If you are in the Seoul area next month, feel free to drop by Gallery I to see an exhibit I’m in. The name?
Mountains (靑山別曲) 청산별곡
Gallery I is located in Insa-dong (though officially it’s Nakwon-dong; the colloquial area of Insa-dong is bigger).
You can punch these addresses into your map app of choice:
서울 종로구 낙원동 283-13
or if you’re not hangul capable:
You can also use this watercolor map I made:
Or in Korean:
Hope you can make it!
Let’s live, let us live,
Let us live in the green mountain!
Let us eat wild berries and herbs
And live in the green mountain!
Yalli yalli yallaseong yallari yalla!
-Song of the Green Mountain
I’m quite excited for this show. It’ll be my first time showing in Korea, and I’m quite happy to have such a wonderful group of artists to share the exhibit with!
The theme of this show is ‘mountains’ – based on the ‘Song of the Green Mountain’, a poem written circa 900AD by courtiers who found extreme discontent in their service. More on the exhibit later! If you’re in the Seoul are in December, please drop by!
지름길 없는 먼
신발 한 짝을
My Current working translation (Sept 21, 2013):
(trans. John Shrader)
A long way without a shortcut
The breaking dawn
A broken off and
Sliver of life
Like a yoke
worn out shoe
is dragged along
SALT is a hybrid. It’s a mini art gallery/ cafe/ restaurant. Most notable for their bibimbap, which you can get for take-away if’n you don’t feel like staying in one place.
While the art space is alright, it’s more of a minor attraction for me, though I am glad they created glass barriers that protect the artwork from food splattering and creates a mini corridor you can walk through to enjoy the pictures.
The unfortunate thing about this lovely space is that it’s in the basement (no windows) in a part of Jongno that isn’t the most attractive. Not the worst part of Jongno mind you, but not a place I would go out of my way for. Luckily it’s not far from the Chungye-cheon, so if you’re walking by, pop up for a visit.
The main dish here is the bibimbap. You can get other dishes of course, but the bibimbap is quite well done, and very fresh. They have three main kinds of bibimbap.
Spicy pork, sesame oil beef, and ‘mother’s’ bibimbap.
This is a quick, basic rice with veggies and an egg. No meat, no extras, just straight up wholesome bibimbap. And it’s cheap owing to the lack of meat.
Bibimbap I (Spicy Pork)
Served in a big bowl, the spicy pork and gochu sauce is served on the side so you can add as much or as little as you want. The greens are delish, but I found, at least when I tried it, the chef added too much of the titular salt to the pork. I’ll try it again in case it was a fluke.
Bibimbap II (sesame oil beef)
Served in the same style as Bibimbap I, this style replaces the gochu sauce with a sesame oil mixed with soy sauce. I found I prefer this dish as it has a much lighter yet filling feel to the spicy pork. Likewise, the beef isn’t over salted. It’s a delight and I would highly recommend this one!
Personally, whichever dish I choose, I find that I like to mix in the sauce or oil first and munch on the bibimbap, only adding the meat when I’m about half-way finished. Though in large part this is because if I have meat in my dish, I really like to have meat in my dish. I made a gif for you to illustrate:
SALT also serves coffee. It’s not special, nor is it bad, just standard espresso based drinks. You can also get yourself some table wine if you want to feel a little fancier.
If you’re interested in visiting SALT, you can visit their FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/CafeSalt7
Or you could actually go there:
SALT (Cafe Gallery)
종로구 종로16길 32-4 동산빌딩
o—-o—-o—-oAfter the heavens were born, Maitreya was born. He did many things to help order the world around him. But he was tired of eating uncooked rice, so he set out to find the secret of water and fire. First he caught the grasshopper and hit him on the knee three times saying, “Tell me the secret of water and fire!”
Well, the grasshopper replied, “Don’t ask me! I am simple and live by the sunshine in the day, and by the dew at night. Ask the frog. He is older than I.”
Maitreya found the frog, and having caught him, hit him on the knee three times saying, “Tell me the secret of water and fire!”
Well, the frog replied, “Don’t ask me! I am simple and live by the sunshine in the day and by the dew at night. Ask the mouse. She is older than I.”
So Maitreya found the mouse, and having caught her, hit her on the knee three times saying, “Tell me the secret of water and fire!”
The mouse asked, “What will you give me if I tell you?”
Maitreya told the mouse, “If you tell me the secret of water and fire, I will give you all the chests of uncooked rice and I will eat the cooked rice.”
The mouse agreed and told Maitreya, “On Mount Geumdeong there is a rock that sparks when hit with iron. That is the secret of fire. On Mount Soha water springs forth from the ground. That is the secret of water.”
