Friday, June 29, 2007

Mokpo Vegetarian Restaurants

Vegetarian Korean has a nice and comprehensive listing all vegetarian restaurants in Mokpo; it includes both of them:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hangul vs. Roman

Hangul is the Korean writing system. Roman is the Western writing system. And both are used for the Korean language and the conversion between the two systems is called Romanization.

Wikipedia has a good primer on this topic and there's a quick reference table at Tour2Korea but the process is fairly simple enough to be explain as a table loop-up process. And since it can be explained as a table look-up that means that some computer can do this conversion automatically. And since some computer can do this conversion automatically, that means that it can be found somewhere on the internet.

And it is, courtesy of

Alternatively, there's also the Roman to Hangul & Hangul to Roman converters at

Korean Maps

The Mokpo Maps post dealt with the local Mokpo area and its culmination of all geographical knowledge, the tourist map. But there's another level beyond the cartoon amusement park guide to Mokpo and that level is on the Internet.

English Korean Maps

The main players in North America tend to ignore South Korea and treat it like a separate entity. Consider the difference between and and the incompatibilities between the two sites that share the same name. I can't find a solid answer why there is a split, just some unanswered questions and tiny hints in blogs and newsgroups. SundoSoft, Congnamul and Cybermap are the main map data companies in South Korea (for the curious: gets its data from Congnamul while SundoSoft's data is used by and there appears to be some problem integrating their data into the North American systems.

While we wait for global map unification (or the Korean map upgrade), computer geeks are working on their own solutions. And by solutions I mean experiments that are part of a larger geekness, the map mashup; a quick search gives us these two examples:

  1. Naver Map Overlay Google Earth via network link
  2. Congnamul map overlay on Google earth
And there's stuff like what this guy is doing that results in a Naver's road map mashed-up with a Google satellite view. Using it on a certain high school we get this map and it's closer to what we want, but there's one problem: there's no English.

Korean Korean Maps

Now, if you're willing to give up the crutch of English and use what the Koreans use, then there's an better alternative to the experimental sites. The Korean front runners are Naver and Congnamul but there's also Cyworld, Maptopia (that keeps on trying to install a plug-in every time I visit it) and the slightly biased map system at Tour2Korea. Both Naver and Congnamul provide most of the same functionality as Google but they're made by Koreans, for Koreans which means you'll have to learn Korean or fumble some use out of them.

Take the Naver map system; at first click, it'll detect your Internet provider and place you in a close enough location. The only search box should be in the top left and you can feed it one of two things:
  1. Korean Trade Name
  2. Korean Street Address
Both must be in Hangul. So, for example, when trying to find the location of our favorite high school those two options translate into:
  1. 전남제일고등학교
  2. 전라남도 목포시 용당동 937-1 번지
It's the same concept over at Congnamul and comparing the two is like comparing Google and Mapquest. Naver is fairly vanilla compared to Congnamul that seems to have a lot more features, but is Seoul Tourist Centric (including a online bus guide in various languages too). Those features are cool but, when living in Mokpo, useless. There's one feature that tips the hat in Congnamul's favour and that's the ability to share maps.

Sharing Korean Maps

Let's say I found this really great restaurant in Seoul, but it's hidden off of the side streets and all you have is a smudged cross on a napkin. If you're not careful you'll end up wandering around until you find the courage and mime gestures to ask where is this place. And if you're lucky you'll only have to mime once.

How would that scenario work with the map systems? From the restaurant's website you know the street address is:
서올시 종로구 창신동 148-1
So you plug that into both and find out that Naver refuses to budge. But Congnamul saves the day suggest a different spelling:
서울 종로구 창신동 148-1
With the correction, both sites show me the proper location and both render my napkin somewhat obsolete with their quick print options. But what about mailing this map to our friends? That involves something different; something called the the link to map function.

The Link To Map function

Link to Map translates what ever you are viewing on your screen into a url that can be easily shared amongst friends. And sadly enough Naver does not support this function and I do not understand why. This features is a staple of any North American web map. Sharing a map via url is important since it:
  1. Stops the abuse of large image attachment in e-mails.
  2. Allows maps to be shared over non e-mail Internet communication, like instant messaging forum postings, etc.
  3. Provides a more robust map than those little maps on the back of the business cards.
Congnamul understands this and provides that functionality via the URL링크 (URL Link) button in the bottom toolbar, unfortunately it's not that intuitive. Here are the steps:
  1. You enter your address and click the 검색 (Search) button.
  2. Congnamul finds your spot and marks it with a big red arrow.
  3. Click on the URL링크 (URL Link) button.
  4. Congnamul launches a pop-up saying something to the effect of "Please click anywhere on the map."
  5. Dismiss the pop-up and move the click somewhere near your arrow. Note: If you're to close to the arrow the mouse cursor will be an arrow and won't register the location; start moving the cursor away until it turns into the hand, and then click.
  6. Congnamul launches a pop-up displaying the url link.
Now our restaurant address becomes clickable.

