IPONING 101: The K-Pop Stan’s Guide to Saving Up

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“I-announce niyo na yung ticket prices, please, para makapag-ipon na ko!”

“Ang lapit naman ng ticket selling! ‘Di pa ko nakaka-ipon! T.T”

“Ang mahal naman! Wala pa ‘kong pera!!!”

Do these sound familiar? You must have cried something similar at least once in your life as a fan, and I could totally relate!

Being a K-Pop stan is costly. This is something I learned the hard way when I entered the fandom a little over a year ago with a decent account balance, only to feel as though I’ve gone bankrupt a few months later with more artist merchandise than money in my possession.

True enough, it’s all fun and exciting until you realize that you pretty much have nothing left to spend for more important things and – well, let’s all be honest here – more K-Pop. So what’s the right thing for a fan to do? Iponing, of course!

Saving up has since become more than just a habit to me; it’s a lifestyle, as it should be for you. After all, how else would you fund that gorgeous comeback album or that much-coveted concert ticket? If you’ve got better ideas, let me know. But for now, here are some tips on mindful saving and spending for K-Pop fans:

Don’t wait. Just start.
There’s no better time to start saving up than NOW. Even though it has not been announced that your favorite group is coming to the country or that they will be releasing a new album soon, it would be smart of you to grow your fandom fund as early as now, so when the time comes, you wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to afford joining a group order or being part of #TeamBahay – slash – #TeamLabas.

Set a goal
All of us have something we want to save up for, and for fans, it’s most likely a concert, a comeback album, or a dream trip to the mecca of K-Pop and K-Dramas, South Korea.

Now, think about what yours is and focus on that goal. Make a rough estimate of the price that comes with it, then use it as your target. It may seem tough to achieve at first, but not impossible. You’ll feel much more motivated to save up if you have a definite goal in mind.

Decide on where to keep your savings
So is it the old school glass jar or cutesy piggy bank for you? Whatever you choose, know that deciding on where to keep your savings is crucial. Make sure it’s accessible and convenient yet secured.

Personally, I prefer keeping my savings in the bank. I have an account that I maintain to fund my wants and wants only, which includes my K-Pop splurges. This prevents me from touching the amount I have in my actual savings account, which I consider strictly off-limits.

Compromise, not sacrifice.
They say a bit of sacrifice goes a long way. But don’t you think “sacrifice” is too dramatic a word? If anything, it makes the whole idea of saving up more daunting! So I say compromise – not sacrifice.

How? Well, there are “little” things you spend on daily that you can get through more cost-efficient means. Start keeping track of your expenses, and check which items you can cut back on or, better yet, ultimately stop paying for.

For instance, instead of buying coffee at your favorite café, why not just make your own brew at home? Ever considered bringing packed (and healthier) meals to school or work? How about bringing your own bottle of water or snacks to curb those sudden cravings?

While the small stuff you spend on may not be that noticeable in your everyday spending pattern, such expenses add up in the long run. Think about it, if you get your caffeine fix for P120 every weekday for six months, that amounts to P15,480, which is more than enough to cover an SVIP ticket to your favorite group’s concert, or, maybe, even a roundrip ticket to Korea!

Control
Control is a word I find synonymous to discipline, and saving money requires a lot of it.

Before you buy anything – and I mean anything – hold a mental debate whether or not you need it. If you hesitate even just a bit before saying yes, then, perhaps, it’s more of a want than a need, and you’re better off not buying it at the time being.

There are a lot of purchases I made in the past that I totally regret now. So save yourself the guilt, and just give up on that item you know wouldn’t come in handy in the near future.

Put your skills and free time to good use
Earning some extra on the side helps A LOT. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If you’ve got skills you know you can use to earn money, make good use of them.

For instance, if you have a proclivity for making fan art, then why not sell some unofficial merch? A friend of mine, who has a good hand in graphic design, produced bags, coin purses, and banners  – all printed with a design she made – to sell in time for a boy group’s then-upcoming concert. She did it out of fun, so she was really taken by surprise when the items sold out quicker than expected. She even had to make another batch to meet the demand!

What’s great about this is that you get to make money while doing something you enjoy (hone your skills even!), and that in itself is already gratifying.

