[Seoul 2014] More food and a movie

I’m running out of creative juices to name my posts. Also, I have to apologise that I decide not to blog about the 별에서온그대 exhibition but follow the chronological order instead.

I’m very very grateful to SH for a number of reasons – one of them being how he actually spent the time and effort to reserve movie tickets for me. Because I really really wanna watch 군도, aka the first comeback movie for Kang Dong Won :D

I was really really hoping to get tix to one of those movie screening sessions where the main casts + director would come on stage either before or after the movie for a short greeting session. SH actually managed to reserve the last 2 seats of one of those sessions.

BUT. Life is always about the BUT (haha Giddens’s quote)

It was on the day of my return flight. :/ SH was very understanding about it and in the end he reserved good tixs for a screening on the premiere day!! /super grateful

Went to the CGV at 용산, which is also the place where I watched my first movie in Korea years ago.

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Isn’t this cool! I love how they have the queue number machine to buy tickets :D Alternatively, you can use the do-it-yourself kiosks!

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I was like !!!!!!! when I realised that there WAS actually the 무대인사 session on premiere day. Previously, we checked the site and it was all weekend sessions.

/no fate

認命。沒緣分。

In any case, I was very very happy to be able to watch the movie on premiere date :D

Treated SH to lunch at TGIF! ^^

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First time trying this place, only went to Outback the previous times!

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warm, soft bread for starters 

Both of us agreed that the drinks were awesomeee!! SH had the white wine ade and I had the red wine one :D 낮술 ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

You can really taste the alcohol ^^

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white wine and red wine ade

You can’t go to these places without ordering the ribs. And so we did.

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Some carbs to balance out the meat.

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Food was yummy! I simply felt very happy with good company + the fact that I was going to see kdw later (on screen)

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SH looking happy while I looked like I wanna attack the food lol

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THE MOVIE WAS AWESOME. >>> blogged about it here

It’s amazing how it’s a weekday afternoon and the theatre was FULL. o.O

I’ll happily watch KDW in anything – CF, movies, interviews etc etc

Till the next post!

You can follow the rest of the posts here :D

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also 等一個人咖啡

Those who know me well will know that I have an immense love for Taiwanese author 九把刀 since 2007.

It all started when GINO (from K-ONE), who was my one and only bias then, mentioned that he really loved this author.

That time my only thought was “why is the name so weird” (literally means nine knives) but I happened to chance upon his book in the library one day and decided to give it a try.

That one book began the 7 year love and I’ll save and scrimp just to buy his books. They were a source of comfort to me during my lows.

I can launch into a long story of why I love him and his books soo much but I’ll provide a short summary.

His books span such a wide range of genres and it’s totally brilliant how he can excel in all.

Also, I totally agree with his beliefs and ideas (cos they are so similar to mine). I get a lot of inspiration and motivation from him (:

说出来会被嘲笑的梦想,才有实践的价值。即使跌倒了,姿势也会非常豪迈。

梦想不是挂在嘴边炫耀的空气,而是需要认真的实践。等到对的风,我们展翅翱翔。没有风,只要拥有足够强壮的翅膀,我们照样拔地飞行。人生最重要的,不是完成了什么,而是如何完成它。天空见。

<3

When he first came to SG many years ago, I’ll go to alllll his scheduled talks, meet the author sessions hahahaha. Ive never displayed such loyal fangirling to anyone else haha.

Super happy when he still recognised me when he came again 1 or 2 years later (spoken like a true fangirl).

In any case, Im extremely excited cos the first book I read (and my all time fav) is turning into a movie and will be released next month!!

等一個人咖啡。

There’s really no point in describing how I feel about this book. Cos i dunno how to do it.

All I can say that this book has inspired me so much and it’s my go to book when Im feeling down or need a pick me up.

It taught me about respecting difference, diversity, finding the best in people and the importance of being genuine and true to yourself.

It’s no self-help book lol (:

The movie adaption is no new news but I deliberately kept away from it to avoid spoilers and dying of anticipation.

(okay I gave in and watched the trailers!)

