Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Places to Watch the First Sunrise of the Year in Korea

Calling all fans of Michael Bolton, Rain and Sting.
Found posted on 10 Media.

12/31 – 1/16 New Year’s Concerts

“Some of the most famous international superstars are coming to Korea to celebrate the new year! Close your eyes and imagine Michael Bolton serenading “How Can I Live Without You” as you ring in the new year. South of the river, Korea’s very own Bi (rain) will be making ladies swoon with his smooth voice and slick dance moves. Sting will give a grand performance for his Southeastern Asian fan base as he helps usher in the first few weeks of the New Year.”

December 31st
Michael Bolton Concert
When a man loves a woman, he buys her tickets to a Michael Bolton concert Only for the true romantics. Hwajeong Gymnasium at Korea University near Anam Stn. (line 6). 8 pm. W88,000 – W132,000. 1599-3066
Rain in Concert
End 2010 with “Bi” (rain), one of South Korea’s most famous entertainers. Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium near Sports Complex Stn. (line 2). 6 & 11:30 pm. W66,000 – W165,000. 1544-1555
January 11th
Sting Concert
Former front man for the Police, solo artist, yoga master, and actor, Sting has a peerless resume, and his musical work over the past two decades is just as impressive. See him in Seoul as part of Hyundai Card’s Super Concert series at the Gymnastics Arena at Olympic Park near Olympic Park Stn. (line 5, ex. 3). 8 pm. W77,000 – W230,000. ticket.interpark.com 02-3141-3488

So aren’t you glad that you are staying in Seoul or even visiting? Just look at the star studded list of entertainers who will be in town to entertain you people.

Yes, Christmas is over and it won’t be long before we say goodbye to year 2010 and welcome to year 2011. As the year draws to a close, Koreans gather at sunrise festival locations across the nation to welcome in the first sunrise of 2011. Each New Year will see Korea’s New Year Festival of watching the 1st sunrise of the year being celebrated throughout the Korean Peninsula on a grand scale.
Why not celebrate this New Year Korean style by staying up all night (or getting up in the wee hours of the morning) to see the last sunset of 2010 and the first sunrise of 2011? There is a Korean custom to make a wish when seeing the first sunrise of the New Year. Koreans wish for a number of things, including health for the family, love, money, travel, job, or entrance to a good college. They concentrate on their fondest wishes and hope that they will all come true. So if you too have a fervent wish you have in your heart, why not do like the Koreans do? Go watch the first sunrise of the year and make a wish. You never know, it might come true!
The best sunrise destinations are cities along the East Coast. Of these, the most popular are Jeongdongjin, Gyeongpo Beach, and Jumunjin Beach in Gangneung; Hajodae Beach and Naksan Beach in Yangyang; Chuam Beach in Donghae; Sokcho Beach, Dongmyeonghang Port and Daepohang Port in Sokcho; Hwajinpo Beach in Goseong; and Homigot Cape in Pohang. Every year during the New Year period, these East Coast locations organize a variety of festivities for visitors to enjoy.

Following is a list of festivals and destinations to watch the first sunrise of the year sourced from 10 Magazine and see if it matches the above destinations. But unfortunately, due to a recent outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease, a number of festivals have been canceled this winter including the Homigot National Sunrise Festival at Homigot, one of the easternmost points on the Korean peninsula, the Catching the Sunrise at Uljin-gun, the Ilwol Mountain Sunrise Festival and the Seongju Sunrise Festival in Gyeongsang Province.


Homigot Sunrise Festival

It’s a pity that Homigot is left out in the celebrations this time, because located in the far eastern tip of the Korean peninsula, the tail of the tiger, Homigot, is one of the best locations where the sunrise can be first seen all around Korea.

Homigot Sunrise Festival 04
Hand of Harmony on land
 Homigot is also popular for its unique sculptures 'Hands of Harmony'. One hand stands on land while the other stands in the ocean’s water. These sculptures are made of bronze and granite. The hands were constructed in 1999 to symbolize the continuing efforts of all Korean citizens to pursue a better quality of life. The sculptures are the most impressive at sunrise when the sunlight shines on them.
The Homigot Sunrise Festival, has had as many as 170 thousand people attending at one time. Even when there is no festival, Homigot Beach is still a popular place where many visitors go to see the sunrise the whole year round.

