Well-diaried weekend plansFriday, Dec. 27
Will surprise Jenny with tickets to "Nanta." We'll catch the late night performance, then go clubbing later.
Literally "reckless beating" in Korean, "Nanta" is the country's first modern, nonverbal, all-percussion theatrical work. Inspired by samulnori, traditional Korean percussion performances, "Nanta" stars four "chefs" preparing a wedding reception. The actors use various utensils, including knives, cutting boards, pots and pans, to produce rhythmic, highly dramatic sounds.
Special performances at 11 p.m. today, tomorrow and New Year's Eve at Nanta Gangbuk Theater on the first floor of the Kyunghyang Shinmun Building in Jeong-dong, downtown Seoul or in Nanta Gangnam Theater at the PMC Theater in Hak-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets are 30,000 and 40,000 won ($25 and $33).
Couples get a 30 percent discount with proof they're a couple: Bring wedding invitations, photos or wedding rings, or show up in matching outfits. (Call 1588-7890 or check www.ticketlink.co.kr on the Web.)
Saturday, Dec. 28
Go to the CB Mass concert. I already own CB Mass's first two albums, "Massmediah," and "Massmatics." The third album, due out in January, has 10 new songs and six remakes.
CB Mass Concert
One of Korea's top hip-hop acts started their own label several months ago. CB Mass is celebrating its first album on the Massmediah label with a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Temf Hall (02-573-0038) in Yangjae-dong. Tickets cost 30,000 won. The group has invited hip-hop peers like Drunken Tiger to guest star; the list hasn't been finalized.
Sunday, Dec. 29
Work has been a killer and I haven't been able to go skiing yet. A client is visiting Korea and I've recommended that he call Cosmojin Travel for a ski package.
Dream Ski Package Tour
This package includes round-trip transportation to Yangji, Jisan or Bears Town ski resorts as well as rental of skis, snowboards and gloves. The bus leaves from major Seoul hotels at 8:30 a.m. and returns by 6 p.m. The package costs 73,000 won for adults and 70,000 won for children. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance (02-336-0345).
Jenny and I are heading to Phoenix Park for one day of skiing.
The bus leaves from the Glass Tower at Samseong subway station at 6 a.m., 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. From Phoenix Park, the bus leaves for Seoul at 1, 5 and 9:30 p.m. The round-trip bus fare is 22,000 won. All-day lift tickets cost 36,000 won for adults and 25,000 won for children. The Phoenix Park Web site (www.phonenixpark.co.kr) has a good map for driving instructions. Be sure to check with the park (033-333-6000) about snow conditions.
Monday, Dec. 30
Work. An invitation to see the opera "Carmen" should please Sun-hee.
The opera, with top Korean vocalists Kim Hyun-ju, Lee Chan-gu and Kim Beom-jin, will be staged at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 30 at the Hanjeon Artspool Center (02-3486-0145 or www.artspoolcenter.com) in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets cost 30,000 won to 70,000 won (www.ticketlink.co.kr or 1588-7890).
Composed by Georges Bizet, "Carmen" is a French opera filled with Spanish gypsy motifs and spirit.
Tuesday, Dec. 31-Wednesday, Jan. 1
My folks are in town. Cancel plans to hang out with friends. Arrange a trip the Homigot Sunrise Festival in Pohang City, the place where the sun first rises in Korea.
Homigot Sunrise Festival
Pohang is a small fishing village in North Gyeongsang province. The village has the country's largest lighthouse and several spas. About 200,000 visitors are expected. The New Year may be ushered in on Jan. 1, but the festivities in Pohang don't stop until Jan. 4.
