첫사랑: Reminiscing everything Korean!

[KCCBanner] Chot Sarang

Do you still remember the first K-drama you watched?

How about the first K-Pop album you received?

I don’t know about you but, when I was younger, I would always keep track of my “first” Korean experiences. Whether it’s as simple as getting my first haircut from a Korean Stylist (Chic Salon, September 7, 2008) or getting my first Korean newspaper (September 14, 2008) (yes, I’m a little “crazy” over dates!) – I remember them all!

So, here are some of my “first loves” and I hope you can reminisce with me.

1. First Korean Drama
“Lovers in Paris” was probably one of the first Korean dramas to air here in the Philippines, together with “Stairway to Heaven.” However, it’s not until “Spring Waltz” that I learned to love K-dramas.

2. First Korean CD
As I further “researched” on the actors of “Spring Waltz”, thanks to Wikipedia, I accidentally clicked on “Unstoppable Marriage”. It was a sitcom starring Girl’s Generation’s Sooyoung and Yuri, together with F.T. Island’s Jaejin. Obviously,  now you now know my first K-POP groups.

I got my first F.T. Island album on March 17, 2008. It was their “The Refreshment Special Repackaged Edition,” thanks to my aunt who went to Korea. Then I got my first Girl’s Generation album, their debut album, on December 12, 2008.

I usually record my K-album’s birthdays but I stopped when I went to college. Still, I continued this weird “tradition” of keeping their wrappers, as much as possible, and covering them with ziplock! (Why are you so weird, Max?)

3. First Korean Restaurant
On September 14, 2008, I got to eat at Yedang BBQ Restaurant! For me, it’s the best in the Philippines and it still is. When I ate there back in 2008, they still had those mini tables where you can eat sitting on the floor. Today, I try to eat there twice a month. Almost forgot…this is where I got my first Korean newspaper!

4. First Korean Cooking
The first dish I ever cooked in my whole life was Bibimbap. I was on my first year in college and for some reason I really wanted to “cook” and taste Bibimbap for dinner!After class, I checked for the recipe, went straight to the grocery and went home to cook!

5. First Korean trip
And of course, the most memorable out of all of these, my first trip to Seoul! We went last May 12, 2016 and it’s actually an “unplanned trip”. My dad surprised me and we booked the ticket just two weeks before the trip! It was a memorable vacation because I got to test my Korean skills, met the locals and breathe the Seoul air.

6. First Korean “work”
Lastly, my first Korean “work.” I always wanted to do something for Korea and I didn’t realized that KCC or the Korean Cultural Center was the answer! Here, I joined as a KREW member and I can’t be more thankful. The truth is, the first time I came to KCC was on June 21, 2016 during my KREW interview. With KCC, I experienced how it is to work with Koreans, meet friends with the same interests as me and even got the chance to learn and grow as a person.

Indeed, I am thankful to my “first loves” -for without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today!

Do you have any memories to share about your “첫사랑” ? Tell us your stories by commenting below!

God bless!

Written by Krew Member Max Chua

Advertisements

5 SIMPLE TIPS BEFORE STUDYING IN KOREA

[KCCBanner] 5 Tips Before studying in Korea.

You might have thoughts about studying in Korea. Whether it’s to further pursue your degree there, study their language or whatever your reasons, I’ll share with you my 5 tips before studying in your dream country, Korea.

1. Study a little Korean

When your about to study abroad in general, it’s important to learn the basics of their language. I have a friend who studied in Korea and knowing how to read and write Hangeul really helped her a lot.

Given that majority of the lessons will be taught in Korean- it’s good to be ready! Also, studying a little bit of Korean in advance gives you an “edge” versus your classmates. It also allows you to be more confident that you won’t get lost anywhere in Korea! Just in case~

2. Visit the school

As much as possible, it’s best to check the school and the dorm you will be staying at beforehand. This way, you can already get a glimpse of your “living-expectations” and adjust to whatever it is you might be needing.

Tour around the school so you’ll know where to go and allow yourself to get the school’s “vibe.” When you do this, you probably won’t have a hard time during your first day in class!

If you can’t visit the school, make sure to read A LOT about it because studying in Korea is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity that can’t be wasted just because of a “wrong school” choice -no offense. Make sure the school caters to your academic needs, matches your standards, and is considered an “expert” in whatever it is you want to study.

3. Anticipate the difficulties

It is not easy studying abroad. I ask my friends a lot about their experiences studying abroad and most of them tell me they cry on the first week. I’m not scaring you, I’m just saying you have to be ready- heart, soul and mind. 

