Aug 312014

2014-08-21 01 new router

Had to go get another wireless router today, as one of the ones at home has given up the ghost. Since they’re so prevalent in Korea, and since I have a WiFi Extender of the same brand, I bought an ipTIME model N704-V3.

Now, I want to change the name — I already have an “ipTIME” router — and ensure that there is no encryption (a whole ‘nother discussion possible on that!). First thing: turn off the wireless router in my office: it’s the other “ipTIME”, and I don’t want to mess with it.


2014-08-21 02 main menuPlugged it in right out of the box and hooked it up to the laptop with an Ethernet cable. Open the browser, go to, and we get the default ipTIME maintenance menu.  Click on the yellow gear button and we’re off.

The third menu option is what we want to change the name and check the encryption.


2014-08-21 03 name and encryptionFirst, change the name to something else (I’m fond of characters from P.G. Wodehouse novels for this).

Then, check the encryption:  it’s already by default set up not to use any encryption.  If you click on the box that I’ve conveniently labelled (“Do not use encryption”) you get a dropdown menu with around a dozen choices.  I’m not sure whether you also need to check the box to the right (also translated in the screenshot), but probably.

Finally, click on the “Apply” button to save the settings.

And we’re done almost done…

Now I have to unplug the ethernet cable from the new N704-V3 wireless router and plug it into my ipTIME wifi extender, and reset that to use the new wireless router.  Fortunately, I wrote up instructions for that around a year ago.

And now we are done!  Assuming, of course, that it all plays nice when I take it up stairs and plug all the bits in & turn them on.  What could go wrong…?



 Posted by on 31 Aug 2014
Aug 232014

2014-08-23 Yoghurt 09 bannerSome months ago, I started making yoghurt, as the yoghurt here isn’t much to my taste.  Except for 1 brand, all the yoghurt is sweetened.  And “the good stuff” both isn’t great and is often sold out (no surprise, I think to myself…).  So I found a yoghurt maker (that was a surprise) and got started.  I let it stew in the pots for a very long time, and it comes out fairly tart.

I’ve changed my technique since these pictures were taken in May:  now I put a half a teaspoon of my starter yoghurt into each pot, and disolve the rest into the milk before filling the pots.

 Posted by on 23 Aug 2014
Aug 172014

2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 020 bannerMap - roads, all

We all woke up early today (not content with going to Mass yesterday) to hike what I call The Circuit of Seongbuk-dong.  Seongbuk-dong, the neighborhood where we live, is essentially a small valley, bounded on the north by the Bugak Skyway winding its way along the ridge, on the south & west by the City Wall, and open in the east to the center of Seoul.

The Circuit of Seongbuk-dong is basically to cut across the east end of the valley, follow the city wall north & east until you get to the stairs to the Bugak Palgakjeong up on the Bugak Skyway, and then follow the Skyway east until you get back to your starting point.  I estimate it (using at 7.5 km, cutting down from the Skyway past our house & then as directly as you can to Seongbuk-ro.  But you could easily stretch that to 9 km depending on how you come down from the Skyway.

2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 001Stage2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 004 1:  We left at 7:40am, and walked down our street until we got to the pedestrian cut-throughs through little alleys down to the 7-Eleven.  Across Seongbuk-ro, and we’re at the bottom of the City Wall where Hyehwa-ro cuts through.

Stage 2: There are a lot of stairs, but also a lot of level bits, so it’s not so bad, except that the stone steps are very high, and often not very deep.  So hard on your thighs and careful where you put your feet.

2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 0062014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 010Stage 3:  From there, the city wall climbs up to the top of the ridge where the road to the back entrance of SKK University & to Samcheong-dong cuts through, and you can cross from the inside of the wall to the outside and Samcheong Park.

You stay close under the City Wall until the stairs up to the guard house at the restricted part of the wall (above the Blue House, the residence of the President of Korea).  There, keep on straight.

2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 012The path — and I use the term loosely as it’s really a wooden walkway (see right).  It’s all deep woods.  The interesting thing, both there and higher up, is the variety of plant life.  It’s not “a pine forest” or “an oak forest”… there is a wide variety of trees, bushes, vines, shrubs, etc.  So it’s very pretty.


