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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Korea's Summer Dessert & Hello

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Hello everyone!

I cannot believe September is on the horizon. I figured I'd give the icy red bean desert, Pat Bing Su, one last try. It was 2USD at the "Asian McDonalds" (Lotteria.) I have to admit, it was pretty good - that mixture of chewy rice cakes, fruit cocktail, red beans and sweet slush.

This is just a note to say I haven't written much because I can't talk about what's demanding my attention lately. It's a a professional secret.

Also, my e-mail is backed up like crazy. I know for a fact that I have unanswered Stranger in Suwon e-mails, or I've forgotten to post links to your blogs. Could you do me a favor and resend your inquiries if I didn't reply to you? It's not you, it's me, as they say.

Thanks,

Eva.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What's that? Party in Eva's classroom?

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The no fail pizza in America is pepperoni. But in Korea? It's potato (or sweet potato) pizza, often drizzled with mayo. Today was the last day of classes for the 3 month term. I asked my students how they wanted to celebrate. "Pizza please, teacher! Please!" Ok. "Assah!"

They drank Coca-Cola and I had Coco-Palm, which I highly recommend. It's white grape juice with chewy squares of grape in it:

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"Teacher, gimme some of that CocoPalm." No, it's too yummy to share.

Talk of sharing, this girl stared at herself in the mirror throughout class. Then she asked if she could go to the bathroom, and after 15 minutes I found herself investigating new pimples in the mirror.

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I did something I shouldn't have. She's a rebellious student, but she's experiencing major self conciousness. I had foundation in my purse that I never use, because it's an Asian brand and the color is all wrong for my skin.

Middle and highschool students in Korea aren't allowed to wear makeup. I suggested she see a dermatologist, remembering days in grade 9 I cried, before school, because I had a massive red planet on my cheek. I could empathize so I gave her the makeup, but I hope she isn't sent to the principal's office because of it. And I hope it doesn't turn into a bad habit.

You should have seen the look in her eyes, like I had handed her a pack of cigarettes. She quickly slid it into her backpack, grinning from ear to ear. Oh oh. Am I a bad teacher?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

REVIEW: Leeum's Flash Cube Photography Exhibit

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A review I wrote for VISITSEOUL.NET:

Flash Cube is the current exhibition at Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, conveniently located in the heart of Itaewon: Western town. The exhibit includes works of over 20 photographers hailing from around the globe.

The repository of arts and culture is a uniting force of Korean and foreign art. Located on the hillside of Namsan mountain, Leeum was designed by world renowned architects, to accommodate the evolution of fine art. The gallery feels tucked away, like a lesser known jewel of Seoul city.

English docents are available Sat & Sun at 3PM, so you can get a better understanding of the exhibition suitable for theorists, photographers, and the public alike. The 90 minute weekend tour covers Leeum museums 1 & 2, which respectively showcase traditional and contemporary art.

Flash Cube engages in an open-ended exploration of space, environment and architectonic constellations. The International photos are displayed in ways that compliment the themes: Fluid Inner Space, Open Urban Space and Installative Space. A common string is photography’s power to create a perceived reality.

‘Fluid Inner Space’ focuses on interiors, showing works by Candida Hofer, Lee Yoon-jean, Mieke Van de Voort and Klaas Hoek, as well as Hiroshi Sugimoto and David Claerbout. Gerard Byrne’s series provides a window into what was once the photographic space of creation: the darkroom.

Photographers David Claerbout and Hiroshi Sugimoto evoke the experience of time by slowly emerging images, like those of a drive in movie theatre. In another series, called “U Become Snow,” large snowflakes fall from an upper vantage point, and you feel you are falling with them.

I was struck by German photographer, Andreas Gursky’s Paris, Montparnasse. It’s a facinating look into hundreds of windows in a multistory, unusually oblong building. At first glance, the structure appears to be lifeless, but upon closer inspection, the observer is privy to human activity, furniture, people doing laundry and going about their day.

The photo is full of character and wit, but is equally uncanny in its representation of space and nonidentity. Gursky plays with photography’s perspectivitst capacities, presenting what seems to be an alternate reality.

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Visit the posh Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, a real treat for art and architecture enthusiasts!
The Flash Cube exhibition runs through Sept. 30 at the museum, located near Exit 1, Hangangjin Station, Subway Line No. 6. www. leeum.org for more details.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Korean Fusion Restaurant, Sadang Seoul

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I met my Japanese friend Hiroko at a restaurant near Sadang station Exit 4 called, Korean Fusion. We shared a Korean style pizza and drank "100 year old wine," bekseju. It was a happening dive with quirky decor like chalkboard walls and a projector. Hiroko's boyfriend Min joined us later, but it's an ideal locale to catch up with your girlfriends:

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Easy Dukbokki Recipe

ONION:
FISH CAKES:
RICE CAKES, WATER AND GOCHUJANG:
Ingredients
For main ingredients
1 Instant noodle pack.
300g Fresh rice cakes (about 30 pieces)
120g Fish cake (4 sheets)
1 Onion
4 Leaves of napa cabbage
1 stalk Green onion (optional)
8 Instant dumplings (optional)
1½ cups Water

For sauce (Mix well in a bowl)
4t Gochujang
4t Dark brown sugar
1t Minced garlic
1t Chili powder (Gochutgaru in Korean)

Preparation
1. If using pre packaged rice cakes, soak them in cold water for 20 minutes before you use them. 2. Thin slice the onion and diagonally slice the spring onion.
3. Rinse the fish cakes in hot water. (To clean the oil coating from its surface)
4. Cut the fish cakes and cabbage into medium size pieces.
Cooking (I cooked them on a portable burner, it is the restaurant style of eating) eating)
5. Pour the water into the pot. Start to boil it.
6. Add the sauce and stir it well.
7. Add all the other ingredients. (reduce the heat to medium to low)
8. Stir them well.
From the My Korean Kitchen Website.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Photos of Korea

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Japanese food & Walker-Hill Casino

Saturday, my Japanese friend Hiroko and I went out for dinner with her coworkers in Itaewon, then to the elegant Paradise Walker-Hill Casino near Seoul Station. By law, Korean casinos are for foreigners only, so we saw a lot of tourists hitting the tables and slot machines. Drinks are free and the hotel is stunning.

Itaewon, also known as Western Town, is home to a variety of International cuisine including Mexican, Indian and Ethiopian. We had Japanese food, pictured below.

Photo time:

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Amusement Park & Samgyetang

Woncheon Amusement park is built on a resevoir in Suwon. Tae Hun and I went for a walk on the semi-abandonned grounds before enjoying Korean health food: samgyetang.

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Samgyetang: gingseng chicken soup, is traditional Korean health food- often served at dog meat restaurants. A chicken stuffed with sweet rice sits in a broth of ginseng, garlic, and chestnuts. Ours came with kimchi sidedishes. A bowl costs about 10USD. This restaurant was located near Ajou University, but you can find quality samgyetang just about anywhere:

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Bottles of ginseng on the window ledge:

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