stories, and catch up with one another.

credit:koreaculturedc.org

credit:koreaculturedc.org

As is custom, the preceding and following days are combined to create a three-day holiday. In Korea, Seollal is when extended families often gather at the eldest brother’s home and food, games, conversation and ancestral rites figure prominently. On the morning of the second day, family members will perform Jesa (제사), a ceremonial rite to honor one’s deceased ancestors. To one’s living elders, deep bows, called sebae (세배), are made. Most children look forward to the cash rewards they receive for their bows.

The days before Seollal Celebrations are chaotic and busy as Seollal demands a lot of preparation,-especially in terms of gifts, traveling, and also the feast. Department stores and markets are usually very crowded during the days leading up to Seollal because people would buy many ancestral gifts with great attention paid to the quality of their shape, color, and freshness. Seollal gifts vary each year depending on economic situations and gift trends, but the most popular ones are department store gift cards and cash. Popular gifts for parents include ginseng, honey, health products, and massage chairs. Other common gifts include toiletries such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc., and gift baskets/sets composed of Spam, tuna, hangwa (traditional sweets and cookies), dried fish, and fruit.

Another important thing to be concerned about during Seollal is travel arrangements. Many people live away from their family because of work, marriage, or study, and therefore must travel to celebrate Seollal with their families. So, you need to hurry to buy buses, trains, or plane tickets before they are all sold out. Traveling by your personal car during the holiday can take over two to four times the normal travel time due to heavy traffic. During the Seollal holiday, the crowded city of Seoul becomes relatively quiet and peaceful, as most people leave the city to return home or travel abroad. Streets become empty and many restaurants and shops close. However, recreational and cultural facilities such as amusement parks, national parks, and major palaces stay open to the public to present various events and traditional games for families.

credit:visitkorea.or.kr

credit:visitkorea.or.kr

The morning of Seollal begins with an ancestral ceremony. Family members, each dressed in Hanbok (Korean traditional clothes), gather in front of the ritual table and set on it an ancestral table and dishes of ritual foods, which are according to the laws of ancestral ceremony. Once set, the ceremony begins with deep bows as greetings to the ancestor spirits, and proceeds with offerings and prayers before ending with bidding farewell to the spirits. The ritual is conducted to express respect and gratitude to one’s ancestors and to pray for the family’s well-being throughout the year.

Tteokguk

Next, everyone gathers together and eats the ritual food. The main dish of the day is tteokguk, a traditional soup made with sliced rice cakes, beef, egg, vegetables, and other ingredients. In Korea, eating tteokguk on New Year’s Day is believed to add a year to one’s age.

credit:hancinema.net

credit:hancinema.net

After the meal, the younger generations of the family pay respect to their elders by taking a deep bow called sebae, and by presenting them with gifts. Then, the elders offer their blessings and wishes for a prosperous year. Children often receive sebaetdon (New Year’s money) as a Seollal gift. For the rest of the day, family members play traditional folk games, eat food, and share stories. The most common activity is yutnori, a board game that involves throwing four wooden sticks. This game is so easy to learn that all family members, regardless of age, can enjoy playing in teams and making fun bets. Besides yutnori, traditional games such as jegi-chagi (footbag-like game), neol-twiggi (see-saw), tuho (arrow toss), and yeon-naligi (kite flying) are widely played at places like parks or open areas at palaces and shrines. Lastly, families wind down by going to see a movie or watching Seollal specials on TV.

Let us learn how to say the Lunar New Year’s greeting!

새해 복 많이 받으세요! (Sae-hae- bok- mani- ba- doo- se- yo!)

It means “Please receive lots of good luck in the coming year!”

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Best regards,

koreanmate

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Korea! (발렌타인 데이)

credit: dramafever.com

Annyeonghaseyo!

February is a month full of love. You may see hearts, chocolates, and flowers colored in pink everywhere this month as it is Valentine’s Day tomorrow! As you know, South Korea may be one of the most romantic and “lovey-dovey” country in the world so you probably wonder.. how is Valentine’s Day celebrated in Korea?

Valentine’s Day in Korea is a bit different from Valentine’s Day elsewhere in world. If we take Indonesia as an example, Valentine’s Day is the only day that celebrates love in a year. Guys give their beloved ones chocolates and flowers and ask them out for romantic dinners. But in Korea, there are a lot of “love” celebrations in a year. In fact, Valentine’s Day is one of 12 “love days” celebrated on the 14th of every month in Korea. These days range from the popular “White Day” or depressing “Black Day” for singles, to the unusual “Hug Day”.

