Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Seoul Animation and Cartoon Museum

Last week we had a fun visit to the Seoul Animation Center and Cartoon Museum.  I wrote up a post on the trip for Korea Ye and you can read it by clicking here.

Here are a few more fun pictures from the day, that aren't included with the article.

 Giant Robot!

 "Look, Mommy, the Marshmallow Man!"

 Examples of different types of animation

Michael's clay masterpieces - a man and a monster - that were used to make a 20 frame stop-animation video. We're still waiting for the video clip to make it to us - I will share it when I get it!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Admiral Yi Sun-sin

While we were at the Lotus Lantern Festival this past spring we picked up some excellent literature about various aspects of Korean culture, all in English and provided for free by the Korean Spirit and Culture Promotion Project (KSCPP).

I finally had the chance to sit down and read through the book dedicated to the late, great Admiral Yi Sun-sin. The entire book is available online - click here to read it for yourself!

In short, he was an outstanding naval commander who served Korea well during the 1590s - often compared to Admirals Nelson and Togo - and was undefeated in his 23 battles at sea. One of his most astonishing victories came at Myongnyang in 1597, when his small fleet of 13 vessels successfully defended against 330 Japanese ships; they sank or severely damaging 121 of Japan's fleet without the loss of a single Korean ship.

He is still revered as a national hero of Korea and an impressive monument honors him in Gwanghwamun Square.

He is also credited for successfully using the first iron-clad naval vessel. Below is a replica of the Kobukson or "Turtle Ship", which can be found inside the main museum at the War Memorial of Korea

Just a little serious history and reading I thought I'd share with everyone - enjoy!  

Visit the KSCPP website for additional free books, available in English, French, German, and a few other languages, about: 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Visit to Seoul Tower

It's been a quiet few days here, so I thought I would post about a trip we took earlier in our adventures, before I had started the blog.  Back in March, we had the opportunity to visit the Seoul Tower on top of Namsam - which is the mountain park we can see from our balcony and base.

We were getting a tour with friends, so we were allowed to cheat and drive up the mountain - but there are a number of hiking paths, as well as a cable car to the top.    

Our walk was a relatively short one (which was a good thing with three youngsters in tow) and we explored the grounds a bit. There are often shows and performers here, and a number of restaurants are at the base of the tower.

Recycled art to see shapes from up above.

There was a ceremony demonstration happening on the grounds and 
we were able to catch a portion of it during Michael's snack break.

We also came prepared to add our "love lock" to the surrounding walls - a tradition for anyone visiting the top of the mountain.


We then rode the elevator to the top (very fast!) and took a look around.  Great views, even on an overcast winter day.

The high-rises in the middle and to the right in this next picture are our "neighborhood".

A nice day with friends in Seoul. 

One of these days (when it's a bit cooler) we'll make the trek as a family back up on foot (Rob does it quite often as part of his morning PT run).  :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The music of "The Whale in the Moon" at Yeowoorak

My most recent Korean performance attendance, thanks to the KTO, was seeing "The Whale in the Moon" at the Yeowoorak Festival.  From the website and program, Yeowoorak means "Here is Our Music" and the concerts include new Korean music from a variety of artists.

The concert was held at the National Theater of Korea, in the Daloreum Building - a smaller theater with a more intimate setting for this unique event.

Before the concert I had time to explore a bit more of the grounds and found a sculpture garden hidden among the trees along the front of the complex. 

I also had a chance to grab a quick drink at the downstairs cafe - Sun and Moon - which had me humming music from Miss Saigon for a bit.

This serious little chap was watching over the place as I drank...

I picked up my ticket inside, as a K-Performance Supporter, and purchased the festival program for 3,000 W - as an added bonus, they gave me a program from last year's festival, as well!

Inside, the theater was beautiful, comfortable, and the acoustics were great during the concert.

"The Whale in the Moon" was a collaborative concert of Korean music fused with folk music from all over the world, performed by two excellent groups - 2nd Moon (두번째달) and Coreyah.

I thoroughly enjoyed this concert - the musicians were outstanding, the staging and light effects complimented it well, and the fusion of styles was wonderful.  During the course of the night I could detect a variety of genres and styles - traditional Korean, Irish, klezmer, blues, western rock, latin - I am sure there are some I am forgetting! I liked it so much, I bought two CDs on the way out.

With a little online searching, I found these clips for your listening enjoyment:

2nd Moon video clip:  Palace Medley

Coreyah video clip: Handed Over

And they brought the house down with a version of this song:  Wrong

This festival has more concerts going on through July 26th, so anyone reading this in Korea should try to go to one or more - great experience!  Tickets are only 30,000 W and foreigners can get 50% off the price of tickets with their passport or ID.


And as it seems to be my new tradition after performances, I tried a new drink from the subway vending machine on the way home - this time it was a tasty Peach Demi Soda!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Roaming through Insadong - Part 2

This weekend, we had a few free hours and decided to head back to Insa-dong.

As we exited the subway at Jonggak Station, we stopped to admire the Bosingak Belfry.

We decided to hit the Ssamzigil Shopping Complex - an open-air shopping mall, with ramped walkways to the top. Lots of small shops with a variety of products and plenty of interesting photo op spots.

We shopped and Rob stopped for a "treat".  I'll have to share a separate post about this topic, but poop is a popular item here (yes, you just read that correctly). 
So he had a poop-shaped cookie, filled with bean paste:


Then we had a quick drink at the roof top cafe and added our tag to the outdoor decor - 
the Bruns Family was there!

Before we called it a day, we headed downstairs to the Alive Museum, a trick art attraction, and had some fun taking pictures.

Here are some of our favorite photos from our visit:

We had a little too much fun with some of these... ;)