[BOOK HAUL + BOOK REVIEW] Pagijong Press Korean Language Book Haul plus Korean Grammar for Foreigners I and II (외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 I&II) Book Review

Recently I did a TOPIK and Korean grammar book haul because I thought I would be able to take TOPIK II this year. However, I was not able to register for this year’s exam due to schedule conflicts on the exam dates ㅠㅠ I would just probably take TOPIK II next year together with my other classmates. Anyways, there is another reason why I bought all of these books *ehem* Jini *ehem*. I met up with nocturnalinseoul’s Jini and she kept on endorsing these books while we were roaming around YP bookstore in Euljiro! ㅋㅋ Well, I did not regret giving in to her endorsement because these books are awesome! I also just figured out that they were published by the same company which is Pagijong Press.

Like my previous book hauls, I bought these new language books online. I frequently buy online especially in GMarket because I could use my coupons to get discounts for the books. I usually get the books in a cheaper price compared to the offline bookstores if I buy from GMarket and use the mobile coupons. If I have books that I wanted to buy, I check them out first in offline bookstores and if I have decided to purchase them, I just order online to avail them at a cheaper price.

For this book haul, I have four books: TOPIK 필수문법 (고급-Advanced), 빈도별 토픽 (고급-Advanced) and 외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 Books I & 2. As you may notice, most of the books in this haul are for Advanced learners (well except for the 외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 as it could also be categorized as a book for Intermediate learners). Like what I keep saying on my previous posts, I am now on my journey to Advanced Korean so I try to get more 고급 books for practice. I am currently using Korea University’s Fun! Fun! Korean 5 and Darakwon’s Korean Grammar in Use Advanced as my main textbooks for the Advanced grammar and vocabulary words and so far I am satisfied with their lessons. I am still in the process of looking for more good advanced Korean books and I hope to find other good books in my next trip to the bookstore.

토픽필수문법 고급 (14,000 won) and 빈도별 토픽 고급 문법 (16,000 won)

토픽필수문법 고급 (14,000 won) and 빈도별 토픽 고급 문법 (16,000 won)

Aside from posting about my book haul, I also have a review for the books I and II of 외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 (Korean Grammar for Foreigners I and II)! Among these four books, I have been using these two Korean grammar books frequently because THEY ARE FREAKINGGGG AWESOMEEEE!!! If you want to know more about these books, then keep on reading! 🙂

외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 I & II (15,000 won each)

외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 I & II (15,000 won each)

Here are the basic details of the blue book:

Title of the book: 외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 I

Number of Pages: 265

Authors: Kim Jinho, Lee Taehwan, Kim Seonhee, Lee Sooyeon

ISBN: 9788962921205

Contents: Book (1pc)

Price: 15,000 won

The blue book is basically the first installment of the two books on Korean grammar. It contains ten chapters and each chapter has a more in-depth discussion of the specific grammar patterns included in the general set.

외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 I(Korean Language Grammar for Foreigners I) Front and Back Cover

외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 I(Korean Language Grammar for Foreigners I) Front and Back Cover

Each chapter starts with the heading containing the general function, a translation of the function in five languages, an illustration showing the usage of the grammar and a list of the specific grammar points that is discussed in the chapter. The photo below shows the first chapter of the book which is about grammar points under Cause and Reason set. The overview of the grammar list is usually divided into two- grammars used in regular cases and grammars used in special cases. Aside from the main grammar points, they also discuss additional patterns such as sentence endings like the almighty -거든요 and -잖아요.

Introduction of the First Chapter – Reason

The set-up of each chapter goes like: Grammar Pattern – Explanation – Sample Sentences – Practice Questions – Grammar Comparison. One important information about this book is that it does not contain English explanations. Although each chapter has a small list of vocabulary words with English translations, all the grammar points and grammar comparisons are explained in Korean. Beginners in learning Korean might have some difficulties in digesting the lessons since they’re all in Korean. I believe Intermediate to Advanced learners will appreciate this book than those who are just starting to study Korean. Personally, I like books with explanations in Korean rather than in English because translations could be misleading and confusing. The explanation of each grammar pattern is very, very meaty and informative! Actually whenever I use this book when reviewing Korean, I always thought of one of my Korean language professors because she would always give concise but meaty explanations of the grammar points. This book is like my professor in the form of a book.ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ

Sample Lesson from Chapter 1 - V/A -아/어서

Sample Lesson from Chapter 1 – V/A -아/어서

Important Details:

  • Each section provides really simple sample sentences which are very easy to understand.
  • For the practice questions, they are your generic 가 and 나 conversation exercises or fill in the blanks exercises but I still find them very useful for reviewing the grammar function.
  • I think the best part of this book is the 비교 or the section on the comparison of the featured grammar pattern with other pattern with either the same form or almost the same meaning. This section is amazing because whenever I finish a section, I feel so enlightened (like yes, literally enlightened with a beam of light dawning on meㅋㅋㅋㅋ). Most of my questions about the differences between the grammars were answered by this section of the book!!!! I really hate Korean language textbooks saying this and that grammar are the same because I think they are not! They might be similar but it there are still differences probably in their functions, implied meaning, formality etc. but I am quite sure they are not the same and you cannot use them in the same situation. This book won my heart for pointing out the differences between the grammars and when to use or not to use them!
  • There is an old TOPIK-style exercise at the end of every chapter which is categorized into three- Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.
Comparison to other grammar

Comparison with other grammar pattern

Another good thing about this book is their cultural notes at the end of each chapter. This is like your break from all the Korean grammar patterns. It is always nice to learn more about Korean culture while learning the language, right?ㅋㅋㅋ ㅋ They are also in pure Korean so you could practice your reading skills while learning about the culture.

Additional Cultural notes

Additional Cultural notes

So let’s now move on to the second book or the pink book as what I call it.