I think it’s one of the movies that you will enjoy even more if you have read the original novels first. The trailers may seem a little haphazard to those who are not familiar with the content but… /thumbs-up

Ohh 九把刀 is ALSO the director — TALENTED MAX.

Now it’s gonna be out in theatres in SG on Sept 4!!

Anyone wants to watch it with me?(:

p.s. I also wanna meet someone like 阿拓 ^^

Allow me to fangirl

As per the title, please allow me a moment to gush and fangirl ^^

Thank you.

I think being a working adult has changed my writing style. I’m forever thanking people, apologising for inconvenience caused and trying to cover my ass justify doing things by citing people or proving that I’ve received permission.

In any case, IOIL (It’s okay, it’s love) is such a GREAT drama. I know there are people who don’t like it, either finding it boring or finding the writing bad and unrealistic. I firmly belong to the camp that loves the drama – the tone, the prettiness of it all, the story and the CHEMISTRY.

I’m not a huge fan of either Gong Hyo Jin or Jo In Sung but I’ve to admit they sizzle together. So far I’m liking everybody in the show and genuinely interested in following every story.

One grip I have is that the “cases” of patients are not really weaved into the story. I don’t find myself caring about any of them – which is strange because I’m always invested in such plotlines in other medical dramas. I’m glad they are not really doing the “one week, one case” style but I wanna care about the cases!

Music wise, I’m loving all the stuff that YG is putting out.

WINNER has finally  debuted and I bought the album off iTunes and have been listening to it on repeat mode everyday. To no one’s surprise, my favourite song is of course Mino’s solo 걔 세. The lyrics and tune is just my style. <3

To be honest, I don’t think the MV is fantastic and probably you won’t like the songs/the boys right from the start. But if you have been following them since WHO IS NEXT (the reality show), you will have loads of love for them lol.

One thing I love about WINNER is that everyone has such distinct looks, personalities and voices.

Also, B.I has released a new song too!!!

sigh I love TEAM B so much – their teamwork really stood out.

I’m faithfully waiting for them to debut (:

/okay fangirling over

Thank you for reading this. Really appreciate it! ^^

(for real!)

I need to get back to learning Japanese. I’M SCARED I FORGET ALL MY GRAMMAR

[Seoul 2014] Just loads of food

Congratulations. I’ve outdone myself and I’m soo behind my blogging schedule for the Korea trip (lies, there isnt one) that I barely remembered what I did in chronological order.

In any case, it would be a tad creepy to have all of you know what I did everyday so Im going to blog about certain things I did.

Which essentially translates to eating and shopping and watching my only love’s movie comeback.

Let’s talk about the food.

For two days, I hanged out with a new friend SH whom I met online as a language exchange partner. SH’s from Busan so I was super touched he made the trip up!

SH rented a car at City Hall and Im very very impressed with how easy it is to rent one!! You make the booking via an app and you just have to go to the nearest pickup point (ours was a carpark in a random office building). You have to return it to the same place though so that may be inconvenient for some.

However I was very unimpressed by Seoul’s traffic conditions. I don’t drive but even I know that it’s ridiculous to take over an hour to get to a place that’s probably like 15 mins away on foot. The GPS system lied to us lol. We made the turns according to instructions and all we managed to do is to still circle in that vicinity.

SH was rather flustered and sorry that we had to spend a large part of the afternoon in the car but I was just so amused and rather enjoyed sitting down in an air-conditioned car. We finally managed to reach the place for lunch after 1hr I think.

It’s apparently quite a traditional restaurant and quite famous too (haha sorry don’t ask me where it was)

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They have different set courses and depending on the price level, the amount and type of food will vary slightly too. It starts from 15,000, followed by 22,000 and 33,000won (I think). We got the 22,000won per person set and omg it was like a king’s feast!

THERE WAS SO MUCH TO EAT.

Did I mention that we got a private room to ourselves? I love sitting on the floor :D

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This is just 1/4 of the food we got.

The two plates besides the bossam contained my favourite side dishes!! The top one is oyster and the bottom one is octopus / squid!!!

They go super well with rice!

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The food just keeps coming!

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Love the crab!!!!!!!

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I love 계란짐 (steamed egg). Egg is like a staple in my diet.

