The Natural Beauty of Dokdo and Ulleungdo

Probably one of the most heated arguments you can start with a Korean is over the status of Dokdo, two small islets in the East Sea that Koreans claim were annexed by Japan in 1910 and never returned following World War II. Japan still holds out that the land is theirs, calling it Takishima and instructing school students to that effect. While overwhelming proof supports Korea’s claim on the islets, one thing that cannot be disputed is the beauty to be captured by visiting these remote landmasses.



This video is something special. Not because of the subject matter, but the source of the images. While I did all the editing and scored the piece… the images and the trip were done solely by Jo. I was still in Seoul filming Paul Ajosshi’s Neck of the Woods. This video is also marks the launch of JohanneMiller.com – Jo’s new photo blog. It’s been something I’ve been encouraging her to do for a long time. She’s the eye behind most of the pictures you see here and on my articles for The Korea Blog.

I hope you’re surf on over to her site and welcome her to the Internet and subscribe to her RSS feed. You will not believe the photos she will be posting this year. She is by far the most talented photographer I know… granted I am a little biased.

Our Korean Officetell

It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is quickly approaching. With that, it also marks the 6th full month Jo and I have lived in our new officetel. When we acquired the keys back in July, pictures and videos of the new digs were some of the most requested threads on Facebook and Twitter. I vowed to honor those requests… but never imagined that it would take this long to finally getting around to filming the video introduction of our new place. So without further ado…



I can’t believe how many times I said special in this video. I went back and watched it.. five times! But that’s because our apartment is special. In our officetel, there are only 6 units like ours. As a result, they are in high demand and when one goes vacant, it is instantly snatched up.

Unlike the other places Jo and I have stayed, this unit is quite large at 27 평 (just under 1000 sqft.) It has two rooms and a loft, making it ideal. We use the smaller room for our office. It’s here that all my editing takes place. I also shoot a lot of the Vlogs here. Jo does all her photo editing here, too. We have all of our travel books and resources directly behind us, so with a quick swivel of the office chairs, we can easily grab what we need off the shelf.

The main room is about the same size as our last officetel (and it should be since we’re in the same building). What’s different this time is the built-in dining table. We usually don’t eat at that table, but use it for food prep. One of the purchases we made this year was a table-top grill. This enables us to cook three things at once. We also installed a water purifier, something that was incredibly help for us (we drink water like fishes). To enjoy films and television, Jo and I brought up the red sofabed/couch from the previous apartment and got a new one as well. Both are set out and ready for us to enjoy tasty bits of entertainment on the included flat screen unit.

The upstairs is the same as before. The loft is very low… but it doesn’t need to be taller than it is. For a bed, Jo and I opted for a 7cm foam pad. Since winter is upon us, we recently purchased a small heating pad. That thing is awesome! It warms the entire bed and makes everything toasty warm. Much better than an electric blanket.

For the past several months, we’ve been watching the officetel next to us grow… and they’re just about finished with it. Soon, construction will begin on another. More cranes coming!

So there you have it! Our living space! We really love this little love nest.

What’s your most favorite thing about your home or apartment?

Thursday Video Round-up

This week has been a fun week on the Tubes! First of all, two videos that I show this past summer have finally been released. When Jo and I were in the DC area, we stopped by the Trailer Park Test Kitchen to cook once more with Jolene Sugarbaker, the Trailer Park Queen.

Here’s the first video, featuring Jo!



Jo opted not to participate in the second filming session, but it was also a fun one!



Finally, I got a lot of requests for information on my GoPro Camera and how I used it for the Bungee Jumping video. Here’s my reply.



So there you have it! Thanks again for all your support and keep those questions coming! I love answering them!

Leap of Faith

Sure, I’ve jumped out of a plane from 14,000 feet, but for some reason, I never really had any desire to bungee jump. I guess all those images of the cord snapping and people impaling themselves on the ground below deterred me. However, after countless seasons of watching The Amazing Race, an urge to complete this task started to build.



There are several places to bungee jump in Korea, but none more convenient than the facilities at Yuldong Park. Located roughly 20 minutes south of Gangnam via the Shinbundang Line and a taxi, it’s the perfect place to feel the exhilaration of free-fall.

The video was shot on two different days because of jump timing issues. The intro and outro were filmed with my Canon HFS11, but the jump itself was filmed with my handy GoPro attached to my hand. It was the first time I used that particular mount and I’m quite pleased with it.

Information

Web: http://cafe.naver.com/bungy24

Phone: +82-31-704-6266 (Korean), +82-31-1330 (Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese)

Address: Gyeonggi-do Seongnam-si Bundang-gu Yul-dong

Hours: 10am – 5 pm, but call ahead for current hours, as they change during the seasons. The facility is open every day; however, weekends and peak seasons are busy and only a limited number of jumps take place. First come, first serve.

Cost: W25,000 per person (ages 15-50, 40-120kg)

 

Streets With Seoul: Forever 21

On a recent trip into Seoul, Jo and I popped into the Forever 21. I thought the scene out front was full of life, so I decided to break out the camera and do a little filming.



BaRanger

One might get the impression that Koreans are “all work and no play.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Inside this tiny nation of 50 million, are some of the best gamers on the planet. But computer games aren’t the only thing that captivates those roaming the cities at night. No, that honor belongs to the 야구 사격장 or Baseball Range.

Get it?

Ba[seball] Range[r].

