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This trip is coming to an end and actually I am not feeling so great, so staying at Aunt’s home for a day with family feels priceless. Aunt and uncle have been living in Heyri Art Valley now for a few years and I think that is so great and am very happy for them to have such a beautiful living space in this artistic community sharing all the creative thoughts and life style. So excite to have really hearty good home food after the 2 weeks of trip on the road!!

IMG_0164A fine artist ( oil painting and pottery), story teller, farmer, amazing organic home cook and my aunt chopping and cooking. These leaves( Sorry, I do not recall what this was at all! Aunt had used maybe good 10 different kind of herbs and some kind of leaves from her garden to cook with) are going into her steamed rice with shitake mushrooms.


IMG_0170Sauteed home grown squash: Cut them in chunks and start them with olive oil in a hot wok, garlic, fresh red chili chunks, salt cured baby shrimps… And Mom helping!


IMG_0179Oven broiled  herring; Aunt poured over soy sauce with chopped green scallion right before serving it and below is quickly blenched calamaris on the bed of  fresh baby sesame leaves and mixed green from aunt’s garden. You dip them in the vinegary chili sauce. Delicious!


IMG_0176Dinner table is coming together!  Sliced cucumber dressed in chili paste and vinegar, baby radish kim chi, mountain vegies steamed and dressed in sesame seeds, garlic, onion, olive oil…

IMG_0180Yeah, dinner is on the table!  Steamed vegie rice, Kim chi soup, calamari, more kim chi Broiled herring, steamed squash leaves for ” ssam: wrap”, and many more. And a glass of red… Happy Happy!  Cousin Yoonhee on the left and her hubby, Sanghun back in the kitchen area. That was the most amazing  Korean food in a long time! We chatted, laughed and ate again and again. It was so nice to have everyone together in one place and enjoyed each others…!

IMG_0232The next morning after another big morning meal ( ha!), Aunt, Mom and I went out for a stroll around the Art Valley. There were quite a few exhibitions including a famous Korean singer, Jo Young Nam’s Solo exhibition at ” Hangil Gallery” right by the Aunt’s place.


IMG_0201These plastic pieces with design are called ” Wha-To”:  pretty much Korean ‘Cards”, like Poker in a sense. The artist had used wha-to in such a clever way. Wha-To is such a gamble that is beloved by entire nation for a longest time and also a national issue since people over do this down to loose their homes and family. Some people get so addict to this… like any other gambles out there.

IMG_0194Oh The Artist loves, the poet ‘ Lee Sang’..!








And again, the whole culture of architecture in Heyri Art Valley is quite innovative. Every building in the valley needs to be consist of using Metal, Glass, Wood , Rocks and Concrete as main materials with no pointy roof and painted exterior. It sounds bit limiting yet also it harmonizes the valley as a whole and also I believe it pushes the architects to be creative in different area such as shape, light and space.

IMG_0227The ” Book House”, a book store above the Hangil Gallery.




IMG_0245Underground level of Moa Gallery is just as bright as or even brighter than any spaces on the ground level. Smart usage of minimum amount of glass panel allows to have maxim effect of enough natural light for the space.


IMG_0234Outside of “Ssamji” galley and below: the stair case to the gallery space.


IMG_02634 very different Rooms to crash for rent with organic cooking classes and a small roof garden growing greens then 2 gallery spaces: all with peaceful hearty and artsy farming and nature in mind. It’s called ” Field Art School” ( Non Baat Art School). They are not just fully opened yet. The rooms are available for rent already though. Below, the cooking class schedule.


IMG_0265The cooking class room and dining room.

IMG_0270The outdoor lounge: a part of lobby/cafe’ they are building. We have the same lamp in our kitchen!

IMG_0275Cool outdoor passage way. The natural wall-field I like to call it. Love it!


IMG_0281The roof top green garden.

IMG_0302One of the 4 room to rent. Each room is completely different in sizes and layouts.  4 different artists were hired to design each room.

IMG_0289Above and below: 2 gallery spaces and Mom and Aunt…


IMG_0181By the way, I picked out this book ” Seoul, have you ever been places like this? 100 spots you want to check out!” at Hangil Book House. (Aunt’s treat)  This book excites me so much!! Beautiful pics and interesting places!






It’s so interesting to me to see all these great movement and ideas at Heyri. Ideas to be closer to the nature in style and a peace in your mind, I feel everything here feels modern yet peaceful but not trendy or fast. Maybe forward  and ahead but not fast.

