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Sunday, October 21, 2012

WKB Media Tour September 2012, Cultural Experience : Pansori, Jeonju, South Korea

Pansori is a one-man operatic genre. Combining word of pan (space or stage) and sori (sound or song).
A singer traditionally called gwangdae, delivers an epic story through sori (song), aniri (narration) abd ballim (gesture).
A drummer called gosu and playing the buk (barrel-shaped drum) as a acompaniying the singer.
The drummer plays various jangdan (rhythmic cycles) and also gives out calls of encouragement or chuimsae at appropriate moments, sometimes audiences involve in chuimsae which creates a lively and interactive performance.

Pansori also has the up and down phase, while the 19th century  was the golden age for Pansori. The audiences mostly yangban and middle class at that time.

The beauty of Pansori was expected through a harmonious combination of narration, voice, rhythm tone and neoreumsae (gestures) all together.
Originally pansori were performed only by males, towards the mid of 19th century, there also female could performed Pansori. The first female Pansori singer is Jin Chae Seon, she was from Jeollabuk do.

Pansori structure's including speaking, singing in between. A vocal intertext of music and words, spoken and song accompanied with drum.
Customarily it begins with a warm-up act in the form of danga 'short song' in Jungmori rhythm.
Then when the singer enters the main narative, he also introduces time, place and dramatic context, this part called aniri.
Stylistic speech and illustrates of emotional in Sori (singing) when the mind is moved to pleasure, the sound is slow and gentle; when the mind is moved to sorrow, the sound is slow and sharp and fading away, and when the mind is moved to anger, the sound is coarse and fierce; when the mind is moved to reverenge, the sound is straight forward; and when the mind is moved to joy, the sound is exclamatory and soon disapears.
It can be said, singing is the language of the heart that conveys feeling.

Through WKB tour, I had a change to watch a pansori live in Jeonju Hanok Village as my first experience, I was so excited and the pansori was so amazing. It is more beautiful to watch on live than on youtube. I can feel the vibre from the singer and sound of the drum, the melody and rhytmn also hypnotized me. It was so amazing experience I had on this tour.

Reference : 
Pansori, introduction : (Korean Musicology Series 2) Pansori, The National Center of Korean Traditional Performing Arts.

WKB (Worldwide Korea Blogger) Media Tour, September 20th 2012, Jeonju, South Korea

WKB Media Tour, September 2012 : Rice Tteok Museum, Seoul

On this WKB tour, I had a change to visit Rice Tteok Museum in Seoul, South Korea.
This place is quite interesting and important to know, because tteok is one of important part in Korean life.
It can be said that tteok is a celebratory food. 
In this museum, I can get some information related with tteok, here is also displayed about various of tteok for any important celebration day in Korea,

The main ingredient of tteok (traditional rice cake) is glutinous rice flour which is cooked through various methods such as 찌는 떡 steaming, 삶는 떡 boiled, 치는 떡 pounded, shaped or 지지는 떡 pan frying. 

 찌는 떡 steaming tteok variant are 백설기 Baekseolgi, 콩떡 Kongtteok, 증편 Jeungpyeon, 무지개떡 Mujigae tteok. 치는 떡 pounded variant is 가래떡 Garaetteok, shaped tteok variants are 꿀떡 Ggul tteok, 송편 Songpyeon, 고치떡 Gochitteok, 쌈떡 Ssamtteok, 닭알떡 Dalgal tteok, Gyeongdan, 부편 Bupyeon and 지지는 떡 pan frying tteok variants are 부꾸미 Bukkumi, 주악 Juak, and 화전 Hwajeon.

Tteok also can be made as a dish such as 떡국 tteokguk usually eat at the lunar new year, and 떡볶이 tteokbokki a popular Korean snack.

Traditional rice cakes have been enjoyed as a dessert or for special occations since the agricultural era. Layered rice cake, sweet rice cake, half-moon rice cake, sweet rice balls,
sweet rice with nuts and jujubes, pan-fried sweet rice cake ccoated with flower petals are usually served as desserts while white cake (cylindricae rice pasta) are served as a main dish.

Rice cake vary widely according to the preparation method, kind of flour and ingredients.
The flour can be made from :
rice, sweet rice, millet or potatoes.

Classified by the kind of ingredients mixed in, there are mugwort rice cake and sweet rice cake with beans. In addition, rice cake can be differentiated by their powder coating, there are red bean rice cake, barnyard red bean rice cake ad mung bean rice cake.

According to the cooking method :
Sweet rice cake, patterned rice cake, halfmoon puffed rice cake and sweet rice balls, including sweet rice balls with mugwort and sweet rice balls with red beans.

This museum are devided into two sections. The first part displays variation of tteok devided by the occations. Such as tteok for Seollal, Samjit Day, Yudu Day, Chuseok and other seasonal tteok.
The second part displays the variance of tteok based on the traditional rituals, such as tteok for wedding, birthday, and another rituals.

