Friday, March 21, 2008

우리 반은 최고요

Our last lesson for this semester was nothing but interesting. After going through the mistakes made in our test paper (which we took on Tuesday), our teacher handed us a recipe for making ddeokbokkgi and explained the steps. The recipe looks simple though it is written in Korean. It would have been interesting if we could get some practical hands-on but all that we have yesterday was just restricted to verbal explanation.

We spent about one hour in our classroom before moving down to the school canteen for our cultural event. The cultural event, which starts about a year ago, has since become the highlight of the SKS's Korean language course. The theme for this semester's event is "ddeok-cutting". Didn't sound interesting to me initially. Each class was instructed to bring along a set of knife (칼) and cutting board (도마) for the event.

Before we got into action, we were all treated to kimchi and ddeok soup (떡국). I guess this event is supposed to coincide with the celebration of Seollal as ddeok soup is a traditional Korean dish taken during the second biggest festival of the Korean's calendar. Perhaps, the timing didn't match up, so we ended up eating ddeok soup two months after Seollal.

We made a queue for the food while our teachers busied themselves serving us. The ddeok soup came with sliced ddeok, egg, seaweed, minced beef and plus, of course, a handsome serving of hot soup.

Kimchi before it was gone. I don't have a yearning for kimchi but somehow, I can easily finish a plate of it without even knowing.

My first time eating ddeok soup. Nothing exceptional to shout about. I guess the easiest way to learn a culture is to start with eating.

Once we have our stomach filled, it was time to sweat over the cutting of ddeok. The truth was that ddeok-cutting was no piece of cake. The ddeok was actually harder than we thought. It took quite a lot of effort to cut a roll of ddeok into small pieces. There was a competition between the classes for the most beautifully-arranged ddeok pieces. Our class arranged our cut ddeok pieces into a chrysanthemum flower - nice enough to look at but not good enough to win. Oh well, the climax of the cultural event was not exactly the competition but rather the photo-taking session after everything was over. It was photos, photos and more photos.

Does our "masterpiece" look anything like 국화 or chrysanthemum? 멋있죠?

Should never forget to bring a camera for the cultural event. Memory begins after the event ends.

우리 고급1반의 미녀들입니다. 중간에 계시고 제일 키가 큰 미녀는 우리 선생님이십니다.

The night was not over yet for our class. We went to nearby Geylang for durian as our teacher loves to try the fruit. After one round of durian, we cleared our table and our teacher started to teach us how to play "Hwa-Tu" (화투) or more commonly referred to as Go-Stop. It is a traditional Korean card game which has its origin in Japan. We didn't stay around long enough to master the complex scoring system of the game. But what I did pick up was that I should buy Hwa-Tu made of plastic. Because the "authentic" way or "the ajumma-style" of playing Hwa-Tu is to throw and "slam" the card hard against the surface to produce a loud sound and which only plastic cards are capable of making that sort of noise.

I think I need more practices before I can write something decent about the card game. For now, I am just a novice. So that's all for this semester and the next semester's class will start in two weeks time.

Our teacher teaching us to play Hwa-Tu beside a durian stall in Geylang. The scoring system is quite mind-boggling for novices like us.


  1. Ahh I see, the game is called 화투?
    My teacher taught us that game too a couple of weeks back, but she introduced it to us as Go-Stop (고스팁?).
    Another name for 화투, I wonder?

    I played it for several rounds over drinks.... and still haven't got enough skills to win. Haha.

    The game is indeed complicated!
    12 types of "flowers" (or "months", I guess), with 4 variations for each "month".
    Even trying to match the "months" is a difficult feat for beginners. Haha. Let alone trying to strategize to win the game....
    Although, it's quite fun to slam the card to the ground. :P

    And ohyea.... welcome back, Equinox! ^_^

  2. hey equinox, our class thought that u looked like a pro cutting the ddeok. u made it look so easy! n we were all struggling just to cut one slice nicely. :)

    화투 looks fun! :) can't wait for the next semester to start. have enjoyed my 1st sem in sks so far.. :)

  3. Hi Equinox

    So glad that you are back.
    I missed all you sharing while you were away.
    Wish you could shared on your Korean Language learning experience.

    Thank you very much

  4. Cheryl, you are right, Hwa-Tu is also known as Go-Stop. It's interesting, isn't it? ^^

    Jean, frankly my hand was aching when I was cutting the ddeok. Never thought that ddeok can be so hard. Hahaha... See you in school next semester. ^^

    Anony, instead of missing my posting why not experience for yourself first hand? Anyway, thanks for reading my humble blog. ^^