Friday, April 30, 2010

An Ajosshi Reviews...

I come bearing news (of the good sort, for me at least). I have become 10 Magazine's official film reviewer. Starting in this month's magazine you can read my thoughts on three of the latest releases. Right now only one of my reviews is up on their website, but over the coming months there'll be many more...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Twenty English Subtitled Films...

An article in today's JoongAng Daily brings good news to those of us who are fans of English subtitled Korean films in Seoul:

To meet foreign residents’ growing demand for greater access to cultural life, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and CGV, a local theater chain, will screen 20 Korean films with English subtitles starting today, the city government said in a statement yesterday.

So it looks like Cinus have dropped out from the subtitle race and handed the baton over to the far superior CGV chain!

This year, four CGV theaters were added, with locations in Gangnam, Yongsan, Myeongdong and Guro.

“These four theaters are located in places where there is a large expat population,” said Kim Dae-hee, an official at CGV who is in charge of promoting the English subtitle service.

Good news for me as my local cinema is CGV Yongsan, but hopefully this expanded service will offer more English speakers the chance to watch subtitled Korean films.

Blades of Blood, directed by Lee Joon-ik (“The King and The Clown”) is a period film set in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). “Maid” by Im Sang-soo, “Poetry” by Lee Chang-dong and “Dreams Come True” by Kye Yun-sik are also among the 20 films chosen.

If I get to see "Maid" and "Poetry" on the subtitled big screen then I will be a happy man indeed, but I wonder whether CGV will stick to their guns and deliver the full twenty film promise or whether they will fall foul of some problem or another.

There's talk of special events for foreign fans and also Chinese and Japanese subtitled screenings that will start later in the year, so it's good news all round for non-Korean Korean film fans.

I'm off to see Blades of Blood this weekend and I encourage all Korean film fans to do the same, show CGV that this is a sustainable service that the foreign community wants and needs. As for now CGV's English language website gives no hint of the service, but hopefully they'll sort something out and do a better job than Cinus' pathetic page.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Korean Movies Subtitled in English 2010/04/29-2010/05/04

Exciting news for those who enjoy Korean movies: After a long hiatus we finally have another English subtitled movie on our screens thanks to the lovely folks at CGV! 구르믈 버서난 달처럼 (Blades of Blood) starts showing this week at CGV cinemas in Yongsan, Gangnam and Guro. From the trailer it looks to be a historical sword fighting epic starring 황청민 (Hwang Chung-min from last year's Sherlock Holmes homage, Private Eye) and 차승원 (Cha Seung-won from the thriller Secret). I've no idea if it's any good, but I'm just glad to see subtitles back on the big screen. Tell your friends, take a trip to the cinema and let's show the cinemas that English subtitled Korean films are a profitable enterprise for those companies that choose to indulge us...

Blades of Blood is on at CGV Yongsan:

Thursday (29th) - 1140, 1625, 1900 and 2345
Friday (30th) - 1140, 1405, 1900 and 2130
Saturday (1st) - 1140, 1625, 1900 and 2355
Sunday (2nd) - 1140, 1625, 1900 and 2345
Monday (3rd) - 1135, 1620, 1845 and 2335
Tuesday (4th) - 1140, 1625, 1850 and 2335

Also at CGV Gangnam:

Thursday (29th) - 1115, 1830 and 2330
Friday (30th) - 1135, 1825 and 2315
Saturday (1st) - 1015, 1730 and 2140
Sunday (2nd) - 1015, 1730 and 2140

And at CGV Guro:

Thursday (29th) - 2010
Friday (30th) - 2010
Saturday (1st) - 1955
Sunday (2nd) - 1955
Monday (3rd) - 2010

I'll update screening times if and when they appear. All listings are correct at time of posting, but may well be squashed flat by the heavy boots of Iron Man 2...

Please spread the word so that those interested get the chance to see English subtitled Korean films.

Some Things That Make Me Want To Scream

Everytime I go to the cinema I see this commercial... twice. There is something so grating, so annoying about the way that singer says "고비F가 말해줄꺼야" that I want to jump out of my seat rush out of the theatre and do horrible things to whoever decided this was a fitting way to advertise a phone.

However, this delightful musical foray into advertising is just the tip of the iceberg. I find myself plagued by jingles, with each season bringing a particularly annoying ditty to the fore.

Last Christmas this abhorrence seemed to be everywhere and did nothing except make me want to bury 2PM under a pile of Paris Baguette cakes so that the terrible music would stop and we could go back to listening to something more pleasant like the construction noises down by Gangnam station.

However even 2PM's efforts pale in comparison to what is for me quite possibly one of the most hateful pieces of poptastic advertising ever to spring from the minds of the demented executives that commisioned it...

Big Bang and 2NE1 should be ashamed of themselves for participating in one of the most annoying commercials of last year (if not all time). I'm not a violent person, but when listening to this musical travesty the red mist comes down and my fists start to clench. An advert masquerading as a full length pop song seems to be a little deceitful in my book and does little for the artistic integrity of either group involved.