외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 II (Korean Language Grammar for Foreigners II) Front and Back Cover

외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 II (Korean Language Grammar for Foreigners II) Front and Back Cover

Title of the book: 외국인을 위한 한국어 문법 II

Number of Pages: 300

Authors: Kim Jinho, Lee Taehwan, Kim Seonhee, Lee Sooyeon

ISBN: 9788962921212

Contents: Book (1pc)

Price: 15,000 won

The second book is thicker compared to the blue book as it contains twelve chapters of general grammar patterns such as (Need, Admission, Judgement, Check etc.). It has the same lesson setup with the first book: Grammar Pattern – Explanation – Sample Sentences – Practice Questions – Grammar Comparison.

Chapter 1 of Book II

Chapter 1 of Book II

Each section also contains exercises and the list of useful vocabulary words and their meanings.

Sample Practice Question from Book II

Sample Practice Question from Book II

Here is the sample page of the comparison section of the grammar points:

Grammar Comparison from Book II

Grammar Comparison from Book II

I think the two books are very useful especially when it comes to understanding the meaning and the function of the different Korean grammar patterns. Sometimes the comparison section might get so confusing because they try to compare one featured grammar pattern with tons of other grammar patterns. But no need to worry, the book will not torture you with a language analysis overload. I think the authors did an excellent job in explaining the differences or the similarities of the patterns in a way that it could be easily understood.

So here’s the summary of the pros and cons of the books!


  • Very informative, very meaty.
  • The chapters and subsections are logically organized.
  • Relatively cheap for a book that could teach you lots of important grammar points.
  • The quality of the paper is A+++++
  • The illustrations are cute haha!
  • It has practice TOPIK questions which are very useful for those who will take the exam. Even though the form is like the old TOPIK style, they are still of big help!


  • For those who prefer fancy covers, the cover of this book might disappoint you but if you’re not too particular with the cover, then you might not consider this as a negative point. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about the book from the cover to the pages to the lessons and everything. I just think they could have done better to show this book is worth buying. Cover matters, yes. ㅋㅋㅋㅋ
  • For me the practice questions were okay, but I think it would be better if they could also include practice questions for the grammar points being compared.
  • No English translations for those who like having them. (The book is more charming for not having the English translations, tbhㅋㅋㅋㅋ)

Rating: 100000/5!!!!!!!

To conclude, this book is a must buy for Korean language learners who wants to learn more about the grammar patterns’ functions and meanings. I also think this is very much recommended for those who are self-studying because the explanations are enough for one to get a hold of what do they mean and how to use them. I think those who are planning to teach Korean language to other people would find this book very useful too! 🙂

Where to Buy:


Trip to Samseong-dong and Apgujeong-dong – COEX Mall + Grill5!

I have been wanting to go out of the dorm to literally see more people ever since the Fall semester started but since I have tons of acad stuff to do, I just stayed in the dorm studying, doing papers or reading some assigned articles. However, last Monday we received a message from one of our professors that we will attend a conference instead of having a class last Wednesday so we need to go to a hotel near Coex mall. We attended an international conference in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of Korea’s Independence which was organized by our school. Our class attended the opening ceremony and during the lunch break, our professor took us to Bongeunsa, a Buddhist temple nearby our place. He did some explanations regarding the temple and mentioned important things about Buddhism. After the trip to the temple, we headed back to the conference and listened to the afternoon session.

We were not able to finish all the presentations because we wanted to go around Coex and some of our classmates have their Korean classes so they had to go back to our school. But me and my roommate decided to stay and do some window shopping at Coex mall. The whole complex of Coex is currently one of the places I frequently visit because the mall is near my dorm and because SMTown Artium is located in the complex, I tend to go to the area at least once a month to meet some friends, watch a movie or just drop by the Artium and do some people-watching ㅋㅋㅋㅋ.

We went around the mall to look for something interesting. At first, we went to Artbox and Jaju because we were looking for some fancy stuff that we could use while studying like pens, notebooks or stuff for our room. However, Artbox in Coex is not as good as the other branches and we did not like anything that Jaju (some kind of a Muji-ish novelty shop) offers so we left that area and looked around. After visiting Uniqlo to look for stuff on sale, we saw this very fancy shop which has the name “Butter”. I guessed that it was a new shop and I was not wrong because they just opened the store last September 4.

Butter - COEX Mall Branch

Butter – COEX Mall Branch

Butter is just like a combination of Artbox and Muji-ish but with a price of that in Daiso (and I am not kidding)! The store is filled with cutesy and fancy stuff from bottles, mugs, school supplies, uniquely styled goodies, gadgets, canvas bags, pillows, pouches, soaps, scented candles and a whole lot more! At first, I was not planning to buy any but when my roommate saw a canvass curtain which was really cute, we decided to look around and get few stuff for our room and for some school supplies.

We'll surely go back to our new haven!

First Butter haul! We’ll surely go back to our new haven!

The first item on my basket was the canvas curtain that we saw. My roommate needs to find a curtain that she could hang on her bed to make it a little bit darker. There were so many choices but she ended up buying the one with a “rainy” design and a statement “You make me happy when skies are gray”. Since the item was so cute and it was only 7900 won, I grabbed another one for me too!

Canvass curtain for 7900krw ! It says "You make me happy when skies are gray"

Canvas curtain for 7900krw ! It says “You make me happy when skies are gray”

I went back to the school supplies area to get a mouse pad, a pencil case and clear file folders. I was contemplating if I am going to buy the mouse pad with the moon design or the one with the mustache or this lady with the red hair. I ended up buying the lady with the red hair because it looks weirdㅋㅋ. Their clear files are not as fancy as Artbox’s but it has two pockets and the plastic is thicker compared to other file holders so I bought two. I just hope they’ll have more designs soon! For the pencil case, the quality and the design is not so bad for its cheap price of 1900 won!!