Homigot Sunrise Festival 01

These are a few photos of a past celebration in Homigot, to show you the festivities going on at that time.

And now to continue with our list of places where we can watch the 1st sunrise of 2011.

. Gangwon Province

The Sunrise Festivals on the East Sea, in Gangwon boasts of it’s great scenery, exciting concerts, and loads of fireworks.
Gyeongpo (Gangneung): On the white sands of Gyeongpo Beach, find out why Gangneung is one of the best places to see the sunrise in Korea. 
Gyeongpo Beach is one of the biggest beaches on the east coast and is well-known for its beauty, which shows itself in a different light throughout the year. On New Years Day, people gather in a huge celebration of the New Year, watching fireworks and participating in an array of programs.
Jeongdongjin (Gangneung): Famous not only as the location of the drama Hourglass but also for its rugged natural beauty. Get off of the train in Jeongdongjin and walk only a few meters to the beautiful beach and its large hourglass. The beach’s hourglass is so big that it takes one full year for the sand in the top to fall to the bottom. At 12am on New Years Eve, the last grains trickle down and the hourglass is turned over once again as part of a grand ceremony, kicking off the brand-new year.
Donghae: The Chuam and Mangsang beaches here host a Korean flag parade and a fireworks show.
Taebaek Mountain: Weary and aching from your climb, you reach the summit in time to see the sun rise above a sea of clouds. Concerts and other events held at Danggol Plaza. festival.
Yangyang: Legend has it that any wish made from atop Naksan mountain during the first sunrise of the year is sure to come true! Head to Yangyang to make your wish in the mountains before coming back down to the beach to join in festivities.   
Daecheon Sunset Festival takes place on Daecheon Beach in Boryeong, more famous as the location of the mud festival. This beach is the perfect place to share the last moments of 2010 with your loved ones. There will be a variety of activities and shows to enjoy such as a candle procession, choir concert and a fireworks show.
Gyeongsang Province
Busan New Year’s Sunset and Sunrise Festival
If you’re not watching the ball drop or partying with friends, why not head down to the beach with the tens of thousands of Koreans who join in Busan’s Sunset and Sunrise Festival? As one of Busan’s most distinctive winter events, the festival is composed of the sunset fest at Dadaepo Beach, the bell tolling ceremony at Yongdusan Park, and the sunrise fest at Haeundae Beach. Tons of activities and games will keep you busy from 11 pm until the first daylight of 2010.

Ganjeolgot New Year’s Festival
Visitors at Ganjeolgot, a picturesque promontory near Ulsan, get the first glimpse of the rising sun each morning throughout the continent of Asia. Be the first to welcome in the New Year by being there.
Ganjeolgot is one of the seaside locations where people all across the nation gather to celebrate the New Year and watch the 1st sunrise of the New Year. This New Year’s Sunrise Festival includes interactive events such as stargazing programs and mosaic making. Visitors can also learn about the Ganjeolgot Lighthouse and the city of Ulsan through a series of 3D video clips. New Years celebrations also include a wide array of events such as fireworks, eating tteokguk (an important New Years tradition), and a diverse range of performances.
Gijang Sunrise Festival
A drum show and all of the other New Year’s events are to take place at Imnang Beach. Gijang-gun just outside of Busan.

Jeolla Province
Haenam Sunset Festival
Craft and product exhibitions, tasting area, food marketplace, dance performances, family oncerts, kite flying, and surprise events

Yeosu Hyangilam Sunset Festival
Experience a beautiful sunrise against the backdrop of Yeosu’s lush trees and rocks.

Yeongam Lake Sunrise Festival
Starting at 7 am, listen to military bands perform, release balloons, share the lucky rice cake, and write New Year’s postcards. If that doesn’t remind you of a typical New Year’s Day, just remember that this is Korea. Plaza in front of Hotel Hyundai in Yeongam-gun, south of Gwangju.

