Tuesday, August 31, 2010

주렁주렁 열매

An outing during autumn can easily turn out to be an educational trip. What I used to see as finished products are growing on trees right in front of me.

Gingko (은행, 銀杏)
I like it as a dessert or it will be too bitter to be eaten

Chestnut (밤, 栗子)
I like it roasted. Roasted chestnut smell and taste very nice.

Acorn (도토리, 橡子)
I like it as 'acorn jelly' or 도토리 묵, soft and chewy

Jujube or Chinese date (대추, 大枣)
I like it as jujube tea - a 'cooling' drink to drive away the heat

Persimmon (감, 柿子)
I like to have a big bite when it is fully ripe


바람의 말소리를 들어 보신 적이 있으신가요?

Monday, August 30, 2010

살아 있는 화석

I never saw ginkgo trees flower. I thought they have inconspicuous flowers but I was wrong. Gingko tree is actually a non-flowering plant that has existed way before flowering plants started to colonise the earth. In other words, it is a living fossil. But I tend to take them for granted because they are common roadside trees.

When ginkgoes turned orange, it's autumn. Branches fully laden with orange gingkoes was quite a spectacular sight along the streets. If I could just shake one tree, I could probably bring about 'gingko rain', with tens of thousands of gingkoes falling upon me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

커피 자판기

The digital read out showed three zeros which mean coffee from the dispenser is free. Some eating houses charge a token 100won (S$0.10) for a cup. You can see such coffee dispensing machines quite often in places like eating houses. The dispensed coffee tasted acceptable. It always feels good, especially on a cold and windy day, to have a free cup of hot coffee after meal.

P.S. '자판기'(自販機) is short form for '자동판매기'(自動販賣機).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The sweet scent of wood greeted me as I entered. I couldn't tell if it came from the books or the unvanished wooden bookselves. It was no ordinary shop as I soon discovered. Be it the vintage stationery set, the old typewriters that lined the stairs or the unsold literary publications that are still awaiting buyers after decades, everything indicates that it doesn't belong in the present. It made me wonder if there is really such thing as time travel. Taking away the fantasy part, it is like a bookshop that has closed its door in the 1980s, gone dormant for decades, only to reopen with everything intact. In some way, it is a time capsule, a shop caught in a time warp. If you like the feeling of travelling back in time, pay it a visit and no, the books are actually not old.

P.S. I paid fully for the book shown, no discount or whatsoever. Anyway, I can't remember the last time I bought an English book. It must have been years.

It was said that a cat lives on the 2nd level of the bookshop. His name is Cake. During the day, people can only hear his purring but he is nowhere to be seen. He only appears during the night after the shop has close for the day. In a world where he has no natural enemy, he treats the rubber bands as his enemy. He loves to jump on them and imagines shredding them into hundreds of pieces with his sharp claws. A once lonely cat, it was said that he found a new playmate recently. Good Cake.

Call me Cake. This is my secret playground. [Thanks S.M.]

Monday, August 23, 2010


Gyeongbok Palace - a must visit attraction in Seoul. It is for this reason, I have visited it countless times. Despite that, I think I will still like to visit it during late autumn when trees turn golden. By the way, those figurines on the roof (see above) are from the classic, "Journey to the West".


좌회전 (左回轉)

우회전 (右回轉)

Turn left or right is a simple decision when you know your destination. It will be a difficult choice if you can't see your future, if you have no dream of what you will be.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Every time when season changes, I always feel a sense of regret. It seems like I have to bid farewell to a friend who has been with me for a long period. It is especially difficult to say goodbye when I have enjoyed myself during the season.

It's time to say goodbye

Memories of summer


Cosmos (코스모스, 大波斯菊) heralds the arrival of autumn. They are one of the reasons why walking out in the open during autumn is a treat.

The pink

The hot pink

The white

The pink, hot pink and white, all together

국악 공연

Just some photos to share on Korean classical music performance held during last summer night. Things traditional are richer in colour and emotion and finer in details and texture. In Korea, you don't have to pay much, if any, to enjoy traditional culture.


