Korean food blogs

Bring Your Appetite: The Top 10 Korean Food Blogs

Korean food blogs

Learning a new language isn’t just about memorizing grammar rules, it’s also about tickling your taste buds and sampling some amazing new foods. So as you’re taking Korean lessons, let these Korean food blogs be your guide as you treat yourself to some delightful Korean delicacies.

Koreans are foodies, and it shows in their diverse cuisine. It’s an excellent food culture to explore, and it features everything from traditional dishes, Korean BBQ, and street food favorites like the giant ice cream cone.

When you visit Korea,  you will have all sorts of new foods to explore. But you don’t need to wait until you visit Korea to try the delicious food. These 10 Korean food blogs will teach you everything you need to know about Korean food, and teach you how to make some of the delicious dishes at home.

1. Seoul Eats

best Korean food blogs

Find interviews, restaurant reviews, travel tales, and more on this delightful blog written by Daniel Gray.

Daniel guides you through the more traditional customs, teaches you to eat “abnormal delicacies,” and gives you information about wonderful culinary tours in Korea, including his own.

2. ZenKimchi

Korean food blogs

ZenKimchi has become a monster of a resource. The website has all the information you need on the best, highly-rated food tours.

The journal also provides the ultimate restaurant guide, a food calendar, and an extensive list of places to find cheap eats.

3. My Korean Kitchen

Korean food blogs

 

Check out My Korean Kitchen to see Sue’s amazing photography as she gives you a visual tour of the food of Korea.

Find recipes, products, restaurant reviews, and tips for living in Korea.

4. Seoul in the City

korean food blogs

Seoul in the City is an adventure to find Korean food (and other cuisines) in a variety of cities. Seoul is on the list, but when you’re in the states, there are some solid restaurant recommendations as well.

It’s a lovely blog about a girl who loves Asian food, with a strong focus on the best in Korean cuisine.

5. Seoulistic

Korean food blogs

You’ll love Seoulistic for many reasons. Sure, you can find plenty of info on where to eat and unique food spots in Korea, but you’ll also find lots of fun articles about Korean culture.

6. The Korea Blog

Korean food blogs

Another all-encompassing blog, there’s an ample section dedicated to food.

Find articles about Korean restaurants with breathtaking views, or read about the best dishes to warm up your winter.

7. Aeri’s Kitchen

Korean food blogs

Aeri loves to cook. She’ll introduce you to some delicious Korean foods, and she’ll even teach you a little Korean.

With Aeri’s guidance, and her warm personality, you will learn about lots of different Korean foods, and you’ll even learn how to make some of the dishes on your own.

8. Easy Korean Food

easy-korean-food

With easy-to-follow recipes, Easy Korean Food lets you enjoy delicious Korean dishes whenever you want.

Whether you’re looking for a Korean BBQ recipe or a decadent dessert, learn to make signature Korean dishes in your own kitchen at home.

9. Maangchi

Korean food blogs

Maangchi developed a community of dedicated Korean food lovers. Find information about cooking and preparing Korean food, and participate in an active forum of restaurant owners, novice and professional chefs, and foodies from around the world.

10. EatYourKimchi

Korean food blogs

Bloggers Simon and Martina will entertain you with their videos that document their adventures in Korea.

Learn about traveling in Korea, the Korean culture and lifestyle, and of course, the food!


The food of Korea is as diverse as the culture. Exploring Korean food is the most flavorful way to learn the language, customs, and all about the people who live in Korea. Check out these Korean food blogs to discover an array of delightful dishes and delicacies.

Which Korean dishes are your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

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sake

Your Complete Guide to Japanese Sake

japanese sake

Want to learn more about Japanese culture as you take Japanese lessons? Then you should explore different types of Japanese cuisine and Japanese beverages (if you are of age). Sake is a popular Japanese beverage, and luckily, if you’re unable to travel to Japan, you can enjoy certain types of sake in the United States… 

So next time you head out to eat sushi, you’ll be able to order and enjoy sake like a pro. Here’s everything you need to know about Japanese sake.

What is Sake?

Although the specific date and origin of sake remains open for debate, the earliest accounts of the alcoholic beverage have dated back to the 10th century.

Sake was brewed in temples and shrines, and by the 18th century, was a popular drink in Japan. At one point in the late 1800s, anyone was allowed to make sake, which created an explosion of breweries.

Eventually, many people opted out of sake making, and what were left were long-standing family breweries, some of which still operate today. The oldest Japanese sake brewer is Sudo Honke.

Sake is made from rice, and the alcohol content (15 to 20 percent) is higher than most wines.

How to Make Sake

Making sake is a three-step process. It’s a rice-based drink made from hulled, polished rice. The three steps in the process are koji, shubo, and moromi.

Koji

During the first step, spores of mold are added to polished and steamed rice. Since rice does not contain sugar, it has to be converted into sugar. This is done with the help of koji-kin (a type of mold).

The koji is then added to a yeast starter and mash to assist turning the starch into glucose.

Shubo

In the second step, steamed rice, koji, water, and yeast are combined to spur the moromi process.

Moromi

In the final stepshubo is combined with koji, steamed rice, and water, and everything is left to ferment. Once done, sake is pressed, filtered, and pasteurized before being stored cold.

The sake-making process is intricate, and often done slightly different in Japanese breweries. As with any alcohol, there are levels of quality.

In general, Japanese sakes are better than those produced in other countries—they’ve had more time to perfect the technique.

Types of Sake

Now you know that sake is made up of water, koji, mold, yeast, and rice, but different types of sake have a different concentration of ingredients.

Here are the four basic types of sake:

Junmai

Junmai sake has no added sugars, starches, or alcohol. To make junmai sake, the rice is milled 30 percent, and there is 70 percent of each grain remaining.

Honjozo

Honjozo is a little smoother than Junmai, as a small amount of additional alcohol is added to lighten the flavor.

The 30 and 70 percent rice ratio is the same in Honjozo sake.

Ginjo

Ginjo has the same ingredients as Honjozo, but the rice is milled 40 percent, with 60 percent of each grain remaining.

