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Posts tagged ‘Pororo’

Right up our Alley

The girls were feeling better today, and the weather was nice and warm (it hit 5 degrees centigrade! Granted, at home the same temperature would send us shivering under layers of blankets, but that’s downright balmy for winter in Seoul). So we went on a mission that we had planned for weeks.

Toy Alley in Dongdaemun.

Dongdaemun is a huge shopping district (not to be confused with Nomdaemun, which is also a huge a shopping district, but the shops specialize in different things). Dongdaemun is the place to buy hanboks (remember Lyra’s awesome Korean princess dress?), fabrics and yarns, exotic pets… and toys. There is a whole alleyway that is just toy store after toy store after toy store, and these are wholesalers who also sell to the public.

In other words, kid heaven.

Volucris knew what he wanted before we even left home, and by “home” I mean Israel.

He really wanted the full scale working model, but I had to say no.

For the others, our mission was to find something that we could not find more easily anywhere else, something iconic and Korean.

Sagitta got a stuffed Pororo.

I think she likes it.

Lyra got Ddung dolls, which are very hot here.

Of course she got a Korean prince and princess. She says she's having trouble playing with them because she doesn't speak Korean.

I read some of Ddung’s (pronounced sort of like “Tune”) marketing literature, and I wish I hadn’t. She’s shallower than Barbie. Apparently, her greatest goal in life is to be Miss Korea in the Miss Universe pageant. But isn’t she cute? I almost wish I got my own.

Did I mention the scale of toy alley? It’s like Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, it goes every which way full of every which toy. Stuffed animals, dolls, kits, stationery, crafts, locally made and imported, and even though the lunar New Year holiday was approaching, the stores were still bustling, and we were right there in the middle of it.

And even though Aquila saw every one of these toys, she rejected them all. None of them spoke to her, none of them asked her to take them home.

I reassured that we would find the right thing in Dongdaemun Market. We just had to keep looking.

She remembered the pet stores and asked for a puppy.

I remembered the story of a college buddy whose father was stationed here years ago, and how they tried to buy a puppy for a pet and the shop owner misunderstood and gave them the puppy in a package wrapped in butcher paper, and I said no.

But I knew that the right thing for Aquila was waiting for her somewhere there, in Dongdaemun. And then I realized, it wasn’t a toy. So we trekked to the other side of Dongdaemun, a few blocks away.

Gomusin. They'll go great with her hanbok.

She’s sleeping now. They are right next to her bed.


Catching On.

Remember these?

Dorothy, you're not in Tel Aviv anymore.

I don’t mean the girls, we haven’t been away that long (have we?). I mean the cartoon characters. We met them when we got off the airplane, and took advantage of the photo-op. After two and a half weeks here, I can tell you with confidence who they are.

The bunny is meant to represent the Year of the Rabbit, which begins this Thursday with Chinese New Year, a lunar calendar celebration. Here in Korea, people get time off from work starting on Wednesday so that they can get home to their ancestral villages to celebrate the holiday according to their tradition. I am told that Seoul will become a ghost town. This is very, very hard to believe, because there are over twenty million people in this city, and last Friday I was on a subway train with every last one of them.

The penguin in the aviator glasses is Pororo. He’s a native Korean character, the star of the most amusing cartoon we’ve seen in a long time. If you have a minute, or kids… check this out:

Don’t worry if your kids can’t read the subtitles. You can watch the videos that are Korean-only, and still understand the story.

And now we are looking for something for Volucris to do tomorrow. Aquila and Lyra are sick, so we will be home. But Volucris has a cell phone and subway card. The city is his!

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