Trek to the North

At least once, sometimes, twice a year we are required (okay, kinda forced) to take business trips for work. This pretty much involves us going to different language institutes in Korea to see how they operate. On the way we stop at various sights, temples and such, and eat different kinds of Korean food.

I’m not really a fan of trips where every stop and every day is scheduled fully, but not a lot you can do when your supervisors are in charge. Still, I have to say that the trip we’re currently on has been pretty decent.

I mean look at the scenery I woke up to this morning.

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Nice,huh? We stayed overnight in Goseong which is pretty close to the DMZ. It’s something like 5-10 km away. On our way here we also made a stop at 2 houses of some rather famous men: Rhee Syng-man and Kim Il Sung (as in Kim Jong Il’s dad… *that* guy).

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This home was originally built by a German architect for missionaries, but Kim Il Sung decided he liked it, so he took it. It became his summer home. There’s even a picture of little Kim Jung Il sitting on the steps outside. There isn’t much inside. It pretty much contains information and the area and the Korean War. This house is small, but it has a nice view.

Next we hit up the 1st president’s house. Also a summer house, it only has 3 rooms: a bedroom, office, and family room.

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The former president’s office.

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Figures of the president and his wife (who was Austrian, I might add).

Now, I realize these weren’t exactly great men. One was a dictator, the other an authoritarian who ended up in exile. But history can be fascinating and it’s interesting to see how these people lived.

As for other parts of this trip, I’ve been fairly pleased. Sometimes, for me, Korean food can be hit-and-miss. I’ve been satisfied this trip though (Sorry I am lacking photos for all the food). Thus far we’ve had tofu, cold buckwheat noodles, sashimi, and spicy soup. One of my supervisors was also kind enough to buy us chicken on occasion as well.

The language institutes we visited were interesting in their own ways. They’re a completely different set-up compared to our work, which makes me question the point of these trips, but whatever. It is nice to get out of the office once in awhile. We have 4 camps in a row coming up, so we’re going to be quite busy.

I’ll have to remember these cool ocean breezes for upcoming humidity and monsoon season that is supposed to be coming. Oh boy!

Bounce! Bounce!

Well, I did somewhat promise photos from the JJ Project fan sign that I went to, so here I am.

In terms of getting in, it’s like I wrote in the previous post: Buy a CD, get into a lotto, if they pick your name you show up with your CD at the event. I didn’t really doubt that Michelle and I would get in. Daejeon is big, but not that big.

We showed up at the outdoor site in which JR and JB were on stage, and the fans were sitting in lawn chairs. I got there late because of work, so I was at the end of the line. The whole thing is pretty efficient. They let you up row by row, and everyone waits for their turn. You don’t get tons of time to talk – maybe 2-3 minutes tops. You can give gifts, but members don’t usually get time to look at it right away for more than a glance. The event staff whisked all gifts and put them into boxes.

It was my first fan sign, so I was somewhat nervous. My Korean is okay, but I get shy when I have to speak. It was fine though, and the boys tried to speak English as well.

I wish I had been a little closer so I could’ve gotten better photos, but it was still good. I guess the secret is to show up early so I can get a closer seat.

Dalmatian fan sign

Last month my friend Michelle and I went to our first fan signs. There were actually 3 in one week here in Daejeon: Teen Top, JJ Project, and Dalmatian. I have a few photos from the previous two (which I suppose I ought to have posted first πŸ˜› ).

The process of getting into the fan sign was fairly easy. I found that one of the local CD shops had an online notice board where they post events like these. Up to 2 days before the actually sign you can buy a CD with a chance to attend. It’s usually lottery based though for Dalmatian they just gave us a ticket the day we bought the CD. For JJ Project they posted the winning names online. I imagine in a bigger city like Seoul it gets harder to go to these things because a lot of the fanbase is there. So far, in Daejeon, we got in easily.

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Fans waiting to see Dalmatian

We showed up at the specified time with our CDs and tickets in hand. A staff member comes around to make sure you have both.

From there on it’s just a lot of standing, looking at the group, taking photos, and listening to the squeals of fangirls (though we did see 2 boys there at the end).

I was slightly less nervous than when we went to JJ Project. Probably because I knew 2 members – Daniel and Simon – could speak English. I didn’t say a lot to Inati, but maybe that’s ‘cuz he was the first person I talked to. Jeesu asked if I had eaten – “λ°₯을 λ¨Ήμ—ˆμ–΄μš”?” – which is sort of a standard thing to ask a person haha. I was more at ease with Daniel, who was real sweet. When I mentioned I was from Wisconsin he told me Simon had a few friends there which gave me something to talk about. Youngwon didn’t say a lot but he was pretty cute. He wrote “OMG! WOW!” on my CD haha. Simon was also real nice and wrote “I like Wisconsin” in Korean on my CD. πŸ™‚

I like the way this one was set-up compared to JJ Project which was outside. The fan sign being in the shop allowed everyone to take decent pictures without smothering the boys. The outside sign had the groups on a stage and fans down in chairs which felt just a touch far (not that far, but couldn’t get great pictures there).

I was also very pleased with the way all the fans & Dalmates acted. Everyone stayed in line and acted appropriately. Yeah, some followed the van as it was leaving, but there wasn’t any pushing or anything, as far as I saw, and everyone listened to the store staff pretty well.

I’ll be happy to keep supporting Dalmatian in the future. I like the last single and all the guys were very kind. I really enjoyed the fan sign.Β λ‹¬λ§ˆμ‹œμ•ˆ ν™”μ΄νŒ…!

(Some of the better pics I took. Hope you like ’em!)

Please don’t steal or re-post without permission. (Or at the very least credit me as the source :P)