Our last stop at Our Savior’s Lutheran brings us to the north face of the building and a familiar mural to anyone driving by on 33rd Street on the south end of the Augustana Campus:
Title: Faith, Hope and Love
Artist: Palmer Eide
Palmer Eide was a giant in the Sioux Falls art scene. His work tended toward the simple and tectonic, letting the simplicity and weight of the work speak for itself. We’ll be seeing more of his work as we continue the Art Tour. The idea of ‘Faith, Hope and Love’, is taken from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
The anchor is faith, which grounds our lives when life is rough.
The cross (which is also the cross bar of the anchor) is hope.
The heart is love. The greatest of the three because without it, life is meaningless.
Purple/Violet is the color of expectant waiting and preparation. Used in Lent and Advent, it is associated with sorrow and repentance as we anticipate the joys of Easter and Christmas.
White is the color of purity and joy. Used for Christmas and Easter, it represents God being with us in joy and love.
Red is the color of passion and suffering, courage and sacrifice. Used during Pentecost, Holy Week and for celebration of thy martyrs, we hope our hearts burn with passion and courage to do what is right.
Black is the color of death and dying. Ironically it also represents life through death. It is used on Good Friday, All Saint’s Day and funerals.
Green is the color of life and growing. It is the color of the harmony of community and living together. It is used on ‘regular’ sundays as we grow together and break bread.
A Deeper Look
The traditional meanings are great and all, but this mural is across the street from my alma mater and I’m going to put my own meanings to the images and ideas.
Purple is the time of anticipation and preparation. In one sense, this can be the entire time at college as we prepare for and anticipate our future selves and communities. Some of us have specific goals, many of us don’t, but regardless this is a time of questioning what we really want to do and who we really want to be. In another sense it is the time before a big exam, the long nights typing papers and preparing presentations. For me, the nights dancing with brushes in the studio while listening to Beethoven and Yellow Card. The preparation is long, the anticipation aching, but the struggle is what makes our little victories sweeter.
White is the time of joy and completion. It is partying with friends after a difficult test, it is the words of encouragement and approval written on your thesis. It is the elation of graduation and emerging victorious after the trials. We celebrate together because we succeed together. We share our joy.
But we also share our sorrow. Black is the time of failure and death. It is our lowest points when our hard work seems wasted. When a friend or loved one dies and we can’t get up to go to class or work. When our nation mourns. Black is do or die in a cold world that doesn’t care. It is the people who will mourn with us and let us cry on their shoulders. Black is the time we overcome to make ourselves stronger and learn who we are and how we fit in. Black is for remembering those who went before us, whose shoulders we stand on, whose presence will be missed.
Red is the struggle for our passion and finding the courage to do what needs to be done. It is the long hours in stage design to get it ready for the performance, it is volunteering at the Ronald McDonald house. It’s helping others with their projects late at night before you get to work on your own. It’s sacrificing your time and energy for ideas bigger than yourself.
Green is growth and growing into the people we are. It’s us in the vast community, not just of our little garden at Augustana, but in the wild forest that is the world. It’s breaking bread with friends and profs, it’s walking to class and stopping to chat with a friend going the other way. Green is the life that we make.
The Anchor is faith. But not in the dogmatic sense, but in the colloquial sense of our faith in others. It’s about community, friends and family. We give each other an anchoring and a place to belong.
The Cross is hope. Hope that the sacrifices we make, great or small, are not in vain. Hope that we’ll be brave enough to face a demon-haunted world to make it better, not for just for us, but for all who come after us. It’s hope that others continue after we pass on.
The Heart is love. Faith, Hope and Love abide, but the greatest of these is love.
Gilbert Science Center!
The Chancel Ascension Mural can be found at:
Our Saviors Lutheran Church
909 W. 33rd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
The summer heat is slowly dying and Saturday explorations are becoming viable again. Jihye and I have plans for the evening, but lunch is a good start. So after a morning of selling myself for fun and profit, we venture out on a beautiful Saturday to find food. After some discussion we decide to waltz over to…
Salt is a lovely little café restaurant that serves a mean bibimbap. It’s a lovely little space tucked away in Jongno with a gallery and fresh food. A full review will probably appear eventually, but no promises.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they are not serving food when we arrive there.
I hope you noticed I added a caption to an already captioned animated gif. Anyway, it’s possible they don’t serve food on Saturdays, which is unfortunate because that is when we visited.
