Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back in Seoul

And back to reality.

It was a rather short trip to Tokyo but with quite a full schedule, even though I didn't have jet lag to deal with (Seoul and Tokyo are in the same time zone) I did have to get over killer fatigue upon coming back.

There were going-ons that I missed while being away: the Kimchi Love Festival (which must have been a hot and spicy blast), the Seoul Air Show, Kia Tigers winning the Korean Series with a goodbye homerun in the end of the 9th (talk about drama; I had to check out video clips later, it was like a movie).

While in Tokyo I checked out Design Festa Vol. 30; the Treasures of the Habsburg Monarchy at the National Art Center, Tokyo; Ai Wei Wei's exhibition at the Mori Art Museum; lunched at various Japanese cuisine restaurants, dined at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Roppongi, sipped wine at Bisty's in Omotesando Hills; refrained self from overspending on books at Kinokuniya, strolled down Ginza and did a lot of window shopping, took photos for my Napzzak Project almost everywhere, bought a bunch of geeky dolly stuff, met up with friends from all over (European, American, Japanese and Korean) and basically had a very fun time.

Detailed posts coming later on, probably starting this weekend. I have a helluva lot of photo editing to do.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swamped to the Max

If you haven't guessed already.

I've been juggling several projects this month. What with the Chuseok holidays, important familial events, various appointments and errands, and an editing gig of major volume with a looming deadline, I've been pressed for time. A lot of time. Lucky I'm an insomniac or I would have been in epic panic mode.

I'm off to Tokyo tomorrow. I haven't packed yet, the house is in utter disarray, there's still more editing to do and about a hundred other miscellaneous things that have to be done before I leave. Since I refuse to take work with me I'll probably be in deep deep Swampville when I come back.

But then is then. What I should be focusing on is now. 8:30 am. I am going to start whirling around like mad to get everything done by mid-afternoon so I'll have time to pack in the evening and go to bed early. I have to be at the airport by 7:30 am.

See y'all next week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cocoa the Fickle

The suitable spelling when considering the Korean pronuniciation of his name would be 'Coco' but since it always reminds me of Chanel I just add the 'a' on the end. Anyhow, he's the spoiled rotten family toy poodle who doesn't realize he's a dog.

Usually when I visit my parents' he goes into a frenzy of delight upon seeing me - for about a minute. (It used to be five minutes then three then...) After receiving hugs and the occasional treat he will retire to his cushion and promptly go into "don't be a bothersome pest, leave me alone' mode and ignore me for the rest of my stay, unless I'm heading for the kitchen (treats!) or mention 'walk'.

I took him out for a walk and got my mother all annoyed because he got tiny burs all stuck in his fur. Had no idea how hard they were to get out nor how easily they stuck all over the carpets and rugs.

He's mostly an indoor city dog so he doesn't stay out long; he's like a 'fraidy dog, even the slightest sounds make him jump. Evidence shown in this video taken in July:

There are times when he's inexplicably clingy and needy, too. His pride does not allow him to show it much so even though he'll jump on the bed and snuggle in the quilts, he'll purposely avoid your gaze.

Me is not looking atchoo!

No, I'm not gonna get off to let you sleep!

I'm sleeping here, I tell ya! Now gimme a backrub.

Mum was going out on the day I was leaving so when he realized that he was going to be home alone, he got into a mood and purposely pooed on the carpet right next to the door and then promptly pretended that we weren't there. *eye roll and face palm*

Monday, October 12, 2009

Christmas Wishlist #1

Karl Lagerfeld figurine by Tokidoki
More info at WWD - Click!

Yes, I know it's not even Halloween yet. It's never too early to get the word out, you know.
True to my ex-fashionista doll/toy geeky self, this goes on top of my Christmas Wishlist this year.

Friday, October 9, 2009

PSA Bus - Beware of Swine Flu!

I caught a bus during the holidays and this is what I saw:

Multicolor handles aren't that strange. Neither was the fact that the bus was practically empty; it was the holidays and Seoul is pretty quiet then. What was weird were these:

There were like a dozen of them attached above the windows. The banner reads: "The new flu (i.e. swine flu) is becoming an epidemic. Please pay attention to personal hygiene." The other baskets probably had other similar messages on them.

There were posters on the windows as well, issued by the KCDC (Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Of course, this is Korea, so the poster has to be cute, even for something as serious as this. We Koreans take cute quite seriously.

Let's Keep These Rules Together
1. Pay close attention to personal hygiene!
2. Observe etiquette!
3. Be careful of crowds!
4. Recover without worry!
5. Rest well, drink a lot of fluids!
6. Seeing the doctor is a must!

I've never seen these PSAs on other bus routes; I wonder why this bus company was chosen to do so. I also wonder if other countries are as this sensitive to the swine flu epidemic as we Koreans are.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Harvest + Full Moon = Chuseok

Okay, I'm not that cute but hey.

Today starts the beginning of Chuseok, the Autumn Harvest Festival, i.e. Korean Thanksgiving.
Most Seoulites leave the city in mass exodus to see their families in the country and during long holidays the city is quite serene and still; much less hustle and bustle. I love Seoul at these times; it's like seeing a wild child in a rare quiet moment, caught unawares.

Anyhow. I'm off to my parent's to gorge on holiday food and be useless for a couple of days. Maybe I'll find the energy to lug myself to see some holiday festivities, maybe not.

Be sure to make a wish while looking at the Full Harvest Moon. Once again, Happy Chuseok!

About Chuseok

What's Going on in Seoul

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Small but delightful - Petit Cave

My wine group had its September gathering at Petit Cave, the small wine-centric sister restaurant of bistro Ottimo in Cheongdam-dong. They are in the same building, with Petit Cave aptly in the basement.

Whereas Ottimo is a light and breezy atmosphere like a seaside café, Petit Cave is like an English manor out of a mystery movie. (We were told that the furniture was indeed imported from England.)

Soft lighting + point-and-shoot camera = blurry photos
The menu is shared by both restaurants.

We started with a bunch of appetizers and some bubbly. Not champagne, but a casual Cremant d'Alsace.

The pastas were excellent. The most unique being a sea urchin and sea squirt (ascidian) pasta, which was like eating a mouthful of fortified sea. We were told that even hardcore seafood lovers had different opinions about it; an acquired taste, either you hate it or love it. I personally loved it.

Vongole pasta with a helluva lot of shellfish and salmon cream pasta with citrus fruit. The lamb was pretty good as well.

Their wine cellar was small but stocked with a great selection, with emphasis on wines from Bourgogne, which are quite popular in Korea at the moment. They had a pupitre on display.

The Petit Cave's manager and sommelier is Lee Jae Kyu, who has won awards in this field. Ultra-friendly and very knowledgeable.

What we consumed that night. Guess which one is the Shiraz. (Too obvious, eh?)

Neither Ottimo nor Petit Cave have a homepage yet. Situated in the Cheongdam district but more commonly thought as in Apgujeong, it's in the Burger King alley right across from Rodeo Street.
Reservations recommended.
Tel : (02) 518-1946 or 1947

A Wolf Blass Afternoon

Went to an Aussie wine tasting of the noted Wolf Blass where there was an abundance of Shiraz and Cabernets, Riesling and Chardonnays.

Mr. Wolf Blass was there himself, a jovial gentleman, who announced that it was his 75th(!!!) birthday that day. He is a forceful hugger, especially with the ladies. Hee.

Personal preference from the tasting: Wolf Blass President Selection Shiraz 2005
Plums, sweet spices with hint of pepper, vanilla, oaky edge, long finish.

Wolf Blass Wines