I also had a change to try some sweet tteok here in Jilsiru Tteok Cafe which has nice interior and decoration. We can eat some various type and shape of tteok while seeing the outside view from the inside of the cafe, it feels hommy and comfortable. Besides tteok this cafe is also offering various of cookies and teas, special tteok packaged as a gift sets for some occation are also available here. I really enjoy it and so excited here. Especially it is the most delicious tteok I have ever tried in my life.

Directions :
Seoul-si Jongno-gu Donhwamun-ro 71
Jongno 3-ga Station (Seoul Subway Line 1, 3, 5), Exit 6.

Literatures :
Korean Food Guide in English, The Korea Foundation.
Online resources.

WKB (Worldwide Korea Blogger) Media Tour, September 19th 2012, Seoul, South Korea

WKB Media Tour, September 2012 : Miso Musical Performance

Miso, Korean Musical Performance Represents All Aspects Of Korean Culture.

For those who are interesting to Korean culture especially the traditional culture, I recommend to watch this performance. Please give some time to watch this, while you travelling to Korea, because it is worth to watch.
Miso translated as a "smile", put almost all the aspects of Korean culture in their performance.
The music are playing with Korean traditional instruments, mixed with modern music instruments that gives you, the fusion aura for the music. Sounds very dinamic and lively. The artists also gave a total performance, they also put some audiences to get involved in the story.

A musical perfomance, presented the Romeo and Juliet happy ending story from Korea. Chunhyang and Mongryong. All I can say this performance was amazing, even I regret because of some noises that caused by another annoying audiences and children. If I can give some suggestions, I hope the management will consider about the minimum age that can be allowed to watch this performance, such as adding another musical performance show which is more suitable for children audiences and I hope they will provide the songs cd, because I really crazy for all of the music from start to end.

I will let you courious by not writting about this in details. Please come to Korea and see this great musical performance by yourself.
Besides the musical performance, I also courious about who Chunhyang and Mongryong exactly are, and I have found the complete story from the literature Pansori, Korean Musicology series. Here I want to share this happy ending love story below.

The story of Chunhyang. During the early reign of King Sukjong, the Great (1674 - 1720) in the township of Namweon, Jeolla province, there stayed a young gentleman by the name of Yi Mongryong, handsome, intelligent and outstanding son of the new magistrate from Seoul. One fine spring day, tired of books, Mongryong takes a tour of the town with the servant Bangja as a guide. AtGwanghallu pavilion, he sees in the distance, the beautiful Chunhyang, daughter of the retired gisaeng Weolmae, on the swing. That evening, Mongryong visits Chunhyang's mother Weolmae, and persuades her to let him have Chunhyang. The two exchanges nuptial vows. Meanwhile, Mongryong's father the magistrate is promoted back to Seoul, and Mongryong has to accompany his parents. In a Confucian society, it was unthinkable for a son of nobleman to take a concubine prior to passing the state examination and being properly wedded to a girl from a noble family. Pledging to meet again, sadly they parted. An official by the name of Byeon Hakdo, having heard of the beautiful Chunhyang, petitions to be stationed in the township of Namweon as the new magistrate.

 Immediately following his inauguration, Byeon relentlessy harrasses Chunhyang to serve him. She refuses, saying she was already wedded, and Byeon orders her torture and imprisonment. Her beheading is scheduled as the highlight of examination and won the first-place honor. He was awarded with royal insignia, to serve the state as inspector incognito. He leads his secret police forces to Namweon, righting wrongs along the way. On the eve of Chunyang's execution, Mongryong turns up at her gate. Weolmae, who had been praying fervently for his return as her daugther's savior, despaired at his beggared state. His return as an official higher ranked than the magistrate would have been the only recourse. At the prison cell that night, the lovers meet. At the height of the banquet the next day, the thunderous announcements for the arrival of the secret royal inspector are heard from every direction. Havoc breaks loose as the magistrate and all the guests rush around looking for places to hide. Justice is delivered at last, as the royal inspector orders punishment for the corrupt ones and freedom for the innocent. Chunhyang is brought before the royal inspector. He asks her if she would serve him. Deploring the inspector as worse than the magistrate. she demands her death without delay. The lady-in-waiting takes from him to her the jade ring she had given him at parting. Moments of recognition and celebration, and the story ends happily.

Website :

Address :
Chongdong Theater, 43 Jeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
5 minutes distance along the Duksoogung palace stone wall from City Hall subway station. (Lie 1 Exit 1 or Line 2 exit 2)

Literature :
Pansori, Korean Musicology Series. 

WKB (Worldwide Korea Blogger) Media Tour, September 19th 2012, Seoul, South Korea

WKB Media Tour, September 2012 : The Philosophy, culture and spirit of Korean Cuisine (Jeonju Bibimbap)

Korean cuisine has deep rooted in a certain philosophy. The best seasoning is 'tender loving care', which comes from mixing spices by hand. The finger tip taste when someone makes food with their own hands, a special taste is added.