Hopefully Heyri Art Valley will be always the leader of the pack showcasing what you can do with your finance and ideas. A forward thinking  that is good for your body and soul!

VivA, HeYri!!!!!





I had read about Heyri Art valley in South Korea in the Wallpaper magazine a couple years ago here in NY.  In 1997, the Village, 1 hour car ride from Seoul, has started as The Book village linked with Paju Publishing town. Paju is southern border of DMZ , a military stand off between North and South Korea, and in the mean time one of the most serene and well protected nature preserves in Asia.

Heyri is one of possible future uses for the expansive DMZ.  Over the years, the Book village has beautifully grown into a Art Vally which houses over 350 mixed and selected artist members’ homes, work studios, galleries, theaters and cafes built upon free yet harmonized aesthetic approach to build each building and the space consisting of concrete, wood, metal and glass. Each property is required to leave good percentage of the lot as a free range garden and any pointy roofs are prohibited in this valley.

It’s not gated  by actual fences but the village is protected by many rules and the respect for each artist’s need and mind the first. Simply numbered 9 entrances to the Valley open to whole new mind set of how to create a community.  A creative community. Fine artists, writers, film makers, actors, composers, sound artist, and any other creative people in art world can only apply to get into this wonderful Art Valley. Each home will also be a place of cultural exchange of some form, with the goal that the entire community will contribute to and participate in the cultural dialogue. It’s a whole new concept.  The artist will need to provide enough of documents to prove that he/she’s the one to be the one of growing members. You will need to buy the land and also build your space.  And my aunt, Je-Soon Kang, a well known fine artist, is one of the proud member to live and work in the Village and I had visited her last week with my parents.


Below are a few houses/ gallery spaces of the Valley.








Many of buildings have a multiple use permit as home, gallery and a cafe all combined. It’s a heavenly concept for any artist.

Now below is the home, indoor and outdoor garden, work studio, gallery  and a future cafe of my aunt.










Aunt working…

There is also little area in the village for some nice restaurants, book shops, small boutiques and a vintage museum.  And they all consistently carry the similar aesthetic.





IMG_7250Aunt , Me and Mom in 1976, Korea.

Every time I visit Korea and my family back there, I feel like I am making up for something. It’s a real nice feeling. It makes my stomach warm. We have been always close to Aunt’s family when I was growing up and I had also lived with aunt, uncle and cousin Yoonhee when I was doing the first year at F.I.T as Uncle was in NY for his work.  I was lucky to have them while starting my school years all alone but then it wasn’t actually as I was with aunt, uncle and Yoonhee.  Then it has been many years we kind of grew a part but here now again we get to see each others whenever I go to Seoul for my business trips.  It’s a nice treat to see everyone. There’s always good chatting over delicious hearty food and laughs. Just being together makes me feel very happy and loved.  Aunt recently helped mom renovating her new little home and it was my first time to visit mom’s traditional Korean home as she literally just moved in. It felt extra special to be at mom’s new home as aunt helped with many good ideas and also it was right on brother’s memorial day.


IMG_7067Beautifully aging Mom in front of her house.  It’s about 150 plus years old traditional home called “Han-Ok” that mom had bought and it’s a kind of architecture that dates back to more than 5000 years of Korean tradition.

IMG_7059Mom’s next project is to add these solid concrete cylinders to the outside fence/wall.

IMG_7049It’s called ” Ogapi” in Korean, a kind of berry. It is supposed to be really good for you.  You will see all these sort of things being dried, getting pickled or soaked in the water at my mom and aunt’s place.

IMG_7038Chestnuts drying on a Pyung Sang ( a quite big scaled low wooden seating deck) in the garden… such a Korean scene!

IMG_6978 These beautiful wooden beams were hidden and the ceiling was lowered when the house was purchased. Can you believe it?


mom home 2Poured concrete floor feels very modern in contrary to house’s traditional details. And it has excellent heat conduction as most of Korean homes have heated flooring system.


IMG_7053Happy mom at her new home!

IMG_7083Now we are at Heyri visiting auntie!

IMG_7069Aunt with big big smile and Brandy and Tang right outside of her beautiful Heyri home.

IMG_7074Aunt is an well known fine artist already, Je-soon Kang and she has started making potteries at Heyri studio.  Now mom had joined her a bit!  Mom holding her very first piece! It’s so fascinating. Isn’t it? I would love to try it one day!

IMG_7076Cheese, no ” KIm-Chi”!  Just like an old time. Only difference will be I am the tallest here. Sort of.  Ha-ha!!