I’ll still recommend the place and I’ll probably do a proper review of the place eventually. You can find it here:
But we are still without food, so we decide to venture to Samcheong-dong. For my dear readers not in the Seoul area, Samcheong-dong is a fairly upscale district, with most buildings no more than two or three stories tall. It is a wonderfully up-kept place with both modern and traditional architecture, along with a more interesting variety of food than your average Seoul district. The day is getting hotter and to get to Samcheong-dong, we must walk through…
Insa-dong is a happy mixture of art and touristy merchants. And occasionally they have live performances. Today we happened across one of those performances.
Not a performance so much as posing…
The temperature in the sun is uncomfortable, but these guys are able to just stand here! They’re demonstrating how throws look in a live freeze-frame. I’m actually not sure which martial art they’re replicating, but it was pretty cool to see.
They’re all wearing the famous Yangban mask from one of the traditional mask dances that have thus far eluded me. Interestingly enough, I find they evoke both old culture, but also anonymity and rebellion, much like the Guy Fawkes mask. If you want to see a good usage of the latter, I highly recommend checking out Yangbantal – a group that visits old abandoned or dangerous areas wearing these masks. Fun!
After the performers pack up, we continue north to Samcheong-dong. We wander around until we decide on…
Hit the Spot
Hit the Spot is visually fun and cozy. The food is also quite fun! We shared the Mushroom Salad…
and the Shrimp Pane Pasta!
Gotta love bread bowls to sop up the delicious, delicious cream sauce. We’ll be coming back here to try their other dishes, but these definitely hit the spot!
Hit the Spot is across the street from the new Museum of Modern Art being constructed. I’m über excited about that!
If’n you want to find the place, you can find it here:
Hit the Spot
After a satiating dinner, we decide to hit the cafe next door and read. Just spending time together until it’s time to head to Jamsil to see…
Penguins Penguins Penguins!
Oh, right, I guess we have something else on our agenda. What was it again? Oh, right!
At the Charlotte Theater, Jamsil. No Penguins though.
For those of you who don’t know, Avenue Q is basically… Sesame Street for adults. And adult topics. It’s the origin of the following song:
Oh, and probably NSFW.
Of course the theatre was properly decked out, including the urinals in the men’s bathroom.
This is a fun one. Some Koreans have a… hard time coming close enough to the urinals, so this one plays on their potential shame… roughly translated it says “If you don’t come closer, I will tell everyone what you saw tonight.”
And of course Trekkie Monster is a perv so… “I like seeing your ‘thing’ more than porn!”
Thanks Trekkie Monster. You saved the day.
The Korean version has been modified slightly, so many references were switched to famous Korean figures. For instance, ‘George Bush’ in the song For Now was switched to ‘Kim Jeong Un’. Speaking of For Now…
The closing number, For Now, is reminiscent of Ecclesiastes 3 – to everything a season, and, at least for me, evokes the same existential sadness.
Anyway, we enjoyed the show. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we’re going to see it again in two weeks time! But for now I’m finished writing. But only for now.
Two years ago there was a fun, intelligent song called “Someone I Used to Know” by the group Gotye. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it. It’s great.
I particularly enjoy the fact that we hear two sides of this emotional train wreck. But I’m not going to review this song, you should just enjoy it.
Because the song was great and the music video unique, well, it became an easy targets for parodies. I love parodies mind you, I’m not here to complain about a parody being made. Nah, I’m here to complain that the makers of one parody didn’t try hard enough.
So now, for your delectation, I present “The Star Wars That I Used To Know”
First I will say it was really well made. They did a good job. Did you watch it yet? If you haven’t, watch it first, if you have, but haven’t seen it in a while, watch it again.
My problem is they didn’t even try to utilise the best part of the original song – the two sides. In the original we have two sides, and we can empathise with both! In the Star Wars version its basically the fans/Anakin asking why they don’t matter with Lucas telling them where to shove it. There isn’t any empathy for Lucas. Personally I don’t care if you don’t think he deserves any empathy, the song requires it to work properly. A perfectly good opportunity wasted for pure Lucas bashing.
But don’t get me wrong. Han shot first, Lucas really didn’t know what he was doing, etc etc. Yeah, I agree. But if the original song by Gotye tried the same thing it wouldn’t be half as good.
Some possible things the Lucas verses could have talked about:
I couldn’t make it the way I wanted
Other creators can make revisions, why must I be so restricted?
I thought you wanted more
I wanted to make more
I tried my best,
You’re too addicted to nostolgia
Wasn’t John Williams great though?
Again, you don’t have to agree with these ideas, they might be excuses for not trusting the fans, but give us *something* other than just:
“Now and then I think of all the times I screwed fans over.”
The only thing missing was Lucas laughing maniacally and rolling in money.
And no, it has nothing to do with Van Halen.