Daiginjo

To make Daiginjo sake, 50 to 65 percent of the rice gets milled away, creating a fragrant, full-bodied sake.

How to Drink Sake

  • Sake is served in a tokkuri, which looks like a vase.
  • You drink sake out of cups called ochoko.
  • Do not pour your own sake. Let your friend or colleague fill your cup, then in return, you pour his or her sake.
  • Don’t drink your sake until everyone’s glass is full. In Japan, everyone will raise their glass and say “kampai (cheers).
  • Sake bombs (a shot of sake poured in a beer glass) are an American tradition, you may not want to do sake bombs in Japan.

Sake can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature. In most cases, the most refined, high-quality sake is served cold.

Start exploring different brands and types of sake. Make note of what you like and what you might pass on in the future. It’s a fun process, and eventually you will be a seasoned sake pro.

Order in Japanese

If you’re learning Japanese, use some of your basic phrases to order sake. It’s a fun way to practice what you’ve learned. Use greeting, simple phrases and remember to thank your server.

Sake in the United States

Like most U.S imports, there is a level of Americanization with sake. You can find sake bars around the nation and participate in more straightforward consumption methods, or you can have some fun and try things like the sake bomb.

Although many sake aficionados prefer Japanese sake, American brewers have started to up their game. In a land of craft beer, creating sake is second nature. And what’s even more interesting is that some of Japan’s oldest brewers have begun to dabble in craft beer. It’s a win-win for everyone, since the results will most likely produce some excellent new lines of sake and beer.

It’s a wonderful drink and tradition, much like wine and beer, and it has the power to bring people together.

Kampai (cheers)!

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5 Unique Korean Wedding Traditions

Tying the Knot Around the World: 4 Unique Korean Wedding Traditions

5 Unique Korean Wedding Traditions

Have you ever wondered about wedding traditions from other countries or cultures? Maybe you’re learning Korean and it piqued your interest in worldly affairs. In this article, you’ll learn about neat traditions practiced for Korean weddings…

While Korean wedding traditions are both unique and interesting, not all couples choose to incorporate these rituals in their wedding day. In fact, Korean superstar Lee Na-Young got married in May of 2015, and she clutched a small bouquet and wore a long white gown during the simple outdoor ceremony. Her new husband, fellow actor Won Bin, complemented her modern look in a tailored suit with white flowers in the front pocket. Western wedding traditions have gone global, and even South Korea has adopted some of these wedding day rituals.

Today, most Korean couples follow this famous couples’ lead and plan westernized wedding ceremonies that have more in common with Hollywood movies than ancient Korean rituals. Some couples, however, choose to incorporate older Korean rituals into their special day.

From pre-wedding events to ceremony rituals, here are four unique Korean wedding traditions.


1

Eui hon (matchmaking) is an old Korean engagement tradition, and may not be as common in Korea as it was in the past. In 2014, however, there were 2,500 matchmaking companies in Korea.

Professional matchmaking in Korea is generally based on education level, social status, and family lineage. Before the potential bride and groom meet in person, the matchmaker introduces the families and introduces the parents to the potential mates.

If all goes well, the groom’s family sends a marriage proposal to the bride’s family. The bride’s family can approve or deny this proposal on their daughter’s behalf.


2

Hanbok refers to a traditional Korean clothing style that men and women have worn for more than two thousand years. Silk, simple lines, bright colors, and high collars are common characteristics of this festive fashion tradition, which almost always includes long sleeves and a sash around the waist.

Today, hanbok is shorthand for the custom-made costumes that Korean women wear on very special occasions. These colorful tops and full-bodied skirts are usually reserved for weddings or national holidays.

Though white wedding dresses are now much more common than ceremonial hanbok, many Korean brides pay homage to their heritage by incorporating this traditional dress in their wedding day activities. Some slip into their hanbok to pose for photos after the wedding. Others wear a hanbok for a smaller, separate ceremony on another day.

When a South Korean man or woman marries a partner from a Western country, like the United States or United Kingdom, hanbok allows them to integrate both cultures in their ceremony. Hanbok is also a stylish but nostalgic nod to the union of past and present; if the bride and groom wear a gown and tuxedo, their parents might choose to wear hanbok and white gloves to honor their roots.


3

Modern wedding traditions usually focus on the bride and groom, but in South Korea, family still plays a central role in weddings. The pyebaek is the best example of this. Originally, the pyebaek was a patriarchal tradition that officially integrated the bride into the groom’s family. She would bestow gifts upon her future in-laws and ultimately bow in subservience as she left her family for theirs.

Today, the pyebaek celebrates the union of both families. This family ritual is one of the most popular remnants of ancient Korean wedding traditions, and some original elements remain. For example, the bride still presents the groom’s family with a gift of Korean dates and chestnuts, which symbolizes fertility. The bride and groom also wear hanbok as they bow to their families in unison, a gesture of gratitude and respect.

Though the pyebaek began as a long, pre-wedding ritual, modern couples often hold their pyebaek immediately after the wedding. During this small, private ritual, the parents share advice for married life and accept gifts of wine.


4

During the marriage ceremony, the groom gives his mother-in-law kireogi (wooden geese/Korean wedding ducks). The kireogi symbolizes structure and harmony, keeping the same partner for life, and leaving a great legacy.


A Note on Gifts

The gift registry is one Western staple that still hasn’t found a place in Korean wedding traditions. Instead, the vast majority of modern Korean couples receive cash in special envelopes. Because odd numbers are associated with good luck, many guests make sure they give an amount that begins with an odd number, such as 50,000 or 90,000 won.


Koreans don’t always incorporate ancient traditions in their weddings, however, ceremonial clothes and gifts are still popular ways to honor Korea’s past on this special occasion. Nowadays, Westernized weddings are becoming more prominent while ancient Korean traditions still remain preserved. I hope you had fun learning about Korean wedding traditions!

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japanese superstitions

Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

japanese superstitions

Every culture has its own set of legends, myths, and superstitions, and Japan is no exception. Japanese culture dates all the way back to 35,000 BC., and so do some Japanese urban legends.

From good luck omens to supernatural animals, here are 16 bizarre Japanese superstitions.

