Pancoat 팬콧: A super-Korean clothing brand

20 10 2013

I first noticed a trend in Korean dramas that people would wear brightly-colored sweatshirts and T-shirts that had cute, animated animal characters on the front. I didn’t realize what it was until I came to Korea. It was Pancoat!

틴탑6

If you want to look Korean and wear something that I’m pretty sure is just popular in Korea, get some Pancoat clothing. It’s a little on the pricey side, but I bought some Pancoat things because I was wanting as many Korean things I could have. Then when I’m back home, I can still have pieces of Korea with me.

I know it’s just clothing, but people need to wear clothes everyday, and clothes express you as a person. I’ll be much happier back home wearing clothing that reminds me of my time here.

The duck character is Pancoat’s most popular character. It’s their trademark sign.

201203270913508810

Review
The clothes are good quality and sturdy—meaning good stitching and fabric. The leggings and sweatpants are thick and cozy.

The sizes run from XS to XL. I’d have to say that the sizes are pretty similar to USA sizes (I’m saying this because many Korean clothes run very small). I normally wear a size L sweatshirt back home, and I also bought a large size Pancoat sweatshirt here. My other sweatshirt is an XL because I prefer more loose-fitting things. It’s just perfect! Think about how clothes shrink a bit after you dry them.

Many clothes are unisex, so many of the T-shirts are more of a guy’s size. I bought a size S T-shirt. The girl-style polos I think run smaller though, because they are meant for girls, so I would probably buy a size L. Actually, I just ordered an XL polo. We’ll see how it is.

How to buy/order:
Here is a link to Pancoat’s website:  Click here

Here is a link to GMarket, an online “Korean-Amazon” that sells Pancoat clothing (plus anything else you could want). Many sellers ship to the USA. The prices are pretty true to Pancoat’s store price: Click here

Notes: The clothing is seasonal. During spring and summertime, they have really cute polo dresses and collared shirts. I went to the Pancoat shop  today (Oct. 20) because I wanted to get some things before I leave, but the lady said they only sell collared T-shirts during summer. I was bummed out, but I managed to find the shirt I wanted from a seller on GMarket.





WILK (Why I Love Korea): Reason 3: Delicious barbecue buffets

1 10 2013

I live in Cheonan. Here are two meat buffets that I have been to. I also ate at a meat buffet in Seoul, but I don’t remember the name or directions. Out of all three, Mammoth Meat is by far the best one I’ve been too (ambiance, price, taste and service).

1) Dino Meat
Directions from Ssangyong-dong Yongam Mall (쌍용동 용암마울): Take bus 12 heading towards Shinsaegae. It is about 3-5 stops away. You will see it directly across from the bus stop where you get off. There are around 8-11 meats to choose from. You sit on the floor, but they honestly have the most comfortable butt cushions that I’ve ever sat on. It felt like Tempur-Pedic! Price is 16,000 won a person.

2) Mammoth Meat
Directions: Near the Lotte Mart that is by the Post Office, McDonalds, Baskin Robins, and Holic Cafe: Face out the door of Lotte Mart (looking across the street you will see the Holic Cafe in the building across the street on the 2F). Walk across the street and weave in and out of the side streets. You will find it.

It has a great ambiance, service and the food is wonderful. You can select from around 7-10 different meats. Unlike Dino Meat, there is also a large selection of delicious side–including steamed, skewered fish cake, potato salad, mandoo, ddeokbokki, and other salads. Price is only a measly 11,900 won per person! Unbelievable!

Mammoth meat

Thank you Kari Killion Stiles for these pictures.





WILK (Why I Love Korea): Reason 2: Smart shopping

1 10 2013

There’s nothing more annoying that driving into a parking space, only to see that a lazy shopper blocked it by leaving their shopping cart there. In Korea, there aren’t many “parking lot” areas that I’ve noticed. Many people take public transportation. But, for people who do drive, the parking is usually in a tall, spiraled parking garage.

Despite that, I noticed a Korean trend for storing shopping carts. The American stores should pick it up!

When you go to most larger grocery stores, the shopping carts are all inter-connected by chains with a lock on them. To get a cart, you just put in one 500 won coin (~50 cents) and slide the lock. It releases a cart. When you’re leaving, you just connect the cart back to the rest of the other neatly-connected carts. You even get your coin back!

If we had these, people would be much more inclined to return their carts to the correct place. Also, many stores line the exits with this certain material that you can’t roll carts over. So unless you want to be really obvious and desperate, you won’t pick up the cart to carry it over.





WILK (Why I Love Korea): Reason 1: Couple’s clothes

1 10 2013

When you see a girl and guy dressed in anything that’s the same, you know they are dating! Many Korean couples wear couples clothing—meaning they dress in the same outfits.

This can simply be wearing matching shoes, shirts, hats or scarves. Or, in more extreme cases, they literally may be wearing the exact same outfit.

I once saw a couple who had on the same hat, shirt, coat, pants, shoes and—get this—backpack! They must have been going on a trip somewhere. I think it’s super cute and adorable. I wish this trend was in the US. I know when Kyle comes to visit, we will be getting matching clothes.