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Photo-taking time! I think the waitress was very amused at how excited I was.

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영양밥! I love the rice and I finished it all lol.

The meal was really good but it’s impossible to finish all the food. I’m no small eater but I still can’t finish them all.

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I always look THIS happy in Korea. I never look like that here!

By the way, I didn’t put any filter or photoshop the photo ok (taken on my phone’s front camera). I always feel insulted when people ask me that. I know I don’t look like that here in SG tsk!

In any case, we decided to return the car after lunch (because there’s no point, the jam’s terrible) and proceeded to tour around a few places.

Dinner at a random 부대찌개 restaurant in Hongdae that SH found online!

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super yummy side dishes

At first I was quite skeptical because the shop was empty save a single customer but it did look very pretty and quaint.

THE FOOD WAS AWESOME.

Now I know you can’t judge a restaurant by the number of patrons haha.

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The stew was excellent (this coming from a person who doesn’t like 부대찌개)!! We had seconds for the banchan and both of us polished off 3 bowls of rice together. I can’t believe I ate 1.5 bowls of rice. It was that good.

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Decided to rent another car and go on a drive again – it was much more pleasant at night since the traffic was better! Nothing very eventful, we wanted to go to hangang but ended up just driving past. The photo above was taken along 반포대교, which is my favourite bridge along Han River. I had very good memories walking across the bridge with a friend 2 years ago – after having a picnic by the river and visiting the floating platform buildings (the lighted up ones in the photo).

aww memories <3

I stupidly suggested to go to 팔각정 because it’s supposedly good for night scenery (google 팔각정 야경). I don’t know much about the scenery part (it was raining, I couldn’t see anything) BUT I never realised how high up it was until we started circling up and up. I’m very glad SH is a good driver.

The stupid thing is that I didn’t know I would have breathing problems in high altitude (to be honest it wasn’t that high……) But yeah, I couldn’t breathe properly in the car on the way up. x.x Now I know I can never climb mountains…

Back to Hongdae for supper!!

I love how it’s so normal to be spontaneous in Korea and meeting friends means going to 2차, 3차 and so on. The day never ends :P

Went back to a 술집(?) that I frequent quite often during my Korea trips! My camera takes excellent photos in the dark lol. The shop was so dimly lit!

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Had a beer (which I barely drank because I wasn’t feeling that good)

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I love this 안주! Never know what it’s called but yumms.

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We had seafood pancake (which was ok only) and super yums fruit punch thingy (sorry I have memory problems – anyone wants to remind me what is it called??)

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Okay, so much for saying that I don’t want to describe my entire day to you guys. I just did it. lolol. Oh well, at least I’m not going to number it Day XX.

So that was how I spent 2/3s of a day in Korea :D

I hope you will read this really slowly (and re-read it lol) because I don’t know when I’ll have the mood to blog again :P

Next Korea blog post should be about the “Man from the stars” 별에서 온 그대 exhibition that I went to!

 

Getting some good karma points!

 Hellooo! :D

My friend, Ariel, is doing her PhD dissertation and she is looking for Korean learners to participate! Please try to help if possible – those of us who have written some kind of thesis or done coursework would know that it’s really super hard to get participants. (I completely evaded the problem having based my research on signboards lol)

In any case, earn some good karma points ^^

A lot of time, I think the best and most interesting research requires data that are hardest to get :/ You just have to strike a balance between reality and research, I dunno. haha.

In any case, the details in italics below are provided by Ariel!

———————-

My research focuses on how impoliteness and politeness is discursively constructed by analysing cues found in the text-based digital communications (e.g., Kakao Talk, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) of Korean language speakers and learners. A key focus of my work is how cues are interpreted to construct meaning (… did that person mean to be impolite/polite?) during conversations in which the primary language used is Korean.

What I am asking participants to do is provide me with a regular record of conversations they have had and are having with friends in Korean. The conversations provided are of the participants choosing and do not have to contain 100% Korean language. I am happy to see any data so as long as it contains some Korean. The choice of communication tool is totally up to the participants as well. It can be communications through Skype, Email, Facebook, Twitter, Kakao Talk, or any other form of text-based communications. Data collection is set to last for 6 months so I really hope participants will stick with it until then.

