Friday, April 8, 2016

Cultural Walkthrough - South Korea (Part 2)

It was January 27th, 2016 when I continued my days in South Korea by going on field trips arranged by the campus. After my Basic Korean lesson, my group took off to the National Museum of Korea where we were introduced to many of Korean history and its influences. We were given two hours to look around the museum and we were provided with museum guides who gave us elaborate information on Korean art and history. It was a great insight to the beautiful ancient artefacts and the museum itself is nicely decorated with pretty simple architecture yet at the same time with a lot of section you can explore within. I wish I had more time to explore the museum and its gift shop but unfortunately the time was limited.

We continued the trip to Unni-dong, nearby Insa-dong which is also in the Jongno-gu area where it is filled with many traditional houses — one of them is a a guest house named Moon Guest House, a cultural center where we tourists (almost all but two, who were Korean nationals) can get the opportunity to try out wearing beautiful Korean hanbok which translates to Korean clothing, but it was now commonly referred as traditional clothes usually deriving from the Joseon period. We learned many types of hanboks, the one I was wearing is a hwarot, a type of dress that is used for brides during their marriage. Others were dressed like the kings, queens, and even traditional farmers. Tbh everyone looked so cute, none of us want to take the clothes off anytime soon — especially because there was never enough time to take pictures.

As we were done taking pictures and many of the girls exclaiming they’ve known the guest house from numerous K-drama, we continued the day walking around Insa-dong which were nearby. After  staying in Korea for nine days I finally began shopping for souveniers! To be honest I didn’t buy many things there as I was pretty damn clueless at the time (looking back, I regret not buying some more) and most of my money go to food hehe. I will put some other pictures taken from my visit to Insa-dong when I decide to take a day and go explore Seoul by myself in another post.

Following the night by the minute the group went back from the tour using a provided bus, the groups spread out to enjoy the night in different places. I and several other Indonesian students decided to visit the Noryangjin Fish Market to have fresh seafood from the market farm-to-table (is this term applicable for marine products?). We ordered some fresh fishes on the wet market and had it delivered upstairs to a restaurant where we can eat the product directly or have it cooked within the restaurant.

I learned a lot about Korean traditional culture that day. I was very impressed in the way South Koreans preserve their culture and their pride to their customs. Some of it were foreign to me but the practice itself is fascinating. South Korean effort to marketize their culture really pays off and the reality is that the nation deliver what they promised — what you see on many Korean dramas, variety shows, and the documentary is what you get. It familiarizes you, welcomes you. I hope someday Indonesia can follow that footstep as what had South Korean been doing is a great success, coming for me.

Read my other posts on the South Korean trip, here: