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Useful tips

2021 National Holidays

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Let’s check out the Holidays of this nation.

Here are the days to note for the 1st half of the year.

and these days from the 2nd half of the year.

Do you already have plans in mind on what to do during these holidays?

May we take time to commemorate these special days whether alone or with our families – indoors or outdoors.

And don’t forget to take the precautionary measures for our safety during this time of pandemic.

Studying Korean during Covid-19

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Recently the government has raised the social distancing level in Cheonan to level two. With all the new cases of Covid-19 and the cold winter weather, many people are staying indoors. This is a perfect time to start studying Korean again. In this article, I will show you some useful websites and some study methods for all levels of Korean learners that you can use from the comfort of your own home.

If you are a beginner in Korean and want to study with a tutor. Italki offers lots of tutors for all levels of learners. You can sign up for writing, free speaking, culture, and grammar classes. You sign up, pick a tutor that you want to use, and then start studying. All of the tutors offer a wide variety of class times. You can take from a short 30-minute class to a 90-minute class. All of the tutors have an introduction video where you can get an idea of their teaching style and personality. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to do distance tutoring socially.

If you are a beginner and want to do some self-studying. Talk to Me in Korean is a great website. The website has two sections: a subscription and a bookstore. The subscription section offers a variety of grammar videos with notes for learning. The book store offers tons of Ebooks to help beginner and intermediate learners. There are books on grammar, conversations, news articles, and even kpop lessons. If you are unsure of your Korean ability, there is even a free Korean test you can take.

If you are like me and want to study for cheap. Naver offers a variety of webtoons that you can read for free. The webpage separates the webtoons into different genres. There are romance, sports, high school, work, horror, and children’s webtoons. No matter your personal preference, there is a webtoon for everyone. The webtoons are all very short and take about 10 minutes to read. They are perfect for learning new vocabulary and practicing reading. Best of all, webtoons are all free!

If you are a beginner or advanced learner, there are always words that you may not know what they mean. Most of my friends use Google translate, which is good, but Naver translate is a better website. To use it, just search a word and then click the subtitle ” 어학사전” Then you will have a list of the translations and some similar words.

Cheonan City Late-night Buses

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Cheonan City has decided to operate late-night buses to enhance the convenience of public transportation during late-night hours starting December.

The city plans to introduce late-night buses that travel every hour from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. when city buses are cut off to connect with other public transportation such as subways, KTX and trains.

The introduction of late-night buses is a part of the transportation welfare services.

Late-night buses will operate on three 16-seat small buses and a total of two routes, and the city plans to deploy late-night buses first in the eastern part of the city, which has a large floating population, using big data analysis service data.

The late-night bus route will run around the terminal, Dujeong Station, Cheonan City Hall. The other one will run the western wings of Cheonan train station, Ssangyong Station, Cheonan Asan Station and Cheonan City Hall.

The late-night bus fare is the same as the regular bus fare in Cheonan, which is 800 won for children, 1,280 won for teenagers, 1,600 won for adults. With transportation cards, it will be 700 won for children, 920 won for teenagers, and 1,500 won for adults. In addition, free transfer can be made once within 45 minutes.

From July to November last year, the city discovered late-night bus routes through a big data analysis project in Cheonan City and signed a business agreement with two city bus companies on late-night bus operations, and plans to purchase small electric buses at a cost of 510 million won (195 million won in state funds and 315 million won in city funds) this month.

A city official said, “There have been complaints about the need for extended operation of city buses only by using taxis because public transportation such as subway, KTX, and trains are not connected to city buses,” adding, “We plan to plan late-night buses to realize universal transportation welfare late at night.”

“The finalized version of late-night bus route has yet to be finalized, but we plan to circulate around sections to enhance connectivity with public transportation such as subways, KTX and trains,” he said. “Through the evaluation of the operation, the late-night bus routes may be expanded.”

Skyscraper in Cheonan: Tallest in Chungnam Province

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A lot of skyscraper flock in the well-known and big cities of Seoul and Busan.

