Thursday, July 31, 2008

I LOVE my dentist ;)

I'm up late watching 늑대의 유혹 or Romance of Their Own (aka Temptation of Wolves or True Romance) on TV.

BTW, let me just say that 강동원, Kang Dong-won, is a mad hotty. Gotta love a leading man in a romantic comedy that can also pull off crazy fight scenes and this movie starts with a fight scene. He's from Pusan. Without revealing too much about my recent dating life, it seems I've got a thing for dudes from Pusan ;)

Anyway, on to the real reason I'm posting 'cause the tooth brushing cat has nothing to do with my new crush on 강동원.

On Wednesday I had a very bad insulin reaction, low blood sugar. Being diabetic, that means I've taken too much insulin and I have to have some fast acting sugar ASAP. I carry glucose tablets with me and popped in a couple of those. I chew on my right side. After though I was in major PAIN. During the course of the day, it didn't go away, so I made a dentist appointment for the next day.

They were great, but, yeah, my old fillings were on their last leg and one tooth had some serious decay. The dental assistant said I might need a root canal. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! The dentist, however, chose a more cautious route.

He removed the old fillings, drilled the decay away and gave me temporary fillings. The pain I had yesterday seems to be gone. He got a little drill happy - ouch! But I'm sure having such a bad cavity made it virtually impossible this would have been 100% "ouch" free. It was from no lack of trying on his part. They anesthetized the area, waited for it to take effect and told me to raise my left hand should I feel pain. He did explain I'd have some pain for a couple of days after and it would subside. He stressed though if the pain kept up after a couple of days then that's a sure sign that ExpatJane needs a root canal. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Okay, that's not really all that exciting but the pic of the cat with the toothbrush is cute and this topic gives me a reason to use it ;)

If any expats need a dentist, mine is 서홍석, Seo Hong Seok: 02-792-1817. He's in Hannam-dong and, therefore, has foreign clients and knows the value of anesthesia. That makes him and his staff keepers. He's a bit in need of listening skills...most male Korean professionals are, so he's in good company, unfortunately. However, he and his staff do a good job.

For my fellow diabetics -10 Diabetic Dental Myths I've Run Across


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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

[Regina’s Walton's Expat interviews] The Ratios - Electronic rock with a twist

A bit of a change this time around. This is my first interview with non-expatriates. So it's not quite "Expat Interviews" this time but more like "An Interview That Might Interest Expats."

This a interview I had with a Korean band called The Ratios. I met them because I interview Lee Juyoung at Seoul Fashion Week back in March. She's married to the lead singer, Kim Bada.

I chose them because their music, I think, can appeal to expat tastes: retro at times, 80s, hard rock and just plain good.

Anyway, check it out.

[Regina’s Walton's Expat interviews] The Ratios - Electronic rock with a twist

This past weekend the Korean band The Ratios were one of the acts featured on the main stage at the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival. There they had a chance to play for a crowd of not just locals, but also plenty of non-Korean faces.
Kim Ba-da was formerly the lead singer of the popular Korean heavy metal band, Sinawe. He was also a member of the Butterfly Effect after Sinawe broke up in 1999. He has now reinvented himself since forming The Ratios.

The style of Kim's new band is electronic rock, which complements the innovation and edginess of his wife's fashion designs (she uses his music at her shows).

"I'm trying to make a unique Korean sound and bring it to another level," Kim said when asked how his band is perceived by fans.

He describes The Ratios music as "electronic, rock and electro-punk." Bands and artists that have influenced Kim's music range from heavy metal groups to electronica acts. When asked to name his musical influences, he identified artists like the Arctic Monkeys, Chemical Brothers, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Ian Brown, Kasabian, Nine Inch Nails, T. Rex and Van Halen. These musical influences mesh together to create a distinct sound.

Kim's brother Kim Jong-june, formerly of the punk band No Brain, is The Ratio's bass player. Jong-june likes to listen to artists like Ian Brown and Oasis.

Sang-jin, who plays the synthesizer, was brought onboard when Kim Ba-da heard his music on the internet. Sang-jin listens to electronic music such as Justice.

