Nanta- The nonverbal must see show

When my mother came to visit me I really wanted to take her to watch Nanta but was a bit worried that a) you needed an understanding of Korean or that b) it was another tourist trap. I’m incredibly happy to report that we needn’t have worried about either of those. Nanta completely exceeded our expectations and blew us away.

For the entire duration of the show, we sat enthralled by what was happening on stage. We laughed, we clapped along, we bobbed our heads and tapped our feet in beat with the music. It truly was a wonderful performance so full of energy and kept us thoroughly entertained.

So what is Nanta exactly you ask?

Nanta is a non-verbal comedy show created and produced by Song Seung-whan and incorporates traditional samul nori rhythm. The musical has a simple backstory of three cooks attempting to finish preparing a wedding banquet within a strict time limit while the manager installs his incompetent nephew among the kitchen staff. The show involves acrobatics, magic tricks, comedy, pantomime and audience participation. The unifying element throughout the musical is the use of traditional Korean samul nori music, which in this case is performed with improvised instruments, such as cutting boards, water canisters and kitchen knives. The performance is almost completely non-verbal. The very few words which are spoken are mostly in English.

Nanta is the longest-running show in Korean history.  The musical made its international debut at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it received an award for best performance. Since then it has been staged in 57 countries around the world. Nanta opened Off-Broadway in New York City in 2004 and ended its run in August 2005.

There are now three shows in Korea (Myeongdong, Hongdae and Jeju) and one in Bangkok.

discountsThough there are other third-party ticket sellers I would recommend going through the website as they do offer some good deals if you book in advance or at certain times.  If you book in advance you can get an Early bird ticket and the 2pm shows on the weekends are also well priced.

 

 

directions

Besides being able to buy tickets on the website they also give you very clear directions and instructions on how to get to each theatre.

 

 

 

12794811_10153291958375703_688231676612100681_o

 

 

If you are lucky enough you get to actually participate in the show. Either as a bride or groom or as some other parts.

 

bride

 

 

If you are chosen to participate they post your photos on the website for you to download.

 

 

 

Nanta is really something worth doing while in Korea. It is fun, family friendly and can be done in any weather. Perfect for the upcoming winter months.

12029781_10153291957985703_178055733731592237_o

If you have already seen Nanta let me know what you thought. If you loved it and want to watch some other similar things have a look at my bucket list that has a section on non-verbal shows.

Agatha Christie – WoW

I started this lesson by showing them the trailer to the movie, “Murder on the Orient Express”. 

I then explain that the author who originally wrote the book was a very famous writer and we read the story inside  Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls.

Agatha7

I also show them two videos on YouTube about her life. 1 and 2.

My kids were doing Narrative writing at the time so I had them design a murder mystery plot using the 5W’s 1H.

Have a look at our other Woman of the Week.

Virginia Hall (WW2 badass spy)- WoW

In the years before World War II, Hall tried to break into the American Foreign Service but was denied due to her gender as well as a leg injury. She eventually worked for British intelligence during the war and eventually was allowed to join the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA.

SHE HID DOCUMENTS IN HER LEG!! The Limping Lady, Virginia Hall, was the most successful spy in history.

I read the comic book strip from the Rejected Princess website and showed the infographic video,  she shot off her leg and became the best spy ever.  Here is a news report on her. And if you have time here is another YouTube video.

With this lesson, I also decided to have a spy week. They each had to give themselves spy code names and then we did these awards for the week.

top secret

Leave the award on the seat of one pupil at the start of the day or lesson. It is fun to leave it in a manila envelope with ‘TOP SECRET’ written on it! They open the envelope and read their secret mission:
‘Notice somebody doing something great’
They watch their peers closely and award it to somebody by completing the certificate. The winner gets a certificate to take home. I also upped the “spy” factor by making them guess who was the student that spied on them for the day.

Here is the link to all the images I used, the Special Agent Award and the computer desktop I created.

You can find the other Woman of the Week (WoW) here.

20181024_105253
The entry for Virginia Hall in the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls book.

 

 

Bette Nesmith Graham (invented whiteout)- WoW

Recently I bought a new book. Girls Think of Everything, Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women

So this week we looked at Besse Nesmith Graham who invented whiteout (or as we call it in South Africa Tipp-Ex).

I started the lesson by introducing my kids to the history of typewriters. Many of them had no idea what exactly a typewriter was. I then continued by reading the story in the book. You can download these photos bigger here.

Besse- 1Untitled design (1)

After reading the story I showed them this YouTube video about her and this one.

I also told them about how Whiteout helped create The Monkees. We watched this YouTube video.

Here is the pic I made for the desktop.

Find more Woman of the Week here.

Images and resources I use for WoW.

20181018_131408

This is what the wall looks like. I found many of these pictures online.

You can find the Google Doc with the pics to print here.

The postcards I got with Good Night Stories box set but you can buy them here. They also have posters and other merchandise to buy.

I also have up quotes from Mandela on postcards.

In the middle, I feature whatever “WoW” we are doing.

I use a wonderful website called Rejected Princesses. It is a series of illustrations of women whose stories wouldn’t make the cut for animated kids’ movies, illustrated in a contemporary animation style. In 2016, it became a book – and in 2018, there will be a second!

Additionally, the site regularly adds profiles of “Modern Worthies” – women from living memory who would also not make the cut.

Lastly, there’s a regularly-updated blog featuring items related to non-conforming women, art, and peculiar bits of history.

I have also gotten women from the book, Girls Think of Everything; Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women. 

And I have the box set of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

To see the full list of “WoW” go here.

Trick Eye and Ice Museum Hongdae

On my first visit to Seoul I decided to go see the Trick Eye and Ice museum in Hongdae.

The Trickeye Museum is an art gallery with paintings created using ‘trompe l’oeil’ techniques that give each 2D art piece the illusion of being in 3D. Instead of merely viewing paintings (as in a typical art gallery) visitors can interact with the paintings, posing themselves just right so that they look as if they are part of the original work. To ensure that even its busiest patrons have time to enjoy the fun, the museum stays open each day until 9PM, making it a popular date and hang-out place.

Outside of the main exhibition hall is a main square that is decorated like the Santorini in Greece. In addition to classy fountains and decorations, the main square is also home to the museum café, ‘Café Santorini,’ which serves up scrumptious organic coffee and other beverages.

In the same center is the Love Museum which is also worth a visit (I’ll soon post a blog about that here).

It is best to go with 3 or more people.  Two people were good but for some of the photos where we both wanted to be in we had to ask someone else to take the photo with us.

I would recommend going as early as possible as it really does get busy and there ends up being quite the line for some of the photos.

I really enjoyed myself as it was something different to do and my first times seeing something like this.  Some of my friends thought it was a bit boring and that there would be more interaction.

The trick eye museum is not the most interactive museum, for more interactions you need to go to the Alive Museum in Insadong (still on my to do list).

1554386_10151972489815703_5038018277372837223_n 10178055_10151972496780703_4885254154857756293_n 10253749_10151972501110703_2200918861025151476_n 10253902_10151972496495703_2178809809717545619_n 10277569_10151972496250703_4407509393640034696_n1511203_10151972489570703_2671305008677700223_n10269418_10151972496800703_990509363955199801_n

The Ice Museum is just across from the Trick Eye museum.  It is fairly small and also gets busy with lines to go in depending on the time you get there.  It isn’t very big but you can take some good pics and go down the ice slope.

10152590_10151972501275703_4279538109670972287_n 10154080_10151972501855703_5951424652441612298_n 10251903_10151972501985703_1039561869162654848_n 10258047_10151972501695703_1618913785570139249_n DSC05761DSC05763

There is a voucher you can download here that gives you a discount to get in to both museums. The website can also be seen here.

Here is a map to get to the Trick Eye Museum.  You might also accidentally walk past the entrance if you are not looking out as it is just a small entrance that takes you down the stairs to the Museum which is underground.

hongdae-trick-eye-museum5 Map Details seoul_2013_10_eng_02 (1)

Opening hours are between 9am-9pm but last admission is at 8pm.

If you do go have fun, it is a great morning outing.

Cat Cafe in Gangnam

Stephanie is leaving soon and so we decided to go to the Gangnam sign (see post here) and a cat cafe which is right around the corner.  I have missed my beautiful cats from back home and was excited to get some feline cuddles in.

To get there you take line 2 and get off at Gangnam station.

gangnam s

Exit by exit number 9 or 10.  The easiest way is to Exit 9 on the green line and walk straight down the street.  From that main street will be able to see the sign for the cat cafe on the 4th floor of a medium sized building nested in between some others~ just enter and take the elevator door up!  If you are walking on the street and you hit the intersection with American Apparel on the other side you have gone too far . When we arrived (at exit 10) there was a giant dancing cat standing near a sign pointing in the direction.

20150207_163609catcafe21catcafe42

The cat cafe is very popular and it is often full.  Which was the case with us. So we put our name on the waiting list and the guy said he would call us when a table opened up.  Luckily for us this only took about 10 mins.

When you get there you have to buy a drink for 8000 won but then you get to stay there for as long as you want (because of this rule the waiting time for your table could be a while).

There are a few rules for you to follow:
♥ Do not pick up the cats, they can sit in your lap~ but they have to climb up on their own.
♥ If a cat is sleeping, do not disturb him.
♥ Do not pull the tails (duh)
♥ No flash photography
♥ Do not disturb them if they are eating
♥ Do not feed them any human food, only cat snacks which you can purchase at the counter.
♥ Do not pet the lower back by the tail
♥ If the cat has a colored collar on he is new or on medication atm and you can not feed him snacks.
♥ Do not be loud and obnoxious! This is meant to be a peaceful place.
♥ Do not use your personal items or things like the drink straw to play with them, they provide toys.

Once we got in there were cats everywhere.  You can grab a blanket and sit on the floor and wait for them to come to you.  If you don’t want to sit on the floor you can sit at the table and wait for them there.  We wanted to buy some cat snacks to feed them but apparently they had been fed to much and they would only begin selling the snacks after 7pm again.

We could only stay for about 45 mins but we made the most of it.

20150207_170109  20150207_170352 20150207_170406  20150207_170618   20150207_171248 20150207_172231 20150207_172244

20150207_170605 20150207_170201 20150207_170632 20150207_170625

The cats are really lovable and friendly in general (there was one mean one that hissed at all the others) and they come sit on your lap without a problem.

Here is the website for the Cat’s Attic Cafe franchise.

The first Cat’s Attic Cafe opened in  Myungdong, now they have 9 locations throughout Seoul and Pusan.

The general hours for this chain are 1pm-10pm.

20150207_172237 catcafe28

Gangnam Sign

It’s taken almost a year but I finally made it to Gangnam.

Some background info on the area:

Gangnam is the richest area in Seoul and the song ‘Gangnam style’ refers to the lifestyle of the rich and young.

Both the Greater Gangnam Area and Gangnam itself are widely known for its heavily concentrated wealth and high standard of living, which has been compared to cities such as Beverly Hills, California. The most significant indicator is its extremely expensive real estate. As for its land value, the mere 40 km2 land of Gangnam district rivals with the entire land value of the city of Busan, the second largest city in South Korea.

Then, South Korea is known for its high standard of education and intense competition for university entrance, and Gangnam is considered as the national capital of education, which is one of the decisive factors to make Gangnam the most attractive destination in South Korea. In 2010, roughly 6% of the successful candidates to Seoul National University, which is considered as the best university in South Korea, were from Gangnam district, while Gangnam’s population makes up only 1% of the country’s population.

If you are not an American it is nearly impossible to get a teaching job in Gangnam as the parents demand that their children learn the American style of speaking.

Our trip to the sign:

Stephanie is leaving soon and so we decided to go to the Gangnam sign and a cat cafe (post about that is here) which is right around the corner.  As we were on a bit of a tight schedule these were the only two things we could fit in.  Though I would love to go back and explore Gangnam properly.

To get there you take line 2 and get off at Gangnam station.

gangnam s

When we got there we saw a huge poster advertising plastic surgery.  Something that is very much the norm in this area.

image

Exit by exit number 11.  The sign should be right behind you as you exit in the area called M-stage square.

gangnam

The other circle is the cat cafe we went to.  It was super cute. You can see the post about it here.

The sign lights up at night but we unfortunately were not there for that.  But it’s ok, we still got some good shots. They do have a button you can push and then music comes blaring out which is slightly embarrassing as everyone is looking at you and you are trying to do your best Psy impersonation.

It is obviously a very touristy thing to do but worth it as most people only know Korea because of that song.

20150207_163153 20150207_163314

Here is a picture of it at night (though we didn’t see it)

img_2335

If you do go have fun letting out your inner Psy 😉

New Years hike to end all hikes.

I’m not a hiker, let’s just throw that out there right now.  In fact, I don’t even really like hiking all that much.  I’m more a team sport, dance class or just lie on the couch type of girl.

But, I have a bucket list of things to be completed and it is for this reason that I decided to do the Seoraksan Mountain New Year’s hike.  The hike would let me cross off 2 things on my list-  84. Hike Seoraksan AND 119. Watch the first sunrise of the year on a mountain (which is a Korean tradition).  Seoraksan is the 3rd highest mountain in Korea and it was only after the hike from hell that I was told it was considered a rather “difficult” hike.

