Friday, September 12, 2014


Rob and I celebrated a late anniversary (almost 2 months late!) with a recent trip to the theater.  I had a monitoring ticket thanks to the great folks at the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).  

We went to see Miso at the Jeongdong Theater, which is just down the street from Deoksugung Palace in downtown Seoul.

From the website:
“MISO : Baebijang-jeon (裵裨將傳): A Satirical Novel Representative of the Joseon Dynasty – The fateful encounter of Secretary Bae, an official that we can’t help but love, and Ae-rang, a beautiful woman who is proud and clever."  Nevermind that they are both married to someone else! 

The show is a comedy performed with traditional Korean music, instruments, costumes, and dances.  It was a very enjoyable performance, complete with subtitles and text in English for the brief singing portions.  Most of the performance is without speech.

The costumes were beautiful. Even the theater's ushers and ticket agents dressed in traditional attire.

The theater was intimate, with a "pit" area for the orchestra.

Though my pictures are a bit dark, you can see that there are a variety of Korean instruments present - janggu, gayageum, a gong, and the piri, to name a few.

Afterwards, the cast assembled in the lobby for a meet and greet picture opportunity, and much of the audience took advantage of the time to sit for pictures.

Show information for those living in or visiting Seoul:

Open Run 4pm/8pm  (Closed on Mondays) - 80 minutes long
Ticket :  VIP seat : 60,000 won / R seat: 50,000 won / S seat: 40,000 won
Inquiries : 02-751-1500

Subway Directions:

  • Subway Line 5 Seodaemun Station: Exit 5 towards "Kyunghyang Newspaper"
  • Subway Line 2 City Hall Station: Exit 12 towards "Jeongdong Theater"
  • Subway Line 1 City Hall Station: Exits 1 and 2 towards "Jeongdong Theater"

map from show website

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chuseok and Namsangol Hanok Village

Chuseok, also called Hangawi - and often referred to as the Korean "Thanksgiving" - is a major autumnal holiday in Korea, where families give thanks to their ancestors for the year's harvest during the full harvest moon. This year, Chuseok happened over five days, from September 6-10, 2014, and we had the opportunity to enjoy a number of activities in a relatively quiet Seoul (millions of people traveled to their home towns, so the traffic and crowds in Seoul were non-existent!)

On Saturday, Rob ventured up north on a USO tour of the DMZ, snapping a few pictures along the way.

Look kids, North Korea!

Michael and I joined a group from post on a stroller friendly hike up Namsan Mountain towards Seoul Tower - "friendly" because it had no stairs, but it was still all uphill! We made it, though!

At the top there were a number of traditional Korean games laid out for kids 
of all ages to play, as well as the obligatory photo stops!

Where's Michael?

Michael and Haechi, the Seoul mascot

On Sunday, we headed to the War Memorial of Korea for some afternoon fun.  
There was an elaborate display in the lobby dedicated to Superintendent General Cha Il-Hyuk, the Hero of September.

The Robocar Poly play area was still open, so Michael had a great time bouncing, climbing, and swinging for a few hours - from this video, you can see he has no fear!


We also had some artistic fun along the way.

Later that night, I went to go see The Painters, courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization - it's a very fun, non-verbal show.

On Monday, the actual day of Chuseok, we headed over to the 
Namsangol Hanok Village for their Harvest Moon Festival.

The village is made up of traditional Hanok houses - open air structures with tiled roofs and "ondol" floors (water heated floors). Each house had displays of furniture and fixtures to study.


Example of ceremonial meal offering

There were a number of craft and activity stations throughout the village for the weekend - writing, straw crafts, and kid stations, among them.

Michael's mask craft - with sticky bead-like play-doh.

 I managed to snap a picture of the Harvest Moon on Tuesday morning - 
it was huge, which this picture just does not do justice...

Happy Chuseok!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A visit to Busan - Day 4

Busan Day 4 - our last day in Busan was a laid back, "let's see what we see" kind of day.  We slept in late and then I headed to the beach with the boy for a last dip in the sea.  After Wednesday's rain, it was a beautiful, clear morning.

On the way to the beach, we stumbled through a TV shoot for a new KBS Korean Drama called "Ironman" (Blade-man, in English).  From a quick online search, it seems the plot centers around a man who has iron blades protruding from his body, as a result of the pain in his heart, and a woman who hopes to help him.  No knives for this scene, but I loved how the actor (I think it was the lead, Lee Dong-wook), wore comfy, neon sneakers for the filming with his suit!

I saw the cameras and large crew blocking the exit, quickly grabbed Michael before he ran for the automatic revolving door, and asked the concierge if we could leave.  He directed us out a side door, which still had us walking through the equipment and crew, and we made a run for it when I heard the director yell, "CUTTA!"   Whew - to the beach!

We headed back, packed up, and said goodbye to Haeundae.  We opted to take a taxi back to Busan Station and saw some interesting landmarks along the way.

The UN Monument at the crossroads outside Busan Museum and Busan Cultural Center

We had about two hours before our train left, so we stowed our luggage in a train station locker, and decided to explore the area surrounding the station.  The outside fountains were on this day, so I snapped a few photos.  There was a group of women playing percussion instruments and singing in front of it, showing support for the Sewol victim's families and calling for reform.

The different elements of the fountain each stands for something.

Across the street from the station is Busan's China Town, marked with large ornamental gateways.

It was pretty quiet at that time of day (and year), but we admired the 
wall murals and various statues along the way.

We decided to stop at a small restaurant for a delicious lunch of steamed dumplings, 
garlic chicken, and fried rice.

The decor was a hodgepodge of patterns, and I couldn't resist taking a picture of the wall paper, as the  colors just really appealed to me.

We saw a sign for an area called the Forty Steps, so we trudged down the street and found an area of shops, statues, and eateries.  This was historically a meeting place where refugees and wharf men used to wait for their families during the Korean War. 

We climbed the spiraling ramp and then found the 40 Steps for our descent back to the main street.

After that, we had had our fill of trekking around, so we jumped on the subway for a quick ride back to Busan Station, headed inside and boarded our train.  We relaxed, ate snacks, and tried to keep Michael quiet so he wouldn't wake the sleeping baby on the table in front of us!

Well, that's about it - I'm all blogged out for the moment!  
Hope you enjoyed reading our posts about Busan - we had a great trip!