Tuesday, December 25, 2012

When "Piccolo" Is More Than Just A Wind Instrument

I am not talking about a character from the anime "Dragon Ball Z" either. 

I am talking about a firecracker that has been the hazardous toy of kids during the Christmas season. Despite the warnings sent by the Department of Health every year, many kids (and grownups) still do not heed. And lo! They get injuries of all sorts.

So much for the weird title, though.

Anyway, when most people were staying up late to greet Christmas day, my family and I slept early. What is more important to us than staying up late and playing with dangerous firecrackers is the Holy Mass on Christmas Day.

The abundance of food and the expensive gifts do not make Christmas special. This day is special because it is Jesus Christ's birthday. He as God came into the world in man's image in order to save us. 

For many Filipinos, Christmas is a time of giving, sharing, and loving. The song "Give Love On Christmas Day" is not just a cliche. It is true. My Aunt, Uncle, and cousins dropped by to give their gifts, and we invited them for some snacks because they would not stay for lunch. They had their own agenda too. But the highlight of our gathering was inviting a poor neighbor, the son of my godmother.

He had been staying in the mountain for long to study, and he only goes down the mountain to the city during vacation days. For the rest of the year, he and his mother would only be eating vegetables and fish. When they have no money at all, he would go out of his way to look for meager jobs in order to earn money to get by. My mother used to say that when my neighbor was in his early years of high school, he would catch some spiders to sell. That's how poor his life has been. For us, inviting him for a Christmas lunch will make it memorable for him, that, at least, even just a few days in a year, he could feel love and he could feel comfort.

I don't mind receiving gifts and stuffing my mouth with lots of food anymore. Just seeing him with a smile and contented with our simple meal is a great accomplishment already.

Another great accomplishment for me is cooking a Korean dish called tteokbokki. I had been wanting to cook this for the longest time, and finally, I made it! ^_^

Christmas tteokbokki ^_^

메리 크리스마스입니다!!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mag Love

It had been years, and I forgot how it all began. I think it was during the day when my sister and I found an old copy of a March 1996 edition of a Reader's Digest magazine. We were enthralled with the stories in it, most especially the death-defying, heart-stopping, jaw-dropping, and very inspiring story of a surgeon who performed tube thoracostomy on a woman who was injured in a motorcycle accident ("Emergency on Flight BA 032," by John Dyson, March 1996). However, take note, the procedure was done inside the airplane! And utilizing improvised materials at that! Who would have thought that one can use cognac to sterilize materials?

After reading that story, I got hooked.

My reading life revolved around reading Reader's Digest. Of course, I read school books, but I had fallen in love with Reader's Digest that I was thrilled when my father bought two more copies. Soon, my aunt from the United States, when sending items from there to here, also included a lot of the magazines inside the balikbayan box.

When I became patient enough to read novels, such as the Twilight Series, I began to read them. But I am mostly impatient with novels, and you may say I am not really a wide reader. Between novels and Reader's Digest, I prefer the latter.

There were a lot of fine stories that I loved that were published in Reader's Digest. The stories were very inspiring because these gave me insights and realization about the world. Here are some of the stories that were noteworthy.

* "They Never Came Home" (by Per Ola and Emily D'Aulaire, March 1996) is an account of different teenagers who died from car accidents. There were different reasons why their trips ended up in tragedy, and it got me thinking to always pray before I leave the house. This also made me realize that such accidents can be prevented, but sadly, still happened many times.

* "For The Love Of Music" (by Linda DeLibero, August 1998) is about the impossible shot to the moon done by the pianist, Jon Nakamatsu, and the wings that took him there, his piano teacher, Marina Derryberry. Indeed, if you have a dream and pursue it, you will get what you want. This is a story that shows that dreams can come true.

* "The Family That Never Forgot" (by Joseph A. Reaves, August 1998) tells us that no boundaries, not even the war between North and South Korea, could tear down the hearts and minds of a separated family, with the hope that they will be reunited one day. This story tells me that, in the end, everybody will find their hope.

* "A Mother's Love" (by Joseph A. Reaves, July 1998) is a story of how a mother's love can defy every impossible thing just to save the life of her offspring with thalassemia. Erma Mata did not have the means to pay for the medical bills of her sick son, Caesar. She and her family, who were residing in the Bicol region, did all means possible to earn money for the treatment though they were poor. They were told that the best option was to fly to the United States. The hopeful mother looked up at her hopes to the then President Ronald Reagan, Cheche Lazaro, and other good Samaritans who reached out in order to give back the life of her son. Indeed, a mother's love is a strong force that can make the impossible possible.

