Friday, March 30, 2007

days of the week

Many cars in Seoul have a color-coded sticker on their windshield that is associated with the government's "No-Driving Day" campaign to reduce pollution and traffic. In short, once a week (Monday-Friday) you should leave your car at home and take public transportation just to be nice to the environment and other people living in this bustling metropolis. Additionally, according to an announcement on the Seoul Metropolitan Government website there are some major perks involved:

At present, car owners participating in the "No-Driving Day" system receive a 5% discount on their vehicle tax, a 2.7% reduction in car insurance premiums (Meritz), and a 50% reduction in tolls for passage through the Namsan Tunnels 1 and 3.

Good stuff! Other incentives are being developed, like free public parking (starting 7/07). But you have switch to the special new electronic tag because the old paper sticker won't get you any good stuff come July. These new ones were developed so they can catch the people driving on their "No-Driving Day" with some kind of super-Korean technology (or just RFID tags). 오빠 is watching!

Of course, I love this program because it's attempting to do something about the nasty air in Seoul--even if they are kinda tricking/bribing people into doing it. But here's the funny bit, before I knew anything about this campaign I was just tickled by these stickers. For someone like myself--a non-driving, sticker-loving, lazy student of the Korean language--these stickers served a whole different purpose. Since my mind is like a sieve sometimes, I created a little game for myself. As I walk through the city I quiz myself on the days of the week in Korean. I get points, and if I do well, I take myself out for ice cream or allow myself to buy yet another a new journal with bad English on it. I mean you can never have too many of those anyway, right?

monday
MONDAY
Moon Day
월요일
ORANGE!

tuesday
TUESDAY
Fire Day
화요일
RED!

wednesday
WEDNESDAY
Water Day
소요일
BLUE!

thursday
THURSDAY
Wood Day
목요일
GREEN!

friday
FRIDAY
Gold Day
금요일
VIOLET (but it should be yellow)

There aren't stickers for the weekend, but SATURDAY is 토요일(Earth Day) and the easiest is SUNDAY, 일요일 (Sun Day).

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pizza!

Korean pizza definitely has its own distinct personality. It's entirely different from New York style thin crust or Chicago style deep dish. The concept of pizza has been tweaked, changed, and stretched to fit the Korean public in ways I've never thought were attainable by a pizza. Koreans have taken pizza to a whole new level and sometimes maybe they just shouldn't have.

There are so many reasons to love Korean pizza! I love the way Koreans say pizza. PEE-JA! I love the crazy stuff you put on the pizza, and the wild recipes the pizza joints come up with. I love how they wrap the take-out pizza boxes with ribbon like it's a gift to put under the tree. I've even had pizza in a cone! AND of course, I can't talk about pizza in the ROK without giving props to the one and only Mr. Pizza.

First of all, no pizza in Korea comes without hot sauce, Parmesan cheese and pickles on the side. Pizza and pickles never went together in my world before, but here you never see pizza without it. I think it has something to do with the amount of cheese in one sitting. Sometimes pizza also comes with a little side of garlic dipping sauce. It doesn't taste very much like garlic to me, and is far too reminiscent of the consistency of cheese whiz for my liking, but some people love this stuff. I had a coworker a couple of years ago who loved it so much that I'm pretty sure he probably ate it all by itself with a spoon when no one was watching.

There a lot of familiar pizza places in Korea including Papa Johns, Domino's (which has some crazy Star of David pizza), and Pizza Hut (which, somehow, is somewhat of an upscale dining establishment). My all time favorite here is Mr. Pizza because they proudly display that their pizza is "Made for Women." I just think this slogan is totally hilarious. No one seems to know why either. On the company's website it says that their pizza making techniques make it healthier and lower in fat. They claim to be the originator of the "Well Bing" pizza and Mr. Pizza's secret ingredient is their hands and hearts (and a bunch of cheese, tee hee). I guess these things are attractive to women. I have to wonder if saying it's pizza for women deters or attracts male customers. And get this, the 7th day of every month is "Mr. Pizza's Woman's Day." I have no idea what happens on "Woman's Day," however, I imagine it should be like what every man wishes "Ladies Night" at a bar would be like or like a sleepover party at an all girl's boarding school.

My favorite pie at Mr. Pizza is their Vegetarian or Begetarian as it reads on their Korean menu. It has: "Mushrooms, corns, onions, green peppers, red pimentos, black olives." That's right, it has corn! All pizza in Korea, in my experience, has corn on it. Some other interesting toppings include potatoes, sweet potatoes, sweet potato mousse, cream cheese mousse, pumpkin mousse, "fruit cockstails" (whatever that may be), and almond slices.

Their menu boasts a collection of bizarre pizzas. Listed from least to most ridiculous:

Potato Gold
Our most popular pizza. It is upgraded potato pizza added sweet potato mousse, cheddar cheese nacho chips and sour cream. Well-being premium pizza with rich taste.

