Sunday, 28 October 2012

My friend Anne came from the East coast of the US to spend time with….ME!!!

Happy, happy times for me! Anne my friend, who has lived here at Yongsan and left for the States in April, has been staying with me since the 17th.

Picking Anne up at the airport, always the best part of getting visitors!

We had many fun outings but mainly we talked, went shopping to all the wonderful places Seoul has to offer, which you already been reading about in my previous blogs.
We went to the Air show, on the US Airbase in Osan, walked in parks and went to the Hermes museum. Celebrated the United Nations Day, had dinner parties and lack of sleep :)
The colorful world of Hermes!


It was quite a different type of museum we visited .......

The presentation of Hermes' history was fabulous and unique. Definately worthwhile a visit. Believe me the pictures don't do justice!

To visit the Osan Air Show together with Anne was a real treat. Not only did the BG (ret) Anne Macdonald pose as our escort officer, being a pilot herself, she gave us great background and input.

Wonderful Anne!

I had the luxury to invite some friends to go with me to the fabulous play called "Miso" (meaning: smile), an original Korean love story. The story line is, without speaking, a Romeo and Juliette play but....with a happy ending! 

Above: Trying out original Korean clothes before with my friends, (from left to right) Selina, Ger, Maritza, me, Ginger and Anne!
 All made posible by my friend Charles Chong!
Thank you Charles!


United Nations Day celebration was wonderfully organized, by my friend Major (sel) Jaeyeon Lee (I was so proud of her!) The presense of General Paik (Above) , who is "the George Washington" of the Republic of Korea, was an honor for everybody attending.

Nice evenings and dinners have been inspiring and fun!

 Halloween at Yongsan Base!

Preparing the candies....

"Trick or Treat"!!!

Time is flying and on Tuesday she’s flying back to Boston and leaving me with an empty feeling and house. Nevertheless I’m so very grateful she took the time and spend money to come all this way to see me!

THX! My darling friend!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

"Gangnam Style" ( 강남스타일,)......

"Gangnam Style" ( 강남스타일,) the single made by South Korean rapper Psy is since its release on July 15th, 2012 taken to the hearts of many different countries. Psy debuted as number one on the Gaon Chart, (the national record chart of South Korea) shortly after the release of the single.  

As of October 11th , 2012 (2012 -10-11)[update], the music video has been viewed over 430 million times on YouTube, and is the site's most watched K-pop video.

If you haven’t seen it, here you can take a look at it J

"Gangnam Style" has been highly praised for its catchy beat and Psy's humorous dance moves in the music video and live performances. On September 17th, the song was nominated for Best Video at the upcoming 2012MTV Europe Music Awards to be held in Frankfurt, Germany. On September 20, 2012, "Gangnam Style" was recognized by Guiness World Records as the most "liked" video in YouTube history.

Gangnam Style?

But what is Gangnam actually?

Gangnam (강남; 江南 , literally means "South of the River"), officially the Gangnam-gu (강남구; 江南區) is one of the 25 gu (local government districts) which make up the city of Seoul. As of the 2010 census, Gangnam had a population of 527,641, making it the 4th most populated district in Seoul. Gangnam is the third most expansive district in Seoul with an area of 39.5 km2.

Until the early 1980's Gangnam and its neighboring areas had remained the least developed in Seoul, but a prodigious development over the last 30 years has earned it a reputation of being the most affluent, dynamic, and influential area in both Seoul and South Korea as a whole.

Gangnam station


Gangnam commercial
Gangnam Anja

My friend Anne, getting a taste of  "Gangnam Style"
Looking back .....

Monday, 8 October 2012

A sunny Sunday morning at Seoul National Cemetery!

Yesterday Anders and I finally visited The Seoul National Cemetery. The cemetery is located only one metro station from Yongsan Base in Dongjak.
We chose the day well for the weather was absolutely fabulous and they area beautiful and peaceful.