* "Finding My Way Back" (by Ekaterina Gordeeva, March 1997) is a beautiful and romantic story about how two single skaters, Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Mikhailovich Grinkov, got paired up, and how they fell in love with each other. This is like a fairy tale to me, so wonderful, fantastic, but yet so sad. In the end, Sergei died of a heart attack, and all that was left of Ekaterina was her skating ability and their daughter Daria. Even in death, love still conquers all. 

There are book sections and featured stories that got me hooked, and no matter how many times I read them, they still mesmerize me. Here are some of those.

* "Nothing This Family Can't Do" (by Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., March 1996) is a story depicting the power of dreams. The Thorntons were poor African-Americans. Their father, Donald Thornton, though poor, believed in the dream that his five daughters will grow up to be doctors. Though not being able to achieve the dream, all his daughters, including their sixth, an adopted daughter, became successful professionals. This story reminded me of the Japanese manga, "Dragon Zakura." Just be amazed at how powerful dreams can be.

* "The Seeing Glass" (by Jacquelin Gorman, July 1997) recounts the terrifying experience that Jacquelin Gorman had when she got blind one day, and how a tea-colored glass that her autistic brother used to use while catching crabs got back her sight. The best line I read in this story so far is that one can imagine his perfect age.

Even some published short entries also showed how a mundane life can be made special, like how some things so ordinary can be made so memorable. Here are some of the short selections that had captivated my heart and soul--and even my interest.

* "The Loves We Leave Behind" (by Lisa Bain, August 1998) tells us how some unexpected twists of fate or incidences of our lives turn out to be blessings in disguise. Sometimes, we dwell in the "what if's" and the "what could have been's" of life, and we can see that our lives are better than if we had ever been in the "what if."

* "Unforgettable James Michener" (by Lawrence Grobel, August 1998) tells us of how a renowned author put encouragement to a young girl, and allowed her to dream and write like he did.

* "God's In My Basket" (by Christopher de Vinck, March 1997) is a story about a student who was tasked by his teacher to write about an elderly person. This story teaches us that even the sick and the old still can give us some lessons to ponder and to live by.

* "What A Coincidence!" (by Sylvia Fraser, October 1998) is about the weirdness of things and how things unrelated can be connected by some occurrence we call 'coincidence.' Many have known about that tragic incident that happened to the so-called unsinkable ship Titanic that sank after colliding with an iceberg on its maiden voyage in April 1912. But does anyone have an idea that years prior to the incident, in 1898, an author, Morgan Robertson, wrote about the demise of the so-called unsinkable ship that sank after colliding with an iceberg on its April maiden voyage? Title of the book is, "Futility: or The Wreck of the Titan."

Who would not forget about some funny anecdotes? There has never been a dull moment with "Laughter, The Best Medicine," "Life's Like That," "Campus Comedy," "Humor In Uniform," "All In A Day's Work", and "Quotable Quotes." Get to improve your vocabulary by trying your brains with "Word Power Made Easy." Another entry that I love, but mostly found in the Asian RD version, is any entry by Nury Vittachi. I commend his wit when he writes. Just when I thought he was being serious, he inserted some punchlines that could elicit laughter. For example, do you believe that the world wide web is produced by a really large spider? Or that his father never came home for four months because he was a perfect description of a workaholic? It is his serious writing with some (or many) insertions of exaggerations that I really, really enjoy.

There are a lot of Reader's Digest magazines at home that were just hand-me-downs, but there are those that I received as Christmas gifts. Other people opted for new shoes, new bags, new gadgets, or even new boyfriends (if there is such a Christmas wish as that). I preferred Reader's Digest. If someone will ask me what Christmas gift I will want to receive every year, it will be this magazine. I like to buy mine rather than read the mag online, but if someone will give me a gift, Reader's Digest will always be the best.

The first Reader's Digest I received as a gift was back in 2009 while I was shopping in a grocery store. I saw this December copy, and I was thrilled to see Diether Ocampo on the cover. And why not? Diether is one of my showbiz crushes! Another thing that got me thrilled is due to the fact that a Filipino icon had been featured in my favorite magazine. Now, how cool is that?

Part of the 2009 pack was a December 2008 copy with Manny Pacquiao on the front cover. I am not a fan of Pacquiao, but I admire his discipline. Anyway, enough of Pacquiao. This copy was a freebie that came along with the December 2009 issue. I cannot forget this gift because my board mate gave this to me.

