10th Chin Chin Star Festival

Last Saturday the Chin Chin Star Festival hosted by CMB was held in Daejeon. Thanks to my friend and dedicated U-KISS fan – a.k.a. Kiss Mes – Rebecca (check out her blog A Blog Abroad in the sidebar) I found out about this event. How lucky am I! It was held right by City Hall, so it’s really close to my place.

It was supposed to start at 7 PM, but my friend Ray and I rolled up around 5 because I knew if idols were performing then surely the place would fill up. We didn’t really know if we needed a ticket, so we wandered around for a little trying to figure it out. We walked up to a girl who we assumed was staff and tried to convey what we wanted. Turns out she spoke excellent English with no accent (honestly that kind of thing is a surprise). She told us it was free, so we got pretty decent seats not too far from the front.

The Chin Chin Star Festival isn’t just a chance for idols to perform, but it’s also a competition for singers/performers who dream of making it big. All of the singers were amazing, and it turns out the girl who helped us was one of them! Not only was she a great singer, but she’s only 14! O.o I was kind of shocked.

Between competitors we got to see famous groups like: Boohwal, Koyote, No Brain, Sunny Hill, Sistar, IU, and U-KISS. It was really cool seeing all of these people live.  I had a great time watching everyone – famous or not. 🙂

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My 1st Chuseok

Everyone loves a couple days off work, and celebrating a new (to me) holiday certainly adds interest to those days. Last week I got to celebrate Chuseok (추석), the Korean Thanksgiving. A time to celebrate the harvest, most people travel to their hometowns to be with their families. Like many foreigners, I didn’t have a family of my own to travel too; however, I do have some very kind friends who let me celebrate with them. 🙂

Monday a group consisting of me and a few other foreign friends went to Joey’s home, and ate a delicious meal cooked by his mother and sister.

nom nom nom!

Oh yes, that is bacon-wrapped tofu you see. And it was wonderful ~

Tuesday even more of us gathered to make songpyeon (송편) – small rice cakes with sweet fillings such as sesame seeds and sugar. It took a few tries before I got that hang of it, but even if they don’t turn out pretty they sure taste good!

Mrs. Park showing us how it’s done. She’s an expert ^^

Form the dough into little pot shapes and put in the filling.

Make sure you knead the dough well.  Mrs. Park said the secret to mixing the dough is use hot water.

I was feeling artsy, so I made mine into hearts, a star, and Snoopy ^^

After forming the songpyeon, they were steamed with pine needles. Around 10 minutes later we had delicious little cakes to eat.

Overall it was a nice holiday. I got to sleep and eat quite a bit of food. Plus the best part was being with lots of friends. It’s not very much fun spending holidays alone so far from home, even if it’s not a holiday I originally celebrated. I’m really lucky to have such good friends to care for me — and, just as important, who will feed me haha.

“Dance for shabu shabu!”

Okay, so I didn’t actually dance for shabu shabu, but I sure could have. That stuff is good!

Shabu-shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ , also spelled syabu-syabu) is a Japanese variant of hot pot. The name Shabu Shabu is derived from the “swish swish” sound of cooking the meat in the pot.” [Wikipedia] It includes thinly sliced meat and vegetables and is usually served with dipping sauces.

Words can only describe so much, so maybe a video is more efficient 🙂 Enjoy!