Learn to let go
When I started my K-Pop collection, I thought I will never part with any of the items I’ve got. Albums, posters, magazines – name it, I probably have it. Or at some point, I did, because I’ve sold some of them now.

Yes. I hear you. How could I?

To be honest, it took me a while before I decided to put some of the merch I had on sale. I had a hard time acquiring them, they cost a lot, and they reminded me of the good ol’ times when I was head over heels in love with the artists they feature. But the thing is, they just take up space. I touched most of them only once, and that was when I took them out of their packaging. Some even remained unopened!

It then occured to me that, perhaps, they’re better off with other fans, who would actually use them and not just stash them, away and out of sight. So I took pictures of the items, posted them on Twitter and various K-Pop buy-and-sell groups on Facebook, and waited for interested buyers.

While I didn’t get the same amount I bought the items for, I got part of my money back, made some fans happy, and cleared a bit of space for future (hopefully useful) purchases.

Take care of yourself.
You might find this a strange tip to include on this list, but hear me out: No matter how tight things can get, you have to take care of yourself first and foremost.

If you think skipping meals or stressing yourself by working overtime regularly is the answer to your money woes, you’re wrong. You’re only making things worse for yourself, and the last thing you’d want to spend on are hospital fees and medication. So no matter how cliché the saying “health is wealth” is, believe in it.

Find ways to make saving up fun
Saving up isn’t exactly the most exciting phrase out there, so why not spice up your game with money challenges that will make saving money more fun for you? From saving an amount in increments to saving a particular Peso bill, there are several challenges that financial advisors highly recommend and swear by. Feel free to look them up online, choose what you think is the most doable for you, and jump right into it!

So that’s pretty much it! I know that tips are easier said than done, but trust me when I say that your hard work will pay off, and once you achieve your goal, it would be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.


Written by Krew member Andy Flores

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The Ultimate Weight-Loss Secret: KPOP

 

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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!)

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  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

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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!

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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:

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  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!

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  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!

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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

How To Score That K-Pop Concert Ticket: A Survival Guide

The situation: Your ultimate bias group is coming to your country as part of their world tour.

*Screams*

*Panics*

*DIES*

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As excited as you are about the news, you couldn’t help feeling extremely anxious over a plethora of concerns. “Will I be free on concert day?” (Hopefully…) “I’ve got strict parents; will they ever allow me to attend a show that starts in the evening?” (Fingers crossed…) “Do I have enough funds?” (Still iponing…)

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But the most pressing issue in your head right now must be whether or not you’ll manage to score much-coveted tickets to what could be the most unforgettable night of your life. And with thousands of fans hailing from near and far about to set forth for the ultimate battle that is ticketing day, the stakes are definitely high.

Ottoke?

Well, now’s not a great time to lose hope. Not all fans across the globe get the chance you’ve got in your hands right now, so get your game face on, and read our guide on how to cop K-Pop concert tickets – the fun and ethical way – like a boss:

  1. Anticipate. 

This tip actually applies way before the announcement of the concert in your area.

ANTICIPATE.

We all know how unpredictable K-Pop groups can be. So even though you think there’s a super slim chance of them visiting your country, prepare anyway.

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Budget your allowance. Cut your expenses. Feed your concert fund jar regularly. Heck, if you could open a bank account for this, go for it, because the best time to save up is always, always NOW. You never know… the next city they’ll swing by could be yours!

Think about it: If you end up saving more than the amount needed for an SVIP ticket, you might even consider going the extra mile and save up a bit more to see your favorite group in Korea!

  1. Decide on your mode of purchase

Online or on-site? Oh, the dilemma… Each has its own pros and cons, but obviously, you’ll have to choose what would be the most convenient for you at the moment.

Needless to say, if you’re living far from ticketing outlets or abroad, it would be best to purchase tickets online or make a reservation through the organizers (if they offer such). The same goes for fans who’ve got access to speedy and reliable internet connection. Why go through the hassle of lining up for hours and hours, when you can just make the purchase in the comfort of your home? Easy peasy.

“But what if the website crashes?”

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We totally get why you’re worried about this. Indeed, the volume of website visitors on the day of selling could potentially crash the site. However, if it does happen during your transaction, chances are, servers at ticketing offices are also down! So take a deep breath, refresh the page, and you’ll get your ticket soon enough.

