I will no longer be posting on SoKoreazy.com, since I can’t really continue to write about and photograph things in Korea without actually being there! However, I hope that people will still be able to use my site as a helpful resource. Thank you guys for your kind comments and for following my blog over the past few years, it means a lot! ^^
I feel very grateful to have had the chance to work as an ESL teacher in Korea, especially since I got my first job just before the hagwon bosses decided to stop offering free round-trip flights to and from Korea! I had the opportunity to work in three very different hagwons, and can safely say that no two ‘English schools’ are alike, even if they are owned and operated by the same company. If you are considering working in a hagwon, I highly advise getting in touch with the other foreign teachers prior to making your decision. Be specific with your questions, particularly about being paid regularly and on time, tax deductions, working hours and overtime, accommodation, and expectations and responsibilities. Also, ask how long the other teachers have been working there for. Unfortunately, many hagwon managers, directors, and owners can be manipulative and deceptive. It’s an incredibly competitive industry in which only the ruthless survive. For example, every employee is given ‘severance pay’ upon the completion of their contract; however, some hagwon owners terminate teachers’ contracts just before the end in order to avoid handing over the severance pay, consequently saving themselves a significant sum of money. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it is absolutely unfair and infuriating. But it’s not all bad! Feel free to leave me a comment if you want to know anything more about working or living in Korea.
When we decided that we wouldn’t be renewing our ESL teacher contracts in Korea, and made the subsequent decision that we wouldn’t be staying in Asia as ESL teachers at all, we knew that we just had to make a ‘farewell’ trip to Japan. I’m sure that we will return to Japan again someday, but we certainly won’t be visiting it as frequently as we have been over the past three years. I feel so incredibly lucky that we were able to visit Japan 8 times (consequently, 8 is a lucky number in Japanese culture!) You can check out a recap of our adventure here.
Howdy folks! Long time no blog, huh?! Well, autumn went by way too quickly, and winter seems to be zipping past as well (not that I’m complaining: I’m super sick of dreary grey skies, dry skin, sinus infections, and bundling up under layers and layers, anyway.) We didn’t do much in the way of Christmas celebrations this year, we couldn’t even clear any space in our minuscule apartment to put up our mini-Christmas tree. Boo. Anyhow, moaning aside, we did take a most excellent adventure across the Pacific to visit a city I’ve been dreaming of venturing to ever since I was a hair metal-obsessed teen…
Over the past few years, November has come to mean one thing…JOB HUNTING, and all the stress and exhilaration it brings. I guess it’s no surprise then that I’ve been seeking out non-stop comfort food lately! It’s nice to still be able to find new vegan-friendly treats, since so many places I’d depended on for grub are closing down (basically every single Loving Hut, it seems…) Anyhoo, since it is still autumn, have some fall foliage (which is fading fast around here, boohoo!)
I live for autumn. Forget Christmas, autumn is by far ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’ The weather’s perfect for light layers, the duvet comes back outta storage and turns the bed back into snuggle central, spiced candles are lit around the apartment, the trees come to life in bright red, yellow, and golden hues, and sunsets resemble candy apples sinking into the horizon. Even though autumn in Seoul means that the sidewalks become covered in festering piles of puke-scented ginko nuts, I can deal with it. That’s how much I love autumn.
During my very first trip to Seoul, even before I became vegan, I happened upon a quaint and cozy cafe in Hongdae which dished up some awesome soy chai lattes and vegan brownies. However, on my subsequent trip I was disheartened to find that this shabby chic cafe had completely disappeared without a trace. Now, nearly three years later, I’m pleased to report that Cook and Book has reopened in a smaller, yet every bit as cozy, location in Hapjeong!
We didn’t just stuff our faces with food during our summer holiday (though, from my past few posts, it probably seems that way!) We also did a whole lotta shopping in the cutest and kookiest places we could find, from Tokyo Station to Nakano Broadway and, of course, Harajuku, here are some of my favorite kawaii finds! 💖
While it seems like more and more vegan restaurants in Seoul are shutting down (Loving Hut Thien Dang, Achasan Loving Hut, Garobee, New Start Buffet, and Mimi & Kelly’s have all disappeared within the past couple of years,) Tokyo’s vegan and healthy-eating scene seems to be growing! When I was scoping out HappyCow prior to our Tokyo trip, I was so surprised by the amount of new restaurants and cafes which had popped up within the past year. That’s gotta be a good sign for sure! First things first, though: a trip to my all-time favorite veg-friendly hang-out, Pure Cafe in Aoyama! ♡
One of my favorite things about Japan is how easy it is to find tranquility within its urban metropolises. In Tokyo, it’s not hard to find ethereal shrines adjacent to winding highways and looming office blocks…
Thank glob for Sanrio Gift Gates, those heavenly pink portals into an alternate universe, where money seems to float from your pockets as your arms grow heavier and heavier with the weight of totally unnecessary, unbearably adorable things. Rejoice, people of Seoul, for deep inside the shopping haven that is COEX lays a Sanrio Gift Gate of our own! (It is, as far as I know, the only one in Seoul…possibly the only one in Korea?!)