[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.

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[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

Korean Textbooks from TwoChois

TwoChois is fast becoming a familiar name among all Korean learners and I’m happy for them! Many of my friends have good experience buying stuff from them and it feels nice to be able to share something good!

Another package from TwoChois arrived (a month ago) but I only managed to blog about it now!!! omg.

But I guess most of you would have seen the video by now!

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Books all packed nicely!

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Sorry I’m taking sooooooo long to get the reviews out. I need time to really use the book! :D

I love the notebook (the one one the left!)

Off to Korea~~! <3

떠나자

Probably the last update before I leave for home Seoul. Haha unlikely to update while I’m there, so I’ll see you while I’m back /waves

I’m barely packed. Or maybe I’m all packed but I feel like I’m bringing too few things there. Hahaha. Whatever la. I can look totally out of place in Sinsadong again – t shirt, shorts, flip flops and no makeup hahaha.

Meeting a few new friends this time, let’s hope they are all nice people. :D

I was planning to do some research on new places to visit in Seoul but I hesitate to do it sooo early becos I’ll be like OMG I NEED TO GO THERE NOW NOW NOW and it’ll affect me. But I’ve procrastinated so much that it’s too near to the trip and I don’t have time!!! Hahaha. Whatever la. Go all the old places also ok.

Rot at a cafe also ok.

Here’s hoping Ill run into kdw on the streets :D

Then it’ll be alllllll perfect.

Dim Sum and Cafes

Seriously, I swear Hangukdrama is turning into a food blog. (maybe this is the next phase) One thing I’m very sure is that the blog never seems to talk about dramas.

Obviously I can’t be eating everything in one day, but they shall all go into one post.

Besides L’etoile Cafe, I haven’t found any cafe in Singapore that I really like, but here’s a few new discoveries.

Books Cellar @ Bukit Pasoh

I was very excited when my friend told me about a book cafe in Singapore but come to think of it, the books there are more for decorative purpose lol. Not really a book cafe, but a cafe with bookshelves and books? I can’t pin it down but there’s something lacking in that cafe.

The drinks are decent.

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Order the Minute Steak. The friend and I were discussing whether it’s minute (as in time) or minute (as in size). We came to the conclusion it’s probably the latter? Not too bad though, but expensive :/

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Friend’s teriyaki chicken!

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 Probably won’t go back there again.

d’Good Cafe @ Holland Village

Friend was damnnn excited when she told me about the cafe. I was staring at her in confusion when she tried to explain the amazing lift in the cafe. LIFT?!

But ya the lift turns out to be awesome. Please go there to take the lift. :D :D

This is the said lift. I’m very amused because it looks like a fridge and you open it the same way.

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So old school that you have to keep pressing for the lift to move. If you stop pressing, the lift will stop. SO FUN.

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The cafe is very pretty!! Very crowded on a weekend but still worth going. They have 3 floors and each floor’s decor is very different.

THIS CAKE IS SUPER GOOD. If you like chocolate and you like cheesecake, that is. Usually I’ll like to nibble on cakes and take very long to finish but for this one I was like NOM NOM CHOMP CHOMP.

this is why i dont write food blogs. i dunno what to say hahaha

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Stayed there for really long so we ended up having dinner. Friend’s potato salad. Very egg-y. And mayo-y.

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My seafood linguini. The pasta was rather over-cooked but still quite good!

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I may go back there again. Maybe

Department of Caffeine @ Duxton

Very hip and cool cafe. :D Their staff give off the cool vibe too.

Very delish cake. It’s chocolate but slightly sourish because there is raspberry (?) I think in it. Some kind of berry haha. MUST TRY. The bottom crust holds a surprise too :P

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My elderflower and lemon (i think) drink! Very refreshing :D

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The bff doesn’t think much of their hot chocolate though D:

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 Will go back again to try their food!

Too many cafes right?

Here’s some tim sum photos to balance it!

Red Star Tim Sum @ Chinatown

Had Tim Sum Breakfast (brunch?) with my favourite girls!

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The fried stuff are more yummy.

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The chicken thingy is very nice!! (the one with a random chicken wing)

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Their steamed stuff quite normal though. x.x

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Probably won’t go back there again haha.

