Monday, June 25, 2012

Music Monday #7

Back to New Zealand for Music Monday #7 and this one’s an oldie but a goodie.

They broke up in 1997 but did reform in 2007 and have done some touring over the years since. This was the first live band that I ever saw so has a special place in my heart. If you are in New Zealand and any of their most popular songs come on you can guarantee you will have most of the kiwis singing along.

Although I went on to develop different musical tastes as I got older I can still appreciate that Supergroove are a classic act. They had a great sound and some catchy tunes and are still considered one of the best bands from New Zealand.

Supergroove - Sitting Inside My Head

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Learning Korean #1 - Counting (Sino-Korean)

One of the first things that I did when I got here was to learn how to count to 10, there are two ways of counting in Korea. Sino-Korean (because it came from Chinese) and Native (sometimes called Pure) Korean which are the traditional numbers.  Korean uses both so if you are learning Korean you will at some stage need to learn both however the reason that I wanted to learn was for money and money uses the Sino-Korean counting system. 

It's pretty easy to learn and I memorised it in an afternoon with the help of this video so I have shared it here for you to take advantage of too.  It's from and they do lots of Korean Language Videos on You Tube so check them out.

The Korean system uses the same Arabic Numbers that English does but they have their own words for the numbers and so also have the Hangul (Korean Language) written word for each number.

Sino-Korean Numbers 1-10

  • 1 = il/일
  • 2 = ee/이
  • 3 = sam/삼
  • 4 = sa/사
  • 5 = oh/오
  • 6 = yuk/육 (륙 sometimes ryuk)
  • 7 = chil/칠
  • 8 = pal/팔
  • 9 = gu/구
  • 10 = ship/십

  • To make the higher numbers it's pretty easy, 11-19 you just say (10 + number) so for example to say 15 is ship-oh.

    When you get to 20-99 you just switch it around (number + ship) so for example 20 is ee-ship and 60 is yuk-ship.  The in-between numbers you just add another number on the end for example 23 is ee-ship-sam and 79 is chil-ship-gu and so on.

    When you get even higher each place marker has its own new word:
  • 100 = baek/백
  • 1000 = cheon/천
  • 10,000 = man/만

  • The rules for forming the numbers remain the same so to say 312 you say Three + Hundred + Ten + Two sam-baek-ship-ee and to say 1475 you say cheon-sa-baek-chil-ship-oh.

    Seoul Metro - Music Video by Michael Aronson

    Michael Aronson is a guy who makes music videos about Korea - you can visit his website here at Time to Rock the World and you can also subscribe to his channel on You Tube here.

    This video is a follow up to my earlier post about the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, it's a great way to see what the subway is like and is really well done.  Enjoy.

    Funny Video - Trying To Get By in Yeosu

    A funny music video made by some foreigners living in Yeosu, South Korea.  Learn some Korean and have fun doing it. Enjoy.

    Korea in the News #1

    An article from New Zealand news website - Stuff.

    It's about a talk/talent TV show in South Korea that features both North and South Korean women.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Music Monday #6

    I have to apologise because I actually almost forgot about Music Monday, that's why its a little bit late today.

    So just quickly this one is by an independent artist that does all of his music through You Tube and iTunes - he does not have an agent or belong to any record labels yet he is doing unprecedentedly well. It's not really my kind of music but I can appreciate he has a nice voice and I'm really impressed with his work ethic and that he has done so well by himself.

    Anyway the artist's name is Alex Day and his You Tube channel is under the name 'nerimon' and I would recommend it along with his friend 'charlieissocoollike' (which is where this video is as Charlie stars in it along with Alex).  Charlie is one of the top You Tube personalities on the web today with well over a million subscribers and Alex is not far behind.  They both do vlog type videos which are pretty funny.

    Alex Day - Forever Yours

    Also you can read about Alex Day in the articles below from 'Forbes' and if you like his music don't forget to check him out on You Tube and iTunes.

    Forbes Articles:

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

    Seoul and Hell Pizza - A Day Out

    Today I met a friend in Seoul for the afternoon, we met for lunch in Apgujeong because I really wanted to go to Hell Pizza.  Hell Pizza is a New Zealand pizza chain that has recently opened three stores here in Korea.  I've been wanting to go for awhile but wanted to go with another Kiwi to fully appreciate it.  My friend is recently back in Korea after a trip round South-East Asia so this was a good chance to catch up.

