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.

 

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

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NYC 술집: Specialty Soju & Korean Food at take 31

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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

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

“Please Try” – Temple Stay at Myogaksa, South Korea

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I wrote a post for my Reach the World classroom this past weekend about my experience at a temple in Seoul (Reach the World is a program that I joined via the Gilman Scholarship which is supporting my studies abroad; it is designed to connect world travelers and exchange students from the United States with K-12th classrooms). While I am constrained by space and writing level for those pieces – because I am assigned 2nd graders – I really wanted to expand on my experience on my seouldream blog. The temple stay indubitably ranks as one of my top three experiences in Korea thus far. I cannot think of a better way to have spent my weekend than to have lived in a Buddhist temple for two days and one night, and I hope that after reading this, you’ll want to experience it too.  Continue reading

KakaoTalk: yet another app you need

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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

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

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Few people have any idea what goes on in North Korea—not just because they’re ignorant, but because it’s difficult to get any information on the topic. “Is Psy from North Korea?” No, no he’s not. The six people in Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea are. And they grew up very differently than the world-famous Gangnam Style oppa.

Nothing to Envy is a gripping read with information gathered from countless interviews and a huge amount of research. I read it within two days and stared at a wall for a long time when I finished it. These were real people and stories—these are real people and their real stories. Not only are the North Korean refugees in the story alive and free, but their friends and family and countless other North Koreans still live beyond the demilitarized border between North and South, beneath the suffocating cover of their government.

The eye-opening story that really gripped me was about a woman who loved her country. She was an absolute patriot, and loathed those who tried to escape. Yet her story interested me the most because it not only explained how her mind changed and she decided to escape, but because it showed why she believed the propaganda and supported North Korea and its methods in the first place—from a real North Korean’s view.

I highly recommend Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea to anyone interested in South or North Korea, East Asia, or a very good and very real book. 감사합니다.

 

Extra Reading:

New York Times

Review by Book Worm’s Head blog

linguanaut – language learning survival tips

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One of my favorite quick-reference sites is linguanaut. It has over 50 languages available, but I use it for Korean and Japanese. (Depending on the language you’re looking for, it has even more than just what the Korean section includes. For example, the Japanese references include a category just for famous Japanese sayings, which is pretty neat!) Its Korean section includes: Continue reading

italki Review

italki screenshot (not mine)

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Have you been looking for a way to practice your target language? Whatever the language might be (with the exception of some really far-out, ten-people-in-the-world-speak-it languages), you can probably find a native speaker on italki. italki is a site dedicated to connecting you to the people you need. Continue reading

Please Look After Mom: a Korean novel of family, heartache, and loss

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I recently read Please Look After Mom, a novel revolving around a family’s search for their missing foundation – their mother and wife. The famous South Korean author, Kyung-sook Shin, spun her masterpiece so flawlessly that I thought it was at least partly autobiographical; I discovered in this article that I wasn’t the only one – “‘She thought the story was completely real,'” (x Kyung-sook Shin about one of her readers).

 

Please Look After Mom is an award-winning novel (published in English in 2011) that not only provides a tragic and beautiful tale of how a Korean family comes to terms with the disappearance of their aging mom, but it also gives insight into Korean culture and tradition. Yet as the story is in a modern setting, this insight isn’t limited to historical culture – it shows the reader the effect of Korea’s rapid development and how it has influenced the younger generation (the daughter and son) as opposed to the older (the father and the missing mother). And for the literary-lovers, it’s rich with symbolism that ices the cake of this book.

 

I absolutely recommend Please Look After Mom, whether you read it for its literary value, or to learn more about Korean culture, or even just because you’re looking for something new to read. Please Look After Mom by Kyung-sook Shin is crafted to be accessible and rewarding for anyone.

 

감사합니다!

Anki Flashcards Review

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Anki is a fantastic resource for the language-learner (and even for the regular student overwhelmed with facts to learn about cellular process, calculus definitions, and historical dates). Anki calls itself “friendly, intelligent flashcards” for a reason; the program is a free download that remembers what you’ve forgotten, what you’ve remembered, and everything in between, and creates a unique review system based on how quickly and how accurately you recall information.

b5Anki has rather dull appearance, but its selling point is its function: helping you learn what you struggle with the most. And it does that very, very well.

When you open the program on your computer after downloading, you will have an empty program. You can download pre-made flashcard decks for free by going to File, Download, and Shared Decks. Depending on the deck, you can even download audio extensions and files to help with pronunciation of the words and phrases you’re learning; however, I prefer using Anki purely for reading and comprehension rather than downloading extra audio files. Anki also offers the option of creating your own notecards; (warning: personal opinion again) I prefer using pre-made decks because the platform for deck creation is unwieldy and time-consuming to make a deck work properly. It’s not impossible; it’s just not for the impatient student. Also, the pros of making a deck on Anki outweigh the cons – it’s way better and more effective to study with Anki than regular physical notecards or other free flashcard programs.

Once you have downloaded a deck, it will appear in the program.

Open it and you find different settings for studying. b2

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The flashcards, as flashcards often do, capitalize on repetition. But this repetition is smart and effective repetition. As you go through the cards, the program brings back cards that you’ve forgotten more frequently than cards you’ve remembered. It also takes into account how long it takes you to click Show Answer.

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The conclusion: Anki is a great flashcard program. It’s free. It’s smart. It uses your time effectively because it doesn’t waste time reviewing information that you already know, and focuses instead on what you struggle with. While I dislike making my own decks and how boring the interface itself looks, this is a great language-learning resource. There are tons of free, pre-made decks of Korean vocabulary, grammar, Hangul, practice sentences, hanja, etc. as well as lots of other stuff that might interest you. And if you don’t like it after downloading and trying it, then just delete it from your computer!

An extra muffinAnki is a free program, but it has to support itself somehow. Proceeds from its Anki app and donations from users help it stay free. If you really like Anki on your computer, consider paying the creators back and getting yourself the Anki app.

감사합니다!