Friday, 29 June 2012

Friday Favourite V11: Coupling

At the end of every week I'm going to write down one thing I love about Korea. Last week it was Homeroom teachers and here is this week's... 

There is something quite charming about this Korean habit, even though I don't think it could be replicated in any European country without the lovebirds getting completely destroyed by their friends.

Coupling is a Korean way for a couple to show how dedicated they are to each other. They do this by wearing the same outfit. We've seen it as subtle as wearing matching (not so subtle) neon trainers, to the extent where they are dressed completely the same from head to toe.

I know it's ridiculous, but I can't help but go 'awwww' when I see a coupling pair walking towards me hand in hand. Public displays of affection are severely frowned upon here, so I guess it's the only way they can show to others how much they like the other person.

You can even buy matching underwear sets in most of the shops. My favourite is a particularly gaudy leopard print one in the underground shopping centre in Nampo.

Cutting from a magazine showing pictures
Coupling shorts in different colours
Coupling jackets
Coupling neon trainers
I'd love to know what other Koreans think when they see a couple dressed the same. I'd also like to know how it's logistically arranged. Young couples will live with their parents until they are married, so do they call each other up every morning and discuss what to wear? Is it the girl who plans the outfits, or the guys? Do they do it every day?!

I asked my co-teacher and she said it's something that was traditionally done on Honeymoons, but younger people have adapted it. I asked what she thought and she said she liked when they were smart about it (?!).

I know it's a bit creepy that the only pictures we have are when we have taken snaps of unsuspecting couples, but i really wanted to show people back home!

Look how happy the King and Queen are in this 4th grader's
book report. I think it's all down to their coupling shoes

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Care Package V3

This week has been a strange one so far. Somehow I managed to lose my purse last Monday. It was in my bag one day and then when I went to use it on Wednesday it just wasn't there. Not only did it have my Korean bank account card in there, but it also had two English credit cards that I carry around incase of emergencies, and my Alien Registration Card.

Luckily I checked all of my accounts and nothing had been taken out, but I still had to cancel everything just incase, which meant all of my phone credit was eaten up by calling the English banks. I spent 6 annoying minutes trying to explain to someone at Natwest why I couldn't just go into a branch to sort out the credit card. It's amazing to compare the Korean and English banks. Not only do the Korean banks avoid interior designers who're stuck in the 80s  but they instantly issue you a new card while you wait, no having to wait 10 days for a new one.

So in the last few days I've been to the police station, on Monday I went into Nampo to get some more phone credit and yesterday I went to the Immigration office again to try and replace my card. When I got there at about 4pm the ticket machine told me that there were 59 people waiting ahead of me. Bad news. I managed to read a chapter of One Day by David Nicholls, break the photo booth and make myself look like a crazy foreigner after I started screaming and jumping around, just as I caught a big spider trying to crawl into my bag. Quite a productive hour and a half of waiting. Now I have to wait another month to go and pick it up, which kind of ruins our plans for the Summer break as I won't have it back until the end of the holiday.

So hopefully everything is sorted now and I can have my nights back. It cheered me up lots to go out for some pajeon with friends last night and that when I got home a parcel had arrived from my Aunty Ann. Thank you!

Inside it there was lots of M&S chocolate, Socks, jewellery, glowsticks, and a cute union jack purse which can replace the one I lost. Hurray for care packages, they never fail to put a smile on my face (hint!).

Sick of not being able to get any new music I've also signed upto Spotify Premium tonight so I've been making playlists all night, especially reminiscing about when I was 19 and 20 with lots of bands I've not listened to in aaages!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Our Weekend: Soyang Orphanage

We've spent lots of time getting well acquainted with the bars and restaurants in Busan so we thought it was time to do something different. We arranged with a volunteer group to go and visit Soyang Orphanage this weekend. When we were told that the final numbers of the trip were going to be 25 volunteers with 12 children, I wasn't sure whether to go or not. I envisioned us being sat around or brawling over children, but I'm so glad that I went now.

