Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Stop & Chat: January 20-25

Look at these miniatures! They're so teeny tiny!
Guess who went out to Yongsan today? And remembered to bring their fancy shmancy camera?! THIS GAL!! Not only that, but I took pictures! How many, you ask? 80. I'm not even kidding. I decided that I didn't care how many looks I got and how tourist-ey I looked (I mean, I am a tourist, so what's that matter?!) and went full picture-taking mode! Except for the stores that we ended up buying stuff in, because I'm easily sidetracked like that.

Before I get on to what we did today, however, there are some minor updates that need to be done from the 20th-24th.

We went to our realtors to get some help in deciphering a couple of websites and store locations that claimed to have soapmaking supplies. Our personal realtor, we'll just call her L, took the time to call and ask questions for us like whether they had a storefront location, if they actually had lye and other soapmaking supplies, and if they were open to the general public. L also has a friend who is into soapmaking so she called that friend up and asked for advice on where we could go that was closer than the store that had seemed most promising. There were some areas, but they had minimal parking and L was worried that we wouldn't be able to find our way there with our very, very minimal Korean. She expressed a lot of interest in taking us (and her friend!) to the further away location, which is about an hour and a half away, and us spending the day in that region and exploring our shopping options.

I'm really excited for that, whenever that happens! M told me afterwards that before I'd arrived L had told him that we seemed like very friendly people and that she'd love to hang out with us more to both help us see more of Korea and expose her to English and its nuances. We had a little educational moment where M had to explain to her what we mean when we ask "What are your hours today?" because that apparently doesn't translate very well to Korean. I'm curious to see if she's free this weekend, because she said she was very serious about taking us there and I'm very anxious to take her up on that offer. If I can have a friend here that's not male and we can help each other grow more accustomed to the other's culture that would be great!

Uh... other news. I remember thinking today that there were a few other things that I needed to update you guys on but I cannot for the life of me remember what they are. OH. I just remembered.

I (re)learned on Thursday that I should never go running around on hardwood flooring with socks, and I should most definitely never do so with hot food in my hands. And I should never, ever, under these said circumstances try leaping from the floor onto the couch. The food made it to the couch. I did not. LOL!

I am not a graceful person in my day to day life. Put me on a track or athletic arena and I am a picture of grace. Not in that I look picture perfect all the time, but I'm able to stay on my feet and move around very well. The moment I step off any athletic venue I'm a hazard to myself. I've always been like this but it wasn't until recent years that I started sharing these stories with those around me. Sorry I find my own clumsiness funny! Of course now that I'm sharing these stories people around me think I've become more of a safety hazard. Nah, I'm just willing to share in the constant laughs that are my clumsy blunders. This particular instance I was home alone, but I made sure to share my comedic fall with M, Mom, and Dad. There was some minor concern because I'd fallen with my back in a weird position but I can say at this point that there is no residual injury. Except the damage done to my pride. :P

Besides that I've been doing more cleaning and organizing. I'm done with unpacking but that doesn't mean everything is put away. I think this weekend I will ask M to help me to really go through what we have to begin that purging process I talked about the day our household goods arrived.

OKAY! On to today!

Beauty products galore!
 We went into Yongsan because K - the same guy from here and here - needed to take care of some stuff on post and I wanted to look for some nail care items. My biggest regret is not being able to bring any nail polishes to Korea and I was too frantic while packing for my flight to think to bring anything. I had no base coats or top coats or cuticle pushers or cuticle balms or oils. I don't know what I was thinking. Scratch that. I know I wasn't thinking. LOL

We picked up a purple hat for me at the thrift store and some linens for the queen sized bed because all we have is full sized linens for the guest bed, which used to be our bed. When buying a new mattress set last year we went fairly small because we knew we were going to move overseas and we wanted something that would fit regardless of where we ended up. It made for some very cramped sleeping conditions but we managed. Cuddling up helped :)

We checked out a lot of beauty stores for me. The first one was Watsons.

So much stuff! It's funny to me how my eyes always seek out the English in whatever I'm looking at. It makes sense because to me Korean is just jibberish. I hope to change that, but I try to have realistic expectations about how much Korean I will actually know by the time we leave here.

