18 COMMUNITY

WEDNESDAY JULY 22, 2009

In focus: Things to avoid
Expat Living is a section dedicated to the daily
living of expatriates. It is printed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. To share stories about your life abroad, send stories or story ideas to Matthew Lamers at

Enjoy summer for free
By Ryu Myung-soo

mattlamers@heraldm.com
Submissions may be edited for length or clarity.

The Photo Challenge is sponsored by Hyosung Camera (English: 010-7203-9599) and Babo Shirts (www.baboshirts.com). Winners of the weekly competition receive a 50,000 won store credit at Hyosung Camera and a Babo Shirt. To take part in the competition, simply upload your photo at www.flickr.com/groups/seoulp hotoclub — Ed.
By Aaron Raisey

When we are out there with a camera, we are always looking for good photographic opportunities, interesting subjects, nice light, things that are different, or things to look at differently. In other words, we are looking for the right things to do to make a better picture. This is great, but what about the things we shouldn’t do? What are a few simple things we can avoid doing, or including in our pictures to help us create better images? Avoid ‘kissing’ edges. Kissing? What I mean are strong edges in the picture that just touch. For example, the edge of your subject’s head and the roofline of a background building, or the point of a temple’s eaves and the trunk of a tree. Try to put space between strong edges such as these in your image. Don’t have things sticking out of someone’s head. Have you ever taken a great photo and later found that your girlfriend has a flagpole sticking out the top of her head like some kind of

PHOTO CHALLENGE WINNER — In Beophwan Harbour, Jeju-do, a woman dries her collected sea vegetables on July 18th.

Mario Taradan

With warm weather and a steadily increasing number of people spending time at outdoor public facilities, there is increasing interest in open-air activities. What’s best about the season, however, is that many of these events are available free of charge. The Seoul City Hall Plaza — in the summer a grassy field, in the winter an ice skating rink — has come over the years to be at the forefront of many of Seoul’s cultural activities. From May 16 through Oct. 10 of this year, there will be a permanent stage on the plaza offering performances free of charge every evening at 7:30 p.m. for an hour and a half. Performances will display dances such as ballet, tango, jazz and salsa as well as music performances in genres such as hip hop and rock. The specific calendar of events is available at www.caps.or.kr. But as the site is only available in Korean, you can call the Seoul Global Center at 1688-0120 for more information. If you’re not satisfied with staying in one place, how about joining a free tour group? The Gangnam District Office offers a free city tour bus for expats that runs every Tuesday and Friday from COEX. Beginning at 9:30 a.m. the course travels from a set of royal tombs to “E-Government, Gallery in Aisle,” to a taekwondo performance and experience

W e often want picture t h s o ave contex, bu t t t ry t reit ‘ a l n o ss n i i g eve rything’ in one photogr aph.
antennae? It can look amusing, but unfortunately can also ruin an otherwise excellent image. Try and compose the image or place the subject somewhere that avoids this picture-killer. This is extremely important when taking a photograph that has a dynamic background such as traffic or pedestrians. It’s bad enough with a flagpole out her head, but you don’t want someone walking into her ear as well. Don’t try to get everything into the photo. We often want pictures to have context, especially with holiday snaps, but try to resist “nailing everything” in one photograph. You don’t want a bunch of Where’s Waldo pics to show the folks back home. Rather, take several photos from different points of view, giving each a clear subject. Also, work on separating that subject from the background through the use of distance or a larger aperture. So, what can we do to avoid these things? It’s easy in theory — pay attention to the entire image when looking through the viewfinder. In practice though, it’s a little more difficult than that. We tend to see only what we are focused on because our brains filter out those things we aren’t immediately concerned with. So when we are taking a picture of our partner or friend, we usually see only them and not the details in the background. The camera however, is impartial — it sees everything equally. This is why we all get that “Hey, I didn’t notice that when I took the picture!” feeling at times. Try and avoid that feeling by remembering to take note of what’s going on around and behind your subject. Are there people moving around back there? Are there any inconvenient power cables, poles or trees? Do I have enough space around my subject? Often the solution can be as simple as raising or lowering your point of view a few centimeters, or moving a few paces to the left or right, forward or back. It requires an effort initially, but soon the ability to avoid these things will become a natural part of your photography. Check out how the best expat photographers in Korea do it at the Seoul Photo Club on Flickr. (raisey@hanmail.net)

T he Nat o a inl Folk Museum is v s t d by ove 2 iie r million people p r ye r,a d i a e a n s space where vs iit rs c n c ch a o a at glimpse of t e h hso o t d i t ry f ra it o a eve inl ryday l in Ko a i fe re .
and then finally Bongeun Temple, before returning to COEX at 12:30. From 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. is another tour bus, traveling from COEX to the Korean Cultural Heritage Foundation to watch a performance, then to Rodeo Drive in Apgujeong, and to the Kimchi Museum back at COEX. This tour usually costs 10,000 won, but is currently being offered free of charge. For more information and to reserve a place, call (02) 3180345. The National Folk Museum is visited by over 2 million people per year, and is a space where visitors can catch a glimpse of the history of traditional everyday life in Korea. Every Saturday at 3 p.m. the museum offers free performances featuring traditional Korean music and dance in its main lecture hall. Every Sunday at 2 p.m. in the front courtyard of the museum the Folk Stage holds performances. Also, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first national Korean museum, admission to all national museums, including the National Folk Museum, is free through the end of the year. For more information you can check out the museum’s website at www.nfm.go.kr or call (02) 37043114. Finally, at the National Theater from now until September there will be a weekly event held on Saturdays at 6 p.m. called the Saturday Culture Plaza. The stage will feature performances varying from ballet to rock music to the Seoul Pops Orchestra. More information about each week’s events is available at www.ntok.go.kr or by calling (02) 2280-4115. For more information about summer events in the city — events held for free or otherwise — call the tourism information desk at the SGC on (02) 20754120. For more information on life in Seoul in general, call our hotline at 1688-0120. (sooryu@i-net.or.kr)

PHOTO CHALLENGE WINNER — A woman waits for the bus in Eunhaeng Sageori, Seoul.

