KACEL has gone on hiatus!

Due to lack of participant involvement, KACEL has gone on hiatus until further notice. We’d like to thank all who have been involved with the program, especially those who put in extra effort helping to plan events, write blog posts, etc.

If you’re interested in being involved with the program feel free to shoot us an email at kacelboston[at]gmail.com and we’ll let you know when we start back up again.

Happy connecting!

KACEL cooks and plays: November group event

KACEL group enjoying the food they cooked!

Written by KACEL buddy Tony ~ On an unseasonably-warm, November afternoon, KACEL gathered together in the spacious kitchen of one of its members.  Across the counter top were the ingredients for the day’s menu: doenjang chigae/된장 찌개, dduk bok gi/떡복이, and bulgogi/불고기. After dividing into smaller groups, KACEL got to work.
The kitchen hummed with the sound of chopping vegetables, running water, and growling stomachs. Above it all, the voice of Andie, the head chef, could be heard.  A vigilant cook and a patient teacher, Andie walked from station to station to lend instructive advice and to reveal the next step in her delicious recipe.

Despite the cultural differences, the conversations were no different than those happening in kitchens throughout the world.

While the broth for the chiage simmered, some members discussed their school work.  While garlic was being chopped, others discussed their frustration with the job market. Everyone—Korean or American—could relate to parental pressure/involvement regarding relationships, employment difficulties, and concerns for a post-graduation life, and everyone waited hungrily for the food to cook.

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October fall event: Salem

(Written by KACEL buddy Jungha 정하)
~ Kacel’s October group event was a trip to Salem.  Salem is a famous town for its rich history including the Salem witchcraft trials of 1962, an impressive display of historic architecture and its month-long celebration of Halloween.  We were there the day before Halloween.  So I expected so much I could see some special events and many people in disguise celebrating Halloween.

Just after we arrived at Salem, we ate a late breakfast at one restaurant.  Friendly, comfortable, and they served a variety of American-style breakfast menus.  That was our second choice because the New England Soup Factory would be open after noon, but it was quite good.

The group wearing their 3D glasses from the 3D haunted house

For activities, we hang around lots of Halloween or witch-themed shops and a haunted house.  The shops mostly sold scary things, such as witches and ghosts’ stuff, to amuse us.  The haunted house made me feel nervous and spooky, but it was not as much as a Korean haunted house.  In addition, there were some fortune telling houses, such as tarot reading, mediumship.  Nikki was interested in the fortune telling, but she didn’t try it.

We also went to the Salem Witch Museum.  Since I didn’t know about the basic history of the Salem Witch Trials, it was interesting and informative for me.  Around the town, there were a lot of monsters, witches, vampires, werewolves, and ghosts walking.

I think we had a pleasant time in Salem despite unseasoningly chilly weather.

Upcoming events at the Korea Institute at Harvard University

Six Decades of Korean Studies at Harvard

"Six Decades of Korean Studies at Harvard"

Korea Institute 30th Anniversary Special Lecture
Urgent Message:


Date: September 29, 2011 – 4:00pm – 6:00pm
People Involved:
Ezra Vogel, Henry Ford II Research Professor of the Social Sciences, Emeritus, Harvard University
Chaired by Sun Joo Kim, Harvard-Yenching Professor of Korean History, Director of Korea Institute, Harvard University
Contact Person:

Dima David Mironenko-Hubbs

Contact Email: dmironen@fas
Contact Phone: 617-496-3061
Additional Sponsors: Modern Korean Economy and Society Endowment at Harvard University
Location: Tsai Auditorium (S010), CGIS South Bld., 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 United States

Reception to follow


There are lots of events happening at the Korea Institute throughout the semester, including two movies in October. Checkout their website for more information.