IMG_7082Beautiful aunt here for an early lunch with me. Mom went off to work. Next time mom!

IMG_7081We are at this Buckwheat specialized restaurant. Buckwheat dumplings, savory pancakes, cold and warm noodle and even down to this much flavorful Korean Buckwheat Sake! Sooooo delicious. Sooo amazing!  Chat chat and Chatty Chat. Aunt and I ended up having 4 hour lunch catching up on everything. So much fun!

IMG_7110After a good sleep over at Aunt’s place, this hearty do-your-body -good Rice cake soup for breakfast! It was full of fresh oysters, seaweed, korean herbs and most of all, aunt’s love!  So delicious and so good for you!

IMG_7248Aunt holding me for another snap. 1976, Korea

Aunt, thanks for everything and take care till the next time we see! And Mom, I am so happy for your new lovely home!

I love you both, you lovely creative strong sisters!

IMG_3287Sam Sung Museum of Art,  Leeum Museum, Hannam Dong, Seoul

Our Seoul trip has come to an end and we are doing a few last things on our list.  It has been so wonderful to see  Mom and Dad, Grandma, Aunts and Uncles and Yoon and Hun and whoever came across including countless friendly Seoul citizens ( Here they like to call them Natizen).  This trip, we ate and tasted enough to survive through coming Autumn feeling almost guilty for those who do have not enough to eat… But then knowing not having such access to food that is so deeply cultural in so unique ambiance like in Seoul back in New York, every opportunity felt like it could be the last one that we better maximize all the fun of what really having food means in Korean way.  (Sorry but any K-town in NY does not do the justice at all!!)

All the 2nd and third generation Koreans who live out overseas, Please you must visit Korea and should know where you came from and know and get educated how your home is moving forward and evolving, and what past we love and are attached to preserve. It has been such an eye opening experience for me. My first language is Korean, but Don’t be afraid if you are not fluent in your own language. You will still feel all at your heart and our home will still welcome you no matter what.

I have been noticing Seoul’s quite impressive changes over about 3 years through my short timed business trips. Seoul has definitely opened eyes to good designs and especially for the sense of being in good and quality space, which has made a huge Architectural Re birth all over the city from little cafes to amazing residential homes to hall in the wall small business or impressive standing alone shops and restaurants and galleries… The list goes on and I am especially impressed by Seoul’s effort to create Urban Green Areas for communities by small brooks and major rivers creating bicycle and running lanes that are completely separated from the ones for the cars.

I honestly felt like I could not keep up blogging about so many great things we were doing in Seoul with family but this one would be sort my finale to our first Seoul trip with Emi and Gael together, So here we go, I am putting together a few more moments to share!

IMG_3267You are all familiar with Korean Sam Sung’s technology . Phones, TVs… The list goes on. Leeum is Sam Sung founded Art museum that has impressive permanent collection of International fine art  and Korean porcelains that are dated from 12-14C. And the museum space is to die for. Cutting edge modern architecture that is well surrounded by natural element such as rocks and trees.







IMG_3232Comme Des Garcons Flag ship, Hannam dong, Seoul




IMG_3411Doo Ta, Dong De Mun


IMG_3801Dapsimni Antique Market. The Best Antique market in Seoul!! Smaller scale but it’s enough and it’s a real deal.

IMG_3341I got a small set. SO excited! Korean traditional bronze wear.

IMG_3342Traditional pillows.

IMG_3446Traditional wooden flat spools for yarns and threads.

IMG_3349Wooden stamps to make motives on rice cakes and traditional cookies. So pretty.

IMG_3431Wedding costumes. For her on the left and him on the right.


IMG_3869With Yoon and Hun, Just about to have Jeuk Suk Ttuck boki at Hongdae. Jeuck Suk means right away. You cook up your ttuk boki on the table! Ahh nostalgia! This came out when I was on Junior years.  And So great ! We LOvE dOTs!

IMG_3878Gael already digging into picked Raddish. Oh boy, He Can really EAT. Best imobu, Hun!

IMG_3879All ready to go!

IMG_3886Busy cooking!!

IMG_3872Woooo, can’t wait! excuse my shiny forehead…!

IMG_3897Busy Hongdae street, Saturday Afternoon.


IMG_3912A land Outlet in Hongdae. Cool space.

IMG_3916aA Design Museum , Hong Dae. Impressive collection of International mid century furniture and industrial interior design is here. And of course, an Amazing Coffee Shop.