Goodies from Butter - Lady Mouse Pad (1500krw), Pencil case (1900krw) - Clear Files (1500krw each)

Goodies from Butter – Lady Mouse Pad (1500krw), Pencil case (1900krw) – Clear Files (1500krw each)

After our trip to Butter, we went to YP Bookstore to check out some anti-stress coloring books. I already have three coloring books but I could not help myself from buying another one ㅠㅠ The book below is not actually the usual coloring book but a puzzle coloring book wherein you need to follow the color codes assigned for each number to unveil the picture. I think this is another version of the anti-stress coloring books which is worth buying. You don’t have to think of what color to use because they’re already provided in each picture.

Stress-relief Coloring Book Madness!

Stress-relief Coloring Book Madness!

Aside from the reason that this book only costs 8000 won, I also liked the patterns included so I purchased it even though I still have three coloring books to useㅋㅋㅋㅋ. Can’t wait to start coloring and unveil these pretty patterns!

Color! Color! Color!

Color! Color! Color!

Last stop for the day was Super Junior Lee Donghae’s Grill5 Taco restaurant! I have been craving for their Kimchi Quesadilla and since it is only one bus away from Coex, I asked my roommate if she could go with me to Grill5. Honestly, I used to bash Grill5’s menu because I did not like their Tacos when I went to eat there for the first time. But after my friend told me about the Kimchi Quesadilla and after trying it, I could not help myself from going to Grill5 every now and then just to eat it. Of course, I should not also forget my holy Seoul Fries ❤ My soul was soooooo happy while munching on the Quesadilla. Super Junior’s repackaged 10th album was also released that day so I enjoyed eating while listening to Magic playing inside the store.

My Haven - Grill 5

My Haven – Grill 5

Since I am already in Grill5, I also purchased their new mug from the Haru and OneDay merch line! It is indeed bigger compared to their previous mugs maybe that’s why it is more expensive. Now I have a new mug to use this fall and coming winter! ❤

Ready for Fall and Winter with my Haru and Oneday Mug!

Ready for Fall and Winter with my Haru and Oneday Mug!

Tadaaaah! Done with my spazz on our Samseong-dong and Apgujeong-dong trip! I really love these two places in Seoul because they make my /fangirl/ heart happy ㅋㅋㅋㅋ. I’ll definitely go back to these places sometime soon because we’ll have to check out other items from Butter and I have to eat my Kimchi and Double Cheese Quesadilla againㅋㅋㅋㅋ.



I’ll be back next time with book hauls and reviews! ^___^


읽기 실력 업업!: Advanced Korean Reading

Hey…oh yeah I’m still alive and kicking! ㅋㅋ

It has been ages since my last post and I apologize for that inactivity ㅜㅜ I was just too busy with graduate school and my summer Korean classes. Anyways, I’m now on my third semester and I think I will still be busy because of my class requirements like papers, presentations etc. I am also working on my Korean skills because I am planning to take the TOPIK soon!

I kind of regret that I was not able to make any post regarding my super awesome summer Korean class from July to August. I usually don’t take classes during the break but since I don’t have anything to do during the summer, I enrolled for a Korean Level 4 Intensive class. Another reason why I enrolled in the class is because I was informed that I needed 3 Regular Korean classes to graduate. I was so happy because I thought I am finally done with my Korean class requirements… but!!!! Last week, I discovered that I got the wrong information about the classes I needed to enlist. Apparently I still need to take a ‘research’ course in Korean. ‘Research’ courses in Korean are classes designed for students who want to improve their writing, debate/speech, and reading skills. Compared to the regular Korean class which is categorized from Levels 1 to 6 with a 4-day/week class schedule, the ‘research’ classes are only conducted once a week and cover more specific topics. At first I was planning to enroll in a Level 6 class but unfortunately the department did not offer any Advanced Korean class aside from Level 5 which I already took last Spring semester. I was left with the option of taking the ‘research class’ just to finish the required Korean classes so I enrolled for a 고급 읽기 (Advanced Korean Reading) class!

고급 읽기 고고고고고!!!!

There were three ‘research’ classes offered this Fall semester- Writing, Presentation/Debate and the Advanced Reading. Since I am not really interested with the writing and debate classes, I ended up taking the reading class. I originally planned to just sit in the class and audit it without getting any credits. However, since I still lack one class, I needed to register and take the class officiallyㅜㅜ (the class is during Friday afternoon, yes Friday afternoon ㅜㅜ). During the first meeting, I was horrified because the seonsaengnim told us that the class is design for students with Level 6 to 7 of Korean! When she mentioned that, I was like ‘uh-oh here comes troubleeeee!!!!’. I think my skill is only around the lower advanced level so I immediately thought that the class would give me unlimited stress and headache. The teacher also said that we will have plenty of homework and I felt so burdened ㅠㅠ

However, after the first class and second class, I felt that the lessons were so useful ㅋㅋ I also tried to read the homework but it was not as bad as I have expected. I have read far difficult Korean articles from my Topics in Korean Culture class so I thought I’d enjoy taking the Advanced Reading class rather than despise it ㅋㅋ. Even though the seonsaengnim told us that it would be harder in the next few meetings, I just thought of it as a challenge.

The only thing I am not used to the reading class is the ‘Korean style’ of reading. My seonsaengnim is always surprised why do I read and translate the whole article even if I could just read it in a more convenient way- read and get the needed answers for the questions given. I am aware that mastering the quick Korean reading skill would be of big help in the TOPIK exam and any type of Korean reading exam but I could not apply it when doing the homework ㅋㅋ. I can’t help myself from reading the whole article carefully and translating the words I don’t know before answering the questions. Maybe I could do a ppali ppali reading if it is an activity done in class but I guess it’s impossible if it is a homework (unless I’m tooooooo busy to not translate and read carefully).