    We were wondering if it would taste that same, although my friend has not lived in New Zealand for about six years so did not really remember it anyway. For me it was a bit different as I've only been here just over a year. One of the apartments where I lived in Wellington was really close to a Hell Pizza store so I ate it more that I usually would have. I'm not actually much of a pizza fan, I only really like Hawaiian flavor but I do like Hell's Pizza and its great that it is New Zealand owned and operated (in New Zealand).

    There are three stores in Seoul, South Korea now. Two were opened first and then they have since added a third.  You can visit the Hell Korea website here for directions and details if you are interested (its in Korean but you can use the maps at the very least).  The locations are Apgujeong, Cheongdam, Jamwon (Bampo area). We went to the Apgujeong one and it was pretty easy to find although we were following some directions from online which seem to be a bit out of date so I will update here.

    Directions to Apgujeong Hell Pizza:
    Take the orange subway line number 3 to Apgujeong Station, take the exit number 2, when you come up out of the exit turn around and walk a couple of meters and then go around the first corner that veers off to the right.  Once you round the corner continue to walk straight for a while, you will pass a Dunkin' Donuts then a KB bank and then you should see the familiar black.  You can't miss it, there are lots of delivery scooters out the front.

    Hell Pizza Store
    Hell Pizza - Apgujeong in Seoul, South Korea

    Our Experience in Hell:
    The place is pretty small as I think their main business, as with most Pizza, is deliveries - while we were there we watched the bikes go out numerous times.  There are a couple of tables inside and a bench along the window that you can sit at so if you do go there you can eat in like we did.

    The menu contains most of the favourites, its not as big as the New Zealand menu as Koreans apparently don't like a lot of choice.  I was happy however as my favourite was there - the 'Greed' pizza which is basically a Hawaiian (ham, cheese and pineapple).  My friend got the 'Wrath' one and we got some wedges to share.  All in all it was a pretty good meal, the pizza tasted just like it does back in New Zealand and the wedges were good too.

    Wedges from HellGreed Pizza from Hell
    Wrath Pizza from Hell

    It was a nice (albeit expensive for Korea) lunch and I was a very happy Kiwi. I had been really feeling like something from New Zealand so it hit the spot.  Will definitely go back there some time.

    After a long lunch we wandered around Apgujeong but there is not that much there unless you want to have Plastic Surgery (its the place to go for cosmetic enhancement). We decided to go over to Itaewon and go to the bookstore and foreign markets etc.  We taxied over to Itaewon because by now we had been walking for a while and it was hot. It only cost about 6,700won so that was pretty good, thankfully the car was air conditioned so we could cool down.

    In Itaewon we visited the English book store 'What the Book?' - you can find the link in my useful links list on the side. I couldn't really find any books that really jumped out at me and I have lots to read at home anyway so I was very good and resisted the urge. I did buy a magazine - crazy expensive (11,710won) but a bit of a treat as I don't go to Itaewon very often.

    After that we wandered again and then decided we were thirsty and needed a nice air conditioned cafe for something to drink and a sit down.  I decided on iced chocolate for me and then looking around saw a sign for a chocolatier cafe. I figured they would have iced chocolate and boy was I right.  Turned out they had several different kinds, I was not sure which one to pick - they also had lots of handmade chocolate and desserts available.  It was an upstairs cafe and nice and big and airy and I think it might be a chain.

    It's called Cafe Jubilee and it's on the corner above QuiznosSub (at an intersection on the main drag). I had an iced chocolate the 'pure' one simply because it was the first one on the list and I was overwhelmed with having more than one choice. It was OK, kinda thick and not the best I've had but not bad or anything.  I think I will try a different one next time I go there and I am sure I will go again.  I noticed on the way out they had some little ice cream desserts that looked nice.

    We split a choice of six chocolates, the selection at the front counter are all numbered and you pick how many you want and then which numbers to make up your selection.  We had the Dark Truffle and the Heart and then I had a hazelnut one and my friend had a caramel one.  They were all really good - the heart one was a pretty red colour and was not what we were expecting taste wise, you would think it would be something red but it was passion fruit (which actually makes sense).  It was our favourite anyway, nice presentation and nice taste.

    We finished off the day by checking out a couple of the foreign markets, I didn't really need anything but I picked up a few things anyway - some Milo cos its always good to have some in your cupboard if you need some comfort, some Salt and Vinegar chips I think they are a brand from England (they were pretty good, I was eating them as I wrote this) and some Tim Tams - you can get these at Home Plus but when I bought them I found they were from Indonesia and they obviously make them different as they did not taste as good.  I checked the back of these and they are from Australia so they should be the good ones.

