Thursday, January 01, 2009

헬로 2009

This is a very cold New Year. It was reported in the news just now that people braved -13degC temperature this morning to watch the first sunrise of 2009 at Namsan. I actually thought of going to Namsan this morning but fortunately gave up the idea because I was too tired.

The night before New Year's eve, I had to submit a A4-length essay and prepare my presentation on Singapore's wedding ceremony. To complete my homework, I slept after 3am and then woke up again at 8am for school.

Our lesson on New Year's eve was quite interesting. We had presentation on wedding ceremony. I learned that wedding in Japan can be quite an expensive affair. A typical wedding ceremony cost about 40 million won. The wedding diamond ring for the bride alone would cost the groom his 3 months salary. Due to the high cost of holding a wedding in Japan, many Japanese choose to go Hawaii instead. In Hawaii, it only costs them a quarter of what they will pay to hold a wedding in Japan.

Our Israeli classmate revealed that all wedding in Israel must be a religious wedding. For free-thinkers, they will have no choice but to travel out of country to register their marriage. He got the class a little excited when he showed the back of a naked lady (see photo above). It was supposed to be a bride-to-be cleansing her body in a pool of holy water or something before her wedding ceremony.

New Year's eve was a busy day. After my morning lesson, I had to attend Hanja lesson in the afternoon. The attendance for the Hanja lesson was quite pathetic - more than half of the class was absent. I won't miss the class for anything. The lesson teaches Korean through the use of Hanja. We have this textbook that is printed in Hanja. For practice, we are required to convert all the Hanja into Hangeul.

At the end of the day, I made my way to the Olympics Park and spent 77,000 won on a ticket to Lena Park's concert. After that, it was Dunkin' Donuts for dinner.

The concert time was 8pm and entry into the stadium was only allowed at 7pm. Meanwhile, I had to wait for more than half an hour in the open under freezing temperature of -6degC. I thought I had myself well covered but I was still shivering inside my thick clothing.

Since the concert is named "Sweet December", for the first 2 hours, the atmosphere was made as "sweet" as possible. The concert started with a video clip showing interview with couples who were once separated and then re-united. They were first asked to speak about their feeling after separation. Then for the next 2 hours, those couples would come on screen, from time to time, to speak about what causes their separation, how they re-discover their love for one another, how they get re-united, the lesson they learned and finally to profess their love for one another. There was this guy who said in the interview that if a couple quarrels, 90% of the time, its the guy's fault. While I am not too sure about that but the girl behind me was quick to pick up his line and told his boyfriend something like, "See, see, I told you, its your fault."

Lena Park's vocal is as awesome as I think she is. It was exhilarating to hear her hit those high notes with great aplomb. On the other hand, Alex was successful in exuding his romantic guy's charm. There was great chemistry between Lena and Alex but I can't help noticing Alex's 'weak' vocal when he was singing duet with Lena. I didn't mean weak in the literal sense. He was singing alright, but it was just that there was Lena to compare to, which made him sound a bit inadequate.

From the second hour onward until the end of the concert, the mood in the stadium was changed from sweet to high. Lena challenged herself to Lee Hyori's U Go Girl while Alex attempted JYP's Honey and they sang Big Bang's "붉은 노을" together. The climax for the night was hit and I left the stadium feeling satisfied. When I returned to my dorm, it was already past midnight and 2009 has just arrived at the doorstep. It has been quite some time since New Year's eve has been such a memorable day.

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