Best of K-Pop (Korean Pop)

Thanks to a recent popular Korean drama called “Smile, You” I came across the following track and it instantly became my favorite Korean track till date.  This is a song by Melo’ Breeze (멜로 브리즈) and is very apt for the drama, which reveals a story about two families who used to live at the opposite ends of the world, forced to come together by fate.  It details how the super rich family tries to make it, after going bankrupt, living in their former chauffeur’s (who is a grandpa) house following his rules. Check out the song below.

Just for the listening pleasure, the next song is Vis-à-vis, by the same band.

Good Day.

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Long Time No See!!

It has been really really long since I posted last..

So many things happened.. So many changes.. So many new experiences.. Started a new phase of my life.. etc etc…

First of all.. I graduated.. Yay!! I am now a M.S. degree holder .. hehe

I will explain in brief about what I have been upto. I hope to post in detail about a few of them in the near future.

July was a month full of tours.. First week, I went to the biggest theme park in Korea, called Everland and Caribbean Bay (Owned by Samsung).

A few pics from these places (taken from public domain)

Everland

2500339-Yongin_Everland_theme_park_South_Korea-YonginKorea Everland 08Caribbean Bay

Caribbean Baycaribbeanbay

Then the following week, I happened to visit Jeju Island which is also considered as the most beautiful place in Korea. It has been two years since I came to korea, but I never got a chance to visit Jeju so far. As I have heard many stories about the place, I would be lying if i said I was not looking forward to the trip. The trip was for 4days 3 nights, and we also climbed the tallest mountain in Korea, Hallasan Mountain. It is a dormant volcano with a huge crater on the top. The total distance covered on foot was about 19km. Other than the mountain, we also went to various beaches and stayed in beach side cottages.

Jeju Island

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Then in the third week of July was my trip to Japan. I thought Korea was pollution free, but after my trip to Japan (for a week), I could really feel the not-so-noticeable but still existent pollution in Korea. Japan was THAT CLEAN!! The weather was hot and humid though. We stayed in Tokyo and went to places like Kamakura (through the seaside railways), Odaiba, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Tokyo Disney Sea etc.

Japanese cuisine is awesome.. Udong (Thick noodles) was the best I have ever had (after having eaten different varieties of udong from Korea). On a cultural facet, the experience was really touching. The humility of the people was something that was striking. But one thing which caught my eye was Japanese fashion sense. They had a comic-book kind of fashion idea. I believe that resembling comic-book characters is the current fashion trend among youngsters.

I will write a separate post with details and pics from Japan in the near future.

Then came the fourth week of July, I went to my home sweet home.. Spent about 50 days there and then came back to Korea on 11th September 2009.

Those were the most diverse and exciting four weeks in my entire life..

I joined Samsung in mid september and that was the beginning of a new phase of my life. I work in the WiMAX/LTE System Lab in the R&D Department of Samsung Digital Media and Communications Division. The team is pretty good and the team members are really kind. I hope that I can do my best here and work hard to have a good professional career.

Keeping fingers crossed!!

Why on earth do they do this?

Merry Christmas to you .. 🙂 It has become chilly these days in Seoul.. The winter has come but not with much snow when compared to last year’s…

Went Skiing to the largest ski resort in Korea.. Was pretty much incident-less but for a small muscle sprain on my knee. Nothing serious 🙂 .. Visiting an acupuncture clinic these days..

Spent my christmas with my favorite person.. We met over dinner and a coffee from Starbucks… Was quite fun.. I was given “BVLGARI Pour Homme Travel Trio” as my Christmas gift (For the unawares, BULGARI a.k.a. BVLGARI is an Italian jeweler and luxury goods retailer, founded way back in 1884)..

Anyhoo.. Coming to the post.. While i was coming back from the hospital today, I decided to buy some snacks and fruits. I went to the street seller and asked me to give me the snacks worth $2. I should have actually got 6 of them, but he gave me 7 with a smile.. After that, I went to a fruit store to buy apples. The apples were pretty big and costed $1 per apple. I asked the good lady there to give me apples for $10. She asked her husband to help get the apples and they gave me 11 of them with the 11th one costing not an additional $1 but nothing more than a smile and a thank you..