Basically the class is not really reading like reading loudly in class but it is more of practicing the skills of reading between the lines of different articles, getting the main idea and the arguments, summarizing the arguments and making another argument based on the information obtained from other readings. I think the subject is really helpful for those students who need to write their theses in Korean. In my case, I don’t really need to write in Korean but I find it useful if ever I am going to use articles written in Korean. So far I am satisfied with how the class is handled as well as the activities we have been doing in class. We don’t have an official textbook for the lessons but the teacher always provides readings and supplementary exercises and that’s how we start the discussions. I really hope my reading skills will be further improved after taking this class <3.

어휴, Autumn has come! Stay warm everyone! ❤


[BOOK REVIEW] 살아있는 한국어 – 속담 (Korean Proverbs)

Here’s the first review of a book from the 살아있는 한국어 series! As what I have said in my latest book haul post, this series of books is a must-have especially for those Upper Intermediate to Advanced students. There are three books available and each book focuses on different topics like Korean Proverbs, Korean Idiomatic Expressions and 4-Word Chinese sayings. This post would be a review of the book on Korean Proverbs or 속담 [sok-dam]!

I got this book as a prize for having a “good speech” during our Korean language class last Fall semester. Our Korean teacher asked us to pick three students who delivered good speeches and the chosen students will get prizes. I actually did not expect that I would be included in the list but yeah, I got this Korean Proverbs book for free. ㅋㅋ

Title of the book: 살아있는 한국어 – 속담

Number of Pages: 264

Authors: Kim Seon-jeong, Kim Seong-su, Lee So-hyeon, Jung Jae-yeong

ISBN: 978-89-5518-645-1

Contents: Book (1pc)

Price: 13,000 won ($11.98~; 532.68php)

The 살아있는 한국어 – 속담 book is a compilation of 60 frequently used Korean proverbs. The book aims to help Korean language students to learn/understand the Korean thought and culture through the use of the Korean proverbs. Also, the Korean way of living, leisure culture and emotions or sentiments are reflected in the conversations included in each chapter.

HangulPark's 살아있는 한국어 속담 (Korean Proverbs)

HangulPark’s 살아있는 한국어 속담 (Korean Proverbs)

Each section of this book of proverbs has five parts – Illustration (그림), Conversation (대화), Practice (연습해요), Additional Exercises (함께해요) and Comprehensive Drills (종합연습).

One of the charms of this book are the illustrations. Each lesson starts with an illustration which depicts the meaning of the proverb. I find the drawings of this book really nice because it really gives you an idea about what the proverb is about. Some illustrations have thought bubbles with short sentences using the proverbs.

Illustrations for each chapter

Illustrations for each chapter

Just like other Korean language books, there are also different Korean and foreign characters appearing in the sample conversations. The sample conversations show how the featured proverb is used in a certain situation or context. The featured proverb is highlighted and its meanings are listed below the conversation. The difficulty of the words in each script varies depending on the context. Sometimes I know all the words but sometimes I also encounter unfamiliar words.

Sample Conversation

Sample Conversation

There are also sample sentences and short conversation examples which uses the featured proverb. The short conversation I am referring to are the Ga-Na (가:, 나:) type of conversations which are used by most Korean language books just to give the learners and idea how the grammar/vocabulary word is used. I think these sample sentences are also helpful to further understand the meaning of the proverbs. This book also provides a short list of vocabulary words and grammar points below the extra sample sentences.

Sample Sentences

Sample Sentences

After being more familiar with the featured proverb through sample conversations and sentences, there are review questions in Ga-Na form. It is some sort of fill-in-the-blanks activity wherein all you need to do is to supply the proverb plus its correct form/grammar in order to complete the sentence. There are usually three practice questions- two questions wherein you will supply the proverb and one question wherein the proverb is given and you need to make a sentence which fits the proverb. I think the review questions are helpful to get familiarized with the proverb and they are really easy to answer especially the first two questions.

Sometimes new vocabulary words, grammar points, culture lessons or other additional proverbs with a similar meaning as the featured one are written and discussed below the review questions. The additional points or lessons in each section are really helpful especially if you want to learn new vocabulary words or review some grammar lessons.

Review Questions - Fill in the Blanks

Review Questions – Fill in the Blanks

Each section ends with practice questions or exercises which are sometimes related to the proverb and sometimes not. These practice questions are more difficult because it is not your generic Ga-Na form but a more challenging activity wherein you can put your Korean writing skills into practice. After every 20 lessons, there is also a comprehensive exercise which lets you review the proverbs you have studied previously.

Practice Questions

Practice Questions

Here are the pros and cons of the book:


  • Like other books published in Korea, the quality of the book is A+! The book is a paperback one but the quality of the cover is really good! The pages have this quite glossy quality but very pencil/sign pen/ballpoint pen friendly!
  • The book is not too heavy compared to other language books so you can bring them anywhere and study while waiting for a friend.
  • I’ll also give an A+ for the structure of the lessons because I think it is logically organized.
  • The book is cheap but has good quality and it is packed with useful contents!


  • Unfortunately the book does not come with a CD. I am not saying that since the book does not come with a CD, it is already a big problem. I just think it would be better if they provided a CD with the recordings of the conversations so that the learners would be able to know the proper intonation or pronunciation of the words.

Rating: 5/5!!!!

I think this book is good for self-studying intermediate to advanced students but definitely not for beginners for it does not have any English translations at all. I think one of the reasons why there are no English translations is because it would be difficult to translate these Korean proverbs into English without losing its original meaning. I believe that there are English counterparts of each proverb but I think it is best studied using Korean explanations.