But have you ever wondered what is the tallest building in Cheonan?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in Seoul

photo credits: 63bldg /Lotte World Tower

 

 

 

Hanhwa’s 63 building or known as “YukSam building” and the tallest one in Korea, Lotte World Tower are the well-known skyscrapers in Seoul, Korea. The Lotte World Tower has 123 floors above and 6 floors below the ground.

 

 

 

 

 

in Busan

photo credits: I’Park2 / Zenith / LCT

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile in the waterfront city, Busan, we have the eye-catching Haeundae I Park Marina Tower 2 having 72 floors above the ground and 6 floors below. Another would be Haeundae Doosan We’ve the Zenith complex that has 3 buildings having 80, 75, and 70 floors above the ground. And the new LCT The Sharp Landmark Tower which completed its construction in 2019 having 101 floors above the ground making it as the tallest in Busan while placing 2nd in Korea.

 

 

 

 

 

in Cheonan

photo credits: littleMommaOfKorea

Completing its construction in the year 2011, having an official name of Asan SK Pentaport is a complex of 3 towers standing in the border area of Asan and Cheonan in the farthest part of Buldang district. (get to know about this area here)

 

 

The tallest among the complex is it’s Tower 3, commonly know as Pentaport, having 66 floors above the ground, measuring 705 ft tall. It’s basement 1-2 and the 1st 6 floors are of commercial use.

 

We have Emart on its basement. The Moda outlet where you can do shopping is on the 1st to 3rd floor and the movie theater, CGV, on its last 2 commercial floors. Above these floors are offices and residential units already. 

 

 

 

This Pentaport building is the tallest one in the whole Chungnam Province and the 48th tallest in South Korea. (accdg: skyscrapercenter.com)

 

Address:

1289 Buldang-dong, Seobuk-gu, Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do

충청남도 천안시 서북구 불당동 1289

 

Have you seen or visited this skyscraper of the city?

What other tall buildings do you know or you’ve visited in Korea?

 

Korean Delivery Notifications Decoded: A Quick Comparison

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CJ Logistics, Hanjin Express and Lotte Global Logistics. These are probably the top three delivery companies in Korea at the moment in terms of business-to-business (B2B) market. These are also some of the most common ones that you will see on the road or parked in your neighborhood for business-to-customers (B2C) market.  Let’s find out more about these delivery companies. And as a bonus, we will also include a little bit about Korean postal service company, Korea Post. Let’s look at how they compare in terms of their delivery notifications and user experience from a receiver’s end.

Korean local delivery system is probably one of the most popular advantages while living here. Whether it is for food or goods, we can’t just imagine how it was like before, right? It goes hand in hand with the online shopping system that we tend to use more specially with the COVID19 in our midst. 

Most goods that we order online are delivered to our doorstep through these delivery companies. While some sites have their in-house delivery system (Coupang, Emart, Homeplus, etc.), majority of online sellers use a third-party delivery company. These will most likely be one of the three mentioned above or Korea Post. Sometimes, Logen logistics also shows up as it is the fourth player on the list of B2B delivery companies. But there might be some ownership changes based on current news so we don’t know how it will play out in the logistics field later on. 

1. CJ Logistics

We will cover the first three on this post starting with CJ Logistics. Why? Because this was the first one that managed to drop my ordered goods at our doorstep. I’ve somehow arranged to have all my expected deliveries arrive in one day. It is also when there will be possible online classes going-on at home so I anticipated disruptions with the constant doorbell rings. With that in mind, I taped a note by the door about the situation and to just leave the parcel by the door. This is even if I already indicated that same information when I made the order online in the first place. Some delivery guys still ring the bell and wait outside the door. 

I saw the notification in the morning with a sent timestamp at sometime around midnight. It was short but it included the tracking number, and the expected delivery time within that day with a two-hour delivery window. 

When it arrived, I again received a message that the box is already by the door. This is important to know especially if the parcel is perishable.