These products were entirely in English! I imagine this is as novel to Koreans as their products are to us in the States. I always notice that one aisle or section in a store that has things that are just a little different from what I'm familiar with. It's good to know that there are familiar products for those who visit and don't have access to facilities on post, though. Also, prices might be different enough to warrant buying them off post instead.

Face masks! I didn't pick any up but I spent quite some time looking at whatever I could find that had information in English. I may pick up some face masks to use for myself to help with the smog pore clog (smog clog?) on my face. I know I will come back and pick some up for my sister, though. :)

This was a random Minion Lego display right in the middle of the beauty shop. I thought that was cute.

So many perfumes to choose from! I saw several that I recognized, too! I didn't think to look at prices and see how they compare, though. Bah, maybe next time if I remember!

Nina Pop perfume. I feel like I should know it, but I don't. On the right you can see some nail polish that I contemplated picking up but decided against when I couldn't find any base or top coats. I did see some Essence polishes but I felt that the bottles were small and I couldn't remember what their quality was like.

We did end up finding what I was looking for at two adjacent hole-in-the-wall stores, Missha and Skin Food. From Missha I picked up a metal cuticle pusher which scares me because I've only ever used rubber and plastic ones, a cuticle cutter (that v-shaped thingy you slide along your cuticle to cut off the dead skin), some acetone (that's what the lady pointed out when we asked about acetone, but it could be a milder nail polish remover), and three nail polishes. I like these Missha nail polishes because they have a sticker that runs from the cap to the bottle to show that they have been unopened, and the shape is an interesting stylized heart. I'll have to take pictures tomorrow once the sun is up and I've had a chance to play with everything! I looked online and the website doesn't give much information on exactly how much is in these bottles but they seem like 15ml bottles, or your typical NP size. I also noticed the ridiculous prices on the US site for the polishes I picked up ($5). I paid less than $2 per polish in store here! I don't know what exact price I paid as my receipt doesn't give a breakdown of each item's price and I can't remember what the price sign said at the display.

From Skin Food (I assume that is the store name because that is what's plastered on every product I bought. I could be wrong on the store name) I picked up a base coat, top coat, cuticle oil (I remember that this was 4,000W), and two nail polishes. Some Googling and site searching revealed that  these are 13ml polishes. I also paid 1,250W per nail polish, which works out to about $1.04 according to Google. If these polishes are good quality I may or may not go back. <_<

I've wanted to take a picture of this every time we've been here but was too afraid to until today. This is Winter Wonderland, or an ice skating rink. I don't know what was going on today but everywhere was a lot less busy than normal. Even traffic from home to Yongsan was a breeze. What normally takes 45-1 hour took us less than 30 minutes. Going home was around 40 minutes with minor traffic.

Winter Wonderland is found in the middle of the mall, above where Yongsan Station is. The building forms a giant O and this is in a courtyard that separates one major part of the mall from another. 

In the courtyard area you can see down to the station (the glass dome on the right) as well as some of the stores on the wall. I would say this has helped us locate a store but it really hasn't. LOL None of the places we ever look for are along the outer wall to get their own sign. As you can see, though, there are American food places like KFC, Burger King, and Baskin Robbins!

For those hard to find places we use giant touch screen maps - that come with an English option! M was convinced that there was a Gelato place here but the guide screen said otherwise. Good thing, too, because we instead went to a much nicer place to eat!

Somewhere along the way we stopped off in a Yankee candle store to look for some tealight candles for me and any possible tealight warmers. We got some tealight candles but no luck on the warmer.

First, though, the MODELS!! I finally got a chance to take some nice pictures of these things that we look at every single time we come to the mall. I know, you've seen these before, but have you seen them taken with a fancy shmancy camera? NO! Because I haven't taken any with my fancy shmancy camera until today!

This one's for Dad. He has a few motorcycles and M says this is like one that Dad has, so I figured why not take a picture? And yes, that is really 160,000W, or about $130.

These things are so cool to me! I don't know why. It's not like I could ever use them practically.

More cars. M insisted that I take this picture.

