Namiseom: Music, Nature and Friends

Okay folks, it’s about time already for me to get back in touch writing blog! I miss writing too, seriously. But you can’t ever imagine that although I was quite sure I will be pretty much, um, free since  practically almost everyone that goes at the same school year with me have cleverly graduated, I figured out I will not see them much so there probably be little things I will have to do at the university.

Wrong. Totally wrong.

By the time I stepped my feet upon Jakarta, these ten thousand things start to pop up from nowhere and suddenly I have ten thousand things to be done. Having a job as a Japanese translator (which I am so totally very very grateful about and enjoy it till this very moment) and organizing one of my best friend’s wedding is to name just a few.

But then I am happy to finally got my own me-time tonight and I decided to write. I think I’m going to pick up from where I left and that would be…. the report of Jason Mraz’s concert in a beautiful little island of Nami, South Korea!!
Oh, please, I know it’s been like decades, but still it is fun to write about that. I had a REALLY good time!

So, quick facts for those who are unfamiliar with this beautiful isle, Namisoem, or Nami Island as it’s called in English is an isle located in Chuncheon, South Korea. That’s around 1 hour by subway from Seoul followed by 5-10 minutes ride on ferry, or faster by zip-line, which was so… expensive. If you’re coming from Seoul, no worries because it is really easy to reach the place. All you need is a reliable subway map, look for the Gyeongchun line, and your final stop is called Gapyeong. Check this Seoul Subway Guide web, it has all you need to make sure you know your way in Seoul. I was staying around Insa-dong, so I took the subway from Jonggak station, make my way to Hoegi and change train there. From Hoegi station, go all the way to Mangu, it is just 3 station from Hoegi and get off there, you need to change train once again. From Mangu take the subway to Gapyeong, don’t worry, Mangu is a big transit station, you will easily find your way. Gapyeong is exactly 10 stations away from Mangu, and once you stepped out from the station, you will see this:

the picture on your left is Gapyeong station, from here you can take a bus to Gapyeong Wharf. The wharf is the port of entry to Nami Island, or often referred as Naminara Republic. You can also catch a taxi from Gapyeong station as it is not cost you too much. But taking public bus (the bus stop is ahead of you) is almost always a good idea since you can get a pretty good views along the road. Taxis usually take shortcuts, which, still have good views but probably public bus is way more fun. Or, you can take a shuttle bus to simplified everything. Check the detailed information here. The site includes nice maps, detailed information on how-to reach the island and reservation information on shuttle bus. Quick info, the shuttle bus departs and returns only once a day. The departure station is from Insa-dong (rock Insa-dong! The place is sooo close from everywhere. Very nice.) and Jamsil at 9.30 am and return back from Nami at 4 pm.

At the port of entry, before you hop on the ferry or zip-line, you need to have the “passport” and pay “visa” fees to enter the Republic. It’s KRW 10,000 or around IDR 85,000. The round trip ferry’s fare is included in your visa fee. 

This is Gapyeong Wharf, where you take the ferry after completing all “immigration” fees at the locket. 🙂

Nope, that is not exactly Nami Island, but the view from the ferry was nice, thought it’ll be great to share it with you guys.

some views from the ferry. The short ride itself was fun, or probably that was because i git TOO excited about seeing Jason Mraz. ;P

So after the ride in the ferry, i finally got here!! The Naminara Republic a.k.a Nami Island a.k.a Namisoem a.ka. place where i go to my first concert ever and it was Mraz’s!!!
Oh, and if you have some good spare money you should try the zip-line instead of the old school ferry because it looked like so much fun. It’s like… a flying fox ride, only better. You sit and they will “zipped” you above the river directly to Nami Island. via the sky. Magic. Expensive. But hey, you got all the fun! *giggles

Once you got off from the ferry, you will be greeted by this gate below. I, uh, can’t really figure out what is written there, but this is the most common entry to Nami Island. I think there is another wharf somewhere and another gate if you came by the zip line thing.
When i got off the ferry, i really can’t help but to feel like super super really happy. And relieved, because i made it there to Nami Island. Thanks God the journey was okay and that i did not get astray like……. like i usually do. lol.

So, i was normally looking for the signs of Jason Mraz’s presence, the banners, or probably a lead on where his room was… xD hahahaha… I did not find it, of course. Not that i couldn’t *ahem* but it was just because when i stepped my feet there, there were too many distractions. Nature. Beautiful things. and I was allowed to enjoy my pretty much me-time in a strange surroundings with unfamiliar language and yet still feel grateful and happy.

….those, and the fact that Nami Island is truly a beautiful place. It was like a perfect escape place, whether you are from Seoul, or other major cities, or just dropping by to enjoy the peaceful surroundings, it was a place where for a moment you can actually forget bad things.