Rounding out the group are Kim Yong-sik, their drummer, who listens mostly to classic rock, and Yun-taek, their sound designer, who listens to electronica.

This crisscross of influences explains why the tracks on The Ratios' recently released debut CD, Burning Telepathy, range from '80s-style electronic ballads to tracks with heavy basslines and an alternative rock feel. The CD features songs written in both English and Korean, but the music makes the album worth listening to no matter which language Kim sings in.

Kim is trying to bring diversity back to the Korean music scene, which he feels is currently full of pre-packaged and over-produced K-pop acts.

"The music scene in Korea was much better in the 90s. You could hear all kinds of music and artists were taking more chances," said the singer.

He says that he was "shocked" when he first listened to rock music because it was so different from anything he'd ever heard. He loved artists like Van Halen and T. Rex, and trained himself by listening to classic rock.

"I want to be on the frontier of electronic music in Korea," he said.

He knows that most young Koreans listening to The Ratios don't recognize the influences the band draws on, but hopes to change that. In the future, he also hopes to produce for acts he finds, helping to establish a distinct core of artists.

One way The Ratios are trying to spread the word about their music is by playing a few shows this summer. Their next show will be at M2 in the Hongdae area of Seoul on Aug. 9 at 10 p.m. After that they will play at the Busan International Rock Festival on Sept. 2 and then they'll play the Guro-gu Open Air concert in Seoul on Sept. 27.

Go to to hear The Ratios' music.

Here is an Adobe Acrobat reader, .pdf, version of the article:
Read this document on Scribd: kh07302008


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Finally...I Can Talk About This

Matt Gross, the Frugal Traveler, for the NY Times was here a few months ago. At the time Joe over ZenKimchi called me up and asked me to suggest a restaurant for him to take Matt to.

I'm not a foodie and, if you read my blog, you KNOW, I don't bother blogging about food. There are people with much better palettes, a deeper interest and who are just better writers than I am on food.

However, I do know what I like. I suggested we go eat 안동 찜닭, Andong jjim dalk, because I fell in love with this dish when I lived in the Daegu area. Basically, it's chicken with clear noodles, potatoes, veggies and chunks of pepper stewed in a very savory and soy-based sauce. It's a great dish to have during the winter months when you want a hearty meal. Dining in Korea is hopelessly social, so it's great to go there with friends and that made it an easy choice for me.

What I didn't know was the article finally came out last week. Since everyone who went with him to this meal were writers, either other journalists or bloggers, he asked us to hold off on writing about it until he'd published his article. No problem.

But now it's out, so I can talk about it.

Here is the link: The Weird, Wild and, Ultimately, Sublime.

I was happy to see the paragraph he wrote about the 찜닭 restaurant:

But such extreme dining is mostly a sideline. More commonly, I ate at restaurants like New Andong Zzimdak, which serves a single dish: boneless chicken pieces sautéed at your table with mung-bean noodles, vegetables, and gochujang, a red-pepper paste that is to Korean cuisine what butter is to French. This is easy food, slightly spicy, with an unexpected sweetness from caramelized gochujang. Like most Korean food, it comes in massive quantities and is meant to be eaten by large groups of friends (mine included Joe McPherson, who blogs about food at, who pour one another beer and soju and snip the long noodles with scissors.
Honestly, his description of 찜닭 isn't quite right but when it came time to talk about the dish, the foodies took the stage and, well ... improvised ;) 1) They bring the dish already cooked to your table. 2) The ingredients Matt lists aren't accurate.

This guy on Flickr has a much more accurate description of what the dish is made of as does the very reliable Wiki on Korea, Galbijim. It most definitely doesn't not have 고추장, gochujang, in it. The spiciness comes from the big chunks of pepper cut into the dish and not from pepper sauce.

