Are South Korean Women of all ages Vain?

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Guaranteed Korean gals are wonderful, but they are aside of the vainest culture I have at any time viewed. And it will not end with them. The guys are just as bad. I normally crack up when I see someone wander by any reflective surface and they end to choose a glance at that 1 hair that may possibly be out of position. Or to check out to make guaranteed their make-up is just ideal. I hardly ever would have assumed that was so important to train eleven calendar year-olds, but I have been established incorrect. Any and each individual reflective surface is made use of as a mirror below, but you have to give it to their creative imagination at moments when they are attempting to see their personal reflection.

It can be also about how they dress. They dress in significant heels all over the place. I have viewed them just about each individual position I go, even climbing. They dress in them non-end with their brief skirts or shorts. They train them early also. As much focus as they put on education below, it appears to be its almost as important or much more so, to glance desirable.

Guys at the gymnasium are funny also. They are not able to training without having a mirror, or two, or three. They will check out the mirror as they are doing their physical exercise to make guaranteed they are doing it not necessarily correctly, but that they are wanting superior doing it. They will end and repair their hair in between sets. It can be very the sight.

Culture below is significantly less about who you are and what you do, than it is about what you glance like doing whatsoever it is you do. Visual appeal is every thing. Show up to be wealthy, and you are assumed hugely of, and it reaches over into the workplace. Show up to function, and you should be a great employee. It can be not about what you carry out, somewhat what it seems to be like you may possibly carry out by being later on than anyone else.

Guaranteed I know there are men and women like this all over the place, but it can be usually not the norm. Here it is. You can see the vanity walking down the avenue, likely to the grocery keep, or generally anyplace you glance. I don’t thoughts it since I know this is not where I will keep without end even though I do appreciate my time below. Moreover it is normally superior for a giggle, or two, or 10 a working day.

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What does it Feel to Live as a Moslem in South Korea?

Hello, Everyone!

I know that this topic is somehow too sensitive since it is related to a specific religion called Moslem. But, I think I need to share my-not-so-long-living-experience as a Moslem’s minority in South Korea. I am really sure that most of the Moslems who wants to study in South Korea have many doubts about living in here. Well, living in South Korea is quite fun and all of the public transportations, highways, tourist destinations are really clean and well-organized. Moreover, South Korea is a-high-tech-country which provides you a complete digital map that you can access on your smartphone. I can guarantee that you won’t get lost anywhere in this country as long as that map is in your hand.

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Well, back to the topic about living in South Korea as a Moslem, I should say that before you come here, you should at least have a small research in order to live peacefully in here. As I have mentioned in my previous articles, South Korea was once a very closed country and the 2002 Japan-South Korea World Cup was the remarkable time for this country to show up all over the world. Before 2002, there were not that many foreigners who lived here, especially Moslems. That’s why they have no idea about Moslems and things related to it. After 2002 World Cup and the influence of Hallyu (Korean Wave) which spread all over the world, people started to gain interest about South Korea. Not only the blue-eyes and white-skin people who come here, but also the people with hijab. They come to know more about Korea, to see the idols, to feel the atmosphere of Joseon, and many others.

Islam came to Korea for the first time in 1955, when Turkish army of the United Nations stationed in this country to participate in the Korean war. According to islamkorea.com, Imam Zubercoch and Abdul Rahman were the first persons who introduced Islam to Korean people. During their services, they built a hut as Masjid (mosque) to pray and spread Islamic doctrine to Korean people. In May 1974, Seoul Central Masjid and Islamic Center was opened for the first time. It also became the trigger for Moslems in Korea to open another Masjid in other cities such as Pusan Al-Fatah Masjid (1980), Kwangju Masjid (1981), Jeonju Abu Bakr Sidiq Masjid (1986), and many others. It is estimated that among 50 million population, there are 200.000 Moslems who live in this country which about 50.000 people are Korean Moslems and the rest are the migrant Moslem workers.

Based on my experience, there are at least three points about the struggle of living as Moslem in South Korea. Although I just arrived here four months ago, I have experienced a lot of things regarding my religion. Some are good, while the others are not really nice.

1.Food

The thing that I worried the most before I came here was about the food. Korean people are crazy about the pork. Almost all of their food contains pork. Even if it’s not, the whole making process are also doubtful because there are some factories which use the same machines to process pork and another food such as jam, bread, milk, and many others. That’s why if you want to buy food or groceries in the market, you have to read carefully all the ingredients which contain dweji gogi (돼지 고기). I know it will stress you out, but, we have no other choices instead of eating fish or vegetables. But if you can and have a place to cook, you can cook Halal chicken or meat by your own. Halal chicken or meat can be found in the Masjid. Of course, it will have a different price but at least, you still can eat things you like without worrying about anything.

2. Pray

Moslems pray five times a day. In countries which majority are Moslems, Masjid can be found anywhere. But in the country like South Korea, it is really hard to find Masjid to pray. Perhaps in one district, there will be only one Masjid. That is why you have to be ready to bring your Mukena and Sajadah (praying equipment) everywhere you go. You also need to be creative to find a quiet place to pray such as dressing room, corner of a room, etc. It might be not really comfortable but once again, we have no other choices other than doing your best to pray even in a very uncomfortable situation.

