October 25, 2010

Korean Cell Phones

As most of you know, South Korea is one of the technology capitals of the world. The second and third largest mobile phone companies in the world, Samsung and LG, are both Korean companies (source). Therefore, Korea has the largest share in the mobile phone market and it is visible in their culture.According to MSNBC over 93% of Koreans had a cell phone in 2009 and the number has been rising. Suprisingly, this statistic is easy to believe after living here for 2 months. Almost every single person I have seen has had a cell phone in their hand. My Co-Teachers have told me that Korean children usually get a cell phone once they enter elementary school, age 8. And my friends who work in elementary schools can attest to it! Every single student in my middle school has a cell phone. Even the extremely old Korean men and women I see on the subway have their cell phones in their hands texting.
There are also mega cell phone stores at every corner. Each store has hundreds of phones for sale and is somehow always busy. Check out this picture of the cell phone mega store in my building.
Koreans use their cell phones constantly for many things other than phone calls. They text like no other 13 year old I have ever seen and they stream live TV on their phones 24/7. Anytime you find yourself on public transportation in Korean more than half of the people on your bus/train/subway will be watching TV on their cell phones. Amazing right?

Here is the commercial for the newest Samsung phone: The Galaxy (i-phoneish) (people are going crazy for it here).

Last but not least here is a photo of my very own Korean cell phone. My students have told me the nick name for my phone is "The Ice Cream Phone." So whenever I have my phone out at school students walk by screaming, "Teacha got a ice cram phoney". Also cell phone charms are the only way to go here. I have two on my phone right now. The white charm is for my cell phone charger. All chargers in Korea are universal, therefore, each phone has an attachment to the charger. Most people wear it was a charm. My second charm are two golden pigs I won in a sniper bb gun contest on the streets of Bucheon (true story).
I picked out the cheapest phone in the store, the free one with starting a phone plan. However, I did not expect how cool it would turn out to be. The free phones in Korea come with free streaming of live TV and phone to phone video chat (yes like the i-phone 4). Pretty much this simple looking Korean flip phone is the best phone I have ever had. However, all the TV is in Korean, so I don't watch it often!
Overall, two thumbs up for Korean cell phones. Keep it up Korea!

October 21, 2010


Happy Friday everyone. I have had a great week in Bucheon. Fall has come to Korea and the leaves have started to change. It is now the perfect weather for taking walks around the park and for going hiking. This weekend I am planning on hiking Mt. Bukhansan (the highest mountain in the Seoul area). It should be beautiful and I can't wait to finally see what all the Korean hiking fuss is about.
On Saturday, I am heading to the Asia Song Festival at the Seoul Olympic Stadium, which is a huge concert held on the behalf of the G 20 Summit that is happening in Seoul on November 11-12 2010. The Asia Song Festival is a "music festival with all of Asia's greatest stars in one concert to bring Asia together as a hub for cultural enhancement." This is the KPOP concert of all KPOP concerts and the tickets are FREE! Famous KPOP bands such as BoA, Rain, Lee Seoung chul, KARA, 2AM, BEAST and 4minute will be performing. Oh and last but not least, it is hosted by Jackie Chan. I am beyond excited and I will be sure to share the experience with you next week.

In preparation for the Asia Song Festival, I have been listening to some of the artists performing and I have found my new favorite song, "I My Me Mine" by 4minute. 4minute is an 5 girl Korean pop group. They are working with Universal to produce an international album currently. They are tons of fun and I am looking forward to seeing them in concert on Saturday!

Have a great weekend and enjoy "I My Me Mine" by 4minute.

October 19, 2010

Korean Markets

Even though Korea is very modernized and large grocery stores and mega department stores litter the streets, most towns/cities/villages in Korea still have their own traditional markets. These local markets carry an assortment of amenities like tons Korean cuisine including, meat, fish and kimchi galore. Many markets also have beauty supplies, bedding, toys, kitchen wear, clothing and pretty much anything else you would ever need. Please enjoy some the pictures I have been taking at markets around Korea. These pictures include Guri Market, Bucheon Market, Ggangtong Market and Jagalchi Market. Enjoy!

October 14, 2010


Happy Friday everyone!

I hope everyone has great plans for this wonderful fall weekend. I am heading into downtown Seoul tonight for the weekend. We are planning on going out in Gaganam tonight, known as Seoul's Beverly Hills. It should be a blast and I am going to keep my eye out for some KPOP stars at the club! My Badger crew found a bar in Itaewon that is playing the Wisconsin vs. OSU game on Sunday at 1pm. So it looks like we will have a game day after all. GO BADGERS!

This week I am going to leave you with a little boy band jam from the group BEAST. The group's name stands for Boys of the EAst Standing Tall. They are also known as B2ST. Their video and look really reminds me of Backstreet Boys circa 2001. This Friday's song is called "Shock".

All my middle school girls keep telling me they are soo "hamsum".

ENJOY "Shock" by BEAST!

October 13, 2010

BUSAN VIDEOS, thanks to Quinn

My friend Quinn put together two awesome short videos from our trip to Busan. I thought I would share them with you! If you like what you are seeing and want to check out more of Quinn's work visit www.quinnhubertz.com.

Digital Double Exposure.

First of all I want to wish my badger/korean friend Zoe "Choy" Jerchower happy birthday!

One of my favorite projects in high school photography class was double exposure. This is when you take a rolls worth of pictures and then rewind the roll in the camera. You then reshoot the roll of film, causing each picture to have two photo's exposed on the film (double exposure). Here is a couple of examples of some film double exposure I like.