I guarantee the task of providing me the data won’t interfere with your life J Simply gather your Kakao talk, Skype chats, Email records once a week and email them to me, in strict confidence^^ Ideally, it would be great if the chat records are continuous conversations with the same friends, but they don’t have to be. Finally, I want to stress that you will be completely anonymous in my research. Everything you send to me stays with me, and only me.

Step-by-Step Guide:

 Step 1: Ariel and her participants meet first time. (I think online correspondence is fine!)

Step 2: Ariel will send ‘Participant’s Background Information’ and ‘Consent form’ to each participant

Step 3: Ariel’s participants begin sending regular chat records.

(Over the 6 months, Ariel and her participants have informal discussions about the data provided and its context)

Step 4: Ariel will compile the data chronologically and start the analysis.

Step 5: The data will be used as part of the PhD thesis and the findings will eventually be published in Applied Linguistics journals.

Step 6: Ultimately, this work would be of great benefit to language learners generally, but most especially learners of Korean and practitioners in the field of Korean applied linguistics and language learning. This work will make language learning better and more effective for a lot of learners!

Please drop an email to arielized@gmail.com if you can help!

24/7 in 2008

Morning! Feeling grateful that some of you guys have been enquiring after my health (glad it’s not jaekyung style)! Im still not all recovered but I consider it a positive sign that im at least out and about, instead of lying in bed allll day.

Listening to SE7EN’s 24/7 album and that is bringing back soo much memories.

I have a tendency to put an artist/song/album on repeat so some songs get strongly associated with a certain period of my life.

24/7 was the album i listened to when I first started self studying Korean. Listening to it again reminded myself how hardworking and passionate I was back then ><

I worked really hard then. :/

I just cannot do the same these days. I dont really think the spark for Korean is gone but rather the spark in me hahaha. Im just not motivated enough to do anything

Need.to.change.

Baby steps.

Im gonna go home and read 2 articles in Korean, make some progress in the new novel I started and if I have time, write something in Korean. (:

Ohh funny (kinda) story to share.

I usually buy novels out of a whim and not because Im looking for that title in particular. Many many years ago I bought big bang’s autobiography without even knowing who they were lol.

The previous trip I bought a book titled 한손에 잡히는 초한지. 초한지 was in a much bigger font so until the other day, i kept thinking that the book was titled that. It looked like a historical novel and the book cover caught my attention so I bought it.

Read a few pages and names such as 劉邦,
項羽 cropped up. I was damn confused on why names in Chinese ancient history are cropping up and I belatedly realise that 초한지 is actually 楚漢志!!!!!!!

Hahahahaha and now Im even more confused cos that’s supposed to be an ancient Chinese novel and Im left wondering if the events did happen cos the characters did exist in real life.
><

In any case, im enjoying the book (:

P.s. nothing beats the fact that I bought a Korean-translated parenting book (back in those days when i couldnt even read a book title in korean lolol)

멍 때리다

In case you are wondering what that means, it means spacing out – which is more often than not my state of mind.

And more so recently. Haven’t been feeling the best ever since I came back from Korea and my mum too ): I got a huge scare the other day and realized how fragile life is.

But somehow that realization isn’t spurring me to do more in life – in fact I’m just very lethargic. (May be the medicine-induced drowsiness speaking)

Have been pushing my friends away and hiding in my own corner again. But I really don’t have the energy to deal with small talk these days. I just wanna space out when I’m home.

I’m so ashamed to say that I’ve kinda stopped learning Japanese or having any Japanese input :/

Sigh.

As for Korean, I still get regular input via 고교처세왕 (yoo jinwoo!!!!) and It’s ok it’s love. Seriously, I wasn’t planning to watch the latter but I happened to catch part of ep 1 in korea and i was immediately intrigued. The plot somehow resonates with me… Maybe it’s because my mind isn’t all that sound either.

Other than that I’m not doing much for Korean either. :/

Been very dizzy these few days and an old problem is surfacing again ): I’m probably gonna disappear for a short while until this spell passesc.