2. Lotte Global Logistics 딩동 ♬

If you receive a notification with these characters and symbols on the first line, that’s gonna be from Lotte Global Logistics. The initial notification was sent in the morning, sometime before lunch. It starts with the note about non-contact delivery because of COVID 19 or Corona. It is a very detailed one including details like sender, item, tracking number, delivery guy’s name and number. It also has information on customer center hotline (1588-2121) and how to contact their chatbot LODA. There was no specific time or delivery time window mentioned at all though. 

It did arrive sometime in the afternoon with the delivery guy ringing the bell and leaving the box by the door so all is good since this particular box is non-perishable. 

3. Hanjin Express 

The third and last delivery to arrive is through Hanjin Express. This came around dinner after one notification that I got some time before lunch. The notification is almost like Lotte that starts something about a non-contact delivery because of Coronavirus. It continues with delivery details including sender, item, receiver, tracking number, delivery guy’s name and number. It also has the two-hour window delivery information which in this particular transaction indicated to be between 9-11 PM. It arrived earlier though, before 9PM. 

4. Korea Post 

We now move to the last, but definitely not the least, Korea Post. This has ranked top in terms of consumer’s satisfaction considering other factors in delivery. If you are a interested to shop for imported goods, this is the usual mode for orders via Coupang’s Rocket World. 

As for incoming international parcels delivered by the Post Office that goes through customs, they would usually ask for a customs number though a message link as well. It used to be a special customs PIN but ARC or passport number should usually work now.

It usually sends the initial notification in the morning with a very simple and short format.

“There will be a delivery today via Korea Post, with tracking number # (13 digits.)”

They also send out post-delivery notifications via SMS though. The more detailed information is sent through the Kakao chat. There is a link for options on where they should leave the parcel. You can only choose once with this system so please keep that in mind. 

Here is a simple table for easy comparison.

To sum it all up, all four have pretty good notification systems even if all are in Korean. Standard mode is through text but almost each would either have it’s own app or use Kakao Talk. It might take a little bit of guesswork (and translations) if you are not familiar with the language but they do have generally the same information. There are just some details that might be handy to know if receiving specific items. We hope that this post will help you get your needs while staying home. But if you want to know about sending packages, you may also check this link. Please stay safe and healthy!

Level 2 of Social Distancing in Cheonan (as of September)

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Social distancing level 2 has been extended from September 28 – October 11. 

This is in connection to the much-expected Chuseok holiday this year. Even if the number of cases has been relatively manageable after the outbreak last Gwangbeokjeol holiday in August, a bigger one might just be right around the corner along with this 5-day holiday. 

So far, the number of cases in the city has shown better numbers compared with the first time back in March. Back then, there was a great deal of “unknown factors” as to what is happening and what should be done. After the outbreak that started again around mid-August, the whole country, including Cheonan City, has put social distancing levels higher. 

How has the level of distancing changed this time?  

  1. Number of people gathering (50 people indoors, 100 people outdoors)

  2. Mandatory additional quarantine measures for some high-risk facilities like clubs, academy with more than 300 people, wedding hall, funeral hall, cinema, public bathhouse, churches etc.

  3. Restriction on the number of users of indoor national public facilities.

  4. No audience allowed for sports events.

  5. Reduced the number of students in school at one time and holding remote classes instead

Latest numbers

Based from the Cheonan government’s website, cases has now reached 229. The number of locally recorded cases from September 5 to 18 has somewhat peaked on the 12th (Saturday) with 6 patients. It has slowly started to decrease these last few days so we do hope that it will continually do so.

The latest locations had been scattered around Seobuk-gu and Dongnam-gu (Seonggeo-eup, Jiksan-eup, Shindang-dong, Daga-dong.) Everyday places like laundromat, grocery, restaurant, cafes, car service center, hair salon had seen cases this month. The local authorities are doing contact tracing but there will be times that they need to put out notices on the government website to find other people who had been in the said location. 

One of the current notices is for people who visited a couple of home remodeling companies in Ssangyong-dong and Seongjeong-dong area. We sure had received emergency notifications on our phones that has kept us a bit updated on this. The general information about which area is given but some details needed to be checked online if it’s in our area. 