Now, let’s get to the far bloodier option: on-site purchasing.

If you have yet to endure lining up for a K-Pop concert ticket, trust us when we say that buying on-site an experience in itself. It’s an incredibly stressful ordeal, but nonetheless exciting.

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Although this option will require a lot of time, patience, and effort on your part, it’s still what most fans – especially those who who live near ticketing offices – prefer. Some do it for the guarantee of getting hold of the actual ticket stat (nothing quite compares to this feeling), while others do it simply for the thrill. Some fans also take this opportunity to meet new friends in the fandom.

Everybody has their own reasons for buying on-site, really. Just make sure that if you do choose this option, you’re mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared for it. After all, nothing’s too difficult if it means seeing oppas or noonas performing your favorite jams on concert day, right?

  1. Devise a game plan.

Okay, since you’ve got your money ready, cleared your schedule on ticketing day, and even got a go signal from your parents, it’s time for you to come up with a strategy. Don’t take this step lightly.

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Just as how a good soldier never goes to war without a solid plan, you, too, should face ticketing day with a faultless scheme, especially if you’re buying on-site.

Truth be told, this would be a lot easier if you’re going with friends, as you can pitch your own ideas and develop your game plan from there. So, if you’re going alone, it would be smart of you to look for at least one mutual, who’s going to buy tickets at your chosen location.

We understand that you might be in a state of panic right now, so, to inspire you and, perhaps, give you some peace of mind, here is a tried-and-tested ticket-buying strategy to get you started:

Mission: Divide and Conquer
Required Manpower: At least 2 people
The Plan: Find the ticket offices that will less likely cater to TONS of people and assign members of your group to those areas. You can either go alone or by pairs, depending on how big your group is. Make sure each “unit” carries enough amount of money that will cover the cost of tickets for your entire group. On ticketing day, keep in touch through calls or SMS. Whoever among you reaches the counter first will buy the tickets.

  1. Stay on SNS.

We bet you don’t want to miss out on anything. So during this crucial period, let SNS be your best friend.

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Enter essential keywords in the search box, follow and turn on notifications for significant accounts, and regularly check official and related hashtags to closely monitor what the entire fandom is up to.

You can also use SNS to find out which ticketing offices would be crowded on D-Day (since fans usually post about where they will be buying their tickets), so you can plan accordingly.

On ticket-selling day, be a responsible fan and help keep your fandom updated about what’s happening on your end. Post line updates, photos, and videos that will be of great help to your fellow stans. Above all, do not cause unnecessary panic or worse, fights.

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Be smart in using your words.

  1. Safety first!

At this point, the idea of spending the night outside a mall or a ticketing office must have already come across your mind, and you’ve actually considered doing it. In fact, you’re ~this~close to packing your overnight bag!

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Well, hold it right there! Is it really necessary for you to camp out? Sure, the idea sounds exciting. We also know that you’re afraid of not getting there early enough. But by doing so, you’ll be putting your safety on the line. It doesn’t matter if there are people around you doing the same. Your own safety is of paramount importance here.

You’ll be sleeping on a cold, dirty pavement compromising your comfort and risking your health. Moreover, you will be carrying a huge sum of money – something you (or your parents) worked so hard for. You don’t want to lose all that to some ill-minded criminal who lurks in the night, do you?

The key to securing a really good ticket is not by camping out, but by going early to a branch that has the least people (again, regularly check SNS to find out which outlets are expecting the most people).

Think about it: If ten people camped out at this particular hotspot, while you chose have a good night’s rest at home and just go early to a lesser known outlet (and by some stroke of luck, you come first in line) it is likely that you will beat the nine other fans who camped out to getting a ticket once ticket-selling hour strikes!

However, if you really do want to experience camping out for a ticket, just for the heck of it, make sure you secure your valuables and stay in your spot in line. Take a nap, but don’t slip into a deep sleep (well, we doubt that you can do this in such a situation, anyway).

Some other things…

  1. Initiate.

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Early in line? Take the initiative to start a queuing system. Also inform the security guards within the premises to redirect any fan who arrives to your line, so no multiple queues will be formed.