M also insisted that I take a picture of the Mustangs. Apparently one of these is a Shelby. I guessed the more expensive, newer looking one. M never gave me an answer back. He just stared at me then hung his head in shame after I explained my reasoning. Did I get it wrong? LOL

Look at these little guys! They're so teeny tiny! They were smaller than my fingernail! Not that that helps you guys understand the scale of them, because for all you know I have ginormous nails.

 More air stuff! M insisted that I take this picture, too.

Yup, he insisted that I take a picture of this as well. Why these are so expensive I will never know.

I wish I'd taken a picture with M standing near this! This helicopter was huge! Apparently it's fully functional, too. I can imagine it lasting about 30 seconds in our hands before we crash it.

This was another helicopter on display. It's a little smaller than the black one in the above picture but still freaking big for a toy.

Tiny, fully functional (ie: they fly) quadricopter. I don't know if that's what they're actually called. They need a name, though, and that's what I named 'em!

One of the things I appreciated looking at were the environments. Look at this!

Yes, that price tag says one million Won. That's about $830 USD. Excuse me while I catch my breath.

The detail is pretty, though.

This was another setup, which was significantly larger and sometimes has live trains on the track. It did not today, however.

I got a giggle out of this. An ongoing Gundam battle!

These mini models are so detailed. That yellow-tan house in the middle is less than an inch tall.

Some debris (the whole environment is still a work in progress) and a full city park complete with man and... dog? I think. that's what it looks like.  This piece was 2x3". Tiny tiny tiny. I don't think you understand how the level of detail compared to its size has boggled my mind, here. Teeny. Tiny.

On to more model sets! This time, houses? Sort of? I can't remember what the Asian styled buildings are called. I used to know this. I associate them with a lot of animes I would watch when I was younger.

This was M's favorite. He loved how the doors and windows were fully functional. It killed him that we weren't allowed to touch these. He really wanted to mess with those doors and windows. Poor guy. LOL

Another picture, with the main building in focus.

Gazebo!! I liked this part of this model the most. Something about simulating grass and rocks and shrubbery just makes me really happy.

There were ships as well! There was a Noah's Ark but I forgot to take a picture of that. These make me think of those 3D wooden puzzles that I got for M several years back when we were still in high school.

Yup. This is the Gundam store. I wasn't going to take pictures but M got offended that I wouldn't take pictures with my fancy shmancy camera and I decided to go ahead and post them for those of you who don't mind repeats. I tried to take pictures of things I haven't photographed before, if that's any consolation.

So. Many. Models! M drooled over a few of the guys on the middle shelf that were in stock for the first time since we got here. He got very emotionally distraught (his words) at the thought that so many of these things may not be in stock at the same time again. I asked him why it matters that they're all in stock at the same time and he still hasn't come up with an answer.

I used to know what all of these guys were, once upon a time several year ago. It's like waking up from a dream and grasping onto details as they slip away looking at these.

Of course my eyes caught the shiny guys. These guys were about one hand tall. Yes, marvel at my super scientific methods of measurement this post.

Fight in progress! I'm rooting for the guy in white considering his gun/laser cannon/whatever it is is pointed straight at green guy's face. :)

 I don't know why I took this picture. The coloring? Maybe I liked how the picture turned out? I don't know.

I think I may've lied on which models M was drooling over after looking at this picture. I know it was a red guy and a white or maybe grey guy. So maybe it was the guy on the left here and another guy from somewhere else. I feel a little bad not knowing which of these Gundams M really likes. I'm sorry!


Outside the Gundam store was a display case with some Star Wars stuff. Look at General Grievous! He looks so cute!

I finally took some pictures of the Studio Ghibli section! Not only that, but we went inside! We hadn't checked out the actual store because of how crowded it had been every time we went here.

The craftsmanship is just beautiful. I was in awe the whole time walking through the store.

Those little plushy stuffed animals were expensive. At least, in my opinion. I don't really know how much stuffed animals cost nowadays, much less specially branded merchandise.

Puzzles! Of all shapes and sizes! M thought of Mom immediately when he saw these, but we didn't see anything that was just a landscape that I thought she would like.