3. People’s Prejudice

Honestly, this is the hardest things I’ve ever felt as long as I live in this country. Most of the Korean people doesn’t know anything about Islam. The only information they have about Islam is from the media which often portrays Islam negatively. Moreover, ISIS is really aggressive in developing Islamic country in their own way and killing people who don’t agree with them. The news about ISIS which claimed that they are the real Moslem is really destroying Islam’s image as a peaceful religion all over the world. That is why many Korean people think that Moslems are bad and harmful. This also happened to me a month after I arrived here. I was waiting for a taxi with some of my friends who also wearing hijab and suddenly a-middle-aged-man greeted us. At first, he asked for simple questions such as where we came from, why we came here, where we study, and many others. But suddenly, he said to us that Islam is bad and Islam is ISIS. I really shocked that time. I didn’t know what to. I don’t even acknowledge ISIS as Islam but how can he judge my religion like that? That tore my heart apart and I once felt that I hate Korean people. But after I thought deeply, I began to understand that he didn’t know anything about Islam. He was curious about us who wearing hijab that day, but he didn’t know how to greet us in a proper way.

Not only that, I also have many experiences when people staring at me because I look ‘different’. When I took the subway with my another Moslem friend, there were many people who secretly staring at us for few minutes. At first, it felt so uncomfortable but as time went by, I am kind of enjoying their curiosity and giving my best smile whenever we suddenly stare at each other. We can’t change people prejudice instantly, but at least, we can show to them that we are not like what media portrayed about us. We love peace and we live in freedom. All we want to do is living a better life like any other religions.

Living as the minority in South Korea is not easy. You have to struggle twice harder than you should do. The image of Islam that has been portrayed by media is somehow full of negativity such as Islam is a religion which oppresses women; Islam is a religion which likes violent, or Islam is a religion which suppresses people’s freedom. People who don’t know anything about Islam will take this as a-hundred-percents correct information. They start seeing Islam as a bad religion which can harm world’s peace. In order to understand this situation, we have to think from many sides. As the minority, we have to show that the ‘real Islam’ and the ‘Islam-that-been-portrayed-negatively-by-media’ are very different. The real Islam loves peace, never suppress women’s right because of hijab, or suppress people’s freedom to enjoy the world.

Have a good day, Everyone!

Source :

http://www.islamkorea.com/english/koreahistoryislam.html

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2007/08/117_8104.html

Full of Love : Holidays for Couples and Singles in South Korea

Happy Monday, everyone!

If you watch Korea drama, what thing that you envy the most? The romantic guy who always become a hero for his girl? Or the poor girl who destined to be loved by a rich-and-handsome guy? Yes, that must be some of the common things about Korean love story in many Korean dramas. But do you know that the romantic thing we thought only happened in the drama can also happen in real life? Even this romantic things are celebrated like every month by the mostly Korean couple?

In Korea, it is so easy to identify the young people who are in love or on his/her way to find love. You can easily find a couple who walks the street by holding hands and hugging each other, even kissing in the crowd. For young people, have boyfriend/girlfriend is an incredible experience. Love brings them alive. Based on my Korean friend’s experience, having a boyfriend is like a gift that God has given to her. That’s why she always do her best to keep the relationship stronger from time to time.   Maybe it sounds cheesy, but, Korean couple likes to count the days they have been together, exchange gifts, wear same shirt (couple-T), give roses or chocolate, and many others. This happens not only at random times but also has kind of official-yet-not-written-date every month. It happens every 14th with different occasions.

Peppero everywhere! ©wanderingon.com
Peppero everywhere! ©wanderingon.com

Let’s take a look!

  1. Diary Day (January 14th)

This day, a couple exchange for blank diaries and write their resolution for a year in that diary. This diary means the new chapter of life in a brand new year. This day is not only for the couple but also for best friends, family, teachers, and many others. To celebrate this day, so many stationary stores which sell cute and unique types of diaries with various prices.

  1. Valentine’s Day (February 14th)

Usually, a man gives chocolate or roses to someone he loves on Valentine’s day. But this happens a little bit different in Korea. In this country, woman gives chocolate or roses to the one she loves on this days. It is also considered as the perfect day for a girl to confess her feelings to her crush. That is why before Valentine’s day comes, there are many discounts for chocolate or roses everywhere.

  1. White Day (March 14th)

This is the opposite day of Valentine’s day. It is man’s turn to give chocolate or roses the one he loves. This is also a perfect day to confess his feelings. No wonder, you still can see various types of chocolate or roses for this day.

  1. Black Day (April 14th)
Black day with Jjajangmyeon ©66media.tumblr.com
Black day with Jjajangmyeon ©66media.tumblr.com

Perhaps this day is the most reliable day for all of the singles in Korea. This is the day when the singles who are desperately-want-to-have-lover-but still-can’t-find-it-yet sit together and eat Jjajangmyeon together. Jjajangmyeon is a type of noodle which has black sauce as the topping. Korean people loves this dish so much and they usually eat it with Ttangsuyuk (stir-fried-pork). ‘Black’ in this day refers to the black sauce of Jjajangmyeon.

  1. Rose Day (May 14th)

This is the day when Korean people gives roses to the people they love. It is not only referred to the couple, but also for family, friends, husband, wife, and many others. It is kind of universal and the roses is considered as the symbol of love.

  1. Kiss Day (June 14th)

This day, the couple share their kisses. Even though Korean couples share kiss a lot even in public area, kissing on this day would have a different meaning for them. It is also the time for a man to confess his feeling to the one he loves. Then, they start dating after the first kiss.

