Thursday, November 8, 2018

Korea7 | Day 4

Today I had a fun day!

The hostel I'm staying at actually offers breakfast (toasted bread, eggs, and juice) in the common room. The other days I've either woken up too late to make it for breakfast (I think it ends at 10am) or have just been too busy to eat in the mornings.

Well, today I had time for it and ended up eating with this sweet Korean lady, who had moved to the US some 20 years ago. Today was her last day in Seoul before moving to another city to stay with some family members.
When I travel alone like this, I appreciate these little talks with random strangers. Oh and she was sweet enough to do my dishes too after she saw the bandage thing on my wrist! She gave off such a motherly feel. It was nice to feel taken care of like that.

Today's first thing on my to-do list was the SM Museum Tour!
I want to HIGHLY recommend anyone who is going to Korea to sign up for this program at!
You will NOT regret it! (also, it's free)
I'm planning on writing a whole guide on how to apply for this so let's just skip this part for now.

It had become fall in just one day and was raining so much today!
Luckily my hostel had umbrellas that we could borrow so I grabbed one and went on my way.
I made it to SMTown unscattered but my hair was hair was another story hahah.
There were 2-3 Korean girls in charge of the tour and we were about 15 people.
While we were waiting for the rest to show up, I talked to a girl, Bonnie from Macao, and then we took each other's pictures.

Our guides took us to all the different floors and provided explanations through it all.
Here one of them was telling us about the theater and how sometimes fan would come here to have fan meetings through video with their favorite idols.

These video meetings are made possibly with the cameras built into the screen section near the wall. I marked one with a white ring in the next picture.
Next they brought us to a photo station where you could "take pictures with your idols."
I volunteered and then the guide explained how to do it. You can buy a printed version later or just take a picture of the screen.
My inner SHINee fangirl enjoyed this day so much. The day my best friend and co-SHINee fangirl visits Korea, this is the first place I'll take her!
While I was taking pictures, the other girls standing on the side kept calling me pretty and I felt so embarrassed and humbled.

Another place they showed us was the hand matching area - right beside the wall with celebrity hands.
Sometimes, if the idols drop by, they'll sign furniture, shirts, or their hand models like you can see on Onew and Taemin's hands.

I wanted a closer picture of the SHINee members but I somehow managed to cut out Onew's hands ㅠㅠ

The first time I went to Korea, in 2015, I also went to SMTown shortly. Back then, the hand matching was out of service due to the MERS outbreak, so I was excited to try it this time.
Once again the guide picked a volunteer and showed us how to do it.
The machine has both a personality reading mode- 
and a celebrity matching mode.
I went back by the end of the tour and tried. Here's a personality comparison (you choose who you want to compare with)-
-and a hand match. I think this is related to the size of your hand and your handprint.
And near the hand matching station is a place where you can make 3D models of yourself and your favorite idols!
Look how perfect SHINee is 오모.

Moving to the next floor!
The hallway was decorated with giant posters of all the idols. I found it too perfect that Taemin's was the most visible and hurriedly took a picture to send to Emilie, whose favorite member is Taemin.
Here they had a hall of fame area where some of the biggest achievements by SM artists were on show.
Here's the trophy from when SHINee won Best Male Group Dance Performance for Sherlock at MAMA 2012.
We also saw some of the costumes that had been worn by idols. These are from Red Velvet's 레드벨벳 '빨간 맛 (Red Flavor).
After the explanation, they asked us to wait while they got us tickets for the museum part of the building. While waiting, we looked at the many beautiful pictures of idols on the walls.
More SHINee!
♡ Jonghyun ♡

Here's the ticket! Pay attention to the QR code. I'll explain why this is important soon.
While handing out the tickets, they asked for our favorite groups and came back short after with presents - luggage tags with our idols! I think SHINee was the only group that did not have their members on it but instead the graphic from their latest albums.

Inside the museum was a big room with 3 big screens showing clips from SM idol's performances. To the left were stamps with characters and logos for all the groups and you could use them to your hearts content.
On this floor were sections dedicated for each big (if not all) SM groups.
First they showed us around really quick and then we were given 15 minutes to roam around however we wanted.
Here I caught snaps of a SHINee performance~
And stamped my super pretty folder (which I sadly lost by the end of the tour ㅠㅠ).
I believe the next space we saw was the 'behind the scene' area.' This is supposedly what it looks like when our favorite idols are getting ready to go in stage.
In this room were names and album covers from every single SM artist since the very beginning of the entertainment company.