Where to Buy:

I am halfway through the book and I am really loving it! I hope I could finish all the lessons during the summer break so that I can start with the other books from the 살아있는 한국어 series. I hope this post would be of help to those Korean language students who are looking for books on Korean proverbs or those who are looking for supplementary materials^^


Pohang-Gyeongju-Ulsan Trip

This post is super duper long overdue! Haha! I have been so busy last April because of midterm exams, presentations and tons of reading materials. I did not even notice that it’s already May ㅜㅜ

Anyways, one of the highlights of my month of April was our school’s field trip! It was not actually a field trip where you can play around and do picnics and such but it was an academic field trip. I have been to field trips in Korea before when I was in Hannam University but I was with foreign exchange students. This time, I was with foreign graduate students and Korean graduate students as well! The trip was called a 답사 (Dapsa) and when I looked for its English translation, it was like “field study” or “field survey”.

We had a 답사 scheduled last Fall semester but I didn’t join the trip because I kinda didn’t like the itinerary and it was only a one day trip. The 답사 this Spring semester is also different compared to the Fall semester because it is school-wide. The trip organized during the Fall was per department but the Spring one is bigger in terms of participants and budget (I guess ㅋㅋ) and has a longer duration too!

The Spring field trip was 3 days and 2 nights trip to Pohang, Gyeongju and Ulsan. From Seongnam, where our school is located, we traveled around 4 or 5 hours to Pohang, which was our first stop. There, we visited Posco’s steel plant and had a tour around their museum and factories. We also had the chance to eat at their company cafeteria! The food was rice with black bean sauce and of course tons of side dishes. But the food was not as fabulous as it’s name ㅋㅋ After eating, we went to their small museum where they showcase the history of the company. After that, we proceeded to a factory trip! We were inside our bus and then there was a guide who boarded the bus. Before the bus drove to the factory, the guide collected our phones and cameras because taking of photos is not allowed. My Korean is not so technical to understand everything she said but I think the guide explained the features of the factory, the roles of each machine and how they process steel. We also had the chance to go inside one of their processing plants and we were really amazed on how the machines process the raw materials.

After the POSCO tour, we headed to the beautiful city of Gyeongju! If you love Korean history, you should really visit Gyeongju! We went to Oksan Seowon Confucian Academy and Dongnakdang which is the house of a Joseon Confucian scholar. I felt goosebumps after visiting these places because it felt like I was travelling to the old Korea. The first day of the trip was amazing except it was raining! ㅜㅜ

King Munmu's tomb

King Munmu’s tomb

Bulguksa Temple - Gyeongju, South Korea

Bulguksa Temple – Gyeongju, South Korea

The second day was still in Gyeongju wherein we visited King Munmu’s tomb, Gameun Saji, Seokguram, Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju Museum, Cheomseongdae Observatory and then Wolji Pond. Thank God the rain stopped so we enjoyed going around the different historical places. I can’t pick my most favorite place among the sites we have visited because all of them were sooooo beautiful! ㅜㅜ Every site has its own charm and own amazing history but if I were to pick my Top 3, it would be Seokguram, Bulguksa Temple and the Wolji Pond. The ride going to Seokguram was so amazing! Since the site is located on top of the mountain, you’ll be able to see the wonderful nature of Gyeongju! No one should also miss the historical Bulguksa Temple. We were lucky that one of the temple’s monks guided us and explained the significance of each part of the temple. Of course we saw the two pagodas but the Seokgatap is still under renovation so it was placed inside a shelter. Visiting Wolji pond is also a must! I suggest to visit this place in the evening in order to witness the beauty of the site. If you’re planning to visit Gyeongju anytime soon, don’t forget these places! My iPod’s camera did not give justice to the beauty of the places but they are really amazing in person.

Cheomseongdae - An astronomical observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea

Cheomseongdae – An astronomical observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea

Wolji Pond- Gyeongju, South Korea

Wolji Pond- Gyeongju, South Korea

After going around Gyeongju, we went back to our hotel and had some sort of a meeting. It was a gathering of everyone who joined the trip and we had an evaluation of the trip. I didn’t know that there is such activity in Korean schools so it was a really new experience for me. There were representatives from each department who shared their thoughts about the trip, both positive comments and negative comments. After the gathering, we proceeded to the department meeting. It was the time wherein we drank, ate and play with the other students from our department.

The last day of the trip was dedicated to visit Ulsan’s Bangudae Petroglyphs, Petrogylph Museum and the Whale Museum. We only stayed at Ulsan until lunch time because we were already scheduled to go back to Seongnam. It took us roughly 5 to 6 hours to go back to our school from Ulsan because of the long distance and traffic ㅋㅋ.

I really enjoyed the trip with the other students! I was also able to practice my Korean speaking skills by talking to other Korean students that I met. My Korean listening and comprehension was challenged by the Korean tour guides and the other Korean professors too! Even though it was still hard for me to understand lots of words like historical and Buddhist terms, I am so happy that I was able to get a grasp of what they were explaining ㅋㅋ. I should also thank my new found Korean friends for re-interpreting what the tour guides said.

The food in the Gyeongsang province was also good! I think I have tasted the best Dwaenjang Jjigae in one of the restaurants we visited in Gyeongju ㅜㅜ. I’d love to go back there again to go to other places in Gyeongju and to eat good food haha! The trip only cost 70,000 won, yes only 70,000 won including all the food, transportation fees, snacks, accommodation at Hanhwa resort hotel and all the entrance fees. The trip was cheap because of course, it was subsidized by our school. I think it was a really good decision that me and my other Filipino friends joined the trip haha! Everything was so worth it! I hope that the Fall semester’s trip would also be as nice as this ㅋㅋ.