Free Ta
Go ahead! you be the chef!
Enjoy your pizza! Enjoy your toppings!
You decide which toppings to enjoy with your thin crust pizza. Choose from beef, shrimp, chicken breast and vegetables to create your own fajita pizza. It's fun! It's wholesome! It's Free Ta!

Grand Prix(shrimp+potato)
surprising combination of European cookies and pizza!
Sprinkling the crust rings with sunflower seeds,
pumpkin seeds, and raisons, this one-of-a kind pizza which tastes like European soft cookies, will have you craving for more! And that's not all. With Grandprix, you can have our two best toppings, shrimp and potato, on one crust. And when you're done, dip the rest of the crust into our irresistible blueberry sauce for dessert!

This post doesn't exhaust all the things that could be said about Korean pizza. OH NO! This is just the crust, and who knows what the future may hold for pizza in this country.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

bad hand
My clicky/pointing finger, my texting/send button thumb, and my right wrist are experiencing some technical difficulties. My new acupuncturist has told me not to use my right hand for the next two weeks ("No use!"), so I have to put the knitting down for a while and do my best to become ambidextrous to prevent future injuries. Poo.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Shopping in Namdeamun

I went to Namdeamun searching for a hamper. I didn't find a hamper, but did I find my new favorite Korean cross-dresser.

Namdaemun Market Style

He screamed out to me, "Hello! Welcome to Korea. Nice to meet you." Then he went on selling items from the pile of clothing at his feet. His getup was actually working. In addition to the large crowd just watching his street performance, there was a large group of women frantically digging through a heap of tacky clothing like it was filled with designer labels--which it wasn't! I think my favorite part about his outfit was the fact that he was wearing a red bra as a hat.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tahl

Tahl
This lovely lady owns like a bunch of my nipples. Here's Tahl with her green merino nipple named... come to think of it, I don't think she named it, but look how she works that nipple!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Once upon a time...

I lived in New York City. Now that I'm "all grown up," those days, back in 2004, seem like ancient history. Moreover, going out for a night on the town now seems so tame in comparison. It's hard to believe that my nights out used to include activities such as putting eyeliner on boys, pre-party whippings, or end of the night photoshoots doing street poses on trashed furniture.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

oneself


Seoul was privy to quite a treat this weekend. Oneself, a hip-hop trio unlike I've ever seen before, took the stage of Cargo and really put on a show. It seemed that everyone was there, and everyone had an amazing time. I loved every moment of their performance, and I danced, danced, danced, like it was meant to be a workout.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

golden nipple magnets

fridge

Hommus/Hommos/Homous **UPDATE**

homous

Judo's been making lots of hummus. Last night he made the best hummus/hommos/homous in town. Now I'm completely unable to eat any other hommos.

Dialogue in the Dark

Last week I went to the Seoul Arts Center to check out Dialogue in the Dark. It turned out to be one of the best exhibitions I've ever experienced. As explained in the exhibition info:

Visitors are lead by blind guides in small groups through specially constructed darkened rooms, in which scents, sounds, wind, temperatures and textures conveys the characteristics of daily environments, for example a park, a city or a bar. In the dark, the daily routine becomes a new experience. A reversion of roles is created: sighted people are torn out of their familiar environments; blind people provide them with security and a sense of orientation transmitting a world without pictures. The impact is remarkable: "Dialog in the Dark" have been presented in the last years in 17 countries throughout Europe, Asia and America.


Our guide, Christine, was a 20-year-old student with pretty decent English speking skills. We never saw her in the light, but I imagined she was adorable. She was really sweet, and without her guidance we would have never made it through the exhibition. There was absolutely NO LIGHT.

Since I consider myself to be a very visual person, I thought this experience would be excruciatingly painful and scary, but I enjoyed identifying things with my other senses. I kept having to laugh at myself when I would find something and say "I see a..." Of course, I didn't see anything, but that's the way I've been accustomed to talking about the existence of objects.

Basically, if you have the chance to see this show, GO! It was really impressive and unlike anything I've experienced before.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

HBC livin

My new place is starting to look and feel like a real grown-up dwelling. I moved into a 3 bedroom with the boy in the HBC. For you non-Seoulites, the HBC (HeaBongCheon) is filled with foreigners, has Indigo (one of my favorite cafes in Korea), and is otherwise known as being the ghetto. YAY! My new hood is filled with fun sights.

Stay tuned for more tales from the ghetto. In the meanwhile check out the flickr photos from my most recent jaunt in North America.

Friday, March 02, 2007

100 GOLDEN NIPPLES: EDEN @ Cargo!

Thanks to ROKON and Venus I'll be doing another EDEN party. This time it's at Cargo. I hope to give out all 100 golden nipples and collect donations for the National Breast Cancer Fund and The Breast Cancer Fund.

Here's more info:

SecondFromTheSun
presents a mix of beats, art and performance by both local and
international female talent each month.

EDEN @
Club C A R G O in Hongdae


MARCH 10th
SATURDAY