Stay Out Of Trouble: Know Your Korean “Yes”

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p style=”text-align:justify;”>As an anthropologist a main rule is not to stand out in the crowd of natives. In order to get around your native neighborhood without attracting too much attention, it is necessary to quickly pick up certain rules and etiquettes of your foreign country of choice. Saying “yes” doesn’t seem to be too difficult at first glance; however, sometimes the right or wrong “yes”, can change people’s attitude towards you. Korea offers some special difficulties in this case.

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Welcome to Tteokbokki Town

It’s time to take a closer look at my favorite Korean dish: tteokbokki (떡볶이). Tteok are little stir-fried rice cake rolls which can be served sweet or spicy. Strolling around Korea you can buy the red-orange tteokbokki as part of the famous Korean street food everywhere. Usually they offer you the simple version of tteokbokki with red chili paste (고추장 – gochujang) and fish cake (오뎅 – odeng). It’s a pretty delicious snack on the go.

However, I want to introduce you to the best way of serving tteokbokki, in my opinion, at the best place one can eat tteokbokki in Seoul: in Tteokbokki Town. Yes, there is actually a place called Tteokbokki Town. The area is famous for its tteokbokki restaurants since the 80s and they serve stomach filling tteokbokki dishes there.

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The Ice Cream Bouquet

It is getting warm in Seoul and during the day it constantly has 30-33°C and about 25°C at night. This wouldn’t be that bad if the humidity wasn’t that high, too. Still, it is not as worse as it can be for example in Thailand or Singapore. Yet, I am always happy for getting a possibility to cool down a little and still be out and about exploring.

So my friend decided to go to a special ice cream shop called Gemello near 정자역 (Jeong-Ja-Station). Now, ice cream parlors are not that unusual to Germans as we have them everywhere and it is unimaginable to spend a summer whithout sitting in one and enjoying ice cream. However, in big meteroplitan (Asian?) cities like Seoul, Bangkok, Hong-Kong or Tokyo it is more difficult to find these kind of shops.

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Off to Korea! – How to survive a 10 hour flight

To sit in a plane for several hours can be very tiring and uncomfortable. That is way it is good to prepare beforehand and keep some tips in mind. My Korean friend Minji was joining me on the flight which made things for me easier, but also sometimes a little difficult. The flight from Germany to Korea took about 10 hours – most of the time you just fly over Russia – and depending on the airline they offer you already sufficient entertainment. Continue reading

Preparing for Korea

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How to prepare for a field trip? What to take with you for a six-month-stay in an unknown country? Hm… I still do not have a clue. Staying among “the natives” from February until August 2014, I desperatly tried to figure out what essentials to take with me. Asking my teacher or friends who have already been to Korea, however, did not give me a clear hint about what to pack. As my stay includes winter, spring and summer, it seemed difficult to anybody to give me good advice. “How cold is the winter in Korea?” – “It’s really cold. Oh, but you’re there in March? So, it’ll be warmer.” – “And how will the weather be like in summer?” – “It’s really hot.” Continue reading