I received this foodie issue last December of 2010, and my manager gave it to me. He was thinking that I was the other employee, but I was really thankful that he gave me this as a gift. Do you know how happy I was to receive this? You can say I am greedy and a sucker for this magazine, but I really do enjoy this one. A lot. A lot. A lot.

Ehem.... Who would not fall in love with the Younghusband brothers? I like Phil, and my sister likes James. (But honestly, my favorite Philippine Azkal player is Chieffy Caligdong, the sly soldier on the soccer field). This gift was given to me by an officemate December of last year, 2011. I had twice the reason to rejoice because I also received a copy of Edith Hamilton's "Mythology." While my officemates enjoyed dipping into the pool, me and my thoughts (and my annoying cold) flew away to Neverland while reading my favorite magazine. The simplest way to whisk me away to travel is to hand me this magazine. As simple as that.

I am not advertising or anything. Anyway, if you want to read Reader's Digest online, you can visit their site at http://www.rd.com/. If you want the Asian edition, you can visit their site at http://www.rdasia.com/. If I am online, I find time to read my fave magazine, but I will still wish to have a hard copy of Reader's Digest to accompany me when I am alone or bored, or when I am waiting for something, or when I am falling in line, or just to cover my eyes before I take a nap.

Indeed, nothing can replace the joy of being together with this magazine. It is the most inexpensive way for me to travel around the world, to outer space, and even to realms unknown to mankind.

좋은 하루 되세요!

Monday, September 3, 2012

To The Moon On A Magic Carpet Ride

You can call it a boring Sunday afternoon.

Most may not find it so, but I found it boring. I was way too bored that I thought I had to go out and have fun. After all, it's a Sunday! I can enjoy my break every weekend after a week of stress at work. Hey, I love to write, but it does not mean that I will not experience a writer's block.

And a writer's block I did experience. For a boring Sunday afternoon, I need inspiration. I need to be out there.

I had been looking for salsa and anything that are Mexican, so I decided I want to eat tacos. And cruising at the mall to soothe my tongue was all I had in mind.

I decided to look for that kiosk that sold tacos and quesadillas, but I found out it was not there anymore. It was replaced by a kiosk selling crepes, and I was not craving for crepes.

Strolling around I did until my eyes landed upon the sign that says "Mooon Cafe." It is quite a knowledge already that Mooon Cafe serves Mexican-style food--just the way I like it.

I don't know, but I am fond of strolling alone, so by the time I got inside the restaurant, a waitress ushered me to a table which, by default, could accommodate four persons. I sat and took the menu and read. I am not that familiar with Mexican food, which was why I embarked on this odyssey. Salsa, salsa galore.

Actually, this is my second time to be in Mooon, the first time with my friends from Mindanao. One friend of mine had suggested that chimichanga is delicious, but since I forgot what it was, I ordered one this time. And I had to forgo with the tacos for now. Gotta have it later...

By the time my chimichanga arrived, my heart melted like mozarella cheese. Awww... that food is a darling! Finally, I took my fork and dismantled my food. I don't care how other people eat theirs, but I just ate mine the way I like it. Of course, I wanted to know what comprised my dear chimi.

Ah, the salsa rojo complemented well with the cheese that it was too perfect! Even the ground beef inside brought a whole lot of good. Did I just sense the taste of chilli pepper? It was not as hot as I thought it would be, the spiciness just moderate, but nevertheless, it was great.

And there you go! 

Chimichanga, with the salsa rojo, cheese,  ground beef and extra yumminess inside the crunchy dough

Before I went to Mooon, I had been strolling around looking for backpacks. I will not tell the reason as to why I am looking for those big bags. Anyway, I passed by another restaurant, this time, specialising on Indian and Middle Eastern food. After Mooon, I decided to hop in to Persian Palate.

I am not that all too familiar with Indian and Middle Eastern food, so I had to try. I HAD to try. I just got in and sat on the table for two.

The waiter handed out the menu, and I had to scan. The good thing about the food in Persian Palate is that they serve vegetarian food. That is a very good thing for those who are cutting out their source of meat from their diet. I can say that the food is a bit pricey, but what the heck, why not try?

I ordered aloo tikki and the beef kebab because I was too curious. And finally, when my order came, I dug into the aloo tikki first. When I took some to my lips, the flavor of chilli greeted me, the way it did with Mexican food. It was just so heavenly that I find it hard to describe in words. To balance off the spiciness of the dish, there's the sweet mango sauce provided for. If you want something pure vegetarian food, aloo tikki is one of the must-haves.