Things you can do with your buddy in September and October

  • oasis music night sept 29 at 7:30
    보스톤 한인교회, the korean church of boston (kcb) in brookline village
    32 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02445

  • 33rd Annual Oktoberfest and the HONK! Parade    Sunday, October 11 –starts at 12noon.
    Reclaim the streets for horns, bikes and feet!  The parade departs Davis Square at 12noon and arrives in Harvard Square for Oktoberfest at 1pm.  Over 30 bands from all over the United States and local community groups participate in the parade.  The HONKers are an eclectic group of colorful, energizing, and outrageous talented musicians that are sure to delight all with their funky music and a strut in their step! Oktoberfest features six stages of live entertainment by some of the most talented local and national performing artists around, including a main stage in the Super Crosswalk, a Club Passim stage, Church Street stage and HONK! Oktoberfest is a family friendly event with activities for kids of all ages.
  • fun fun buddy meeting idea every FRIDAY: 
    Try Playing Japanese Taiko Drums with Genki Spark!
    Friday Night Introductory Basics: 7:45-9pm
    $15 per class, pay on site.
    -karen young, a friend of mine, runs this organization -please tell her i sent you!
  • Friday, November 11, 2011 (8PM)
    SamulNori -World Music/CRASHarts performance by the Korean percussion group SamulNori, with drumming maestro Kim Duk Soo, at Sanders Theatre on
    There will also be a free lecture/demonstration with Kim Duk Soo and company on Saturday, Nov. 12 at Harvard that I will be moderating (Holden Chapel, 1-2:30).
    If interested, we could go as a group.
    Founded and led by Kim Duk-Soo, the group’s leader and master of the changgo (hourglass-shaped drum), SamulNori’s dancing percussionists play music based on 5,000-year-old Korean shamanist traditions. In several numbers the musicians also wear hats topped with long plumes or streamers that produce swirling patterns of color as they move from ceremonial walks to great leaps and dizzying spins.

Another fall term group event: dinner

Boston, MA ~ A group of KACEL buddies metup at Super88 food court for dinner to get to know one another. The dinner was for buddies who couldn’t make the bowling event.

We ate Korean food, talked about ourselves, and shared our experiences of Korea and our lives here in the U.S.

Our next group event will be at the end of October and hopefully those who couldn’t make the last two events will be able to join us!

Oh yeah. . .let’s not forget about the Korean cultural aspects of KACEL programming

From Saebom ~ I’ve been getting some great suggestions from the feedback survey I send out at the end of each term.

KACEL is a cultural AND language exchange program, but I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that and just think it’s supposed to help Korean people improve their English. Most of our events and are conducted in English. But if you remember our original mission, there’s the Korean portion of the cultural exchange too. Eating Korean food is great and all, but it’s really only one aspect of what Korean culture is. And, anyone could do that on their own without this program.

Recently a Korean participant pointed out that many of the Korean participants don’t come to the group events. She explained it could be because once the American participants start talking (at real speed) it’s hard to follow their conversations. Especially given that the Korean buddies also have to think how to respond in English–it’s very stressful. (I totally understand! Sometimes I get lost trying to follow. And throw in a Boston accent or two. . .^^)

She suggested speaking some Korean at events; it might make Korean participants feel more welcome. And, it could be helpful for the American participants who want to improve their Korean. I LOVE this idea. Now I just have to figure out how to incorporate it into the program. . . maybe introduce a topic of concept or saying that people have to use at each event? Any suggestions?

We’re meeting this week, and I suggested we speak Korean the last hour or half hour of our meeting–it’ll be an experiment. It could be difficult for those who don’t know any Korean.

Another suggestion a few Korean participants suggested is playing Korean games at events. I think the interest is to see how the American participants respond to them. I also like this idea. It just requires a casual atmosphere where we can sit undisturbed and maybe be a little loud. Not a restaurant.

There are so many Korean games, 삼, 육, 구 (3, 6, 9); Go, stop; 화투 (hwatoo) just to name a few. I have a harder time coming up with American games: Uno? Twister? A few participant suggest jaxx and marbles, which I’ve never played before–have you?

