Thursday, 30 April 2015

Kiss of the Day Is The Photo of the Day!

If you're roaming around Samcheong-dong in the Jongno District in Seoul, you'll probably end up strolling through this alley on your way to Insa-dong; or perhaps, if you're walking from Insa-dong on your way to Samcheong-dong.

At the alley that cuts through the Deokseong Girls High School, you'll find a few street performers entertaining passers-by, and a few street art painted on the wall. 

And this one always catches everyone's eye. An old couple sharing a kiss like teenagers, as if time stood still for them. 

Whoever painted this, thanks to you, we have our photo and our kiss (!) of the day.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Myeongdong Street Food: A Tour In Pictures!

They start bringing in their carts in the afternoon. And one by one, they start preparing, frying, cooking, and finally, they're serving! 

Yes, serving everyone who wants to enjoy!

I'm talking about the food carts in Myeongdong, Seoul, where, in the middle of the main alley and in front of the cosmetic shops and clothes stores, shoppers and tourists jump from one cart to another trying to decide which of the snacks, sweets, or desserts on display they want to try.
Last year, I was in Myeongdong one early morning to meet up with friends, Joy and Miggy, before they went to hear Mass at the cathedral. Since shops were still closed, it was eerily weird to see Myeongdong so quiet and empty.

But on this afternoon, it is back to what it does most: attract thousands into its labyrinth of alleys to shop, spent, enjoy, and eat! Myeongdong isn't only about shopping for cosmetics and clothes, it's also a place to eat!

You need not remember the names of these snacks and desserts; you only need to remember how yummy they were! If you have tasted them before, I am sure you can pick the ones you enjoyed from these photos.

And for those who haven't tasted them all, you can always visit Myeongdong any afternoon, and walk up and down the alleys and pick the street food you want to try this time.

And for those who haven't yet, let these photographs give you a tour of Myeongdong's street food alley!

                       (This strawberry stall caught my eye)
        (And I got me one of the cups filled with strawberries)
             (Got my strawberries coated with chocolate!)

Friday, 24 April 2015

Photo of the Day: The Seoul Tower and Nam-san

Bathed in the afternoon sunlight and breathing the cool spring air, Nam-san (Mt. Nam) captured my attention as I was crossing a pedestrian lane in the Yongsan District in Seoul. 

With my eyes following the direction of the lanes towards the mountain with NSeoul Tower conquering its peak and with the blue skies as their background, I just had to snap a picture while I crossed. Luckily, there wasn't any colored bus or car near my perspective to ruin the composition. It was only the mountain and its tower being squeezed in by the tall buildings along the road. 

So, with the mountain and its hikers already enjoying spring, and with the sunny days ahead, this photo seems to be wishing everyone a happy weekend!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Photo of the Day: The Royal Guard of Gyeongbuk Palace

During the Joseon Dynasty, he must have guarded the gates to the royal palace with some shiny and sharp weapon ready to protect the royal family from any intruder.

But unlike his counterparts centuries ago, there is no longer any royal family to protect, nor a dynasty to serve. Today, he only has a spot to fill, a costume to wear, and a lot of tourists to entertain.

He is the royal guard at the Gyeongbuk Palace in Seoul, Korea. He stands there like a statue and oblivious to the noisy tourists who are either taking his photos, posing with him, and on a few occasions, taking selfies with him. 

Holding his yellow flag on a pole with his right hand, and a small sword on with his left, and staring afar, this stern-looking royal guard in a bright blue costume provides our photo of the day.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The 2015 K-Performance Supporters' Dinner, Dance And Dessert!

This is what I like about the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO). They know how to show their appreciation for the efforts of the bloggers, specifically those who help promote musicals, non-verbal performances and other shows in Seoul. I have been a member of this group of bloggers, the K-Performance Supporters, for a few years now, and all this time being a member, I have always enjoyed the events as well as the performances (well, most of it anyway) that I watched and wrote about. 

And speaking of bloggers, I am also a member of the Global Seoul-Mates group run by the Seoul Tourism Organization (STO), and I couldn't help but notice the glaring difference between the two tourism organizations.

I think the people running the STO can learn a lot from the KTO team. STO's programs are un-creative and lacking objectives. I have a feeling STO people are also lazy; I could not even get a decent email reply from them, and they could not even be bothered to send me the prizes they promised. And that was almost a year ago. Oh, well. Some bureaucratic mentality must have gotten into the minds of the people working at the STO, and I hope they're reading this. Ha-ha-ha!
                         (Making my own patpingsu!)
                           (My favorite shot of the night!)

The KTO teams, on the other hand, are very active and know what they are doing. And last week, to welcome the 2015 K-Performance Supporters, the KTO feted everyone to a buffet dinner at VIPS restaurant in the Jongno District in Seoul! Yes, it was a buffet!

In 2014, the 3rd K-Performance Supporters group were also welcomed at the same restaurant and had a fun time watching the Ka-Boom performance. This year, however, the bloggers watched another show, Sachoom!