Inanimate Objects Have Spirits

1 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

Japanese Buddhists believe that inanimate objects, like dolls, have spirits.

There are a number of Japanese stories about dolls or other inanimate objects coming to life. Japan even holds an annual ceremony called Ningyo kuyo, where owners pray for dolls before they are discarded.

Don’t Say “Shio” at Night

2 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

In Japanese, shio means salt, but it sounds very similar to shi, the Japanese word for death.

Try to avoid saying these words at night.

Breaking a Comb is Bad Luck

3 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

This is similar to the belief that breaking a mirror brings bad luck.

So, in Japan, be careful with your comb!

Lucky and Unlucky Numbers

4 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

In Japan, the numbers four (shi, also the word for death) and nine (ku, rhymes with kutsuu which means “pain”) are considered unlucky.

As a result, some buildings in Japan don’t have fourth or ninth floors.

On the other hand, the number seven is considered lucky in Japan. Japanese Buddhists celebrate a baby’s seventh day of life, the Shichifukujin are the Seven Gods of Luck, and Japanese people celebrate Tanabata, (the Evening of the Seventh) each summer on July 7th.

Don’t Take Pictures of Three People (Side by Side)

5 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

Be careful how you stand when you take pictures with friends or family members.

According to Japanese superstitions, the person in the middle will die before the other two people.

Bird (and other animal) Droppings Are Lucky

6 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

One of the quirkier Japanese superstitions, this icky occurrence is actually lucky.

Un (運) is the Japanese word for “luck,” and it’s pronounced the same as the word for excrement.

Don’t Cut Your Finger Nails at Night

7 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

According to Japanese urban legends, cutting your nails at night can lead to an early death.

This belief is based on a play on words. The Japanese kanji that represents cutting your nails at night, 「夜に爪を, can also read “quick death.”

Japanese-Plums

Some Japanese superstitions recommend eating a pickled plum to prevent accidents.

The umeboshi (pickled plum) should be eaten every morning for protection.

Predict the Weather With Your Shoe

9 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

Who needs fancy meteorology equipment when you can use your shoe to predict the weather?

Throw your shoe in the air. If it lands on the sole, the weather will be nice. If it lands on its side, it will be a cloudy day.

Finally, if your shoe lands upside down, it will rain.

Don’t Say Kaeru or Modoru at a Wedding

10 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

Japanese wedding superstitions claim that it’s bad luck to say kaeru (to go home) or modoru (to return) at a Japanese wedding.

Doing so will supposedly jinx the marriage, and cause the bride to leave her husband and return home to her parents.

Japanese Prayer Amulets Can Bring Good Luck

11 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

Omamoris are amulets that contain prayers. According to Japanese superstitions, you can have an omamori for safe driving and good health.

Omamoris can also help you perform well in school or help you in other situations where you need some divine intervention.

Don’t Step on a Tatami Mat

12 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

Tatami mats are common in traditional Japanese homes. Many tatami mats contain family emblems, so stepping on the border of a tatami mat is considered bad luck in Japan.

Animals Have Supernatural Powers

13 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

Kitsune is the Japanese word for “fox,” and in Japanese folklore, foxes are believed to posses supernatural abilities.

There are good kitsune (zenko or myobu) that bring good luck and ward off evil spirits.

Yako and nogitsune are malicious kitsune, and they play pranks and tricks on humans.

Fortune Cats

14 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

You may already be familiar with this Japanese superstition, since you can find these lucky cat figurines in most Asian markets and restaurants.

The maneki neko (beckoning cat) is usually perched in the front of Japanese-owned establishments to bring the owners good fortune.

A raised left paw attracts customers, and a raised right paw brings fortune. You may even be able to find a maneki neko with both paws in the air.

Don’t Stick  Your Chopsticks Up Right in Your Food

15 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

Sticking your chopsticks in your rice symbolizes a funeral ritual.

Practice proper etiquette; place your chopsticks on the chopstick rest or lay them across your bowl when they’re not in use.

A Monster Can Make You Get Lost at Night

16 Believe it or Not: 16 Bizarre Japanese Superstitions

A nurikaba is a wall-shaped Japanese monster (yokai). According to Japanese urban legends, the nurikabe appears at night and can impede s a traveler’s path, causing him or her to get lost for days.

Now you know some of the most common Japanese superstitions and Japanese urban legends. If you’re superstitious, maybe you can use these beliefs to bring good luck and fortune in your personal and professional life.

Japan has a very rich history, and learning about Japanese culture is a great way to enhance your language-learning experience.

Have you heard any other Japanese superstitions? Share them with us in the comments below! 

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sushi-596930_640

Get Ready to Roll: The Complete Guide to Sushi

sushi-596930_640

There’s no better way to learn Japanese than exploring the culture and sampling some of the signature dishes! Sushi is one of the most popular Japanese foods, not only in Japan, but also worldwide.

Sushi has a long history in Asia, and the traditional Japanese cuisine is vastly different from the sushi you find in America, which brings us to etiquette. Learn proper dining manners, whether you’re a longtime sushi fan or just discovering this delicacy.

Sushi History

Sushi as we know it today is an edible art form. The itamae (sushi chef) uses the freshest ingredients: fish, rice, shoyu (soy sauce), wasabi (Japanese horseradish), and other seasoning, adds rice, and rolls it neatly in nori (seaweed). The presentation is just as appealing as the taste.

Sushi has a long history which dates back to second century A.D. in China. It was derived from a method to preserve fish; placing fish in rice would prevent it from going bad. The rice was later thrown away and the fish was eaten by itself.

Once this concept reached Japan, around seventh century A.D., the Japanese began eating this fish with the rice. Shortly thereafter, a man from Edo (Tokyo), Matsumoto Yoshiichi, began adding rice vinegar and selling this early version of sushi.

Sushi has gone through several upgrades since the early stages; here is an awesome look at its evolution.