Here is a recipe I found on Daum. I can read the ingredient list, but I can't translate it (yeah..."duh" is me.) However, here is the link so you can find a Korean friend to help you out if you're so inclined (it's about 1/2 way down the page.)
간편 안동찜닭


닭반마리, 감자2개, 양파 3/1개, 청고추1개, 홍고추1개,청양고추2개,다진마늘2/1작은술,

후추약간,참기름1큰술,간장3큰술, 1반컵,설탕2큰술,


1. 닭은 토막내어 세척한후 뜨거우물에 데쳐 찬물에 행구어 물기를 빼논다

2. 감자는 껍질을 제거해 큼직하게 썰어주고 양파도 큼직하게 썰어주고 청고추와 홍고추는

어슷하게 썰어준다

4. 간장에 청양고추를 반으로 잘라서 넣고 물1컵을 넣고 3-4분정도 끓여준다

5. 청양고추를 건져내고 데쳐낸 닭과 감자를 넣어 조려준다

6. 어느정도 졸여지면 다진마늘과 설탕을 넣어서 졸여주고 완성되기 1분전에 양파와

두가지색 고추를 넣어 버무려누고 참기름과 후추를 넣어 마무리한다

Matt ended the article listing two places that I just love: Myeongdong Kyoja, which serves some of the best, 칼국수, kalguksu and kimchee around, and the place we went to for 찜닭, New Andong Zzimdak. (Check out his article for websites and phone numbers.)

I'm glad to see it out because there is some both delicious and sometimes odd food concoctions to be had here in Korea.

Okay, it's very late and I've got a deadline to meet and I've got to be at work tomorrow at 9:20am. That's not extremely early but it is when it's almost 2am and you know you'll be up for, at least, another hour.


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Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival = Surprisingly Fun

Lee Ju-young (fashion designer), yours truly and Kim Bada (from the Ratios and Ju-young's husband)

Hey everyone.

I'm still around and take this blog post as proof ;-)

I went out to the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival today and really enjoyed myself.

I'd not planned on going. The monsoon rains have been pouring pretty consistently since early July and they're showing no signs of stopping. Between finally putting some time into my squalorific apartment, nurturing my personal life and working a three week camp at a elementary school here in Seoul, I'm just busy.

When asked if I planned on going to Pentaport my reply consisted of buzz words like "rainy", "muddy", "dirty" and "no". However, The Ratios were playing today.

My editor knew I'd interviewed them back in May, but I had a few follow up questions and it's been on hold. However, with Pentaport going on this weekend, this was an excellent weekend for me to see them live again and finish up my interview with them. Duty called, so I got myself added to the press list and headed out.

I like events to be well-planned and organized. To my pleasant surprise, this festival was. They've had a few years to figure it out, so I'm not surprised. It's just nice when there is no stress or drama at an event.

The press booth was clearly marked as were the ticketing areas. The website had clear instructions on how to get there. The vendors on site don't take cash. You have a wristband that you get coded with whatever amount of money you give them and then you can shop, eat and drink as much as you like. Therefore, a lower risk of having your stuff lifted. Of course, the vendors don't have to worry about workers gleaning off the top here and there. They even had galoshes for sale because with all the rain it's a mud pit out there. If you didn't go to this year's Boryeong mud festival, believe me, there is one right now at Pentatport ;)

I only caught two sets. The Ratios, of course, and The Vines. Both were great! The crowd was crazy, in a good way. They were just really enjoying the music.

Travis is set to take the stage last tonight, but the set isn't scheduled to end until 11:30pm. That's a mass transit nightmare as the subway closes down around 11:30pm, so I headed home after dancing around in the mud to The Vines' music. However, had I actually paid closer attention to the program, I would have stayed to hear The Gossip's set. Their singer is just a bad ass.

I did retire a pair of beloved Nike boots, but was given a pair of plain navy galoshes to skip about in the mud in ;) I was a dirty mess by the time I left, but I did wash the mud off my galoshes in the subway station. However, my pants were caked with mud. Good I had a rain slicker to cover myself up with on the train. There is one more day, so if I go tomorrow I just might pack a change of clothes for the commute back.

Now it's time to watch Becoming Jane because my iPod has just reminded me I've got only 4 days left to watch it :S

Here is the link to the interview.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

[Regina Walton's Expat Interviews] Trailblazer for foreign models

I'm laying low these days with blogging because, as I've written, it's just time to spruce up my personal life and focus on some other things.