Aloo Tikki, with the mashed potato and green chilli peppers and sweet mango sauce

I had always been curious what kebab is all about. I had to know, right here, right now. The beef kebab wrap is all I tried because I wanted to, and if I want to try the chicken kebab, maybe that will fall under my next agenda. This kebab came with two kinds of sauces: the green chilli sauce and the cold garlic sauce. I could have eaten it like the way I do with shawarma, eating it wrapped and whole, but I chose to dissect my food as I ate it. No offense, and please do not be offended. I just chose to try eating my food like that, for the reason of getting to know every bit of ingredients, treating them like friends.

My verdict for the beef kebab wrap and aloo tikki: delicious!

Beef Kebab Wrap, with the green chilli hot sauce and cold garlic sauce

My odyssey for Mexican food ended up with eating Indian food as well, but it was totally worth it. By the time I got home, all I had were good memories and a refreshed mind.

There is no more room for word blocks, and no more excuses for grabbing my soft and luxurious hair using my slender fingers. When nothing else comes as inspiration, food can do the trick. Try it!

좋은 하루 되세요!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Topokki Man is Heaven! (떡복이맨은 하늘입니다!)


I need to clarify something. Nobody asked me to write this. I wrote this because I want to. I wanted to write something that interests me, and I wanted to write something that will be interesting to people out there who want to go on a food trip, most especially trying out Korean cuisine. I want to write this because I am just wanting to share my very good experience.

My romance with the Korean culture "officially" started when I watched "Tale Of The Gumiho," also known as "Forbidden Love." I know that there were many others before that, but I really was not attentive to the other K-dramas which were shown because I was busy with studies. After "Gumiho" came "My Girl."

For Korean songs, I remembered "Answer The Phone" by Mina in the early part of the 2000s, but I did not pay much attention to it either. The one song that got me loving it was Howl and J's "사랑인가요 (Perhaps Love)" from the K-drama "Princess Hours." But the highlight of my love for K-pop songs happened when 2NE1 came to the scene back in 2009, and for me, officially, they were the first group that I knew. Many K-pop and K-rock songs and groups came after that, and I got more familiarized with them as time went by.

Immersing into Korean culture would not be sufficient if you do not learn how to speak and write their language. I had been doing self-study using online materials, but honestly, my learning as of the present is a bit scarce. Sorry for the comparison, but if the Korean language is like patbingsu, my learning of the language is about 0.00001% of a tteok, if I can help comparing it like that.

Of course, appreciation for the Korean culture would not be complete if you have not tried eating their food. My fascination with Korean food went back to some episodes in the 2010 K-drama, "God of Study," wherein the students were eating with their teachers inside the classroom. I think it was it.

I had been trying to find some Korean restaurants here in the district, but because I was either out of budget or too lazy to get off the public transportation, I had not had my chance of getting inside big restaurants. There were instances of eating Korean food back in 2011, with my sister. But after that, I contented myself to going to Koreana convenient store or at Assi Mart.

One day, I met with an elementary/high school/up-to-know friend, and we were chatting. I told her that I wanted to try eating Korean food again, and she suggested going to Topokki Man. At first, I was no familiar as to the location, and she told me it was at Rosedale near University of San Carlos. I am familiar with the place because I live near the vicinity.

When I had the chance, I finally went there on a Saturday, at ten in the morning. Topokki Man is a small resto unlike the ones you see in other parts of the district. It has a cute ambiance filled with cute glass stickers of houses and buildings. There are also a lot of pictures inside the resto, and lots of "footprints" from customers who had fallen in love with the place and the food. I myself had fallen in love with the place because I can say it is cozy and homey.

My friend suggested baby rolls because it was her favorite. It was my first order, and of course, I really liked it. It is good news to me because this dish is affordable. Php50 anyone? ^_^

잘 먹겠습니다! (I will eat well.)

Baby rolls (꼬마김밥) [Picture c/o me ^_^]

I had also been curious as to what tteokbokki is, because during the first Korean day which was held last October 1, 2011, one ajumma in a colorful hanbok gave me tteok on a toothpick. At first, I did not know what it was, but she gave me the English term: rice cake. It was chewy, and I love it.

I think it was in the third visit to Topokki Man when I tried tteokbokki. And I tried the cheese tteokbokki. I don't know if this is true to some people who were born in the year of the Rat, but I am also born in the year of the Rat, and I love cheese. Hmmm... The taste got to me, and the memory of it stayed in my consciousness. Tteokbokki is addicting! I also love the odeng (fish cakes) with it, ah, just so perfect! By the way, tteokbokki is made of the tteok (tubular-shaped rice cakes), thin slices of fish cakes (odeng), veggies, gochujang (the pepper paste), and others. Of course, I will not tell you the other ingredients because the ones I enumerated are the basic ingredients that I see and have researched in the internet. As to what the "others" are, that is prerogative of the restaurant to keep it a secret. I don't know it either. This is all I can tell you. Tteokbokki is truly, truly delicious! 너무 너무 맛있어요! 

There are also a lot of variety of the tteokbokki, but much as I want to try the seafood variety, I am not able to because of my food allergies. If it were not for these allergies, I will not have problem with food.  

Cheese tteokbokki (치즈 떡볶이) [Picture c/o me ^_^]

I updated myself with the happenings and stuff at the Facebook page of Topokki Man when I began commenting on the page. Later on, the administrator of the page added me as friend. And of course, later on, Sajangnim posted a picture of patbingsu (팥빙수), which is shaved ice with lots of sweet red beans and other yummy ingredients such as assorted fruit bits, corn flakes, tteok bits, and ice cream. When I saw patbingsu for the first time, I realized that it looked like our halo-halo, but the owner of the resto and his staff told me that patbingsu is less sweeter than halo-halo.

Just a trivia though. Halo-halo comes from the Filipino term "halo," which means, "to mix." If you take it literally, it may mean "mix-mix," but it is actually shaved ice with the yummy ingredients. Yes, our halo-halo is indeed sweeter, must be because of the leche flan.

As to Topokki Man's patbingsu, I will not tell what other ingredients I see in the bowl. It would take out the surprise, of course. You can research what patbingsu is made of, but as to the patbingsu of this cute resto, you have to go out and try for yourself.

정말 정말 팥빙수를 좋아해요! (I really really like patbingsu) ^_^

Patbingsu (팥빙수) [Picture c/o me ^_^]

One night, that friend who introduced me to Topokki Man met with me for dinner. She is the one in the picture, hehe. Anyway, because the two of us love to eat, we ordered the food that we loved. We did not regret because it was worth it.

Original tteokbokki, kimchi, and bibimbap [Picture c/o me ^_^]

I had been telling my cousin about this cute resto, but because of her time, she was unable to go visit. One Saturday evening, however, I was talking to her about bringing some tteokbokki and yummy Topokki Man treats over to her boarding house when she suggested going there "now." I agreed to go with her and her brother because I was soooo looking for tteokbokki. See? Tteokbokki is so addicting! ^_^

My cousin told me that her Korean students suggested her about eating the fish cakes. By the way, there are times when the resto is so busy that Sajangnim himself serves the guests. At that time that my cousins and I went, it was a very hectic day, so Sajangnim served us the fish cakes. My cousin asked for the Korean term, and Sajangnim told us that it is called "odeng," as it was derived from the Japanese. When I researched, the Korean odeng was derived from the Japanese oden. When I saw the fish cake on sticks, I suddenly remembered Lee Min Ho's role as Go Jun Pyo eating fish cakes with Geum Jan Di's appa and namdongsaeng in "Boys Over Flowers." Ah~~~ another great and memorable K-drama.

Verdict: yummy! ^_^

Fish cake or odeng (오뎅) [Picture c/o me ^_^]

Ramyeon is also part of Korean cuisine, so we ordered it as well. The serving is worth sharing with three to four people. So you see, Korean dining is also all about fellowship. With dishes served like that, it can really be shared with friends and family. Sharing is loving. ^_^

Ramyeon (라면)[Picture c/o me ^_^]

There are a lot of dishes that I need to try when I have the time. Maybe my next agendum is to eat mango float, Topokki Man style!

Other things that endear me to Topokki Man are the politeness, smiles, and friendliness flowing out from Sajangnim and his staff.


This is the first thing that they will greet you when you come in, whether you are a Korean customer or not. When you are comfortably seated, the staff will give hand you the menu. If you are not familiar with the food, you can ask the staff for recommendation. I suggest you should try the food without hesitation.

When you are in Rome, be like a Roman.

Just like that. Do not come to this place if you are not willing to adapt to the culture. If you are not willing to learn new stuff, no one is forcing you. So, if you take the recommendation that the staff gives you, take it wholeheartedly. Eating new food is a learning experience. 