2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 0132014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 017Stage 4:  Around the time that the path takes you above the Samcheong Tunnel (from Seongbuk-dong to Samcheong-dong), you get a great view of Samcheonggak, an old palace (well, ok, only since 1972) where you can eat traditional meals & see traditional performances.  For example, when I was there for lunch once, there was an extraordinary performance of mostly drumming with some acrobatics & plate spinning as well.

2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 0202014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 021

This is where the fun part begins:  approximately 1 km of stairs, from the Samcheong Tunnel up to the Bugak Palgakjeong (on the Skyway).  It’s a tough climb, but I’m happy to say not as tough for us as it would have been a year ago.  There were a fair few people hiking (mostly up).  We passed some resting on the occasional small rest platforms, but sadly, the folks actually climbing all passed us (well, not That Girl, just me & Aingeal).


2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 0252014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 033 Stage 5:  The easy bit.  The Palgakjeong is a great place to visit on a clear day for views over Seoul, and also has a couple of places to eat (which I’ve not tried).  You can park there but it’s very popular so there can be queues to get into the parking lot (to the irritation of other drives on the two-lane Skyway!).

We didn’t go into the Palgakjeong, but just headed along the Skyway, which has a parallel hiking trail (generally a dirt trail, but if the dropoff is too steep, there will be a wooden walkway).

2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 0262014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 034Eventually, we got back to places that I normally reach during my morning constitutional (5km on the Skyway: 2.5 out & the same to get home!).  The Skyway follows the ridge, so it’s fairly level (by car); on foot, there are some stretches where you go up & down, but nothing like the climb a bit earlier!  On the right there is a panorama of a large exercise area — in the morning, there are a lot of regulars who hike there, exercise, and then hike back home (I assume back home anyway).  That Girl is modelling the “hang upside down by your feet” machine.

2014-08-17 Circuit of Seongbuk-dong 040And finally home!








 Posted by on 17 Aug 2014
Apr 112014


2014-04-08_Calligraphy_11Our good friends at CICI invited us to a CQ17 evening learning Korean (Hangeul) calligraphy with famous calligrapher Kang Byung-in.  The “CQ Forum” refers to culture, communication, creativity, cooperation, concentration, etc, and this was part of the 17th CQ Forum, hence CQ17.  The CQ Forums are hosted by CICI, the Corea Image Communication Institute, headed by Choi JungHwa.  This wasn’t the first CQ event that we’ve been to, but was one of my favorites so far.

2014-04-08_Calligraphy_17Mr. Kang gave us a brief presentation on the Korean alphabet, Hangeul, and then taught us how to hold & use the brushes.  Then we practiced, drawing lines, squares and circles.  Then he showed us how to write characters in formal script — i.e., looking much like the printed letters, quite easy to read — and demonstrated calligraphy… which for me is much harder to read although it is definitely more interesting!.  We practiced that with the words “spring” and “flower”.  Then he showed us calligraphic techniques again, we practiced a bit more, and then we had to do “flower” one last time, on better paper, all in one go, a “one-shot”.

2014-04-08_Calligraphy_CICI_03It was great fun learning the calligraphic techniques, and was absolutely fascinating to watch Mr. Kang’s demonstrations.  I’ve always been interested in calligraphy, if I don’t actually do any and am somewhat lackadaisical  (e.g., I greatly enjoyed Typo Janchi 2013, the Seoul International Typography Biennale, last fall, but typically I still haven’t made it to the Seoul Calligraphy Art Museum at the Seoul Arts Center… funny how permanent things get left till last!)

2014-04-08_Calligraphy_21In addition to our final effort, we also took home a present from Mr. Kang: our name done in Hangeul calligraphy!  That was an unexpected and much appreciated treat.  The rendition of Austrian Ambassador Elisabeth Bertagnoli’s name had to be seen to be believed!

2014-04-08_Calligraphy_CICI_11The Jordanian Ambassador Omar Al Nahar (who was, of course, a ringer as Arab calligraphy is itself an art form) did some Arab calligraphy and presented it to Mr. Kang.

Anyway, it was a great evening and a big shout out to CICI (and the Alliance Française) for holding it.  Thanks!

Some of the pictures are mine, others were taken by photographers there.

Our names & our attempts at calligraphy

My video clips of Mr. Kang

First, he does “flower” in formal writing, then in more casual writing, then interprets it calligraphically.

A very short clip of Mr. Kang using a bamboo brush

More Pictures & Links

See also the CICI website for all of their pictures from the event or this news coverage: >> and translated  >> and translated







 Posted by on 11 Apr 2014