Cloud USA goes on the hunt… for Rain.

[Cloud USA]Annyeong haseyo…!” we said softly (hello and goodbye with honorifics, 안녕하세요, be at peace) as we clutched our purchases and walked out of the beauty shop, and later the restaurant, and still later the H-Mart.

Annyeong hase—yo?” people responded, smiled widely at us, and looked quite bewildered.  A few of them even waved as we left their premises.

An amazing day indeed, one that Terri and I won’t soon forget.  Mind you, we didn’t use any Korean without first carefully observing how Koreans in our immediate vicinity spoke to each other.  (We are just learning the language.  I’m pretty sure Rain speaks English a LOT better than we speak Korean.)  But I suppose I should start at the beginning, yes?

WHERE THE HECK WAS RAIN IN ATLANTA?  Where could we buy him?  What areas were the best for Rain merchandise?  Important questions indeed, and as of that moment, dear friends, our only success in buying Rain in our own suburb was Terri’s NINJA ASSASSIN on Blu-Ray from Target, on its release date back in March.  Music stores in our county have no Rain albums.  *sigh* All right then—what about other suburbs?  Excursion time!

Starting where the Korean population was highest seemed the smart thing to do, so early on the afternoon of July 21 we headed two suburbs over and into Gwinnett County.  We couldn’t have picked a better day—clear and sunny, with light traffic, which meant we wouldn’t have to play Demolition Derby just to get where we were going.  After 25 minutes travel time by highway, we exited onto a main thoroughfare (Pleasant Hill Road) and headed north.

We were soon in the midst of signs composed of Hangeul and English even before reaching and driving past the Korea Times and MBC studio offices.

The first stop we made was at an American music store that had NINJA ASSASSIN posters in its windows.  The clerk on duty knew Rain all right, but had no DVDS or CDS.  The store also had every movie poster known to man, but no NINJA and no CYBORG.  We left, dejected.

SECOND STOP: KYOBO BOOKS.  This full-fledged Korean bookstore had a great ambiance, and books for miles.  It was here that we struck gold and found the Vol. 5 Rainism album and TVXQ/DBSK’s Mirotic (in Japan, the group is known as Tohoshinki… good heavens, three names).  Haha! Paydirt!  We stunned the clerk a bit by asking about the books on K-drama IRIS and other goodies that he had in stock.  I’m sure it’s not every day that a Caucasian southern belle and an African American Georgia peach leave his store spouting gahm-sa-hamnida in a chorus.  (thank you, 감사합니다, also gomapseumnida, 고맙습니다)

On down the thoroughfare, we found an extensive shopping plaza with lots of side stores dominated by a Super H-Mart.  (Up to that point, I had only seen H-Marts advertised on KBS World, never a real one, so I was stoked!  Silly, I know.)  We searched for Nature Republic in a really pretty skincare shop and failed to find any, though there was VONIN and O HUI for Men, two of Rain’s past endorsers.  A beauty shop a few doors down had a large collection of K- and J-Pop, and we struck gold again by finding Vol. 4 Rain’s World and Epik High’s Remixing The Human Soul: Epik High X Planet Shiver (which is their Greatest Hits re-mixed and re-mastered by MapTheSoul).  *happy, happy dance* Terri searched like hell for some ChungLim, but no go.

The clerks in both places were as curious about us as we were about them.  We had a blast swapping stories and getting our hands exfoliated  for free.  And they looked really surprised and happy to exchange annyeong haseyos with us when we left.  It’s almost as if our Korean communities don’t expect anyone else to love and appreciate their beautiful culture.  But we do.

NEXT STOP: CHUNG DAM.  One of skincare ladies suggested this restaurant for dinner.  We were starving by that time (and Terri had been planning all along to get me Korean barbecue that day as a belated birthday gift, the sneak!), so off we went.  The atmosphere and decor inside Chung Dam was like stepping into traditional Asia—soothing and wonderful.  We had our own private alcove complete with shoji screens, a coffered ceiling, and a window-mounted LCD TV showing the SBS channel.  Ha.