Jeju Island
Whilst most of the other places to watch the first sunrise of the New Year are cold, watching the Seongsan Sunrise Festival at Seongsan Ilchulbong “Sunrise Peak” in Jeju, is probably the warmest place in Korea to enjoy it. Join the countdown and welcome in the New Year at Jeju’s  premier sunrise attraction, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (also known as Sunrise Peak). Fishermen from every port will turn on their boat lights and blow their whistles in unison to mark the occasion. With the port town down below and a view of the sun coming up over the ocean, it is truly a spectacular sight to see.
Don’t worry, if you are in Seoul you can still watch the first sunrise of the year by joining the crowds at the Heaven Park Sunrise Festival, at Heaven Park, near the World Cup Stadium or at the Acha Mountain Sunrise Festival at Sunrise Plaza, Acha Mountain.
So, made up your mind where you want to watch your first sunrise of the year yet? Hurry or you’ll miss out on all the fun and not to forget the wish that might come true!
So, see you next year! A Happy New Year to all! 

Special thanks and appreciation to the following
Photos and articles © courtesy: 
http://asiaenglish.visitkorea.or.kr/ena/index. kto  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Night to Remember

This week I didn’t finish watching any new dramas, so I cannot give you any drama reviews, like what I’ve been doing lately.  Instead I’m going to tell you a bit of the local news in Kuala Lumpur which are Korea related.
Last week two very hot stars from Korea were in Kuala Lumpur in the form of Kim Hyun Joong and Song Il Kook. KHJ was on a promotional tour of Asia for the Faceshop brand of Korean cosmetics. 
An autographed poster  
Two fans gathering events were held over the weekend in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with KHJ’s tour of Asia. One was held on Dec 4th at the Bukit Bintang Entrance, Pavilion, whilst the other was at the Sunway Pyramid on Dec 5th.
Pavilion's award winning fountain..
Some of the fans
BMF Bae sister 
This was the one held at the Pavilion on Dec 4th at 5pm. Crowds of people had gathered at the venue long before it was supposed to start, as early as 2.30pm. As you all know KHJ has signed up with Bae Yong Joon’s company, KeyEast so it’s only natural that the Bae Yong Joon Fanclub or Family of Malaysia turn out to support BYJ’s protege KHJ. That’s a picture of them above.
 KHJ 06KHJ 05  
Purchases of RM50 and above of Face Shop cosmetics entitled the purchaser to get a postcard out of which 200 were selected as the lucky winners of Kim Hyun-joong’s autographed posters.
KHJ 07Ain't he cute when he smiles
And for purchases of RM300 and above at The Face Shop, the purchaser received a Special Note Book & Post Card. The Face Shop then shortlisted 10 shoppers to receive Kim Hyun-joong’s autograph on the note book on Dec 4 during the Fans Gathering Event. A further 6 lucky shoppers were shortlisted for an Up Close Session with Kim Hyun-joong. Three (3) shoppers met him at TFS Pavilion, and the other three (3) at the Sunway Pyramid on Dec 5. All 6 lucky shoppers received hampers and took a picture with him.

Song Il Kook on the other hand, was here at the invitation of the Malaysia-Korea TV Content Forum & Showcase, organized by KCC (Korea Communications Commission), KISA (Korea Internet & Security Agency), and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), where he played a role in introducing the Malaysian audience to new Korean TV contents, and he even had an autograph signing session to meet with his Malaysian fans.
And now for SIK’s autograph session and fan meeting. As this was not a fan meeting in the true sense, there was a limit to the number of participants. Those who wished to attend this event had to pre-register and only the first hundred fans would get his autographed picture. Not many people knew about this as there was not much publicity about it. So those people who attended this autograph session were very lucky as SIG could give them more attention as they were only a small crowd.

SIK made his appearance at 3.05pm at the Nikko Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 2nd 2010 where he held a press conference for about half an hour with about 50 media delegates before he met his fans. There were tables for the media to the front, with seats for the fans to the back. Although there was a limit of 100 fans to this event, there were fans that came as far as Iran, Hong Kong and Singapore just to see him.
Korean  nationals  studying in schools here in Kuala Lumpur, were also among his supporters at this event.