  1. Do not cut the line!

So you woke up late or got caught in traffic. When you arrived at the venue, a looooooooooong line meets your eyes. Frantic and desperate, the thought of cutting the line crosses your mind.

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DO NOT.

The people in line want a ticket just as much as you do, and robbing off their chance of getting the tickets they want is just downright rude and unethical. Think about how you’d feel if you were in their shoes.

  1. Buy tickets within the purchasing limit.

Simple: If the organizer says you can buy a maximum of two tickets for this particular show, then don’t insist on getting three, even if need be.

  1. Make new friends!

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This is probably the best part about lining up for tickets. Making new friends in the same fandom. Queueing for hours can get extremely boring, so take the liberty of striking a conversation with the fans near you. Talk about your biases, your favorite songs, choreography, and whatnot. Surely, you wouldn’t run out of things to talk about! Don’t forget to ask for their SNS handles or their mobile numbers. Who knows? You might even meet again on concert day!

  1. Handle your ticket with ~care~.

After what feels like forever, you’ve finally purchased your ticket! *Happy dance*

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With your patience and perseverance rewarded, it is just right that you keep the very key to your most-awaited event in a secured place, but, perhaps, not before snapping a picture of it to post on social media (see to it that the barcode and essential info printed on the ticket are blocked!). After all, you want the world a.k.a. the interwebs to witness your success.

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Tucking the ticket in your wallet or planner is a definite no-no, as they are items that can easily get lost, misplaced, or worse, stolen. Make sure your hiding place is easy to access, so you wouldn’t have any issues retrieving it on concert day.

 

Got it? Alright. We wish you luck on D-Day!!!

 

Written by: Krew member Andy Flores

Useful Apps You Need When You Visit Korea

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Planning a trip to South Korea?

In a world where almost everything relies on technology, let me teach you how to maximize the use of your smartphone and internet on your next trip to South Korea. Check out below the list of phone applications that will surely help you make the best out of your trip.

  1. Visit Korea App / iTourSeoul

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Visit Korea is the official app created by Korea Tourism Organization. This app contains themed travels and individual information about attractions you can visit. If you’re going to organize your itinerary or have no idea where you really want to go, this app can help you.

Not only that, there’s also list of hotels, shopping areas, restaurants, and transportation information you can rely on – plus it is possible for you to have discount coupons for all of these. Just check the dates where the coupon is applicable.

iTourSeoul has the same qualities as Visit Korea App but as its name implies, it only has information about Seoul. This might be a better app for you if you’re only planning to stay in Seoul.

Download them at:

a) Visit Korea

Play Store (Android) 

App Store (iPhone)

b) iTourSeoul

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Naver Map / Naver Korean Dictionary & Translate App

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Rather than Google Map, this app is more detailed when it comes to accurately knowing where you are and identify the best way you can take in order to get to your destination.

You need to learn basic Korean If you’re going to use this app. So, if you’re not willing to learn the basics, Google Map is your second choice.

Together with this app, Naver Korean Dictionary & Translate App also comes in handy. The translation is much better than Google translate and you will easily spot where to input the characters and translate them into English. The translated sentences or phrases might not be the exact meaning but you will still get the idea about what it is all about.

Download them at:

a) Naver Map

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

b) Naver Korean Dictionary & Translate App

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Subway/ BusApp

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Once you open Subway app, you might be overwhelmed by the number of routes and destinations where you can go. At first, I also got dizzy just by looking at their system but as I plot the stations where we are headed for our trip, this app really helped a lot.

Just input where you are coming from and where you want to go, this app will give you the fastest way to go to your destination.

In the same way, BusApp also works that way. However, at the moment they are still working on the English version. But if you’re adept at Korean language then this will help you track of the time when the bus will arrive and depart from the station.

Download them at:

a) Subway App

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

b) Bus App

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Coursera

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As I mentioned earlier, Naver Map requires you to be familiar with basic Korean. But if you do not have the capacity to take formal courses, Coursera is your answer.

I’m currently registered on Basic Korean Language class and will start learning how to converse in Korean starting October 3. You can register through your desktop, but it’s also available in both iPhone and Android.

What’s the benefit?

