Gumiho Roommates and Unlikely Romances: A Webtoon Review of 간 떨어지는 동거

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Do you like Korean nine-tailed foxes, unlikely accidental cohabitation between love interests, and blunt humor? 간 떨어지는 동거 is the webtoon that falls next on my list of favorite webtoons (after Spirit Fingers, of course) precisely due to these features.

Take Lee Dam (이담), a chicken wing-loving, self-assured, no-time-for-your-sexist-or-flirtatious-nonsense college student. Add Shin Wooyeo (신우여 – reversed this becomes 여우신 or fox god), a stupidly attractive, centuries old, chicken-avoiding-and-magic-wielding gumiho who has nearly acquired all the power he needs to become human.

Now make them collide on the street so that the gumiho’s fox orb slips from his mouth into hers.

 

wooyeo

Oh, darn. Guess they have to live together Continue reading

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Hungry for Korean Food? An Interview with Burger15

안녕하세요! I’m excited to introduce my fav new Korea-focused YouTubers and longtime friends who began their channel this year. Burger15 is an enticing new look at the tastiest food in Korea, at real restaurants and cafes, with real people and without gimmicks or glamour. Just two people eating delicious food and telling you about it.  Continue reading

NYC 술집: Specialty Soju & Korean Food at take 31

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안녕하세요!

I don’t usually write blog posts about food, but the yogurt soju and the nurungji soup at take 31 in New York City was so delicious that I can’t help it. take 31 isn’t in Korea Town, but it has a distinctive vibe that brings to mind backstreet bars in Hongdae and cozy restaurants in Hapjeong. Everything from the brick walls to the playlist of mostly K-indie and underground/older hip-hop gives it that perfect late-night on the backstreets of Hongdae feel.

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Flavored soju, special makgeolli (Korean rice wine), and a wide selection of other types of alcohol at this 술집 isn’t the only thing that sets it apart. take 31 is literally set apart from Korea Town because it is tucked away on a narrow street a good ten or so minutes away. Amid a chill, youthful atmosphere, it serves a remarkably diverse menu of Korean food, ranging from typical Korean fare like seafood pancakes and pig feet to the amazing nurungji soup that my boyfriend and I ordered.

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I had never even heard of 누룽지탕 before and didn’t understand why he started laughing at the menu.

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“누룽지맨하탕?” He laughed before explaining that it was a pun that put Manhattan into the soup’s original Korean name, remaking it into Manhattan-style nurungji soup. The English menu describes it as creamy kimchi stew with crunchy rice, sausages, bacon, broccoli, paprika, and onions. Worried about trying food with a kick? This was barely spicy and felt like a comforting hug that went straight to my belly. Yum.

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A typical Korean 요구르트 drink

We also tried the yogurt soju, which was incredibly refreshing and tasty. The name doesn’t mean yogurt in the general American sense. Have you ever had one of those cute little yogurt drinks from a Korean store? Think of that + iced soju. Again, yum.

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Feeling hungry for some 한식 and 소주 yet? Check out the menu in both Korean and English here. This place is slightly pricey, but definitely worth it.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다! 또 방문해 주시길~

 

지금 재생 중

TV Shows about Foreigners in Korea

Looking for shows about foreigners in Korea? Trying to improve your Korean by watching fun shows? Look no further. Here are two shows I highly recommend!

 

비정상회담 | Abnormal Summit 

Watch with English subs here.

Overview:

  • Also known as Non-Summit
  • Talk show/debate format mimicking a UN-style summit
  • Features non-Koreans who are conversational or fluent in Korean
  • Each member represents a different country
  • The summit is headed by three Korean MCs
  • Korean celebrities appear as guests that present a weekly topic, usually social/cultural/personal issues of their own or that are submitted to the show
  • Members vote if the agenda is normal/abnormal and then debate
  • English subtitles easily available
  • Very popular in Korea
  • Many of the original summit members have become foreign celebrities in Korea with CFs and their own businesses

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If you like watching non-drama shows and are a foreigner, chances are you’ve already heard of this. Abnormal Summit gathers Korean-speaking male foreigners from various countries who are living and working in Korea and engages them in dialogue over cultural differences. Generally, a celebrity guest appears on the show and represents the person who submitted the issue, or they sometimes bring their own problems. The members vote on whether the person is “normal” or “abnormal” and then debate from their respective cultural perspectives.

Naturally, having a single person represent the perspective of, say, all of the United States, or Malaysia, or the UK (shall I go on?), is an enormous simplification. But the show’s concept is fascinating and it is immensely fun to practice Korean by listening to a group of foreigners and three Korean MCs discuss cultural differences and their personal experiences. The foreign members are non-Koreans who are fluent or conversational in Korean. Their pronunciation isn’t always great, and when they make a mistake, all the agony of language-learning suddenly is validated. I’m not the only one who makes mistakes!

Sorry for reveling in the mistakes of others for a moment, but it’s always nice to know you’re not the only one. And if these guys can go on Korean TV and debate difficult cultural conflicts without being fully fluent in Korean, why not you? Why not me? Let’s learn all the Korean! This show has English subtitles available on different sites, so never fear.