At least Lollipop and Paris Baguette Christmas have disappeared (for the time being), but I'm sure as summer approaches that Big Bang, 2NE1, After School, 2PM, Girls Generation or another of those manufactured pop groups will be attempting to sell me something else in the most annoying way possible. Time to put my headphones on and hope that the dulcet tones 김현식 will block out all the nastiness...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hey Hey It's Saturday!

Blossoms HDR

Yay it's Saturday and the Korea Herald has been spending a little time in Itaewon. Make sure to read to the end to find out the kinds of exciting foreigners you can meet here!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Springtime Ravioli


Up on Namsan about five minutes walk from the Hyatt Hotel is a curious cafe/restaurant called "The Classic HwaSooMok". It's a strange and rather pricey place with odd art on the walls and a lovely garden to relax in. The ravioli was expensive (20,000 won or so) but was surprisingly delicious. Packed with ricotta, onion and spinach, these tasty little parcels of Italian joy were enough to put a smile on my face.

You can visit their website here and find a map to their place here.

Blossoms at the Hyatt

Hyatt HDR

Another photo, another blossom...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spiders in Itaewon...

Spider HDR

If you've had a chance to go to the fantastic Leeum museum in Itaewon then you've probably seen Louise Bourgeois' gorgeous spiders that rest atop the parking lot. Even if you don't fancy going inside the museum (which you'd be a fool not to), the spiders are worth the short walk from Hangangjin station.

Spider HDR

You can visit the museum's website here.

Spider HDR

Blossoms Everywhere...


I've been busy.... I saw some blossoms... Like every other blogger in Korea I'm posting some pictures...





That is all...

Thursday, April 15, 2010



The traditional one arm behind the back pose known to all Korean grandmothers (may also be substituted with the double hand behind the back pose or the full squat with optional cigarette).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Extortionate Chocolate Goodness

Extortionate Cupcake

Life is Just a Cup of Cake has perhaps the prettiest cupcakes in Seoul, but also the priciest ones. 4,800 won for this chocolate delight, a hefty price to pay for this delicious cakey treat.

To get there head out of Itaewon station towards Hangangjin station. Keep going past La Tavola, Macaroni Market and the Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel. Take the first left after Caffe Benne and the tiny slice of pricey cupcake heaven is on the right. You can call them on 02 794 2908.

Big Foot

Big Foot

Sculpture in Samcheong-dong...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Round The Back Of The Palace...

Gate Close Up HDR

This gate is directly opposite The Blue House and is far prettier and more interesting. It's name is ShinMuMoon or something like that. The one thing I've learnt about my visits to the President's official residence is how nice the secret service agents are. They're always friendly, usually helpful and often speak good English. Plus come summer time you get to see sportily dressed roller skating police officers.

Lycra and the law, a perfect combination...

Gate HDR

The Blue House in HDR

The Blue House HDR

I'm not sure why, but the Blue House always looks a little odd to me. Traditional Korean yet missing the heart and soul of the Hanok...

Monday, April 12, 2010



Ferocious tiger doll at an art gallery somewhere in Bukcheon Hanok Village.

Instructive Mural...

This is how you do it...

Samcheong-dong is the place to go for cute cafes, interesting galleries and instructive murals...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Seoul in Bloom

Blossoms HDR

I made my way downtown this afternoon and ended up at Changgyeong Palace. It's a lovely place to walk around in Spring, not too crowded and plenty of beautiful blossoms.

More photos to come with the promise of ducks...

Blossoms HDR

Buds and Blossoms

Cherry Bud HDR

I'm off into town this afternoon to take a peek at the cherry blossoms before the rain hits later today. I'd advise you, my dear readers, to do the same if you have the inclination or ability...

Twitter Madness

Follow Me!

Some people will do anything to get followers on twitter... @0410LOVE (a seafood restaurant chain) certainly seems to want some attention.

(As seen in Myeong-dong, photo in HDR)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pork Cutlet Konglish...

Namsan Wang Donkass

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very proud to present the 남산 왕 돈까스 (Namsan King Pork Cutlet) restaurant and its very special contribution to the world of Konglish...

Namsan Wang Donkass

Marvel at the eloquence:

" The taste which is praised by the media
A naver to be forgotten taste, when you tried to eat!
The very famous original Namsan king pork cutlet
which people wants to eat repeatedly"

A masterpiece, dear readers, which should be given the respect it deserves. Let us all stand and applaud this magnificently enthusiastic attempt to share the king pork cutlet with the world. May the taste naver be forgotten!

(The more observant of my readers may also note that the multicoloured acrostic in the above photograph adequately describes the quality of food that may be found within.)

No. 1 Spin in HDR

Number One Spin in HDR

One way to earn a living is to stand on the streets of Myeongdong spinning a cardboard sign advertising a part-time work website. All credit to this guy, sweating in the cool evening breeze and showing off his skills as uninterested pedestrians passed by...

Fly Mario, Fly!

Fly Mario Fly!

Soaring high over the citizens of Seoul, Super Mario keeps watch on the back alleys of Myeong-dong...

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Photos of Gyeongbok Palace in HDR

Here's a few more HDR pics of the outside of Gyeongbok Palace...

