Seorak National Park

Seoraksan National Park

Today we visited Seorak National Park in Sokcho. It was my first time there, so I was really excited. The weather beautiful: sunny and not too humid. We took a cable car to the observation deck and enjoyed the gorgeous view of the mountains.

Panorama of the mountains at Seoraksan National Park
Panorama of the mountains at Seoraksan National Park
Some boys enjoying the view from the observation deck of Shin Hung Sa Memorial Stupa Group, Seoraksan National Park
Some boys enjoying the view from the observation deck of Shin Hung Sa Memorial Stupa Group, Seoraksan National Park

The park was a great example of Korea plentiful natural beauty. But the group of stupas and the bronze Jwabul statue of the Buddha at Shinheung Temple reminded me of Korea’s sophisticated art and rich cultural tradition.

Shin Hung Sa Memorial Stupa Group, Seoraksan National Park
Shin Hung Sa Memorial Stupa Group commemorating Buddhist priests
Bronze Jwabul Statue, Seoraksan National Park
Bronze Jwabul Statue

What a beautiful place to visit! I can’t wait to come back.

Broiled eels

My mother-in-law was in the mood to eat broiled eel, so she invited us out to a great restaurant in Gapyeong. The restaurant was a lot of fun because we could broil the eels ourselves. We weren’t very good at it at first. We burned several pieces. But soon we got the hang of it. We ate pieces of eel wrapped in lettuce and ginger. Yum! My wife told me eel is very good for our health. So, it was a lunch that was delicious and nutritious!

Broiled eel in Gapyeong
Broiled eel in Gapyeong

An historical concert

I’m very excited for my friend, violinist Won Hyung-joon. He has organized a concert that will be performed by musicians from both North and South Korea. The concert will take place at the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) on the evening of August 15, Korea’s Liberation Day when Japan surrendered to the Allies, ending World War II.

Many news articles have already been written about the upcoming concert. The most recent one I’ve seen is from the Korea Joongnang Daily.

Independence Gate, Seoul
Independence Gate, Seoul
Source: 원형준’s Facebook page

There will first be a concert at Independence Gate (서대문구 독립문) on Thursday, August 13. Then the real concert will take place when the Lindenbaum Festival Orchestra goes to the Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom to meet a 70-member North Korean choir. The orchestra will perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 “Choral”. Then the North Korean choir will sing a version of “Arirang”. There is only one possible problem: the North Korean choir may not show up.

If the North Korean choir does show up and the two countries do perform together, this concert will be an historical event that may help improve relations between North and South Korea.

I am wishing my friend, the musicians, and everyone involved in this important concert a very successful event. I’m very excited!

One People, One Harmony

Breakfast in the afternoon

Toaster pastry

I had a simple snack this afternoon: a cherry pomegranate toaster pastry. I brought a box over from my trip to America. This simple pastry is filled with jam and covered with a candy-like icing. You can eat them straight out of the wrapper, but they taste much better if you warm them up first in a toaster or toaster oven. American children enjoy these sometimes at breakfast. The most popular brand is Pop-Tarts by Kellogg’s, but I bought my at Trader Joe’s, a trendy supermarket chain in America.

Toaster pastries are delicious but not very good for your health. Eating them is like eating a cookie. I don’t think I’ve had one in over twenty years. Eating one of these is not only fun but also brings back fun memories of my childhood.

Toaster pastry

My mother-in-law’s cooking

My mother-in-law's cooking

My wife and visited her parents’ home today. My mother-in-law is a wonderful cook, and she always makes a lot of great food whenever we visit. Today was no exception. I always tell everyone I eat like a king whenever I visit the in-laws. Thank you, Jang-mo-nim!

My mother-in-law's cooking
My mother-in-law’s cooking. This is one of her smaller meals!

A scenic jog

This morning I ran 5.5 km. It wasn’t very difficult; it just took a long time! I usually run laps (in circles) at the park near Over the Moon. Other times I try to find more interesting and scenic places to jog. Today I chose to run by the bridge near Eojeong Station. The scenery made running a little more enjoyable.

Jogging near Eojeong Station

Jogging near Eojeong Station

Jogging near Eojeong Station

My own Thor fan

Thor fan by Yoon Woo
Thor fan by Yoon Woo

Yesterday Yoon Woo made me my own Thor fan. He said it took only ten minutes to make! I think it turned out great! It looks cool and will also keep me cool.

I especially like the popsicle stick handle. Yoon Woo told me it came from a melon bar (he had run out of wooden chopsticks). Ha ha! What a clever guy!

I can’t wait to use it!

Dog dental health

Brushing our dog's teeth
Brushing our dog's teeth
Brushing our dog’s teeth

Dogs don’t like having their teeth brushed. Our dog is no exception. We use the kind of dog toothbrush that goes on your finger. In the past, after I would put toothpaste on the toothbrush, most of the toothpaste would end up on our dog’s fur because he would not hold still. Because of that, we didn’t brush his teeth and just depended on dog gum and his rope toy.

I have since learned I need to go slow. I let our dog lick the toothpaste off the toothbrush, which gives me a chance to go in and start brushing. He even opens his mouth, giving me a chance to brush the back of his teeth.

I’m not sure when he’ll enjoy having his teeth brushed. Until he does, I’ll keep using this trick to help him keep his teeth clean.

Oodles of noodles

Jajangmyeon from Ilpoom Hyang Jjajang, Yongin

Jajangmyeon from Ilpoom Hyang Jjajang, Yongin

After a long day, we were in the mood for jajangmyeong (자장면) for dinner. Luckily, one of my favorite jajangmyeon places was on our way. Il Poom Hyang Handmade Jjajang (일품향손짜장) has really good noodles for a low price. 5,500 won gets you a big bowl of old-fashioned handmade jjajang. The noodles are soft and chewy. The sauce is flavorful without being too salty or greasy.

I think others agree. Every time I come here, the restaurant is full of customers. By the end of the meal, all I had was an empty bowl. I can’t wait to come back!