We got dropped off by bus on the Island, and it was strange to be in such a green space after hardly leaving the centre of Busan for 3 months. There were a few houses dotted around, lots of pretty flowers and allotments all set into the greenest mountains that surrounded us. I'd forgotten what quiet really was until we got there.

It was in such a secluded spot that I felt like we'd found Peter Pan's hide out for the lost boys. IThe orphanage is an amazingly colourful set of buildings. My favourite place was the round library with a 'story telling pit' set in the middle which was brightly coloured and cushioned. We spent a long time chasing the kids around there, who would magically disappear thanks to the concealed cupboards and the mini door that lead to a slide where you could escape to the playground.

The little girls went wild for the nail varnish that someone had thought to bring along, while the boys liked to make the airplane models someone had bought from Daiso for hardly anything.

Tasha bonded with a little boy who must have only been two or three, who communicated mainly by throwing leaves at her. There was also a really tiny baby there, that the orphanage dad said he was personally bringing him up with the help of his wife.

I made friends with a 10 year old girl called Park Su Yeon who had brilliant English and whenever she could see that I was hot, would get me a prime seat next to the fan. She loved taking pictures and when we caught up with Tasha she drew these cute pictures of our favourite animals, and meticulously copied them so we all had a copy to keep. She later came to find us to introduce us to her sister and show us our cute new accessories that she had made us with pipecleaners.

It turned out she had two sisters and a brother at the orphanage too, who were all so cute and friendly. Tasha and I chased them around the playground and helped them run away from Ethan, who they insisted was a monster. The older high school and middle school kids eventually surfaced and the gaelic football team had a game of basketball with them.

At the end we all whipped out the snacks that we'd brought. I think they thought it was Christmas as we unloaded bag after bag of chocolate, sweets and crisps. It was funny to watch them all sneakily loading up their pockets as if we were about to turn around and change our mind about the food.

It was so sad to say goodbye when it was time to leave, and I felt a bit choked when Su Yeon quickly tore off a piece of paper from her sister's colouring book and wrote 'Goodbye' on it. I was really tempted to somehow smuggle them all out of their, but it seems like their life is alot better there than if I kept them all in my studio apartment!

We walked back down the hill, still donning our new pipecleaner accessories, back towards the hustle and bustle of Busan. I really hope that I can make it back there soon. I'd love to know what happens to the kids there, how long they're allowed to stay at the orphanage and when they're expected to leave?

We still found some time to go to Chinatown as there was some festivities going on, although we arrived a little late and ended up having a few drinks outside Amby's, watching the Russians stumble past, and Saturday night we attended an 80s themed drag prom night.

Then last night our lovely co-teacher, Hannah, took us to her friend's Japanese restaurant in Daeyon for the induction to our Korean language class which will be starting in a few weeks! I can't wait until I don't feel like an idiot when I'm trying to order in a shop!


On the path to Soyang

Soyang Orphanage
Colouring in Time

Su Yeon, Natasha and I
Table of sweeties
Tasha's Pipe cleaner bracelet
Cute boy with pipecleaner crown and flowers
Having more fun than the kids on the playground
Su Yeon.
Piggy Back. And my new pipecleaner headband
At the Drag Prom

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Oh My!

I love all the t-shirts with Konglish written all over them, and managed to resist buying one until I saw this in Nampo market the other day!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Friday Favourite V10: Homeroom Teachers

At the end of every week I'm going to write down one thing I love about Korea. Last week it was living so close to my best friend and here is this week's... 

Homeroom teachers are the equivalent of England's primary school teachers. They teach kids the majority of subjects, apart from languages, art and music. They spend most of their day with their class, they teach in the classroom, eat their lunch with the kids in the classroom, and make sure the children all do their daily the classroom. Their role goes further than this though, they're a hodge podge of mother/father away from home and a disciplinarian figure. This isn't why I like them though. I like that as the months go on,  I can distinctively see how their personalities differ and how they deal with this role, which is quite hilarious to an observer.