Korean travel agencies (02-717-1002 or 02-853-7787) offer "two-day-no-night" package tour on the Mugunghwa train, which costs 59,500 won. The train leaves Seoul Station at 11:10 p.m. on Dec. 31 and arrives in Pohang Station in 4:37 a.m. The return ride leaves Pohang at 4:15 p.m. and arrives in Seoul at 9:40 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 27
Made a reservation at La Mei (02-542-8768). Delicious Chinese food. Excellent atmosphere: antique tables separated by Qing dynasty screens. In the heart of Apgujeong-dong, with free valet parking. Dinner for two, with ko lian chiew (Chinese liquor), is about 60,000 won.
Saturday, Dec. 28
Mom has been feeling sort of down lately. I'll pamper her with dinner and a concert.
The Shilla Seoul's Parkview Coffee Shop (02-2230-3374) is hosting a nightly Holiday Dinner Buffet running from 6 to 9 p.m. until the yearend.
The offerings include fresh oysters and prawns, sushi, galbi, Thai noodles, roasted lamb. That should be enough to make Mama happy. The cost: 38,000 won without tax and service charge.
2002 Jo Su-mi Concert: Confession in the Winter Night
The celebrated soprano Jo Su-mi will perform songs with six themes: Songs of Italy, Dear Mozart, Echoes from Vienna, From Only Love, Prayers and Carnival. Accompanied by an 80-member orchestra and a 40-member chorus, Ms. Jo will sing on a spectacularly designed stage while playing the piano. The concert will start at 7 p.m. on the third floor of the COEX Convention Center in Samseong-dong. Tickets cost between 40,000 won and 100,000 won (www.ticketlink.or.kr or 1588-7890).
Monday, December 30
Bora Nail (02-3398-7901) inside Doosan Tower in Dongdaemun is perfect for the busy body. It's open nightly until 5 a.m., except Sundays. (Manicurists have to sleep, too.) The pros on call can do a quick fix for broken nails as well as silk-wrap nail extensions. Nail care and coloring cost 10,000 won. Bora Nail doesn't have a foot sauna, so lower-extremity work is limited to nail painting.
Kim's Nails (02-795-0646) on Itaewon's main drag does superb pedicures, including a wholesome foot sauna. Soaking, removing of calluses and coloring cost 35,000 won. They do good manicure for 20,000 won. Kim's is open from 11 a.m until 10 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 31-Wednesday, Jan. 1
Partying with the girls tonight. Too many options; Can't decide between Towa Tei, Lisa Loud and Sway. I saw Towa Tei (fluxus.daum.net) when he was with Dee-lite and the last time he was in Korea. The Grand Hyatt Seoul was packed. This time, Maki Nomiya, Pizzicato Five's vocalist, is also going to be there.
But I've also never seen Lisa Loud (www.02pro.com). She's one of the few celebrated female deejays. I feel that I should support her at Lotte Hotel downtown.
And then Miggie and Jeannie are holding another Sway party (019-873-7929) at S Bar in southern Seoul. Dress code: gold and jeans. Now that sounds like fun. Do I have anything gold?
Thursday, Jan. 2
Cafe 74 in Cheongdam-dong (02-542-7412) is one of a few cafes opening during the holidays. A perfect brunch menu (about 40,000 won) to celebrate the new year: Belgian waffle and salad over a champagne cocktail!
Myeongdong Hanjeungmak (02-774-9555) in downtown Seoul is open 24 hours. The 15,000 won admission includes various herbal baths and showers. For an additional charge, whole body scrubbing and oil massage (80,000 won), foot massage (20,000 won) and shiatsu (60,000 won) are available. Simple Korean foods, such as gimbap and noodles dishes, cost about 5,000 won. Fresh seasonal fruit juices (at the moment, apple and kiwi) cost 5,000 won. Take subway line No. 4 to Myeong-dong, exit No. 9.
Chunjiyun (02-539-8010), one of women-only saunas in town, located in southern Seoul, is also open 24 hours. Its 12,000-won admission includes a variety of steam treatments and baths. Manicures (20,000 won), massages (prices vary) and shiatsu (60,000 won) are also available. Take subway line No. 3 to Apgujeong, exit No. 3.
by Inēs Cho, Joe Yong-hee