This is the front office of Nami Island. The very first building you can see after you go through the gate. They provided maps, guides, bike-rent and all the useful stuffs here. I grabbed one of the guide, thinking about renting the bike, but decide it will be rather inconvenient so i continue my very own exploration-almost-like-an-adventure by foot.

I dont think the Koreans speak English well, but they did try to communicate with tourists. They are friendly, and patient. So when you’re in doubt of what to do first, try to speak with the nice officers at the front office. They will be glad to have the chance to help you out.

After walking and walking and walking i began to see that mostly Nami Island is a very nice place to take some very nice photo shoots. Dont expect a roller coaster or a magnificent theme park, because it was like a nature preservation. It’s small, and in 4 dedicated hours you could possibly done with exploring it. But Nami Island is an isle of treasure, look hard and you probably found them. 🙂

Okaaay. So this is one of my favorite spot at Nami Island. I went here when it was Summer, so it was pretty hot. But in this place it was all green with wooden chairs and there were lots of trees so it was not that hot! I would LOVE a small piece of this place at my house! The feel is amazing!
I think that this place will be super amazing in Autumn and Winter, but that time I wass happy I went there on Summer. Or else I would not be able to feel the gentleness of the wind caressing my hair with mild green leaves spoiled my eyes with their beauties. 🙂

The blue band on my wrist is the ticket to Rainbow Island, the annual music festival in South Korea, in which Mraz would perform as a guest star. My band was blue because it was a single-day ticket. The yellow one was a two day pass, and you are permitted to camp around the island with it.

Did I say camp?
I did!
Rainbow Island festival is actually an Indie music festival. This year they wanted it to be not only music, but also nature. The whole concept is that people could leave behind all their works, their busy days, their unreasonable load of works, and come to an island where they enjoy music and nature. Where people can go back to nature by camping around the island, listening to selected music all night long.
So yeah, that is basically the noble idea to give people an escape even for just a while.
And for me, of course it worked! 🙂

At the first time, I went there with one expectation. To see Jason Mraz’s live concert. I have been a super big fan, even if he decided to, uh, change his already beautiful hair to something… that is less ‘his style’ but whatever, it’s his hair anyways.

His live concerts are the kind of concerts i will certainly go to because he sang DIFFERENTLY in his lives concerts. In a good way, of course. So it’s not like you came to a live show and listened to CD, only that the singer is there in front of you. Mraz’s concerts are amazing. He improvised, he sang freely and he is… amazing!! 

But then, i realized it was not only Mraz’s concert, it was an Indie music concert. Mostly South Korean bands, of course and i have no idea of who they are. But…. it was not a K-pop bands. They were like… SUPER COOL!!!!! They have three stages there, and each of the stages have perfectly arranged shows and live concerts of small bands, and big ones of course and it was SO ROCK. That was my first concert ever, but was like REALLY REALLY AMAZING.

Oh, a bit intermezzo from the concerts. The picture above and below are photographs of my next favorite spot at Nami Island. It was near the Song Museum (yes there is a museum in the island, and yes it is a song museum). I didnt have time to go there, though, too bad..

Back to the concert report, I was practically alone there. After hours of exploring the island, watch some performers do amazing jobs of entertaining us all, i decided to look for the biggest stage, which is the Rainbow Stage, which i cant find from the very start and which was so stupid of me because it was supposed to be a very big stage.

But you cant blame me guys! It was like hidden, behind the trees! okay. it was not hidden, but i needed to go through this big tents and when i did, voila! welcome to the Rainbow Island itself, the carnival-circus like atmosphere with big stages that was seriously unseen from the outside. The picture on your right is a photo booth. Yep, a photo booth! It was super fun!

I made new friends there, the kind hearted guy came from Canada, and his two friends are Korean girls. They were as excited as i was about Mraz, and soon we were like talking A-Z, not only about Mraz but also about other fun things! Chad treated me with some good beers and Hye Joo told me about other Korean bands that were going to perform that day.
Soon after, Kim, a stranger to us all join us. He was exhausted, looked like he was going to faint so everyone was like giving him water and invite him to sit, using fan so he could get some air and i can tell he was extremely thankful.

Seriously he was really going to faint.