OMG he looks better in person than in his pictures. He’s so handsome and tall with such a slim body and such magnetic eyes. Not only is he blessed with good looks, he is a very nice person, very polite and very generous with his smiles. I’m glad that he’s one of my favorite Korean actors because he’s exactly how I pictured  he would be like. He’s a very down to earth person with no airs at all something we seldom see in the more famous actors of today. Not only did he sign the autographs but he so graciously posed with his fans for photographs. Some of the fans even asked to be hugged by him which he did.

There was even this girl who requested him to sing a birthday song to her as it was her birthday the previous day and that her greatest wish was to hear him sing it to her which he obliged. He jumped off from the stage immediately, to go to her side and he sang “Happy birthday” to her in Korean and gave her a big hug after that.. She was moved to tears as her dream had come true. Now how many celebrities would do that?

Then I heard about how concerned he was about his fans who had gone to the airport to send him off. Seeing that his fans were mostly teenagers and students, he asked his translator to ask them how they were going to go back home as it was quite a distance from Kuala Lumpur and also it was already quite late and did they have transportation. It’s very touching isn’t it to know that he’s so caring.

What I find different from other fan meetings is that his manager stood by without even stopping his fans from making all sorts of requests of him, like posing for individual photographs with him and asking to be hugged by him. You can really get up close and personal to him. I don’t even see any scruffy bodyguards around. That’s why I say, the fans that came for this event are very lucky in that they are not restricted in any way. I hope that Song Il Gook will come to Malaysia again. Good luck to you in your acting career and may you win many more awards.
Inspiring Korea Night 2010 01
And now to end my story for today, I’m going to tell you about a night I’ll always remember – the Inspiring Korea Night 2010 organized by KTO Kuala Lumpur for its Saranghaeyo Korea Club members.
But before that I’m going to tell you something about KTO Kuala Lumpur. The KTO Kuala Lumpur office was established in December 2004 It is the regional office for Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei. The main role of KTO is to promote Korean tourism and provide general travel information to the general public.
Korea Plaza was established by the Korea Tourism Organization and is a tourism and cultural centre, found all over the world. Korea Plaza Kuala Lumpur, situated in the heart of the city, plays an important role as a one-stop Korea cultural experience and tourists information centre. It provides the general public with the up-to-date and accurate information on Korean Tourism. Visitors can get helpful information on travel, accommodations, tourist attractions etc, in the form of leaflets, brochures, books and audio-visual presentations. Korea Plaza also provides opportunities and facilities for the public to experience the Korean culture, such as Hanbok trying/photo sessions; Korean food, art and musical instruments exhibition; Korean dramas and movies screening session and many more. Besides that, Korea Plaza also offers free Hangeul (Korean Language) classes, Korean cooking classes, K-pop singing classes, Korea traditional dance classes etc.
Because of the “Korean Wave” that hit the Malaysia shores in the form of Korean Dramas, K-pop music and B=Boys Dancing, Malaysians began to develop a passion for all things Korean. KTO felt the need to keep alive this love and enthusiasm by forming the Saranghaeyo Korea Club or Love Korea Club to cater for this group of people. The SKC is actually a supporters club where its members act as volunteer ambassadors to help promote Korea in Malaysia.
What is SKC So on May 22nd this year, the Saranghaeyo Korea Club held its inauguration ceremony with about 200 members. Some of the things the members were briefed on were the roles and benefits of being a member of the club like the membership card that allows them privileges and discounts at selected Korean outlets. Every time we participated in the events drawn up by KTO, we would be given points.
I consider myself very lucky to be invited to this celebration and award dinner as not all of the SKC members (now more than 1,300) were invited. Only about 350 guests were invited which included travel agents, media partners and a fraction of the Saranghaeyo Korea Club (SKC) members .