Music videos, anyone? There was one afternoon last July when I went in the resto to eat the half-serving of ramyeon, but I ended up ordering curry. By the way, the curry is delicious too, but I had not taken some photos of it. Speaking of music videos, the first MV I saw on the television screen in the restaurant was that of DBSK. Though I am not a fan of SM Entertainment, I like DBSK. Later on, "Pinocchio" and "Hot Summer" by f(x) was shown. I so so so love "Pinocchio." I was also happy to see Park Bom's "Please Don't Cry." You see, I really love Park Bom, and I love 2NE1. My happiness was complete that day when I saw IU's "You and I" and "Good Day." In another occasion, the first video I saw was Jung Jin Woon's "You Walking Towards Me," from "Dream High 2" soundtrack. If my sister had watched it at that time, she would be screaming for joy. The other videos I saw were from KARA, Secret, Sistar, and Miss A, my other favorite.

I also got acquainted with the owner of the resto, but I call him Sajangnim. That is a polite way to address someone who holds a big position in a large company, or someone who runs a business. Sajangnim is also helpful and very friendly. One time, when I was eating tteokbokki while reading an English book (which was found in the bookshelf), Sajangnim handed me a rolled-up lettuce. He explained to me that it is samgyupsal. When I bit into it, I found out that inside the lettuce was some rice and the piece of meat. As to the whole coverage of what samgyupsal actually is, you can lean on to Mr. Google. But on my ocular inspection, those were the ingredients I saw. What can I say about samgyupsal? Delicious!

잘 먹었습니다! (I ate well/ I had eaten well.)

My aunt once suggested that I post a picture of myself having a good time at Topokki Man. Not that I am afraid of cameras. I want others but myself to be subjects in a photo. And since many people were leaving their marks at Topokki Man, I thought it would also be nice to leave a note of appreciation. I left this note on the day when Sajangnim gave me samgyupsal.

Picture c/o Sajangnim ^_^

For the benefit of those who do not know how to read in Korean, I will explain what I have written thus (the body of the note only):

Ah~~ The food is so good... And affordable!!! ^_^ My heart is happy!!!! Topokki Man is heaven... Thank you very much!

All my experiences can really tell that for me, Topokki Man is heaven. Even the younger friends of my sister asked me for directions. Even another cousin wanted me to take her and her husband some other time. Sure! Why not?

It is always my pleasure to accommodate friends and family members if they want to eat. For me, there are ways to bond with people, but hearts bind together when people eat together. While eating Korean food, you not only bond with the people whom you are with, you are also learning another culture.

It's great, is it not?

네, 맞아요. (Yes, that's right.)

Finally, when you leave the store, they will give another greeting.


At first, it confused me with another greeting, but as I tried to make a mind map, it was no longer confusing. And in a polite society, of course, you always thank the services of people who served you.

"Kamsahamnida. Annyeonghigeseyo." 

So that ends one day of encounter in Topokki Man. But rest assured, I will go back when I have time and try the other dishes.

Indeed, Topokki Man is heaven! ^_^

좋은 하루 되세요!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Frustrated Manhwaga (Self-Introduction 자기소개)

There are a lot of situations, whether formal or informal, wherein you need to introduce yourself. This has a lot of functions, say, introducing yourself in school, at work, etc., or even to clear up miscommunication and misunderstanding.

If you have remembered in my last manhwa, it was about Min Hwan and Min Ho talking about what they will like to do. In this manhwa, the next scenario is about Min Hwan and his cousin Min Ji going out together to the department store. On their way, they meet Min Hwan’s girlfriend, Jiyeon, who thinks that Min Hwan has a previous girlfriend. And to make things easier and polite, both Min Hwan and Min Ji speak in formal speech, while Jiyeon talks informally. The conversation is mainly done by Min Hwan and Jiyeon.

So, here is how the situation went about. By the way, if you know how Japanese manga or Korean manhwa works, it is read from right to left.

Jiyeon: Min Hwan-oppa? He…had a girlfriend? How annoying!
지연 : 민환 오빠? 여자친구 있었어? 짜증나!


Jiyeon: Hi, Oppa!
지연 : 오빠, 안녕?
Min Hwan: Oh, good day, Jiyeon. Ah, this is my cousin. (This person is my cousin).
민환 : ? 지연아, 안녕하세요? , 사람이 사촌입니다.
Jiyeon: C-cousin? o_O
지연: ... 사촌?

Min Ji: Good day, Eonni. My name is Min Ji. How are you (This is my first time to see you)? I am pleased to meet you.
민지 : 언니, 안녕하세요? 이름은 민지입니다. 처음 뵙겠습니다. 만나서 반갑습니다.
Jiyeon: Ah….hi Min Ji…
지연 :  , 민지씨, 안녕하세요?

