Here are five fun ways you can learn more about the South Korean culture beyond the PSY phenomenon.
1. Why not try some Korean food? Behind Centre point at Tottenham Court road is a mini Koreatown. Trying new cuisine can always be daunting so why not try cheap, simple and cheerful Seoul Bakery with its unique décor and buzzing atmosphere. But be warned! It is very busy at peak hours and very cramped. Also new on the Korean food front is Kimchee To Go, opened by the same creator of lunchtime favourite Wasabi, where you can get some delicious traditional dishes to go, with helpful staff on hand to explain to you what’s what. There’s currently a branch on Strand and another one opening soon on Oxford street.
- Korean kimbap
2. Let’s discover some live Korean music! No we’re not talking about Gangnam Style or Gentlemen, but live rock music straight from South Korea! Currently there is a very exciting project called Korea Rocks which features 4 Korean rock/indie bands touring the UK, and the best thing is, the concerts are FREE! Featuring Galaxy Express, Apollo 18, Goonamguayeoridingstella/구남과여라이딩스텔라 and Gate Flowers, Korea Rocks will be showcasing some great talents from the Korean indie music scene. Playing at Kent, Wrexham, Manchester, London and 2 gigs in Liverpool, for more information visit here. Please note that the concert is free but booking websites will be charging booking fees. To give you an example of price, each ticket for the London gig on 28th April incurs a 95p charge and then a one off postage fee of £1.90 for the whole order. Bargain!
- Image from Korea Rocks FB page
3. Before PSY, the thing that put South Korea in the global spotlight was films. Oldboy was a MASSIVE hit all over the world as well as their collection of impressively chilling horror films. Why not discover more about Korean Cinema by visiting the London Korean Cultural Centre, which has free Korean film screenings fortnightly. What’s even more exciting is that this year they have a program called A Year of 4 Actors, which sees 4 MASSIVE Korean film actors and actresses being brought over for special Q&A sessions. So far we’ve had Moon So-ri, next we have Jeon Do-yeon, then the infamous Choi Min-sik, of Oldboyfame, later on in the year and the very sexy and suave Ha Jung-woo at the end of the year! All screenings, including actor Q&As are FREE! To attend the next free screening, Jeon Do-yeon’s ‘My Mother, the Mermaid’, book here.
4. Lets get cultural! If you are interested in learning and seeing more of Korea but can’t quite afford that airplane ticket yet, why not visit the British Museum?Room 67 features one of the most extensive collections of Korean artefacts in London as well as a construction of a Sarangbang (사랑방). Here you will see everything from clothing and accessories, traditional ceramics, to the development of the Korean writing system Hangul.
5. How about something Artistic? London has a thriving Korean artist community. Right now we are obsessed with Jeong Woo-jae’s The Girl and her Dog, featuring some seriously impressive and life like oil on canvas pieces. Looking almost like photographs, Jeong has produced images featuring a girl with her giant chihuahua in actual locations around Seoul, the capital of South Korea. This playful exhibition, based in central London at Shine Artist, Albemarle Galleryhas a serious undertone as Jeong uses his art to explore the development of society and the relationships between human and animals.
We hope we’ve given you some ideas on what to do this upcoming weekend and inspired you to discover something new! We are 3 Korean language students reporting on all things Korean happening in the UK. Please check out our website at www.koreanclassmassive.com , Facebook and follow us on Twitter!