Tag Archives: Korea


9 May

ūüėā Travel #Miscommunication – I asked a local importer if he could help me find #BBQ sauce, knowing that #HuntsBBQ is in a lot of places here.  He said ‘Sure!’  A couple days later, they told me my sauce was in and I came to find this – #KoreanBBQ sauce ūüėú Also delicious! Just not what I was thinking.  One of the fun parts of travel – We have different views of food vocabulary ūüėĄ

Writing Hangul -„ĄĻ

1 Dec

‚ÄúR / L‚ÄĚ („ĄĻ)

First ‚Äď Start on the top left and make a¬†long horizontal line. Then (WITHOUT PICKING UP YOUR PEN!) pull a short vertical line down. ¬†Basically, you are forming the “Hangul G.” You see this a lot in Hangul, where on character is used to form another.¬†g1

Second ‚Äď Starting on the left, form a long horizontal line that connects to the first stroke. ¬†You are kind of making a backwards, upside down ¬†„Ą∑. ūüôā¬†


Third.¬†Starting on the top left of stroke two, go down forming a short vertical line. Then (WITHOUT PICKING UP YOUR PEN!) make a second long horizontal line. ¬†Basically makes a Hangul ‚ÄúN‚ÄĚ.¬†






  • žöįŽ¶¨ (Uli) =¬†We / Our
  • Ž™®Ž•īŽč§ (Moleuda) =¬†To not know
  • Ž¨ľ (Mul) =¬†Water

Hangul Pronunciation

14 Nov



Clearly Organized


Infographic-based PDF

Outlines the Hangul Pronunciation Rules (including Batchim, Double Consonants, Double Vowels, and more).  Everything carefully designed to include examples, pattern-building organization of letters, and other tricks intended to help you see how the language is built into the blocks.

Also Includes a simple cheat sheet on the Hangul (Korean) Pronunciation rules. If you want to learn more, this cheat sheet is perfect for you.  


  • specific pronunciation rules for each letter, dipthong, and combination
  • how to pronounce¬†and differentiate difficult letters and sounds
  • the difference between the normal, aspirated, and tense letters that confuse so many learners.
  • the rules for double consonants
  • Re-syllabification, Consonant Assimilation, Tensification, and more.

All rules are simplified and stated clearly to ease understanding. Each rule or instruction includes Korean and Romanized examples for you to use as a starting point. 

Although Korean letters look simple when you first start, it soon becomes obvious that correct pronunciation can be very complex.  However, if you follow this cheat sheet, you should start to master it very soon!

Teaching Humor: Religious ESL Mix-Ups

17 Feb

Had a rather hilarious ESL fail / miscommunication error with one of my Ethics students this past semester. 

One of the chapters in our textbook covers the professional approach to ethics taken by various religions including Hinduism and Islam.  Consequently, we spend part of a class discussing the fact that Islam is based upon the Koran and that it is very important to Muslims and effects how they approach Business (some of my students will be working in Dubai so this is a good lesson for them to learn!).

The day before the final, one of my students came to see me. This girl is adorable, brilliant, and a good friend of mine, but her ESL is not perfect and she has some trouble understanding all of the content.  

She said she had a problem with the whole “Koran” thing because “you [the teacher] kept saying it was Islam, but I¬†always thought the Koran was Christian.”

0_0 ?¬†I could understand them not knowing what the Koran¬†was – many of my students don’t know the name of the religious book. But how did we come to the conclusion that the Koran was Christian?

Then she added:¬†“you know, the higher Koran are atheist and the bottom, South¬†Koran are Christian. I don’t think there is¬†a lot of Islam in Koran.”

ūüėõ Aha! The light went one!¬†

“Korea? Do you mean North and South Korea?”¬†

Hahaha! Once I understood the mix-up it was easy to see the problem. Because of the accent here in Henan, “Korean” often sounds a lot like “Koran.” That long E sound is extremely important. ¬†And they look similar too, not helping.