This is not the fist time I am experiencing such noble actions. While I agree that NOT everyone here in Korea do that, I have met with this kind of generosity very frequently. There is no relation between me and the seller and all that he needed to have given me was what I had paid for.. These instances really make your introspect…

There have also been instances where I was crossing the road and was waiting for the next car to pass me before I cross the road. The car which was coming pretty quick (which is the case with the vehicles here, where the average speed is quite high), saw me wanting to cross (but waiting for him to pass), stopped the car, let me cross and only then continued his journey…

There was also an incident right here, where the restaurant lady gave us an extra portion of food (worth about $4) for free, asking us like our own grand mom, “Eat more my dear children and stay healthy“… She gave away the food for free with a smile..

I am sure that some of my readers would find these actions/this post silly, but I for one really respect such an attitude that and I wish more and more people would be like them…

Good Day…

Music – The Enchantress (II)

Hey there

This is the second post in the series aimed at introducing my favorite Korean music to all my friends outside Korea.. The main motivation behind this was that I believe that there is a very little chance of you guys getting to know these songs otherwise… 🙂

The following enlists the songs so far:

1. Sarang Heyo – A Millionaire’s First Love (사랑해요 – 백만장자의 첫사랑)

2. Cry – Lee Sung Cheol (소리쳐 – 이승철)

Hope you liked this one as well…

Kiran

Finally I Played (Indoor) Golf!!!!

Hey there

Last weekend was pretty happening for me.. As you can see in my last post here, I attended the Asia Song Festival, a concert of such magnitude for the first time in my life. The day before that, My friend invited me over to meet her best friend. The latter was working in an indoor Golf Club, due to which we were allowed to play golf in there for free 🙂 (since her boss was not around.. hehe.. so nice of her) ..

Anyhoo.. Coming to the post, I played for about 30 minutes and it was really fun.. Before this, I have only seen the golf bat golf clubs and golf balls in movies and with Tiger Woods… For me it was a boring sports played only by the filthy rich people who had nothing else to do to while away their time (may be I was jealous since I could never ever afford one kit.. I remember looking at $2000 golf kits back in Hyderabad, India, wishfully… 😉 … ).. This was the first time I ever could hold one in my own hands.. With a little bit of introductory teaching from my friend, (Who is a good teacher btw, if the lessons could make me hit atleast a few shots right in my first day at golf), I started swinging. First shot, hit the rug.. bad.. second… same way.. third.. i tried to keep the bat club a li’l bit up, to avoid the previous mistakes, and successfully evaded the rug.. but on its way, it was able to “successfully” evade the ball as well.. 🙂 .. After many such shots, finally I could hit a few shots, which could be termed “just decent”.. After the end of our golfing session, there I was with an amused heart and a few lucky shots and a majority of miss-shots..:)

Here are a two pics of me in action.. hehehe

One thing for sure though..  would like to try it out again if I get a chance.. 🙂

Music Transcends Cultures: Asia Song Festival 2008

I am writing this post with my heart still ringing to the beats of the 5th Asia Song Festival which was held at the World Cup Stadium, Seoul on 4th October 2008 1800 – 2200 Hours. For the uninformed, Asia Song Festival, is the biggest Asia Level concert with all the greatest singers and bands from all over Asia comes under one umbrella. This aims at providing the spectators with a magnificent fusion of light effects and music. The performers are recepients of the Best Asian Artist Award in the recent years. The audience this year was about 50 000 with participation seen from a variety of societal standings ranging form middle school students to certain ministers of Korea. The special guest list also included the most popular fashion designer in Korea. Along with these big people (who sat in VIP seats right next to the stage) even foreigners (non residents) who were in Korea were each allowed a VIP pass themselves.

This was the first time I was attending a concert of such a huge scale.. The performers this year came from the following countries: Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia. They provided 4 full hours of wonderful entertainment to the audience. The theme this year was “Asia is One” and I guess the organizers and the artists tried to convey it in its complete sense. For me, this was a wonderful chance to meet the most famous singers from various countries across Asia and the taste their music in person.