Min Hwan: Min Ji-ya, Jiyeon is my friend.
민환 : 민지야, 지연이 친구예요.
Min Ji: Really?
민지 : 정말요?

Jiyeon: Oppa! I am your girlfriend!
지연 : 오빠! 여자친구야!

Min Hwan: No.
민환 : 아니요.
Jiyeon: No? Oppa! I am so hurt! You! You are a bad guy!
지연 : 아니? 오빠! 너무 아파! ! 나쁜 남자야!

Min Hwan: I’m sorry.
민환 : 미안해요.
Jiyeon: I love you, Oppa~~~
지연 : 오빠, 사랑해~~~

Jiyeon: But where are you going?
지연 : 근데, 어디 ?
Min Hwan: We are going to the department store.
민환 : 백화점에 갑니다.

Min Hwan: Do you want to join us?
민환 : 갈래요?
Jiyeon: Yes! Yes!
지연 : ! !

So, there goes my manhwa. I think I will post until here.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Into the attic of my mind...

Growing up.

We have a lot of responsibilities that come with growing up. If you are a college student, you have to study. If you are not privileged enough, you work. If you are of legal age, you vote. Once you graduate, you find a decent job. And come election time, of course, you vote. A lot of paper works, appointments, taxes to pay, bills to pay, new tasks to do...

That sometimes, the things we cherished when we were still young tend to get pushed back to the recesses of our subconscious minds. Digging up the memories of the past is like going up the attic and searching through the old memories hidden from inside the chest box.

I suddenly realized this when I was riding a public vehicle to the mall because I wanted to have my wristwatch fixed. During the journey, when the vehicle stopped, I noticed a house, and I thought that the house looks familiar. One of the occupants of the house happened to be my music teacher in high school. Another occupant used to be a Biology teacher of some of my friends, though I am not sure if she still lived there.

While I was going home after I learned that my watch could not be fixed, I suddenly remembered another house, which was a few meters away from my teacher’s house. I remembered the place so well, though I was not sure if it still stood there.

And the next day, I passed by the same vicinity again to go to the mall to buy a new wristwatch. I took note of my route, and there, I saw the same old wooden house behind the high walls and the high black gate. The house was still there, though it had become a very important building related to the state.

And so, my memories came flooding again. And I reminisced them fondly.

It had been some years ago, and I will not tell you how long, when my music teacher told me to join a concert for a national celebration. At first, I hesitated, but I joined. I joined because I had been a part of the glee club in first year of high school. My whole summer was spent on practicing at that big house, and during breaks, we would also go to the house of my teacher.

The memories I had of the house were very memorable. I was part of the choir, and sometimes, our practice would run late in the evening. I met a few friends there, including my teacher’s nephew who was still a medical student at that time.

During the last few days of practice before the big day, we spent less time at the big house, and more on the actual venue. However, between the actual venue and the big house, I was fond of the big house more. In fact, when I browsed through the musical pieces that I still had, what I remembered was the big  house most often.

I really am not that good in describing my memories at all. Not at all. I tend not to describe the way authors describe things in the novel. I am more of the business writing style, so, sorry for that.

I just want to tell my readers that despite the busy things in life, it is good to get back to your yesterdays and think back of the good old times. It can help you gain perspective and move on to the future.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Frustrated Manhwaga (Just because we use “like…”)

All right, I admit it.

I am a frustrated cartoonist.

I had made quite a few attempts in making my own manga, but I ended up not finishing it. I like drawing, and I love writing stories, but there are sometimes when I have more important things to do that I had not finished a manga at all.

Around four years ago, a friend of mine once told me to make a manga music video. I made an experiment before doing his request. The music video I made was about friendship turned to love between a guy and his girl best friend. The song I used in the vid is a emo-rock by a local band.

I did upload it and showed it to him, then I started making his request. The ending? Up to now, it is still not done.

A few years later, I got interested in learning the Korean language, so I learned by doing self-study.  While finding self-help books or videos in the Internet, I came across http://www.youtube.com/busyatomdotcom, which is the channel of JB-seonsaengnim. I like the way he teaches the Korean language because he makes it easy to construct sentences just by following the sentence pattern. If you know the sentence pattern, you can just add words to it. Good thing also is, JB-seonsaengnim is Korean, so he knows what he is talking about. But just to be sure, he also cited his sources and told his subscribers that the video is only supplemental, and nothing can still compare to the real lesson in the classroom.