  1. Silver Day (July 14th)
Rings! ©1bp.blogspot.com
Rings! ©1bp.blogspot.com

This day perhaps has kind of heavier meaning than others. In this day, the couple exchanges the silver ring and discuss the future plan or in another word, they talk about marriage. Actually, Korean couple loves to wear couple ring even if they still have no plan for marriage. But for Korean couple who wants to take their relationship to the whole new level, it would be a perfect timing.

  1. Green Day (August 14th)

This day has two meanings, one is Soju (Korean traditional liquor) day, and the other is couple takes a walk in the garden. It is considered as Soju day because Soju has a green color for its bottle. And for the couple, it is the perfect time to just take a walk in a garden or sit under the shade of the trees.

  1. Photo Day (September 14th)
Photo box ©soompi
Photo box ©soompi

Who doesn’t love to take a picture? I bet almost all people in this world love to take a picture. As I said before, Korean couple loves to take pictures for memories. Beside camera phone, Korean couple also loves to take a picture in the photo box. This day, there will be many people who queue for doing photo box.

  1. Wine Day (October 14th)

It is kind of classy and elegant day because the couple will drink wine together in the middle of a sweet dinner. The man and woman will dress up and have dinner in a sweet yet memorable place.

  1. Peppero Day (November 11th)
Peppero ©google
Peppero ©google

Actually, Peppero is just a brand for a snack with a sweet taste which made by Lotte. There is no exact story about when this started but everyone in Korea loves Peppero. If every month love is celebrated every 14th, it would be slightly different for Peppero day because Korean people celebrate it on November 11th. In this time, all people exchange Peppero to a lover, friends, best friends, family, crush, and many others. So that is why, few days before this day, there will be so many discounts and events everywhere if you buy Peppero.

  1. Movie Day (November 14th)

In this day, couple watches movie together whether in cinema or DVD room. The cinema will be full of young people. It also happens in DVD room. There will be so many couples who borrow DVD and watch it privately in DVD room.

  1. Hug Day (December 14th)
Park Hae Jin on hug event for drama 'Cheese in the Trap' ©korea portal
Park Hae Jin on Hug event for drama ‘Cheese in the Trap’ ©korea portal

The last day is Hug day. In this day, a couple shares hugs together. There are also many of the free hug events held by famous boy or girl group, actors, and actress.

There are so many days to celebrate love in Korea. Maybe it sounds cheesy and exaggerating at the same time, but, this is a new culture that lives in the life of young Koreans.

Have a good day!

Sajaseongeo: Four-Character Korean Proverbs (3)

Hello, everyone!!!

안녕하세요? (Annyeong Haseyo?)

여러분, 잘 지내고 계시죠? (Yeoreobun, jal jinaego gyesijyo?)

너무 오래 기사를 올리지 않아서 진심으로 죄성합니다. (Neomu orae gisareul olliji anaso jinsimeuro joesonghamnida)

Everyone, we are really sorry for not updating the blog last week due to some circumstances and conditions. But now, we’re back! We will give you more updates about Korean culture, society, people, and other stuffs as before!

So today, we will talk about sa-ja-seong-eo again! Who’s excited?  Hahaha, sorry…

In the previous articles, we have learned about four-character Korean proverbs together. Basically, Korean people use sajaseongeo a lot in their daily lives. They love to describe something or an act by using sa-ja-seong-eo because it only has four characters yet very deep meaning. Let’s take a look!

sajaseongeo

1. 구사일생 (gu-sa-il-saeng)

Basically, this proverb means “you almost died ten times but you are alive one more time”. It is used to express when someone was in the various dangerous situations for several times but luckily he/she can overcome it. He/she almost died several times but have a chance to be alive again. He/she is kind of person who has much of luck in life. Example :

가 : 산에서 길을 잃었었다면서요? (san-e-seo gil-eul i-rheos-seot-da-myeon-seo-yo?)

나 : 네, 산에서 길을 잃고 헤매다 쓰러져 얼어 죽을 뻔했다가 동산객이 반견해서 구사일생으로 살아났어요. (ne, san-e-seo gil-eul il-go hye-mae-da sseu-ro-jyeo eo-reo ju-geul ppeon-haet-da-ga dong-san-gaeg-i ban-gyeon-hae-seo gu-sa-il-saeng-eu-ro sa-ran-nass-eo-yo)

2. 이구동성 (i-gu-dong-song)

This proverb means “same words are shouted together by many people”. It is used to express when a group of people is cheering for something like football or badminton match, concerts, and many others. All people gather and cheering certain same words. Sometimes it feels alive and become the new strength for the player on the match or the artists in the concerts. Example :

가 : 그 분은 진정으로 나라를 생각하는 참 보기 드문 정치인이에요. 존경 받을 만해요. (Geu bun-eun jin-jeong-eu-ro na-reul saeng-gak-ha-neun cham bo-gi deu-mun jeong-chi-in-i-e-yo. Jon-gyong bad-eul man-hae-yo)

나 : 네, 사람들이 이구도성으로 칭찬하는 분이에요. (Ne, sa-ram-deul-i i-gu-do-seong-eu-ro ching-chan-ha-neun bun-i-e-yo)

3. 유비문환 (yu-bi-mun-han)

This proverb means “there is nothing to worry about when you have prepared everything earlier”. It is used to express the situation when we feel ease and have no worry about something such as assignments, reports, presentation, etc. Example :

가 : 마리 씨가 오늘 발표를 정말 잘했지? (ma-ri ssi-ga o-neul bal-pyo-reul jeong-mal jal-haet-ji?)

