Friday, May 6, 2011

The Hunt: Seoul Search 2011!

Last week I got the genius idea (which, frankly, I'm surprised didn't come to any of us earlier) to do a city-wide scavenger hunt in Seoul. I started by Googling (my first instinct for everything) "Seoul scavenger hunt" and I came across a few helpful links. I know every year Rocky Mountain Tavern in Itaewon runs a hunt, and a girl was nice enough to post the entire list in her blog. Now RMT's hunt is designed to basically be a drunken stumble through the city, making asses of foreigners and causing Koreans to get very uncomfortable. That was not the style I was looking out of their 130 items I whittled it down to...41. Then I found a photo a group had taken of a list that they had made for their own hunt in Seoul on a different blog. I stole my favorite ones from there, and that brought me close to 50 items. Carin and I worked together to fill in the remaining 25 spots with things that we felt were essentially Korean and missing thus far. We ended up with 56 photo challenges, 10 items to bring back, and 10 video challenges.

We ended up having 28 participants on six teams of 4-5 people. Each team chose a color and dressed or accessorized in that color. We actually ended up having shirts made (I can't believe how easy it was! With the help my my co-teacher that is...) and they looked GREAT. Teams were given five hours to complete as many as they could before we all met at Bunch (our favorite local brunch place) where we reviewed everyone's photos on the TV, voted on questionable ones, and awarded points. It was a fantastically fun day...I couldn't have asked for a better one. We had great weather, I had a stellar team (Carin, Jamie, Shannon and Erich), and at the end of the day I was exhausted from running around and laughing so hard.

If you would like to see the full set of rules and the list, you can access them as a Google Doc here. Please feel free to use this again with your friends...we had such a good time.

Ok, now for the hilarious photos. Out of the 75 items, at least one team managed to do all but seven! That is fantastic and impressive! We had some crazy and difficult things on the list. Below I will put each challenge and our photo that went with it. If our team didn't complete it, or if our photo was voted down, I've also included a photo from another team who did receive points.  Here we go!

Hunt materials: Rules, envelopes with lists in them, and our t-shirt. All branded with the logo designed by Josephine Trinh!

Purple Team!
Tom, Diana D., Amanda, Chrissy, and Dave

Blue Team!
Caitlin, Theresa, Lauren (Feeny's aunt), Feeny, and Dana

Orange Team!
Christina, Linda, Naomi, and Brandon (looking AWESOME in their orange)

Me, Carin, Shannon, Erich, and Jamie

Don't mess with us!

Pink Team!
Jin, Julia, Melissa, and Frank 
(They also had a fifth team member named Hailey who came after the photo was taken.)

Team Gold!
Diana C., Sal, JiHye, and Loren

We met in Caffe Bene in Myeongdong, which had plenty of room for teams to spread out and get strategic. If you're wondering, the back of our shirts say "We're on a treasure hunt, please help me!" in Korean.

Team "Nowon Can Beat Us" getting down to business.

Gold team reviewing the challenges.

We got this.

1.Get a stranger to buy you a bottle of soju. (1 point)
This girl and her friend had been watching us jump on and off the purple line at every transfer stop to take photos on different subway lines, and when we got off at Cheonho and she did too, she approached us and asked what we were doing. After laughing she asked if there was any way she could help. She bought us the soju, and her friend took a shot with us, worth one point each. Then she also took two of our store photos which earned us another two points. Karma paid off through out the day. We tried to help others when possible (our team filled out three surveys and donated money towards feeding North Korean children) and people really paid it back.

2. Have a team member wear a ramen cup as a hat. (1 point)
It was voted by everyone that this didn't count because Shannon was holding it. Oh well.

Loren (Team Gold) earned his team a point with this bold fashion choice.

3. Play a street arcade game. (1 point) 
Hahaha, Shannon takes on the punch machine in Insadong and has the strongest punch on our team.

4. Give away "free hugs" and have a stranger take you up on it. (1 point)
We stumbled into the Seoul Friendship Fair, and found lots of people who wanted hugs. Like this Korean guy.

And this bird mascot of Shinhan Bank, bahahaha.

5. Take a picture of your team at one of the palaces. (1 point)
In front of Deoksugung Palace.

6. Take a team picture with a dog wearing clothes. (1 point)
To be fair, it was a stuffed dog. But the rules were non-specific!

7. Take a team picture with an animal statue. (1 point)
Bear statue in Myeongdong!

8. Dip your limbs in the Cheonggyechon. (1 point per limb.)
4, 8, 12 limbs.

16, 20 limbs! The water was FREEZING, but actually felt really good on tired feet!

9. Take a picture of the funniest poorly-written Konglish sign/shirt/menu. (1 point) Bring the item back to us for extra points. (Maximum of 5 points)
This mistake is EVERYWHERE here. I look forward to moving to Massachubatts in August.

10. Take a team picture doing a human pyramid with a stranger on top. (1 point)
These kids were out canvassing/spreading information for Habitat for Humanity. Shannon said "Oh! You like houses? Let's build one out of people RIGHT NOW!" before dropping down to her knees and having the Koreans climb aboard. HILARIOUS. I couldn't stop laughing as I took this photo.

Team Purple's pyramid was too freaking awesome not to post. The whole team! Impressive as hell!

11. Take a team picture on a boat. (1 point)
So impressed at Team Orange were the only ones to complete this challenge!

12. Take a picture with a stranger in a Taekwondo outfit. (1 point)
No one successfully got this one.

13. Take a picture of a piece of graffiti with at least five different colours in it. (1 point)
Check out all the graffiti that Team Blue found!

14. Take a picture of a stranger asleep on the subway. (1 point)
We spotted this adorable old man sleeping on line 5.

15. Take a picture of a stranger over the age of 20 picking their nose. (1 point)
Thank god for cooperative waygooks we attack in the train station!

16. Take a picture of a school kid playing a PSP on the subway. (1 point)
We had photos of a kid playing Nintendo DS, and an adult playing a PSP, but no one actually got a kid playing a PSP.

17. Take a picture with a Korean with a tattoo. (1 point)
Forearm tattoo for the win!

18. Take a picture of a member in the driver seat of a taxi. (1 point)
I cannot believe that the Gold Team (pictured) and the Blue Team got taxi drivers to let them sit in the drivers seat!

19. Take a picture with a Korean military soldier. (1 point)
Stealth photo on the train.

But the Blue Team was much more impressive!

20. Take a team picture of a team member in a hanbok. (1 point)
We paid 20,000won at Party Princess for Carin to put on a hanbok...and it ended up not even counting because we are dumb and didn't read that it was a TEAM photo. Le sigh.

Team Orange got full points with three of its members in (free) hanboks.

21. Take a picture with a Korean man wearing an ajumma visor. (1 point)
That fellow had quite the visor.

22. Take a picture of the whole team in furry animal hats. (1 point)
Sadly I think furry animal hats are out of season. No one completed this challenge (which would have been a piece of CAKE three months ago).

23. Take a picture in a GS25/7-11/Family Mart corner store holding a package of men's underwear. (1 point)
Lost your underwear? Just pop into a convenience store!

24. Take a picture of a team member pumping gas for a stranger. (1 point)
Team Gold ROCKED this challenge. They were the only ones who completed it.

25. Take a picture of the whole team in a telephone booth. (1 point)
We are too cute.

26. Take a picture with a security guard or police officer. (1 point)
No one said it had to be from this century...

27. Take a picture of a team member kissing an ajosshi on the cheek. (1 point)
An ajosshi is technically just a man of marriageable age, but it is mostly used to describe older guys. Carin made this guy's day (and his friend's who snapped their own photo). 

28. Find a foreign car. (1 point)
Volvo! Being Korea, it is harder than you might think to find a foreign car.

29. Take a team picture with an ajumma or ajosshi in full hiking gear. (1 point)
These two also loved our on-off shenanigans on the purple line. They would give us a heads up about the next transfer station, haha.

30. Take a picture with the robot in Insadong. (1 point)
Thanks to the holiday, Insadong was PACKED and really obnoxious to navigate.

31. Take a team picture in a themed cafe. (1 point)
Party Princess!
Jamie:  So what is the theme here
Me: Dressing up in pretty dresses.
Jamie: Wait...really?

32. Take a picture of a team member holding a Korean baby. (1 point)
We got this adorable photo near the Cheonggyecheon, but we were voted down on grounds that it wasn't a "baby" according to the group.

Whereas Team Purple got credit for this terrified little girl that Diana ripped from her father's loving arms, hahaha.

33. Take a picture of a team member hunkered down over a squat toilet. (1 point)
Always classy, hahaha.

34. Take a team picture with a couple in couplewear. (1 point)
Cute couple wear!

35. Take a team picture with everyone in lense-free glasses. (1 point)
We didn't do this one, but Team Pink did an awesome job.  Even if it did mean Jin almost getting attacked by the salesgirl! 

36. Eat a Pizza School pizza of your choice. (1 point)



37. Collect one of each denomination of Korean currency (coins and bills) and take a picture of them. (1 point)
We even had both sizes of 10won coins!

38. Take a picture of a team member plucking their eyebrows or painting their nails on the subway. (1 point)
Feeny, of Team Blue, did her beautifications (with my nail polish, haha) on the train.

39. Take a team picture with a male wearing eyeliner. (1 point)
Erich looking extra smoldering with his eyeliner.

40. Take a team picture in front of each team member’s school. (1 point per school.)
Only two teams attempted this one, and each only got to one school. Here is Team Orange in front of member Christina's hagwon, Pagoda. Not VIPS. That is a delicious restaurant.

50. Take a picture of at least one team member with a gamer in a PC Bang. (1 point)
Erich went into the PC Bang in my building's basement and happened to run into an old student who is now in high school. "GASP. Erich teacher?" Awesome.

51. Take a team picture with the owner of Bunch. (1 point)
Mrs. Lim is fantastic. I don't know what we would have done without her letting us take over Bunch for the photo/video review. It was perfect.

52. Take a team picture in official jjimjilbang attire at the sauna of your choice. (1 point)
No one completed this challenge either.

53. Take a team picture in front of Seoul’s tallest building. (1 point)
The 63 Building in Yeouido was way out of the way, so due to time restraints no one attempted this challenge. 

54. Take a team picture featuring at least one ddong (poop) shaped product. (1 point)

Oh so VERY Korean. These are poop shaped pastries with brown, squishy, red bean paste inside. Aigh.

55. Take a team picture with a fish. (1 point)
Fishy fish!

56. Take a picture of at least one team member eating a shrimp and/or octopus burger from Lotteria. (1 point)
No really, they're delicious. 
Note Erich getting eye linered up in the background, haha.

57. Take a team picture with a Korean celebrity. (1 point )
20 points if they are a living, breathing person. 
This one was super easy since celebrities promote EVERYTHING here.

58. Take a team picture in which every team member is sipping from the same Monkey Beach bucket. (1 point)
Yes! I KNEW there was a reason I kept this bucket from Halloween. 
I also enjoy that there are three holidays represented in this photo. Halloween for the bucket, Christmas directions in the background (that I still haven't taken down...oops), and the lotus lantern I made last year for Buddha's birthday.

59. Take a photo of Seoul from the top of Namsan Tower. (1 point)
Getting to the top of Namsan can be expensive and time consuming, so everyone scrapped this challenge.

60. Take a team picture with someone promoting the opening of a store or restaurant. (1 point) 
When getting our pizza Shannon spotted this store opening down the street. Look at that girl's outfit! Crazytown!

61. Take a picture of at least  two team members on a tandem bicycle. (1 point for two members, 2 points for three members, 3 for four members, and so forth)
Sal and Loren of Team Gold taking a little jaunt on a bicycle built for two!

62. Do a shot of soju with a stranger. (1 point per person, maximum of 5 points)
A shot with the friend of the girl who bought us soju.