Mixing and sharing the philosophy.
There is a harmonious and symphony relation between preparation, cooking and eating. Some of Korean dishes that should mixed together between ingredients and seasonings such as kimchi, bulgogi, japchae and bibimbap. The secret to good cooking lies in this succesful balance of flavors.

Sharing food as the expression of love and togetherness. Everything is shared from banchan (Korean side dishes) to the main dishes except a rice.
When Koreans want to get to know someone, the first thing they would say is "Let's have lunch or dinner".

Harmonious and balancing
The harmonious things in Korean cuisine also can be found when liquid food meets solid food. It is one of fundemental harmony of yin and yang. Korean food ingredient are also have a colorful items. The colors represents of five directions on earth, east, south, west, north and center are red, white, yellow, green and black. I have already written about this color philosophy on the previous post.

While all of the color of ingredients that represents of all of the directions are mixed together in one bowl, there will be a harmonious, balance and also gives a good benefit for the body.

Jeonju Bibimbap on WKB tour
During WKB media tour organized by KOCIS on September 2012, I had a great change to feel those of philosophy of Korean food I have mentioned above. Together with my other WKB fellow, we went to Jeonju located in the southwest of Korean peninsula and perceived as a capital food of Korea, which is very famous of their bibimbap. The first reference to bibimbap appears in the Siui jeonseo, a cookbook written in the Korean vernacular which is published in the late 1800s. Bibimbap from Jeonju is selected as the best bibimbap in Korea. Besides of it's great taste, bibimbap also good for healthy, contains with various things of vegetable, it is good to prevent from some deceases such as to control cholesterol, control the high blood pressure, diabetes, constipation and many deceases. That's why bibimbap has recommended as a healthy food.

Besides trying Jeonju bibimbap itself, I also tried many tempting side dishes, pajeon, kimchi, and also gamja jorim the last I mentioned is one of my favorite banchan.

Photo by Ema Ho

I can say, all of the dishes are prepared with love. A beautiful structure of bibimbap and also the great taste of banchan mixed all together into a harmony.
I had a great experience and feeling of sharing and togetherness by eating and sharing a lot of banchan together with my WKB friends also had felt a harmonius and balancing life by mixing a beautiful and colorful bibimbap all together and eat all of them. This is my amazing experience I have ever had ^^

Literature :
Korean Food Guide in English, The Korea Foundation.
Online resources.

WKB (Worldwide Korea Blogger) Media Tour, September 20th 2012, Jeonju, South Korea

WKB Media Tour, September 2012 : Samgyetang, Korean Healthy Food

삼계탕 Samgyetang is one kind of variance soup in Korean dishes. With chicken as a main ingredient, it usually eat in the summer and it can be prevent from the illness. Another ingredients are glutinous rice, ginseng, jujube, garlic and ginger. 

Eating samgyetang in Korea is one experience, I hadn't expected before. Located in Insadong, Seoul. This restaurant also has a great taste vinegar. I love it to taste all of them and someday I want to come back to this restaurant so enjoy samgyetang and also a vinegar again :)

WKB (Worldwide Korea Blogger) Media Tour, September 19th 2012, Insadong, Seoul, South Korea

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Korean Film Festival, Jakarta Oct 3rd ~ 9th, 2012

Korean Fim Festival, one of the event as a part of Korea Indonesia Week 2012 event was held on this October in Jakarta, Indonesia. Eight top Korean movies were played on the movie theatre, with approximately four various movies from various genre (comedy, action, historical and animation) were played randomly every day from Oct 3rd ~ 9th 2012. This event is presented by Korean Cultural Center Indonesia.

The movies are : 
오싹한 연애 Spellbound
최종병기 활 War of The Arrows
오늘 A Reason to Live
마당을 나온 암탉 Leafie, A Hen Into The wild
Mr. 아이돌 Mr. Idol
페이스메이커 Pacemaker
파파 Papa
퀵 Quick

People were excited for this film festival, long queue dan fully seat were always captured during the festival. I can captured their smile, they had showed after watching the movie and most of them then made a queue for another movie session.
Curiously, I made some small interviews with some viewers, and most of them are female from age of mid 20's. They said that they've known about Korea since junior high school thorugh Korean drama or movie.

Winter Sonata, Boys Before Flowers and Full House are some of their first Korean drama they've watched. When I asked them, who is their favorite actors or actrees, they mentioned Jang Geun Suk and Kim Jae Won as their idol. One of Kim Jae Won fan showed me some of Kim Jae Won's photos saved on her mobile phone and told me about him with exciting expression. When she was asked if she had a change to meet Kim Jae Won and what will she do, she answered she will take som photos of him and asked for the signature. I hope her wish come true and she can meet Kim Jae Won someday ^^

Some of male viewers I had a conversation with, told that they are very exciting with the movies and also commented "Korean movie has a full of moral story, and also can entertaining their viewers as well.

Photos by Maria Margareta