나 : 유비문환이야. 벌써 지난주에 발표 준비를 다 해 놓고 연습을 계속 했으니 잘할 수 밖에. (Yu-bi-mun-han-i-ya. Beol-sseo ji-nan-ju-e bal-pyo jun-bi-reul da hae-not-go yeon-seub-eul gye-seok haess-eu-ni jal-hal-su-bak-ke?

4. 부전자전 (bu-jeon-ja-jeon)

This proverb means “father’s characters, habits, and other things are inherated the way it is to the son”. It is usually used to express the same habit or characters between the father and the son. The gestures, the way the sleep or talk, the way they dress up are all the same. It is like seeing the 100% reflection of the father on the son.

가 : 앤디 씨가 의대에 가기로 했대요. (Andy ssi-ga ui-dae-e ga-gi-ro haet-dae-yo)

나 : 역시 부전자전이네요. 앤디 씨의 아버지도 뛰어난 의사세요. (Yok-si bu-jeon-ja-jeon-i-ne-yo. Andy ssi-ui a-bo-ji-do twi-eo-nan ui-sa-se-yo).

5. 자포자기 (ja-po-ja-gi)

This proverb means “failure forces you to give up”. It is usually used to express self-surrender because of something you can’t achieve in life. In other words, it means to give up on things you do. It contains negative meaning so people who say or hear this proverb have kind of sand feeling. Example :

가 : 어제 시험 공부 많이 했어? (Eo-je si-heom gong-bu ma-ni haess-o?)

나 : 아니, 공부하다가 그냥 자 버렸어. 나 지금 완전히 자포자기 상태야. 장학금이고 뭐고 이제 다 틀렸어. (A-ni, gong-bu-ha-da-ga geu-nyang ja-bo-ryeos-so. Na ji-geum wan-jeon-hi ja-po-ja-gi sang-tae-ya. Jang-hak-geum-i-go mwo-go i-je da -teul-lyeos-so).

Yeeaay! There are tons of sajaseongeo in the Korean language. Stay tune for the more updates! Oh, let’s share on the comment section below if you have another sajaseongeo so we all can learn together!

Have a nice day!

Ojirab : The Endless Curiosity of Korean Society

Have you ever felt like someone is staring at you intensely because of something you wear?

Have you ever felt like someone is talking you back with a language that you can’t even understand?

Have you ever been approached and scolded by an old lady because you bring a-3-months baby under the light of the sun?

Have you ever been rebuked by someone you don’t even know?

The questions above are not just questions that we ask for fun. Believe it or not, the situations in those questions happened often in Korean society. Please don’t be surprised if suddenly someone approaches you on the street just to ask your identity. Or don’t feel weird if suddenly someone you don’t know at all looking at you from head to toe because of your different looks. So what is this all about? What is the relation with Korean society? This week, Hagamu will bring you an article about Ojirab : The Endless Curiosity of Korean Society. So what is Ojirab? Let’s take a look!

As we know, from the very long time ago, Korea was a closed-country and only acknowledged China and Japan for its international relations’ purpose. The concept of Hermit Kingdom in life made Korea only understood that people who lived on this earth (that time) were just the white-and-fair-skin, small eyes, and black hair. So that’s why it was weird when they saw people with a different look from them. It was not only in the past but also in this era, too. Some of the stares are indicating that they curious about the differences. The curiosity is not limited only by staring intensely, but also approaching that ‘suspicious’ one and ask directly even though they don’t know each other. This phenomenon is called ‘Ojirab‘ in Korean language. It means that interfere something/someone for nothing intensely.

Ojirab has become a problem in Korean society. Their endless curiosity towards others is really severe and somehow interfering other’s business. It does not only happen for foreigners, but also Koreans who look different. There is a case when a friend who has skin problem must avoid society because everyone will stare on her skins and ask what happen. It happened in various places such as subway, bus, and other public places. They asked why her skins become like that, have she met the doctor, have she eaten her medicine, etc. Perhaps they just want to know and have pity on her because she is not in good condition as others. But the way people stare and treat her somehow make her feel like an outcast of the society. I once asked her how it felt to be around this curious society, she said that it’s not comfortable at all because she must answer questions from all people who met her, not only once, but many times. She also has to cover all over her body just to shut people’s mouth down. She really wanted to live freely without any intense stares or questions about her skins. It’s better to live individually rather than with people who always disturb other’s business.

To see what it is like to become others’ attention because you were born different, let’s take a look at this video (cr. KBS World Youtube Channel),

It is also common when Korean people hang out together and suddenly one of them comment to other like, “I think you get fatter these days, you should work out more!”, “Wow, what happen to your skin? Why it becomes darker? You should put lotion”. Other comments are like, “Why you don’t have a boyfriend? Is it because you are ugly?”, “When will you get married?”, “When will you have your kids? Your daughter? Your son?”

People is questioning about other's life cr. google
People is questioning about other’s life
cr. google

All of those questions above somehow sounds irritating especially from someone who doesn’t even know you at all. In another case, Koreans are also very curious about the people who wear hijab (Moslem women). It is not only one or twice, but many times Korean (especially the older generation) ask women with hijab why they use it, whether it is hot or not, or the worst part is when they ask you to take off your hijab because that is not part of Korean culture. I understand that they don’t know anything about that, but somehow, they force their paradigm to people who have different point of view and culture. When this is happening, some of my Moslem friends just answer all of these questions with a smile without the need to explain more. Some people will understand it while some people don’t.

