Korean Fashion

30 11 2009

Fashion. As far as fashion goes in Korea, we now know why Korea doesn’t have a fashion capital like New York City, Tokyo, Milan or Paris. Although they might dress well in Seoul, the rest of Korea has a distinct fashion. Members of ShineeLet’s start with the men. Korean men love shiny suits and sparkling ties. The men here are so slim anyway that their skinny jeans and tight-fitted suits make them look thinner than the girls. Men also wear the high-top Reebok shoes with the skinniest pair of jeans.

Another fashion statement is the ‘Konglish’ and Mickey Mouse shirts. Randy bought a shirt that says “Slow Life.” Some shirts just don’t make sense. Sometimes kids will wear shirts that they have no idea of the meaning, even though it may have a curse word. I think they buy the shirt because it has English. Both men and women wear baggy Mickey Mouse t-shirts. I’m not sure what the obsession about the Disney character is, but they love it. And of course, they love anything with Hello Kitty or any other Sanrio character.

As for the women, looks are very important. There are two types of looks that women go for. Some women dress to the tee every time they go out, whether it is to work, school or the grocery store. They wear short skirts, high heels and ruffle blouses. They always carry a mirror and make up with them. As in some parts of the states, some women here must have the latest designer bag or shoes.

The other type of style that women wear is the baggy t-shirt and stirrup tights. I’m not sure if they think it is flattering or if they think they should be as conservative as possible and cover their whole body with a large piece of cloth. In addition to the garbage bag look, they wear converse shoes with tights or skinny jeans.

My take on the fashion. Some of the fashion has grown on me. I’ve always liked ruffle shirts and high heels. It’s taking me more courage to wear the short skirts though. And surprisingly, I like the skinny jeans and tights (not stirrups, these still make me feel like I’m in the early 90s) and the long shirts (not the huge garbage bags). But, I will not be caught wearing Converse shoes with skinny jeans. But, one unique item for shopping in Korea are their shoes. Korea is shoe heaven! There are so many shoe stores and each store has a huge variety of the cutest shoes. And they are for reasonable prices! For my first month here, I bought four pairs of shoes (two flats, tennis shoes and heels) for under 50,000 won, which is equivalent to about $45 USD. Unfortunately, for some westerners, it’s hard to find shoes here because the shoe size here doesn’t go past size nine.

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Our First Meal in Our New Hometown

18 09 2009

As we explored our neighborhood in the new downtown area of Ulsan, we were overwhelmed with the number of family restaurants. The smell of kimchi filled the streets of Korea as we walked to find a place to eat.

We found a restaurant that seemed like a “mom and pop” restaurant because two older women were cooking and two younger women, in their mid 30s, were eating and watching their toddlers play in the restaurant. bbulgogi-mom-popLike most Korean restaurants, we were required to take off our shoes. The tables were low to the ground and had a built-in grill. This was definitely a bulgogi restaurant. Bulgogi is thinly sliced beef and is traditionally grilled. In bulgogi restaurants, the server takes your order and brings back a serving of meat that you are expected to cook. As newcomers, we didn’t realize that we needed to cook our food and didn’t even know how to order our food because everything was written in Hangul. One of the mothers approached us and helped us order our food. Even though we didn’t speak Korean, you could immediately see the genuine interest of these two ladies because they wanted to help us. The older women brought the raw meat and banchan to our table. Banchan is what the Koreans call the side dishes, which include kimchi, peppers, pickled radish, spinach, pickled cucumbers, pickled bean sprouts, etc. bbulgogiWe just sat there for a moment because we didn’t know that we had to cook our own food, so one of the younger women came to our table and helped us cook. I told her that she was like our omoney, which means mother in Korean. Next, she took my metal chopsticks and reached over for some tofu and fed it to both of us! We realize that we have a lot to learn and we are very excited about learning more about the Korean culture.