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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Seollal is the Korean Lunar New Year. It’s observed by Koreans around the world, and has its roots in Buddhism. It is the first day of the Korean lunar calendar. This year, it falls on Valentine’s Day, February 14th.

This is a huge celebration for Koreans, who get a day off work, and spend time with family. They play traditional games, including flying kites, kicking hackie sacks, and play on a seesaw.

Many Koreans travel during this time to be with family and friends, so buses and subways are absolutely packed with holiday travelers. Koreans will wear the hanbok, the traditional Korean dress for both men and women. You can see Koreans wearing their hanboks around town, on the subways and in the streets.

This is a very family and filial-piety-oriented holiday, where children wish their parents a happy new year by performing a traditional bow and say kind words. They say 새해 복 많이 받으세요, which translates to “Please receive many blessings in the new year.”

A burial mound at the base of Dobongsan (도봉산)

Koreans also visit the grave mounds of their deceased relatives and pay their respects. In North America, we bury our dead, deep underground, but in Korea, they place the body on the ground and pile dirt on top, creating a large burial mound. These mounds can very often be seen high up in mountains, as well as in many rural areas.

What did I do during my Seollal break you ask? Nothing.


Alright Mike. Keep it together. Stay focused. You’re the hard-edged artistic guy, the one with the constantly stagnant stare, the one people wonder about

The thing is, the thought of me leaving Korea has me in a huge mix of emotions.

This guy is pretty sad that I'm leaving...

I talked to my boss yesterday about my situation. He said he’d get my flight booked for the first week of March. That’s like 3 weeks away. The thought of leaving has me up all night. I was up at 5:30am this morning, no chance of going back to sleep. So right now I’m running on caffeine and adrenaline.

I’m just worried about what I’m coming home to. The job market isn’t exactly sparkling in Niagara. Honestly, I know how awesome and talented I am. I am good looking. I am young. Being good looking alone puts me ahead of the rest, as sad as it is. I have a lot going for me, but I need to find a place that will let me focus my talent and energy, and the only place I’ve found where I can do that is through writing and photography.

I can’t see myself living the way I want to while doing the starving artist thing. I am coming back for my brother’s wedding in July, and if I can’t secure a decent job by then, I’ll likely come back to Korea or maybe Japan next year. I’ve already registered my WordPress domain for my Japan adventure, should they happen.

One thing I know damn well, is I’m gonna get a huge prosciutto sammich from Big Red. It was an absolute staple during my college and university years.

The next few weeks, I’m going to try and do whatever the hell I want. Maybe head back to the mountains, weather permitting. That is one thing that I will really long for… there is nothing like the kiss of a mountain peak on a cool October day.

Myeongdong is a hugely popular shopping district in Seoul. It’s the 9th most expensive shopping area in the world, in terms of rent space in cost per square meter.

There are some pretty high-end stores there, like a Tommy Hilfiger outlet, Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Lacoste, etc. It would be heaven for someone with more money than sense.

Speaking of more money than sense…

Frisbee, an Apple reseller in Myeongdong

It was pretty chilly out there, so I decided to bask in Apple’s warm glowing warming glow. It’s a typical Apple reseller layout; minimalist with a focus on the products. I really want lot of things in that store, particularly a 2TB Time Capsule. I can’t wait for the iPad to show up there. I likely won’t be able to afford one of those for a while, but it will be cool to play with one once they end up on store shelves. This store is 3 floors of Apple goodness, including a seminar room loaded with iMacs. Heaven.

Of course I took the opportunity to show off my smashed iPhone. I get a kick out of their reactions.

After the Apple store, I went home. Not much to see in Myeongdong unless you’ve got some money to spend, but a cool place to look around if you’re bored one night.