This Ojirab thing develops in the middle of Korean older generations. Why is it happen? You know, the very big step Korea made to finally open themselves to the world was when 2002 Japan-Korea World Cup. Before that time, there were no many foreigners as now. It was rare to find foreigners (even with hijab things) going around Seoul or other cities. As time goes and also thanks to the influence of Korean Wave, many foreigners came to Korea and fall in love to Korean language and culture. From that time also, foreigners from all different races, background, religions come and get in touch with Korean people. The Korean people who have less knowledge about these differences find it is weird when they see someone different. To satisfy their curiosity, they directly come and ask what happen, where you come from, what you wear, etc. If your explanation satisfies them, then it will be alright. But if it is not, then you have to understand ‘that stare’ you have from them.

Of course, not all Korean people love to judge others like this. There are still many people who understand the differences and cherish what you wear and what you have in your body or your mind. We can’t judge that this Ojirab thing is the minus that we can find from Korean people, but just consider it as the part uniqueness from conservative people who live in this modern country.

Let’s share if you have any idea about this!

Have a great day, everyone!

 

The Creepy Number, 4: A Well-known Superstition in Korean Society

Do you know that Korea is one of the countries in Asia which believe and concern much in superstition or supernatural stories? If you don’t, you’d better read this week article in Hagamu!

Hello Everyone!

Welcome back, today we bring you a story about one of the famous superstition in Korean society. As we know, Korea is a country that has a very strong roots of traditional habits and culture. We can say that almost half of the citizens are not belong into spesific religion but they do believe that there is a power that much stronger in this universe. Back to the time when Korea was a primitive nation, they believed in some kinds of mystical power in this universe such as the old trees, sun, moon, until the spirits of their ancestors. They believed in animism and dynamism way before Buddhism or Confucianism gave big impact to the Korean society. Even in this modern era, Korean society still strongly believe to the signs made by ‘the universe’ in their daily life. One of the sign that is really common in Korea is when you accidentally drop and break your mirror into two pieces. For another people, a broken mirror is just something that should not to be afraid of and there is no other choices than throw it away. But for Korean people, the broken mirror is a sign that you will have a bad luck ahead which it means there will be something bad happen in your life. The other case, Korean also crazy about fortune teller and tarot card readings. In this country, people are willingly stand in line and spend money to meet fortune teller just to ask about simple things such as love life, luck, money, and even ask for bless or grace for any occasions that will happen in life.

Tarot card ©blog.zodiaclivetarotreading.com
Tarot card ©blog.zodiaclivetarotreading.com

The superstitions that sticked around Korean society can’t be separated from the influence of Chinese culture. For many years in the past, Korea was a country that put Chinese dynasty as its role model. Even in that time, Korea only acknowledged China and Japan as the biggest and most powerful nations in this world. So that is why the influence from China is not only in the zone of politics or government, but also the superstition!

One of the most famous one that still strongly believe by Korean society is a superstition about number 4 (four)! Korean society believe that 4 (four) is a number that symbolize ‘death’. This creepy number is considered as a bad sign and it’s better to avoid it. The phobia of number 4 is also happen in Japan and China. Why are they afraid of number 4? Basically, four  (四 [sì]) has similar sound with the word for death (死 亡 [sĭwáng]). A number or objects which has similar sound with words mean death, sick, or suffering, are considered unlucky. In Korean language, number four  is called ‘sa (사)’ for Sino-Korean number. It also has similar sound to ‘death’ in Korean language. That’s why you are not allowed to mention number 4 around sick relatives because it can brings bad luck to the one who has illness. This phobia is also called Tetraphobia.

There is no 4th Floor ©google
There is no 4th Floor ©google

The fear of number 4 doesn’t stop there. It also affect when Korean built a high building. It’s a common thing if we don’t see the 4th floor in Korean hospitals or public buildings skip the 4th floor. Sometimes the 4th floor name is changed into F or just skip from 3rd to 5th floor. It is also happen for the room number in apartment. They will avoid number containing multiple occurances of 4 such as 444 or 4o4. They believe by using that number will give bad impact for the value of the property.

Yes, nobody can judge it is wrong or right to believe in something that has stuck in a society. Even it’s just a superstition that not logical, we have to appreciate because it is one of the symbol of a growing society. From all the myths or superstitions they believe, we can find that every people has different perspective in seeing and responding every single things that happen in their lives. Believe it or not, it’s up to you!

That’s all for today’s article!

See you guys later!

Gyeryeongsan National Park : Travelling back to the Buddhism Era Through Donghaksa Temple (2)

Hello Everyone!

As we promised last week, today we will give you the second shot of Gyeryeongsan National Park. If the previous article mainly told about Gyeryeongsan with its beautiful nature and fresh air, today we will see more about the highlight of Gyeryeongsan which called Donghaksa!

Let’s take a look!