Once we went over the fact in simpler terms that the Koran was a¬†book and not a country, it was much easier. ūüôā ¬†

Sigh! The little things you think are so easy to teach only to find out were an epic fail later.


History of Our World: The Korean Origins and Foundations Myth

9 Oct

Korean legends are a fascinating world to immerse yourself in–of course as an avowed student of Myths and Mythology, I could perfectly happily spend my entire life in the fantastic world of eastern stories. ¬†Of a particular interest to me are the origin stories of creation and cultures, a passion which led me to research the Korean story of creation and the Korean culture’s origins.

Mythology and stories about the beginning of the world can be divided into two categories ~ 1) Creation Myths which tell of the origin of the world and 2) Foundation Myths, a subset of the Creation genre, which more specifically relate the origin of a people, nation, or culture. 

As one of the great ancient peoples, it is only natural that much of Korean myths come through to us in the oral tradition. ¬†Still, Koreans do not have much in the way of “Creation of the Earth” myths ~ most of their stories and legends presume that the world was already in existence when the tales begin. ¬†

There are a few minor oral tales that claim the world began (as so many origin stories hold) in a time of utter chaos and an absence of any type of creation or order.  The stories go on to say that suddenly a crack appeared in the heavens, dividing the earth from the skies.  But those are very minor, basic tales lacking any deep specifics or embellishments.  

Rather, Korean myths tend to fall into the realm of Foundation Myths ~ sharing the origins of Korea and the Korean peoples. There are several variations, of which the most popular is the Myth of Tangun, which speaks of Hwangun, a beautiful character of strength and eternal goodness.

Once upon a time, many centuries ago, the great Heavenly God Hwanin had a noble son whose name was Hwangun. ¬†Hwangun had looked upon earth and fell in love, wishing greatly for the chance to come to earth and rule over it so that it might prosper. ¬†After learning of his son’s desire and examining the situation on earth, Hwanin decided that¬†his son’s leadership would benefit the earth and so decreed that Hwangun should go to earth and take charge.

Before he left, Hwanin gave his son three Treasures from Heaven that would signify his authority and right to rule.  Taking these with him, Hwangun finally embarked on his great mission.  Taking 3000 spirits with him Hwangun first alighted on a mountain in Myohyangsan, a place in the modern-day North Korea.

Along with his great assistants, the spirits of the wind, rain, and cloud, Hwangun began implementing his leadership and guided the earth into a time of prosperity and splendor.  

After some time had passed, Hwangun began to be pestered by a tiger and bear who came visiting him and begging for human forms.  Taking pity on them, Hwangun set before them a test~ they were to fast for 100 days and then they would receive their human bodies.  Now, the bear was very diligent and passed the test, finally transforming into a female and enjoying her new form. The tiger was not so steadfast and failed to transform.  But the bear was greatly saddened, for she realized that there was no one on earth for her to mate with and thus no children would come to her.  So daily, she went to the alter and pleaded with the Heavens to provide her with a child.

Once again feeling pity for the tragic bear-woman, Hwangun transformed himself into a human form and married the woman.  Together they had a son, who they named Tangun.  Tangun was the man who, in the time of Emperor Yao (one of the Five Emperors of China in the 2300s-2200s BC), established the first human Korean city in Pyongyang and the first Korean dynasty~ the Choson dynasty.

There are of course several variations of this initial story, but this is the tale in its original and most basic form. Even, to me, the most beautiful form.  

What do you think? Does this sound familiar to your culture’s foundation myth? Any themes or similarities that cross cultural bounds? ¬†Let me know in the comments!

If you are interested, this story is some-what re-told (with major alterations) in the Korean drama “The Legend“~ it’s a great watch, both for the beautiful storyline and insight into Korean cultures/ideology.