It’s sad how I’m starting to fear sleep again. I need the lights on, say hi to higher electricity bills :/

Another sad thing – I’ve somehow, inexplicably developed an allergic reaction to prawns (and likely other seafood). I’m not very sure what’s going on but I’ve had enough scares and no longer willing to test out the hypothesis. Which means a no seafood diet for the time being.

WHICH IS TERRIBLE.

I love prawns and I eat them for many of my meals.

I have no idea what to eat these days.

Double sigh.

[Korean Textbook Review] 새롭게 바뀐 TOPIK 쓰기 – 중고급

It has been quite some time since I received the latest package from TwoChois, and I guess some of you (maybe no one?) may be wondering why I haven’t been posting new book reviews.

Trust me, I’ve been trying, but it won’t come out.

Among those books, I was most interested in the TOPIK writing book for a number of reasons:

  1. it’s a writing book!!
  2. it is purportedly based on the newly revised TOPIK examination!
  3. it is newly published and was hot off the printing press when I received it

I tried working through it the week I received it but couldn’t last past 30 mins.

Put it aside and tried it again. Same thing.

Tried yet again and ….

I’m sorry, but this is the first time I have such bland feelings towards a Korean textbook and find myself having absolutely NO MOTIVATION to use it or to write about it. :/

At first, I blamed it on myself and thought I was probably too tired and caught up with other stuff to concentrate on the book. But the same blandness happened again and again.

This book is not for me. I’m honest.

It can work for you, I’m not sure.

Let’s delve into the review, although it will probably be a short one. One thing to note, I didn’t make much progress in the book at all, so… I’ll leave it to you to judge if it’s a comprehensive review or not.

Continue reading

[Accommodation Review] Loft 8 Hongdae

Look no further if you are looking for an accommodation / hostel / guesthouse in Hongdae, Seoul.

Best place in my opinion.

To be honest I really don’t know which term to use – it’s way above normal guesthouse or hostel quality but affordable unlike hotels. So I’ll go with the term they use - micro suites

I started searching for a place to stay in my week long visit to Seoul with the following in mind:

A comfortable, private room located in a convenient place, on the main street, preferably on ground floor with free wifi and obviously it must still be affordable.

Sounds like a lot?

I got what I wanted and more at Loft 8.

When I first found Loft 8 at Booking.com, I knew this was the place for me. Just look at the pictures!

But I had to admit that I was slightly apprehensive. Those who have experience searching for accommodation (such as gosiwon lol) in Korea will know that pictures lie and the photographers seem to have like god-like skills >< They can make everything look spacious and good lol. Also, Loft 8 was newly opened (around June 2014) and I wasn’t sure if everything was as good since there weren’t much reviews of that place.

But I worried too much.

The Building

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View from the front desk

Located on the main street within a 5-6 min walk from Hongdae Station Exit 3, it’s easy to find the place. The building has at least 2 stories (I never went up).To be honest, I found the directions a little confusing. Here’s the easier version – Walk out of Exit 3, turn to 60 degree to your right and you should see 16OZ Coffee (a cafe), walk toward that place and continue going on the street all the way till you pass the Chinese restaurant and walk further on until you see the Ginseng place (there is a super big statue of 2 ginseng lol) and you will reach the place!

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View from exit 3

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along the street.

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Cafe along the way

The Staff

The lady at the frontdesk on weekdays daytime is AWESOME. She was really helpful and I felt very comfortable talking to her (knowing me, that’s pretty rare lol). She can speak excellent English, Korean, Chinese and Cantonese (I don’t know if there are more). She really made the stay enjoyable for me and on the last day, she actually helped me drag the luggage all the way to the Hongdae subway station gantry. I really appreciated the extra extra miles she went.  Loft 8 is owned by a Korean couple and I love how they are not very intrusive but still very friendly.

The Atmosphere

People usually keep to themselves and even the kitchen and pantry is relatively quiet :D Awesome place for people who likes their peace and quiet and privacy.

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Breakfast is provided from 8.30am to 10.00am and consists of bread, cereal, orange juice, jam/butter. Super good I think! Even the presentation looks nice :D The kitchen has a toaster, coffee pot, water dispenser and utensils – basically everything you need.