As soon as our feast of bulgogi (barbecue beef), pork tenderloin (spicy!), a gazillion side dishes and soju made it to the table, we grabbed our chopsticks (we had no idea how to use them but learned pretty quickly as we were not going to embarrass ourselves by asking for a fork) and dug in.  Oh-em-gee, Clouds… talk about being in heaven.  We’ve got some great food here in the Southern U.S., but the food at Chung Dam was a special kind of delicious.  Seaweed soup, cucumber in mayonnaise sauce, potatoes and apple, something that looked like shark’s fin (but couldn’t have been because that is really expensive) and veggies on top of veggies… Aigoo! Neither of us thought we’d like kimchi, but this kimchi was yummy.  And the rice was perfect.

(Ready, set.. go! Dig in, Terri, while Stephe is snapping up pics…)

(Going, going… gone.)

(Checking out some SBS news during the meal.)

It was our understanding, from K-dramas, that only wusses sipped soju.  So, bolstered by the fact that we had ordered the weakest kind, we tossed the stuff down our throats in one gulp as if we were Korean buddies at a Seoul karaoke bar at 2 am.  Terri loved the smooth, delicious flavor.  But once the soju started burning its way down my gullet oh say, five seconds later, I found myself coughing and lying half on the table while she laughed at me.  What a pal. 😀

LAST STOP:  SUPER H-MART.  If you’ve been in a Super WalMart, then you’re halfway there.  This was a massive place divided into the usual sections, clothing, grocery, housewares, et cetera, and very well laid out… just throw in products and labels native to Asia, lots of Hangeul and kimchi and you’ve got it.  One of the most fascinating places inside the store was the CD/DVD section, where vast selections of K-dramas, K-movies, and K-Pop are neatly presented (every single label is in Hangeul, however, so thank heavens for pictures and H-Mart clerks).  I even saw K-hunk Jang Dong-Gun’s “Morning, Mr. President” on the shelf.  Terri came thisclose to getting her hands on FULL HOUSE, but their only copy had just sold.  (Yes, we cried like babies.)

The moments that about tickled me to death in the H-Mart were: 1) Watching a Gag Concert with my favorite comedienne BongSun on the big screen TV while searching K-Pop CDs,  2) Terri’s conversation with a clerk in which she stated quite firmly, “I’m pretty sure I’m yeoja (woman), not namja (man)”, and 3) when a little old Asian man gaped in disbelief and couldn’t take his eyes off of us as we perused the kimchi section.  If I had grabbed one of those humongous tubs for purchase, I dare say he might have had a coronary on the spot.  Poor thing.

Of course, we took a Korea Daily newspaper and a Georgia Asian Times for information for our Korean Culture in Atlanta page, on the way out… and our H-Mart experience was done for the day.

*NOTE:  We scoped out two cool-looking Korean karaoke bars for future Cloud USA fan meets in Atlanta.  One of them was called Sound of Music.  And where were we finally able to pick up the NINJA ASSASSIN DVD that Terri presented to me as a belated birthday gift (bless her heart)?  At a Gwinnett County WalMart.  Oh well… that was better than not finding it at all, right?

All in all, Terri and I were pretty happy campers at the end of the day, not to mention still as full as two ticks on a dog (some bulgogi and tenderloin from earlier made it home with us).  And we had a pretty decent stash to add to the Back To The Basic albums and FILMAX and Cosmo mags (Rain covers) that are already in our overseas collection.  Our next excursion will more than likely find us a bit westward of where we were… in Duluth, along Buford Highway with its tasty Korean coffee shops and bakeries.

And we’ll take videographer Jim with us.  (He’s a tad miffed at missing out on Trip #1.)

So stay tuned!  Until next time…

— Stephe @cloudusa.wordpress.com ^@@^
http://www.cloudusa.org


~ by Cloud USA on August 6, 2010.

17 Responses to “Cloud USA goes on the hunt… for Rain.”

  1. wow that food looks so good.