Nerd Stuff

All map systems create their maps dynamically via various a arguments into a function. Congnamul's URL링크 function from above is quite straight forward and has two arguments:
and if you really want to play around here's an url from Congnamul's mailing a map function; it has more parameters to tweak and is only presented for the super keen.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Galbijim is one of many Korea for Foreigners sites on the net and it's managed by the people at Korea Beat. It contains the usual blogs and forums, but it also contains a wiki. I'm a big fan of wikis (everything I know I learned from wikipedia) so I'm excited to find one that's Korean centric and has entries for Mokpo.

Unfortunately some of the links are dead so I'm wary about the viability of the site. After poking around it seems like the problems come from the site not being configured properly and since its Recent Changes still shows some activity I guess that they are still in the middle of setting things up; feel free to volunteer your knowledge since they're still looking for more articles.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

*.hwp files

These files are document files created by the Korean equivalent to Microsoft Word, Hangul Word Processor by Haansoft. For non-Koreans, there's a bunch of information already on the web, including this English translation of the corporate and product page, some information about the history of Hangul and entry on Wikipedia that mentions:

To open HWP files in a non-Korean Windows system, users can download and execute a conversion program [1], which enables files to be opened with Microsoft Word. This program, however, can only be used with files created with Microsoft Word 2000 and below. Haansoft has also a Hangul document viewer program freely available on its website called "Hangul Viewer 2005" (한/글 뷰어 2005) [2].
The information on the wiki is a bit outdated since navigating the Haansoft website reveals a 2007 viewer and another search reveals updated information regarding Microsoft Office 2007. And if you're dealing with this file, then you are probably doing so because of school; most schools have a site license for Hangul so installing the application could be as easy as a short call to the school's IT department.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mokpo Maps

Maps are super neat if you're new to a country and you can't speak the language. And by super neat, I mean bloody essential.

Google, Yahoo, Mapquest are the first places I normally use but a search on those sites tells us that Mokpo has yet to acquire the concept of roads; even Tour2Korea doesn't list Mokpo with the other city maps. Alternatively, there are the satellite views, a mix of snap shots between 2003 and 2007, or the GPS systems that you'll sometimes find in taxi cabs, but so far the closest thing there that a foreigner can use is the little tourist pamphlet (published by Beetle Maps and scanned by Brent) that most of us got in our welcome to Mokpo package. Additional pamphlets can be found free of charge at any of the tourist information kiosks peppered throughout the city.

But that's not quite the end of it. Of course Brent's map is great, but it's slightly Brent specific. For the rest of us, the map is now officially online and updated and (apart from the fact that if you know enough Korean it's also interactive) is completely printable with either Korean, English, or even with no labels.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Hangul on English Computers

Before figuring out how to type Hangul you may notice that your computer doesn't display Hangul properly. If you navigate to Korean site (say a certain high school's website) and you see Hangul then you have nothing to worry about; if you see garbage characters, like "Àü³²Á¦ÀÏ°í" then you have a problem. This site solves that problem, but only for the web pages.

On occasion I need Hangul for Korean applications; without the language support I get pop-ups and windows with garbled character that consist mostly of question marks. There is way but it's useless to me since I have the wrong operating system. This note from a Microsoft help site tells me how to change the language on Vista, but it's only viable for Vista Ultimate and Vista Enterprise. I have Vista Home Premium and I'm screwed. And apparently so are others.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

전남 제일 고등학교

The Jeonnam Jeil High School, (formerly known as Mokpo Commercial High School) has a mailing address:

Jeonnam Jeil Godeung Hakkyo
937-1 Yongdang-Dong, Mokpo-Si, Jeollanam-Do
Republic of Korea
as well as a more traditional mailing address:
전라남도 목포시 용당동 937-1 번지
with the following phone numbers:
Fax (팩스)061-277-7088
Administrative (행정실)061-278-5121
School Affairs (교무실)061-277-7082, 7083
Principal's Office (교장실)061-277-7081
and a map/satellite view.

Of course it is also blessed with a small corner of the Internet at that also hoasts the school's photo album and (more importantly) lunch menu.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mokpo Weather

A search will reveal plenty of weather sites (including the local choice) but I like the clean look of the BBC World Service.

I really dig their symbols.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mokpo: Barbarian Invasion

Mokpo: Barbarian Invasion (currently run by Camille and Dave) is another Korea for Foreigners site, but focuses on the tiny niche of Mokpo.

Friday, June 15, 2007

There are many message boards for expats in Korea and is the one that covers living and teaching in Jeollanam-do provice. It's a popular posting-hole with the local foreigners here in Mokpo, but I hang out there for the Lesson Plans.