I guess I like baseball now? Why you should go to a baseball game in Seoul

In May… oh dear, I’m writing about something that happened in May. This is off to a bad start. Well let’s turn this around, shall we? My PARENTS came to Seoul recently… er, this year. They came to have a long weekend getaway in the bustling city centre of Seoul after several months of being separated by the Pacific Ocean and a harrowing one hour time difference.

Without an itinerary or much in the way of a game plan, we somehow threw the topic of baseball into conversation. One minute we were reminiscing over our childhood pet rabbit and purchasing tickets to a baseball match the next? As a person who has neither watched a baseball game nor given much thought to its supposed existence, I was quite shocked by this ticket-purchasing event. It may (or may or not at all) help to mention that this discussion and subsequent ticket purchase occurred over a rather boozy middle eastern dinner after reuniting with my parents whom I hadn’t seen since Christmas 2018. What a time to be alive!

Back to the topic of this important blog post…

I had very low expectations of baseball because I had nothing to compare the experience to. I briefly remember my brother getting a baseball bat for Christmas once and that was about the only baseball-related event thus far in my baseball-less, sheltered life (barring High School Musical 2).  To add another life milestone into the mix, I’ve also never typed the word ‘baseball’ so many times in one day.

To, once again, cut to the chase…

The reason you should see a baseball game? match? session? in South Korea is because of the CHANTING. The two teams have a cheering section on opposite sides of the… pitch? diamond? baseball ring?… and they take turns singing just about every melody under the Korean sun until they respectfully halt when it’s the other side’s turn to sing their baseball-ised, Korean version of Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Since you been gone’ at full volume. I’ve never been so entertained/confused about sports/drunk on cheap beer/sticky with chicken fingers/excited in general about anything. If you’re in Seoul, you should go and watch some baseball and enjoy the excitement. You should DEFINITELY go if you’re a baseball fan because I’m sure you’d have a blast. Boy, I bet I really sold you on this hot travel tip. This post was so descriptive that you’re probably purchasing your tickets to Seoul as we speak and planning your entire trip around multiple baseball matches? games? I still have no idea..

My lifelong dream of seeing a beer boy finally came true. It wasn’t so much a dream as it was a disbelief that such a boy/man child could exist.

How to get there

If this was a helpful blog, I would instruct you on how to purchase tickets, arrive at a baseball stadium near you and where to buy your game snacks. This is not the case. Please do NOT mistake this website for an informative blog, this is a blog where I write about my life in South Korea and nobody reads it and I go about my life being completely fine with it. Have a fab day/week/life/wedding/meeting at work.

Happy belated birthday, Buddha! 서울에서는 석가탕신일

On a lukewarm Friday evening in May, I summoned enough brain and leg power to wander beyond my daily work route of train station to work, work back to train station, and went to Bongeunsa Temple. This miraculous venture just so happened to be around the time of Buddha’s sweet sixteen, so there were lanterns, confused tourists and colours a-plenty. How fortunate and rare that I managed to have this combination of energy, awake-ness and a desire for socialising all at the same time?

I’m currently writing this very important blog post in mid-June and have been sitting on these images and aforementioned boring story without having any clue about Buddha’s Birthday and what it means to the Korean people. After three and a half minutes of strenuous research, I now know that Buddha’s birthday is a celebration for the founder of Buddhism and is celebrated with lantern festivals and lotus flower displays all over the country. It is a long standing tradition in Korea and is a great time for the nation’s Buddhist folk to brush up on their virtues and values and other Buddhism-related jargon. The thousands of meticulously hung lanterns and lotus flowers is a way for Korean Buddhists to light up the sky from their hearts and spread love from South Korea to the rest of the world. What a nice tradition!

If you’re planning on travelling to South Korea in the April/May period within the next thousand years, make sure to mentally bookmark this auspicious occasion in your brain diary. I read that Buddha’s big b-day bash is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month in the lunar calendar. Between you and I, fellow blog reader, I could not even attempt to try and figure out when that date occurs in earth-calendar times. I trust you to figure that one out on your own. Lunar calendar are riddles that I’ll never be able to solve. Here are the pictures I snapped on my phone after a long day of wrangling 5 year old Korean children and force feeding them a vast and articulate English vocabulary. Everyday is an adventure if you want it to be. Have a great day, friends!

Photos taken on my super Korean Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro 2.58^4 Genius Tennis champion smartphone.

A week of eating in Seoul: April

Have you ever wondered what a moderately healthy, average white Australian girl eats in a week living in Seoul, South Korea? NO? You haven’t thought about that? Well. You don’t need to think about it ever again because once you’re through with THIS here post, you’ll have all of the answers you didn’t know you weren’t looking for! Actually, scratch ALL of what I just said because this is not a week’s worth of eating in Seoul. This is actually all of the food I took pictures of in April…so, let’s revise the title of this blog post… hmm how about ‘A sporadic month of some food I ate this month ft. zero rhyme or reason’. Here we go!