For those who are planning to visit Gyeongju, my friend told me it’s easy to go around the city. There are lots of information about Gyeongju at Visit Korea‘s website so don’t forget to check them out.^^


Latest Book Haul: Intermediate-Advanced Korean and Beginner-Intermediate Japanese Language Books

Book haul alerrrrt!

I think I spent too much money on language books these past few months, but honestly I am not regretting it ㅋㅋ. Finally I was able to purchase the books that I have always wanted to get. It is quite difficult to purchase foreign books in the Philippines so I think it would be better to hoard books while I am here in Korea. I also felt the need to upgrade my Korean language books from Intermediate level to Advanced since I am taking a Korean Level 5 class this semester. I also wanted to study Japanese again so I got some books to refresh my Nihongo skills.

I will just go through the books then make a separate post/review about each book or series to help language students/enthusiasts in looking for useful Korean language/Japanese language books.



#1. Korea University’s 재미있는 한국어 3, 4 and 5

I did not buy these books because I wanted to but because I needed to ㅋㅋ! This series is used by our school for our Korean language classes. I purchased Level 3 last semester then Level 4 and 5 last February. Level 3 and 4 costs 28,000 won each while Level 5 is sold at 23,000 won. Since I have used this book last semester, I can say that I am pretty satisfied with the contents and how the vocabulary and grammar lessons were organized. Even though I am quite biased towards Yonsei University’s books, I cannot deny the fact that Korea University also has a great Korean language book series.

Korea University's Korean Language Books ( Levels 3, 4 and 5)

Korea University’s Korean Language Books ( Levels 3, 4 and 5)

#2. Yonsei Korean Reading 4

This is one of the books that I have been wanting to buy and I finally got it! I love using the Yonsei Korean Reading series to practice my Korean language reading skills. I have already read the first two or three chapters of this book during our winter break and they were very challenging! I love how the book uses unfamiliar vocabulary words in each reading chapter and it helps me expand my vocabulary bank! I am excited to write a review of this book soon \O//

Yonsei University's Korean Reading 4

Yonsei University’s Korean Reading 4

#.3 HangulPark’s 살이있는 한국어 series a.k.a Korean-Language-Books-You-Need-To-Have Series ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

I sooooo loooooove this series from HangulPark! I got the 속담/Proverbs book as a prize for a Korean language speaking activity in class and I fell in love with it after studying the lessons. When I searched for the book online, I saw that there are two more books in the series- the idiomatic expressions book and the Chinese 4-word sayings. Another reason why I purchased the other books was because my Korean Level 5 teacher told us to study more proverbs, idiomatic expressions and Chinese 4-word sayings for they are frequently used in the Advanced level.

살아있는 한국어 Series

살아있는 한국어 Series

#4. Korean Grammar in Use – Advanced

Of course I will not miss buying the infamous Korean Grammar in Use book! I have read good reviews about this book so I did not hesitate to buy it. I honestly need to study more advanced Korean grammar patterns so I think I will use this one the most.

Korean Grammar in Use - Advanced

Korean Grammar in Use – Advanced

Aside from Korean language books, I also purchased few Japanese language books in English and Korean. I have studied Japanese when I was still in the university and we used the Genki series. I want to challenge myself in studying Japanese using books written in Korean so I purchased a couple of books. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone- studying Japanese at the same time as studying Korean. There are also plenty of good (and cheap!) Japanese language books sold in Korean bookstores so I had to hoard some.

#5. Preparation for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test – N4

This is the N4 book from this preparation for the JLPT books. One of my friends recommended this book’s series for being a good reviewer for the JLPT so I got myself a copy of the N4 reviewer. I asked my friend to buy it for me when she went to Kyobo Bookstore located in Gwanghwamun. My friend also bought the N3 reviewer for the two of us to share and use together. I haven’t really used this reviewer since I am still in the process of recovering my Nihongo skills but I think this is really a good one ㅋㅋ.

Preparation for Japanese Language Proficiency Test N4 Book

Preparation for Japanese Language Proficiency Test N4 Book

#6. New TOP 일본어 첫걸음

These are the books I currently use to review my beginner Japanese. I am still in the Introductory book which reminded me so much of my earlier days in studying Japanese. The “Korean style” of studying Japanese is quite different from what I was used to do using the Genki beginner books. I am still on the process of adjusting to this Korean way of studying Japanese but I am really excited to study more! I think these books are worth every won you have paid.

TOP Japanese Language Books - Introductory Book + Beginner Japanese

TOP Japanese Language Books – Introductory Book + Beginner Japanese

#7. 민나노 日本語  – Beginner to Intermediate Book 1 and 2 (Step 3 and 4)

This Japanese language book series is published by the same company who published the NEW TOP 일본어 첫걸음. I was actually skeptical if I am going to buy these books since I cannot find good reviews online and I was only buying online so I had no chance to look at the contents. What I did was I only purchased the first book together with the New TOP series, just to check the contents before I get the next book. I checked the first book from the Beginner-Intermediate series as soon as it was delivered and after going through the contents, I immediately went online and ordered the next book ㅋㅋ. I am planning to get the Intermediate level books too but maybe after I finish studying these two.

민나노 日本語 Series - Beginner to Intermediate Books 1 and 2

민나노 日本語 Series – Beginner to Intermediate Books 1 and 2

I still have two books that I forgot to include in the list but I would just write reviews about them next time. There you go with the overview of my latest book haul!  I promised myself not to get new language books unless I finish studying all of these! ㅋㅋTime to examine each book and write the reviews ㅋㅋ^^ 기대하세요!