These smaller puzzles come in boxes the same size as playing cards. I don't know how big the final product is supposed to be.

This was a... 'landscape' that M pulled out for me to assess on the Mom-worthy scale. I'd say it's possibly a -10. You can also see the pricing on the puzzle sets here.

Close up of the 'scenic landscape' M picked out that did not make the cut. I would've loved this as it's a scene from Howl's Moving Castle, one of my favorite Studio Ghibli movies right behind Spirited Away. I didn't want to pay 57,000W for it, though.

There was a second story to this section of the store but we didn't check it out. I took a picture of the stairs and sign that is probably telling me I'm either too tall or a little child is not tall enough to go upstairs. If we'd really wanted to go we could have asked K to help us translate but I really wanted to check out the other parts of the store.

Keychains! Bracelets! At least, that's what I think these are! I'm sorry, I'm just a huge Studio Ghibli fan. I walked around in a perpetual state of awe and M had to constantly remind me to take pictures.

Candy!! All in cute little shapes. It was around here that M asked if my sister was into anything related to Studio Ghibli. I don't think she is, but I will have to check with her again before I pick anything up. As I recall the only movie she is familiar with is Spirited Away and she doesn't care too much for that movie. She thinks it's really creepy.

More goodies! I can't tell if the stuff on the bottom is a hand towel or floor mat or maybe a table place mat but it looked cool. I will be sure to pick up some keychains for myself before we leave Korea.

Look! A Calcifer! Also other drinkware that is, of course, Studio Ghibli themed.

Various figures and knickknacks. 

We didn't buy anything but I know I will want to check that place out and buy some things before I leave Korea. I assume it is a permanent installation to the mall, but just in case I will pick some stuff up the next time I stop by and don't have other plans for the cash we have on hand.

We also visited this vendor kiosk thingymaboppit that was in the middle of Yongsan station. There we saw lots of cooking ingredients and M went crazy over the fresh ginger. We bought a ginger and cranberry molasses thing that is had in a tea like mixture to encourage health and clear head colds. At least, that's what the sales guy said. M liked the taste enough and saw himself drinking the concoction frequently so I figured why not? The ginger is a little too bitter for me so if I do have this mixture I will be adding a lot of honey.

Mmmm. Food. A lot of restaurants here have displays near the front door or window to show potential customers what they have to offer. M and K wanted to eat here because they wanted some sushi and this was a Japanese-Korean place that had sushi plates.

Mmmm.... menus. LOL. This is the last picture I took before M took over with the picturetaking.

Yes, a menu. 

More of the menu. As you can see here (if you tilt your head) there were some English descriptions of each plate so we had a pretty good idea of what we were getting.

I'm so sorry, I can't remember what it was K and M got. They each got two single-person dishes, though. I think this was some sort of Ramen dish that K got.

Another view of K's dish.

This was K's second dish. Some sushi platter. Again, I'm terribly sorry that I can't remember which one he got.

Another view of the second dish.

This was my food. I got seafood stew. It came out still boiling, as you can probably tell here.

A view of my entire tray. I'm ashamed to say that we had to ask for a fork for me because I was having too much trouble with the chopsticks. I will learn one day! When I'm desperately hungry for food is not the time to patiently work with chopsticks that I'm very unfamiliar with.

This was one of M's sushi trays. He got two.

Another view of the first sushi dish M got. He got freaked out by the fish flakes on the top because they kept curling and uncurling. It was really funny to me because he had grabbed my hand and looked at the dish with a mixture of shock and disgust. K and I reassured him that what was on the plate was not, in fact, alive, and that it was just light enough for the current to move around. I even ate a piece to prove it to him.

M's second sushi tray. Yum.

Close up of sushi. We are such pigs when it comes to food.

The entire table. The waiter had started laughing when M and K made their order. I figured out later it was because they thought it was funny that M and K each decided to get two full meals. I don't think any of us realized how much food was on each plate. Mine was the cheapest at 8,000W and one of M's was the most expensive at 15,000W. We paid the same amount we paid at Congee Gogo and got several times the amount of food, and at much higher quality.