The next part consisted of little spaces made specifically for each group. The first one, if I remember correctly, was BoA's!
Next was TVXQ's.
Here are props from their song Catch Me. Each room would have some sort of props and little signs with explanations or facts.
And now! The SHINee area!
The section had both new and old SHINee images and props. The room above was styled after Married To The Music and in the hallway right outside hung teaser images from their album Odd.

As you see, I was a very happy fangirl.
These masks are the ones they were for the Juliette (줄리엣) music video.
Other props include Key's shirt from View and Onew's tennis court sweater.
This was inside the little SHINee room~
A screen on the wall secured the SHINee mood by played Married To The Music.
The girl in the screen above was a worker there. Remember the QR code on the ticket? You can take pictures here as well and have them saved on the QR code! Just let her scan your ticket, stand where she tells you, and watch yourself and the SHINee members on the brown TV (in the table beside the desserts).
Not only did it take 3 pictures of you and the member in different poses, it would also film the whole ordeal. Everything would be saved on the QR code and could be bought at the end of the tour.
The cake here is most likely also the cake used in their music video. I was amazed by how everything was to close and within reach.
 Near the SHINee section was also a recording studio that you could enter and try to record yourself singing in, if you liked. The tour guide told us that this was an ACTUAL studio and that if you have an album at home, it will be written somewhere on it where the songs were recorded.
It will be one of two studios; this or another one that we did not see.
I actually found a list online where you can see which albums were recorded in there. You can view it HERE.
Beside the recording studio was a practice room. They told us that NCT practiced here during their trainee days.
I didn't get a picture of it but inside the lockers were what looked like some of their costumes!

I walked back to a more open area where the tour guides had told us to meet up after those 15 minutes.
This place had walls dedicated to all of the groups and big stands in the middle with albums and DVDs.

Here in this room were few props, some handwritten notes and costume designs, behind the scenes pictures from music videos, etc.
I took this pictures in the Girls' Generation area. The apple was the one used in Mr. Mr.

Now, let's have a look at SHINee's because you can never have too much SHINee.

The big book was full of images not only of SHINee but also other SM artists.

Click the images to view them in larger version~

In the one end of the big room was another room - a photo hall - and then yet another studio.
This studio is often used as well. The guides told us that radio shows with the artists will sometimes be recorded here - and that some lucky fans will sometimes be invited to watch from behind these windows!
Now, it's been 3 months since I was told this so I can't remember all of the details anymore. From what I remember, every time there is a show coming up, SM will do a draft among the people, who have bought tickets for the museum, and invite you if you are one of the lucky ones.

The photo exhibition at this was was of the EXO members. These pictures were taken specifically for this (if my memory doesn't fail me) and I think you could buy them after the exhibition.
Some of them were signed~

I took these pictures with Maria in mind. Her favorite is Baekhyun but we both also really liked Chanyeol after watching EXO Next Door.

It was now time to move to the next floor. If you are an SM fan, you might have noticed the lack of some of their groups? That's right. The next floor had group sections as well!

First was f(x)'s!
The two dresses are from their video 4 Walls. The purple had to be cut to fit into the frame, they told us.

Next up was Girls' Generation. The costumes here had all been worn by them.
One of the guides mentioned how these clothes fit almost perfectly on the mannequins, which showed just how perfect the members' ratios are.

Red Velvet's section was up next. Rather than having props on display, you could step into the music video from Rookie and take pictures! 
The last part was for NCT. They also had a couple of costumes on display here but since we were all meeting up here, it was too crowded for me to take good pictures. 
This was the last part of the museum and once you had stepped out, you could not go back in.
This picture was taken from the outside of the exit. To the left were screens where you could scan your QR code and check out your pictures taken in the different photo zones. If you wanted to buy them, you could get them from the counter to the right.

Outside the exit was a common area where you could hang out without a ticket. They sold merchandise here and edibles. I guess you could sort of call it a café.
The guides asked us to sit down here and fill out a quick survey about our thoughts on the program. No complaints from me!