Sushi Vocabulary

Now that you’re a sushi historian, it’s time to learn some important vocab. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Maki – Maki is a type of sushi rolled with a bamboo mat.
  • Gunkan Nigiri – Gunkan means “boat.” The ingredients are held in place on top of the roll in a boat shape.
  • Temaki – hand rolls. You can generally order sushi as a hand roll or a cut roll. Hand rolls are cone-shaped single servings, whereas cut rolls are smaller and easy to share.
  • Nigiri – Sliced raw fish over rice. If you don’t like nori, you should try nigiri.
  • Sashimi– Sliced raw fish (no rice).
  • Chirashi – Assorted fish over rice, served in a bowl.

Sushi Ingredients

Some of the most popular sushi rolls are the California roll (crab, avocado, and cucumber), Philly roll (salmon, cream cheese, and vegetables), rainbow roll (crab, avocado, cucumber with tuna, yellowtail, and salmon on the outside), caterpillar roll (cucumber, fish cake, crab, avocado), and the dragon roll (cucumber, avocado, eel, and eel sauce).

One of the best things about going out to eat sushi is trying new things. Here are some of the common ingredients you will find on the sushi menu:

  • Hamachi – Japanese amberjack (a type of yellowtail).
  • Nori – Seaweed
  • Tako – Octopus
  • Tamago – Sweet egg
  • Tobiko  Often used as a garnish, tobiko are flying fish roe (eggs)
  • Unagi – Fresh-water eel.
  • Wasabi – Be careful with this one, this spicy Japanese horseradish will add a kick to your roll.
  • Shoyu – Soy Sauce

This is just a small sample of many ingredients you can add to sushi. Depending on how adventurous you feel, step out of your comfort zone and try ordering something new!

Sushi Etiquette

Impress your friends next time you dine out at a sushi restaurant with these guidelines:

Sushi Dos

  • Eat what you take; wasting food is considered disrespectful. Plus, sushi is delicious!
  • If you’re not great at using chopsticks, rest assured, you’re permitted to use your fingers to eat sushi. Keep in mind, however, this applies to hand rolls and cut rolls, you shouldn’t use your hands to eat sashimi.
  • You should eat nigiri-style sushi in one bite.
  • When you eat at a Japanese restaurant, you may hear a lot of slurping. Go ahead and join in, slurping noodles is OK!

Sushi Don’ts

  • Sushi is generally served with ginger and wasabiDon’t combine the ginger with your sushi; it should be used between bites to cleanse your palate.
  • Don’t shake the shoyu off of your sushi.
  • Dip your sushi fish side down. Only the fish (not the rice) is meant to be dipped in the shoyu.
  • Only order sushi from the sushi chefs. You should order drinks, sides, appetizers, and additional items from your server.
  • You may see people doing this all the time, but you’re not supposed to rub your chopsticks together.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sushi

  • Most people think sushi means raw fish. This is a common misconception. Sushi actually means rice seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt.
  • While many people eat Miso soup as an appetizer, in Japan, Miso soup is served at the end of the meal to aid digestion.
  • The knives used by sushi chefs are direct descendants of samurai swords; the blades should be sharpened every day.
  • You shouldn’t leave your chopsticks sticking up in your bowl. This symbolizes offering food for the dead.
  • A sushi chef used to have to complete 10 years of training before he or she could work in a restaurant. Now, because of a much greater demand, a sushi chef can begin working after only two years of training.

Now that you’re a sushi expert, try some new items next time you grab sushi with your friends.

What are your favorite sushi rolls? Let us know in the comments below!

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Pack Your Bags 50 Epic Reasons to Visit Korea

Pack Your Bags: 50 Epic Reasons to Visit Korea

Visit Korea

Each place in the world has something that makes it unique, special, and worth visiting—and Korea is no exception.

Whether you want to visit Korea to learn Korean or you just want an unforgettable experience, here are 50 amazing reasons you should plan a trip to Korea, now!

1. Sunrise Peak

Sunrise Peak is a tuff cone on Jeju Island that was formed by hydro-volcanic activity almost 5,000 years ago.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take one of two trails up to the peak. Even if you don’t hike to the top, bring your camera for the breathtaking views.

2. Shopping in Myeong-dong

Visit Korea - Myeong-dong

Photo from Visit Korea

Located in the heart of Seoul, this ultimate shopping destination sees over one million visitors each day.

Learn more about the countless shops and restaurants at Myeong-dong here.

3. Theme Hotels

Visit Korea - fantasy hotels

Photo from Seoulistic

From fantasy worlds to regal rooms, you haven’t had a unique overnight stay until you’ve tried one of these unusual places.

4. Korean BBQ

visit Korea - Korean BBQ

You will understand why Korean BBQ is so famous, both in Korea and the United States, after you try ddeokbokki (spicy Korean rice cakes) or a bowl of bibimbap (steamed rice with assorted toppings).

Learn more about Korean BBQ here.

5. Street Food

visit Korea - Korean street food

Photo from migrationology

Often deep fried, always delicious— pack your appetite and get ready to delight your taste buds.

The streets of Seoul are lined with food trucks, carts, and tents offering delicious Korean street food.

6. Kimchi

visit Korea - Kimchi

Although technically a Korean BBQ item, this vegetable-based side dish deserves its own category.

Kimchi connoisseurs will find the best in the world when they visit Korea.

7. Seoul Nightlife

Visit Korea - Seoul night life

The lights never dim in this heavily populated city. In fact, everything gets brighter, and a little more fun.

8. Lotte World

visit Korea - Lotte World

photo from Visit Seoul

The world’s largest indoor theme park, Lotte World also has an outdoor park, Korean Folk Museum, shops, restaurants, and a movie theater.

You can do just about anything at Lotte World.

Want to plan your them park adventure in advance? Learn more about Lotte World here.

9. Seoraksan National Park

Seorak mountain, in the Seoraksan National Park, is the second highest mountain in South Korea.

If you love hiking and climbing, head to Seorak mountain for epic views and peace and solitude.

Want to know the best time to visit or what to pack when you visit the park? Get more details from the Korea National Park Service.

10. Namiseom Island

vist Korea - Namiseom Island

Photo from Visit Korea

Naimseom Island is on the grave of General Nami, who defeated the rebels during the Joseon Dynasty.