Right now I can read Hangul characters but I’m still on my way to fully understand the words. My online professor from Yonsei University prepares course videos and gauge what I learn through a short exam (in the 1st week every exam has 5 items). Usually, a lesson takes 9-11 minutes (a very short time for you to learn Korean every day).

I’m really having fun learning Korean and it’s for FREE! I also downloaded our lessons. It might be helpful for you to take notes as she explains everything.

What more can I wish for? I hope you try the app as well. There are also other free courses available from distinguished universities.

You can download it at:

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. KORLINK

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I think almost everyone who attempted to understand Korean know the website talktomeinkorean.com.

If you want to have conversational skills in the Korean language, this is the app for you. There are free podcasts and pdfs you can review to practice Korean.

You can download it at:

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Audio Korea (Smart Tour)

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You can download audio tour guides beforehand so that when you reach the attractions you might want to hear more information about them. Absolutely recommended for those who are not going to pay for any tour guides. The audio contains history, meaning, and stories about the origin of each attraction.

You can download it at:

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Jeju Pass / Seoul Pass

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Both of these apps contain discounted prices on tourist attractions. Of course, you have to research to compare prices and get the best offer they have. These two are ideal apps for those who do not want to wait in long lines or wonder if tickets are available on their desired destination.

The two apps are divided into 5 categories: amusement park, activities, entertainment, city tour, and museums. All of their available tickets are to be purchased online – no hassle! You can also book a hotel through these apps if you want and download their coupons.

Download them at:

a) Jeju Pass

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

b) Seoul Pass

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone)

  1. Yogiyo/ Mangoplate

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Yogiyo lets you order your food online. However, you have to understand basic Korean language or if you are going to stay at a hotel or guesthouse, you can ask them to assist you. You might be wondering how you will know what you want to order. Since you are a tourist there, you only have two options. One is you already have a preferred food, you only have to tell it to the one who will help you. Or you are the kind of tourist who wants to explore food but have no idea what to order.

If you’re the second type of person, yogiyo shows you the picture of food and from there, you might get an idea what you are craving for. Still, if you can’t decide, just ask for a recommendation or research possible eats ahead of time.

On the other hand MangoPlate helps you find the best restaurants in South Korea. It is available in both English and Korean so you won’t have a hard time navigating in the app. There are ratings regarding the food for each restaurant so you will have an idea if a place is worth trying or you can just find another restaurant you can eat at.

Download it at:

Play Store (Android)

App Store (iPhone) 

I hope you all find time to check out the 13 apps. It might look like it’s too many but trust me, I already chose the best apps for you to use and there are so much more out there you can still explore on your iPhone or Android.

Written by Krew Member Jean Singian

 

SUM CAFÉ- we’re living in SM Town

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Define the promise land to a SM Town fan, they’ll probably say the SUM Café. Located at SMTOWN @COEXATRIUM, 159 Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, this place is your milk and honey, sugar on top and overall dreamland when you drop by COEX.

To go here: Take the green line going to Samsung, and Exit 6.

With its modern architecture and literally “shining” silver building, your jaws would definitely be dropping in awe.

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At the entrance, EXO will welcome you. I wish. Well, the EXO paper dolls would! These SM TOYS, as they call it, are each displayed inside a glass with the names of the members written at the bottom. So, even though D.O.’s hair was a bit like Chen’s, you’ll know who’s who.

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Upon entering, you’ll see the colorful lights, cute SM bear hanging by an air balloon, and their classy color combination of silver and black for their interior design.

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The second floor contains the SUM, celebrity shop. Here you’ll see the SM Albums, SM TOYS and even the brands endorsed by SM Artists, like HatsOn and PLAYNOMORE. You can also purchase their official fan goods like posters, stickers and the like.

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The third floor is what they call the SMTOWN Studio. Here you can view their music videos, photo, hair & make-up exhibits and the like.  Displayed around its walls are black and white photos of the SM artists, majority of the pictures I’ve never seen before. There was even a collage of their candid shots that was displayed near the elevator. You can also see some of their music awards like that of Mnet’s MAMA.

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The fourth floor is my favorite floor. It’s the SUM CAFÉ! Where else in the world would you see “Super Junior” potato chips, “Girl’s Generation” popcorns and even each SM Group’s own chocolate flavor? They even have their own candies with the cute SM Bear at the front!