Strolling Through Seoul Itinerary

31 Jan

**Read the Introduction 

Strolling Thorugh Seoul ~ Recommended Itinerary


  • Hostel ~¬†The one I chose was $15 a night for a place to stay. If interested, you can message me for more details. But check out AirBnb!
  • Hotel Cinema~ I picked a love hotel¬†for a week that cost me 60,000Won (~ $60) for a two bed room. ¬†The beds were nice and soft, the bathroom was huge, the room itself was really nice and upscale. ¬†Love Hotels in Korea are more for Husbands and Wive who need time away from the kids and parents than for men and their mistresses. ¬†So despite the name, they are more¬†respectable than you think. ¬†And as nice as any normal hotel, but usually cheaper.¬†My mom was recovering from the hospital so we didn’t do anything in the city; we spent all our time in this hotel and I really liked it.

Day 1

  • Deoksugung Palace
  • Namsangol Hanok Village
  • Myeongdong

Day 2

  • Cheongyecheon
  • Tapgol Park
  • Chungmuro

Day 3

  • Gyeongbokgung Palace

Day 4

  • Namdaemun
  • N Seoul Tower

Day 5

  • Naksan Park
  • Ihwa Mural Village

Day 6

  • Building 63
  • Gangnam

Day 7

  • Insa-Dong
  • Korean Wars Museum

Strolling through Seoul

27 Jan
Ihwa Mural Village

Ihwa Mural Village

Our China University was specially blessed this year with an entire 2.5-month long winter vacation before classes start up again, and the foreign teachers here make the most of their free time.  Many of us have headed off to such exotic locations as Bali, New Zealand, Australia, Heinan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, India, Tibet Рeven the stunning ice scultures of Harbin here in China!

Personally, I decided to return to the charming city of Seoul, South Korea. ¬†Have you ever watched the old Harrison Ford movie, “Sabrina”? ¬†I always remember that quote: “America is my country, but Paris is my home.” ¬†That kind of reminds me of¬†Seoul, America is my country, but Seoul is my home. ¬†The part modern/ part ancient artistic buildings centered around the lovely Han River and filled with lovely, kind-hearted people always brings out the calm, secure¬†feeling that soothe my soul and rest my spirit. I could spend months just wandering from shop to cafe to palace to park, listening to the sweet locals and getting in touch with the looser, more contented me.


This time, I was able to bring along my mother, who had never seen the city before but wanted to get a glimpse of the place that has captured my heart. ¬†We were initially planning to stay for 2 weeks, but plans changed and we only spent 1 went out and about the town. ¬†Although Spring is definitely a prettier time to visit, having the tourist sites mostly to yourself and looking at all the winter products up for sale was pretty sweet. ¬†If you do visit in the winter, I highly advise that you visit the many, many, many unique cafes scattered around the buroughs. ¬†Try out their “Peppermint White Chocolate” and a Blueberry BelgiumWaffle while watching the world go by outside the windows and tell me you don’t fall in love with the city too.¬†‚̧

Seoul is a place to have fun and take your time, you simply shouldn’t try to rush through everything. I know there is a lot to see, and you feel like you need to get ahold of all of it, but you run the risk of loosing the real¬†feel¬†of Seoul in the process. ¬†I wouldn’t say Seoulites are a slow-paced as the Spanish or some of the the Latin Americans, but they definitely like to wander thorugh life to the beat of a slower drum. ¬†You get up a little later, and grab breakfast at a hidden coffee shop. ¬†Then you meander through the winding shopping streets to visit one of the many palaces, stopping for ice cream and a hot chocolate for an afternoon snack. Sit there for a while, chatting and looking at all the sparky fashions walking past you, then slowly wander home via a different path. ¬†Maybe stop at a small park on the way home? ¬†Someone once said Seoul was like a Southern Drawl – you talk slowly, throwing in a few “dahlings” and “sweethahts” to create a classy charming feeling.¬†Don’t miss out on that feeling or you’ll miss the spirit of Seoul. ¬†It’s indescribable.