I saw Sachoom about two years ago when it was still being performed at the Nakwon-dong Arcade near Insadong. This time, they're performing at the Cine Core Building in the Jongno District in Seoul. It's the same building as the show, JUMP.
             (In most performance, there's always the 
                  required audience participation section)

Sachoom is an 85-minute dance musical with about 12 dancers making up the ensemble, who engages the audience with a few genres of dance: modern jazz, bboy, tango, and a few dance steps you'd see from Dancing 9 and some K-pop performances. In between, there was mime, a slapstick comedy sketch, and of course, the required audience participation section.

                         (I was relieved she could sing.)

Although the showmanship is there, the show could do some help in the costume section and choreography. All the lead dancer/actor did was stretch his arms wide, do handstands and flash a smile. And while his female counterpart could sing a few bars, I have a feeling she wasn't exactly hired for her dancing. 

Sachoom didn't give me an obvious reason why it should be watched. It was just a few dance numbers put together with a few comedic antics squeezed in between to tickle the audience. Nothing more. But luckily for the audience, we were allowed to take pictures (without flash) during the show, and it kept me busy. Yes, all night long. Ha-ha-ha! I even featured one photo that I liked in a separate blog.

But thanks to the Korea Tourism Organization for the dinner treat that night. I truly enjoyed making my own patpingsu!  Other than the dancing, I hope my fellow 2015 K-Performance Supporters also enjoyed the dinner and dessert! 

Until the next event!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Photo of the Day: A Dance Split!

I have always liked taking action pictures. The last time I had so much fun taking action pictures was during the 2014 Asian Games while watching the sepak takraw matches. Those high kicks of the athletes flying above the net while keeping perfect balance upon landing were impressively captivating to watch.

And last weekend, as the bloggers of Korea Tourism Organization were treated to a performance of a dance musicale, Sa-choom, I was seated on the first row of the theater rearing to click my smartphone camera to capture some impressive dance moves.

That night, my smartphone camera (and a few dancers) didn't disappoint. This photo of one female dancer doing a split while touching the floor and with the spotlight zeroing on her, and complemented with the sexy silhouette of the lead performer facing towards the dancer was my favorite of the night! 

And if it's a favorite, it should be good enough to be the dance photo of the day!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Photo of the Week: The Couple on the Bridge

From afar, I thought it was a pre-nuptial photo shoot, but as I came closer, it was just the two of them doing the shoot.

As Tio, Ian and I were walking towards the Dongkuk University Station from the Jangjung Tennis Courts after playing for four hours, we chanced upon this couple on the bridge having fun taking photos of themselves. The girl was posing, while the guy was either taking her photo or setting the camera's timer.

From the far end of the bridge, making them the center of my perspective, I just had to take their photo; they were too cute to pass up. 

Unfortunately, it started to rain 30 minutes after. I hope the couple were able to take shelter somewhere. But thanks to them, we have our photo, not just for the day, but for the week! 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

My Photo of the Day: Coffee For Everyone?

In Seoul, you'll always find these mobile cafes parked on the streets. And there's one in front of the War Memorial of Korea, where I got a cup of iced dutch coffee one time I was passing through. 

But luckily that day, I wasn't the only one passing through; there was a platoon of Korean soldiers passing, or rather, marching through! I just had to snap a photo as one soldier seemed to also had a craving like mine for a nice cold iced coffee. I would have offered to buy him a cup, but I wondered if the rest of the troops would also want one! Ha-ha-ha!

So, to the soldier who would have wanted that cup of coffee, in case I bump into your platoon again, I'd buy you that cup from the Dutch Coffee mobile cafe. And thanks to your platoon, we have our coffee, er, photo of the day!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Cherry Blossom Fan of the Day: The Little Girl With A Bag

She must have been very excited to see the cherry blossoms at Namsan (Mt. Nam) in Seoul.  She was dragging her small, purple trolley bag going up along the lane full of cherry blossoms. She was all bundled up in a red jacket, too.

And she caught everyone's attention, including mine. She seemed serious to catch the cherry blossoms that she really packed up for spring.

I am sure she enjoyed the rest of the day under those cherry blossom trees with her family. And to this little girl with a bag, enjoy the rest of spring!

Friday, 10 April 2015

My Tree of the Day: Cherry Blossoms!

Well, since it's spring time, and everyone seems cheerful nowadays, I am choosing these cherry blossom trees next to our office as, well, instead of photo of the day, it's the tree of the day!

For the past week, when they seemed to have fully bloomed, they capture the attention of everyone passing by. Today, I even heard an ajumma exclaiming how pretty they were.

So, as everyone else in the building has already gone for the weekend and must be preparing to enjoy the cherry blossoms at the most popular spots in Yeouido and Namsan, I'm still stuck somewhere in the building. Ha-ha-ha! 

And if you are heading out tomorrow, too. Here's another spot where you can catch the cherry blossoms at a less crowded spot in Seoul:

As it is definitely the most popular spring bloom this weekend, it's just fair to name the cherry blossoms as the tree of the week!