To refresh your memory, we will guide you again on how to go to Gyeryeongsan National Park. If you happen to start near Chungnam National University Campus, you can take bus which quite convenient. You can take the bus 704 (blue). But first, you have to go across the road and wait for the bus in the station. After that, you can take the bus 107 (blue) in the station after bus 704 turn to the right. You can take the bus in any stations in this road since it is the main line for bus 107 which has Donghaksa as the final stop. It takes about 30 minutes to Donghaksa – Gyeryeongsan National Park. In weekend, there are so many people who spend their times in this place. Some of them just wander around, some of them take times to pray in temple, and some of them come to hike to the top of Gyeryeongsan  (등산). In this place, there are some famous Buddha temples such as Donghaksa, Gapsa, and Sinwonsa. But the iconic place which is not really far from the gate (still far but not really, okay it’s far as well, haha) is Donghaksa.

Donghaksa Clouds!
Donghaksa Clouds!

According to the information from Gyeryeongsan National Park, Donghaksa temple was build built by Priest Sangyuan of the Tang Dynasty in 713.  When Priest Shangyuan cultivated himself at this hermitage, he happened to save the life of a tiger, and the tiger repaid his kindness by bringing him a young woman. He adopted her as his sister and they studied Buddha’s teaching together at the hermitage in 724. Buddhist monk Hoeui built two pagodas, namely the five story Stone Pagoda of the Cheongnyangsa Temple Site in Gongju and the Seven-story Stone Pagoda of the Cheongnyangsa Temple Site in Gongju are currently maintained at the Sangwonsa Temple Site.

One of the temple in the Complex of Donghaksa
One of the temple in the Complex of Donghaksa

In 920 (the 3rd year of the reign of King Taejo of the Goryeo Dynasty), National Preceptor Doseon built a Buddhist temple for King Taejo where Donghaksa Temple now stands. In 936 (the 19th year of King Taejo’s reign), when Silla finally collapsed, Ryu Cha-dal built Donghaksa Shrine for the founder of Silla and Park Je-sang, who was a loyal subject of the Silla Dynasty. Later, as the temple prospered, its name was changed to Donghaksa, which is said to have been derived from a crane-shaped rock situated to the east of the temple. The temple and the shrine were destroyed during the Sin Cheon-yeong’s Rebellion in 1728, but Seon Master Wolin rebuilt the temple in 1814 and Seon Master Boseon restored in in 1864.

If we take a look to every temple in Donghaksa, we can feel that the influence of Buddha way before Confucianism came was really big. Buddhism entered for the first time in Korea when a Buddhist monk called Sundo, came into Goguryeo with Buddha statue and Buddhist scriptures. He was received by the elite without difficulty. Buddhism grew fast and reached its peak in the seventh century when Silla unified the three kingdoms (Lee, 2003). It was also became the national religion in Goryeo. But in Joseon dynasty, Buddhism lost its power because of the suppression policy made by the dynasty which elevated the Confucianism as the national religion. Despite several kings supported Buddhism as their individual interest, Buddhism lost its power to Confucianism. The monks that previously live in peace and freedom to pray and did rituals had to be exiled to the temples in the mountains and had limited access to the dynasty.

Okay, let’s go back to Donghaksa Temple!

Basically, Donghaksa is like a complex consists of some temples on the right side of the road. To reach there, we must walk for about 1.3 km to get there. Since it is located in the mountain, the road is kind of uphill. But don’t worry, the road is really good for walking and the scenery is magnificent. Before you arrive in the complex of Donghaksa temple, you will find a direction which tells you about the other temple called Gapsa and Eunson Waterfall which still located in Gyeryeongsan National Park. But it’s really far from Donghaksa. You have to keep more energy to explore it!

Directions for another magnificent places in Gyeryeongsan National Park
Directions for another magnificent places in Gyeryeongsan National Park

 

On the way to Donghaksa Temple, you can find this traditional rest area on the left side of the road!

A traditional place to have some rest
A traditional place to have some rest

 

You can also find some souvenirs in a shop near Donghaksa, btw!

This complex has some of beautiful temples. Some of the old buildings are still used as temples while some others are used for offices of Gyeryeongsan National Park’s management.

The Temple (1)
The Temple (1)

 

A girl is praying in front of the temple (2)
A girl is praying in front of the temple (2)

 

The Temple (3)
The Temple (3)

 

And you know what? There are some people who wrote their wishes in a love-shaped-paper and hang it here!

A Wish - Please let me earn much money this year!
A Wish – Please let me earn much money this year!

 

There are also various small-sized statues in front of the temple!

The Gods!
The Gods!

 

And there are people who put coins on it!

Look, there is a coin!
Look, there is a coin!

 

And if you are thirsty, you can drink this holy water!

A place to drink water
A place to drink water

Don’t forget, if we talk about the traditional Korean house or temple, this thing is a must-to-be-mentioned!

Jars to fermentate Kimchi or Soybean Paste
Jars to fermentate Kimchi or Soybean Paste

 

How is it? It’s a good place to visit, isn’t it? We hope you enjoy our article! Gyeryeongsan National Park is big and we hope someday there will be another chance to explore this place and share it to you!

Be ready for the next article!

Have a good day, everyone!

Gyeryeongsan National Park: Feel the Nature, Heal the Soul (1)

Hello, Everyone!

This time, Hagamu will share an article about Gyeryeongsan National Park Trip! It was really exciting because this place is really amazing and fresh since it is surrounded by mountain and forest! You can feel the fresh air as soon as you arrived. And don’t forget, this is also the location of Donghaksa Temple! Basically, Donghaksa Temple was built by Priest Sangyuan of the Tang Dynasty in 713. So, are you ready to go to Gyeryeongsan National Park!