Current notices: 

Related to Cheonan #223 and #221

Where

When

에어잰큐 (with a sign board ROJNS 라온제나 in Seongjeong-dong)

between the dates Sept. 15-17

에어잰큐 (in Ssangyong-dong)

between the dates Sept. 1-15

Testing Centers are located at

1.  Seobuk-gu Health Center 

Seobuk-gu Beonmyeong-ro 156 (Buldang-dong) (Below the stairs of Beongso Hall)

2. Dongnam-gu Health Center 

Dongnam-gu Beodul-ro 34

Call (041) 521-5671 to 2 or 521-2055 to 8.

Please come with a mask on and do NOT use public transportation.

Fortunately, there are still a limited number of foreigners showing up on the list of cases so we hope to keep it that way. Sure, we can still enjoy what our adoptive country has to offer but with limits. We can still enjoy a cup of coffee from a cafe while maintaining social distance. How? There are a lot of cafes around the outskirts of Cheonan that are just waiting to be explored. 

Let’s keep in mind to try to strictly follow the mandatory rules even if we see that other people don’t. That is the least that we can do if we do plan to go outdoors. As always, please choose to be healthy. 

Vegan Bakery Cafe in Buldangdong

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Having a vegetarian or vegan eating style is not an impediment when it comes to trying a dessert or a piece of cake. That is why looking for innovative coffee alternatives in the different areas of Cheonan we find a cafe that cares about creating and making products ( desserts – cakes ) for all those who keep a balanced diet or have a light eating style.

빵아트간 / BBANGARTGAN VEGAN BAKERY CAFE

 ¨ Bbangartgan Vegan Bakery Cafe ¨ it is located in Buldandong, exactly in the area known as ‘카페 거리’ or the coffee street. In this area there are various cafes as well as restaurants, but this cafe is characterized mainly by offering different delicious and gluten-free vegan desserts and cakes.

The interior of the cafe is spacious and has a very nice decoration, and the customer service is very warm and attentive. The cafe also offers bakery classes for all those interested in learning about various vegan recipes.

CAFE PRESENTATION CARD

Since 2016, we have been researching desserts for those who can't digest dairy and flour, those who are allergic to eggs, those who are vegetarian, and those who are dieting.

VEGAN & GLUTEN FREE - Butter, dairy, egg and flour-free vegan-gluten-free desserts made with unisex sugar.

CAUTION : We don't add preservatives but we are aiming for low-sugar, low-salt. It's recommended to eat it as early as 1-2 days. Ingredients containing gluten are handled together and made in the same manufacturing space. . If you have celiac disease, please be careful and contact us.

CAFE MENU

CAFE FEATURES

  Bbangartgan Cafe takes orders for vegan cakes in different sizes that are generally made the same day that the customer orders.

  The price range for cakes and desserts is from 3,500 won to 8,000 won.

 

   Opening hours:

Tuesday – Friday from 2pm to 10pm

Weekends from 12pm to 9pm. 

GET THERE

ADDRESS : 충남 천안시 서북구 불당15길 10-2 – 불당동 1407 1층 BBANGARTGAN /  Chungnam, Cheonan-si, Seobuk-gu Buldang 15-gil, 10-2  – Budang-dong 1407 1st floor .

  010-8839-4201

 

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6 Korean Cold Noodles to Try Now

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Cold noodles are a great option for those lazy summer days. There are more choices other than the popular Pyongyang naengmyeon. Let me share a quick list of these cold noodles so you, too, can try these before the summer ends.

How do you get through hot summers? We’ve listed a few suggestions to beat the summer heat with less AC Included in the list are cold noodle and here’s a more detailed one on that. 

Korea’s food choices for the extreme seasons sometimes leaves me wondering why. When it’s cold in the winter, Koreans would have no hesitation to flock to the ice cream store to eat ice cream. When it’s summer, the order of the day is to eat the hot chicken soup, samgyetang. Fight fire with fire is what they say. 