They're these elusive individuals that loiter in the classroom while I teach. Always trying to look inconspicuously busy so as not to get asked a question by the English teacher. From what I can see, there are three different roles they adopt.
1. Terrifyingly strict
2. Don't give a hoot
3. Fatherly and affectionate.

The strict ones hawk eye the whole lesson. If any student dares to even breathe too loudly, the homeroom teacher will bark at the child, who will instantly shut up. There was a strange wooden instrument, which I thought was a recorder, on the front desk of the 6th grade class with the most stern homeroom teacher. I picked it up while asking the kids what it was and was met with a laugh when they answered 'beat stick' and they saw me throw it back down. Recently I had two boys that just wouldn't listen in class, I'd tried to quietly chastise them, in the hope it wouldn't draw the attention of the homeroom teacher, but it was too little too late. He stalked around the back of the classroom with stealth movements comparable to a prowling cat, grabbed their heads and banged them together! Ouch! 

Natasha has the sternest homeroom teacher in the school. We once saw two boys at lunch time, squatting in the stair well with their arms held above their head, just as we wondered what was going on, we rounded the corner to see him hunched in the threshold of his classroom door, messily shovelling food into his mouth. He watched the boys, without even blinking, to make sure they remained squatted.

The second type are the ones that don't really care all that much, they're just happy to have 40 minutes where the little cretins that bother him like a rash all day are my problem. These are who I find the most annoying, they make phone calls, they play music and they sing to themselves in a weird way I've only ever heard grandmas do. Not only is it completely distracting as a teacher, but the kids are fully aware of the indifference and do whatever they like.

The final ones are my favourite, who swing between being strict, they want their kids to be the best, yet  have the tendency to shake their heads at some of the things the kids do. Especially when it's something that only a parent could possibly find cute or funny. I find that the children with homeroom teachers like this tend to be the better behaved, and are the ones I always look forward to teaching. 

This week I had a little (by little I mean young, he was by no means small) boy who wouldn't stay sat in his seat. I asked him to sit down and so did the homeroom teacher. He did, but then started conducting some imaginary orchestra with his Rilakkumma highlighter pen, whilst humming rather loudly. When I pointed at the book to suggest that he follow the story, I noticed he had gone through the whole book and smothered every word he could find in orange highlighter. The homeroom teacher stood up to see what I was looking at, when he saw it, he walked around his desk, calmly lifted up the boy's tshirt, grabbed his pale flabby body and did what I can only call a glorified chinese burn on the boy's torso. This then developed into a jiggle, which made the boy look like he was doing an involuntary Truffle Shuffle. The boy sat there and took it, and 2 minutes later was back in charge of his invisible orchestra, at which point the teacher just shook his head and laughed.

Sometimes these guys listen. other times they nap quietly or slip from the room. I think my favourite homeroom teacher by far is one of Natasha's. He drives to work on a moped, wears a shirt with flamingos on it and dons a lovely red polka dot apron to serve his kids their lunch.

By spending a little time with them outside of school, I've realised that most of them are just little boys in men's bodies. They still jump at the chance to play volleyball with the gusto shown by some of my 5th graders (who live for volleyball).  At a recent dinner, after a few too many shots of Johnny Walker Blue, it turned out that most of them can string a sentence together in English, and they gathered everyone round, asked us all to put our hands in and chanted '1,2,3. I LOVE YOU!'

It's funny to see them at work, and the weird voodoo magic they seem to have over the kids, that makes them behave like angels in their presence, in comparison to the jokers they are when the week's over.

