Because they mean so much to me. ♥

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Boncheon-dong Ghost


So it's wayyyyyyyyy too early for Halloween, but I came across this scary Korean webtoon (web comic) again entitled "Boncheon-dong Ghost". I remember reading it last year (author's note: without subs, thanks to a Korean friend), and I ended up freaking out in front of the computer. Imagine more horror and suspense it could give now that the English translation came out.

"Boncheon-dong Ghost" is a web cartoon made by 25-year old comic artist named Horang, or Choi Jong Ho, as part of the anthology entitled, "2011 Mystery Shorts". These series of comics became popular and spread like wildfire online.

After searching online, I found out that this comic was based on fan accounts of people who have seen the ghost roaming around in Boncheong-dong. Turns out, it was a popular urban legend in South Korea.

Here's the translated text:

2011 Mystery Sketch Bong-Cheon-Dong Ghost 
The story is based on true personal accounts. 

It was probably around 11:20 at night. I was heading home after long, tiring night-study sessions. But I didn’t see anybody around that day, which was weird, since the apartment complex is pretty big and I usually see a lot of people even at night. 
Anyways, I was a little scared so I was just walking while looking down on the ground, 
when I saw a shadow stretching towards me. Even though there had been no one around just a moment ago. 
When I looked up.. 
I saw a woman walking in front of me. But it just didn’t look right. 
I could say she looked slightly indisposed.. She was limping pretty hard. 
She was walking very slow, and I soon caught up with her. I was able to see her even better up close. 
She was wearing dirty pink pajamas.. and it looked like every joint in her body was twisted. Her hair was a mess and sticking out in every direction. 
It seemed really weird, so I stopped walking. 
I felt like I shouldn’t get any closer to her, and I didn’t have the guts to pass by her. 
[The ghost turns around.] 
They say when you’re really surprised, you can’t even scream. I couldn’t move, and just froze there. 
“Where’s my baby?” 
Her question made my thoughts race.. 
I don’t even know why I did it then.. And it still scares me. 
I pointed as far as I could and answered.. “O, over there.” 
I just wanted her to get away from me. 
She limped towards the direction I pointed to.. 
And I couldn’t see her anymore. 
I didn’t want to risk running into her again, so I tried to turn around quickly and leave the apartment complex. 
I couldn’t think of anything but to get to some place where there’d be people around. 
“She is not there!” [The ghost runs towards you.] 
I don’t remember anything afterwards. I heard that my neighbor found me passed out on the ground and took me home. 
In 2007, at an apartment in Boncheon-Dong, Gwna-Ak-Gu, Seoul, a 33-year-old woman jumped off the apartment and died on the spot. Jo, who was divorced due to her affair, had lost the custody of her daughter and decided to kill herself. 
She was seen walking around the apartment complex many times after her suicide. She was barefoot and wore the pajamas she was wearing when she died; every join in her body was twisted, and she was an awful sight. 


If you are not scared enough, go check out the actual comic, which is translated in English:

Or maybe you can try watching the video too, for added thrill:


This comic strip is indeed scary, no wonder even JYJ freaked out when they read this. ^^

Friday, January 20, 2012


This coming Sunday, January 23, Koreans will be celebrating the Lunar New Year or Seollal (설날). Like Chuseok (추석), this event is considered as one of the major celebrations of Koreans every year. Koreans also celebrate the Solar New Year (which is January 1 in the Gregorian calendar), but Seollal is considered as a more important event than the Solar New Year. Celebrations for Seollal last for three days. [Author's Note: which means no work for me on Monday and Tuesday. YEY!]

So how do Koreans celebrate this special event?

More than being a national holiday and a time to honor their ancestors, this is also a chance for Koreans to go to their hometown and catch up with their family members--or some sort of a family reunion, so to speak. They eat traditional food and play traditional games, too. It's a common scene for people to be seen wearing a hanbok (한복) or the Korean traditional dress, which according to them, symbolizes a new beginning.

Yunho wearing a hanbok. ^^ Biased much. :P

Preparations for the Seollal celebration are quite demanding, so people buy gifts early. Common gifts given to family members come in the form of cash and gift cards from department stores. Others prefer giving special gifts such as ginseng, honey, or food. Travel arrangements are also made in advance so as to prevent the terrible traffic congestion in cities.

Food served during Seollal is given utmost importance. Housewives spend a whole day preparing the food to be offered to the ancestors and to be served to the family members. Rice cake soup or tteokguk (떡국) is the representative food of the event. According to my one of students, it was believed that eating it adds one year to a person's age.

This is the tteokguk. Looks delicious! ^^

Food served during the Seollal. So yummy!! :)

Other kinds of food are also served during the Seollal: fruits, japchae (잡채), Korean pancakes, and lots of side dishes, much to the delight of the family members.

After eating, the younger generation of the family bows down to their elders, or jeol (절) and present them with gifts. Confucianism has a very strong influence to the Korean culture, so bowing to the elders is extremely important. Light bowing is not enough, they have to do the deep bow, just like what Muslims do. The bow made during Seollal is called sebae (세배), and this is done by getting down on both knees and then bending towards the floor.

This is how sebae is done.

This is the sebae done in front of the ancestors' tablets.

After the sebae, the elders give the younger members of the family sebaetdon (세뱃돈), or new year's money. The elders also give words of wisdom and their blessings. The celebration ends with traditional games like yutnori (윷놀이), which is usually played during Seollal and lots of laughs from the family members.

Children receiving sebaetdon from their elders. ^^ Just like what children receive during Christmas. :)

새해 복 많이 받으세요 ^^

Credits to the owners of the pictures ^^