I’m going to continue to update my photos with cute matching couples.

IMG_8283

IMG_8295





Seoul Adventure 2, Part 1: Tom’s Cat Cafe

19 05 2013

There are a few Cat Cafe’s in Seoul, in addition to other specialty cafes such as board game cafes and dog cafes. In a country where it’s hard to find cat food and most people are afraid of cats, it was a heart-warming experience to be surrounded by so many cute kitties!

pic2

Entry to the cafe is 8,000 won for an adult. The entry price includes one drink, too. You can choose from coffee beverages such as an Americano, mint mocha, latte or cappuccino, to hot teas, to fruit drinks and juices.

I got an iced mint mocha, and it tasted pretty delicious! It wasn’t too sweet, compared to the many overly-sweetened coffee drinks I’ve tasted in Korea.

pic1

Side note: For being in a country where most people are super skinny and tiny, you would think that they would consume less sugar in drinks than Americans. I’ve never tasted such sugary drinks as the ones in Korea! Juices taste like Jolly Ranchers and sweetened coffees taste like syrup with a hint of coffee.

Tom’s Cat Cafe is stylish and brightly colored. I love the peachy-orange walls inside. It’s a very cheerful place to play with the cats. I should have asked about how many cats are at the cafe, but there’s got to be at least 20.

You can pick up a play toy and try playing with them, but many of them tend to hang around and sleep or lick themselves. The lazy cats often get up to walk over and eat food. I saw one person order some extra food–it looked like white fish–then the worker lady tapped the little, green food bowl on the ground three times. Just then, all of the cats came swarming over to the girl.

Some of the kitties had these cute shirts on, too. One cat had a Superman outfit on ^^

IMG_8330
pic 3

Most of the customers were Koreans. Many of the visitors were couples. I definitely enjoyed my times there! I ended up with more pictures–sadly—here than I did at the palace I visited earlier.

Getting there: Tom’s Cat Cafe is hidden on the third floor of a building across the street from Art Box. My friend and I read directions from someone’s blog. They said to get off subway Line 2 at Hongik University, leave Exit 9, then walk along the road until you see the Art Box. These directions got us lost!

When exiting the subway, there is a street that goes straight that you can follow–but this is not the correct direction. The other option is to turn slightly left and walk up a road that’s on a hill and bustling with people and many shops.

The latter of the two will take you in the right direction. Even walking along this path, however, we never came to the cafe. We had to search the address on Google maps navigator and track where we were walking!

Doing this during a sudden rain downpour made it all the more exciting when we finally reached the orange sign the read “Toms Cat”





Seoul Adventure 1: Hello Kitty Cafe, Mt. Namsan, Lotte World

19 02 2013

I spent my last Sunday shopping, sightseeing and riding subways–it was a great day in Seoul!

Our trip–some friends from work and I–started off riding the KTX to Seoul at 10:30 am. The KTX is Korea’s bullet train. Opened in 2004, it provides quick transportation from cities as north as Seoul, to cities as south as Busan and Mokpo. A one-way ticket from Cheonan to Seoul cost ₩14,000 ($13).

The KTX can travel up to 217 mph but normally travels around 186 mph. A passenger train, on the other hand, travels around only 30 to 60 mph.

IMG_7925

Rosa and I sitting in the KTX on our way to Seoul.

IMG_7923

Waiting for the KTX to arrive!

Brunch in Itaewon

Of course when we arrived–about 40 minutes later–we headed straight for food! Joseph knew an American-style breakfast restaurant called Tartine. Meals are named after presidents, such as “The Andrew Jackson.” Plates run more than ₩10,000 ($9.25), but it’s a small price to pay for a rare American breakfast in Korea.

IMG_7930 IMG_7937

The watered-down-flavored cornbread was a disappointment. The bacon was thicker than usual, too, so it was soft and not crunchy at all. Despite this, it was a delicious breakfast! I recommend it to anyone in the area. The house coffee was great, too!

Tartine also has a wonderful assortment of organic, sweet-looking dessert delicacies–strawberry rhubarb pie, chocolate cream pie, cherry pie, to name just a few. We ordered some pecan pie!

Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae

IMG_7944

hello kitty cafe

Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae, Seoul.

This will get its own post, but for now I’ll share some of the Hello Kitty goodness! I’ve been wanting to visit the Hello Kitty Cafe for a few years now. I was ecstatic when we finally arrived. Pink, kitties, pink, bows, pink, more kitties. This is the cafe.

I was impressed by the delicious-looking desserts and snacks available. They staff creates Hello Kitty latte art in drinks, and everything is plated nicely. I didn’t order a coffee, so I can’t vouch for the taste, but I was able to take a photo of someone’s latte art.

Shopping in Hongdae, then Ice Skating in Songpa-gu

After the Hello Kitty Cafe, we walked around the markets and shopping areas in Hongdae. I found some good deals on clothes. There’s so much to see that it’s overwhelming!

After a few hours of milling around, we went ice skating at Lotte World, located in Songpa-gu. This ice skating rink has a 1,000-person capacity. It’s huge! Many cute couples—most wearing matching couples clothes, a popular trend in Korea—were skating at this popular date spot.