IMG_3927The Cafe.

IMG_2806Night stroll along Chung gye chun, One of the most visible Urban planning through out the city Seoul is doing. You will see these parks that are made along the small rivers everywhere.  This Chung gye chun maybe more special one as this river was once turned into build-able land and back again as a aprk. Impressive.




IMG_3949Now Grilled Eel Dinner with Mom, Yoon and Hun, Heyri.  Ahhh, it hurts me that you can’t taste it!

IMG_3948This is thickened Soy ( different from teriyaki) version and thinly sliced Jin seng chips on top. OMG.

IMG_3943What a beauty! Sea salt Eel. On the side, simply sliced potatoes, Ginko, fried eel bone chips.

IMG_3640Myung Ga Ram, Paju.  The last big meal with whole family.

IMG_3642Suk mo, ( little aunt), Gang hun, my cousin little brother.



IMG_518511 family members today! Yoon on the camera. Little cousin sis, Yujin and my little uncle, Jerim.

IMG_5203My Grandma, the 84 year old Beauty, God bless her and protect her. I just wish her to be healthy to have longer and happy life.

IMG_5207_2Another Grand meal and family. . Ahh it’s coming to an end…

IMG_5219Gang hun and Gael. Can you believe Gang Hun is Gael’s uncle?!! They are only 2 1/2 years apart!

IMG_5230About to kim chi all together!

IMG_3860Gwanghamun Square!

IMG_3849Sanmotungi Cafe, Buam dong.  Seoul is such a lush city. So many little mountains and lots of trees everywhere.


Emi, only with You would be this much fun!!!

So Much More to Come for Many Many Years!

VivA FaMily!!!  VivA KOreA!!!

IMG_2374 Happy Aunt and Gael at Heyri, Aunt’s Studio. It’s almost surreal for me to see Aunt and Gael together!

After another hearty breakfast at Mom’s, We are headed to Aunt’s and Uncle’s in Heyri for the first time for Emi and Gael! Aunt and Uncle have not met Gael yet, So we are very excite!

The door opens up, Uncle and Aunt come out in bare feet much welcoming. I see aunt’s eyes get teary with happiness and emotion to see Emi and Gael. Ahhh it’s so good to be here. I get all teary too. Uncle’s the same way. I have never seen him so happy and having a good time. Emi and Uncle hit it off right away on mutual interests. Love for Wine and good food.

IMG_2376It’s always good to see Tang and Brandy.

IMG_2377Emi and Uncle. The first time meet. Deep in conversation on Italian Wine and Mushrooms. Ha-Ha!  Uncle had studied to be a Sommelier as a hobby recently.

IMG_2381All of us enjoying Aunt’s Fermented Ume, Apricot and fresh Peppermint drink.  Sweet and refreshing with nice squeeze of Lemon. So Delicious!!!  Ume is much used in our family daily in cooking meals in place of honey and vinegar as after it goes through fermentation, it gets sweet and sour. Think sort of maple syrup like consistency. It’s delicious and it does body good for you. Talking about rich in vitamin C and good for digestion.


IMG_2435Beautiful and modern Heyri. Click Here for More Pics.  Now we are about to explore!



IMG_2396The Best Coffee in Heyri Aunt says: Coffee Coffee.  Heyri’s biggest charm is living a Modern and Artistic life in organic and sort of nostalgic way. There are lots of old school details that are re born in most current setting.

IMG_2384In front of the coffee shop, there’s a true nostalgic ‘ TTong PPang’ machine baking Sweet Red bean cake. The real common name is ” gold fish cake” as the old time cake mold was in gold fish shape but here today’s new version is in ” poop” shape. Now you know what ” TTong” means. PPang means ‘ Bread’.  You eat it while it’s hot. Delis!!!

IMG_2387Gael having fun!

IMG_4246Inside of the Coffee shop. The Coffee Bar. Loving the stools made out of part of barrel I believe?  Just following coffee shops in Seoul can be one good way to see Seoul today especially for innovative interior designs.

IMG_2402The family.






IMG_2407Now we are exploring Artists’ space in the building where the Cafe is. Light fixtures.


IMG_2409Creative Open Space.




IMG_2420Now here we are where Aunt regularly works on her Ceramics.  Gael’s abut to experience Ceramic making!

IMG_4277Gael getting ready!




IMG_2425After 20 minutes, Gael had made his Noodle bowl and a Tea cup!