Encountering language barriers or possible miscommunications are inevitable. Missing your family and friends is normal. Allowing yourself to give up during these “difficulties,” is definitely a no-no. Remember, these “challenges” are part of the journey itself and you’ll eventually be thankful for it because, it’s the one that builds you up and makes you stronger.

4. Clarity of the “dream”

Before studying in Korea, or in any other country, you have to be clear of why you want to study there. You have to know your “reasons”. Doing this allows you to conquer #3 easily! Why? Simply because when obstacles come, you won’t let them get in your way because you know your purpose. You have a “goal” in studying in Korea (or any country) and you won’t let anyone miss your chance to win the prize.

5. Believe in yourself.

Lastly, telling yourself that you can do it, that you will “survive” and that you will achieve your goal are important. The power of your mind is the best weapon you can use over your doubts, homesickness or even your “#3”s along the way in studying in Korea (or abroad).

Connected to #4, remind yourself of your purpose and support it by being your own “number-one-fan”. If you believe in yourself, you’ll be surprised with the amazing things that are about to come your way.

I hope my simple tips before studying in Korea helped you!

Are you planning to study in Korea? Tell us where you plan to?

God bless!

Written by Krew Member Max Chua

Store Wars: Line vs. Kakao

storewars

Before going to Korea, I told my family that I need to have a picture with that “Big-Brown-Teddy” in Myeong-dong. Yes, that was Brown from LINE and I won’t go home without having a picture with it. Also, I told myself that I need to buy that “Pink-Thingy” from KAKAO for my best friend. Yes, that was Apeach- (Jin Young for Agases).

I wasn’t really a “fan” of these applications, as I don’t use it and didn’t know the names of the characters. But seeing their stores in almost every place in Korea, I finally realized what I was missing out.

img_0403

LINE and KAKAO characters are both very popular in Korea. These characters have been featured in various cosmetic items, making them as covers for their hand cream, cushion and even face mask. And, it doesn’t end there!

img_0424

Coming to LINE STORE in Myeong-dong, I was in awe. The store itself looked like an amusement park, the only thing missing are the rides! Brown, the LINE bear, was in the middle of the store entrance- and people would line up just to get a picture with him!

img_0421

LINE stationary items, essentials, toys and accessories were displayed at the ground floor. There was even a LINE cafe together with it! At the second floor, more LINE characters were waiting to take a photo! They were all so cute, I had to stay there for a long time. Displayed were LINE shirts, hoodies, and various apparels.

Next, the KAKAO store.

img_1198

Coming to COEX mall, I accidentally bumped into KAKAO store. There’s actually not much difference between KAKAO and LINE store items but, regarding their “ambiance”, this particular KAKAO branch was rather a “typical” one.

img_1211

KAKAO only had one floor in COEX and it was filled with people admiring the cuteness of these characters. The cashier was also having a great time! (You know what I mean ^^)

img_1200

Majority of KAKAO’s items though were stuff toys- of the different “emotions” of their characters.

So, with this, who won the “store wars”?

Both of them!

Of course it really depends on which app are you most familiar with. But the fact that both LINE and KAKAO jumped out from that mobile application barrier, turning them into one of Korea’s most popular characters where people around the world can recognize, makes them both successful and worth visiting when you come to Korea.

Written Krew Member Maxx Chua

The Perks of Studying Korean

img_7924

Kamusta ka?, did you understand that phrase? If you did, then you might know Tagalog. I will assumt hat you are fluent in English by being able to read this post! You know, living in the Philippines has its advantages and it is because we are exposed to a bilingual type of environment: where people can speak two languages fluently.

In turn, it is easier for us to converse with other people. But as a Korean fan, did you know that adding Korean to our everyday language, is even better! Let me tell you how.

Asides from simply understanding what Song Joong Ki is saying in dramas and knowing what B.I was rapping about in “Rhythm Ta”, learning Korean can help us express ourselves more, increase our intellectual capacity- not to mention even decrease our chances of dementia and help us be ready for our “globalized” world.

There are some words in a certain dialect that cannot be translated. Can you please tell me how to translate, “kilig” in English? Nothing, right? You’d probably describe the feeling rather than a translating the word. How about “멍 (meong)” in Korean? I can’t think of an English word; “dumfounded“, “stare“, “Song Ji-Hyo“?

With this you get to express yourself more because you don’t need to find an equivalent meaning or explain yourself in long sentences when the word that you want to say is right in front of you! You might not notice how many times you already said “aigoo” during your stressful moments.

Another is that learning Korean can help deepen our cognitive ability. It can helps us in multi-tasking, thus expanding the capacity of our brain to work. Studies also show that learning another language helps decrease dementia because it helps our memory. What is it that we do when we learn Korean? We memorize, we recall and we adopt. That’s what exercises our brain constantly.