And if anyone had told me about having an icy noodle soup on a cold winter day before coming here, I wouldn’t have been hot on that idea. I first tasted it just a couple of hours fresh off the plane some fifteen years ago. I was a bit hesitant at first since I was already pretty full with the rice and meat that we’ve had for dinner. But of course, I tried it and it left me with good memories of my first cold Korean noodles. 

The keywords to remember here for noodles are “guksu” and “myeon.” Since this is Asia, there are a lot of kinds but we will focus on the cold ones this time. These are best eaten in the summer but Koreans do serve some of them even in the winter. 

These cold noodle dishes usually use two basic kinds of noodles: the buckwheat noodles and naengmyeon noodles. Naengmyeon noodles are usually brown and made from buckwheat, and starch from potato, sweet potato or even arrowroot. It is usually sold in the cold section of a Korean supermarket if you are interested to try to make it at home. 

The buckwheat noodle, on the other hand, is in the dry noodles area. Shelf time is longer and storage is easier. If the West has pasta noodles, this might be the Korean one. Most cold noodles use any of these two as base. They just vary in toppings and whether it will have a broth or none. And yes, the sauce will most like be gochujang-based for the spicy ones with a few variations.

As I write this post, it was a bit of a puzzle for me to figure out how to present these common cold noodles in a more logical way and easy to understand. Let’s start with the naengmyeon, the more popular noodles for the summer. 

1. Mul Naengmyeon (물냉면)

Mul Naengmyeon is literally “water cold noodles.” The popular ones are Pyeongyang Naengmyeon with either beef or radish broth and Hwe Naengmyeon that uses slices of raw marinated fish or even seafood as toppings. The kind of Naengmyeon noodles used for both are also slightly different. The latter has less buckwheat and more starch which makes it more chewy. 

The noodles and the ready-to-eat broth are easily available at most Korean stores especially during summer. You just have to add other fresh produce like the ubiquitous cucumbers.

2. Bibim Naengmyeon (비빔냉면)

This is almost similar to the “mul naengmyeon” except for the optional broth that you may or may choose to add. It’s a more simple dish using the naengmyeon noodles if you want to try making it by yourself.

3. Mak Guksu (막국수)

It’s not yet as popular outside Korea as the Pyeongyang cold noodle. It’s maybe common in Chuncheon, Gangwondo but do a quick search in Kakao Map and more than a hundred of Mak Guksu restaurants will show up just in Cheonan alone. The broth is usually chicken-based but can be mixed with beef and dongchimi (radish-based stock.) The noodles are topped with more variety of vegetables compared to the ubiquitous summer vegetable, cucumber. 

 

4. Bibim Guksu (비빔국수)

This is the spicy cold noodle territory. It’s noodles, vegetables and specially made chili sauce. It doesn’t necessarily need a broth because the ice cubes that are added can be the alternative for that. This is also pretty easy to prepare depending on your skills on the chopping board. It needs a bit more vegetable to chop to add as toppings.

5. Yeolmu Kimchi Guksu (열무김치 국수)

If you want to skip the chopping a lot, this is a better alternative. The main star of this noodle dish is the yeolmu kimchi. You have the noodles, the kimchi plus a few more toppings to your liking and you’re good to go. Pretty easy preparation if you want to try at home. You just need to have a yeolmu kimchi on hand. 

6. Kong Guksu (콩국수)

If you are trying to avoid meat  and can’t handle the heat, this is for you. This can be another favorite for non-spicy eaters out there. It might take a little bit of getting used to if you are not a big fan of nut milk though. It’s basically noodles, slightly seasoned nut milk, topped with cucumbers, tomato or watermelon, and roasted sesame seeds. It’s creamy and cold because of the ice added upon serving. It’s perfect for a hot day. And did I mention that it is vegan? 

This is, by far, my personal favorite. A Korean friend shared a DIY hack in making it easily at home with just a few ingredients. You only need the sumyeon noodles, boiled egg, cucumber, tomato or watermelon if you have, and hold your breath…tofu! Just pop the tofu into the blender with a bit of icy cold water, add some roasted sesame seed or any nuts that you fancy and some salt to taste. The slight seasoning will make the creaminess come out as you add this onto the cooked noodles. Top with more sesame seeds and as much cucumber and/or watermelon that you want and you are ready to feel refreshed on a hot summer day. 