Or Seurat’s masterpiece, which you can see if you’re in Chicago. Which I’m not.
Though admittedly, both are cool and worth checking out. No, for Jihye’s b-day we had a light lunch and coffee at a little cafe called Cafe SandPark in Hongdae. They didn’t have much sand, so I’m assuming they’re referring to their wonderful sandwiches.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. So while I rethink my approach, here’s a picture of me enjoying some iced coffee.
One of the things I like about these independent coffee places is that they have actual drip coffee, which, in Seoul is something that is a bit harder to find outside of Starbucks. Most other mainstream coffee joints tend to stick to Espresso based drinks, which oddly enough means the independent coffee shops have a nice niche to fill.
As far as the joint goes, it’s quite cozy. Though from the outside while it’s a bit cute, it’s also a little brutalist for my tastes.
Though Ryan Style hair salon is opening soon! Which… means nothing to me. Reference my hair style:
But back on topic, the sandwiches were delightful, and though they’re fairly standard Korean style, they are made exceedingly fresh and our Egg Sandwich basically tasted like devilled eggs. WHICH I ADORE. Oh, and if you feel like it, you can get them on a bagel. Jihye doesn’t care for bagels, so we skipped that. As such I cannot testify to the quality of their bagels, but the rest of the ingredients were wonderful.
And I guess the sandwich came with a little jar of yogurt? Likewise the staff was friendly and kind, always a good sign!
It’s just a friendly atmosphere, and if you’re going to the Hongdae area anyway, might as well give it a look.
Cafe SandPark has a nice little website, most of which is in Korean:
I found this place through a fellow blogger, Memoirs in Seoul, on Tumbler:
If you’d like to actually visit the place, you can punch the following address into your preferred map app:
서울특별시 마포구 동교동 176-13번지
Or in today’s language of the Franks:
Seoul, Mapo-gu, Donggyo-dong 176-13
It’s also literally just across the street from a brand new exit 5 of Hongik University station (on the green line, line 5).
(Quick hint, Google maps is, as of this writing, actually a bit out of date. I’d recommend Naver Maps for a more accurate street layout.)
Want the guilt of eating fried street food with the convenience of an actual restaurant? As an added bonus lets say this mystical dream eatery only used fresh ingredients and doesn’t reuse their cooking oil the next day. Well, if you’re willing to make it out to Eunpyeong-gu (은평구) in the north-west part of Seoul, then one such place does exist! But make sure you get there early enough! Once they’ve used up their veggies for the day they won’t be prepping any more. Welcome to Yoyomi!
Unfortunately that’s exactly what happened the first time our intrepid gang tried for this joint. Evidently by five in the afternoon they’re usually cleaning up shop, so we had to settle for the samgyeopsal restaurant across the alley.
Undaunted, we decided to return, and we’re glad we did!
Yoyomi opens around noon, and technically close around 10pm, but they’ll close shop once they’re sold out for the day, so no promises. On the plus side, there is a wide variety of fried food here, but if you get the Modum Set (pronounced Mo’ Doom), literally the everything set, or more doom if you’re eating alone, you’ll get the works. That’s what we got, plus some beer!
The Modum set includes 4 fried shrimp, 2 fried kim rolls, 2 fried cuttlefish, 2 fried sweet potato slices, 2 fried chopped veggies, and 4 fried potatoes (read wedge fries). The deokbokki is soupy and not spectacular, but it does the job. It’s quite delicious to dip your fried foods in the spicy soup. Wash it down with some cold draft beer and it’s perfect.
Some of the items were both fun to eat AND look at. Though, not in that order. Above is the kimmari or fried kim roll. It’s actually glass noodles rolled up in dried seaweed, with the noodles all dangling out one end when they dipped and fried the sucker! It was one of my favorites.
The shrimp is fried whole. I love seeing the little shrimp legs all splayed out. It reminds me of ancient art depicting the legendary three legged bird.
Cuttlefish legs, though I usually just call ‘em squid, is by far my favorite fried food on the mean Korean streets. But I’ve never seen them fried together like this! Again, the artistic merit matches the taste of this fried cephalopod.
Come by Yoyomi with some friends and share/fight over which pieces you’ll eat. You won’t regret it. Unless, of course, you get there too late.
To get there, you can take line 6 to Yeokchon Station and head south from exit 4. If line 3 is more convenient, you could also go to Nokbeon Station and head west from that exit 4. How convenient…
The address so you can plug it into your own Google or Naver map? Here you go!
Seoul, Eunpyeong-gu, Eungam-dong 87-36
서울시 은평구 응암동 87-36
You can visit them at http://blog.naver.com/yoyomi_fry though it is all in Korean. Have fun!