Since high school I have been shooting with digital camera and have been missing some things about film, like double exposure. However, this week I realized an easy option, you can use photoshop to create a double exposure with digital images. Check out some double exposure I have been playing around with using photos that I have taken while I have been in Korea. Enjoy! If you want to know how to create double exposures using photoshop check out these tips from quickphotographytips.com.

October 8, 2010


Happy Friday everyone! I hope everyone had a great week and has exciting plans for the weekend. I know this weekend is the University of Wisconsin Homecoming and many of my friends will be back in Madison to celebrate together. I just wanted to say GO BADGERS and have fun! I will miss all of you!!

In celebration of UW Homecoming, I wanted to share this new video that I came across. It is our mascot Bucky the Badger "doing the Dougie" (a popular song and hip hop dance). I wish I could do something that great in a Bucky head.

For those of you who are curious what the original Dougie looks like and are interested in learning how, check out Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How to Dougie Dance Lessons"

Well moving on to KPOP. This week I want to introduce a new kind of KPOP: Korean Hip-Hop. I am going to start you off with Supreme Team. This Korean Hip-Hop duo has been gaining popularity and I hope they can top the charts soon!

This week I want to show you the music video for Supreme Team "Super Magic." I was actually introduced to this song by my friend Zoe on her blog a couple of weeks ago and I have not stopped listening to it since then. Great song and great video. The video actually has many similarities to Run DMC's "Walk This Way."

Happy Friday and I hope you enjoy Supreme Team "Super Magic"!

October 5, 2010

Cat Fight in a Seoul Subway

The Seoul subway system is massive and it is somehow always extremely crowded.

Here is a short clip of my friend Justine trapped in a very packed Seoul subway car.

There are only a few seats in each car and people are aggressive and sometimes even forceful in order to get a seat. In my experience, the most vicious people on the subway are the elder Korean women, known as ajumma's. In Korean culture, age is very important. The older you are the wiser you are considered and the more respect you draw from the people around you. I recently found this video of a ajumma fighting with a young women on a subway. I am not sure what they are fighting about but I hope it is not about a seat!

October 4, 2010

Busan Part 2

Again, my Chuseok trip to Busan exceeded all of my expectations. I loved the city and all it had to offer me. I guess I will pick up my story at my day spent at Haeundae Beach. This is the most popular beach in Busan and some people even consider it to be Korea's best beach. Our trip was the last warm weekend before fall hit, so the beach was fairly empty (which we enjoyed). Haeundae had a beautiful vibe to it; a mix of sky crapping city buildings and then rock cliffs covered in colorful houses. Something very unique to the area.

The only people lounging in their two pieces on the sand were foreigners; however, we were told during the peak summer weekends the entire beach is packed. Check out the image I found of Haeundae during the summer!

The other popular beach in Busan is called Gwangallli Beach. This beach is known for its cafes, restaurants and night clubs; which is why is draws the younger crowd. Gwangalli sits in a cove surrounded by the Gwangan Bridge. At night the bridge lights up and gives the Gwangalli beach front an impressive view. Our group spent an evening wondering the beach front cafes and bars admiring the sky line.

That night we ventured out into the Busan nightlife and yet again we were pleasantly surprised. Tons of fun bars and clubs with crowded and vibrant streets full of young people, Busan was a blast. On our way to a 3 story club called Foxy, we stumbled across a familiar street game: hit the nail into the wood block with a hammer. A game frequented by many UW students at Bulls or as some people call it Rams Head (I refused to call it anything but Bulls). Since we all considered ourselves veterans, we decided to give it a try for only 1,000 won. Lets just say the Korean version was near impossible and the idea of 10 foreigners playing the game drew a crowd of at least 40 Koreans.

The next morning a crew of us ventured to the largest fish market in Korea: Jagalchi Fish Market. Jagalchi was right on the harbor, filling a three story warehouse building with every sea creature you could imagine eating, surrounded by alleys full of fish vendors.

Here is a video of a man skinning eels by putting a nail into their heads and peeling their body out of their skin. Once he places the skinned body into the bowl the eels keep squirming. Lets just say it was interesting to watch happen.

As we wondered through the market eyeing shellfish and tanks fill of un-named animals, we wondered what lunch had in-store for us. We then passed an area of the market that seemed to be some sort of a restaurant. As we passed different fish tanks men would pull fish out of the tank and start yelling numbers at us. We soon realized that they were trying to sell us sashimi. We found the right fish at the right price and decided sashimi would be lunch. The man grabbed the fish, cut its neck and held it up screaming "SASHIMI!!!", while fresh blood was dripping on the ground. He scaled it, took out the organs and the fish was cut and ready to be consumed within 5 minutes of its death. This was the freshest fish I have ever eaten, and it was delicious.

A few blocks away from sashimi heaven, was the "Can" Market or the Ggangtong Market. This market was tucked back into a couple dark alleys and had everything under the sun. We sifted through sweaters, leather jackets, vintage Prada purses, Obama socks and BB guns. Also in the middle of one of the alleys we found a make shift market restaurant. 30 or 40 women were sitting on stools in the middle of the alley surrounded by kimpop (type of Korean sushi), rice, noodles and other typical Korean street food. We obviously stopped for a meal on the tiny stools. I love street food!

My Chuseok vacation to Busan was perfect to say the least. I can't wait for my next opportunity to explore Korea. Thanks for reading!