Tasha's been invited for a dinner meeting with her homeroom teachers in the next few weeks so no doubt we'll have a story to tell following that...wish us luck!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Guest Blogger: North Korean Defector

My first guest blogger today...I've asked Tasha to share a bit about the talk by a North Korean defector that was held this weekend. Before I made the decision to move to Korea, I never really paid much attention to North Korea. I knew that it was a severely poor country and that its strict dictatorship seemed to be the brunt of jokes from the rest of the world. It was only when a friend suggested I read the book Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick, which i would strongly recommend, that I learnt about the horrifying things that the North Koreans had experienced. I always imagined such poverty to belong to a Dickensian London, or a third world country, not based in the 90s and 2000s by a country whose people have been unknowingly put in this position by an impossible ideology and a touch of stubborness. 

This weekend was a busy one but a few of us made time to go to a lecture at Pusan National University on Saturday afternoon to see a talk by a recent North Korean defector now living in South Korea. Sadly Maddie didn't make it on time so she asked me to do a bit of a report (it's actually been like a school assignment with a proper deadline and everything!) - I am not the talented blogger in this duo so apologies for the rambling account to follow!

It was a long sweaty trek to find the building where the talk was taking place - Korea's infamously bad sign-posting was on form and we were forced to stalk some other Waegooks in the hope that they were there for the same reason as us. Despite somehow losing sight of the precious foreigners we managed to navigate the sprawling campus and arrived at the lecture theatre bang on time. This meant we got seats, but only just as the room filled up and people were forced to stand at the back.

There was an overwhelmingly foreign presence in the room and the lecture was introduced by a British human rights activist who gave a brief summary of the current situation in North Korea, then showed a video containing shocking images of emaciated children and people lying dead in the street. Immediately after this "Miss Kim" (a false name to protect her identity) was brought on to the stage with her translator to begin. I thought the timing was a little insensitive and she was understandably in a bit of a state by the time she reached the podium - I think it would have been a bit more appropriate to give her a minute to compose herself after watching the traumatising scenes that she has actually experienced, but she managed really well.

Through her tears Miss Kim briefly told her story. She described her childhood as normal and happy until the Arduous March (the name given to the famine during the 90s) when she spent most of her teenage years in a constant state of extreme hunger and was forced to live off foliage that she found in the forest in order to survive. She spoke of her parents‘ jobs; how at one point her father worked without pay for 4 years and then was made redundant, eventually dying at the age of 60. This was what made Miss Kim decide to leave, as her mother and sister had also fled. She still doesn't know what has become of them.

After the talk it was over to the audience to ask questions. Miss Kim wasn't able to say much about how she escaped; detailing only that she obtained a visa to visit another area of North Korea under the pretense she was visiting a family member, then crossed the river into China where she spent 2 weeks hiding from the Chinese security forces and travelling through the mountains. Having left in October 2011 and only being in South Korea for 2 months we could only imagine where else she had been and what she went through.

When asked what the biggest difference between North and South Korea was, she replied that in N Korea the country comes first and people come second, but here (and elsewhere) it is the individual that comes first and the country comes after. Miss Kim said that in S Korea a baby is born to be beloved - this was a sentiment she found totally alien and remarkable.

What struck me most was when Miss Kim explained that in N Korea if you have a dream you know you will never achieve it, so there is no point in having one. Everything is pre-determined for you at birth (depending on the behaviour of your family you are put into one of the three classes - loyal/wavering/hostile - and you are assigned your job, told who you can marry and basically have no choice in anything you do). The idea that other people have the ability to have a dream and persue it was the most amazing thing to her and made me realise how often we overlook that simple privilege in everyday life.

When someone asked Miss Kim what she wanted to do now it was incredibly saddening to hear that she has no idea what she actually wants or likes, and at the age of 29 she is only just learning about herself so that she can discover what her dream is and try to achieve it.

It was interesting to hear that the foreign aid being sent to N Korea (in the form of rice and medicine) is basically useless because it is immediately seized and sold for profit, rather than benefiting the poor and starving population. Miss Kim said the only thing that really helps the people is the illegal smuggling into the country of movies, music, TV shows and anything else that shows them what it is like for the rest of the world and gives them hope and a reason to try to leave. It makes you realise that as much as foreign countries try to help it seems we never really know what will actually be of assistance.