All K could say as the waiter was bringing our food out was "mistakes were made." We were so certain we would need some to go boxes.

As it turns out, K and M were able to eat all of their food! I guess they were a lot more hungry from our walking around than we all realized.

What you see in my bowl is pretty much what I left. It was a lot of broth and some leftover rice that I was unable to finish. My dish had shrimp, crab (that I had to take the shell off myself), some fish that I don't remember the name of, and various other seafood. I tried everything except the lung looking thing you see to the right of the bowl, sitting on top of the small white circular dish. I don't know what it's called in Korean, but it's the sac a female fish's eggs are held in. So caviar... straight from a fish's uterus. At least that's what I called it after K explained what it was. The eggs didn't bother me so much as the sac did. The texture was just... off. It was one of those things I knew I would have trouble eating. Plus something about the whole thing just put me off. I'm sorry! I let my own culture and prejudices prevent me from trying something new. I don't regret it, though. Notice how even though they made fun of me for not eating it, K and M didn't eat it either. :P

We paid and decided that it was time to head home. K still needed some chopsticks of his own to take home so we went to the store that I mention here, the Korean equivalent of Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I actually paid attention to the name of the store today and I can report that this is a Daiso. Here I saw some tealight warmers but the lines were insanely long so I decided against buying a warmer on this particular visit. At this point I'd taken the camera back, so these are my pictures again :P

I did look at the nail care stuff, though! If I read the bottles right, these are all nail polish removers. I couldn't figure out which one was supposed to be 100% acetone. I like me some acetone. :)

The other half of the nail polish remover shelf. You can see on the shelves below all of the cotton swabs and puffs and pads and whatnot. I should have picked some up now that I think about it. I don't have any cotton balls to use my nail polish remover with. Eh, good old paper towels will do!

The last picture I took today! Just a view of the hoards of makeup and nail products.

The drive home was fast. There was minimal traffic. Woot! I think it was around 7 when I walked through the front door. M laid down to sleep and I took a Lush bath. 1/2 of a Big Blue bath bomb and 1/6 of a Comforter bubble bar. Ohhhh, my. It was so moisturizing and such a calming scent! I got out, made myself a cup of tea, and sat down for this post. That was at about 8:30. It is now one in the morning. I am exhausted. My legs hurt like they haven't hurt in a while. Pure exhaustion. My head hurts. My eyes are droopy. I'm surprised I even got to the end of this post. I thought I was going to fall asleep at the desk. LOL.

Tomorrow I plan to take pictures of the nail stuff I got and finally open all of my tools and perform some much needed maintenance on my cuticles and nails. I don't know if M will want to go out again, but I want to at least go for a hike to get my steps up. Dad, Mom, and I are doing a Fitbit challenge against eachother to see who gets the most steps this Monday-Friday. The only issue with it is the challenge is based off of Dad's time, so only 8,000 of my steps from today actually count towards this week's challenge. Boooo!! This is getting my competitive spirit up, though, and worst case scenario I get lots of activity in and improve my physical health. How horrible an outcome. /sarcasm

Anyways, I'm off for the night! I will talk to all of you lovely people tomorrow!

Are you familiar with Studio Ghibli? Would you have eaten that unique caviar?


  1. What a packed day! Thanks for the all pictures. I am drooling over the masks and perfumes and food. I keep meaning to watch Totoro and a ton of different anime movies.

    1. I had such trouble getting Blogger to show all of my pictures when I tried uploading them! Some would disappear or entire chunks of pictures wouldn't show up. I had to upload 5 or 10 at a time and immediately put them into the post.

      I feel like the prices of these masks are amazing! I'm hoping their quality doesn't suffer for that, though! Once the masks I picked up get to my sister she'll be able to tell me if they're as nice as I'm hoping.

  2. Daiso is awesome! I love it, I stock up on make-up puffs, brush cleanser, and plastic boxes from there. Everything is SGD2 for me, is it the same in Korea (about 2000W?)

    1. They have a wider price range but for the most part they stick to that 2000W mark. A few things like tool sets and the tealight warmers I've been eyeballing go as high as 9000W but I haven't seen anything above that mark.