To kick things off, here are some picnic snacks by the Han River in Yeouido. We also ordered pizza and had no regrets because it was cherry blossom season and we were both sick.

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Salmon and rice at our local Japanese restaurant!

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Here is some homemade Jjimtak (steamed chicken), salad and kimchi!

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Here is a kimchi pancake situation with eggy tofu, pork and salad. Please excuse our dishes drying on the floor in the background.

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Naughty ramen nights with raw eggs. Don’t knock it until you fry it!

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KIMCHI

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Jo So Ko K-Drama Club – What to watch on Netflix (AU & KR)

So, you’ve heard through the Korean-grapevine that K-Dramas are all the rage. You want to get into some Korean shows or movies but you’re not quite sure where to start? Well, before you get K-razy and lose sleep to your fave Korean characters, let’s quickly discuss the terms and conditions of becoming a K-drama-watcher.

Rule #1

You can’t just “watch” a K-drama every now and then, go away, come back to it; dropping in and out as you please like its your neighbour’s lasagna night. This is less of a rule and more of a warning. K-dramas are so addictive, one simply cannot be half-heartedly committed. If you’ve succeeded otherwise, do share your tips.

Rule #2

The plot points, twists, unrequited relationships, political corruption, murder and every unrealistic aspect of a Korean drama is entirely exaggerated. People who watch K-dramas are very aware of this. If you find that you cannot be apart of the K-drama world, please do not criticise others for indulging in these fairytales. Don’t burst our K-bubbles.

Rule #3

That’s it! Now, let’s talk about where to begin. Also, I’m warning you that each time you see a character eating instant ramen, you too will want to eat instant ramen. Resist. It’s terrible for you.

Strong Woman Bong Soon

힘쎈여자 도봉순

Who is it for? Someone who appreciates a strong female lead even though because it’s a K-drama you know the strong female lead will ultimately be weakened by the love of her life, contradicting any superhuman strength she may have.

Why should I watch it? The characters are beautiful and hilarious with great chemistry. The kidnapping plot is really messed up and gives the lead character’s perfect romance a bit of balance. It can’t always be sunshine and mansions, we need a bit of a sinister hostage situation thrown in the mix to snap us back into the real world.

How long will it take me to watch? It will take over 16 hours to finish this one so buckle in and get your instant ramen ready!

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Stranger

비밀의 숲

Who is it for? Someone who loves waiting for 16 episodes to find out who is behind a string of murders. For those who are truly interested in South Korean government corruption (it’s exciting when it’s “fictitious”).

Why should I watch it? I mean, who am I to tell you what to watch. Figure this one out for yourself. It’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s also highly addictive.

How long will it take me to watch? This one is also about 16 hours long (most K-dramas have 16 episodes). You may want to eat udon and drink soju while you watch? Maybe that’s just me?

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Hello, My Twenties

청춘시대

Who is it for? Anyone who loves Korean culture and is in the age range of 16 – 25. This show is about a group of girls at a Korean university just going through the motions of Korean life but there is a weird supernatural twist thrown in there that never really amounts to anything?? Also, one of the main characters changed at the beginning of Season 2 which is kind of odd.

Why should I watch it? Because you’re still reading this blog post which means you’re obviously trying to find the perfect K-drama to spend your weekend cosying up with.

How long will it take me to watch? This is a rare K-drama that has not 1, but 2 seasons. There are 12 episodes in season 1 and 14 episodes in season 2. At 60-65 minutes per episode, you can do the math on this one…

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My Love from the Star

별에서 온 그대

Who is it for? Hopeless romantics who also have a side interest in extraterrestrial activity on Earth. This is an older drama but it’s one that you have to see if you want to consider yourself a K-drama lover. Not really, nobody cares, just live your life.

Why should I watch it? Okay, I think at this point, I’m a terrible TV reviewer and you should just try these shows for yourself. If you’re at all interested in Korean culture or the Korean language, you should consider watching some of these shows!

How long will it take me to watch? Because it has taken me so long to write and publish this blog post, I don’t think this show is available in Korea anymore on Netflix. It should take you the usual 16, 1-hour episodes amount of time to finish this bad boy.

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Romance is a Bonus Book

로맨스는 별책부록

Who is it for? Book lovers, fashion lovers, Korean culture lovers, romance lovers and cheesy/predictable storylines.

Why should I watch it? For a PLETHORA of reasons, some of which include; because it’s adorable and you’ll feel like the characters are your own friends. While I personally thought this storyline was quite weak, I really loved the characters and the tone of the show. Also, this show has about 17,000 commercials embedded within it that are trying SO hard to look natural and relevant to the plot but they can often break up the flow of the story. I would love to see an edited version of the show that just tells a story without the unnecessary Subway and Samsung ads thrown in the middle.

