Naye Chocolat (나예 쇼콜라)
Samcheongdong (삼청동), an upper class area of Seoul just north of bustling Insadong, is a rich tapestry of modern galleries, smart boutiques, and refurbished Hanok (한옥 - traditional Korean buildings) that sit effortlessly along the rich green hills dominating the area. I had been meaning to take a trip there for ages, so when my friend came to visit we decided to go there for a post-lunch wander.
(I wrote this about one of my days in Shanghai and didn’t want to let it go to waste. After a reread I’ve realised that it might come off as critical and ‘othering’ of Chinese people; if anyone feels that way then I apologise. I decided to leave it at is because it was an honest account of a bewildering day in a crowded city, prejudiced somewhat by my own less than idyllic circumstances outside the trip. Still, looking back, I still feel the same way now as I did back then: namely, that taking pictures of tourist traps was no way near as enjoyable as just walking down nameless streets and enjoying the atmosphere. This may have a lot to do with my particular personality of course, so it will not apply to everybody, but I really recommend spending some time just meandering down side streets, not getting in anyone’s way but just simply admiring the beautiful places that Shanghai has to offer. Again, if anyone has any criticisms of what I have written please let me know. Thank you for reading.)
Today I decided to hit Shanghai, big style. My bed was incredibly comfortable, but, as some people were still letting off fireworks at eight in the morning, I thought I ought to get up earlier rather than later. I got on the subway to East Nanjing Road station (luckily there were no beggars this time, what a surprise) then headed to the old part of town. On the way I had to buy a support bandage for my gammy knee, in an attempt to ease the twinges of pain I keep getting every so often. My destination was Yu Yuan, a walled garden nestled among a garish labyrinth of shops and restaurants made to look like ‘traditional China’ – except I don’t think they had Starbucks or Pepsi back then. It was absolutely heaving with people, to the extent that I’ve never before experienced in my twenty three or so years on this earth. This is what happens when you visit a Chinese tourist trap on a Sunday which also happens to be Chinese New Year. Wherever I turned, dreaded street vendors were selling their bacteria-covered snacks, so I had to prepare myself for the gag-inducing, absolutely putrid smell of rancid tofu at every street corner. I’ve realised that I’m quite sensitive when it comes to bad odours…maybe China’s not the best place for a prissy white girl like me.
Recently I’ve tried to lower my consumption of meat products because of ethical/health reasons. One day I hope to eradicate meat from my diet completely (as well as fish and other seafood) but for now, I’m taking it one day at a time. Unfortunately, at home, my parents see meat as compulsory and their idea of a balanced meal is meat, veg, potatoes…every single day. When I’m home I feel like I’m in Groundhog Day, as all I’ve been getting is mashed potatoes and boiled veg for the last week. One or two pieces of veg is no way sufficient for a good diet! (Don’t worry, I’m finally getting to the point of this long preamble).
So although it’s a bit wasteful to cook when there is plenty of mashed potato to go around, I decided enough was enough, and went to the shop to buy some wonderful, colourful vegetables. I had the idea of cooking Bibimbap, so I decided to tailor Maangachi’s excellent recipe to create my own, slightly 和風 (Japanese-style) version.
Noriko Goes To Seoul (노리코, 서울에 가다)
Country of origin: South Korea
Director: Lee Gyo Wook
Noriko Goes To Seoul is a made-for-television, feature length drama that aired on KBS in 2011. In short, it is the story of a Japanese housewife who travels to Seoul in order to finally make something of herself, becoming part of one family, and healing her own. Of course, this being a ‘drama’-type production, there are many issues that our leads have to contend with; including the obligatory illness, a fight resulting from a love triangle, family issues and deceased relatives.
Our protagonist, Noriko, leaves her husband and troubled daughter for a few weeks to embark on a trip to Korea to meet her beloved ‘Hyun-chan’, a famous idol singer who will appear as a judge on the final of a televised talent show. At the audition she meets Min Ha, an obnoxious and talented young man intent on stardom, who makes money from ‘teaching’ others how to sing. The two become entangled with each other when Noriko begs Min Ha to take her on as a student, and despite the many dramas that befall our unlucky duo, somehow they manage to get Noriko into the final of the contest, and help each other with their demons along the way.
Etude House Baking Powder B.B. Deep Cleansing Foam
This weekend, because of my job, I found myself in South Korea for a couple of days. I had the best intentions in the world to cram loads of sightseeing into that small gap of time and practise my (extremely limited) Korean, but I ended up seeing the inside of a grand total of one temple but about fifty skincare shops. Sigh. Korean beauty products are just so elegantly packaged, sometimes you want to line them up on your bathroom shelves regardless if they work or not.
