The A – Z of Korea

A is for anjou … anjou, oh anjou, I don’t really want to eat you because I’ve just had dinner and the idea of having to eat more really doesn’t make me want to stay drinking here. To add insult to injury, eating is cheating.

B is for booze … booze, yes booze. Korea is infamous for its alcohol consumption rate. Korea has one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the OECD. You won’t here too many over in KNTO towers (or whatever the Korean tourism crowd is called now) sharing such interesting facts with you. What’s interesting about drink culture here is, even though there is so much alcohol consumed, drinking has so many social rules, it’s a wonder that anyone bothers with it at all.

C is for Corea … Korea gets its name from the Goryeo Dynasty apparently. The use of Korea or Corea is a relatively modern phenomenon though and is linked to the colonial period. However, before the Japanese ruled Korea, Korea was commonly referred to as Chosun after the dynastic rule at the time. Corea and Korea were used regularly before the turn of the twentieth century, but the ‘K’ apparently became standardised the more around the time that Japanese rule was enforced. The theory behind is so that Korea would appear behind Japan in international ordering. To some this might sound bizzare, but this is Asia folks and stuff like that matters, especially when you are supposed to be ruling them. However, the evidence to support an official Japanese dictate enforcing this is merely circumstantial for now. You’ll come across Corea quite a bit at international football games, and often you will hear some school students repeating what their primary school teacher has been preaching. You can read a good article about the Corea/Korea history here.

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Exploring Seoul Part 2 – Finding My Own Little Mountain

What really got me attracted to exploring Seoul was my own little, local mountain. Back in 2005 I lived next to Bongwhasan, which means Beacon Mountain. At the time I was living there I would go up there at least two or three times a week, and even during the middle of winter and summer. Before long I had learned my own routes to follow and where, more or less, I would arrive when I took a particular pathway down. As I said before, if I got lost on the mountain, I could just walk down and follow the mountain around and I would find somewhere I recognised sooner or later. To this day when I move somewhere I always look for the nearest mountain. Bongwhasan has much to do with this.

When I arrived in Seoul first, I didn’t really notice whether the city was hilly or not. In the beginning, my immediate sphere – from my apartment to work, Emart, and Bongwhasan station – didn’t involve too many hikes. What was certainly more obvious was how built up the city was. This affected me more than anything.

This is the kind of countryside I am used to

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