My love for the OKitchen knows no bounds. I've been there twice this month introducing various friends to its culinary delights. I present to you a rather different view of this week's meal, close up and personal...
Clam chowder topped with coriander leaves.
Pate de campagne with pickled garlic.
Very strongly smoked slices of duck.
Fettucine alfredo with home made ham and green garlic.
There are still many blooms and blossoms to look forward to this spring, but the cherry trees have had their moment in the sun. All that's left are piles of petals waiting to be blown away by yellow winds or trod into oblivion by passers-by.
And now for your viewing pleasure a short video of Mokwha Repertory Company's outdoor performance last weekend at the Seoul Namsan Traditional Theatre. Our show, Bukcheong Lion Dance, finished on Sunday, but hopefully you'll be able to catch us later this year (especially if you're headed to the Edinburgh International Festival in August)...
March was a translation month, condensing what would normally be a two month process of translating a play and creating subtitles into two weeks. At times like these I have neither the time, nor the inclination to read and so my literary endeavours suffered.
Six books in total (three of them relatively thin)...
On Deception Written by Harry Houdini Foreword by Derren Brown
A short volume of essays by Harry Houdini on deception, illusion and how he used to open handcuffs. A fascinating insight into the Victorian world of escapology, fire-eating and con artists. Great reading for anyone interested in this area of study, but probably not your average punter's cup of tea. Me, on the other hand, I love a bit of Houdini.
Tricks Of The Mind Written by Derren Brown
More magical reading with Derren Brown's first mass published book. Brown is a delight to read, his mischievous prose making light work of some heavy topics at times. He manages to teach some marvelous memory tricks and guides you down the staircase of hypnosis, while at the same time taking a moment to rant about religion and pseudo-science. A delightful read for anyone with the slightest interest in magic and the section on memory palaces contains superb advice for anyone wanting to improve their recollective skills.
The Isle Of Dogs Written by Daniel Davies
My father gave me this book on his last trip over to Korea and I'm grateful, but unsure why he bought a book about dogging. This darkly humourous cautionary tale of public primal pursuits is a slip of a book and very easy to read. There's a hint of J G Ballard's Crash about it, but it never quite tips over into more nasty territory.
Batman - Hush Written by Jeph Loeb Illustrated by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
An impulse purchase from the secondhand section of What The Book. I will now officially give up on almost all Superhero comics. I have better things to do with my time and better ways to spend my money. Where's Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore when you need them? I need some Warren Ellis or Ben Templesmith to wash the taste of Batman out of my mouth...
Meeting Mr. Kim Or How I Went To Korea And Learned To Love Kimchi Written by Jennifer Barclay
A fairly amusing travelogue of Barclay's brief sojurn in the Land of the Morning Calm back in 2000. It's fun to read about her adventures in Itaewon and her explorations to isolated temples, but it remains a fairly shallow affair. For me there was a certain sense of nostalgia as I read about her experiences in 2000 (the year I first came to Korea), a frothy, fun look at Korea.
The Will Of Nostradams Written by Ahn Dong Min Translated by Hong Ki-Chang and Han Hak-Joon
I spent a good part of the month avoiding this book. I'd pick it up, read a story, be slightly amused and greatly frustrated, and then would hide the book in my bag for another day. This motley collection of half-truths, homages and bastardizations is an interesting insight into the rather warped mind of Ahn Dong Min, who is a self proclaimed psychic healer and the first Korean science fiction author. The stories, for the most part, are unimpressive, but it is the translation which is astounding. The two writers responsible for bringing the English text to the world did not have a good grasp of this language, and we are left with a mish mash of tenses, numerous misspellings, a glut of grammatical errors and a very real sense of disappointment. An astonishing book, but in all the wrong ways. You can hear myself, the venerable Charles Montgomery and the youthful yet artistic Andy St. Louis talk about it over here (in what will hopefully a long term and highly successful venture).
That's it for March, though April holds the promise of many more books. As always, any thoughts, hints, tips and recommendations on books to read would be appreciated...
Yesterday a few bloggers met up to celebrate Nanoomi's 편집장님's birthday. We headed down to Siberia in Kyeongnidan to sample their opening day offerings.
Siberia now has two cafes, one on either side of the road heading up to the Hyatt hotel and both offer a selection of Russian beers and vodka. For their opening day celebrations (of cafe number two) they laid on a 15,000 won sample platter with a bowl of borscht, two kinds of dumplings (potato and meat), a Russian style salad and some meringue/pastry desserts.
Our Russian hosts were also kind enough to provide us with a sample of their blinis (pancakes), both savoury and sweet.
The food is... well... Russian. If you like beetroot soups and steamed dumplings then you'll probably have a great time. The food is simple and hearty and I look forward to trying some different items from their menu in the future.
The vodka flowed freely and it was a great chance to put catch up with a few bloggers/tweeters and hear some interesting tales of stealth barbecuing on the side of the Han river and of secret picnic spots in Kangwon province (only accessible by four wheeled vehicles).
If you fancy popping down to Siberia then head out of Noksapyeong station and head towards Kyeongnidan, turn right after Buddha's Belly and head up the hill. Siberia is on both the left and the right hand sides after five minutes walk. You can find them on Facebook...