That being said, with there being so much stuff available, it is kind of nice to know what you should be spending your money on. I spent my money on a lot of things in those two days, one of them being the above named product, Etude House’s Baking Powder Cleansing Foam.
reonsales asked: Hi there! :D Thank you for the picture of Seungri pointing down!!! Actually, that's a reaction to me speaking to him, so I wanted to ask if it's just that one picture or if you have any other pictures of that moment??? In any case, thank you so much already and I hope you had a great time in London!! - Btw, can I repost the picture maybe? :D Thanks and love ♥
Sorry for the late reply, hope you had a great Xmas!
Wasn’t it a wonderful concert! Sadly these were the only decent(ish) photos I took, but feel free to use the photo if you want - it would be nice to get credit though (^_^;)
Nice story by the way! What did you say to him? :)
I have to start this entry with apologies, as usual. Although I know nobody reads this blog I’m still sorry for not updating more often. Recently my work has just exhausted me in every way - though I’m getting over it now.
Anyway, enough excuses. What I really want to talk about is my recent afternoon in Shin-Okubo. Shin-Okubo is the ‘Korea Town’ of Tokyo; a veritable haven selling idol goods, cosmetics, multimedia, and cheap, delicious food. While it may be strange for me to encourage any visitors of Japan to head to a place that celebrates a completely different country and culture, Shin-Okubo is well worth a look, even if just for a unique shopping trip.
First, a disclaimer: this recipe isn’t really like any other Chapjae out there; it’s a kind of made-up-as-you-go-along kind of dish, using whatever was in the fridge. (I couldn’t brave leaving the house for extra ingredients, it was pouring with rain!) I wasn’t going to write about it but since I already kinda promised, plus it tasted more awesome than I expected…here’s my Steak MUAYGA Chapjae recipe!
jellybeansandhoney asked: Hey, I'm good thanks, casually putting off revision haha. How are you? And I'm studying at Sheffield Uni - and yes, we have a year abroad in out 3rdyear. So excited but oh-so scared too - particularly in regards to money. And no, I've not really though of where to go to be honest... Do you have any recommendations perhaps? And have you studied Japanese at Uni too? Where did you go? And what year are you in now? But yes! Thank you for your help; I really appreciate it. I'll look into them asap :)
I studied Japanese at SOAS and spent my year abroad at Nagoya University, which is amazing, but not for everyone. Actually, I’ve already finished - but I’m hoping to go back to Nagoya for my Masters. I heard a lot of Sheffield students go to Kyoto, is that right? It might be worth going somewhere else to meet new people, although Kyoto is lovely too.
Are exams still on? My reply’s a little late, I’m sorry!
If you like, I travel to Japan a lot for my job, so I could pick you up any books you need for your studies and you could pay me through my ebay shop. I’m going to Japan this weekend, and again the next week -__- (Thanks, BA!) I understand completely if you prefer to make your own enquiries but the offer is there if you like!
Also, BIG BANG are awesome! <3
jellybeansandhoney asked: Hi. I'm sorry to bother you but I was wondering which Korean-Japanese textbook you're using exactly? I've just finished the first year of my degree in Japanese (one exam to go!) so I feel I should be fine in learning Korean but I really want to do it from Japanese. However, have no idea where to start. Would you recommend your books? And did you buy them offline or from London? Thank you so much in advance. I did read your post so I'm sorry if you already covered what I'm asking. Melissa x
Hey! How are you? Don’t worry about asking questions, I like when people get in touch with me! Where are you studying btw?
The book I use is KO 韓国語「文法」トレーニング（高橋書店）, and alongside that I also have a vocab book called 韓国語の基本単語集（ナツメ社）, which groups loads of words into various categories. I would recommend them both, although there are so many books on the market which are probably just as good.
Unfortunately I got my books in Japan, so I’m not sure about where you can buy them in the UK. You could try Amazon Japan by using a shopping service, or you can request that JP Books (part of Mitsukoshi in London) order them for you. They do actually have some other Korean study books in JP Books, though they were quite expensive… They also have みんなの日本語 in Korean which I also contemplated buying, because I found it was such an excellent textbook when I was an 一年生.
Sorry I can’t be much more help. I really hope I could at least help a little. If you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Oh and good luck with the exams, I’m sure you’ll do great! Do you get a year abroad in Japan? Have you thought about where you want to go?
- Alice :)