Lastly, learning Korean can help us as we enter a globalized world. Admit it or not, in finding a job, it would be an asset if you know three (3) languages- or more. Not just that but, if your boss finally assigns you a project in Korea, you won’t think twice because you can converse confidently in Korean!

There’s definitely a number of things you haven’t realized you’re gaining in studying Korean. Sometimes, a drama can get you a job, a song lyric can help you with your memory and a Korean word can help you express yourself!

Face it, there’s more than just understanding what Song Joong Ki said.

Written by Krew Member: Max Chua

The Ultimate Weight-Loss Secret: KPOP

 

img_7922

It’s nearly the half of 2017 but have you already started your fitness journey?

Don’t fret, it’s not too late! I got you covered! I’m here to unravel the ultimate weight loss secret and that is “KPOP”. Yes, Korean Pop!

So how do you lose weight with it? It’s when you:

  1. Dance to KPOP. img_79302

Dancing is considered a cardio workout and that means “an exercise that raises your heart rate” (Health Status, 2015). Not to mention an added heartbeat from fangirling over your oppa’s voice, dancing to KPOP would get your body moving and sweating in no time! Almost forgot, random dancing is considered “dancing”. (High five on that!)

img_793023

  1. When you listen to KPOP.

If dancing is not your thing then use KPOP as your workout music! Studies show that people who listen to music while exercising: walking, jogging, lifting weights, etc., tend to increase their endurance by up to 15% (Live Science, 2009). Also, music gets you in your zone, encourages you to move more and lessens the possibility of any distraction getting into you. So focus, Jimin (BTS) might get mad!

  1. When you enjoy KPOP.img_7930

Lastly, losing weight should be a “journey” not a race. Most of us are easily stressed-out when the scale doesn’t budge! So, enjoying KPOP- dancing to it, moving with it, living with it, is just the easiest way to lose weight. Merely because you don’t feel like you need to lose weight- you’re not pressured because of it. Rather, you’re enjoying and having the time of your life! And, both are very important keys that many miss out with weight loss.

So, I hope you learned something from me! KPOP does help you lose weight in a fun way!

Start your fitness journey by enrolling at the Korean Cultural Center’s KPOP dance classes! The online registration is at May 10, 2017 and stay tuned for more updates through KCC’s Facebook page!

*** To encourage you, I actually lost 10 pounds in 1 ½ months just dancing to KPOP, playing badminton and eating right! I didn’t feel stressed: no counting calories, no weight lifting, no [insert-stressful-exercise-here]! I just randomly danced to KPOP and enjoyed my weight loss journey- it is called a “journey” after all. ^^

Written by Krew Member: Max Chua

Gwangjang, food jjang! Experience Seoul taste in a market

img_2686

Located at Changgyeonggung-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 광장시장 (Gwangjang Sijang) or Gwangjang Market is known for their delicious Korean street food!

Considered as Korea’s first market, it continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations of Korea (Visit Korea, 2017).

There is no food greater than street food and tasting Korea’s local flavors allows one to experience the Seoul culture through eating — I couldn’t think of any better way to!

Gwangjang market offers a wide variety of food from Oemok (fish cakes), Mandu (dumplings), Sundae (blood sausages), Naengmyeon (cold noodles), Kimbap (seaweed rice roll) and more!

img_2662

Food stalls would even post tarpaulins of them being featured on particular local variety show to attract tourists! Actually, if I were you, you’ll enjoy this market more if you watch Running Man Episode 186 (Shim Eun Kyung), one of my favorite Running Man episodes!

But, more than these facts, why do you need to stop by Gwangjang Sijang anyway?

Here are my reasons:

img_2647

  1. Deliciousness-Overload

What’s good about Gwangjang street food is that each stall offers a different type of flavor! No stall is the same! A mere ddeokbokki (rice cake) can be done in Chinese style — using sweet chili sauce, or Korean style — chili sauce made from gochujang and sugar!

img_2644

  1. Cheapness like no other

Another joy of eating street food is that your wallet won’t be complaining even after eating 10 (ten) dishes!

Bindaetteok (mung bean pancakes) is a must try in Gwangjang! It’s the first thing you’ll see upon entering the market — that is if you went to the right entrance! That onion-vinegar sauce just matches the crispiness of the pancake!

Bindaetteok only costs 4,000-5,000 Won, Kimchi/Meat Mandu costs around 5,000 Won, Mayak Kimbap (drug kimbap) for about 2,500 Won. Where else can you eat something that is both cheap and delicious? Face it, this is the best place for pigging-out!