And one with the friend of the owner of Bunch.

63. Take a group photo in front of each of the following: HomePlus, Lotte Mart, E-Mart, Shinsegae, Hyundai. Store logo must be visible. (1 point per store)
The guy from the cell phone store nicely took this photo of us with HomePlus.

Team Gold paid attention to the clue and read that it had to be LotteMart, not a Lotte Department store, so they get props for that.


Over Shannon's shoulder you can JUUUUUST see the sign for Hyundai Department Store.

64. Take a picture of your team at stops on EVERY subway line. (1 point per line represented)
Four of these were taken by jumping off the train, snapping the photo, and jumping back on before the doors closed as we traveled down the purple line. It was awesome and impressive.
Line 1.

Line 2.

Line 3.

Line 4.

Line 5.

Line 6.

Line 7.

Line 8. 

Jungang Line.

65. Have a nationality hunt and take photos with other waygookin from around the world. (1 point per country)
This was so much fun! Erich would run up to anyone even VAGUELY foreign looking and ask where they were from. People were remarkably cool about taking photos with us, and were impressively diverse. We got all kinds of cool countries and so did everyone else!












Saudia Arabia.


South Africa.


Items to collect:
57. Have each team member make a nametag with their name written in Hangul to wear during the race. (1 point)
We made crappy nametags, but they didn't stay on. Other teams had great ones that they wore in many photos.

58. Bring back a Korean flag without paying for it. (1 point) 
We had a girl draw us a flag. She was so overwhelmed by us that she forgot how the lines on the Korean flag are organized and had to look it up!

59. Get a business card from a tailor. (1 point)
We didn't get this one done (the one we asked wouldn't give it to!) but other teams were successful. 

60. For each home country within your team, collect an object displaying the country's flag. (1 point)
We were all from the US so we got one small flag in Insadong.

61. Bring back a used stamp. (1 point)
Carin had a letter at home, so this was pretty simple to collect.

62. Find/steal/create a banner with your team name on it and bring it back. (1 point)
We got posterboard and made our big sign that read EXTREME GREEN! and had various slogans on it including "We'll kick your grass!" "It's greener over here!" and "We'll take home the green!"

63. Take sticker booth photos of your whole team. (1 point)
SAAAD that we missed this. Perhaps we'll just have to have a team meeting later and do this anyway, haha. 

64. Obtain a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup product. (1 point)
Reese's products never survive long in my apartment, so it is lucky that Carin's parents had recently sent her some mini-cups.

65. Have each member of the team purchase and wear a pair of celebrity socks. (1 point)
Adding one more to my collection. Awesome!
Think these are all Girls' Generation members. 

66. Obtain an item with a taeguk on it (cannot be the flag used for #58). (1 point)
We got a pair of awesome Korean flag socks that I look forward to wearing in the future.

67. Convince a restaurant to let you go back and roll your own kimbap. (1 point)

68. Have each member of your team eat at least one silkworm pupa. (1 point)

69. Get as many people to do the "Where the Hell is Matt?" dance with your team in a crowded public place. (1 point)

70. Consume a cup of tteokbokki in 60 seconds or less. (1 point)

71. Video record a Korean B-Boy break-dancing. (1 point)
Somewhat surprisingly, no one completed this one.

72. Get a young Korean child to say “hello” to you. One point per child, for a maximum of five points. Minus three points if the parent is seen prompting them. (1 point)

73. Record at least three members of your group playing leap frog in front of the World Peace Gate at Olympic Park. (1 point)
Only one team went to Olympic Park and they took a photo in front of World Peace Gate...but forgot to leapfrog! Oh well.

74. Record the team singing at least one song in a noraebang. (1 point) 

75. Eat live octopus. (3 points per team member)
Deemed too time consuming, expensive, and/or creepy, no one did this challenge.

As you can see, we had an absolutely fantastic day. It was the perfect way to spend a beautiful day off!


  1. Really awesome! I might borrow some of these ideas in the future... :)

  2. Sooo cool!!!! Looks like you guys had fun ^^