After that nice picture from Jeju Island yesterday, I thought showing this poster that has been queued forever was only appropriate. =) Designed by Jiyoung Yoon, it definitely makes me want to go there as soon as possible.
How great is this idea? I had never paid too much attention to it, but come to think of it, the shape of each letter/symbol in the Korean alphabet suits this type of thing really well.
Go here to see more contestants’ ideas (Hangul ice tray, Hangul furniture… there’s all sorts of interesting stuff).
Hangul Paperclips (2008년 한글 디자인 공모전 수상작 – 2008 Hangul Design Competition Winner) via okitokki.
To celebrate the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Korean clothing brand Basic House designed some super cool t-shirts using the Korean alphabet, Hangul. Football, archery, swimming and, of course, taekwondo were a few of the sports depicted using the characters.
There’s no denying this is one great idea. I don’t know how the Koreans themselves feel about wearing clothes with their alphabet on it (I mean, English sentences/words seem to be the norm in there, as it is here in Brazil), but they’re definitely beautiful.
I’ll be honest: comic books never interested me too much until I got to know mangas. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m some super fan, I just enjoy reading them more than, say, a Hellblazer comic book for some unfathomable reason. Anyway, since Japanese culture is sort of big in Brazil, their manga production is pretty much all we come by in here, so it took me a few years to become aware of manhwas. But now it seems they are going strong in the Western world and I’ve been definitely reading more about it recently.
In Brazil, Korean comic books will be the focus of the 7th International Comic Book Festival (FIQ) that will take place in the first fortnight of November, in Belo Horizonte. To make it much more interesting, every year, they pay homage to a different country and, as you might have already guessed, this is Korea’s turn. They say this choice was made because comic books are each day more present in the culture of the country, and this is probably about to increase, since Korean government has announced that it will invest more in the production and exportation of manhwas – as of now, they already spend about 3 million wons a year to divulge them. So far, the festival has announced that it will bring Chon Kye-young (from Audition) and Park Sang-sun (from Tarot Café, a title that has been published in Brazil) to the event, so Brazilian fans of the genre have a lot to celebrate.
One other reason to be jolly is that the Korean Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) has just released Manhwa, an application for iPhone and Android that “provides English version of famous Korean comic series such as Again, Ikki, Kingdom of Winds“, among others. Right now you can find about 50 different series with a free preview of 30 pages. Apparently, they will make the rest of the stories available for purchase later on (we hope!).
I downloaded the app last Friday on my iPhone and have been reading a few series and enjoying it quite a lot. Everything is in English, which makes navigation really easy. Besides that, there are quite diverse titles available, so everybody will end up finding something to their liking. Reading on the phone’s small screen is not really my cup of tea, but it’s not impossible (books, on the other hand, ugh!) and if it’s the only option available, I can live with that. I’ll try to download it on my brother’s iPad some time this week to see how it goes.
Anyway, the idea is quite amazing, because not everybody has access to all these different comic books in their countries. Of course, there are readers who would prefer reading them in their language, but we cannot have it all, now can we? And I know some people think differently, but I’m not too keen on buying everything off the internet, what with the long waiting periods, the delivery rates to Brazil and, depending on the merchandise, the taxes we have to pay when things finally arrive. So buying a comic book and downloading it to my phone/tablet almost instantly is definitely the ideal way for me. Learn more about the app here.
Finally, if you’re not thaaat interested in comic books, you could always try a movie inspired by a manhwa! There’s only one I’m aware of, though: Priest was released earlier this year and features actor Paul Bettany as the main character. The movie was loosely based on the graphic novel of the same name and actually was a bit of a flop. On the other hand, the comic book, created by Hyung Min-woo, has received good critique, especially for its art. It basically tells the tale of a priest that comes back from the dead to get revenge (for a more in-depth summary and analysis, click here.
I haven’t read the comic or watched the movie, but since it has also been published in Brazil, I’ll try to get hold of the series as soon as possible to show a bit more about it in here.
At last, the post on that Festival of Korean Culture that I attended in the end of May. Actually this will be a three part “series”, because there are a lot of interesting pictures (even if there weren’t, the post would be too long, anyway). So, on this first part, I’ll focus on outlining the event and talking about what I did on Saturday. The second part, will deal with a few of the exhibitions held during the festival and other things that I was able to check out on Sunday. The last part will be the K-pop one, as the Festival was packed with K-pop fans and K-pop music and K-pop dance groups and all things K-pop!
Before leading you to my account of what happened, I have to say that all photos here were taken by me. They’re not good ’cause I suck at photography, but if you still feel like reposting any of them for any reason, just link them back to this post, please. =)
Now, click below for the full text and loads of pictures and enjoy!
The 6th Festival of Korean Culture took place in Bom Retiro, a neighbourhood in São Paulo known for accommodating not only Korean immigrants, but Bolivian and, back in the day, Jewish ones, too. The event was held over a weekend in the end of May (21st and 22nd) and, despite being autumn, the weather was amazing and not cold at all.
I went there with some people from my class after our Korean lessons had finished, and the presentations on the main stage had already begun at that point. Fortunately, we got there just in time to see a couple girls from our class perform (they are part of some K-pop dance group). The nicest thing was seeing a lot of ladies donning hanboks, the traditional Korean dress, all around us, like the female MC that presented the acts in Portuguese (the guy would only speak in Korean, as far as I remember), and a bunch of lovely ladies that were by the stage waiting to perform.
This big stage was set up in the beginning of Lubavitch St. and it was where all the main acts performed. The group below presented a traditional genre of Korean music known as Samulnori (it means something like ‘played with four objects/instruments’; songs are played with two different sizes of gongs, a janggu – the hourglass-shaped drum in the pitcures – and another type of drum). I didn’t get to watch the whole thing, but what I watched was pretty amazing. I made no video, but found this and this from the same Festival. It’s a different group, I think, and they did a performance with b-boys, but you’ll get the idea.
Besides the main stage, there was also a small one on the outer part of a cultural centre nearby, but I guess it was only used for K-pop presentations. Inside this building, there were also the exhibitions I mentioned earlier and which will be dealt with on the second part of this “series”.
So let’s go back outside, to the street, where the food and drink stalls were. Most of them, obviously, served Korean food, but there were also a few with Brazilian, Chinese and Japanese dishes.
By the way, is it just me or that lady in the picture just above this is wearing her apron on the wrong side?
Anyway, as one can gather from these pictures, there were quite a few delicious choices in the food department. A lot of my friends ate ddeokbokki, a dish made with rice cake and seasoned with gochujang, that red chilli paste, but I was nursing a sick stomach, so I stuck with the kimbap. As far as I could see, on this outer part of the Festival, there was no regular bulgogi (I mean the beef one) or even kimchi to be found. We could only find some duck bulgogi, which, according to my teacher, is not all that usual. Eventually, we did find a place with kimchi, but I’ll talk about this one on the second part.
Before wrapping this part up, I wanted to show something really cool that was going on in the cultural centre: a couple men were writing people’s names with the Korean alphabet! That was, by far, the most crowded place inside and there was a queue for getting something written. In the pictures below, you can see him writing my name and my classmate’s name. Pretty fun and it definitely got people interested. I hope they visited the room with the history of the language and alphabet after that, because it’d be a great way to tie it all together, wouldn’t it?
Check parts 2 and 3 (coming soon)!