Chad treat me another beer (again) and just before Mraz came out, Kim disappeard. He re-appeared some minutes later with tea and water for everyone.
Mraz’s concert was delayed, so everyone sit around the field ad we talked, tok pictures and laughed a lot. like, A LOT. See, thing about music and nature is, they bring people together. It was like meeting old friends, not like i was sitting with strangers. They dont even speak English (except Chad, of course), and i dont speak Korean even for a little, but we enjoyed our conversations and we laughed like we’ve known each other for a long time.
When we watched the other bands’ performance Hye Joo made me jump with her and soon i realized everyone was jumping, laughing at each other and the atmosphere and energy was so.. great, it was so positive, cheerful and it was just like even if you came with a bad mood, even it was so hot out there, but you will feel really really really happy after listening to some of them singing and receive the energy from people around you. I think it was the magic of sharing music and nature with everyone else. When i took the subway that very morning, i thought i could use the me-time, alone and experience Mraz’s music happily. But then i found friends, and realize that as much as it is fun to be alone every once and a while, when you combine music and nature, somehow it is even more fulfilling when you share them with others.

While waiting for Mraz, Hye Joo asked me how i am going to go home after seeing the concert. I told her i was going to take the last subwas back to Seoul, to Jonggak station. And then this conversation occured.

Hye Joo: Great. Did you reserve the ticket?
Me: What ticket?
Hye Joo: The subway.
Me: *drinking tea
Kim: you did not reserve a ticket yet, right?
Me: *drinking tea
Hye Joo: Seriously????
Me: Do i have to?
Hye Joo: OF COURSE!! What were you thinking?? Oh, God, it’s too late now. What time is it now? Oh no. Oh nooo. *starting to panic
Chad: Just reserve one for her. *drinking beer

Then Hye Joo took out her phone, do this and that, panicking again, do this and that again and she finally jumped out, screaming “I DID it!! Yay! you can go home!! you’re safe!” *hug me

I was………… people, she was almost a complete stranger. She was worried for me, panic for me, and was so relieved when she got a subway ticket for me.
I was…. speechless. thankful, happy, really grateful, but not sure how to say it. There are times when you feel so thankful, but thank you alone seems not enough.

Not long after, Mr. Mraz appeared at the stage and he was so AMAZINNGGG!!!
I couldnt believe i was there seeing him with my own eyes, listening to him with my own ears, it was MAGICAL. I cant thank God enough for letting me have this chance. I was really really really happy! I’ve got my favorite musician singing in front of me, I have friends standing beside me, in one of the most beautiful places i’ve ever been too.. boy, i had no complaint. not a single one.
When we finally have to leave the concert before it was finished (because we have to take the last ferry, damn.), my good new friends INSISTED that they want to accompany me to the biggest transit station (which only about 5 or 6 station from Jonggak). Their homes was on the other way of the stations, but they said they want to make sure that i got home safe.
And the subway ticket? I did not pay for that. Hye Joo said that it was on her, and that she was happy that she met me and Kim said that I’m always welcomed in South Korea, and if i ever come back, i have to call him and he will take me around. Chad pat my back and said he will probably come around to Indonesia and that he will see me in Indonesia.

I am the luckiest girl alive. Because everywhere i go, God gave me good friends, and as HE promised, i am always protected.

When i finally got home (Rini was asleep already, said something about her going to this super amazing castle and that she will show me the pictures later), I opened Facebook and……. there were messages from them! Saying goodbye, safe trip back to Japan, keep in touch and everything.
There could exist, you know, something as “a world without stranger”. All you need is music and nature. 🙂

Oh, and some little details about Nami Island. Dont worry if you got really hungry because they have this small food court and some good restaurants. They served really good ice creams!

I ate this Korean food, I dont really recall the name. But i think it was something like big omelette and it was delicious! I had ice cream after that and satisfied. Food was good and ice cream was even better.

Nami Island has various beautiful spot to take a picture. Like I said before, it was an island of treasure. You will need to look closely to find them!
It was said that there were wildlife animals in the island and you can come across some ostriches around. It was advisable to stay away and not touching the ostriches because they are untamed wild animlas that have the possibility of….. kicking you.

Yes, you can possibly got kicked by an ostrich at Nami Island if you dont behave yourself.

This coffee and ice cream shop thought that ostriches supposed to be really colorful and cute so they decided to use them as the mascot.

Yup, you are right. These are ostrich-like pens and yes they were for sale! 
I am not really a big fan of ostrich so i thought i will pass that. xD xD

There are plenty of things to do at Nami Island. They have some interesting water sports, and clay-making centre, and than Song Museum and Glass Museum and you can really spend good time there. Oh, on a lighter note, this place was a movie set for Winter Sonata, a very famous  Korean drama. You can see LOTS of landmarks that belong to the ovie. The 
bridge where the main casts had their first kiss, the romantic pine tree path, the bicycle the main casts used with wooden statue of the them and a memorial stone for one of the actor that committed suicide some years ago.

It will be really boring if i put those pictures too because you can easily google them. 🙂

So this is my report from Nami Island. I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as i do enjoy writing it!
I’ll see you around guys.

Namisoem, annyeong higaseyo.

Published by reylasano

she writes your stories

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