Besides the Isle’s history, the tree-lined streets, theme park, merry-go-round, and roller skating rink make it a popular location for couples and families.

11. Darangee Village

Travelers are whisked back in time when they visit the small village of Darangee. It’s where the mountain meets the sea, and the hillside is filled with rice terraces.

Note that Darangee Village can be hard to find. If you’re traveling from Seoul, save yourself some time and follow these directions.

12. Ggotji Beach

Some people call Ggotji Beach the most romantic place in South Korea.

13. Suncheon Bay

Visit Korea - Suncheon Bay

Photo from Waegook Tom

Visit the Korean Wetlands in this protected ecological park.

14. Boseong Green Tea Plantation

Visit Korea - Boseong Green Tea Plantation

Photo from Kidsfuninseoul

The Boseong Green Tea Plantation isn’t just a green tea production center, it’s also a historical site and popular tourist destination.

Explore the scenery and bamboo forest, then cool off with some green tea ice cream.

15. Ulleungdo Island

Visit Korea - ulleungdo Island

Photo from Visit Korea

Ulleungdo Island is at the top of an extinct volcano.

With steep cliffs and beautiful scenery, this is one Korean location you don’t want to miss.

Haengnam Coastal Walking Path

Visit Korea - Walking Path

Photo from SeoulSearching

While you’re on Ulleugndo Island, explore the breathtaking scenery on the Haengnam Coastal Walking Path.

17. Bomun Pavilion, Gyeongju

The best time to visit this historical tourist spot is during the cherry blossoms or snow.

18. Namsan Cable Car

Visit Korea - Namsan Cable Car

Photo from Visit Korea

Start at the base of Namsan Mountain and soar up to the Namsan Tower.

Enjoy the ride and the stunning views.

19. Catch a Show

Visit Korea - Seoul Arts Center

Seoul Arts Center – Photo from Visit Seoul

Seoul has an amazing music and theater scene, so make sure to check the schedule when you plan your trip.

20. Korean Folk Village

Get a feel for Joseon-era Korean life.

The Korean Folk Village consists of reconstructed houses and outdoor exhibitions that display Korean culture and traditions.

21. Busan

Visit Busan, the second largest city in South Korea.

Enjoy the world famous beaches and enjoy the delicious seafood.

22. Jeju Island

Visit Korea - Jeju Island

Photo from Life in Korea

Jeju Island is a warm weather vacation spot off the coast of South Korea.

Explore the caves and lava tubes, relax on the beach, and more.

If Jeju Island is on your must-see list, find out more about traveling to the Island here.

23. Giant Ice Cream Cones

Visit Korea - ice cream

Photo from migrationology

Korean ice cream cones make American super sizes seem minuscule.

24. Taepyeong Salt Farm

The country’s biggest salt field is a historical site and a weekend hot spot.

25. Haeinsa Temple, Hapcheon

Visit Korea - Haeinsa Temple

Photo by YongSIC

The Haeinsa Temple is one of the three Jewel Temples in South Korea.

The Jewel Temples represent the Three Jewels of Buddhism: Bhudda, dharma, and sangha.

26. Juknokwon Bamboo Garden

As you may have guessed, this is a great place to see bamboo trees, but you can also see waterfalls and ecological exhibits.

27. Yeojwa Stream

Visit Korea - yeaojwa stream

Photo courtesy gnKorea

Located in Changwon, Yeaojwa Stream is a great place to see the cherry blossoms.

The Korean drama “Romance” was filmed at Yeaojwa Stream in 2012.

28. Watch the Bulls Fight

Visit Korea - Bull fights

Photo by npr

Bullfighting is a little different in Korea. There are no matadors (a Spanish term for bull fighters), so the bulls are the only ones fighting.

29. Hallasan Mountain

Visit Hallasan mountain on Jeju Island.

Hallasan mountain is a dormant volcano, and at 1950 meters, it’s the highest point in South Korea.

30. Royal Azalea Festival

Visit Korea-  Azalea Festival

Photo from Jenna Suite

If you can, travel to Korea during the spring so you can enjoy this annual event at Hwangmae Mountain.

The festival, which consists of various cultural events, started in 1997 in an attempt to preserve the Azalea fields.

31. Daedun Mountain Suspension Bridge

The suspension bridge connects the two peaks of Daedun mountain. While it may not be an easy hike, the views and scenery make it an unforgettable experience.

If you’re afraid of heights, don’t look down, there’s an 80-meter drop from the bridge!

32. Inje Smelt Festival

Visit Korea - smelt festival

Photo by Jane Tour DMC

Enjoy winter sports events at Soyang-ho. When the temperature drops, the area becomes an open ice field.

Try activities like ice fishing, human bowling, ice soccer, and more.

With close to 600,000 participants, The Inje Smelt Festival is the biggest winter event in Korea.

33. Donglim Reservoir

Get ready for some extreme bird watching.

Over 200,000 teals fly over the Donglim Reservoir each year.

34. The Garden of Morning Calm

Tour the park, watch the sunset, and admire the beautiful scenery.

The name of the garden was inspired by Tagore, an Indian poet who called Korea “the land of the morning calm.”

35. The National Museum of Korea

Visit Korea - national museum

Photo from lonely planet

Learn about Korean history and admire works of art at the National Museum of Korea.

36. Gyeongbokgung Palace

Visit Korea -  gyeogbokgung palace

Photo courtesy Visit Seoul

Gyeongbokgung Palace was build in 1395, and was the first palace built by the Joseon Dynasty.

Tour the palace and learn about Korean history and architecture.

37. Shop for Arts and Crafts in Seoul

Visit Korea - arts and crafts

Photo courtesy Aclipse

Seoul’s Dongdaemun Fabric and Craft Market is a mecca for creative people.

38. Cat Cafés

Head into a cat cafe to play with adorable kittens.

39. The 63 Building

Visit Korea - 63 building

Photo courtesy Discovering Korea

This eye-catching pink glass tower is on Seoul’s Yeouido Island.

The 63-story building was the tallest skyscraper in Asia when it was built in 1985.