계획 없이 돌아다니다가 발길 닿는 카페에 들어가고, 마음에 드는 아이스크림을 먹고, 휴일은 원래 그렇게 부담 없이 지내야 되는 날이데.

발길 닿는 카페에 들어가고

마음에 드는 아이스크림을 먹고

Saturday, August 21, 2010

밝음과 어둠

When light is cast, there is bound to be shadow somewhere. Darkness is just an effect of light. Whoever or whichever can brighten up our life can also, at the same time, cast a shadow. It is not a sad fact of life, it is life. Life is neutral but we are biased.

Maple leaves turning brown during late summer

The season of sunflowers is coming to an end

No more maple leaves and sunflowers but life still goes on ^^

Friday, August 20, 2010

더러운 세상

Columns of Kyunghee's main admin building

Photos tend to look better than the real world. Some may think that the difference in sensation has much to do with photo editing software. However, I would like to think that photos look better because they have lesser 'noise'. The world we see has a lot of the 'noise' which makes it both 'messy' and 'dirty'. In the case of photos, 'noise' can easily be cropped away and this explains why they tend to look better than reality.

But, it is not always true that photos look better than the real world. The real world is definitely more beautiful than photos if only we can see it without its noise. I know I would rather see fireworks with my own eyes than through photos. Because at that moment when the night sky burst into colourful flames, all the 'noises' of this world 'vanish', leaving behind only the brillant sparks in the sky.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

냠냠 맛있는 음식들

Warning: Food galore! Do not look at this posting with an empty stomach unless you have never tasted Korean food before. (I should have heeded my own advice)

춘천 닭갈비 - Chuncheon stir-fried chicken ribs

삼겹살 - Grilled pork belly

안동 찜닭 - Andong steamed chicken

부대찌개 - Army base stew

갈비밥- Pork ribs rice

냉 콩국수 - Cold soybean soup noodles

계란찜 - Steamed egg

파스타 - Pasta

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I can't remember who first told me that IT products at Yongsan Station (용산역, 龍山驛) are cheap. I have since awoken up to the fact that it ain't true. As they say, you walk in with your eyes open.

However, Yongsan is more than just IT products; it is a train and subway interchange on the inside and a shopping mall on the outside. The station is as bustling as Seoul Station.

Yongsan on the inside - train and subway interchange

Yongsan on the outside - IT and lifestyle mall

Monday, August 16, 2010


In Korea, there are two college graduation ceremonies every year, one in Feb and the other in Aug, just before the start of spring and autumn semester. On the day of ceremony, you will find stalls peddling flower bouquets outside the main gate of the college. Beside them, food and drink stalls, souvenir stalls and on-site photo shoot services are all out in full force to vie for a share of the business opportunity generated by such occasion.

Graduation used to be a joyous occasion because to become a degree-holder means good job and good pay. However, these days, graduation could well mean the start of unemployment. It may be long due for people to rethink the purpose of slogging for a degree when it no longer guarantees employment.

Trust them to take a photo of you for a fee. Any one of their high-end cameras is likely to worth more than one year pay of a fresh graduate.

Drinks and balloons on sale. The 장사꾼 know exactly when to set up their stalls in the campus. No business opportunity escapes them.

One of those flower stalls which is strategically set up just outside the college's gate and by the bus stop.

Congratulation. A new beginning awaits.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


As Korea commemorates its 65th Independence Day (광복절, 光復節) today, the world also celebrates the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII. I was in Korea during the last two 광복절 and there was no fireworks or parades, quite unlike other countries. Although 광복절 is supposed to be a public holiday, just like last year, Koreans are not enjoying an extra rest day this year since 광복절 falls on a weekend again. Only one word to describe it - 답답해.

63th Independence Day (2008) at the Independence Hall

City Hall during 63th Independence Day

64th Independence Day (2009) at the Seoul Plaza

City Hall during 64th Independence Day

Independence comes with a heavy price, lest we forget