    Cosmo, Chips, Milo and Tim Tams (My Goodies)
    My Goodies
    The last thing I bought was just on a whim as I was so enamoured with it.  You have to say one thing about Americans they think of it all.  Where as the rest of the world would think why put marshmallow in a jar the Americans say, "the hell with you" and go ahead and do it.  So I give you 'Fluff' its marshmallow in jar and apparently you can put it on bread (cos I've always wanted a marshmallow sandwich?), in drinks and on desserts; the possibilities are endless and I was intrigued. There is even a serving suggestion for a 'fluffernutter' which you mix it with peanut butter on a sandwich - ummmmm I think I will pass on that one all the same. Thank you America for making all my (never even imagined) dreams come true.
    Marshmallow Fluff (America in a Jar)


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    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Music Monday #5

    This week I wanted to showcase some Korean punk for Music Monday (a little bit late due to my internet connection being really slow).  I have not had very much experience with it and have not been to any gigs as I don't know any other people who like this kind of music here in Korea.  It's hard enough finding friends to come with me to gigs back home as most of my friends have very different tastes in music. Anyway I have discovered some of the bands online through websites, forums and facebook - that's the great thing about the Internet.

    Now you may be thinking - 'Korea', 'Punk' hmmmnnn how does that work, but the punk scene is pretty active in Seoul and has been for a number of years.  There a quite a few Korean punk bands all playing different variations from hardcore, skate punk, ska, skinhead and more.  Their influences are from around the world including England and America and there is something for everyone.  Some of the songs are in English, some in Korean and the rest a mixture of them both, it just depends on the band.

    This is just one of the bands that I have found that seem to be doing relatively well here in Korea.  I will post some more in the weeks to come.

    럭스 Rux - 그딴거 다 상관 없어 (No Matter What)

    Here are some links to a couple of articles about the punk scene in Korea if you are interested (they are a few years old but have some good background information none the less).

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Seoul Metropolitan Subway

    The Seoul Subway system is one of the best and busiest in the world. It consists of 16 lines and around 546 stations.

    Just looking at the subway system map can make it seem daunting but in fact it is relatively easy to navigate. Lucky for us most of the signs are in both Korean and English and the pre-recorded Subway Station announcements that tell you the station, any transfers and which side to exit are all followed after the Korean by the English translation.

    The subway connects almost all destinations of Central and Greater Seoul and due to heavy traffic on the roads it can often times make travel faster.

    The cost is minimal, around 1000-2000 won and you can buy your ticket at the stations using the ticket machines (which have English). You can also purchase a rechargeable transport card such as T-Money  - these have the added bonus of being able to be used on the buses and some taxis and they also offer a small discount on ticket prices.

    The metro stations are one of the best landmarks for navigation in Seoul. You will find that if meeting someone it is easiest to arrange a meeting at one of the stations as you can designate the number exit to ensure that you are both in the same place.

    There are a few websites that you can use to plot your journey, they usually will tell you the fastest way or the way with the least amount of transfers. There are also some smart phone apps that you can use that do the same thing.


    Jihachul - Apple and Samsung
    Seoul City Metro (Lite version for free, Pro version costs) - Apple


    Suwon is on the Dark Blue - Number 1 line.  There are four stations that service the Suwon area - they are Sungkyunkwan University Station, Hwaseo Station, Suwon Station and Seryu Station.

    Suwon Station is the main subway station for Suwon, the station itself shares the building with AK plaza which is a large shopping mall.  There are many shops and restaurants both in and around the station and there are buses and taxis available right outside the station if you need them.

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Music Monday #4

    Today's Music Monday offering goes back to my favourite genre - punk which was where we began with Music Monday #1 and Bad Religion.

    This band however is a new favourite, I'm really loving them right now and they are most played on my iPod.  Front man Dave Hause has an awesome voice and they have a great sound. The earlier stuff is a bit more punk and recently they have been branching out with a more diverse sound, they have always been more on the melodic side of the punk spectrum rather than hardcore (some might say pop-punk but I don't think it's quite there).  On their album 'Build and Burn' you can hear the rock and even a bit of country influence there.  They have also done some covers on an earlier EP - Springsteen and Strummer which they put their own sound into and sound great (I liked their version of Johnny 99 better than the original).  All-in-all they are a great well rounded sounding band and I hope they have a long future.  Also hope they come to Korea so I can see them live, I have to say I think they would play a mean live show.

    So if you don't know who I am talking about - the name of the band is 'The Loved Ones'.  I had a hard time picking a song to showcase here (because I like quite a few of them) but I decided to go with one of their older ones as it was one of the first I heard.

    The Loved Ones - 100k

    If you like the band you can check out more of their music on their myspace page.