And speaking of sentence patterns, I had also learned quite a few and some, and I also learned some while watching K-dramas. There is also this habit I had that when I want to remember some points in a lesson, I tend to create some caricature or even some skits.

And that was when I remembered my frustration of being a cartoonist. And below is my first attempt of making a manhwa while also applying some simple Korean sentences that I had learned from JB-seonsaengnim.


Just because we use “like…”

Yes, in the English language, we use the word “like” in some ways.

·         I like you.
·         I like to watch a movie.
·         I am like a rose in the desert.

As you can see, we use “like” in three different ways, though we tend to use the same word. Same word, different usage. The first one is having the meaning of having affection, fondness, or attraction to someone. The second is doing what one wanted to do. The third is having the sense of comparison.

In the Korean language, the word “like” has more than a usage, and has more than a word to express it. I forgot to tell you that I also did self-study of the Japanese language, though I am still quite poor at it. In the book that I was using, the author said that foreigners would often have wrong translation of “like.” Just because the English use “like,” in three ways, it does not mean that Japanese language uses the same word to denote different usage. Same goes with Korean language.

Below is my manhwa which deals with the different usage of “like” in Korean. Let us follow the example of the brothers Min Ho and his younger brother Min Hwan, who are lying on the floor. Here in my manhwa, the younger brother Min Hwan uses polite language, while his Min Ho-hyung uses casual language.

Min Hwan           :  I am hungry..~~
민환                      :  고파요..~~~

Min Ho                 :  Me too, Min Hwan…
민호                      :  나도, 민환...

Min Hwan           :  Min Ho-hyung, what do you like to eat?
민환                      :  민호 , 무엇을 먹고 싶습니까?

Min Ho                 :  Me? Uhm… I like to eat ice cream.
민호                      :  ? ...  아이스크림을 먹고 싶어.

Min Hwan           :  Ah, is that right? I like to eat ice cream too. And I like pizza.
민환                      :  , 그래요? 저도 아이스크림을 먹고 싶습니다. 그리고 피자를 좋아합니다.

Min Ho                 :  I like pizza too. So, let’s go!
민호                      :  나도 피자를 좋아해. 그래서, 가자!  

Min Hwan           :  Mm!
민환                      :  !!!!

In the following manhwa, I only dealt with the two usage of “like.”

·         좋아하다  - to like (in the manner of having an affection or fondness for someone or something).
·         싶다 – like to (verb), want to (verb), would like to (verb)


좋아하다 is the verb meaning “like”, as in, “I like you.” This is the word found in the dictionary. However, we need to conjugate the verb properly to make the sentence polite.

In the manhwa, we can see the verb being used in two different ways.
  •      As Min Hwan speaks using polite  speech (존댓말), the verb he used is:

o   좋아합니다.  – used in declarative sentence.

This is using 합니다 style. If using the 해요  style, he could say “좋아해요.” In interrogative sentence, one can use “좋아합니까?” or좋아해요?

  • ·         Min Ho speaks in casual speech (반말), so he used ““좋아해” instead of  “좋아해요.


This is another usage of the word “like”, though it will mean “would LIKE to (verb)” or “want to (verb).” Then again, we conjugate the verb to make the sentence polite.

This is the sentence pattern to be used:
                Would like to (verb) – (verb)고 싶습니다.

Let us get back to the manhwa:

  • ·         In the polite interrogative sentence, Min Hwan uses “싶습니까? Both “싶습니다” and “싶습니까?” use the “합니다” style. If using the “해요” style, one can use the same word for both interrogative and declarative sentence, “싶어요” or “싶어요?”
  • ·          Min Ho is quite casual, so he uses “싶어.” I know, this is what you often here in Korean songs. If an interrogative sentence, hence, “싶어?”

Here are more examples, but I would rather use the polite sentence.
·         I like Yoo Ah In.                                              - 유아인씨를 좋아합니다.
·         Sarah likes her teacher.                                 - 사라가 그녀의 선생님을 좋아합니다.
·         Wooyoung likes to watch a movie.               -  우영이 영화를 보고 싶습니다.
·         Where do you want to go?                             -  어디에 가고 싶습니까?

There is also another usage of “like,” where it deals with comparison. I am talking about, “I am like a ~ (~ 처럼).” I will not be dealing with this yet, and I will also not deal with, “I like to be a doctor.” I will deal yet with the simple things.

So you see, this is how I deal with lessons I need to learn. If I cannot get an idea, I draw it so I can associate an idea with the drawing that I made. At the same time, I also get to fulfil being a cartoonist, even if it is just for fun.

I learn, and I have fun!

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