I Live In Korea

My name is Ben Gwynne. I USED to teach English in Incheon, South Korea. Here's some photos, stories, videos, etc.

Hwacheon, located in the Gangwon-do province, is one of the northern most parts of South Korea. Every January it plays host to the Sancheoneo (mountain trout) Festival for three weeks. During this time, over one million people head to Hwacheon to fish and take part in all of the festivities.

Festival pictures

This past weekend I went to Hwacheon for the Sancheoneo Festival. Here are the available activities for the festival:

- Ice Fishing
- Riding All Terrain Vehicles on the ice
- Ice Skating
- Sledding
- Ice Soccer
- Jumping into a pool of frozen water for bare-hand fishing

Here’s the activities I did at the festival:

- Drinking and eating ridiculous quantities of alcohol and food with a group of 50 year old Koreans for five hours (this activity is not listed in the festival brochure)

Some of the Koreans I was with and the fish they caught and ate

Koreans, as a whole, are some of the most friendly people I’ve ever met in my life, hands down. I stopped ice fishing after two seconds to look for bait (thousands of people were fishing with no bait, I needed to get a leg up because no one was catching anything). Shortly after my search began I was pulled over by some Koreans and was TOLD to start drinking and eating. It was 11am after all, how could I refuse?

So the booze came out in full force, and the sancheoneo (mountain trout) which they caught earlier that morning was phenomenal, was maybe the best fish I’ve ever had. Then there was sashimi (raw seafood), galbi (barbecued pork ribs), samgyeopsal (fat slices of pork belly), it was a feast. We were barbecuing for the entire time I was there, and washing it down with mekju (beer), soju (Korean liquor made from rice) and some (soju and beer mixed). Impromptu singing and dancing ensued, I was engaging in long-winded tales of me being a father, and one of the other teachers who managed to find the group of people I was with was escorted away in a golf cart by the festival medics (too drunk obviously). Ahhh, good times.

FEED ME NOW and How did I not end up in this water?

So I missed out on everything and have a vague (being quite generous) memory of the day. Some might say I completed ruined the day for myself (or the Koreans who forced me to drink did), but I reckon I had a better time than most of the other people who went.

Some guy with fish head. Maybe Mayor of festival? I bet I was being a wise ass.
I hope I'm as cool as this guy when I'm in my 50s, no joke.

After we left the festival. We headed to our quarters for the night where we ate some more, had a bonfire, and then played some drinking games. Good stuff, and even if I did end up essentially ruining the entire purpose of the festival for myself (or do I blame the Koreans who forced me to drink?) Either way, good times.

Beds, possessed moose, dinner table, bonfire


golden zephyr said...

That looks like so much fun!! And honestly, who could refuse those guys??!!

golden zephyr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Gwynne said...

they were a lot of fun, i probably should've posted the videos of them dancing..oh well..

Ben Gwynne said...

Thanks whoever you are. I'll be posting more soon, sorry, been a bit lazy lately

arirang tv writer said...

Hello, I'm Kim Hee-jeong and I am a script writer at Arirang TV.
We are looking for someone to join us on our new program called and we would like to have you parcipate on our show!
Our program features information on Korean culture and much much more seen through the eyes of foreign residents living in Korea.
The program is 5 minutes long. It will be a great opportunity to create some fun memories of your life in Korea.
My phone number is 02-3475-5258, 010-7133-9793.
I will be thrilled to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

last post on Jan 20th? what is this? i was on vacation from Jan 21-31, now i come home with nothing new to read? seriously, get back to writing before you lose your friends and fan base.

Ben Gwynne said...

pipe down kush, i have a lot of stuff to post, the next 2-3 weeks will be a whirlwind, just wait

Anonymous said...

Hey Ben! It's Alison from NYC :-) It looks like you are having an amazing time! And the blog is great!
Best wishes!!

Internet Marketing said...

Nice blog this.. makes me want to go!

Ben Gwynne said...

Hi Alison!! Thanks for checking in. Glad you like it and I hope all is well with you and everyone else!

and thanks to you to "internet marketing". Go next year, it's fun

krunken fool said...

Is the flesh of the mountain trout superior to that of the porgy, Ben?

Ben Gwynne said...

who is this Krunken Fool that speaks of this delicious porgy which graces the bay of Rockaway?

nothing in the world could taste as good as a porgy sandwich, nothing!