It’s time for another small Korea potpourri:
The corruption scandal with South Korean president Park Geun-Hye is still unfolding, and there are still massive protests. I can’t keep up with daily news here, so here are just a few interesting feature articles. this is kinda interesting:
-> Korea Exposé highlights some of the Korean youth participating in the protests. They argue that the ‘Sewol Generation’ is very engaged politically and challenges the status quo. If you want to find out anything about recent Korea, you will have to read up on the Sewol ferry desaster, which continues to be one the biggest stories in the country.
-> Ask A Korean is back with in-depths explainers on the scandal, which go into everything in great detail. Part One. Look for part two to drop soon, I’d expect.
Notebooks on Cities and Culture:
I’ve talked about how much I enjoy Colin Marshall’s writing on Korea. Boy was I in for a treat when I discovered that he also has a podcast with a full season of interviews on (and from) Korea. And they are fantastic. They contain pretty much the best in-depth coverage I’ve come across so far, all presented in a very convenient and accessible fashion. Then again, I am a self-diagnosed podcast addict, so take my recommendations with a grain of salt I guess. But anyway, give it a listen!
Yeah…I might have a bit of a problem.
Here are some of my favorite episodes:
-> It Takes a Lifetime with Michael Elliott – Really fascinating linguistic discussion. Includes of the trickiness of Korean, as well as Korean’s efforts and (in?)ability to speak English. I met an exchange student who always asked “Isn’t it delicious?” at literally every food item he ever introduced me to, so that discussion certainly brought back some memories.
-> Ruled by the Heart with Andrew Salmon – Lots of knowledge about Korean history, and it’s ongoing complicated relationship to Japan (and Dokdo in particular), North Korea, and so on. The relationship to Japan in particular is quite complicated and fascinating. I’ve noticed this a fair bit in my time in Korea. From personal experience, definitely do not hold any presentations in class featuring Google Maps screenshots with the Sea of Japan right in the middle. However, I felt like I never quite understood the full picture. This episode certainly helped with that a lot.
-> The Jokes Come Last with Darcy Paquet – In-depth discussion of Korean film. If that’s your thing, check out Paquet’s site Koreanfilm.org too. Korean films have certainly helped me calm down my Fernweh quite a bit since returning (or they have made it a lot worse…I’m not entirely sure), and I should have a little project on Korean films out at the end of the year, so…yeah.
I’m bad at cooking. I’m a million times better than I was a few years ago and have yet to poison myself, but I’m still not doing great. Hence, I’ve never really tried cooking Korean recipes back home, as the amount of unfamiliar spices and dishes seems to much for me to handle. I’ve tried making bibimbap, and I guess I succeeded in doing so technically, as it certainly ended up as some sort of mixed rice. Not all that similar to actual Bibimbap, but oh well.
Instead of that, I recently tired my hand at baking. In particular, I made Hotteok (호떡), a popular type of filled pancake. I ate them constantly during my short time in Busan, but weirdly enough, never before or after. I’m sure you can get them in Seoul pretty much everywhere, but I somehow never found any (not knowing what they’re called and not speaking Korean certainly didn’t help my search). Anyway, I followed Maangchi’s recipe and they were quite good and relatively true to the original. That site looks pretty good in general, so maybe I’ll try my hand at this again in the future (looking at you, kkwabaegi!).
I also had some fire noodles recently and…they were really not all that spicy? Not quite sure whether I should feel disappointed or proud of myself.