This show is comedic much of the time, but also can offer truly intense and in-depth debates and insights on current global issues or national issues, so you won’t just be practicing Korean but also learning about current events.

And yes – only men get to be permanent guests on Abnormal Summit. There was another show, 미녀들의 수다 or “Beautiful Women”, that featured foreign women, but it ended in controversy.

미수다 was known by various names like “A Chat with Beauties” or “Global Talk Show” and was fairly popular until its ratings crashed and burned in 2009 when a panelist said that men under 180 cm were losers and she would never date them. Ah, is that so? Great, thanks for ruining the one show featuring foreign women. There was controversy over whether she was forced to say this per a script or if it truly was her opinion, but regardless of the real culprit, the show stopped airing after that.

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미녀들의 수다 Talk Show Poster

But still, can we get a show in this intercultural debate format that features foreigners who speak Korean – but not limit it to only men or only women?


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글로벌 가족정착기 한국에 산다 | Global Family  

Watch on the EBS site.

Overview:

  • Documentary-style episodes
  • Each episode or set of episodes focuses on a different mixed couple
  • All episodes available for free on the EBS website
  • Korean subs available but no English subs
  • Not as popular as 비정상회잠
  • Commentator’s 아저씨 voice is fantastic

Global Family is a documentary-style show from EBS that goes into the homes and lives of international couples living in Korea – where one of the couples is native Korean. The other may be from any number of countries ranging from Canada to Ukraine, and the non-Koreans vary in their Korean ability and their years living in Korea. Some are married, some engaged. All the episodes that I have seen address the relationship between the foreign-in-law and their Korean in-laws in a way that challenges the stereotype of fierce in-laws and prejudice against foreign wives or husbands.

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This show is a great way to see the interaction between different cultures in terms of relationships and establishing a family in Korea. For me, it also has become a source of encouragement like Abnormal Summit because while some foreigners are fluent in Korean, others stumble in their pronunciation and make hilarious mistakes on camera – but does that stop them? No!

Nor should you or I stop. We will make mistakes. We will laugh at our mistakes. Learn from them. And move on and make new mistakes but not make the same mistake twice. That’s what shows about foreigners in Korea can teach you. Not just cultural differences and intercultural communication, but being fearless in your efforts to use Korean.

Unfortunately, I don’t know of a site that has this show subtitled in English. The EBS site does offer Korean subtitles, which can help you catch words you don’t hear correctly, and improve your reading along with your listening, but it presents a challenge for Korean-learners who aren’t ready yet for subtitle-less shows. Start with Abnormal Summit, and try out Global Family when you’re ready for more of a challenge!


If you like other shows that feature foreigners speaking Korean, or know of English subs for Global Family, let me know in the comment section below.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!

 

지금 재생 중

Korean Webtoon Rec: “A Dreaming Girl, A Dreaming Boy” by the Creator of Spirit Fingers

한경찰 작가님이 began a new webtoon, 꿈꾸는 소녀, 소년 at the end of October and has maintained both Spirit Fingers and her new webtoon to the awe of her many Korean readers. Usually the quality of one drops due to the workload, but 스핑 is going strong while her new webtoon is also a top contender, ranking fifth among series that are updated on Tuesdays.

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As always, all I want to do is rave about her artwork. This webtoon is beautiful (although I’ll always be biased toward Spirit Fingers) and it seems to be building a plot just as complex and interesting as 스핑. Currently it has only seven chapters out, so be warned if you’re the type that needs to wait until a series is finished to marathon through it; for now you’ll have to wait patiently for the update each Tuesday. But if you’re already following 스핑, it’s a great mid-week read to tide you over until you can find out what happened to that dear, amazing 우연이 (can you tell how much I want to be best friends with her).

This story involves four middle school students, each of them enduring personal struggles at home while attending school and trying to complete a group project that goes awry. One boy lives with his grandfather in poverty; another is cast down in his wealthy father’s shadow and fights to escape the life that his father wants him to live.

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Look at this. Look at this incredible art that speaks to the feelings of the boy trailing along in his father’s shadow, forced to play soccer to meet his father’s expectations. “I hate soccer…Dad…”

One of the girls constantly suffocates under her mother’s overbearing presence and intervention. The other girl, whose backstory isn’t yet revealed, tries to befriend one of the boys when she recognizes him from a soccer team they had played on several years prior, but she is angrily rebutted. Where will the story go now that they’re all fighting over the group project while dealing with inner turmoil?

It seems like there is potential for love interests to develop later on, but it’s hard to tell at this early stage. 한경찰 작가님이 does an incredible job of weaving many storylines into one plot as in 스핑, so romance or not, this is a webtoon to follow!

“Dreaming Boy, Girl” is my own translation of this new webtoon’s title, although it may pop up on translation sites as something else. As far as I know, there are not yet any English translations but I will update here if I learn of one. As always, please support the webtoon creator by reading on Naver if you can! And follow her Instagram @hedaa2002:

https://www.instagram.com/hedaa2002/

Online Korean news articles on 꿈꾸는 소녀, 소년:

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다!

지금 재생 중:

수란 is back and the world is blessed with her voice.

