Who are regarded as the Korean mermaids?

The answer is: Haenyeo (해녀) of the Jeju Island.

Literally, the word “hae” (해) means “sea” and “nyeo” (녀) means “female”, and haenyeo are female divers who make a living by harvesting marine products like abalone, conch, octopus, sea urchins, oysters, clams, seaweed, etc. from the sea. Recently, there has been news that Jeju’s haenyeo culture is likely to be added to the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  What’s so special about Jeju’s haenyeo?  Let’s talk about them in this post. Continue reading

K-drama series – Live-shoot system

In the last post, we discussed a well-known (or notorious?) feature of K-dramas – product placement (“PPL”), a form of indirect advertising, which has become so excessive that K-drama fans are being frustrated by it.  In this post, we will talk about another feature of K-dramas, the live-shoot system, which is also a feature receiving a lot of criticisms. Continue reading

K-drama series – Product placement (“PPL”) in K-dramas

If you watch a K-drama, apart from the characters, what do you most often see?  I’m sure most of you will answer: brand names and corporate logos.  Some of the most often seen scenes are the characters chatting in the coffee shops with the names of the coffee shops clearly displayed on the walls or doors or cups; or the characters are using trendy mobile phones with the relevant brand names or logos or the mobile apps that are being used receiving close-up shots.  This is product placement (“PPL”), a form of indirect advertising used in K-dramas.  Let’s continue the K-drama series by talking about this well-known (or notorious?) feature of K-dramas.

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K-drama series – An overview of the key features and popularity of Korean dramas

Korean dramas (“K-dramas”) are typically mini-series TV dramas of 16-24 episodes each.  While there are a variety of genres of K-dramas, the key ones are romantic melodrama, romantic comedy and historical drama. K-dramas are definitely a key driving force of the Korean Wave (a term referring the popularity of Korean pop culture) which has swept the world.  There are a lot of Korean culture lovers who are attracted to the Korean culture by the K-dramas, and I’m one of them. Continue reading

Hangeul – A look at the Korean alphabet

The writing systems of nearly all languages over the world have evolved gradually from long long time ago so it is impossible to trace who their inventors were. Hangeul (한글), the Korean alphabet system, is perhaps the only one still in use today that you can trace its inventor.  It was invented by King Sejong the Great (새종대왕) with the help of his scholars and was promulgated in 1446.  In my blog post dated 16 January 2015, I mentioned that King Sejong the Great (the 4th king of the Joseon Dynasty) had many significant achievements during his reign, one of which was the invention of hangeul.  In this blog post, let’s talk about some interesting information about hangeul. Continue reading

Let’s have a drink! – A look at the Korean drinking culture

A scene often appearing in the Korean TV dramas is people drinking alcoholic beverages and getting drunk. When you travel to South Korea, you can often see people drinking alcoholic beverages in green bottles called soju. According to a survey by the Korea Alcohol and Liquor Industry Association, in 2010, 93.8% of men and 83.8% of women said they regularly consumed alcohol. Alcohol is indeed an integral part of the Korean life.  Let’s talk about the Korean drinking culture in this blog post. Continue reading

Koreanized Chinese Cuisine – Jajangmyeon (Black Bean Sauce Noodles)

Jajangmyeon (자장면) (Black Bean Sauce Noodles) is a Chinese cuisine adapted to the Korean style served in most of the Chinese restaurants in South Korea and has now become a favourite food among the Koreans.  You can often see people eating jajangmyeon in Korean TV dramas and variety shows. It is said that every day over 7 million bowls of jajangmyeon are sold in South Korea. This is also one of the foods I often ate when I studied Korean in Seoul.   Let’s talk about jajangmyeon in this blog post. Continue reading

Hansik (Korean Food) Series -Chimaek (Fried Chicken and Beer)

Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Fried Chicken

In the hit Korean drama, “My Love from the Star” (별에서 온 그대), the main female character, Cheon Song-yi, likes chimaek (치맥) very much.  Chimaek is the short form for fried chicken (치킨 – pronounced as “chikin”) and beer (맥주 – pronounced as “maekju”) generally used among the younger generations. Due to the popularity of that Korean drama in China, chimaek has also become a popular Korean food there. It was said that customers needed to wait in line for 3 hours to order fried chicken at some Korean fried chicken restaurants in Shanghai and Beijing. Continue reading

Hansik (Korean Food) Series -Kimchi

If you ask, “What is the Korean food that Koreans can’t live without?”  I am sure a lot of people (both Koreans and foreigners) will say “Kimchi”.  Kimchi (김치 – fermented vegetables) is one of the staple food of Koreans – you can always find kimchi as one of the side dishes on the tables in most Korean families and restaurants in South Korea.  Kimchi can indeed be considered as one of the national symbols of South Korea.  Moreover, in South Korea, when taking photos, Koreans say “Kimchi” to make people smile (the equivalence of saying “Cheese” in English).  In this blog post, let’s talk about some interesting things about kimchi, including kimchi being used as a theme in Korean pop culture like TV drama and pop song. Continue reading