Dec. 18, 2014 / Issue No. 663

Name cards as Canvas for Poetry 
Terry Jaensch and Soyoung Jeon imbue name cards with special meaning

Australian poet Terry Jaensch and Korean illustrator Soyoung Jeon have teamed up to produce a very special series of name cards featuring poetry and illustrations of everyday life in Korea.

Terry is a poet from Australia on a writer’s residency through the Asialink Arts Residency Program. He came to Korea to continue a project he started a few years ago. During his visit to Korea in 2011, he and a few other poets and designers discussed a project they could launch within the few days they had in Korea. Then they came up with the idea of using business cards as “canvases for poetry.” Cards are light, mobile and easy to make — but most of all, it was a unique idea. “Poetry is a unique niche, so I don’t think poetry publications need to look like any other book. They don’t need to be books in the same way,” Terry says.

When he came back to Korea this year, Terry looked for illustrators to provide compatible drawings on his poem cards. Through Moonji Cultural Institute, he came across Soyoung Jeon, an illustrator who had worked on a series of drawings of people she saw on the subway.

Terry is going back to Australia soon, but he hopes to continue his project abroad. You can pick up the English versions of Terry’s poem cards at the Seoul Selection shop. For more information about Terry and his poetry, check out

‘Korean Wines & Spirits’
Discover the world of Korean alcohol

Seoul Selection is pleased to announce the release of “Korean Wines & Spirits,” the latest in the Korea Essentials series, a collaboration between Seoul Selection and the Korea Foundation.

Koreans have been producing—and drinking—alcohol for centuries. Along with song and dance, alcohol has always been an essential part of the Korean joie de vivre. Koreans drink a lot, but they don’t drink just to get drunk. Of course, Koreans enjoy alcohol as a means to make merry and build cohesion between family, friends and coworkers. But alcohol’s place in Korean culture goes far beyond that. Alcohol has historically also been a medicine and a means to preserve perishable ingredients. It even has a place in the sacred rites of Korea’s Confucian society, including the all-important ancestral remembrance rites. Because of the important role alcohol has played in their society, Koreans have developed sophisticated brewing techniques to produce a wide range of alcoholic tipples.

Price: KRW 9,800


A miscellany of high-quality hyperlinks from the week, courtesy of SEOUL editor-in-chief Robert Koehler.




Christmas Concert: Yuhki Kuramoto and Friends

Join Japanese pianist and conductor Yuhki Kuramoto for a Christmas concert with some of the world’s greatest musicians, including legendary violist Richard Yongjae O’Neill. Kuramoto grew up as a music lover, studying the works of Rachmaninoff and occasionally performing as a soloist for local orchestras. Unlike other musicians, however, he didn’t follow a singular path, having earned a Masters degree in applied physics from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. In addition to O’Neill, who is a well-known figure in Korea, the performance will be augmented by the vibrant vocal ensemble Rottini and conductor Adriel Kim, with the latter having won critical acclaim both in Korea and abroad, particularly in Germany. Lovers of classical music are sure to experience an unforgettable Christmas.

VENUE: Seoul Arts Center, Concert Hall
DATE: Dec. 25, 19:00
MORE INFO: T. 02-523-5391,
ADMISSION: KRW 30,000–120,000
MORE INFO: Nambu Bus Terminal Station 남부터미널역 (Line 3), Exit 5. Transfer to shuttle bus, or green bus No. 4429.

Dragon Hill Spa

For the people of Korea, who bake themselves to relieve the fatigue and the feeling of chill, Korean Dry Sauna has become one of Korea’s signature cultures and continues its transformation through enlargement and “luxurification.”
Dragon Hill Spa is located in Yongsan, which is the center of the Seoul city. We represent Korean Dry Sauna’s essence of evolution. We offer the best service to our customers with facilities such as traditional charcoal kiln, Sauna, Salt room, Ice room, jade, red clay pyramid room, family spa, outdoor hot spring pool and many more.

MORE INFO: 02-792-0001,
GETTING THERE: Get off at Line 1 Yongsan station or Line 4 Sinyongsan station and it is located in a minute away from the Yongsan station plaza.

Richard II

Richard II is one of Shakespeare’s most powerful plays, a revealing tale about the torturous lures of power as well as the importance of self-realization. The story follows the last two living years of Richard II of England as he tries to suppress a rebellion in Ireland. After exiling his cousin Bolingbroke and seizing the Duke of Gloucester’s assets, the king is accused of squandering funds to fuel his campaign in Ireland. The nobles, in turn, engage in plot to overthrow Richard II by exploiting his absence when he personally leads the charge in Ireland. Bolingbroke eventually crowns himself the new king, and Richard is imprisoned. The murder, death, deceit and paranoia that follow lead to the most important realization in Bolingbroke’s life, a personal discovery he makes after taking a religious voyage to Jerusalem.