40. Go Gangnam

Visit Korea - Gangnam

Photo courtesy Visit Korea

Thanks to Psy, everyone knows a little bit about Gangnam.

You need to experience this Korean district for yourself, but here’s a guide to help you plan ahead.

41. Seoul Escape Room

The Seoul Escape Room is the culmination of nightlife and urban adventure.

You and your team are trapped in a room full of riddles and brainteasers.

Work together and plan your escape before time runs out!

42. Cycling in Korea

Korean cycling tours are a great way to see the country.

43. Kyobo Bookshop

Visit Korea - Kyobo Bookstore

Photo from The Korea Blog

The flagship store is in Seoul, but there are 24 locations nationwide.

44. SeoulLand

Visit Korea - Seoulland

Photo by ForHim.Park

Seoulland opened right before the 1988 Seoul Olympic games and was the first amusement theme park in Korea.

Visit the park and meet Arong-i and Darong-i, Seoulland’s mascots.

45. Coex Mall

With 260 stores, Coex Mall is the largest underground mall in Asia.

46. Mountaineering

Visit Korea - mountaineering

Photo courtesy Republic of Korea

Choose from top spots and practice your hiking and climbing skills while you visit Korea.

47. Visit a Temple

Visit Korea - temple

There are several to choose from, but here are some notable favorites.

48. Children’s Grand Park, Seoul

Visit Korea - kids park

Photo courtesy KidsfuninSeoul

This family-friendly park features a children’s museum, playground, zoo, and amusement park.

49. Noryangjin Fish Market

Visit Korea - Noryangjin Fish Market

Photo from Visit Korea

Noryangjin has been open since 1927 and is one of Korea’s largest seafood markets.

Choose from over 830 seafood items including shrimp, crab, octopus, and halibut.

50. Korean Culture

visit Korea - Korean Festival

Photo by spablab

It’s not a specific location or venue, but Korea offers its visitors a rich heritage and culture.

To truly experience Korean culture, participate in one of the festivals or celebrations.

No matter your interests, Korea truly has something for everyone. It’s time to plan your trip, check out these Korea travel blogs, take some Korean-language lessons, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!

 

 

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Play Drums

Drum Sticking Stars: 10 Celebrities Who Play Drums

Play Drums

In the age of reality television, talent isn’t always a prerequisite to stardom, but some of today’s celebrities are legitimately multi-talented — and some of them are even drummers.

Here are 10 celebrities who play drums.

1. Miles Teller

If you saw Miles Teller play drums in “Whiplash, you probably thought he had a double, or that the filmmakers used camera tricks or CGI, but that was actually the actor playing the drums.

Not only was Teller a rock drummer as a teenager, he also practiced jazz drumming for two months prior to filming.

2. Will Ferrell

While he may be well known for his cowbell on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL), Will Ferrell can also play drums.

His drum skills and striking resemblance to Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith inspired a drum-off on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

3. Craig Ferguson

Before becoming the host of the “Late Late Show,” Craig Ferguson was a drummer for the Dreamboys, which featured “Doctor Who’s” Peter Capaldi on guitar and vocals.

You can also catch Ferguson playing drums in the “Late Late Show’s” opening theme montage.

4. Billy Bob Thornton


At age nine, Billy Bob Thornton wanted to be Ringo Starr. Thornton played drums in high school and later toured with a ZZ Top tribute band.

After filming “Sling Blade,” Thornton headed to Nashville and has since released multiple albums.

Thornton’s band, The Box Masters, recently did some shows with the real ZZ Top.

5. Jeremy Piven

“Entourage” star Jeremy Piven plays drums every chance he gets.

In 2012, he moved into a London apartment while working on the Masterpiece series “Mr. Selfridge.” Piven told InStyle, “I got a drum kit for my place. I was so excited to play it, I ran in…and just jumped on the kit and started playing. Maybe a minute and a half into it, I looked up and all my neighbors were surrounding me. It was a nightmare!”

6. Gary Busey

Gary Busey received an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Buddy Holly in 1978, but did you know he was originally cast to play the drummer in an earlier version of the biopic?

Busey broke into showbiz as a drummer, playing for the likes of Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson—two men with whom he would later share the big screen.

7. Fred Armisen


Fans of “SNL” recognize Fred Armisen for his comedic genius, but fans of Chicago punk rock know him as the drummer for Trenchmouth.

Armisen’s passion for drums actually led him to comedy. While interviewing bands, Armisen acted like funny characters. “It kind of took off. Within the space of about a year, I completely went from being a musician to being a comedian,” Armisen told Drum Magazine.

8. Jason Schwartzman

When Jason Schwartzman was in the third grade, he and some friends decided to form a band. After his first two friends called guitar and bass, Schwartzman was left with the drums. The rest is history.

Schwartzman played drums for Phantom Planet. Their single “California” was used as the theme for “The O.C.”

9. Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza was one of Major League Baseball’s heavy hitters, but he also loves heavy metal.

Piazza began playing drums as a high school senior. He actually took lessons from session pro Gregg Bissonette, who played with David Lee Roth.

Piazza told MLB.com, “It’s fun for me. I’ll always have a drum set in my house.”

10. Patrick Stewart

When this “Star Trek” alum has down time, he practices his newest passion: drumming.

Sir Patrick Stewart just started learning drums, and the 74-year-old actor proves it’s never too late to try something new.

Want to learn to play drums like these Hollywood stars? Sign up for drum lessons today! 

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Take a Break, Moms! Quick and Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself

Take a Break, Moms! Quick & Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself

Take a Break, Moms! Quick and Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself

Let’s face it. If you’re a mom, you live a busy life. Keeping up with family or professional commitments can be exhausting, and many moms feel like they have little time to spend on themselves.

However, sneaking in the chance to treat yourself during your daily routine is both easy and important to do, because it can have a strong impact on your overall happiness and health. Check out these fun little ways to pamper yourself, whether you have five minutes to spare or 20.

 

With five minutes to spare…

2

If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, change up your usual beverage. Making it a habit to stop by the coffee shop day after day can be a serious drain on your budget. Pamper yourself at home and save those few hundred dollars (we’re serious, Money Saving Mom did the math), and make your own concoction before leaving the house.

