Spring! Spring! Spring!

I am officially a fan of 봄 (bom)! Not just the lead vocal of the very famous Korean girl group 2NE1 박봄 (Park Bom)  but the season itself.  A lot of K-Pop fans would probably know that 봄 means spring in Korea.  This year I am fortunate enough to travel again to South Korea.  It is my 6th time to visit South Korea and March 2014 marks my 3rd time to experience spring.

What makes me more excited now is that I will be traveling down to 진해 (Jinhae), a small town in the province of 경상남도 (Gyeongsangnamdo).  Just a bit of information on naming places in Korea,  도 (do) is province in Korean. In the name 경상남도, 남 (nam) means south and so Gyeongsangnamdo is Province of South Gyeongsang.  If there is south, the likelihood of having a north version is almost always there and north is 북 (buk).  With that, North Province of Gyeongsang would be– 경상북도 (Gyeongsangbukdo) where the booming city of 대구 (Daegu) is located.

The town of Jinhae is where the biggest cherry blossom festival is held every year.  For this year, the festival is happening from April 1-10, 2014.  Based from the research I made, this is one of the most sought after festival in Korea.  Now I realize what my long lost language exchange partner had been talking about.  He was so proud of their province Gyeongsangnamdo, he mentioned that the biggest cherry blossom happens in their place. The traffic can be very heavy during this period but the good thing is the KTX makes a special direct route to Jinhae during festival period.  We will be a day earlier from the festival  and hopefully we see the cherry trees in almost its full bloom.

The weather forecast kept on changing for the past weeks but as of today, the forecast during our stay shows a no rain during our period of stay.  According to the people I talked to last year when we visited Jeju, cherry blossoms disappears as soon as it rains.  This is why experiencing cherry blossom would be a bit tricky if you are a foreigner like me who will need to book in advance to travel to Korea.  The cherry blossom festival is usually announced within the month of March which is relatively near the actual date of the festival. The spring festivals is announced by the Korean Tourism through their website.  During spring there are several other places in Korea that is worth a visit.

Spring here I come!

Addresses in South Korea

While looking at the comments and answering them, I thought of making this post.  Are you planning to send a letter or a package to someone in South Korea?  Chances are with the difference in writing system, it may be a challenge even to write address in Korea.  However, based on experience, addresses written in Alphabet normally reaches the recipient.

First and foremost, addresses in Korean are written in reverse order as what most of us maybe used to.  Just to give an example a typical address (mock address) would be  2F Burgundy Building 77 Buendia St. Barangay Bel-air Makati City 1226.  The way this will be written in Korea would be 1226 Makati City, Barangay Bel-air  Buendia St. 77 Burgundy Building 2F.

When I was planning my first visit to South Korea in 2008, i was looking for a specific address in Gangnam I wrote it down so I can show it to the taxi driver.  While reading about locating places in Korea I realized how big this country and to be more specific, Seoul.  They say some places maybe hard to find because streets are not usually marked.  One friend even told me that finding a small building within Seoul is like looking for a needle in a hay sack.

If you have seen at least a Seoul City map which you normally get from hotels and in the airport you might be surprised to see names of places and these are some of the things that are worth knowing:

  • 시 (shi) is City such that 서울시 means Seoul City
  • 도 (-do) is province such that 절라북도 (Jeollabukdo) means Jeollabuk province or
  • 구 (-gu) is a ward and is typically written in small letter hyphenated after the place name such as 강남구 (Gangnam-gu)
  • 동(-dong) is a neighborhood within a ward such as 청담동 (Cheongdam-dong)
  • 층 (cheung) is floor number
  • 호 (ho) is suite or apartment number

Streets are called 길 (gil) for smaller streets and for bigger ones its 로 (-ro), be careful though with 로 as depending on the preceding name of the street this may be romanized as -no like the case of my favorite place to stay in Seoul 종로 (Jongro but is actually romanized as Jongno).  Likewise big streets are sometimes divided into 가 (-ga).  Again, like the case of Jongno which is a long street, it is divided into 5-ga. The number 5 is pronounced using the Sino Korean number such that is is O-ga, so 3-ga would be pronounced as Sam-ga.

Here is an example of an address in South Korea which I have been familiar with since this is my choice hotel when in Seoul.

  • 주소: 110-420 서울특벌시 종로구 관수동 122 돌로스 호텔.
  • Address: 110-420 Seoul Teukbyeolshi Jongno-gu Gwansu-dong 122 Doulos Hotel

The above address is translated this way – Doulos Hotel 122 Gwansu Neighborhood Jongno District (ward) 110-420 Seoul Special City South Korea.

When sending parcel or letter outside of South Korea it is very important that you write South Korea after the address. Also, the address should not be translated, only romanized

Seoul…Seoul…Seoul

I am unable to post meantime after the US trip i have been busy preparing for my trip to Korea.  I must say this is the culminating out of country vacation for the year.  This is my 3rd time and I am still excited like its the first time.  I am currently enjoying winter in Seoul and I am super loving it.

The weather for the past two days is ranging from 5 to 12 degrees. It’s colder at night and early morning but walking outside the streets of Myeongdong and Jongno is like seeing my self in one of those movies and dramas.  This year I am lucky I will be able to watch Wheesung perform and YG Family Concert.   I am so excited.

I was likewise able to buy Wheesung’s album and 2NE1 plus i get to buy this new book on understanding some Korean idioms =)

저는 서울에 재미 하고 있어요!