These storefronts are located throughout Korea and a common place for men to meet after work on their way to and from their favorite watering holes. Just what is a Baseball Range?

The best place – ever.



This particular Baseball range has been open for just over 2 years in Dongtan, but they really are all over the place. In fact, this past weekend while waiting for friends in the back alley of Gangnam, we found a new one. It was a little more expensive than our local stop, but they had a hammer punching game. essentially, you had two chances to beat the high score. If you beat the high score, you earned a free swing. When I played, the score was quite low, so on the first whack, I surpassed the needed score to slip into the first place slot. Subsequent strikes kept increasing the total power delivered to the piston… until I just couldn’t keep it up. Best W500 I spent there.

What’s your favorite way to unwind after work?

Korean Street Food: Egg Bread

The desire to eat can strike at any moment of the day. Many times, I’m out walking and my eye will catch something. Usually, I try to eat healthy and snack on rice-based products like kimbaps. However, sometimes the sweet tooth needs to be satisfied and for that I zero in on Korean Egg Bread.



Throughout Korea, it’s fairly common to see Egg Bread (계란빵 / gye-ran-bbang) served in various street stalls. In my travels I’ve come across two varieties that I like to call “innies” and “toppers.” Egg bread is made by using a mixture that is similar in taste to American pancakes. The batter is then poured into a mini loaf and baked. Then an egg is added. With the “innie” variety, the egg is placed between two loaf halves and then cooked when each half is combined. The “topper” Egg Bread type is cooked whole with the egg placed on top of the batter and allowed to cook there. I’ve found the “topper” variety to be more widely available. Nonetheless, both are tasty.

The sweet taste of the batter combined with the egg makes it a perfect treat. In Seoul, I’ve seen them sold for W1000 a piece; however, at my local subway stop they’re W700 a piece or three-for-W2,000.

When you’re out and about and have to feed that sweet tooth, what snack to you get?

The Saturday Vlog Round-Up

This past week saw a couple of vlogs that made their way onto the Tubes, Twitter, and Facebook. In case you missed them, I’m posting an aggregate here.

First up, what exactly happens to be my favorite Korean food?

A second video covered a more serious topic on the subject of motivation.



If you have a question, be sure to drop it in the comment section below, I’m always happy to make these personalized video responses.

Also, don’t forget. The Rosetta Stone contest is open through December 16th, so be sure to enter!

Rosetta Stone Sponsors the QiRanger.com Year-End Contest

December has rolled around once more, meaning that the end of the year is quickly approaching, and what better celebrate that fact than with a contest. This time, I’ve gone all out and secured an awesome sponsor: Rosetta Stone.

If you’re not familiar with Rosetta Stone, you should. They are the premiere language software learning company. I’ve used them to learn Indonesian, Tagalog, and Korean. In fact, Rosetta Stone can help you learn more than 30 languages.

The current list of languages available from Rosetta Stone.

For this contest, Rosetta Stone has agreed to give one lucky winner a Level 1 software package of their choice! That’s a $179US value! If you’re thinking about coming to Korea, you’re all set! Going to France? You’re set! Want to visit the bush in Africa? Rosetta Stone can teach you Swahili!

Entering the contest is easy; just watch this video:



So there you have it! The contest is open now through December 16th (Korean Time). Simply attach a video response to the YouTube video stating what language you’d like to learn and why. Since the YouTube system seems to be going through some issues right now, you can also upload your video to YouTube and then email the URL of your video. You can enter as many times as you’d like and for as many different languages as you’d like. Once the contest closes, I’ll use Random.org to select one entry as the winner. I’ll contact that person through the YouTube message system to notify them and ask for their personal email address. I’ll then pass that along to Rosetta Stone so they can ship your winning prize directly to you!

I hope you’re as excited as I am about this contest. I’d like to offer up a huge thank you to Rosetta Stone for sponsoring the prize. Please be sure to spread the word and video around. The more people that know about the contest and participate means that I can work with more companies in the future and get some even more amazing prizes!

While only one person can win, I wish you all the best of luck and I hope you have fun with your video responses!

Here’s something that should put a smile on your face as well!



Korean Cooking: Kimchi Jjigae (The EZ way!)

A while ago, I posted a question to the blog asking everyone if I should make a video about how I make Kimchi Jjigae. The overwhelming response was to do a video and put it up on the main channel. So here it is!



How about those mad cooking skills… or lack thereof? Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with Joe McPherson of ZenKimchi.com and asked him kindly not to laugh at my cooking video. His response was, “Come on. Anyone can make kimchi jjigae!” He’s right!

While there is certainly a great way to make it, I often don’t have a lot of time to do it up right, and opt for the easy way. This is how I put it together when I want a quick lunch.

  1. Go to the fridge and open up 160-200g of store bought kimchi. I tend to buy the packets that are in the foil. I do this for two reasons. First, because they are sized right for my stew. Second, they trap the kimchi smell and it doesn’t spread all over the place.
  2. After dumping the kimchi into a pot, fill the packet (or packets) with water and add to the pot (I use a 1:1 ratio for kimchi package and water).
  3. Next add 200g of spicy tuna. I sometimes use regular tuna or chicken.
  4. Add chili paste to bring it to your spice level. The store bought kimchi is not spicy at all.
  5. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and then you’re done.

That’s it. An amazing and easy way to prepare boiling hot Kimchi Jjigae.

How do you do it?