Put it into practice: Test out Mother Would Know’s handy “Coffee on the Cheap” recipe.

3

Looking through family photos is a proven secret to happiness! A 2006 study showed that participants who spent time viewing their favorite photos felt their spirits lift by 11%, whereas those “who tried to eat, listen, watch, or drink their way to happiness” reported only a marginal increase in their mood. So, crack open those old yearbooks, or sift through your Facebook photos from last year’s vacation. You’ll be happier once you do!

Put it into practice: Check out Lisa Moorefield’s list of 12 useful iPad or iPhone apps to touch up your digital photos.

Pamper Yourself - Banners (1)

Regularly incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet is a great way to keep yourself healthy and happy. In fact, a recent study shows that focus groups that regularly ate their fruits and veggies reported a higher level of happiness.

Put it into practice: Not everyone has time to make a big salad before they head out for the day, and grabbing something on the go can be expensive. So if you’re curious about how to pamper yourself on a budget, try making a nutritious, filling smoothie you can sip on during your commute. Little Family Adventure compiled a great list of five easy green smoothie recipes you can make at home. The HappyGal also has some fun ideas for yummy recipes with raspberries.

 

With 10 minutes to spare…

5

Find a craft you enjoy that you can take on the go. Not only do handmade crafts make great gifts for loved ones, crafty habits have positive health effects, too! For example, knitting can actually improve your long-term health by helping to prevent arthritis and tendinitis. If knitting isn’t your thing, search around for another type of craft that suits your fancy.

Put it into practice: If you’re a beginner knitter, LoveKnitting has some great suggestions for quick and simple projects that can help get you on your way!

7

According to YES! Magazine, a study by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky proved that “participants who took time to ‘savor’ ordinary events that they normally hurried through” were generally happier. So, be sure to take a moment out of your day to truly enjoy your surroundings and the little moments that make up your day.

Put it into practice: To add this habit to your daily life, check out Claire Charters’s blog Simple Luxe Living. She has a lot of great e-courses that are fun and easy to follow along.

8

We all know that a good chat with friends or family members can have a positive impact on our day. The Mayo Clinic reports that maintaining a strong social support system is a crucial way to build self-confidence and get through times of stress. Even a quick phone call or coffee run with a loved one is as beneficial as formal or lengthy meetings.

Put it into practice: For more ideas on how to keep up with your family, check out this Huffington Post article, which walks you through how to keep up long-distance friendships.

10

Pamper yourself by adding a bit of lavender to your life! Lavender has many healing and calming effects, including its ability to soothe skin, ease sleep, and ward off stress.

Put it into practice: Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your temples to derail a headache. When you have extra time at home, get sore muscle relief by adding it to a bath.

 

With 20 minutes to spare…

11

When you’re in the middle of a crazy day, it can be tough to squeeze in the time to make yourself a priority. But remembering to look after yourself is important, and according to Psychology Today, even simple acts of personal care can boost your mood and self-esteem.

Put it into practice: Nothing says “pamper me” quite like a fresh coat of polish! For a quick, inexpensive way to treat yourself well, experiment with a new manicure technique!

1

Even during the busiest moments of your day, it’s always a good idea to take some time to repeat a quote or mantra to yourself. Sometimes, taking a deep breath and repeating an inspirational line several times over can be the key to having a more enjoyable, productive day.

Put it into practice: Check out HighExistence’s “15 Mind-Expanding Mantras” to find a source of inspiration.

13

Pampering yourself takes many forms, and lifting weights isn’t just about improving your physical strength. A regular weightlifting exercise routine can help your emotional health, too. Keep a couple of five pound weights at home and in the office to get in a few reps during moments of downtime.

Put it into practice: You can also use your own body as weights, says celebrity fitness trainer Brett Hoebel. He put together a video and slideshow of step-by-step instructions for exercise routines you can do in between your daily commitments.

 

Bonus! When you have an hour to spare…

Having an extra hour in your schedule can be rare, but when you do, take advantage of the free time! Here are some pampering ideas to try when you have at least an hour to spare during your day…

16

Keep yourself healthy with some yoga poses…even while on the go! Yoga has many incredible health benefits, from improving your posture to helping you get a better night’s rest.

Put it into practice: If you’re new to yoga, check out Skinny Mom’s guide to beginner yoga poses.

17

Participating in a book club is a great way to motivate and pamper yourself to take time out of your day to read a book and relax. Even if you’re on the go, get the audio version and listen to it in your car. Here are some popular book suggestions that you can recommend to your own club.

Put it into practice: Check out Meetup.com to find book-clubbers near you!

18

Taking lessons isn’t just for kids. If you regularly have an extra hour available during your week, why not fill that time by learning a new skill? For example, learning the piano – or any other instrument for that matter – has many unexpected benefits, including learning how to handle stress and face constructive criticism from others. So, whether you want to play the guitar, cook French cuisine, or brush up on Japanese, go ahead and take that leap!

Put it into practice: Pamper yourself at home by taking lessons online! With smartphone or tablet in hand, taking lessons is as easy as logging on to your preferred video platform to meet with your TakeLessons.com teacher.

 

Feeling inspired? We hope so! Remember that pampering yourself isn’t a guilty pleasure, it’s a necessary one. Even during your family’s busy schedule, finding the time to spend some attention on yourself is an important way to keep healthy, happy, and motivated. It will help you continue to be the superhero that you are.

So, remember:

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Back to School Post

14 Hilarious Signs Your Family is Ready to Go Back to School

Summer is known as the season for sunbathing, extended vacations, and lounging at the pool. If you’re a parent, it also means that you’ll probably have some extra time to spend with your kids while they’re home for summer break.

However, as much as you and your family have enjoyed your summertime activities, there are certain signs that both you and your kids are officially ready for summer to end and school to start up again…

1. You’ve already cashed in on some of those back-to-school sales coupons.

2. And your kids have started to wear their cute back-to-school outfits.

3. They couldn’t contain their excitement when they got into the same class as their best friend.

4. …or their disappointment when they didn’t.