These are just some dishes that we can always look forward to eating during those hot days. From those six cold noodle dishes mentioned, I’m pretty sure that there’s one that you will like.  Meat restaurants would often serve these but there are also some noodle restaurants that only serve these in the summer. Have you decided which one to try first? Give it a go at home or try some at a restaurant nearby. 

Beat the Summer Heat with Less AC

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Korean average summer temperature might just hit 30° this year. June 2020 had us looking at average temperatures going from 26.9 to 28 C according to the Korean Meteorological Agency. It doesn’t get any lower until the end of the summer in August. Records show that it will still go upwards in July and August at 28.8 and 29.5 respectively. 

While this climate change trend isn’t anything new around the world, there can be ways for us to do our share to help wherever we are. Well, we are lucky to live in a country where aircon and other cooling appliances are easy to come by but do we really have to run that AC on for hours? Are there alternative ways for us to keep cool while helping our planet and maybe our pockets along the way? Definitely! If there’s a will, there’s a way. And here are some ways to do that. 

Let’s hit that list at  no. 1 starting with your feet. 

Cool foot baths. Soak your feet in cold or icy water if you can endure it. There’s nothing refreshing for those tired and sweaty feet once soaked in the cool water. Just think of times when you got to soak your feet in a cool stream in the mountains. This can be easily done indoors if you prefer not to venture out.  You may even add some essential oils or try some aroma therapy. 

Dungmok or Korean half-body bath. This would involve two people. One will be bent over downwards almost like a downward facing dog pose while the second person will pour water on the first person’s back. The water will slide down the back and supposed to keep the person cool on a summer day. This is a common thing before showers made it into typical Korean apartments. I’m pretty sure that you’ve seen this in some Korean reality tv shows.

Wet towels or scarves. Cool the strategic body points with water or cold wet towels. Think of where you would usually spritz a perfume. A towel around the neck or wrist can help ease the heat. This will help our body regulate our temperature.

Ice or cooling vests, neck fan Now if you do want to spend a bit beyond the AC bill, there are vests with pockets for ice packs that are available online. The prices can range from 5000 to a hundred thousand wons. Just use the search words ice vest, cooling jacket,아이스 조끼, 아이스어음조끼 on your favorite marketplace.

Eat something cold. Now, I know that this is a no-brainer and the opposite of how Koreans traditionally would deal with this. They would usually recommend samgyetang for the summer but hear me out. I will go out on a limb to give you some alternative ideas to drink and eat, in both Korean and non-Korean ways.

The list of food can be long starting with everyone’s favorite like ice cream. There is bound to be one that will tickle your taste buds. You can easily find it at the supermarket, convenience store, and a specialized discount ice cream store. Regular stores would have occasional discounts but in these stores, it is year-round. Just look for the sign 할인 아이스크림.

Fresh and frozen fruits for fruit shakes and smoothies. Not only are these cold, they are also a natural source for the much needed natural vitamins and minerals. Korean local produce has since expanded pretty well to other fruits from other countries. Common fruits that we would see in the market around this time will include water melon,  chamoe (참외) or Korean melon, peaches, and nectarines just to name a few. The frozen section of the supermarket would also be a good source for frozen blueberries, mangoes, and berries. Isn’t it cool to enjoy the smoothies in the summer? Just go easy on the sugar though. 

Patbinsoo. Red bean shaved ice, if literally translated. This is a Korean regular with the main ingredient being the red beans. That is the original one but if you are not a big fan of it, patbingsoo has now evolved into a myriad of flavors. There are fruit flavored ones and even rice cake-inspired like my personal favorite injoolmi flavor.

Last, but definitely not the least, are the cold noodles. Bibimgukso, bibim naengmyeon, kong gukso and nengmyeon or the more popular one called Pyongyang Naengmyeon. You can find out more about cold noodles in this article. 

But for now, we’ll leave you to try any of these ideas mentioned and tell us which worked for you.