Study in Korea Series: Using RISS (Research Information Sharing Service)


One of my research interests would be fan participatory culture. I have read some books and articles regarding fan culture and I can say that Henry Jenkin’s Textual Poachers is one of the best books I have read. I was able to borrow a copy of the book from my previous university but I was not able to make a copy of it except for the pages I needed back then. Since I am planning to do a research related to fan participatory culture, I tried to look for the book on our library’s database but unfortunately they do not carry the book. Even the National Library of Korea or Seongnam City Library does not have the book! There is an available e-book of Textual Poachers but honestly, I am not a fan of e-books. I would rather pay extra bucks to get the physical book so that I can write notes, highlight sentences and put marks on important pages. I know we can do these stuff using e-books and Adobe Acrobat too but it’s too stressful for my eyes and brain ㅋㅋ. I tried to look for the book online using Kyobo Book’s and Youngpoong Bookstore’s websites and the good news is that they have the book! But the bad news is they still need to order it abroad and it will take time for it to arrive plus the cost of the book is way over my allocated budget ㅠㅠ. I was about to give up when my roommate told me that I could check the database of other Korean universities via RISS, which is an acronym for Research Information Sharing Service. So, what is RISS?

I did some research about RISS on the internet. Basically, RISS is a database which provides access to millions of resources such as theses, dissertations and journals related to Korea and Korean Studies. I felt quite ashamed that I didn’t have any idea about RISS even if my major is related to Korean Studies lol. Also, RISS provide access to the bibliographic databases of different Korean universities.

RISS Homepage

RISS Homepage

Before you can avail of the services offered by RISS, I think your school library needs to be a subscriber. The Academy of Korean Studies’ library definitely provides access to RISS so I didn’t think twice to register. Registration is free and I just provided them with my details such as my name, student number, e-mail address and phone number. As far as I can remember, I was also asked to input the university/organization where I belong.

After I registered on RISS’ website, I tried to look for the book Textual Poachers on the search bar and hooraaay there are available copies in other universities like Korea University, Sogang University, Ehwa Women’s University and many more!! My roommate told me that I could do an inter-library loan through RISS and she also taught me how to use the website and how to request for a book loan.

The process was easier than I’ve expected! First, I looked for the book then I chose a school which carries the book. I chose Korea University’s library and I just waited for AKS and KU’s libraries to process my request. Requesting for the book is free but you need to pay for the shipping fees to and from KU’s library which costs 5,000 won (4.5 USD; 201php). I think the price is not bad and the service was really quick!

Snapshot of my transaction

Snapshot of my transaction

I sent the request last Sunday (March 29) and I got the book today (April 1)! I received an e-mail and a text message from both RISS and our library about the arrival of the book and I immediately went to our librarian’s office and asked for the book. The librarian told me that I can borrow the book for 15 days and it can be extended for another week after the grace period is over. I didn’t ask for any extension but still, she extended my borrowing time from 15 days to 22 days ㅋㅋ. I handed the 5,000 won payment to her and I received my book!

Status of the transaction

Status of the transaction

Tadaaaaaaah! I already got a copy of Textual Poachers by Henry Jenkins^^ RISS services are really helpful and convenient to use. At least I don’t have to go to the other university’s library anymore just to borrow a single book! It saves time, money and energy haha! I think foreign scholars in Korea should avail of this kind of service whenever they are having a hard time looking for the books on their own library.

Tadaaaah! Got the book!

Tadaaaah! Got the book!

So if you are a student in Korea and if you are looking for a book which is not available in your school library, try using RISS and their services! Very quick, easy to use and easy to access =D Should you have any questions related to using RISS like the registration process of how to borrow books, don’t hesitate to ask^^


Trends in Korea Series: Anti-Stress Coloring Books


Recently, there has been a craze over “Anti-Stress Coloring Books” here in South Korea. I became so curious about these coloring books and what they call “art therapy” to fight stress so I tried to look for sample posts or reviews online. While searching for posts, I stumbled upon tons of articles about the adult coloring books and its stress-relieving benefits. Apparently, it is not only in South Korea that these books sold thousands of copies but also in other countries!

Since I am a sucker of anything “anti-stress”, I decided to purchase some of the coloring books available online. I really prefer buying books online since they’re on free shipping and much cheaper compared to physical stores. I found an online shop which sells the coloring book and Staedtler 24-piece colored pencils as a set for only 18,900 won. I chose to buy 신비의 숲, the Korean version of Johanna Basford’s bestselling Enchanted Forest coloring book. I also bought Japan Secret coloring book from Interpark bookstore for 9,800 won.

Coloring Books: Japan Secret and Enchanted Forest

I thought the books were only thin but I was wrong. The books are really thick and they contain lots of sketches of flowers, trees, castles, insects and animals which you can color anytime, anywhere! I really loved Enchanted Forest because of its beautiful doodles and sketches. It also comes with three free postcards that you can color using colored pencils, pens or whatever coloring materials you have. The quality of the paper is also superb!

신비의 숲: Korean version of Johanna Basford’s Enchanted Forest

The picture below was my first attempt to color a sketch. I really suck with anything creative but I felt really happy before, during and after completing this page, haha! While listening to a Yiruma playlist on Youtube, I finished coloring the whole sketch after two hours. You are free to use any color combination or coloring materials so you will not be restricted to unleash your creative side and creative imaginations 🙂

First try!

Free Postcards

Now I know why Koreans followed this trend over coloring books- it’s fun to do and you will feel relaxed. This is nice to color while drinking your favorite cup of coffee or tea or while you are listening to relaxing music.

Staedtler Colored Pencils

Aside from the Enchanted Forest coloring book, I also purchased Japan Secret coloring book because I love Japan! The book contains cultural symbols of Japan like the kimono, Tokyo Sky Tree, traditional restaurants and a whole lot more! You will feel like you’re travelling to Japan while coloring the sketches.

