Bottled water


Drunken selfie with my cat, upon stumbling home.

I have discovered the use of the occasional free-with-purchase bottled water, packaged with convenience store boxed meals.  They’re really convenient when you’re lying in bed with a blazing hangover.

Visit to a gaming arcade

Gaming arcades in Korea are fun! The one I went to was 500 won per credit – and all the games cost 1 credit to play! None of that “insert 2 credits to play” nonsense. We put in our money in the change machines, and set off with our 500 won coins.

I played a zombie shoot-em-up co-op game, shot some basketballs, lost horribly at air hockey, and some kind of video whack-a-mole game.  I only took photos at the rhythm games section, though.



Here I am, playing on a Jubeat cabinet by Konami. There’s 16 buttons on the panel, and when you see a panel light up, you press it. It’s surprisingly not easy – or maybe I was just a bit too tipsy by then.



Here’s L, playing GITADORA OverDrive DrumMania – and with a couple of fans, too!



This guy was intense at Beatmania IIDX. It’s a crazy rhythm game that goes so fast – seriously, this guy was moving so fast.  He should have been a pianist or something. Also, take note of the cooling fan (in the winter!), and also the jacket on the railing.



I don’t even know what these buttons do

Shopping day

Continued from previously!


I went window shopping for makeup and skincare, and fortunately didn’t buy any. I already have loads!! I stopped by a Holly’s Coffee for a coffee and a sandwich, which was lovely and perhaps a little overpriced – but never mind, I’m on vacation.  It was nice to people-watch from a window seat.

My bill came out to 10,100 won. I think the Balsamic Mushroom Ciabatta was about 5,700 won, and the Belgian Chocolate Hollyccino was … well, whatever it was.  Couldn’t really get the chocolate shavings up my straw, at the end of the drink.  I wasn’t about to be defeated, so I stabbed at them with my straw until they were small enough. Hahaha!


I also dropped by Davichi’s Myeongdong branch to restock on contact lenses.  Everyone who came into contact with me spoke English to me – Myeongdong being a touristy place and all.  They were out of my right eye’s prescription, so they called in my order to a branch closer to where I live.  That branch was also out of my right eye’s prescription (is it popular or something!?), and will order it and have it in by Thursday evening.  Just to be safe, I’ll pick it up on Friday.

And I came to the realization that I understood everything (Korean) that was said on the phone, and was written on the computer screen about my prescription and visits.  I even had a full conversation in Korean with the lady helping me, before she discovered I (perhaps unnecessarily?) explained, out of habit, that I’m an American foreigner.  Okay, time to stop being lazy and buck up with volunteering my Korean language skills.  In my defense, today was supposed to be a lazy day where I wouldn’t have to double-think everything that came out of my mouth. From now on – in Korea, speak Korean! Unless someone wants to practice English with me.  Or if I’m in Myeongdong or something, or if my accent that day is too thick.


Clothes shopping!  Edae is lots of fun, and less crowded than Hongdae.  Some makeup shops, some socks and shoes, and lots of student-priced clothing.  My socks have been getting holes in them (embarrassing), so I bought three pairs here (I actually need more), and also about five shirts.  Shirts were between 10,000 – 15,000 won each, and the socks were 1,000 won each.

I also stopped by Olive Young, to pick up a circular hairbrush (need to get a hairdryer eventually, too). I ended up also buying some whitening strips for my teeth too, because it was 1+1 (buy 1 get 1 free…but you have to buy both) for 12,000 won.

So, a bit of a spendy day today, but still a nice trip out.

Haircut and shopping in Seoul

I’m currently on vacation, so today I went to three places in Seoul, with all kinds of things planned for each location. For this post: the haircut in Hongdae.


I went here to get a haircut at Hair&Joy.  Pretty easy to find, it’s a short walk away from Hongdae Station exit 8.  I had called yesterday to make an appointment.  When I arrived there today, I saw they had a sign in the window that said they are closed on Mondays – fortunately someone was around to pick up my call yesterday, which was also a Monday!  Probably someone who just happened to be in, or was doing the bookkeeping, I don’t know.  Maybe the calls get forwarded to another number on Mondays.

I’ve been in Korea for almost two years, and I’ve always gone to local salons and used my imperfect Korean language skills to get by.  This time, I thought I’d check out a place where foreigners go.  It was nice to speak English and feel like I had fully expressed what I wanted … even though I walked in with only a vague idea of what I wanted, haha. I said I wanted to cover up my massive forehead and also cut my long hair to slightly above shoulder-length – and after my hair wash, she showed me a picture of Hyeri from Girl’s Day, and asked me what about something like this, but with more front hair/bangs?

this is not the picture she showed me, but more or less the same hair

And I now have Girl’s Day Hyeri hair, but longer and with a hint of bangs. Typical schoolgirl haircut, really.  My hair is now about 15 cm (6 in.) shorter, and feels much lighter and easier to deal with.  I hate when my hair gets long enough that I can smell it.


The total came out to 30,000 won, which is not that much different than the usual 22,000 won (I think?) it usually costs me at Riahn and other salons around where I live.  The pricelist on the window outside says 25,000 for a ladies’ haircut, so I guess my 30,000 won was because of the wash+style, or maybe it’s the foreigner price, haha.

헤어엔조이 (Hair & Joy)
서울특별시 마포구 홍익로6길 74, 홍남빌딩 3층 [Naver Map] [Daum Map]
Seoul, Mapo-gu, Hongik-ro-6-gil, 74, Hongnam Building, 3F [Google Maps]

Coupang delivery


After over a year of only buying on Gmarket, I have discovered Coupang‘s Rocket Delivery! I never noticed or looked for an alternative, because I was okay with Gmarket, and figuring out the fuzzy math of delivery periods. It does get a bit tricky to be unsure when your bottled water delivery is actually coming. I’ve had to go to the store and buy water in the meantime anyway, and then carry those heavy 2L bottles home.

So. Anyway. Coupang.  Next-day delivery in the major cities, and it’s free delivery for orders over 9,800 won.  It’s great for household goods and water.

It’s better than Gmarket because you can buy a bunch of different things, all from one retailer (Coupang). For Gmarket, it’s basically a marketplace of different sellers (like eBay or Amazon Marketplace), and you’d end up having to buy 3 bottles of shampoo in one go, Costco-style.

During the ordering process, I selected the option for having my things placed by my door, and I received a confirmation text message when it was done. Not just a confirmation text, but also a confirmation photo! I thought it was a cute touch that there’s a hand in the photo, in a “here it is” gesture.


There’s … a lot of packaging. The little box on top contained one 50 g sachet of curry mix.  The second box, two bubble-wrapped jars of spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce.  The biggest box contained one sleeve (twelve 80 g cans) of cat food.

Heavy snow


I woke up to a heavy torrent of snow and wind on Thursday. Snow from all directions except from below! I walked to work with an umbrella but ended up coated in snow anyway. It was amazing, I loved it!

Also, the fresh snow means that I can walk without worrying about cracking my skull open on the pavement.



It’s also a little warmer, compared to snowless days. This has been the heaviest amount of snow I’ve seen, during my time in South Korea.



This week, I was asked why I was keeping condoms on my desk. I almost yelled, “It’s tea!” I’m just trying to have a vaguely flavored hot beverage on hand, in this concrete building!


Weekend update

The weekend’s almost over, and no war yet. All the talk of South Korea/North Korea playing their game of brinkmanship is making everyone anxious, but not panicking. This happens every year. That said, this summer’s edition is unusually intense.




I took Whiskey to the vet because he kept scooting his (clean) butt on the carpet and couch cover. I got some meds for him, and I hope it’s treating an actual condition. I would hate it if the butt-scooting is just a bad habit of his. The vet said that the anal glands were clear, and there’s no worms … so the medication was to get rid of a “protozoa infection” (according to Google Translate). I haven’t seen any butt-scooting since Thursday, so I’m hoping it worked. But maybe I just haven’t seen him.



The guilty party.



I made some Irish soda bread on Saturday, mixing three flours: Korean “strong”/high-protein flour (강력 밀가루), King Arthur Flour whole wheat, and King Arthur Flour rye flour. Not bad. Better than my previous attempt with Korean whole-wheat flour, which came out yellow (?), probably because there wasn’t any wheat germ in it? I don’t know.

Cheese is a luxury here, but I splash out every now and then on a block of Cathedral strong cheddar from Homeplus. Korean-style bacon (not the BBQ “bacon” aka samgyeopsal) is thinner and doesn’t seem to cook as easily, which is suspicious. I eat it anyway.

Dental scaling

I went for a general dental appointment today. Ow. It’s right up there as my most efficient but painful dental appointment. Walked in without an appointment, filled out my name/ARC number/address/phone number, and signed.  Sat for about 5 minutes, and then got called in, someone went at me with dental equipment, and I paid.

It would have cost 60,000 won out of pocket. But with my Korean national health insurance, it ended up costing me 24,000 won. Which is pricier than the 15,000 I was told to expect. Hm. Next time, I’ll try out a different dentist. I don’t even know when I can go for my next subsidized cleaning.

iCing Grapefruit


iCing grapefruit-flavored “ade” (ade as in lemonade, but it’s grapefruit!), the cheapest non-beer thrill at 7-11. It’s 4.5%, and only 1,300 won! (That’s 1.09 usd)

The next step up is a tin of Somersby Apple Cider at 3,300 won. That’s supposed to be a rare treat. Sometimes, it’s on sale at 10,000 won for 4 cans. I never buy 4 cans because I’m not an alcoholic, duh!