Dave Heidloff

How to track down your lost items
By Yoo Jeong-jin

If you are living in a foreign country and lose something while using public transportation, not only do you face basic language barriers but you also must deal with societal differences. In the end, there are doubtlessly many foreigners who come to Korea either to live or for travel, lose their belongs and, out of sheer confusion or frustration, simply decide that trying to track them down is just too difficult. Here is some information to help in the event that this should happen to you. There are three basic forms of public transportation: subway, bus and taxi. By far, the subway is the form of public transportation most used by visitors to the city, thus lost and found information is widely available. As such, the system for tracking down lost items is quite extensive compared to other forms of public transportation. In order to speed up the process of finding your belongings, if you realize that you have left something on the subway relatively soon after you have gotten off, note the time you got off, the direction of the train and the car number of the train in which you were (the car/door number can be found at the foot of each entrance to the train, where the arrows are marked on the floor). Take this informa-

tion to the nearest station attendant and there should be a higher chance that you will recover your belongings. If you only realize that you have left something on the subway well after leaving, you will have to contact a lost and found center. As there are currently eight subway lines spanning hundreds of stations, finding items lost on the subway varies according to what line one was traveling on. This is because lines 1-4 of the subway system are run by Seoul Metro, whereas lines 5-8 are run by the Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation. Also, given the sheer immensity of the Seoul subway system, each corporation has multiple lost and found centers. For example, as lines 1 and 2 are extremely high-traffic lines, and City Hall Station is one station where these two lines meet, the lost and found center located there is one of the main centers. One point of possible confusion to note, however, is that the lost and found center for lines 5 and 8, for example, is located at Wangsimni Station, which lies on line 5 but not 8. Information for each of the lost and found centers is as follows: for lines 1 and 2, City Hall Station (02-6110-1122); for lines 3 and 4 Chungmuro Station (026110-3344); for lines 5 and 8 Wangsimni Station (02-63116765/6768); for lines 6 and 7

Taeneung Station (02-63116766/7). Hours of operation for centers run by Seoul Metro (lines 1-4) are 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. Hours for those run by SMRT are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. For lost & found issues on holidays, weekends and outside of these hours, one should contact a subway station worker. As the Seoul Metro and SMRT both run their own websites, noting this information could be very useful if you lose your belongings in the future. The addresses are http://www.seoulmetro.co.kr and http://www.smrt.co.kr/, respectively. At these sites, available in English, you can access all the information about the systems, lost and found facilities and events that happen through these systems. Next is the bus system. Both the Seoul City and Gyeongi Province bus systems offer sites with information on lost & found centers, however these sites are not available in English. By calling either the Seoul Global Center (1688-0120, available Monday-Friday, 9-6 p.m.) or the Korea Tourist Information Center (1330, available 24 hours), you can receive information and interpretation services in the event that you have left something on a bus. If you speak Korean or have someone to help, the Seoul City bus system can be reached

at 02) 415-4101 and the Gyeongi bus system at 031) 246-4210. When reporting a lost item directly or through an interpreter from one of the hotlines mentioned above, remember to note the following information: the line number of the bus, the direction in which it was traveling, and the locations and times where you got on and off the bus. Finally, there are taxis. Although taxis in Seoul are divided into public and independent taxis, even independent taxis are registered through organizations, making searching for lost items simpler. (Note: With the phasing in of the Haechi Taxi through 2014, this will change over the next few years.) If you happened to have called a taxi, this would be the simplest way to try to retrieve something you have left behind. If not, then the first thing to do is figure out whether you have taken an independent taxi or public taxi. The way to tell the difference is through the writing on the outside of the cab and through the color: Seoul and Gyeongi public taxis are accented with blue; Seoul independent taxis with white; Gyeongi independent taxis with green. Even if you did not happen to catch the color of the cab, there is still hope for finding your belongings, as the taxi system itself has a site for lost items. You

can find information by going to http://www.spta.or.kr/ or calling 02) 415-9521 for independent taxis or http://hdtaxi.com.ne.kr/ for independent and public taxis. At these sites you can register lost items or search through registered found items. Unfortunately, as with the bus service, the site is not available in English, so if you do not speak Korean, you will need help. Of course, the best way to prevent permanent loss of your belongings when traveling by taxi is to always ask for a receipt, which contains the taxi number and a phone number to contact. Although it cannot be said how many people leave belongings behind when taking public transportation, approximately 74 found items are reported at subway lost and found centers daily. Of these, approximately 70 percent are returned to their owners and, according to a 2008 report, this rate is increasing. Knowing how to search for items lost in either the subway, bus or in a taxi can save a lot of stress. Of course, in the event that you lose something on a mode of public transportation you may not remember all of this information off-hand. For a refresher, or for any other information, call the SGC for help at 16880120. (dykas@sba.seoul.kr)

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