Seoul’s Oldest Building Succumbs to Drunk Old Man

13 02 2008

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In a devastating loss for South Korea, the country’s National Treasure No. 1, the Namdaemoon, fell to a fire started by a drunk old man. Or at least, that was how the first reports were calling him. The latest word is that it was started by a man who also tried to set fire to the Royal Palace two years ago. Apparently he has some land issues with the government, I guess this was his way of getting some attention from them. But after this, he will only get the other kind of attention from the government.

The Namdaemoon was the southern gate of Seoul when it was a walled city in the past. Apparently the Japanese tore down the walls during its occupation of Korea and the Namdaemoon is the only remaining remnant of the great wall of Seoul. Standing in the middle of a busy intersection, it was a great reminder of the Korea of the past.

On the bright side, the stone base of the Namdaemoon received little to no damage. A heritage group will rebuild the famous landmark at a cost of $21 million and it will take three years to finish. Although it’s nice that it will be rebuilt, that aura of the old building will be gone. Oh, I wish wood wasn’t so susceptible to fire.

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Japanese and Korean: Which is harder?

12 12 2006

I’m currently in my last course of Japanese and while I love this language, it is very difficult to learn. The pronounciation is simple enough as it is quite similar to Spanish pronounciation, but the grammar technicalities and complexities is just a lil’ bit difficult for me to pick up. Then again, for me, I have to try a bit harder than most people as I get easily distracted in the learning process. It doesn’t help, however, that Japanese is written in three different scripts, each with their own use and fairly even usage. One of those scripts is the Chinese script, or Kanji, which almost makes me want to forget learning the language altogether. Other than that, Japanese is a very nice language that will take time to master.

Then there is Korean. I’ve never formally taken Korean, but from what I’ve picked up from listening to Korean music, watching shows and movies, and also from my friends, it seems that the language is easier to learn just from hearing. I also learned Hangul, or the Korean script, in a matter of hours. Then is Korean easier than Japanese? Yes — and no.

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X-man: Change of Format

19 11 2006

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X-man, a really funny show shown on the South Korean channel SBS, has started a new season. It is shown on Sundays in a block of shows called Good Sunday. Basically, in this show two teams are going against each other. One person is chosen to be the “X-man” and his mission is to do everything to make his team lose. But the show doesn’t really focus on that. What makes the show are the hilarious antics of the contestants. They are some really funn people. Well, that was how it was before the start of the new season.

The format of the show has been changed. The biggest change is the lack of “당연하지”, which was my favorite part of the show. Really disappointed in that change, but a new segment where MC Yoo asks the guests about the theme of the episode might be a suitable replacement. I need to watch the latest episodes to see how the change in the show is, but I have a huge backlog of X-man episodes that I still need to watch.

More pictures after the break.
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