How long will it take me to watch? Again, 16 episodes at 1 hour each will take you approximately all of your spare time to finish this one.

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Bonus Round: Korean Movies

The Beauty Inside

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Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds

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Assassination

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How To: Visa Run in Fukuoka

If you’re a regular reader of this very important blog, you’ll know that my travelling ‘how-to’s’ are more like ‘loose suggestions’ or ‘visual prompts’ rather than informative guides. This post is no exception. In keeping with who I am as an amateur hobby blogger, I’ll keep this ‘how-to’ guide pretty visual and non-descriptive. Truth be told, when you go to a new city, you’re allowed to do whatever the fridge you want. Who am I to tell you how to spend your precious travel hours? The best way to explore any new city is with a pair of legs and/or your eyeballs.

Last week I had to spend some time in Fukuoka while I was waiting for my Korean visa to process. It was my sixth visit to Japan so I was happy to just enjoy the warm air and the Japanese language around me. Here’s what I found on my expedition, categorised in the following order: water, flora, buildings and signage.

Water

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Flora

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I took the above image because I could just picture 4 chubby little Teletubbies rolling around on the grass or the characters from ‘In the Night Garden’ doing whatever it is they do in that show. I mean, what? I don’t watch kids shows? I’m 23? Haha I just heard about these shows, in great detail, from a friend who has multiple children???

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Buildings

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Signage

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There you have it, folks, Jo So Ko’s exclusive, comprehensive ‘How-to’ guide for getting a Korean visa in Fukoka. Also, Fukuoka ramen and udon is pretty famous according to my taxi driver on the way to the airport during my final hours of the trip. I can’t tell you how great it is to get a local’s travel advice on your way to the airport. So helpful. At least I was able to practice my Japanese again. Maybe it wasn’t travel advice, maybe he was complaining about Fukuoka and I completely overestimated my language skills. Oh well. Guess I’ll never know.

Pasta, Popcorn and Korean Pancakes

I recently wrote about a hip, hop, happnin’ area of Seoul called Sharosugil. In said post, I wrote that while we were there we needed to ‘take mental notes for future date plans so we can come back every single week for the foreseeable future’. Sure enough, we went back exactly one week later for another too-adorable-for-words date. I was in a pizza/pasta or hardcore Korean set meal mood after work. I guess that’s a very vague hunger mood to be in, isn’t it? I was too afraid to rule out any tasty possibilities we may have stumbled upon so I came prepared with back-up hunger cravings.

Wandering down a small street in the university town, we saw this gorgeous little restaurant that we could have almost mistaken for an indoor plant shop and walked right past. When we sat down, we realised that it was, in fact, a risoteria and not a pasta restaurant. Never fear, according to the waitress, the chef can whip you up just about any pasta dish your hunger mood can concoct.  The name of this place is Marcus and you can click the link to find out where it is and what they sell because this Jo So Ko blog isn’t intended to be very informative or useful, it’s a hobby. I must add, the service was amazing and if Korea were a tipping country and I had a job that afforded me the luxury to be able to tip, I would have probably considered tipping them. Enjoy the pictures, the food, the neighbourhood, your life, the vibe etc.

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So, you’ve got yourself a hole in the wall? No worries, shove some corks in it! What hole?

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They should probably rename their restaurant ‘al dente AF’ because that’s exactly what this carbonara was. So good.

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Seafoody, tomatoey risotto!

Meanwhile, on the (narrow) streets of Sharosugil:

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Have you been to this area of Seoul? Which restaurants should we try next? Have the best day!

The January Newsletter

Good evening, Loyal Fan of my blog! I have decided to draw a visual, diary entry-style comic with a few of my drawings and photos from the month of January. I’m going to be doing this each month so I can have a nice little calendar of memories from ‘the year I moved to Seoul’. Who knows, maybe I’ll make them into a little zine at the end of the year? Wouldn’t that be crazy? Yes! Download the interactive PDF of my January Newsletter here and stick next to your office water cooler.

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Thank you for reading! I hope to see you next month!

Sunday Morning in Beijing or Seoul?

Here are some photographs from my Sunday morning in my neighbourhood. I loved waking up early, buying an okay-tasting coffee and walking around taking photographs. I later regretted buying the coffee because it’s not fun changing camera settings and fiddling around to pretend I know how to use a camera in the freezing cold with one hand. I live in a predominantly Chinese area so it’s confusing as to which city I am currently living in: Seoul or Beijing? It’s a great place to live for food and people watching. There’s not much point to this post, I just wanted to share some pictures. The process of walking around an area, taking photos, putting them onto my computer, editing them ever so slightly, organising them and writing silly words about them here is one I cherish dearly.

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