The survey was the very last part and the tour was now over. They handed us all a little "Hallyu Seoul Tourist Guide," which I sadly managed to forget at SMTown, and these Seoullo chopsticks!

What is Seoullo? It's an elevated road/art piece around Seoul Station. I went there last year with Celine and Cory while we lived in Korea. I wrote a blog post about it that you can find HERE.

But let's get back to the topic - the SMTown café!

It's actually a pretty cozy place and if you look around, you'll find that idols signed some of the furniture here as well.
The café sells idol themed snacks. Have a look at these cupcakes~
And this SHINee cake!
A last look back at the café before moving to the next floor.

If you want to buy merchandise, this is the place for you. They had everything here: glowsticks, posters, clothes, notebooks. Absolutely everything you could think of.

At the end of the day when I checked my mail, I saw that they had sent the group picture we took, in true Korean fashion.

When the tour was over, I went to have lunch with Bonnie, the girl second to the left from me.
The weather was still super murky and it kept raining. At least the 미세먼지 (yellow dust) was being washed out but it was actually a bit chilly today compared to the other days.

While transferring, we found this vending machine down in the subway. I thought it was pretty cute how you, instead of just candy and soda, could also buy xylitol, pads, condoms, tissues, bandaids, and dust masks.

The sign says:
"You need a mask, right?
Even dust becomes a big mountain when it piles up. Let's always pack a mask!!"

Bonnie is an EXO fan and she told me that the restaurant we were going to had been recommended by Baekhyun according to his fancafé. Visit Seoul confirms this.

The place is named 미사리밀빛초계국수 건대점 (Misari Milbit Chogyeguksu) and it's closest to 구의역 (Guui station) and 건대입구역 (Konkuk University Station) on the green subway line (line 2).

The address is:
서울 광진구 아차산로 312 드림타운
운영시간: 월~일 10:00 ~21:00
Dreamtown 312 Achasan-ro, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10am to 9pm
We ate 만구국 (mandu soup) and 왕만두 (king mandus). Mandu is a Korean dumpling.
After eating, we parted and I went home to relax.

On my way out of Hondae station, I was stopped by an American, who recognized my Yonsei shirt. He was a pretty special case - at least for me - a foreigner, 2-3 years my junior, who had stayed in Korea for 10 years. Well, he was interested in attending Yonsei and I was interested in hearing how in the world he ended up living in Korea, so we decided to hang out one of the days.

And again, when I was getting close to the guesthouse, and my shoes were now soaked from the rain, I was stopped by another person; this time a Korean girl asking me if I knew where Stylenanda was.
If this happens to you, just pretend to not speak English and walk away or tell them that you are busy.. AND WALK AWAY. I could write a whole post about these people from cults trying to invite you to all sorts of 'traditional Korean ceremonies.' UGhhhh!
I might actually just do that some day so let's just skip to where I'm home and relaxing at the guesthouse.


It's like I run low on sugar every night in Seoul and today was no exception so in the evening, I decided to take a walk in the rain, skip dinner, and go straight for dessert!
Since it had been raining all day, some of the dust had been washed out of the air. The air felt much more fresh.
I was checking out a smaller alley here in Hongdae when I found the SWEETEST café ever. Just look at their adorable flyer.
My friend Maria would absolutely LOVE this place. Think of unicorns, princesses, fairies, whatever overly girls and pink - then add a little glitter - and you'd have this place.
Absolutely everything in here was cute and I mean EVERYTHING. It was the perfect place to go with friends and take a bunch of cute selfies and food pictures for your Instagram.
I sat down near the window in one of their very low and very chill armchairs. The girl working there brought me the cake I'd ordered.
Rainbow hot chocolate, anyone?
These were just two of the super pretty cakes they offered.
I ordered a piece of the oreo cake and it was served to me on a pink plate shaped like a cloud. It even had a little smiley face until the cake.
There were tables where groups of friends could sit and talk but also more private seats like the one I picked in front of the window. I ate my cake while watching the rain pour down outside. It was oh so calming.
It might sound like I'm in love with this café... because I am.
Even the toilet was cute, c'mon!
I want a frame like that in my future room.

And a last thing to add today!
I have decided to cut my bangs like Olivia's tomorrow!

Now~ enjoy some
Music of the day:

← Return to Day 3                                                                                                        Continue to Day 5 

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