We had been provided a bit of a brief overview of our schedule for the filming Tour Day, but nothing could have prepared us for the incredible day ahead…!
Soon after waking up we were both excitedly moving about the room getting ready for FILMING DAY, before heading down to enjoy the buffet breakfast at the hotel’s Grand Kitchen. Which was of course delicious!! Holly made her way through about ten bowls of cereal whilst I enjoyed all the fresh fruits with some mini waffles and honey straight from the ‘comb ^.^
We were due to meet Adela in the foyer at 8:30am, so we returned to the room to do some quick “touch-ups” (gotta get in the FILMING zone) before heading on down. Adela and the KTO staff greet us and we’re directed outside to our transport for the day.
No joke. We had two idol vans for us and the crew. IDOL VANS! I happily snapped a couple of “idol van” shots and we were on our way with Driver, Mr Park.
Our first stop is a little way out of Seoul, so we enjoyed watching the scenery out the windows as we travel and Driver Park tells us about the other idols (*cough*) that he has driven. Our van makes its way along little narrow dirt roads that are lined with the most beautiful traditional houses. At the end of the road we reach our first destination- the Yujin Folk Museum.
The museum is family-run and is dedicated to preserving some of the incredible historical culture of Korea. Let me tell you, this played right into my kdrama-loving heart. We were given a tour through the museum, which shows how rice crops were grown and sewn and processed. They also had displays of fascinating traditional room layouts, modes of transport for the wealthy, wedding-ceremony Hanbok, Joseon-era hats and a beautiful wishing stone. Walking around the stone three times counter-clockwise will help your wish come true!
Holly and I then begun our transformation! Halmoni (할머님), or Grandmother, helped us into the most delicate Hanboks. There are many layers of a Hanbok- first a pair of undergarment loose silk pants, then a sort of soft frock, which is covered by the outer Hanbok skirt (chima) and paired with an embroider jacket (jeogori). This is tied of with a ribbon (otgoreum) that hangs down the middle of the hanbok. It feels amazing on, you really do feel like a princess! And it’s not only pretty, it’s actually really comfortable! Although I do feel a bit terrified that I’ll somehow damage it. Mine has a beautiful yellow jacket with embroided butterflies ^.^
Once we are prettied- we begin our lessons from Halmoni. How to host a traditional tea ceremony! Again, my kdrama heart was in its happy land. Living my own kdrama!
The actual tea ceremony is quite complex and involves many steps, with everything done in a particular order and fashion. We first made our very own traditional tea cakes- made individually with a yellow pollen, bean paste, green tea powder or red bean. They are stamped into a mould, so they’re all very cute! Halmoni’s (and Holly’s) are prettier than mine, it takes a bit of practice to get the mould to print out the pattern correctly! They’re certainly tasty though.
The tea ceremony itself revolves around a three-step pouring process. You have two cups to serve. One for yourself (which is first) and one for your guest. The hot water is poured into a transfer bowl for slight cooling, tea leaves are poured via a special bamboo server into the teapot, hot water is poured into a little tea leaf jug, which is then poured into the transfer bowl, which is then poured into the individual cups. Three pours into each cup. Then it’s finally time to enjoy the beautiful tea- and its really the best tea I have ever tasted. It was so smooth, and spreads this instant feeling of both energy and calmness. The taste is so soft. We enjoy our tea with a few of our sweets and some dried persimmon (YUM yumyumyum). Halmoni offers us her words of advice and wishes us well through the ceremony. Sitting on the cushion on the floor with my beautiful pink Hanbok skirt spread around me furthered my kpop drama princess feelings.
But soon it was time to hitch up our Hanboks and take to the grounds for some traditional games!
This is where Kat’s competitive side kicks in…
Feeling like royalty in our Hanbok, we play some Tuho. We both do quite well- and I land at least one every round in the center! Next up is Yutnori, which I’ve always wanted to play. It’s the most popular traditional game of Korea, and features the players throwing a set of marked sticks in order to make certain combinations. Holly and I play with Halmoni and the little grandson (who was shy at first, but soon huddled close to me in shared competitive game spirit!). I’m not sure, but I’ll go ahead and say I think I did pretty well in this game too.
It was becoming very apparent that obviously some part of me would be right at home in Joseon. But all to soon we had to leave Yujin, and my Hanbok. I was growing very used to the pretty soft feeling of the skirts as I moved and really did not want to change!
Once we were back in our normal clothes we said a fond farewell to Halmoni, who gave us a gift of some special little lotus teacups. They are so beautiful and delicate, and I was admiring a similar set on display as we walked in!
I really hope one day I might be able to visit the museum again- we both felt very welcome and learnt so much about the traditional culture of Korea, even in such a short time.
Lots of waving as our van pulled off… ON TO THE NEXT SCHEDULE!