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But I had great company! 

Hope you guys enjoyed the photos. Please reaaaaad very slowly because the next post is probably not so soon :P

Choupinette & L’etoile Cafe

[scheduled post]

Cafe Hopping is probably the in thing these days in Singapore. Rainbow cakes, fancy latte arts – you name it, you get it. I’m not a fan of either, neither am I a fan of cafe hopping. I just want to sit in a comfortable cafe and ROT. And I did just that today.

Started off the day with brunch at Choupinette @ Bukit Timah. Situated at the corner of a row of shophouses, Choupinette is a place where you may have walked by several times without paying much attention to it. I’ve been to the area several times but never thought to enter the restaurant. But I’m glad I did today!

Choupinette is a French-style cafe that immediately strikes me as comfy and quaint.

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The decor is simple and it’s hard to feel down in this bright and cheery place.

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They serve a wide variety of French food and also all day brunch! Prices are around $25+ for brunch and it includes fruit juice and hot tea/coffee/chocolate.

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Meet A, one of the friends I’ve met this through this blog (kinda). A is also learning Korean :D I realise that most of my close friends speak Korean xD I guess it’s easier to talk if you have a common interest? I’ve known A for a few years ago (time flies).

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My eggs royale! Poached eggs and smoked salmon on bread, with salad on the side.

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A’s Eggs Benedict!

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I think I can’t ever write a food blog because my vocabulary will be very limited – it’s either not yummy, yummy or mad yummy. And in this case, it’s mad yummy!! :D :D

(It better be, so expensive!)

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Loved every single bite. It’s just awesome to have good food, good company and soaking in the homely atmosphere.

I don’t know how people cafe hop, because I need to digest lol.

Decided to introduce A to L’etoile Cafe, which is now my favorite cafe!

Situated within walking distance from Farrer Park MRT (exit D … I think??), L’etoile is kinda out of the way but definitely worth the extra effort to walk under the hot sun to get there hahaha. When I first went to the two-storey cafe, I was immediately reminded of cafes in Japan. The same “feel”!!

A had some work to complete, so I just read my book (: It’s a nice view if you sit near the windows, but DAMN HOT in the afternoon. This is why Singapore can’t really follow the big windows-no curtains-open space with fans style – it’s just too hot.

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A’s lemon tea and my lemon honey soda.

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L’etoile Cafe has EXCELLENT pastas and they do change their menu every now and then. Currently, the salmon cream pasta and seafood tomyam pasta are worth a try!!

(obviously I didn’t eat again, but these photos are from a previous trip!)

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Looks super good right? ^^

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The interior (: I love how every table is different! There is also this “loner” table for 1. hahahaha. I’m always amused when I see it. Maybe one day I’ll go hahahaha.

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Truffle fries! This is super good and we almost finished it all hahaha

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A much needed break

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Choupinette 
607 Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 269708

(walking distance from Botanic Gardens MRT)
L'etoile Cafe
160 Owen Rd, Singapore 218953

(walking distance from Farrer Park MRT)

Share your favorite cafes in Singapore :D

[Review] Korean Made Simple

A Korean textbook for Korean learners by a Korean learner. How awesome is that? Writing your own book is no mean feat – I started writing my e-book before Billy Go started on this (I think) and he has completed his awesome book while I’m still.. .. . .

I’ve not met Billy in person but even so, I can always see his passion and enthusiasm for Korean! Received a copy of his e-book and finally I’m getting down to write a review :P

book (image) copy

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2014 KBS World Radio Korean Contest

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KBS World Radio is organizing a Korean speech contest! :D

CLICK HERE

I’m so lazy I’ll just leave you to read on your own! ^^

Basically for the first round, you get to choose to make a speech on 1 out of 2 given topics and one of the topics is HOW I STUDY KOREAN.

hahahaha isn’t that what I’ve always been talking about this blog (although in English)?

So it didn’t take me that long to come up with a script, filmed it and uploaded it on youtube.

Please watch the video and LIKE IT.

Comments will be much appreciated too!! BUT MUST LIKE AH.

(I haven’t made a video with my own face in it for so long. The last video was like more than a year ago!!)