However, I have been plugging away at getting interviews for my Korea Herald column. I've got a few interesting people lined up to write about. I've also been working behind the scenes with the Look to the Stars website that I write for. With that, I'm helping them maintain their MySpace and ThinkMTV pages.

I estimate I'll get back to blogging in earnest in a few weeks.

Here is my interview with Andrew Gordon. He's an American model who lives here in Seoul.

[Regina Walton's Expat Interviews] Trailblazer for foreign models

Andrew Gordon is an American model from New York who is quite successful in the fashion industry here in Seoul. He speaks near-fluent Korean - not an oddity in itself - but many models here tend to have short stays.

A few foreign models are flown in for a few weeks at a time. For example, Elyse Sewell of America's Next Top Model was here for a few weeks, but left in May to work in China. You just don't see many foreign models that make Korea their home - let alone take a deep interest in the culture or language like Gordon has.

Two years ago, Gordon moved to Gimhae, near the city of Busan, and stayed there for around a year. He moved to Busan, then eventually found his way to Seoul.

He explained that it was friendships made in high school that gave him an interest in Korean culture and language. "I went to a private high school and there were a lot of Korean people there. And so I just became friends with them and, through that ... I developed an interest in Korea."

Because of his interest, he came here to study the language. "I graduated very early and came to Korea. I was planning on only staying here for vacation, and it ended up being a life choice, so I live in Korea now."

He began his modeling career in the United States. "I did a little bit of modeling in the United States for American Apparel. And then came to Korea right after that. I didn't really do anything right off the bat ... I was going back and forth to Japan (to model). I actually debuted in Tokyo Collection ... and that was my (runway) debut."

A typical day for a model in Korea is that there pretty much isn't one. "There is really no typical day here, because everyone is busy and does their own thing. But I would say a normal day with a good amount of work would be starting with a meeting with someone, like an editor or a designer. If those people like you, then you continue on and talk about money. Then, usually, you'll go into a fitting and schedule the day - if it's a show or a shoot. "

Andrew Gordon, American model in Seoul

When asked to describe both the good and bad about working as a model in Korea, Gordon is honest but tactful. "(Korea) is a small country and I understand that, but things like money and pay are very low and sometimes none. I think that designers separate themselves from the models. There are so many models in Korea, so everyone wants to be a model. It's kind of hard for people who really have the potential to do well to be successful." When it comes to the positives, "Being foreign (helps); there aren't a lot of foreign models in Korea. Also, being young is an advantage because I'm younger than a lot of foreign models here. The language is definitely a plus. If I didn't speak Korean, I would not be a freelancing model. It helps with issues like pay."

With his recent assignments, Gordon has had a couple of notable successes. In May 2008, he was featured in a solo 12-page spread in Korean GQ. That was a first for a foreign model. "To be alone for a 12-page spread is a big, big accomplishment, especially for a foreign model."

He is the model for this summer's Hugo Boss campaign that will be seen in Korea, Japan, Europe and the United States.

Having worked with a big fashion house like Hugo Boss opens many doors. "The Boss campaign has gotten me a lot of calls from other countries and ... having something like Hugo Boss in my profile allows me to be viewed on a high-fashion level because Boss is such a fashion icon."

Being a model who has been able to adapt and live in a foreign culture outside of traditional fashion hubs like Paris, Hong Kong or Milan works in his favor when it comes to expanding his profile in other markets.

Here is an Adobe Acrobat, .pdf, version of the interview:

Read this document on Scribd: kh07162008

Other links: A Fashionable Day


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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rihanna - Take A Bow

Great song, or, I think so as it's in heavy rotation on my iPod.

The video: it's one of those "go away and don't let the door hit you in the ass" songs. Those can be empowering for us ladies.

Anyway, just sending up a sign that I'm still around, but very much into "getting my life straight" mode.

I'll be back to blogging soon.

In the meantime, enjoy.


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Monday, July 7, 2008

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

I've been enjoying my vacation and just getting stuff done.

However, I saw this video on the Onion and it's so funny I have to share it.


Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

Hahahaha...I guess I was one of those Americans who was able to "evacuate" ;)


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