This week the 30 lucky students from the K-pop Academy held by the Korean Cultural Centre UK visited the Ambassador of Korea’s residence. Upon arrival Ambassador Choo Kyu Ho as well as Madame Ambassador treated the students to a table full of traditional Korean delicacies specially made for them by Korean Master Chef Tony Choo.
After the reception the students then had an opportunity to ask the Ambassador some questions. These ranged from diplomatic questions to more K-pop related. The most memorable question was “since you’ve seen SHINee when they came to London for the Korean Film Festival, what do you think of them?” To the joy of many the Ambassador replied: “They were really nice. I like them!”
Then we were all taken to a room in the house that was specially refurbished to replicate traditional Korean homes that the Ambassador lived in when he was growing up. However, before that we were all taught the Jeol – Korean method of bowing – we performed this in groups to the Ambassador and Madame Ambassador as a form of respect. This year also marks the Ambassador’s 60th birthday and this adds to the significance of our bow.
There we also had a little introduction to Korean Cuisine by Chef Tony Choo and were once again treated to delicious snacks. This time it was the incredibly healthy mugwort cakes.
The Ambassador also made our visit more personal by demonstrating on himself as well as one of the students the benefit of mugwort. This involved placing some stickers on the palm of your hand along with some tubes filled with mugwort powder and then burning it (we assure you it was totally safe). This is an example of traditional Korean Medicine treatment and it is believed to relax one’s mind and give them a peaceful and sound night.
The two students that performed the Jeol exceptionally during practice were able to change into traditional Korean attire that many of us K-Drama fans would be familiar with: Hanbok.
Images by the KCCUK