Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wandering and Music in Myeongdong

Rob and I had a date day just before our trip to Japan, so we headed to the Myeongdong neighborhood to do some exploring. First stop was lunch at Koogane, a chicken galbi restaurant.

We ordered a chicken and rice meal, with a variety of dokboki (flavored rice cakes).

Mmmmmmm...cooked right at our table, and served with rice and a bunch of sides.

Then we headed toward the M-Plaza building, to visit the Seoul Global Cultural Center.

There were some interesting items in the area:

Had to stop in at this sock shop:

I LOVE that there are sooooo many different designs at cheap prices here.

But until we passed this store mannequin, I did NOT know there were soooo many different mask treatments available for one's body!  ;)

We eventually headed into the center and waited for a traditional music performance to start.

The performance space is called Haechi Hall and I snuck a few pictures of the instruments:

Ajaeng - base sounding zither played with a small stick

Janggu - two-handed drum

Gayageum - plucked string instrument

And the music...

The group performing that day was the Gugak Broadcasting Group, on traditional string, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The announcer also sang some pansori music at the end of the session.

Here is a short clip of the entire ensemble performing an upbeat Korean song:


Each member of the orchestra played a short piece to showcase its unique style and sound. Here is an example of the Piri (a small double reed, like the oboe) and then the Haegeum (a fiddle-like instrument with only two strings).


After the orchestra, the center had two of its Jjangu students come out to perform. I am hoping to take the next class this spring, so I can have some percussive fun as well!


For anyone in Seoul who would like to visit the center - for information, a performance, or a hanbok wearing experience:

Exit 8 from Myeongdong Subway Station(Sky Blue line No.4) and then turn left at Olive young store. Walk straight about 150 meters (3 minuntes on foot) to the M Plaza building on your LEFT. The center is on the 5th Floor.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tokyo - Day 5 - Legos!

On our last full day in Tokyo, we woke up to this lovely weather:

As we were also a bit worn out from our tourist excursions so far, we opted to take it easy and headed to Odaiba for a little indoor fun.  We hopped on the subway, transferred a few times, and saw the Fuji TV building as we rode by.

Then we headed to Legoland for some awesome fun.

Making legos!

Zapping trolls and monsters:

There was a great room full of lego models of Tokyo buildings:

Odaiba and Fuji building


Tokyo Tower

Sumo wrestling

Imperial Palace

Senso-ji Temple is Asakusa

Then we headed over to the Master Builders workshop:

And the large climbing play area:

There was a flying wizard ride:

A car building area:

And karaoke!

Enjoy the musical stylings of Mr. Michael, in homage to his current favorites, the Storybots:


Before we left, Michael got to test out his Ninja skills:

And then, of course, we ended up in the Lego store:

While excitedly looking over all of the Lego Star Wars figures, Michael asked who this was with a puzzled look on his face...since we have kind of skipped that part of the saga with him.  :)

Making his own mini-figs to take home:

After that, we called it a trip and went back to the hotel to pack, eat, do some laundry and actually relax on our vacation (what?!).  The next day, we boarded the earliest airport shuttle and headed back to Narita.

While there, we stocked up on Kit Kats of every flavor - rum raisin or green tea, anyone?

We kept ourselves amused by making letters out of our leftover Yen...

..and once we cleared customs, boarded the airport express train back to Seoul.

We had a fun time - hope you enjoyed following along!