There are no photos to go with this blog entry because we were all told before Miss Kim came on stage that under no circumstances should anyone take a picture. This is because if anyone in N Korea was to find out that Miss Kim had left, her entire family would be executed as punishment. Infuriatingly some ignorant people in the audience still felt the need to take photos of her and I can only hope they weren't stupid enough to share them on Facebook.

Having achieved our cultural aim for the weekend we headed back to the main area of PNU for lunch and beers, but the lecture certainly gave me a lot to think about. The saddest thing is that there doesn't seem to be much anyone can do to help or intervene, except hope for reunification of the Koreas one day like the rest of the North Korean population.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Our Weekend: Firsts

This weekend I think we saw in the start of the rainy season (booo) but I'm glad we'll be getting it out of the way and hopefully have some more sunny days before Autumn comes. We tried lots of new things this weekend, and also Tasha went to listen to a talk from a North Korean defector, I am so so sad that I missed it, mainly due to my bad timekeeping and a rubbish taxi driver. Tasha's offered to write a bit about the talk so everyone else can find out some of the stuff that goes on just miles away from Seoul...

Some new things we tried this weekend

  1. The PNU area of Busan, namely the bars called Crossroads and Soultrane where we got to dance to some of my favourite songs including Weezer and Jimmy Eat World, it's been far too long since I heard them played anywhere public (I miss Corp...).
  2. We also ate at a really nice restaurant in PNU although I doubt I will ever be able to find it again, and have no idea what it was called. 
  3. We went to our first metal gig in Korea on Saturday night at Club Realize in the KSU area, it was great to see some local bands and we were welcomed with open arms too. 
  4. It was also the first time I went to Club Elune in Haeundae, where I got to see lots of interesting dance moves from the Korean guys, I love how they dance, but more about that some other time!
  5. My last first of the weekend was eating at the amazing  Buccella sandwich shop in Haeundae. I loved it, not only because the food was delicious but also because it's on the sea front so the view only adds to its awesomeness!

And here are a few things that we did (again)
  1. Drank alot of soju
  2. Popped into our favourite makgeolli bar for a banana makgeolli.
  3. Went out in KSU.
  4. A lazy Sunday on Haeundae beach.
  5. Ate at Thursday Burger and Pasta.
  6. Spent alot of time in street bars talking to strangers.
  7. Danced like noone was watching in Eva's as they celebrated their 3rd year of being open!

A fun but exhausting weekend.

Makgeolli and nibbles
Tasha doing the honours
Club Realize
Haeundae Beach 
Buccella sandwich

Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday Favourite V9: Living Opposite my Best Friend

At the end of every week I'm going to write down one thing I love about Korea. Last week it was the street food and here is this week's...

I remember when we were at uni, and all of my closest friends lived within 2 minutes walking distance from me. You could look out of your kitchen window and wave at some of your best friends as they poured themselves the first Caribbean twist of the night, or made themselves tuna pasta.

I remember one friend refusing to come out for a night out, so before she could type me another lame excuse on MSN about why she wasn't coming, I'd poured her a G&T and was knocking at her door thrusting a drink into her could she say no?

Getting ready was always exciting as people would be coming and going as they popped in to borrow things or lend things or ask advice on an outfit, and arranging to meet for lunch was never a problem as you could always just agree to meet in the courtyard. There was never the problem of 'I just need to pop home and pick this up before we can go here or there,' which might sometimes take hours for a friend to reappear, by which time it's too late to do your plans.

The morning after there was always someone to laze around with and watch Monk or Shipwrecked on the small TV sets we squeezed into our tiny rooms with the mattresses that were made out of some horrible plastic material.

After we graduated, meeting those friends became a logistical nightmare, work and money commitments got in the way and sadly it seemed like it was once in a blue moon I got to see them. We'd spend weekends away and I'd always miss the time when we wouldn't all have to whip out planners to scout through the pages to see when we could all hang out again.