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Originating from this date, the 14th of every month is designated as the special day for events. Most special days target young couples, but some special days target single people. One exception to the 14th of every month-rule is the month of November, which has two special days — the 11th and the 14th. On November 11, people usually exchange peppero sticks on this day because these peppero sticks resemble the date (11/11).

These are the list of every 14th of each month,starting from January :

01월14일: 다이어리데이 (Diary Day). Couples exchange yearly planners in which they mark their plans, anniversaries, birthdays and other important dates.

02월14일: 밸런타인데이 (Valentine’s Day)

03월14일: 화이트데이 (White Day). Men’s turn to confess and express his love and affection for that special someone by giving her candies and gifts.

04월14일: 블랙데이 (Black Day). Black Day is designated especially for singles. They eat black noodles (jajangmyeon) together to express their singleness.

05월14일: 로즈데이 (Rose Day). On this day, couples exchange roses.

06월14일: 키스데이 (Kiss Day). Kiss everyone you meet on this day.

07월14일: 실버데이 (Silver Day). People exchange silver accessories.

08월14일: 그린데이 (Green Day). Couples seek nature and relax while singles drink Soju to drown their loneliness.

09월14일: 포토데이 (Photo Day).Take a picture together with your significant other in a romantic place and put it in a special place to look at.

10월14일: 와인데이 (Wine Day). Enjoy wine with someone special.

11월14일: 무비&오렌지데이 (Movie & Orange Day).Couples go to watch a movie at the cinema and eat oranges.

12월14일: 허그데이 (Hug Day). Couples hug each other in the winter to chase away the cold.

credit: cuteinkorea.com

credit:cuteinkorea.com

As stated before, Valentine’s Day in Korea is a bit different from Valentine’s Day elsewhere in world. In many parts of the world, it is the guy who usually gives his beloved one chocolate or flowers or candies. But in Korea, it is the other way around. It’s the girls who give chocolates to the guys. If a woman wants to confess her love for a man, or express her feelings for him, this is the day to give that special someone some chocolate. Traditionally, men that receive these gifts will give a gift in return the following month on White Day. This has been changing in recent years, as retailers have begun targeting Men and Women on both days. The streets of Korea begin to line itself with chocolate-filled lace baskets about a week prior to Valentine’s Day. This day particularly makes a large profit in department stores, hotels, chocolate stores, bakeries, jewelry stores, and doll stores.

There are two types of chocolates that girls usually give their beloved ones in Korea:

Type one: The “cheap” one.

Valentinestag_Seoul_2012

These chocolates are the ones that you could buy in any convenience store. It’s usually mass produced and the price is relatively cheap. These chocolates are seen as “effortless” because you don’t spend much time and effort in giving those, so the “cheap” chocolate types are usually given as a courtesy goes to all the men in their life (father, boy-friends, best friends, etc)

Type two : The “expensive” one.

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The “expensive” ones are either handmade chocolates or the special chocolates sold in luxurious bakeries and cafes. These chocolates are given when a girl has someone she likes/ loves. She may decide to show her feelings by taking the time to create handmade chocolates. Around Valentine’s Day, bookshops and convenience stores in Korea begin to sell lots more of the equipment required to make chocolates. If you have ever seen the popular drama ‘Boy Over Flowers’, you may remember the lead character Geum Jan Di making chocolates for her love interest Goo Jun Pyo.

For those who doesn’t have time to make their own chocolate, then buying luxury handmade chocolates is also an option and many of the more upscale chocolate brands and European style bakeries (such as Paris Baguette) have special ranges and designs for Valentine’s day.

For couples that are already officially dating, they will spend Valentine’s day by having a dinner in a romantic café or restaurant, or have a date in the amusement park. They will use couple things such as couple tees, couple shoes, or couple rings. There are a lot of special prices and discounts for couples in this special day such as a “buy one get two” promotions for ice creams or movie tickets.

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Talking about South Korea, you will never forget the K-stars. In Valentine’s days, many Kpop idols and movie actors share their love via SNS( Social medias) by uploading their picture holding chocolates and other Valentine “thingy”. They would say their gratitude and love for their families, friends, and also the loyal fans.

It is interesting to see how different holidays are celebrated in different parts of the world and these celebrations say a lot about Korea’s couple culture!

So…how are you going to celebrate your Valentine’s day?

해피발렌타인 데이! Happy Valentine’s day! May you share your love to your loved ones in this special day!

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Best regards,

koreanmate