Japan Secret Coloring Book by Zoe de Las Cases


There are still tons of other coloring books in different Korean bookstores but I do not have any plans on buying more unless I finish these two books haha! They also have a Paris version of this coloring book which is called Paris Secret. I think some bookstores also carry coloring books of Seoul and ancient Korean paintings. I find these books a really good deal because of their affordable price, amazing quality and stress-relief benefits.

One of my favorite sketches!

Sometimes I really find studying my major subjects and Korean very stressful especially if I am not in the mood to study or if the translation works make me frustrated. Most of the time I just go out with friends, watch dramas or just sleep to fight stress. After I purchased these coloring books, I found another good way to relieve stress! Whenever I am burnout while translating articles or reading research papers for class, I stop for an hour or two and I just grab my coloring books and start coloring the pages while listening to Yiruma’s piano pieces. I stop thinking of other acad-related and other useless worries while coloring and it really makes me feel relaxed. I know it’s psychological but I am really happy I purchased these books- it’s a good escape from stress and also a good way to unleash one’s artistic side^^ Like what other adult coloring book fans are saying, no one is too old for coloring books 🙂


New Semester, New Challenges!

Our spring semester started only two weeks ago but I am already tired ㅋㅋ! Kidding! It is just that I feel so challenged by this semester’s classes. I am currently enrolled in two major subjects – Topics in Korean Culture and Statistical Methods in the Social Sciences plus a 12-hour/week Korean Level 5 class. Yes, Korean Level 5, which is more of an High-Intermediate to Advanced class.

I started my Korean language class here at AKS (Academy of Korean Studies) last semester with Level 3. I thought they are going to offer Level 4 for the Spring semester but they only offered Level 5 so I was kinda forced to jump from Level 3 to 5. So far I am enjoying the Level 5 class but I still encounter lots of difficulties especially with Advanced grammar and vocabulary. I feel that my Korean language skills will really be tested and challenged by this class because most of my classmates are reallllyyy~ realllyyyy~ good, especially in speaking ㅠㅠ. Anyways, I will just tell something more about my Korean language classes in another post.

Another challenging subject that I am currently taking is the class on Topics in Korean Culture. Basically, our professor planned to deal with culture topics like Multiculturalism, Hallyu and Confucian values for the whole Spring semester. The topics sounded so exciting, however, the class would be conducted in a ‘Korean style’ with readings in Korean but the discussion would still be in English. I do not have any issues in having Korean readings because I thought that it would help me understand Korean culture better and that it would also help me improve my Korean reading skills and vocabulary bank. We are currently discussing three Korean readings related to Korean family, generation and Confucian values- one Korean reading is assigned to two persons in class. I was assigned to read and summarize the first 14 pages of a research paper on the generational characteristics of Korean families. It took me 4 to 5 days before I finished translating each word that I don’t know! I also tried to make a summary of it, however, I wasn’t able to finish writing everything because even though I understand it in Korean, I find it difficult to translate in English ㅜㅜ. I only tried to translate Korean variety programs before but not Korean researches with technical vocabularies and really advanced level grammar.

Readings about Korean Culture

Readings about Korean Culture

Even though I find it really hard to read -> translate -> read -> understand -> summarize the article, I felt that I have learned so many things about Korean culture, Korean language and translating from Korean to English. I realized that I should not really stop studying, studying and studying Korean and that I should not regret that I enrolled in the Korean 5 class because it helps me with my journey reading research articles in Korean ㅋㅋ.

Readings + Translation attempt

Readings + Translation attempt

Aside from my academic activities, I also decided to enroll in a Janggu class! I have always been dreaming of studying Samulnori, even when I was still in the Philippines. When I saw a documentary about National Gugak Center’s traditional music class for foreigners, I quickly searched it on the internet. Luckily, their applications for the Spring semester was still open so I didn’t think twice to enroll! We are now on our 3rd week in the class and I can say that I am enjoying it soooo much! I really do not want to waste my time while I am here in Korea so I decided to just try every lesson that I can such as traditional musical instruments and other culture activities. I will try to make another post about their programs and our Janggu class soon for those who are in Korea and interested to study Korean music instruments.

Korean Traditional Music Class for Foreigners at the National Gugak Center

Korean Traditional Music Class for Foreigners at the National Gugak Center

In line with the new year and new semester, Blue Hanbok also has a new banner! Thanks to my good high school friend who designed the banner for the blog. The girl with the blue hanbok was actually inspired by another artwork and my friend did the editing and the background. I am also in the process of arranging and re-organizing my blog so I apologize if there are broken links or missing files. I hope I can finish fixing Blue Hanbok as soon as possible^^


New Banner!

There you go with a sneak peek of the beginning of our Spring semester^^ I am planning to post new book reviews soon! And I am currently studying Japanese again so I hope I could post some helpful book reviews, tips and cheats in studying both Korean and Japanese^^ ‘Till my next post!


Hello 2015!!!

After months of hiatus in the blogging world, I am finally back! There are so many things that happened in the year 2014 and I am forever grateful to all those blessings I have received. I am hoping that year 2015 will be a good one to me, my family and friends! I hope you guys will have a blast this year too!

Yey! Yey!

For some updates about myself, I finally graduated from college last April 2014 (HAHAHAHA Finallyyyy!). After 4 years in the university and 1 year as an exchange student in Korea, I finally got that diploma! Even though I already finished my undergraduate studies, I felt that I still want to study so I am now in Korea for my graduate studies ㅋㅋ. I am currently taking up an MA in International Korean Studies – Korean Culture in History at the Academy of Korean Studies. I would probably make a separate post about this with some information on our school and the programs that they offer, so stay tuned! 🙂

I hope that I could share more Korean language book reviews, travel tips in Korea, food reviews as well as Korean cosmetics reviews this 2015! I will do my best to keep this blog updated just like in the year 2012-2013 haha! I’ll post again soon!^^