Any suggestions or advice you might have for doing either of these things would be VERY helpful! 

3 FREE events you can go to with your buddy in Harvard Square this September

September 18, 11am-5pm  Third Annual Urban Ag Fair at Winthrop Park (in front of Peet’s and Grendal’s)
September 18, 6pm       Eighth Annual Revels “RiverSing” Celebration of Fall at Weeks Footbridge, banks of the Charles River
September 25, 3pm-5pm   An Old-Fashioned Hootenanny  at 42 Brattle Street

And in October. . .
October 22 and 23: Head of the Charles Regatta, Charles River

추석 (Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving day)

KACEL’s mission is to help Korean and Americans get to know each others’ culture through shared experiences and friendship. What better way to do that than by learning about holidays celebrated in our respective cultures! Below is one KACEL Korean buddy’s experience of 추석 (Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving day). She wrote in hopes that other Korean buddies might share how they celebrate the holiday, so please comment if you have something to add!^^

(Written by KACEL Korean buddy 경미) – As you know Chuseok is Korean Thanksgiving day and is on lunar Aug. 15th. On every 15th of month, we can see full moon. Especially, on Aug. 15th, the biggest full moon of the year appears!! So our ancestors started to make wishes and that turned to be a tradition of Chuseok.

송편 (songpyeon, half-moon-shaped rice cake) is typical food of Chuseok. We can fill inside of the rice cake with chestnut, sesame, honey and bean. There is a superstition about 송편. If you can make good-looking 송편, you can have a cute and pretty daughter!!

In the past, we were poor and there were not many chances to buy new clothes. But on special holidays like 추석 and 설날 (Seolnal, Lunar New Year’s day), we wanted to wear clean and neat clothes. Because those were special days that all big family gathered in one spot!! Therefore there was a tradition to buy new clothes for these holidays. We call those clothes as 추석빔 (chuseokbim), 설빔 (seolbim). Thesedays, it becomes a good excuse for children to buy new clothes on holidays!!

Chuseok could be a stressful day for women. Because there are so many things they have to do for this holiday. 며느리 (daughter-in-law) usually makes whole foods with other daughters-in-law in oldest brothers of husband’s house or mother-in-law’s house. Nowadays, some husbands help them to make foods, but still it is stressful for daughters-in-law. So every big holiday, many mass medias report that this issue.

추석 has three days of holidays. Middle day of these days is real 추석 (Lunar Aug. 15th)!! Usually (in my family’s case), the first day and a half (the first vacation day and half of the actual Chuseok holiday) we stay with father’s side relatives, and the other day and a half (half of real Chuseok and the last vacation day) we stay with mother’s side relatives. So we can meet all members of big family in three days!!

Even you are in the U.S., you can feel the mood of 추석 by making 송편 or by staying with your family or close friends!! Enjoy!!

Note from Saebom, KACEL founder – It’s striking to me that this year 추석 Chuseok falls right around the same time as 9.11. As Korean people spend the day with family and close friends Americans also are commemorating the time with friends and family. If there’s one thing I learned from the Sept 11th tragedy it’s that life is fleeting; you never know if what you take for granted today could all be gone tomorrow. So appreciate and relish what really matters; the friends and family who make it what it is. 

First group event of fall term

2011 fall term participants at the first group event of the term!

Boston, MA ~ KACEL group had its first event of the fall term: lunch and bowling at Jillian’s in the Fenway. Participants showed up to get to know one another and try out their skills on the lanes.

It was Korean participant Sunyong’s first time ever bowling, and she had an impressive show.

Sunyoung about to bowl–a strike?

American participant Kate showed great skill on the lanes coming in second place!

Kate rockin’ the lanes

But American participant Tony showed everyone up with his first place score–and two days before his birthday!

Tony, happy from a stellar performance

Thanks to everyone for coming out! Our next group event will be at the end of October and we will be going apple picking!