[Seoul] ~ Myeongdong Shopping and NANTA

Keep a map ready but find happiness in getting lost. Some places you find, some places you don’t. You’ll be surprised how amidst it all, you had a great day. – 03.22.13

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20130327_180031-smallA few stations away from Anguk (where Bukchon Village is near) is Myeongdong – known as a mecca for shoppers. As for me, I planned to go there to buy a KPop item for a friend as well as watch this show Cookin’ NANTA which I was originally supposed to watch in Hongdae but due to some unforeseen circumstance had to be moved here.

I honestly could not remember whether I was there a few years back when I first went to Seoul but what I immediately noticed was the lively and busy feel of the place. It was simply a place where many of your senses are going to work – let your eyes feast on the many items being sold in many stores and stalls, listen to ‘sets you in a happy mood’ music from the stores themselves and  let your nose enjoy the smell of various street food.

Myeongdong

Myeongdong on a Friday afternoon. (On my next post, I shall post a busier Myeongdong on a weekend).

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I am such a fan girl I get “kilig” when I saw this! (even if this is just a picture!) 

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Passed by this kiosk and decided to try that barbecue with some green leafy stuff (haha pepper maybe?). It was sooo good I felt quite sad when I could no longer find it when I came back the next day.

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Where one should not trust cosmetic shops as landmarks. Though there is what you can call a main shopping street, there many side streets that offer just the same shopping experience. One thing I particular noticed is how cosmetics shops were everywhere and a store kept appearing on every block, especially the beauty/cosmetics ones. Some of these shops have actually opened in Manila such as The Face Shop, Etude House and Nature Republic but only in select malls but in Myeongdong, these were just everywhere!

Being recently a fan myself of Face Shop, Etude and Nature Republic (howkey, just because of Jang Keun Suk!), I immediately entered one shop without intending to buy anything. Then I found myself buying something I didn’t even need and entering the other shops as well. Trend there is they give a small basket with a “welcome gift” – a mask, cotton squares etc before you enter. Probably a strategy so you would be enticed to buy. I just kept on coming back to certain shops that there was a time when I would enter and end up returning the basket because I did not buying anything. Among those I entered,  Etude House seemed to be the most popular as there were lots of customers of different nationalities (including locals) who just filled the entire place. Good it was not that hot that afternoon.

After sensing some need to ‘restrain’ myself, I decided to go search for a friend’s bilin in Myeongdong underground center which had the same feel as a ‘tiangge’ or flea market in Manila.

Infinite Light Stick

The Infinite Light stick that I was looking for.

(Photo credit to another tumblr user)

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Underground Shopping

Underground Shopping Center that was easy to spot because near the main shopping street near Exit 6

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So I did my hunt for the lightstick. It was cute how the lady vendors would demonstrate waving the lightstick to confirm whether we were talking about the same thing. Unfortunately though, no one had the item on sale.

So I then went back to Myeongdong main street, bought more unnecessary cosmetics stuff and was walking to nowhere as it was still too early to claim my ticket to NANTA’s 8PM show when I bumped into my uncle and aunt who I was supposed to meet on Sunday. I joined them canvass for something before we went to UNESCO Building to get my ticket at least an hour before the show.

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Like a needle lady in the busy street of Myeongdong

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With Tito Randy

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With Tita Judith now. 

20130327_180031-smallTime to see food ingredients and utensils fly! I got curious with this cooking show as it was ranked high in Tourist Attractions in Seoul in the travel website Trip Advisor (Myeongdong show ranking 1st and Hongdae show in a spot before the 10th). A month before the trip, I reserved for one in Hongdae as it is near my guesthouse but on the same week of my trip, I received an email from their marketing officer telling me they had to cancel the Hongdae show so I must opt to transfer to another theater – Myeongdong or Chungjeongno or cancel my reservation. I chose the former. She said she would give me the ticket at a discounted price and that she would cancel for me if I just give her my credit card number and expiration date. I was hesitant because I thought it was scam (untrusting me!) so I did the cancelling myself and I was charged KRW 6,000 then I emailed her and told her that I cancelled but would still want to be transferred.

I think she was a bit pissed off (because I didn’t trust her!) but she did a helpful arrangement nonetheless – deducted cancellation fee from the already discounted price. Whew. Thankful really.

We came there five minutes the show so we thought the ticket box was still closed. It was good we decided to go up inside as real ticket box was there. Later on, we realized that that was why the ticket box in front of the building said “3F”. Never ‘unnotice’ the little things, I realized.

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This one’s in front of the ‘ticket box’. 

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Pre NANTASome photo op after getting my ticket. Thanks to Tita Judith for taking my photos 

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So how was the show? (Spoiler alert). I personally think it started out a bit dragging with all the drumming using the kitchen utensils and dancing but the show turned out amazing. It had some pretty “Wow’ scenes when I started to admire the actors themselves. Overall, I say it is an amazing show and as what many had said – it is a must-see.

Show is centered around a group of chefs who had to prepare food for a wedding banquet. To make things more comical, the experts are joined by the Manager’s nephew who knows nothing about cooking so it was all charm that he brought to the entire bruhaha as they hastily prepared the food to make it to 6PM deadline.  It was an almost non-verbal performance. Most of what I heard were sounds of kitchen utensils being tapped, thrown around and some occasional babbling.

I usually enjoy shows – whether it be on TV, in movies or plays when I start to love the characters. And it was not immediate but I love each of the characters in NANTA who are well-defined and portrayed well by actors who are not just talented in acrobatics, magic, comedy and audience engagement. There is a funny guy (add that moustache to his charm), an adorable lady, a hot quiet, ‘i feel safe when beside you’ kind of guy and the seemingly dumb but charming nephew.

If you want to watch the show, be prepared to be part of the performance as there would be instances when you would be asked to clap, stomp, shout, throw back stuff thrown at you and some are even asked to go up the stage to be part of the show.

20130327_180031-smallHow to go to Myeongdong:  Take subway to Myeongdong Station (Line 4, blue) and take Exit 6. I just noticed that unlike other stations where you can go any way as soon as you tap your card then select your exit, Myeongdong is actually a bit tricky, i.e. exits are divided into two. But when you find Exit 6, walk straight then it should be easy to spot the line of shops on your left. Continue walking and on your right, it is easy to spot UNESCO Building which houses the theater where NANTA is held. 

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