20160904_120137_HDR
One of the corners of Gyeryeongsan National Park

Gyeryeongsan National Park is located in Banpo-myeon, Gongju-si, Chungcheongnam-do. It is stretches across Daejeon, Gongju, and Nonsan. According to South Korea tourism’s website, the mountain is 845.1m above sea level and was made a national park in 1968. The origin of the word Gyeryong (‘Gye’ meaning ‘chicken,’ and ‘Yong’ meaning ‘dragon’) comes from the fact that the ridgeline looks like a dragon wearing a chicken’s crest on its head.

It is not difficult to reach Gyeryeongsan National Park. If you are in Daejeon and happen to be around Chungnam National University, you can take city bus (시내버스). It’s really convenient and not really expensive. You know, in Korea, all of the mass transportation which using T-Money for the ticket are integrated to one and another. So if you go somewhere by bus and do the transit to another bus in 30 minutes, you don’t have to pay for the ticket. You just have to pay the first bus around 1250 Won. It happen to subway as well. If you are in front of the main gate of Chungnam National University, you can take the bus 704 (blue). But first, you have to go across the road and wait for the bus in the station. After that, you can take the bus 107 (blue) in the station after bus 704 turn to the right. You can take the bus in any stations in this road since it is the main line for bus 107 which has Donghaksa as the final stop. It takes about 30 minutes to Donghaksa – Gyeryeongsan National Park.

T-Money for Bus and Subway
T-Money for Bus and Subway

But you won’t feel bored in the bus since you can see the beauty of the nature in both sides of the road. It is surrounded by the mountains. It’s really a great-temporary-escape for you who don’t want to be trapped in a usual modern city.

20160904_103254_HDR
Way to Gyeryeongsan National Park

After arrive in Gyeryeongsan National Park, you should take some walks to the ticket station. It’s not quite far, just around 500 meters. You have to prepare 3000 won per person to pay the ticket. Actually it will be cheaper if you go with groups for more than 15 people. After that, there will be a man who will check your ticket and greet you nicely.

Image_39e5fe8
It’s the ticket!

As soon as you go inside, you will be welcomed by the main gate. It’s not really big but has a beautiful architecture. Red dominates the color of it and blend perfectly with the typical of traditional Korean architecture and design.

Main Gate
Main Gate (1)
Main Gate 2)
Main Gate (2)

After passing the main gate, you can take a walk (which is quite far) to the Donghaksa Temple. But you will be pleased by the beauty of the nature. The road to Donghaksa is not really big and sometimes there are some cars pass on it But it’s quite convenient to take a walk since it is also the route for hiking.

Beautiful Road
Beautiful Road

In the left side, you can see the river. But since it’s still summer in Korea, the river becomes dry. But that’s not a big problem! You still can feel the fresh air and the sound of the birds singing on the trees. It’s really beautiful!

The River
The River

To reach Donghaksa, you have to walk for almost 1.3 km. The road  looks like this!

Road to Donghaksa
Road to Donghaksa

 

You can see the piled-up stones, it’s really cute and spread all over the road!

Piled-up Stones
Piled-up Stones

This park also spread the messages for us to always keep the beauty of the nature. It is because us, the people who live in this world, are the one who should take the responsibility to preserve the nature. We can live and enjoy the fresh air and water, but we also must keep it clean so our next generation can feel it too!

Message for us about the nature
Message for us about the nature

 

It’s really good, isn’t it? But hey, this travel diary won’t stop here! In the next article we will talk more about Donghaksa Temple!

Stay tune, Everyone!

Have a nice day!

Korean Chopsticks, Same yet Different

Welcome back, Everyone!

First of all, we would like to express our apologies for not uploading article last week. For some reasons and occasions, we should take a break for a while. But don’t worry, today Hagamu is back to bring you fun facts and knowledge about Korean culture!

Everyone, have you ever tried to eat with chopsticks? I bet our readers who came from East Asia won’t have any difficulties to eat with that long utensils. But for those of readers who use fork and spoon will have much struggle even just to take a small amount of food by using chopsticks. Personally, using chopsticks need much effort and hard work to take every bites of food that will come to mouth. You have to synchronize your focus, your fingers, and the chopsticks as well to take the food into your mouth. You need to concentrate in order to keep the food stay between the chopsticks. You also need to train your fingers to not be stiff when holding the chopsticks. It is because when you are stiff, you won’t be able to hold the chopsticks well. After that, you will end up getting stress and lose your appetite.

Chopsticks are the main utensils for East Asian people to eat food. They use it for almost all occasions. Even they are better in using chopsticks than the forks. But of you look carefully, there is a major different between chopsticks that is used by Korean from the chopsticks used by Chinese or Japanese. Koreans are using metal chopsticks with silver or gold color. It is also has flat tip, square in shape, and the size is shorter than Chinese’s and a little bit longer than Japanese’s. It means that the length of the chopsticks are in between two of them.

Cheot-Karak
Cheot-Karak

Korean chopsticks which is also called ‘cheot-karak’ was made of steel. But in the past, royal family used chopsticks which was made of brass, silver, or gold for special occasions to show the prosperity in the society. There is also another reason why they use metal chopsticks until now. Back to the past, it is believed that the origin of metal chopsticks came from the reign of Baekje. That time, assassination of royal family by enemies happened often. The assassins played really soft in harming the royal families. So, in order to prevent danger, they used metal chopsticks to identify hint of poison in the food. It is said that silver can easily detect poison in the food and the color will change as soon as it get contacted with the poisonous substance in the food. As time goes by, the use of metal chopsticks were no longer for royal family, but also for common people to show their loyalty to the king.