Korean Reading Practice: College Diary 대학일기 Webtoon Review

Looking for reading practice in Korean? A friend introduced me to my latest Naver webtoon obsession. 대학일기 or College Diary is an adorable, easy-to-read look at the daily life of a college student. It’s witty and poignant, clearly drawing on the writer’s personal experiences and causing readers to comment Continue reading

The Best Studying & Hang Out Cafes in Hongdae

After spending so much of my time in cafes around Seoul, I thought I would write a post dedicated to some of my favorite places in Hongdae* to study, write, or just relax with friends.

Cafe Blanc

Blanc is tucked away Continue reading

Watching Wootso – Funny Korean Videos

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Lately I’ve been looking for pages to follow that share Korean-related videos, and my favorite is currently Wootso/Goteng. Wootso is on Facebook and Goteng is the YouTube account, but they’re created by the same people. They posted far more on YouTube, but their Facebook shares short, funny clips that are great for procrastinating AND getting a bit of Korean listening practice in.

Some of my personal favorites include Zion.T going to the store…

 

….that subway strug-life….

 

….complaining about the way people use social media for birthdays…

 

…and definitely this video on the differences between having a conversation with a girl vs. having a conversation with a guy.

 

Even though Wootso joined Facebook only this year, they seem to be getting quite a substantial following. Go ahead and check them out, and procrastinate on!

감사합니다!

Bonus Fav:

KakaoTalk: yet another app you need

안녕하세요!

If you’ve been studying Korean and trying to connect with native speakers on site like italki, Livemocha, or other language learning networks, you’ve probably encountered the usual, “혹시 카카오톡 있으세요?” Do you have Kakaotalk? And while yes, many people have Skype,  Facebook, or at least an email, in Korea, they also use Kakaotalk.

Kakao is a (mostly) free messaging app that allows you to send chat messages, pictures and videos, have voice calls, and send these awesome little moving emoticons – some you can download for free, some you can buy.  It’s relatively easy to set up an account, and it allows you to easily connect to other users. I use it to speak with Korean speakers. Some of my other friends use it as well, and we use it to chat instead of Facebook or texting.

Kakaotalk has numerous related apps, from drawing to games (like Anipang!) to a mini social-networking app called KakaoStory, where you can post pictures and stories, comment on other peoples’ stuff, and absorb more of your life into technology. I think I have an overwhelming count of three KakaoStory friends.

Yo! 얼마나 있나?

Basically, if you’re learning Korean, Kakaotalk is a great app, because you can message native speakers and they’re much more likely to respond – and that response is usually faster than just messaging on a language learning site. Also, it’s a great place to make mistakes and then learn from them.

Do you already use Kakaotalk? Or do you prefer to use Line by Naver Japan? I have both apps and I’m curious to see which one people like better.

감사합니다!

 

{seoul} dream’s 노래 for today:

Leessang feat. Yoon Do Hyun – Someday

Naver Dictionary (the greatest thing since sliced bread)

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Have you been using Google Translate to figure out if you said something correctly? Or have you been getting lazy and just typing out everything in English, checking it a couple times by translating it back and forth with Google, and then sending off a message to your language partner? Bad idea. Not an awful idea, because Google Translate is definitely helpful. But it’s also dangerous, because it throws a word back at you and you really don’t know if that word means what it’s supposed to mean in the context that you put it in. I’m speaking from experience.

Princess Bride (awesome classic - go watch it now! 지금!

My poor language partner must always feel like this when he reads my Kakaotalk message

Naver’s online dictionary is awesome. Yes, go ahead and use Google Translate to check things if you must (guilty, I use it sometimes, too) but don’t get dependent on it. There are lots of other online resources that work much, much better. Naver Dictionary is a prime example.

I love Naver Dictionary, henceforth titled as Endic (English Dictionary, which is the version I use because hey, English is my native language…although you wouldn’t think it if you actually heard me trying to talk coherently in real life – learning Japanese, Korean, and Spanish has severely messed with my ability to do the words flowing nicely together thing) for many reasons. Here are some of them.

  • You can type in either a Korean or English word and get tons of results
  • Words/meanings? Synonyms? Antonyms? Idioms? All of these pop up when you type in just a single word
  • Contextual examples. That’s right. They have specific references to actual news sources on the web or elsewhere with the context of the word explained, highlighted, with neon signs blinking around it and a giant Pororo dancing on top of it (well no but you get the idea)
  • Many of the results have audio – go ahead and listen to what you’re reading
  • Teaching yourself Korean and have hardly any vocabulary to flaunt? You can view Korean word lists for 7th through 12th graders by clicking on them on the right side bar or by searching specifically a grade’s curriculum
  • Search by importance of words, by a specific subject/field (ie philosophy, literature, history, religion…)
  • After you search, it usually comes up with similar words that you might want to check out
  • You can make a Naver account and save words that you look up automatically to as many different vocabulary lists as you want
  • You can also view a history of the words you’ve looked up in case you tend to forget the word you just learned (now that’s annoying)

Endic is pretty fantastic. But it is a little tricky to navigate at first, so give it some time. You’ll love it once you do.

감사합니다!