5. You’re still having a hard time remembering the names of their friends who spent many summer afternoons at your house.

6. …who may or may not have broken one of your favorite pieces from Pottery Barn.

7. Your kids are getting a little bit restless when back-to-school shopping.

8. And you’re tired of watching reruns of their favorite TV shows.

9. Even your family pet is looking to find some peace and quiet from the hectic summer activities.

10. You’ve planned out all of their lunches for the first two months of school.

11. And you’ve already practiced your morning routine so that your kids will never be late.

12. You daydream about having some more time to yourself when your kids go back to school.

13. …so you can get back into your “usual” routine.

14. But although you know your kids will rock this school year…

15. As soon as you drop them off on their first day back, you’re ready to start summer all over again.

So there you have it. If you and your family have started to experience some of these things, then you know that you are all ready for back-to-school season with some new adventures to come.

Kids grow up fast, and the moments spent together as a family — shopping for school supplies and picking out cute back-to-school outfits — can seem to go by in a blur. Enjoy every minute of it!

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Manga madness

Manga Madness: 8 Artists and Writers You Don’t Want to Miss at Comic-Con

Manga madness

Great news for all you manga, comic book, and anime fans, the best artists and writers in the business will be featured guests this summer at Comic-Con International 2015 in downtown San Diego.

Comic-Con International: San Diego is the year’s premiere event to promote comic books, films, artwork, science fiction literature, and more. What started as a single-day event in 1970, has turned into a four-day convention and one of the most highly-anticipated events of the year.

To get you ready for Comic-Con 2015, here is a roundup of the Asian-American writers and artists who will be at the event.

Make sure to check the website for schedules and up-to-date event information, but for now, here’s a roundup of the Asian-American writers and artists you can see at Comic-Con.

Michael Cho

michale cho

Photo from illoz

Michael Cho is a Korean-American illustrator and cartoonist. You may have seen his work in “Batman Black and White” and “X-Men First Class.”

The talented artist was born in Seoul, South Korea and moved to Canada with his family when he was six years old. He began drawing at a young age, and attended the Ontario College of Art.

In addition to his work for Marvel and DC, Cho has also written graphic novels. His first graphic novel, “Shoplifter,” debuted on the New York Times Best Sellers List in 2014.

Cho will be a special guest at Comic-Con International 2015.

Learn more about Michael Cho and his artwork here.

Jim Lee

Jim lee dc

Photo from DC Comics

Jim Lee is a writer, editor, artist, and the co-publisher of DC Entertainment.

Lee has done artwork for many of DC Comics’ most popular comic books including “All-Star Batman and Robin,” “The Boy Wonder,” and “Superman: For Tomorrow.”

The multi-talented Korean American was born in Seoul, South Korea, but relocated to St. Louis Missouri with his family. He started his career with his work on X-Men for Marvel Comics.

Although Lee began drawing at a young age, he studied Psychology at Princeton University. After taking an art class in college and realizing his passion for drawing, Lee changed his course from the medical field to the comic book world.

Find out more about Jim Lee here.

Kazuki Takahashi

kazuki

Photo from MyAnimeList

If you’re a manga fan, you probably already know a thing or two about Kazuki Takahashi. The Japanese-American artist created “Yu-Gi-Oh!“, one of the most successful and most popular manga series of all time.

Since the creation of “Yu-Gi-Oh!” in 1996, there have been several spinoffs, an anime series, and feature films.

The Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game has sold over 25 billion cards and is the best-selling trading card game of all time.

Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V will premiere in the United States later this year.

Takahashi will be a special guest at Comic-Con, and fans in attendance will be able to see a Q&A panel with the artist.

Jillian Tamaki

Jillian Tamaki is an illustrator and cartoonist. She grew up in Canada and graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design. She is of mixed Japanese and Canadian descent.

Tamaki has been a professional illustrator since 2003, and has done illustrations for magazines and newspapers, cartoons for graphic novels, and she currently writes for the TV show “Adventure Time.”

Tamaki created the webcomic “SuperMutant Magic Academy,” and she collaborates with her cousin, writer Mariko Tamaki, on the graphic novels “SKIM” and “This One Summer.”

Mariko Tamaki

cci2015_guest_tamaki_m

Photo from Comic-Con

The other half of the dynamic duo who co-created “SKIM” and “This One Summer,” Mariko Tamaki writes graphic novels, comics, and young adult novels.

The award-winning writer started out as a non-fiction author before switching to the young adult genre.

“The complexities of Tamaki’s stories perhaps are a reflection of her own life,” says writer Jessica Yang. “She grew up noticing the differences between the two cultures she was a part of – Japanese and Caucasian.”

You can catch her as a special guest at Comic-Con, but until then, learn more about Mariko Tamaki here.

 

Besides guests and panelists at Comic-Con, even more famous artists will be featured on Artist’s Alley, where individuals set up and display their artwork. Fans can buy original artwork, comics, and prints directly from the artists.

Here are some of the artists you will find at this year’s event.

Willie Ito

willie ito

Photo from Comic-Con

Willie Ito is a Japanese-American artist and animation legend.

Ito received the Inkpot Award at Comic-Con 2014 for 60 years of achievement in art and animation.

In addition to his work on “Yogi Bear” and “The Flinstones,” Ito did animation work for “Lady and the Tramp.” He worked on the historic “spaghetti kissing scene” with his mentor Iawao Takamoto.

Edwin Huang

edwin

Photo from Twitter @Ironpinky

Edwin Huang is a comic artist and illustrator. He studied at The School of Visual Arts in 2010, and works for UDON Entertainment and Image Comics.

The Chinese-American artist has done artwork for various video games including Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Skullkickers.

Billy Tan
tan

Billy Tan is a Malaysian-American comic book artist.

Tan worked on the Marvel Comics series “Uncanny X-Men,” and the “New Avengers Secret Invasion.”

He has also worked on “Tomb Raider,” “Tales of Witchblade,” and Spirit of the Tao.

Don’t miss these artists and writers at Comic-Con 2015. Keep checking back for more event information and updates!

Who are you excited to see at Comic-Con? Let us know in the comments below!

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