IMG_7981

Rosa and I in Lotte World–waiting to go ice skating!

After the ice rink, we headed for sushi at this great sushi restaurant that Rosa knew. We needed to wait about 45 minutes to get a table, but it was worth it! I don’t remember this bustling restaurant’s name, but it was a small, shoulder-to-shoulder place. There wasn’t much room to move around with many restaurant-goers filling the inside.

Naman tower

Left: N Seoul Tower at night. Top Right: Interesting illuminated map on the ground at N Seoul Tower. Bottom Right: At the tower, there’s this strange bear mascot or figure everywhere. Maybe it’s because the tower has a teddy bear museum right now …

To end the night, we headed to the N Seoul Tower–AKA Namsan Tower. It is located on Mt. Namsan. Mt. Namsan reaches more than 3,083 feet in elevation, but the 777-foot tower is located along its flanks. Even from the bottom of the tower, you have a beautiful panoramic view of Seoul. Especially at night, it’s breathtaking–with all of Seoul’s city lights illuminating the ground below.

Visitors can pay to ride up an elevator to the top of the tower. The top of the tower has windows facing out over the city. The top level is filled with an abundance of souvenirs. Many are very expensive, such as a ₩94,000 stuffed t-rex—but I managed to find a few reasonably-priced items, including a few postcards and a magnet set.

Also at N Seoul Tower is a famous area where people—often couples—attach locks onto a fence. This fence borders a boardwalk around the tower. A co-worker on the trip had her boyfriend visiting from Canada. They bought two locks and added them to the collection. There’s easily more than 50 feet of fence length with locks on it as thick as shown in this picture.

Namsan tower locks

IMG_7990

View from the top of N Seoul Tower at night.

Winding Down

After we headed back down Mt. Namsan on our bus, we went back to the main station to catch the KTX back to Cheonan at 11:30 pm. I was falling asleep whenever we rode a bus or subway. I was so tired. I slept good that night.





Seollal: Lunar New Year

12 02 2013

While I think of fireworks, staying out all night and drinking as typical New Year’s traditions in America, Koreans spend their time with their families, play traditional Korean games, wear traditional Korean clothing–such as hanboks–and eat delicious food.

Yesterday was Lunar New Year. Koreans follow the lunar calender, while Americans follow the Gregorian/Western calender. I spent the day with one of my Korean co-workers, Herina.

First she took me to her house, where I met her adorable maltese dog named parum (바람), which means “wind” in Korean.

Dog collections2

He’s almost 2 years old. Parum is so sweet–I would take him if I could!

She also has a younger, 13-year-old brother who also acted as a photographer for us. He knew some English, but he was acting shy!

Herina’s mom made delicious food, including kalbi (beef short ribs), japchae (glass noddle salad) and an array of other sides. She also made tteokguk (rice cake soup), which is one of the most poplar Korean dishes on Seollal.

Her mom also gave me an envelope with some money inside.

Seollal Traditions: Gifts
New Year’s money is a common gift from elders to young ones. Grand children bow to their elders, and grandparents will offer them New Year’s money and wishes for a good year. 

IMG_7812sidesHer mom made us some nice German coffee and sliced fruit to make a decadent plate of desert.

After eating, we headed to The Independence Hall of Korea. Independence Hall is a historical area with seven Exhibition Halls that display Korea’s 5,000-plus-year-old history and its relics. However, it focuses a lot on the Japanese Colonial Period, which ended in 1945.

You can also find a 4D movie theater at Independence Hall. Unfortunately, we missed seeing a film–the time on the brochure wasn’t right!

It’s pretty depressing to see how Koreans were treated during their oppression.

sceneThe museums here are much more graphic IMG_7849and violent that museums I’m use to seeing in the USA, but I don’t think that’s bad. It’s just being honest and blunt about history. Many signs in the halls are in Korean and English.

This picture, to the right, is of life-size statues that show when some Koreans killed a “Japanese terrorist,” as my friend explained to me. Herina’s little brother is in on the photos–he’s pretending to kill the bad guy.

One of the Korean statues is missing an arm!

Someone must have knocked it off. After you walk through each hall, you can stamp a special piece of paper and take it home with you. It’s like a mini-passport log of where you went at Independence Hall–I collected all of the stamps!

On a lighter note, there were also traditional Korean games set outside the main building. I took some photos and tried making a .gif clip. You need to click the photo to see the movement.

Animated korean game 2

Click image to see movement.

Korean Traditions: Games
Neoltwiggi (see-saw) is a game where two people stand on either end of a flat board. They need to take turns hoping–each one boncing higher and higher. This eventually leads to one flying off the board, or at least losing balance!

Tuho (arrow toss) is another traditional game played during Seollal. You take an arrow (or equivalent)  and try to aim it inside a container. It’s much harder than it looks!

Animated korean game

Click image to see movement.

woo i got it

Yay! I knocked the block down!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a good day. I learned a lot about Korea’s history and got to experience a bit of a traditional Seollal day. And here are some photos to end my post.

composition