VENUE: National Theater of Korea
PERIOD: Dec. 18-28
MORE INFO: T. 02-2280-4114/6,
ADMISSION: KRW 20,000–50,000
GETTING THERE: Dongguk Univ. Station 동대입구 (Line 3), Exit 2

Universal Ballet Presents, ‘The Nutcracker’

The Universal Ballet Company has dancers and staff from more than a dozen countries throughout Europe, the United States and Asia, blending the grace of Asian philosophy with the strength found in Western classical ballet. Dedicated to preserving tradition while adapting to contemporary progressions, it is one of Korea’s leading ballet companies. On a snowy Christmas Eve, Clara throws a party at her house. Once the tree is finished being decorated, everyone celebrates and admires its beauty. But as the clock strikes eight, a mysterious figure enters: Clara’s godfather, a talented toymaker who has brought gifts for the children. One of the toys he brings is a wooden nutcracker carved into the shape of a little man. Clara takes a liking to the nutcracker, although the other children ignore it for the more flashy toys. What follows is an adventure involving a nutcracker growing to life size, an army of gingerbread soldiers, a mouse king, tin soldiers and dolls that come to life. The ballet is a holiday favorite in Korea.

VENUE: Universal Arts Center
PERIOD: Dec. 19-31
MORE INFO: T. 070-7124-1798,
ADMISSION: KRW 10,000–200,000
GETTING THERE: Achasan Station 아차산역 (Line 5), Exit 4. Walk 3 minutes.

RASKB Excursion: The Natural History Museum of Kyunghee University

In January, the RASKB offers a series of indoor tours to escape the winter cold. The first of these is a trip to Kyung Hee University (KHU), a private comprehensive university renowned for its beautiful garden-like campus. However, it also has plenty of indoor attractions.
The KHU Natural History Museum is one of the oldest such museums on the Korean Peninsula, first opening in 1978 to fulfill the university’s founding spirit of “creating a civilized world” through research in nature. Housing over 90,000 pieces, it includes displays of various wildlife found around the peninsula and abroad.

VENUE: Seoul
DATES: Jan. 10
MORE INFO: See this link.
ADMISSION: KRW 10,000–15,000
GETTING THERE: See link above.



The snow falls on 31 Gahoe-dong, Bukchon Hanok Village. Photographed by Robert Koehler.


Seoul Selection’s Free Book Giveaway – Our free book give-away continues! Check out the list in last week’s newsletter here

Seoul Selection Offline Bookshop Sale  One of the greatest repositories of Korea-related English-language books anywhere, Seoul Selection is offering a 10% sale on any and all books published by Seoul Selection purchased from our OFFLINE bookshop next to Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Looking for Translators – Seoul Selection is looking for a few good translators (Korean to English) for general translation work. Those interested should send a resume and cover letter to Kyehyun at Experienced translators only.
Seoul Selection eBooks – You can purchase some Seoul Selection titles in ebook format via (for Kindle) and Apple’s iBookstore. Titles include Ask a Korean Dude, Moon Tides, Doing Business in Korea, Once Around the Sun, and seven volumes of our Korean Film Directors series: BONG Joon-ho, IM Kwon-taek, KIM Jee-woon, LEE Chang-dong, LEE Man-hee, PARK Chan-wook, and SHIN Sang-ok.
Send Your Event Info – If you would like to advertise any upcoming events you are organizing, please send us the press release material at by the preceding Friday in order for it to appear in the following Tuesday’s issue.

Freelance Contributors Wanted – SEOUL Magazine needs writers who are fluent in both Korean and English. Writers should have a strong interest in Korean culture and be able to interview Koreans. Send your resume and writing samples to

We Buy & Sell Used Books – Seoul Selection buys and sells used books in English. Unlike our regular selection of publications that specialize in Korea-related topics, our Used Book section carries books on all subjects. It’s all part of our effort to make life easier for the English-speaking community.


SEOUL (December 2014)

Buy Books at Seoul Selection’s ONLINE Bookshop!





Korean Wines & Spirits (Korea Essentials No. 18)

The Housemaid


Korean Vocabulary Learning of Foreigners

Glocal History of Korean Buddhism

The State, Religion, and Thinkers in Korean Buddhism




The Divine Move

No Tears For the Dead

The Tunnel

My Boy

Man On High Heels

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