It didn't get any easier with my friends in Sheffield either, dotted about the city it was always hard to work out who's house we should go to, whether I should drive or take a taxi, and as I lived so far from the center, sometimes it was just not worth the time and effort just for a cup of coffee.

That's until we moved over to Busan, into our teeny studio apartments up on the 6th floor, painted lemon and swathed in an odd baseball themed wallpaper. Now, I'm 10 seconds away from one of my best friends and can bound into her room whenever I feel the need to tell her something important (Oh my god, why have they turned Nick's character into a crazy in New Girl?...) or borrow something off her (it's absolutely vital that I paint my nails that shade of lilac that you happen to have or else my outfit totally won't look right).

More often than not I forget there are other people in these apartments around us and many a time have nearly been caught dashing over in my towel or underwear as I try and borrow something...cringe. It's usually the moment where I have hit the half way point in the hall, and have the fight vs flight moment, whether I should try and catch my own door before it closes, or quickly punch in Tasha's code and vault into her room, that's always the riskiest option... Probably the worst time I was caught by a neighbour is when I was in a pajama set, with my hair that I'd let dry naturally. For those that have never seen my hair dried naturally, the only way I can think to describe it is imagine if Jonathan Creek and Mugatu from Zoolander had a love child...
Getting ready to go out is my favourite part of the night again, putting on shamefully cheesy music and drinking whilst doing some ever important last minute tweaking makes me feel like I'm 18 again.

Being late is never a problem, as frequently Tasha will come into my room to see what I'm playing at, and impromptu Gossip Girl sessions or meals out are easily arranged.

It's also nice, whenever you feel like you miss home, to have a little piece of Sheffield right there with you, so you can talk about moments from home with someone that will toss their head back and laugh, rather than do  a polite chuckle. When you remind yourself of the time one of you (not mentioning any names) broke a chair after a roller derby game whilst trying to do some odd, non erotic lap dance to the other one (me) or want to drool over the breakfast from Bungalows and Bears that is the perfect solution to an alcohol induced achy head. Sometimes I don't know how other people have come all the way over here without someone they know relatively well to just relax around.

I decided to make this my favourite this week after a Skype session with my other best friend, Clare who told me the exciting news that she is soon to be joining me in Korea with her boyfriend. Even though Seoul is a little further away, it will still be nice to have a home from home from home. Excited!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Great Gatsby

What with the mingling of my favourite director, one of my favourite actresses and my favourite book that I've read this year has got me super excited. The only problem I have with this film is that I'll still be in Korea for its release date in December, so will probably have to wait even longer to see it. Sad times.

Being a literature student and everything it's with a shamedface that I admit I'd not read The Great Gatsby until recently. Thanks to a good friend who pointed out this really wasn't on, I bought it and decided to read it before I came over here.

I love this story because it heeds to the message that the one thing you never truly get over is the one thing that you never really had. Poor old Jay Gatsby. It seems that he is so tied up in chasing the nostalgic memories of his past love that he never really lives the colourful life that's right infront of him.

I don't want to spoil it for anyone that doesn't know the story too well but if Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet are anything to go by then I CANNOT WAIT for this to be released!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Our Weekend: Thing 1 and Thing 2

This weekend was a pretty lazy one for us. We met some old and new friends in Nampo on Friday night and tried a few more bits of street food. So far I am still loving the pajeon and hotteok more than anything else. We deposited one of our friends onto the last metro and had an early night. I think the highlight of this night was discovering that Beer Mart stock Hooch, the ridiculously controversial alcoholic drink. We had one for old times' sake and after one my face started burning, which suggests it's probably a good idea they're not available in the UK anymore...

Saturday was all about the puppy cafe as it was a little overcast and dull, although I was very disappointed by it. It wasn't half as nice as With Cat in KSU and was very dirty. I definitely wouldn't go back, and wouldn't recommend it.

Saturday night some of the girls got together for an impromptu night out in KSU. I feel like Tasha and I may have ruined the tone as all the other girls looked so sophisticated, but we decided to wear our Thing 1 and Thing 2 T-shirts that I bought us from Universal Studios when I went last year.

