We're spending this weekend in Buan to take a break and chill out, after gallivanting around Korea every weekend for about two months. Instead of blogging I've been watching OK Go music videos (White Knuckles is particularly awesome) and doing laundry, so here goes.
I've been tutoring Alice, a middle school kid during the week and her family invited Tom and I to dinner last night. We happily accepted and were treated to a huge feast of Bossam and Japchae while our host plied us with soju, wine and some very good whiskey. Alice's whole family was there including her super cute niece and nephew, who were terrified of the big white person trying to play peek-a-boo with them.
After dinner, great conversation and a lot of drinking we headed to a nearby Noraebang. Noraebangs (literally 'singing room,' don't believe Wikipedia's translation) are everywhere in Korea, and we've been to a few in our time here. You enter, pay for the amount of time you want - per hour - and then you're hustled into a private room kitted out with karaoke equipment, sofas, disco balls and tambourines. The Noraebangs usually have 10 to 20 of these rooms, and the hourly rate depends on the number of people. The most we've paid was 30,000 won per hour, for a room that held 12 people. It's more like playing SingStar at home than going to Club K in Wellington.
There's usually a few pages of English-language songs to choose from, and to make the entire experience less painful, you can bring in your own snacks and drinks! Original Plum makes soju much more palatable.
You can sit on the sofa and sing, but if you're with Koreans you'll be dancing, shaking the tambourine, downing soju and singing at the top of your lungs. When we were in Seoul, we chopped through 16 bottles of soju in a three hour period, sang 'I Believe I Can Fly' about four times and covered the floor in shot glasses. Last night, I sang Justin Bieber's 'Baby' and then Alice taught me how to dance along to 'Nobody' by K-Pop band, The Wondergirls. After we'd finished, we went back to our host's house, ate fried chicken and drank beer, and then stumbled home at 1 in the morning. Fantastic!