Relationships in Korea

N'Seoul Tower, South Korea
Love locks at N’Seoul Tower. Couples write their names and a small message on the lock, attach it to the fence and throw away the key.

With Valentine’s Day only a day away, I thought it’d be fitting to write a post about it. I mean, you can’t even walk five feet down the street without being reminded about it. It’s a day couples look forward to and singles hate. And it doesn’t matter where you’re from, that sentiment seems to be consistent from country to country.

I’m always intrigued how holidays can differ around the world, and in Korea, things happen slightly differently on Valentine’s Day.

The major difference? There’s no exchanging of presents between partners, only women giving men chocolate. While there are stuffed bears and such, chocolate is the main gift given. Even stationary stores get in on the action, dedicating entire aisles to making your own chocolates with various molds, sprinkles, and bags with bows to serve them up in. Hey, at least if you want, you can customize your gift. Read more “Relationships in Korea”

What November 11th Means in Korea

What does November 11th mean in Korea?

It was November 11th, 2010. As most of us know: Remembrance Day. A day upon which Canadians consider the sacrifices made by others so that we can enjoy the way of life we know today. It is not a day when people brag about who won what war when, but when we remember what we’ve lost; brothers, fathers, sisters, countrymen, allies and foes from all over the world. Put simply, it is a day when we recognize the bravery of those who fought so we didn’t have to.

I went to my school that day with the intention of teaching my students why November 11th was so important, and what it meant to so many people around the world. Waiting in my classroom, I prepared to impart on the children a piece of western culture that carries a deep and solemn meaning. I wanted to get this right.

There was a knock at the door.  I opened the door revealing a student. His bright smile juxtaposed my serious countenance. “Teacher,” he said. “Do you know what day it is today?” Read more “What November 11th Means in Korea”

Photo Essay: Gyeongju, South Korea

Wolseong Park, Geyongju, South Korea
The entrance path into Wolseong Park.

Gyeongju, in Gyeongsangbuk Province, is known as “the museum without walls”. For over a 1000 years it was the capital of the Shilla Dynasty. It holds the most historical buildings and artifacts in all of Korea, thereby being the most historically important area in Korea. Gyeongju’s population itself is not very large, at only about 275,000, but it’s the sites to see that make this a must stop when traveling through Korea. Most of the places to visit are located in and around the city centre, so renting bicycles for the day will make traveling to each location easier and faster. But it’s also a nice and enjoyable way to see a lot of the sites in a shorter amount of time. Enjoy the photos below of some of the things to see and do in Gyeongju. Read more “Photo Essay: Gyeongju, South Korea”