So there we were at the Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur, the venue for the night’s event right on the dot at 6.30pm on Dec 2nd 2010 to register ourselves. We were served tteok/Korean rice cakes and light refreshments  in the waiting area before dinner was served.
The evening’s function started off with a welcoming speech by KTO’s Executive Director for Overseas Marketing Mr. Rhee Jae Sung. Some of the distinguished guests included Mr Choi Dong Gyu, the Minister & Consul General from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Lee Kwang Sun, the Chairman of the Korean Society in Malaysia, Mr. John Tan, the Vice Chairman of MATTA, and Ms. Chong Yoke Har, Director of International & Marketing Division from Tourism Malaysia.
World Cup Street Cheering Volunteering at Nanta Performance SKC Members Day SKC Members and Hallyu Fan Clubs Interview by Chosun Daily
This was followed by a presentation by the Saranghaeyo Korea Club on the club’s activities since it’s inauguration. So far we have participated in the 2010 World Cup Street Cheering events, provided voluntary assistance during the Nanta Performance, held the SKC Members Day where we had a chance to play Korean games and taste Korean cuisine, the Hallyu Fan Club interview by the Chosun Daily from Korea and lastly the Inspiring Korea Night 2010.
Launching of SKC Board of Directors
Board of Directors SKC
The inaugural SKC Board of Directors were officially appointed and presented with their certificates of appointment. SKC Awards were presented to those who had been extraordinarily active in Korean culture and tourism activities held by KTO and Korea Plaza.
Korea Tourism Awards were also presented to those travel agents and media partners that had shown outstanding support and significant in promoting Korea tourism throughout 2010. During the last MATTA fair in September, Korea travel product achieved one of the best-selling records.
Oriental Four Season Combination   Samgyetang - Ginseng Chicken Soup
Stir Fried Chicken in Yam Basket,actually Beehoon Basket  Steamed Seabass Fish With Superior Soy Sauce
Stir Fried Prawns with Oatmeal FlakesBraised Tau Kan with Trios Mushroom and Green Vegetable
Bibimbap  Bulgogi ( Korean Marinated Beef Slice)
Seaweed Soup  Kimchi
After this you’ll have to forgive me if I get the sequence of the evening’s program all mixed up because dinner was beginning to be served and I was most likely distracted by the delicious food before me. Dinner was an eight-course mixture of Korean and Chinese dishes and it was one of the best dinners I’ve had. We had Oriental Four Season Combination for the first course followed by Sangyetang Ginseng Chicken Soup, Stir-fried Chicken in Yam Basket, Steamed Seabass in Superior Soy Sauce, Stir-fried Fresh Prawns with Oatmeal Flakes, Braised Tau Kan with Trios Mushroom with Green Vegetables, Bibimbap accompanied with Bulgogi, Kimchi and Seaweed Soup, and lastly the dessert of Double Boiled Chinese Figs with Sea Coconut. But I missed the dessert because I had to go up stage to collect the Microwave oven that I had won in the raffle draw.
Participants in the Celebrity Contest 01
Entertainment K Pop dancers 
Let’s see, what was the program like in terms of entertainment? Well, we had dance performances by the Wakaka Crew, Epsilon and Ruff Necks. Then we were entertained with a few songs by our guest singer, Soo Wincci, including the theme song, Menanti Hikmat by Mawi from a Malaysian drama, The Call of Nami Island which was filmed in Korea. There was even a contest I am a Korean Celebrity where the contestants had to dress up like a Korean idol to win prizes. The finale for the night was the raffle draw, I was wishing hard to get a free airline ticket to Korea, actually there were two being up for grabs, I did not get the air ticket but my friend got it. All I got was a microwave oven, well something is better than nothing they say.
It was really a night to remember – good atmosphere, good company, good food, and good entertainment. But what I liked about it most was the unity of the crowd there, their enthusiasm and passion for Korea and all things Korean. Within the dining hall it was entirely a different world altogether. There’s a good feeling  about it. Everyone there was connected to KTO or SKC somehow. There was this lady from the Korean Cooking class, another from the Hangeul class and yet another from the Korean singing class, so you see, everyone’s more or less connected in one way or another. I saw this group of ahjummas from the Bae Yong Joon Fanclub Malaysia.
The Malaysian people have been introduced to the Korean people and the Korean culture through the Saranghaeyo Korea Club and KTO. Kamsa-hamnidah KTO for starting the SKC in Kuala Lumpur and also for the well organized Inspiring Korea Night 2010. This was just a crowd of 350, what if it had been in the thousands?
And so with this I’ll end today’s post.