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Cereal. I love how everyone is very neat here!!

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100 marks for presentation!!

Oh, there is a washing machine to do your laundry (I think it’s free?)

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I really love the kitchen!!! There are rooms on the right (from where I’m standing as I took the picture – front door on the left) but no worries because it’s totally not noisy. I love how everyone is very considerate. I stayed right opposite the front door (on the right of pic)! (:

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Cozy place

The Room

They have 4 types of room and every room looks slightly different I guess. They are as nice as what you see on the Booking.com site!! :D To prove that, here are my pictures. (although you can argue that my x100s makes everything looks nice too lol)

I had a twin room! :D Two beds all to myself. One bed for myself, one bed for my stuff lol.

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The toilet!

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Super comfortable hotel-like bed :D

All in all, I had an awesome time and I’m always looking forward to going back to Loft8 every night :D I even go back sometimes in the afternoon to rest and watch tv.

Speaking of TV, I love how they have a flat screen tv in each room!! :D With cable channels too – service is awesome.

Each room has it’s own high tech electronic lock – no need to worry about losing keys! You can request for them to change the password for you.

Minor Grumbles

1. It said that toiletries were provided but it was not specified. They only provide shampoo and rinse and hand soap and towels. No body soap ^^

2. I found it strange that they had a sign on the frontdesk with the front door passcode in full view. Weird cos sometimes strangers may ring the bell to come in to enquire stuff – what if they see the passcode?

———

That being said, I still had a very very enjoyable stay there (I am super particular, so if I said it’s enjoyable, it is haha). Looking forward to going back there again next trip!

Loft 8 Website

Loft 8 @ booking.com 

Tips for choosing a guesthouse/hostel:

1. Choose one by the main road where possible. Main streets are brightly lit and safer at night. Also, roads in Korea are rather bumpy and full of slopes – you won’t want to drag your luggage down/up a slope in an alley, trust me. (my friend did that)

2. Best if they have their own building or is located on the ground floor. You won’t want to drag your luggage up the stairs.

3. Hongdae is a good place, It’s on the airport AREX line, convenient and relatively affordable too. Personally I’ll prefer it over Namdaemun, Myeongdong etc

4. Choose a place near the subway station.

5. Look at maps.naver.com for the streetview to see how the place and the surroundings are like!

Leave me a comment if you like the review or if you have any questions! :D

[Review|영화리뷰] Kundo 군도

I love watching movies in Korea and one of the main highlights of this trip is that I’ll get to watch 군도 (the first post-army production of Kang Dong Won) on its premiere date!!!!

To be honest I was kinda apprehensive as it is a saguek (movie) and I dunno how much I could understand without any form of subs. Luckily it turned out the past few years of no studying actually produced some kind of progress and I could easily follow the movie, undertanding 85% of the dialogue. I could watch in ease and not feel like Im watching a foreign language movie! YAY.

Ok review time.

First, the cinematography and visuals are stunning!!! >< Korea movie theatres have great screens to let the visuals shine too. To be honest, I expected the gritty and raw feel for a movie that deal with strife and poverty during the Joseon dynasty and if you look at the posters, it seemed like that will be the feel they are going for.

But no. Every scene was breathtakingly pretty and I loved it.

Interestingly, the movie is broken down into 5 chapters and there is also narration in some parts. Very refreshing concept (:

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The highlight for me was Kang Dong Won (duhh), Ha Jung Woo and Ma Dong Seok!!! Kdw was stunning in every scene and every single movement was filled with grace and power. The fighting scenes were the best and kdw really nailed it down to the expressions in his eyes. <3

You can really tell that he put in a lot of effort in the role and that made me even more appreciative of the movie! Mad respect for him.

Ma Dong Seok was a scene stealer (as usual). He simply shines in movies.

If there was a flaw in the movie, I would picked the script. There was just something lacking and although the acting was memorable, the movie wasnt. It wasnt touching but there were moments where it could have been.

In that aspect, movies such as King and the Clown really shined.

Overall: 8.5/10
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Heh on another note, I havent been doing much touristy stuff except for...

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Hehe