  1. Meokbang on Insta-bang!

For those of you who don’t know “meokbang,” it means “food program.” The term comes from “먹어” (meogo) meaning “eat” and “방송” (bang song) meaning show or program. In my own term, meokbang means, “make-them-jealous-of-you-eating” program! I remember those Running Man episodes where Jae Suk would munch on Mandu and I would get hungry- well, who’s eating it now! Kidding!

img_2683

Gwangjang Market is the best place for you to “meokbang”. You can eat a lot, post a lot without spending a lot!

If you’re coming to Korea this year, I hope you can drop by Gwangjang Market- it’s definitely street food heaven!

Written by Krew Member Maxx Chua

(위) Arii Hills: Skywalk, Zipline & the View

img_1967

During my free time in Korea, I accidentally browsed through a Korean article about Arii Hills: Byeongbangchi Skywalk located in Jeong Seon, Gangwon-do. I didn’t know anything about Korea having a “skywalk” and was pretty excited about it. I told my mom about this and, surprisingly, she agreed to go — immediately, the next day! My mom even studied the route and intercity bus schedules. Who’s a Korean fan now, mom?

So here’s how we went:

img_1944

We took the bus from Dong Seoul bus terminal to Jeongseon intercity bus terminal. It costs about 19,300 won each person.

Printed on the ticket is your destination, time and date of departure, platform number, and seat number but you can actually just sit anywhere!

Arriving at Jeongseon terminal, you can take the Arii Hills resort shuttle bus or take a taxi — we did the latter because patience was not one of our “virtues”.

img_1968

We finally arrived at Byeongbangchi Skywalk, and tickets were worth 1,000 to 2,000 won per person, depending on age. Before entering the skywalk, we had to cover our shoes with blue “shoe-clothes” to protect the tempered glass we were going to walk on.

img_5293

As we enter the skywalk, it actually felt more like an “extended balcony”. Yup, it’s a “U” shaped structure and according to their website, it only measures 11m long! We were a bit disappointed and my mom was a little “mad” but, the view was priceless- and that calmed my mom. If you’ve gone to Cebu’s Crown Regency skywalk, that’s way more thrilling and that’s what a “skyway” should be. Regardless though, the experience was still worth it.

img_1979

Unfortunately, after spending about 10 minutes on that “balcony” (I’m sorry), my mom was still not satisfied with “just-the-view”. She told me, “Take the zipline! That way our four hour ride would pay off”. I was taken a back and I literally said, “What? I’m not yet ready!!”

If you’ve rode a zipline before, you probably know that it takes about 10 minutes to decide whether to go or not, another 10 minutes in hesitating to buy the ticket and 20 minutes to sync-in your mental, physical and overall “body system” that you’re going on that ride! Not to mention an extra 5 minutes for prayer and confession!

img_5317

Eventually, after all that “chaos,” I decided to go.

Here’s the fun part! I was supposed to ride alone and was scheduled to ride at 1:50 pm. However, the shuttle which was going to fetch me after the zipline, will arrive at 2:30 pm. So, if ever, I had to wait for 37 minutes since the ride only lasts 3 minutes. My mom was hesitant with this so, guess what, my family joined me in zip-lining! Now I know those scaredy cats love me more than their fears. “#Grateful”

The Arii Hills Zipline costs 40,000 won per person. There are four zipline stations and all three of us rode on the same time! This way, you get to enjoy it with your family!

img_2028

You’ll be sitting on a “swing” type of chair and you’ll be riding together with your bags. The ahjussi will give you instructions- in Korean, but, if you can’t understand just remember, “pictures are worth a thousand words“! So, you’ll get it!

“Hana. Deul. Set!” (One. Two. Three)img_2050

Whoooosh!

“Ahhhh”

At first, you’ll feel the butterflies in your stomach and that cold rush of the wind! After a while though, I gently opened my eyes and, wow, you’ll be amazed of the beautiful scenery! Riding that zipline, I felt so “stressed-free” and definitely felt blessed! I couldn’t say anything else but, “Thank you, Lord.”

While riding the zipline, don’t shout too much because someone would be taking your picture from below! You don’t want that “perfect-O” from your mouth! Laugh at me now.

Going to Arii Hills, taking the skywalk, enjoying the zipline and loving the scenery, was definitely a great way to see the other side of Korea! Indeed it was a great opportunity for us to bond as a family, face our fears and discover the hidden treasures of Jeongseon, Gangwon-do. You should go too!

By the way, did you get the blog title? Arii Arii”. ^^

Written by Krew member Max Chua