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  2. wowowo very good article here i did reliaze u speak korean good i am proud to read this and that was very one of the convince place to shope or rain and other artis too. well here i have to goes down out down to get rain goodie but they do carries everybody different colletion too.
    OMGF!!!
    @stephe
    i am getting jelious here wowowo just wowo so did u bought the 2 endousre of rain how i was i can be with your guy what an experince and good treat u got back diffrenly a gret spy ahahhaah
    may i ask that i envy u ofor all this jet leg u been hunk.
    did u said SOJU oh my i love it so much it my farviote ever and i know rain drink it alot too.
    @stephe
    u did like kimici it was good it rain food too ahahah i take oder that when i went to his NINJA ASSASSIN primere a day after i went to korean town in LA and man some their r very spicy and love it eheheheh u have make smile …
    @stephe in the red & block color bow is that maso soup oh my u getting me hungry here i miss it T__T
    gosh u so verry lucky u get the full cover of u hunk please take me too i am dieing here ahahah 🙂

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  3. Wow, your excursion was fun… and the details make me feel like I was there with you. 🙂 Similar to LC’s comment, I too am very blessed in that we have a Koreatown in Los Angeles, but you still need to know where to go as it can be a real adventure as well.

    As a side note, out of all the Korean foods that I have enjoyed (and I am half Korean), I have yet to try Soju. It is on my list though, because how can you enjoy Korean food and not to have at least tried Soju. 😐

    Oh well Ladies… please take us all along on your next excursion, we love hearing the details. 😀

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  4. Next time take me! Thank you for sharing!

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  5. wow! thanks so much for the tour in Atlanta…feel like i was an invisable companion, hahahaha (very detailed). we have a Chinatown where i am, but i have to tell u, they had no Rain kdramas available, but they could order them for me. i was able to pick up several mags. with him and the Korean Times which had his Swiss. pic spread in it. also a leading bookstore (although they had a collection of kdramas/movies), Rain’s stuff still had to be ordered from Korea. a friend while vac. in Hawaii was able to ship several kdramas to me, but said FH was sold out. i haven’t found a HMart yet, but thanks for the tip. i’ll see if i can locate one here. hope it’s as large as yours. did you ladies inquire about his Back to Basic? will they have it soon? happy you had such a great Rain day! and lovely report, thank you.

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    • Thanks, busy. 🙂

      Actually, we saw Back To The Basic in the H-Mart, and if I’m recalling correctly, in the beauty supply place where we got the Rain’s World album and Epik High.

      If we had a Chinatown near us, I think I’d be in it every week for something or other.

      Stephe ^@@^

      Like

  6. I have just located three Super H Marts in Northern Virginia! Also, having enjoyed the wonderful eating utensils at our local Korean restaurant, I went on a hunt this evening and located an on line vendor, KOAmart.com, where I got beautiful stainless steel chopsticks and the cool long handled spoons that are exactly like the ones they use at Choi’s Korean Kitchen, so happy!!!!!

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  7. Wow.. thank you for this, Ladies. I feel like I was also on that hunting Rain journey with you both 🙂

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  8. Hey Stephe,

    That’s pretty cool……I for one would like to see you guys do a page for those of us who might like to learn a few basic Korean words. Korean language 101 (SMILES)

    I have learned a few things from this page alone. You guys make a great “investigative team”!!! I really appreciate it!!…(SMILES)

    Like

  9. oh you poor ladies!!!…you are sooo deprived!!!…I live in Las Vegas, and it only takes a 20 minute trip to Chinatown to find anything Korean…food, dramas, music, groceries…I feel blessed now…lmao!!

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  10. You Ladies, Rock! What an awesome day! And I am sitting here giggling since my son and I just polished off bulgogi, seaweed soup and Bek Se Ju, a traditional rice wine with 12 herbs, at a local establishment named Choi’s Korean Kitchen this evening! I have only had Sake a couple of times, but found it too strong for my taste, but this wine is smooth, mellow and oh so delicious. It is also supposed to help you live to be 100 years old, what a plan! Give it a try! Happy Hunting…can’t wait to hear about your next adventure! BTW, we are also chatting on fb, I am Dianne Dalby Haley

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  11. Gosh, wish I can go with you, girls!! It was a good day cause u got a lot of Rain’s goodies. Have fun and keep posting it so I can feel like I am there with you. 😀

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  12. YAY i FINALLY get to read YAY, gonna have to do so 2moro though eeeeee i can’t wait.

    and SO jealous that you managed to walk in a store and buy all that O_____O you lucky lucky clouds you 😀

    P.S DBSK Mirotic WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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  13. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!YOU GUYS ARE SO LUCKY!!! You guys must have had THEE best day ever man. I cannot wait to move to GA next year, im gonna be all up in those Korean stores too lol. I just feel like i can never find anything up here, its so annoying…

    Like

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