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Not only that but, you could actually chill inside their café. They offer small bites like popsicles, macaroons and mini cakes! This is also the floor where you could get your tax refund.

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The last floor that I went to was the fifth floor, the SM TOWN Theatre. They actually have a sixth floor called the SM TOWN Space for auditions, events and the like but, for some reason I didn’t go up there- because I didn’t see where I could. What a waste but, I “moved” on.

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The fifth floor has a huge “photo-album-type” glass, clay figurines and wallpaper photos of the artists. Here you can also take a virtual photo with your favorite SM artist! You can print it but, most of the visitors would just take a picture of their picture. I took one with Amber from f(x).

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Overall, do drop by SM Town @COEXAtrium, it’s like a museum filled with hopes and dreams. It’s a place you won’t regret visiting even when you don’t buy anything-things there are a bit pricy. Admission is free and you can even take hundreds of pictures!

I’ll be waiting for your stories and together, we’re living in the SM TOWN.

Written by Krew Member Max Chua

5 WAYS TO STUDY KOREAN- THE FUN WAY.

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Learning a new language, specifically Korean, is difficult- we all know that. But, with proper interest, right mentors and good books- studying a new language is now made easy.

Still hard for you? Well, here are five (5) tips in studying Korean- the fun way.

  1. Watch Korean shows

Regardless if you’re paying attention to what you’re watching or not, listening to Korean shows exposes you to the Korean language. In turn, you get familiarized with their expressions, dialogues and the like-even when you don’t notice it. Not just that but, it actually helps you recall what you studied whether in class or by yourself. Watching Korean TV shows allows you to get the “Korean-vibe” you need.

The shows I find helpful are “Running Man”, “Infinity Challenge” and other reality-variety shows. The name itself explains it- “reality”. We want to hear “raw” dialogues and not just “Saranghae yo” from Korean dramas- although they also help. Whichever you prefer!

  1. Listen and print out song lyrics. 

Literally, I print out song lyrics and find the meaning of each word in the Korean dictionary. Yes, I encircle and highlight and do whatever it takes for me to understand each word in that particular song. I would write the English translation beside the word and then try to translate the whole phrase afterwards. Sometimes, I even write the lyrics to practice my Hangeul writing. (See opening picture)

Why do I do this and not simply type “[Insert title of song] Eng Trans” in Google? It’s because, personally finding the meaning of each Korean word and writing them down on paper, has a great impact in your studies. You get to remember words more when you write them. Than just simply reading the translations that are already given.

  1. Talk to a Korean

I’m sure you might have one, two or more Korean friends at the moment. Talking to them in Korean, is a great way to practice your diction, pronunciation and basically, your overall learning. If your Korean friend did not understand what you said- better switch to language schools. Kidding!

Talking to a Korean friend, not just helps you practice your Korean but, also helps you be comfortable in speaking in Korean. I often talk to my Korean friend, Yeji, in Kor-English and sometimes she’ll laugh if I forget or mix some words but, in turn I learn from her.

When you feel shy with speaking with your Korean friends, always remember that you learned Korean to talk to Koreans- so go ahead and try it out! It’s okay to make mistakes.

  1. Read and watch Pororo

That little cute penguin, Pororo helped me out a lot in my Hangeul reading. I would always go to Pororo’s Youtube channel and read the description box, which is of course in Korean. I would sound like a robot but, it helped me improve.

I’m not saying you should subscribe in Pororo’s Youtube channel but, I’m saying read Korean. Even better when you read Korean out loud- it helps you notice your weaknesses and also improvements in the language. If you feel like you sound like you’re a host from Music Bank, you’re good. Again, laugh at me now.

Start with restaurant menus, as simple as that, then children’s books, news articles and the like. Speaking of books, you can actually borrow here at KCC (Korean Cultural Center). KCC has tones of them!

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  1. Accept correction.

Lastly, the best way to study Korean is to accept correction. We are, sadly, not native speakers of Korean so, don’t expect to be good after your first “basic-Korean-language” class. Practice makes perfect. Write in Hangeul, expose yourself in a Korean environment, read Korean texts and talk to a Korean friend. All these will help you in your language learning- and that includes the corrections you might get along the road in learning Korean.

Written by Krew Member: Max Chua