We went for some amazing food in a gorgeous restaurant tucked out of the way from the main street in KSU and then hit Ol'55 for the Busan Haps launch night. We watched a few bands and had a few drinks, then ended up drinking at Family Mart out on the main street. I'm surprised how many of my nights turn out like this nowadays. I wish this was something that could be done in the UK, it's so cheap and nice to bump into everyone you know as they walk past to wherever they're headed that night.

Sunday was lovely and sunny again so I went to meet Ethan on Songdo beach. I am so envious that he lives 30 seconds away from the beach. Although the view is a bit questionable at times, as lots of ships drop their anchor and float around on the horizon all day.

That night we headed back to Nampo where we had yet more street food (gross chicken and mandu) and saw the last few hours of Sunday from the top of Yongdusan Park, below Busan Tower. This might become one of my favourite spots in Busan at night, it's so pretty and is only improved by the fact that you can buy a Cornetto while you're up there!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Dog Blog

When I first told everyone at home that i was going to Korea, the most common reaction would be a snide comment about eating dog meat. I've asked lots of Koreans, and most of them have said they've either never tried it, or they have maybe tried it once or twice, but it's not a habitual thing. But now I'm here there's something far, far worse they do to dogs apart from eat them.

They find themselves a cute little puppy (usually they are dogs that won't ever really grow any bigger than puppy size), like the ones below that can be bought at any sort of supermarket.  That's when the real torture starts...

For some reason, Koreans seem to think that dogs look better if they have ridiculous hair cuts, dyed body parts and wear clothes (and shoes). Here are just some of the sights that we've seen so far...

What's more is how mental they go when they see a bigger dog. I was at Haeundae beach the other week and saw a larger dog, and there was a crowd of about 20 people crowded around it taking pictures. When the owner started walking off, there was a parade of happy Koreans following them. Strange.

So today was pretty grim in Korea, I think the wet season is slowly creeping in, so Tasha and I decided to go to the dog cafe that's in Jangsan, just past Haeundae. Piritoned up to the eyeballs, we arrived, and it was cute to be greeted by so many different kinds of dogs. It cost 8,000 won on entry (which is about £6) and you could order as many drinks as you wanted. The drinks included coffee, tea, smoothies and hot chocolate. You could also eat as much cake as you wanted, and there was a fair bit to choose from, but nothing that was particularly special. The best decision we made was to have the smoothies, my kiwi one was awesome.

Although lots of people have raved about the cafe, I wasn't too impressed. I think I may have been spoiled by the cat cafe in KSU. The place felt pretty dirty, some of the dogs were really yappy, others were fighting alot, and lots of them didn't seem right. Either their fur felt dirty or matted to touch, their eyes looked like they'd been weeping and alot of them were pretty skinny. It has the potential to be a good place, but didn't really impress me.

Not only did I get mauled by one massive dog that nearly sent me flying which Tasha managed to capture my terrified face on camera, but I had left the cake I decided to try as it was gross. When I got back to the table I noticed it had disappeared, and suspected Tasha might have eaten it when I left, but when she got back to the table she said she hadn't touched it, then we noticed this tiny white dog on the table next to us, licking the straw of a milkshake that had been left unattended by an unsuspecting boy...I felt awful when I saw him later finishing it off. Gross!

My favourite dog was a teeny doberman lookalike and the alsatian puppy. I really wanted to like the husky with it's different coloured eyes, but it kept fighting with all of the other dogs!

Here are two videos we took while we were there. I've recently discovered a setting on my camera which takes a video 3 seconds before the actual picture is taken, and then creates a montage, so this is where the videos are from. They're not great quality at all as the dogs were moving so much but you can see how cute some of the dogs were...

I may be biased as I am more of a cat person, but my favourite thing at the cafe was this cat, proving that even the cats can't escape from the ridiculous modifications...