IMG_2428Gael putting his Artist’s signature on.  Clay is just too wet for Gael to put his name on. So we are making a tag that can be attached to the bottom and to be baked in a right timing.

IMG_2429Thank you So much Master Choi and Thank you Aunt!  We will be back again!!

IMG_2433Now moving on to a Traditional market next door. It says “From the farmers”.

IMG_4295Mini legume samples and sacks contain them for sale.


IMG_2439Back home at Aunt’s Studio for power rest. Then we are off for dinner! Some of Aunt’s small work.

IMG_2440Emi on a nap… Zzzzzzz

IMG_2454OK now it’s time for Dinner! This is one of my favorite place to dine!  The place is called  “Old Country Table”.  They serves up typical Korean table that comes with many little side tasting dishes. You get to choose the main dish such as grilled Beef, pork or Pollack. Today we are going for spicy grilled Pollack.

IMG_2453A few different kinds of kim chi, Mountain veggies that are picked, dried, socked and steamed with great seasonings, simple ssam with lettuce and crunch green chili, soy sauce soaked blue crabs, individually prepared amazing miso soups…. It goes on!

IMG_2458Made to order rice is just prepared and served right at the table on  rice cart.

IMG_2459YUUUummmmmm!  Ginko, chestnuts, red beans and rice.  Delicious! So nutty!

IMG_2462Spicy and Sweet Chilli paste Grilled Pollack! Yum Yum Yum

IMG_2455Uncle, Thank You!!! for the great time and all the generous treats!  ( two little legs behind Uncle are Gael’s. He fell on a sleep…)

IMG_2380Aunt and Me. We look alike.

Aunt in Korean is “Imo”.  Which really means “A different Mother” in Korean.  My aunt is a younger sister of my Mom and She is my another mother. Uncle in this case is called ” Imobu”, which means ” A different father”.  I also had lived with Aunt, Uncle and my cousin which actually really is a sister, Yoon hee when I was studying in NY for like a year. So it is very special feeling and love that I have for all of them.

Imo and Imobu, Thank you so much for all your warm hearts and love. We had a wonderful wonderful time!  I can’t speak enough how happy I am that we all got to finally meet and had time together.

For many more years, Cheers to us!

Some travel moments here…

Early morning Tulum Beach in February this year.

Emiliano and Gael just got tickets to Italy for 6 weeks over July and August, and the end of July, myself will be in Asia visiting Seoul, HK and Tokyo then back to NY for 2 days and off to join the boys and family in Italy for about 2 weeks. It would be super fantastic to see my mother, dad and cousin and bit excited to explore my new favorite city, Seoul again. Asia gets Always hectic since I’m usually there for the work first, but I’ll try to squeeze in some personal time for the weekend with family.  I was watching the “Bizarre Food” on the Travel channel the other day.  Andrew Zimmern shares all the bizarre food and crazy fun traveling the world. And on boy its was Tokyo this time talking about pig’s guts and heart that new hip generation enjoys eating!  I thought it was quite interesting. I like to stroll through also different areas of  Tokyo this time. Should I try  On Sen? The theme restaurant like ” Alcatraz”  looks quite crazy! It would be nice to re visit a temple at Asakusa in Tokyo.

IMG_4769Heyri Art Valley, South Korea.

Check out one of blog about  Sam chung dong , Seoul http://www.lacasapark.com/la/2009/12/a-beauty-samchung-dong-1-seoul-korea/

Yearly trip to Italy has always good balance of knowing what’s coming and not knowing what else is coming. The family, feast, the ocean and friends are what I know then there are always other possibilities that we may stumble into spontaneously! A dance party at a Castle or quick visit to other city in Europe? All is good  surprise and recharging time for us and a chance to oil our ( Gael and Me) Italian to be more current and  be fine tuned.

962944Last year Art Biennale Venezia, Italy

1059904A local wine shop. Bring your empty bottle, they will fill it up! Italy

71296Typical early morning scene in Livorno. They read Newspapers and chat with friends for couple hours in early morning feet in the fresh ocean water.

IMG_0725Typical light filled Tuscan scene.

139328Last year in Paris for our 10 year anniversary.

IMG_0660Champs Elysees


Visit to Berlin with Kelly early this year.

Anyway,, Some flash back photos here but the point is it;s that time again!!  There is this work I like to explore that only down side is that no time travel ALL the time. Brazil, Spain, Iceland, Sydney, back to Berlin and eveywhere else…

If I could just travel and take photos, now That would be my ideal life!