  • Take Your Time!¬†If you have limited time, just visit¬†one¬†of the palaces or history museums. ¬†Pick up either Building 63¬†or¬†Namsan Tower – don’t try to do both. ¬†It’s much better to move at your own pace and enjoy the sites you do see than to feel harried and rushed to see it all. ¬†I say this because there is a LOT to see, and you just can’t make it everywhere in a week.
  • Test Out New Taste Buds!¬†~ Belgian Waffles, Italian Pasta, Chinese Peking Duck, Mexican Tacos, and Korean BBQ – Seoul has it all. ¬†Don’t be¬†too¬†picky about the foods you try – be adveturous! ¬†I admit I’m just not the greatest fan of street food or trying new dishes, but in Seoul you really should make the effort. ¬†Their Ox Bone soup is delicious and the Chicken Galbi is to die for. ¬†Some of the foods will look stranger than they taste. Korea actually uses a lot of the same ingredients as Americans (carrots, celery, green pepper, chicken, pork, fish, noodles, garlic, lettuce, ginseng, etc), they just put them together in unique ways. ¬†And I msut say, the end result is often pretty yummy.
  • Watch your $$$¬†~¬†Seoul has gotten a lot more expensive in the last two years, even since I was there last summer. ¬†Taxis now run a minimum fee of 3,000 Won (~ $3), and other items have copied the higher priced trend. ¬†Coffee shops easily cost as much as US stores, as do many shopping locations. ¬†It’s a lot easier now to find yourself spending a ton of money unexpectedly. I recommend taking out a set amount of money each day (Woori bank doesn’t usually charge an ATM fee and we took out about 200,000 Won per day and split it between the two of us), and forcing yourself to stick to that.
  • Housing ~ While I usually recommend that you stick with the hostel idea for cheaper housing, I know that for some people this isn’t feasible. ¬†My mother injured her back and couldn’t climb the stairs at our hostel and we had to find a place with a comfortable bed and a elevator for not a horrible price. ¬†One of the other places you can check out are the Love Motels. ¬†It sounds sketchy, but they aren’t as questionable as you might think. In a country where many couples still live in a home with both of their parents and their children, private time can be hard to come by. So there are a lot of “Love Motels” that rent by the night or hour for not a lot of money, and they are usually pretty nice. ¬†We found one that had 2 beds, a large flat screen tv, a in-room computer, free wifi, a huge bathroom and bath, lovely wooden heated floors, and sweet desk clerks for only 60,000 a night. It’s a little pricey, but better than the upper level hotels and just as nice to stay in.
  • Buy a¬†subway pass ~¬†Now that the taxi costs have gone up, it will save you a lot of money to pick up a subway pass, even if just there for a few days. ¬†The subways are brilliantly easy to use and most directions are based on coming out of the closest subway stop.
  • Check out some of the stranger sights if you have time! ~ There is a trick-eye museum and lots of street art if you are interested. There are also some really artsy student shops near the university areas, and plenty of hiking expeditions to check out. ¬†Don’t just focus on getting from tourist site to tourist site. Walk around a bit at each stop, and don’t be afraid to check out a small alley. You never know what cool thing’s you’ll find!

Check out our Itinerary Here!


Here’s Looking at You, Kid

22 Jan


Part cool, part creepy. Water Moniter.


Color Coordinated

20 Jan


Coffe Shops Around the World: Cafe Travel

14 Jan


This sweet little out-of-the way, tucked in shop has the most stunning view of Seoul, and delicious drinks. Try their citron smoothie! To die for! They even offer wifi (password available on request) and it just begs for dreamy-eyed writers and coffee-clutch friends. Bet it had a great view of the sunrise too!

Just take exit 2 from Hyehwa station go left and follow the signs up the mountain to the Ihwa Mural Village. The cafe sits at the gate to Naksan Park.


%d bloggers like this: