Monday, October 25, 2010

Scenes of Misteries Involving The Korea Times

Misteries Headline

Joy of joys, it's Monday and The Korea Times is pushing the boat out with its headlines this morning:

What's even better is that the headline links to a series of pictures featuring UFO's photoshopped onto various landscapes. No accompanying text, no explanation, just lots and lots of misteries.

Keep up the good work KT...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Scary Improv...

If you're at a loose end tomorrow, Seoul City Improv are performing at the Spazio Luce Theater in Itaewon. Tickets for "Frightjest" are 10,000 won, doors open at 7.30 and the show itself starts at 8.00. For more info try clicking here or here...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Double Negative

No No Smoking

Itaewon's new "No No Smoking" bench.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wagon Trail

Wagon Trail HDR

Traders make their way onto the main Itaewon street in preparation for the hordes of shoppers looking for novelty socks and penguin hats.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Itaewon Global Festival

Down in Itaewon, the construction workers have a novel word of warning.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink HDR

A stylish MC introduces classic pop singers in Insadong.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Welcome to Itaewom!

Dear "Itaewon Special Tourist Zone Association",

Itaewon Global Festival

I am writing to thank you for the lovely Global Village Festival you held this weekend. I'd seen the banners up, but thanks to a lack of dates on the aforementioned hanging advertisements I was unaware that we were celebrating today. Fortunately, I was wandering around the neighbourhood and stumbled upon the festivities. What a lovely thing to do on a sunny Sunday!

Itaewon Global Festival

I was handed a beautifully designed pamphlet, but to be honest I think there may have been a slight error. As far as I was aware we weren't all living in Itaewom. Is this new name change government approved? Should I inform to send my parcels to Itaewom? If it's on a pamphlet like this then it must be correct, as only the foolish and the insane would not bother to proofread anything destined for the public.

Itaewon Global Festival

It was great to have a selection of tents out celebrating cuisine from around the world. The Pizza Peel were doing a fantastic job representing Italy, Tartine had a selection of baked goods available and there were some delicious looking Turkish, Indian, Brazilian and Pakistani treats on offer.

Itaewon Global Festival

I was thrilled to see that Michot (the tiny bakery up the hill from OKitchen 2) were hand filling gorgeous looking eclairs...

Itaewon Global Festival

And I was charmed by Iran's choice of signage and design of hookah. There was a wonderful bustling, happy atmosphere around the food tents and it made me proud to be a resident of this fine dong.

However, there was a slight problem.

Itaewon Global Festival

You see, I'm British and the sight of our nation's glorious Union Jack hanging above one of the tents filled me with patriotic pride. A taste of the mother country! A chance for a sausage roll, some fish and chips or perhaps a chelsea bun!

Itaewon Global Festival

However, a quick look at the menu revealed a rather different state of affairs. I have to warn you, "Itaewon Special Tourist Zone Association", that the next few sentences may contain some bad language. So, please cover your eyes if you easily take offense.

Americano, Iced Americano, Iced Tea (peach Assame?) and Fresh Lemonade. I'd say one out of three might fit the bill, Americanos and Peach Iced Tea are usually claimed by our ex-colonial cousins.

Provence Vegetable soup and Cream of Mushroom soup. Cream of Mushroom may vaguely whiff of the Empire, but Provence? Really? Provence qualifies as British now? I know we have the European Union and all, but I feel that France might get a little miffed if I went round claiming Provence as one of the home counties.

Cookie, Scone, Waffle (with whipped cream), Ham & Cheese Croissant. One out of four. Send your waffles back to Brussels and your croissants back to Paris; we'll keep the scones, but cookies? Fuck off or give me biscuits!

Cup and Bowl ran this "British Stall" and the staff member on duty even admitted that they had been assigned the nationality without good reason. Why put the British stamp on something so obviously not from the UK? Don't put a nation's flag where it doesn't belong. Don't try passing off some rather dodgy looking croissants as British, give them the French flag and have done with it.

"Itaewon Special Tourist Zone Association", I really appreciate you putting on this Global Village Festival, but why not make the effort to make sure you're going to represent your countries properly.

If at a Global Village Festival in London, the Korean stall had been serving Shanghai dumplings and Osaka style Okonomiyaki, Korean visitors might have been a little bit peeved. Guess what? The same thing happens when you represent the UK with croissants and cookies.

Itaewon Global Festival

To top it all off the scones were made with figs and pecans. Pecans? Pecans? You're so much better than this "Itaewon Special Tourist Zone Association"...

I'm sorry, I've ranted a little too much. I've hurt your feelings. Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy to have a Global Village Festival here. It's a great idea to bring foreign and Korean communities together. I felt proud to be a resident of Itaewon today and I really hope that you'll keep making festivals for us.

The only thing I ask is that you take a moment to proofread your publicity, clearly advertise when and where the event may happen, and give appropriate flags to food stalls selling items that represent that country's cuisine.

I love Itaewon, I love the clash of cultures and the mix of nationalities you can meet here. I loved speaking with foreigners and Koreans on the street today and I loved the atmosphere of this event. I'll tell you one thing, "Itaewon Special Tourist Zone Association", there was one stall in particular that captured my heart...

Itaewon Global Festival

The South African tent was the star this year with their beautiful Boerewors sausages.

Itaewon Global Festival

Handmade today, these spiraling sausagey shapes of joy smelled and tasted divine. The perfect festival food served up by a bunch of friendly chaps who know how to barbecue a good banger.

Hats off to those fine fellows.

In conclusion, "Itaewon Special Tourist Zone Association", I want to thank you for the lovely afternoon out and I hope you'll put on another festival next year. Maybe give Gavin (from Gavin's Sausages) a call, I'm sure if you ask him nicely he'll show you how to make a stall feel like it's representing the UK...

Lots of love,

Paul Ajosshi

Monday, October 11, 2010

My New Favourite Song

I have fallen in love with a song. It happened quite suddenly and without warning and now I am well and truly committed to making it part of my daily life.

Please take a moment to listen (and marvel at the fantastic puppetry):

It's performed by Evelyn Evelyn a truly remarkable duo who have had some success on the cabaret circuit with the help of Amanda Palmer and Jason Webly. These inseparable sisters show great promise and I'd advise purchasing their album if you have some spare cash.

I'll leave you with a video of a live performance of Elephant Elephant. May this song bring as much happiness to you as it has to me...

Do you know Dokdo... Cookies?

Down by Jamsu bridge at the Hi Seoul Festival yesterday I noticed a small stall selling cookies.

Not just any cookies... Dokdo cookies!

Dokdo Cookies

Yes, for the small price of 3,000 won (or 5,000 won for two packs) you could show your love for Dokdo through the purchase of handmade baked goods. Who could resist?

Not me. The seller even let me take his photo...

Dokdo Cookies

Nice look! He then told me to wait so he could get a better piece of headgear.

Dokdo Cookies

So this is what a supporter of Dokdo is supposed to look like? If so, I need to join up! He seemed very keen, friendly and obviously enjoyed his job. But what about those delicious cookies?

Dokdo Cookies

Professionally packaged.

Dokdo Cookies

Tastefully designed.

Dokdo Cookies

And to top it all they taste quite nice!

Everything you need to let your guests know that you know what Dokdo is and who it belongs to. I know I'll be serving them at my next tea party... along with my Takeshima toasted sandwiches and my Liancourt rock cakes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Cider - But Not The Kind You're Thinking Of

So I may have gone a little overboard...


I'd heard rumors that the Kim's Club near Gangnam Express Terminal held a secret stock of real French cider. You know, the proper stuff, beer made with apples... fizzy alcoholic appley goodness. So I took a trip down to the wine section and there they were, those beautiful green bottles of Breton goodness.

Large bottles are 5,000 won each (with a choice of dry or sweet) and the small bottles (25cl) are four for 7,900 won (dry only). Now I just need some pork, some cream and plenty of mushrooms for a Breton/Norman apple extravaganza.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Once Begun, Without Fear

Once Begun, Without Fear

In case you didn't know (because I had no clue) today is the start of the 4th Film Festival for Women's Rights. Just a short walk from Anguk station at the Artsonje Center this small vibrant festival kicks off today and runs through to Saturday night.

Featuring home grown and international short films, documentaries and feature length flicks it's a great chance to see some interesting films that can't be seen anywhere else.

Unfortunately the website (see the blue link above) is mostly in Korean, but if you click the little alarm clock in the bottom left hand corner it will take you through to the screening schedule where the films are listed in both Korean and English. Click on the film you're interested in and it will take you to a bilingual synopsis/description.

Highlights include a screening of the beautiful animation Persepolis on Saturday at 12.30 (French with Korean subtitles, sorry no English available) and the closing film Say My Name - a look at the male dominated world of R'n'B and the female lyricists who are pursuing their passions as MCs.

There's plenty to see and quite a few of the Korean entries have English subtitles. Why not take sometime out of your schedule and go see something different...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Your New Place To Have Lunch...

There's a restaurant opposite the Wolfhound in Itaewon that I've been curious about for sometime. Whenever I've walked past Mam Ma it has always been empty, a sad little bistro with no customers. Today I decided to pluck up some courage and have lunch there.

Mam Ma Bistro

The interior feels like a cross between a log cabin and a bar, but the owner/chef is friendly enough and it turns out that until March this year she had spent the past seven years working as the chef at Gecko's Terrace/Bonji's Bistro.

I went for the lunch special: Thai style noodles for 7,000 won. A choice of chicken or beef... I chose chicken.

Mam Ma Bistro

The large dish of spicy Thai goodness was definitely worth the price. The chicken was perfectly tender, the vegetables were nicely crunchy and the chili didn't overpower this slightly sweet noodle dish too much. A filling lunchtime treat if you happen to be in the area.

Mam Ma Bistro

If you happen to be in Itaewon and have a belly that needs filling why not try out this newcomer and take advantage of some of the lowest prices for lunch in the area. Cheap eats, good service and Alley Kat beer on tap. Who could ask for more? To get to Mam Ma head down the alley directly opposite Taco Bell, Mam Ma is on the left hand side just past Jonny Dumpling. Give them a call on 02 798 5930.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Eat Pray Love

Eat first, pray and ove later HDR

Unfortunately Julia discovered too late that she should have focused more on the loving and the praying...