Gyeongbok Palace in HDR

Gyeongbok Palace in HDR

Gyeongbok Palace in HDR

Gyeongbok Palace in HDR

Gyeongbok Palace in HDR

Spring Menu at OKitchen2

Spring Menu at the OKitchen2

The one place in Itaewon that always excites me is the OKitchen2. As months pass the menu changes and the board outside the restaurant teases me each time I pass it. This week I could hold back no longer and headed into the quirky little Hanok for a taste of their Spring selection.

Spring Menu at the OKitchen2

As always their set lunch runs at either 20,000 won or 30,000 won (if you fancy a little steak), I went for the cheaper option and spent the next hour or so in my own little culinary heaven.

Spring Menu at the OKitchen2

First, the bread; the chefs have added a new sesame crisp to the basket, delicious, but the cornbread still wins out for its crumbly buttery goodness.

Spring Menu at the OKitchen2

Next the “Seafood Plate”, simple yet beautifully presented islands of fishy goodness. Grilled mackerel with miso sauce, a piece of croaker sashimi and a yellowtail tartar - to be eaten in that order, or so the waitress advised. This combination of culinary techniques makes for an adventurous appetizer, each fish brings different flavours and textures, managing to complement each other without one island overpowering another.

Spring Menu at the OKitchen2

Onto the “Vegetable Soup With Basil Pesto”, an unassuming broth with plenty of fresh vegetables and a powerful zing of basil and cheese. Nothing fancy, just tasty.

Spring Menu at the OKitchen2

The third course was “Pork Belly Confit With Dandelion Salad”, succulent belly pork, slices of raw mushroom, bitter dandelion leaves, the odd crouton and a deep fried quails egg (the runny yolk is meant to be used to dress the leaves and soften the bitterness). I left the egg to one side, but I was enchanted by the beautifully bitter leaves contrasting with the salty soft pork. Certainly the best salad I’ve ever had at OKitchen2.

Spring Menu at the OKitchen2

The main course came next and I settled for “Chili Con Carne With Tortilla”, the chili had rich cinnamon undertones and the fresh salsa was gorgeous. I’m always happy when restaurants go heavy on the fresh coriander and while the portion is small it is satisfying.

Spring Menu at the OKitchen2

To finish chocolate cake with cherry compote and a beautiful tuile. The cakes and pies at OKitchen2 are heavenly and this dessert was no exception. A wonderful way to finish the meal.

If you’ve not tried their latest menu then it is worth heading down to Itaewon and taking advantage of their reasonable lunch time prices. OKitchen2 is just down the road from Itaewon station, head towards Noksapyeong and turn right at the first set of traffic lights. The restaurant is just a few metres down the alley on the left hand side. Call them on 02 797 6420 or visit their website here.

Exciting New Pastries?

Michot Patisserie

Just up the hill from OKitchen2, next to Chili King in Itaewon, lies this tantalizing taste of the future. It's still being constructed, but I'm already salivating at the possible pastries that the "Michot Patisserie" could give us...

I Want My Mother!

For those of you interested in some subtitled cinema action this weekend then the International Women's Film Festival in Seoul is offering you a chance to see Bong Joon-ho's Mother on the big screen.

There's a screening this Sunday (11th April) at 11.00 am and on Tuesday (13th April) at 2.30 pm. Both screenings are at the Artreon cinema near Shinchon station (the one on the green line near Hongdae).

Go and check out this fantastic film if you have the time, it's worth your while.

Thanks to the lovely Seoul City Blog for the heads up...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Steve Carell Spreads the Kimchi Love

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Korea in Your Kitchen
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Just found this thanks to the Daily Show's moment of zen. In 2003 Steve Carell may have got the recipe a little wrong, but he succeeds in showing the power of Korea's national side dish...

Socks and Barbed Wire

Socks and Barbed Wire

Sometimes your washing needs extra protection, at least one resident in Bukcheon thinks so...

2S2 With Lashings of Blood


If you're at a loose end this weekend then why not catch up with Roboseyo and others at this month's 2S2 meeting where some of you will have the chance to give blood and others will get to see some gorgeous photography by national Geographic photographer Steve McCurry.

For more info head here for all the gory details, just make sure to read all the appropriate links and details if you're thinking about giving blood...

Meanwhile if you're in Suwon why not meet up with these guys for the first ever Suwon 2S2!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fools Errand To Gyeongbok Palace in HDR

Gyungbok Palace HDR

There was I all excited to go see the cherry blossoms at Gyeongbok Palace without realizing that it's closed every Tuesday. So instead of flowers I bring you a rather imposing gate...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010



Out for a stroll today I happened across a small motorcade of sorts near Anguk station...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools and Serious Business

Unlike some people, I've not got an April Fool's gag for you, so instead a bring you a picture from the Ajosshi Archives. Taken from the Yokohama International School production of Romeo and Juliet in 1994; I present to you the young Ajosshi's interpretation of Mercutio which for some may bear a slight resemblance to the late, great Michael Jackson:

Michael Jackson Impersonation

In other news, you should probably head over to Brian in Jeollanam-do to read his lengthy and rather frightening article about his run-in with immigration and the wonderful Kang Shin-who...