The Seoul National Cemetery was established by presidential decree of Syngman Rhee in 1956, and it was at that time the country's only national cemetery. (An additional national cemetery was established in 1974, in Daejeon. Both cemeteries are overseen by the National Memorial Board).

The cemetery is reserved for Korean veterans, including those who died in the Korean Independence Movement, Korean War, and Vietnam War. Only one non-Korean person is buried there, the Canadian Francis Schofield.

While walking through this magnificent, peaceful area in the middle of the busy city of Seoul an elderly Korean man came up to us.
Mr. YEO Han Myung and I
Mr. YEO Han Myung told us that he’s since 10-years back a volunteer for the Gangnam-gu Volunteer Center. He spoke good English and said he enjoyed seeing foreigners at the National Cemetery. While walking around with us he mentioned he had a brother who fought in the Korean War, buried here. During our conversation, we learned that Mr. Yeo received a letter of appreciation for all his volunteering from the Prime Minister of Korea as well as a luncheon, with other dedicated volunteers, at the Blue House.
(The Blue House is the executive office and official residence of the South Korean head of state. The Korean name literally translates to "pavilion of blue tiles." The Blue House is in fact a complex of buildings, built largely in the traditional Korean architectural style with some modern elements.)

So here you can  follow us on our two hours walk…………………..


So many ................

On our way to the highest point of the cemetery.

On the hill we saw the graves of high ranking Korean officers.
  A spectacular view over the cemetery, Hanriver and a small part of the city.


On our way to the grave of the first President of South Korea.
The grave of President Syngman Rhee and his wife Francesca.
Syngman Rhee or Yi Seungman (Hangul: 이승만 1875 –  1965) was the first president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea as well as the first president of South Korea. His latter three-term presidency (August 1948 to April 1960) remains controversial, affected by Cold War tensions on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere.
Rhee was regarded as an anti-Communist and a strongman, and he led South Korea through the Korean War. His presidency ended in resignation following popular protests against a disputed election. He died in exile of a stroke on July 19th, 1965 in Hawaii.  A week later, his body was returned to Seoul and buried in the Seoul National Cemetery.


Thank you
Mr. YEO Han Myung for your time and engagement!

Time for reflection ........

Monday, 1 October 2012

Chuseok, a very, very long tradition on the Korean peninsula!

Chuseok (Korean 추석),
originally known as Hangawi (한가위), from archaic Korean for "the great middle (of autumn)"), is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday (all together Korea has 8 holidays…) in Korea and celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar calendar. As a celebration of the good Harvest, Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of Korean traditional food and rice wines.

Historically and according to popular belief, Chuseok originates from Gabae. Gabae started during the reign of the third king of the kingdom of Shilla (57 BC - AD 935, taking about traditions!!!), when it was a month-long weaving contest between two teams. Come the day of Gabae, the team that had woven more cloth had won and was treated to a feast by the losing team.

In modern South Korea, on Chuseok there is a mass exodus of Koreans as they return to their hometowns to pay respects to the spirits of their ancestors. When they are at their destination they perform ancestral worship rituals early in the morning, visit the tombs of their immediate ancestors to trim plants and clean the area around the tomb, and offer food, drink, and crops to their ancestors. This special weekend over 30 million Koreans “hit” the roads enabling them to celebrate Chuseok with their family, and we were among them!
Invited to Scolar Ha and his wife we enjoyed a wonderful evening in great company, wonderful food and wines in a beautiful traditional Korean house from the last century.

Join me here to enjoy our Chuseok!!!

Pink Champagne and beautiful artistic appetizers, in their garden with our colorful Hanbok dressed hosts, Scolar and Mrs. Ha !



General Johnson got the honor of striking the "piece drum" starting the dinner...........
The evenings menu and table setting.

 Ready for a joined dinner with Korean tradition in the centre...........


giving a welcome speech and..............
Time for reflection........... Sending thoughts to those who lived before us!


Ending the evening with entertainment in the traditional Korean way! 
Thank you for a wonderful Chuseok celebration!