Metal spoon and chopsticks ©everythingchopsticks.com
Metal spoon and chopsticks ©everythingchopsticks.com

Besides the fact that Korean chopsticks were made of steel and to detect the existence of poison in the food, there is another unique fact about that. The metal chopsticks are used until now because it’s simple and can be used again and again. Different from the wooden one which are really fragile and easily broken, the metal chopsticks are solid. The flat tip of the chopsticks are made to take and hold the food easily in a small amount. Koreans also don’t need wooden one especially to eat rice because they use large metal spoon for that.

Koreans place the chopsticks and metal spoon on the right side the rice bowl. It is placed side by side, metal spoon on the left while metal chopsticks one the right. Metal chopsticks are used to take kimchi, steamed-vegetables, egg, meat, and another side dishes (banchan). If you see closer, the metal chopsticks have beautiful design on the half-upper-part. It is made to show that the beauty of Korean culture is reflected even in a small piece of the chopsticks.

So, after read this, do you want to challenge yourself on using Korean metal chopsticks? Don’t be afraid, trust us that using Korean metal chopsticks will help you to be more focus J

That’s all for today’s article!

Have a nice day, everyone! We’ll be back soon!

 

 

 

August 15th, The Day of Liberation

대한독립만세! 대한독립만세! 대한독립만세!

(Daehan Dongnib Manse! Daehan Dongnib Manse! Daehan Dongnib Manse!)

Korean Flags ©wikimedia.org
Korean Flags ©wikimedia.org

Do you know what day is it today? If you could understand the slogan above you must know that today is an important one for Korea! Yes, it is South Korea’s National Liberation Day! It’s been 71 years since the liberation and South Korea now has turned into-a-360°-different country than before. Every life aspects of South Korea as a country and the society as well has developed rapidly into modernity. The country is growing bigger every time and become one of the leading country in Asia. The people also live in modernity and sophisticating technologies. It’s really fascinating since Korea just got liberated 71 years ago. Yes, South Korea gained its independence on August 15, 1945. Before that time, Korea must live under the pressure of Japanese colonial rule for about 35 years.

As we know, Korea was a big nation before it got separated three years after the liberation days. Yes, South Korea established its own government under Syngman Rhee in 1948 while Kim Il Sung was chosen as the leader of North Korea in the same year. These two countries chose their own life path with different ideology. In the end, they live separately and the situation got worsen ever since the outbreak of Korean War in 1950.

Korea has faced so many obstacles on gaining the liberation from Japanese occupancy. For almost 35 years under colonialism, Korea lived in tragic and poor situation. They lived in their own land but had no rights and access for their own live. Japanese pushed Korean to live under Japanese way. The liberation movement was not only one or twice had been done, but many times. One of the biggest movement Koreans had made for liberation was the independence movement in 1919. It is called 3.1 movement or March 1st movement. All of people from Korean peninsula gathered their power to push back Japanese troops from Korean Peninsula. Sadly, this movement failed and Koreans must wait a little longer to liberate. Japanese colonial who saw this then understand that Koreans were not just a group of people who can easily be controlled especially in military way. That’s why after the movement, Japanese colonial changed their policy for Korea. They were no longer controlled Korea in military way. They change it into cultural policy. Even though through this policy Korea looked more independent in the outside, actually it was tighter on the inside. The policy was not made to loosen Japanese control over Korea, but to make it tighter in smoother way. In the end, Japanese pushed Koreans to change their name into Japanese, forbid the use of Korean language publication of literature that has no relation with Japanese colonial. In other words, the things other than Japanese language, Japanese name, and Japanese themes in literature were forbidden. If there were authors who insisted to write, they must obey the rules had made by Japanese colonial.

The liberation for all nations all over the world means a lot. So does for Korea. The liberation which came in August 15th, 1945 was like an oasis in a desert. After so many liberation movements which turned into failure, Korea thought that they were no longer had chance to live freely. But after Japan lost in World War II and Hiroshima-Nagasaki was attacked by American soldiers in August 6 and 9, Japan had to surrender. They also had to lose their control over Korea and another countries under their colonialism. This news gave new hope for Korea. They finally found the liberation. It came unexpected and surprising. There is also words saying that Korean liberation is coming like a thief (도독같이 찾아온다). After liberation, Korea lived without proper government. They had to, once again, struggle in build a country. That’s why the core problem such as food, home, and other base stuffs still hard to be overcome by Korean people. They also have to struggle 5 years later in Korean War. The sadness of separating with family under 38° line was really deep. They didn’t the reason they have to compete with each other.

But after all, Korea now is living in good way. They have deep pain in the past. They had to be separated, lived in hunger and poverty, and be afraid of foreigners. But today, they have established proper and modern live. There’s no hunger anymore. Everything runs sophisticating and Korea now has been one of the leading country in Asia. They celebrate the liberation day in bless. Schools and offices are closed and they run ceremony in the morning. There is also ritual in paying respect to ancestors as the symbol of grateful for happiness and liberation they have now. Liberation day becomes a public holiday and all Korean people celebrate it with full of hearts and delightful mind!

Happy Liberation Day, South Korea!