Little did I know the horror that would be waiting for me and that this would be the most extreme/ crazy thing I have ever done.

The day before I departed for Seoul I had a quick look at the weather and was not at all happy with what I saw.  The weather said the mountain would be -18 and near the top with the gale force winds it would feel like -30 to -40.  I could not believe that this was real, could it even be real.  I then also realised a very serious shopping spree was in order as I was not nearly prepared enough to be hiking in those extreme weather conditions.

10896901_10152464971570703_5471118610705380000_n

Off I went to the outlet stores as I was seriously not prepared to pay through my ass for gear that most likely would not be worn all that often (ok, whom am I kidding, it definitely wouldn’t be used that often).

I found the most beautiful pink hiking boots, only to discover they only go up to a 250. ALL women’s hiking boots only went up to 250. (250= 6UK= 8,5-9US size).  So I had to buy men’s hiking boots.  After an hour of shopping around I got everything I wanted and felt more at ease about the hike.  We layered up, I had a pair of fleece leggings, proper ajusshi hiking pants pants,  hiking socks, hiking boots, under armor long sleeve thermal top, another long sleeve thermal top, tank top, fleece pullover jersey, snow jacket, face mask, head band, beanie, gloves and a scarf…I thought I’d be fine.  Filled with some nervous trepidation but also excitement we headed to the bus meeting point.

The group we were doing the hike with was Seoul Hiking Group.  A group that I had traveled with before and whom I found fun, easy going and up for adventure.  You can find them on Facebook here.  They do many other trips besides just hiking and I enjoy going with them, most of the time. 😉

4:30 am we started the hike, by 5 am I realised that this was going to be much more intense than I expected and I wondered if I had indeed bitten off more than I could chew.

Our leader told us it was 5 km to the peak, when I got to the 2,5 km mark I was proud.  I was a little winded but still going strong, it seemed I would be able to do it…till we go to 500 meters after that sign.  The snow had started and I had nothing for my boots. So we plodded along, trying our best not to slip and fall down into the river that lay next to us.  Luckily earlier I had been a good Samaritan and loaned my spare torch to a girl who didn’t have one and now she returned the favour by giving me her spare crampons (spike things you attach to your shoes so they dig into the snow and you don’t slide).  The spikes definitely made a difference and I was more sure on my feet.

As we continued up it started getting colder, the wind started picking up and the stairs just wouldn’t stop. So many damn stairs, all covered in snow waiting for you to slip and crack your skull open.

I was shivering and I was hungry but we couldn’t stop as we had to keep going so we could see the sunrise and for fear of freezing.  By this stage our water bottles had frozen over.

10897040_1000564363292379_5580113506279880920_n

The sun finally started rising and we found a gap in the trees to take a shot or two.

10904122_1002780739737408_4425743991167567227_op1016384

As we got nearer the wind grew even stronger than before and all the people coming from the front seemed to be running and they had ice in their hair and eyelashes.  I feared for what lay ahead, and rightly so.

We neared the top and rounded the corner and OH SWEET MOTHER OF MARY was it cold, it was beyond cold, it was horrible, it was freezing, every part of me was cold no matter the layers on.

We stopped for a while to eat some biscuits and admire the view but we did not stay long.  I was unhappy, I was cold, I was grumpy and my body was not happy with me.

10417763_1000600153288800_347123859820806218_n 10888403_1001114063237409_7508678677240845342_n10897928_1002768396405309_3985505180653158638_n

If I thought being at the top was bad, going down the side with the wind blowing from all directions was worse.  I seriously thought I might just die. I wanted to cry but was to scared to, I didn’t know what would happen to my tear ducts if the tears froze in them.  So instead I just made little chunking sobbing noises as I went as fast as was possible towards the shelter that was only 700 meters away.  My fingers started freezing inside my gloves, I couldn’t feel them anymore.  At one stage I thought my pants were sliding down and I took my hand out of my glove to try pull it up but I couldn’t bend my fingers, I couldn’t get them to do what I wanted.  The sobbing chunking noises continued till I got to the shelter.  Never have I been so happy to arrive at a wooden establishment.

10405556_10204161460011504_1340746573857455397_n

Once inside I did not want to leave.  It was warm, it was dry and there was no wind.  People were busy cooking away and it seemed that some had even spent the night there.  We had no idea that you would be able to buy food up on the mountain and so we had no money.  We just looked at the other people eating until one person felt sorry for us and gave us each a piece of candy. While we were standing there trying to defrost Juan asked me if there was something wrong with the top of his one ear as he couldn’t feel it.  I had a look at it and it was FROZEN, as in rock hard frozen.  He had been so cold he did not feel it happening.

It came time for us to leave.  I wasn’t ready for it, I had even thought about if it would be possible for me to stay there till the next day or whenever it was going to get warmer.  The only comfort I had was that from now on we would be going down hill.  My gloves were still frozen solid but I discovered the best way to keep my hands warm was to bunch them into a ball and put them in the palm section of the glove.  Leaving the frozen fingers part well alone.

We braved the cold and on we walked till we got to a 3 way split.  I had remembered our leader had told us to go to a temple and I saw some other people going left and so we decided to follow.  I was much happier as we were out of the wind blast and going down hill.  I even commented on how I was glad we were going downhill and not up.  What a silly thing to do!

We got to the temple at the bottom only to discover we had GONE THE WRONG WAY.  Words cannot describe what I was feeling at that moment.  I just wanted to sit and cry.  We would have to go back up the 2 kms we had just come down from.  I was broken.  On the walk back up I literally had to just concentrate on one foot in front of the other.  I was so angry and annoyed with us for being so stupid to go the wrong way and put ourselves through this extra pain.  Luckily there were 5 other people who made the same mistake so we knew we weren’t last.

We got to the top and turned the right direction.  It said it was only 10 km but it could take up to 6 hours.  We were starting to worry we would be getting back really late and hold the bus up.  I started formulating plans for a helivac and wondering the cost involved.

2 months prior to this hike I had fallen down some stairs over Halloween in Busan and twisted or sprained my knee.  I thought it was all better prior to the hike…it was not.  My left knee started paining with every downwards step I took.

The one really fun thing about going down the mountain is that at some stages the path was too steep or slippery to walk down so we literally slid down on our butts.  It was fun albeit a bit painful at times when you hit some stray rocks.  It also took some pressure off my knee.

10881514_10204161470891776_1708441239149960382_n 10898316_1000572019958280_3269840991555386392_n

Unfortunately the fun didn’t last long and we hit the valley!  The valley with so so so many stairs.  Some covered in ice.

p1016508 p10164690

At this stage the tears had started flowing, every step was painful, I was cold and I was hungry.  The worst of this was not having the option to stop.  The mental strain was exhausting.  No matter what my body felt I just had to keep going.  If we stopped we got cold and it pained to start again.

In my mind I was wondering how I was going to describe this, what Facebook status could I formulate that would adequately convey what I was going through.  My thoughts were torn between that, the constant thought that if I just sat down and waited surely someone would come rescue me, and possibly in a chopper, and how grateful I was that none of the friends I had invited with had actually come (they were smart).  It was bad enough that I was suffering and that Juan was suffering but it would have made me feel so much worse if I knew I had been the reason my friends were suffering too.

It was getting later by now and the sun had disappeared from our view in the valley and with the lack of sun the temperature seemed to drop even more and my knees were killing me!

Somehow I managed to do the last few kilometers.  I’m honestly not sure how my body pushed on through, but I’m happy it did.  The last 2 kms were on relatively flat ground which I think saved me too as it was the going down the stairs that killed me.

My neck was sore for having stared at the ground for the last 12 hours, my knees were throbbing and every muscle in my body was aching but I had made it!

I had survived the toughest thing I had ever done.  It had taken 12 hours to do 20-21 km (half marathon) on a path labeled expert most of the way with only a few advanced parts before the last 2 kms which was labeled easy.  My body has been put through some painful experiences before, and this one was definitely in the top 2, but it was the mental side that got to me.  I had never hiked for long, had to focus for so long or was cold for so long.  The option of giving up was not available, if it had been I would have taken it ages ago.  I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the the other and keep telling myself I could do it, I had to do it, there was no other option.  I just pushed through all the tears.

The end

P.S. Not everyone else took the strain we did.  They were fitter, had better equipment and also didn’t take a detour like we did.  Some seemed to have enjoyed it and I’m sure it could be a pleasant hike it you are prepared, we were not.

P.S.S Having the right gear is so important.  If it wasn’t for the gear I had bought I would have never made it.  The correct shoes are a must and the right pants made sure my legs were never cold.  The only thing I would deem a failure of my gear is my gloves, they did not work as intended to.

P.S.S.S My phone didn’t like the cold so wouldn’t take many photos. So thanks to my friends Eva, Darren and Juan for letting me use theirs.

P.S.S.S there isn’t a photo of us at the end because quite frankly I didn’t care.  I just collapsed onto the bus and refused to move.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