Here are some snaps to know what I am talking about … Apologies for the quality, since I dont have a sufficiently powerful lens.. yet..

After the concert.. One thing left me thinking .. Music does transcend regions and cultures…

PS1: The concert was “FREE for all” for the entire 50 000 in the audience. Roughly 4000 people flew from around the world to take part in the concert (There were many westerners as well) . Even the VIP seats (where one could sit near the ministers, and VIPs were given out for free to foreigners and some Koreans). I could not help but wonder about the generosity of the sponsors who would have had to pay all the artists, stage and other huge expenses involved.

PS2: And yeah.. There were absolutely NO metal detectors or Frisks anywhere on my way to my seat, 4th row from the front… Man the Koreans do trust everyone as much as they trust their own country men.. I am constantly impressed by how much they emphasize on mutual trust and respect. I am sure that something like this wont be safe to be implemented in similar situations, at countless other places in this same world… One main reason I love this country and countrymen..

PS3: There were no misbehaviors from anyone in the crowd, except two guys who tried to create my-country-your-country feelings with certain levels of misbehaviors, which was against the “Asia is ONE (country)” motto of the ASF 2008, and were immediately suppressed.

Acquiring a Korean Driver’s License

The day before yesterday I received my Korean Driver’s License Class Two. It means that I can drive cars and bikes and almost any vehicle except those the bus and truck types..

This post is meant to be a guideline for an Indian in Korea who wants to get a Drivers License. Since India has an agreement with Korea, the whole process of getting a Korean Drivers License (valid for 10 years) is really simple and would take not more than 3-4 hours including the transportation involved..

  1. Preparation: You would need to take your Passport, Alien Registration Card, Original Indian Drivers License and three Passport Size Photographs.
  2. Take two photostat copies of the Indian license and one each of your passport (first and last pages) and your alien registration card.
  3. Go to Indian Embassy, Seoul located in Hannam. This station is Located in Line 1 just above the Han river (positioned near the central region of the subway map)
    • Better plan this visit so that you reach the embassy any weekday before 12:30 pm.
    • Exit from Hannam Station, take a taxi and ask them to take you to Indian Embassy (인도 대서관, Indo Dae Seo Kwan in Korean).
  4. After getting a from from the embassy, Submit KRW 16,000 to the account specified, at the Korea Exchange Bank located down the road.
  5. Get one copy of your license attested from the Embassy.
  6. Go to the nearest Drivers License Agency (운전면허시험장, Un Cheon Myeong Heo Si Heom Chang in Korean)
    • If you are a SNU student, the nearest one is at a walking distance from Samseong Station, Exit 1.
    • If you are not, here is a complete list of locations in Seoul.
      Gangnam Driver’s Licence Test Site Subway Line 2. Samseong Station(Exit. 1)
      Seobu (west) Driver’s Licence Test Site Subway Line 2. Hongik Univ. Station(Exit. 2)
      – Green Bus 7016
      Gangso Driver’s Licence Test Site Subway Line 5. Songjeong Station(Exit. 4)
      – Green Bus 6647
      Dobong Driver’s Licence Test Site Subway Line 4. Nowon Station(Exit. 9)
  7. If you are going to the Driver License office in Gangnam, go to the second floor of the office and submit and application.
  8. You need to get an application filled from there and then go down to test your Eye (takes about 60 seconds literally) and then get a seal stamped on your application. You have to pay KRW 11, 000 (6, 000 for the license and 5,000 for the Eye test)  in this process.
  9. Go back to the second floor, submit the test reports, wait for 10 minutes.
  10. Voila!! You’ve got your new license with 10 years validity.

Note: You have to surrender your Indian License when you get your Korean License. But you can get it back when you go to India the next time by showing your Air Ticket, Passport and the Korean License (which need NOT be surrendered) . From that time forth you can have both the licenses with you.

For more details :
http://www.dla.go.kr/english/index.jsp
http://english.seoul.go.kr/residents/transport/trans_07driv_01.html

Enjoy driving in Korea!!!