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[Well-curated] Rabbit-themed exhibition, retro game and cafe at historic building

By Lee Si-jin, Hwang Dong-hee, Park Ga-young

Published : Dec. 30, 2022 - 09:01

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Image of a drawing by comic artist Lee Doo-ho (Korea Manhwa Contents Agency) Image of a drawing by comic artist Lee Doo-ho (Korea Manhwa Contents Agency)

As the new year approaches, various rabbit-themed events, attractions and exhibitions are scheduled to entertain the public, celebrating the Year of the Black Rabbit.

Rabbit-themed carton exhibition

Cartoon exhibition Eol-To-Dang-To, an abbreviation word for “Way to go rabbit! What a confident rabbit!” in Korean, feature eye-catching works drawn by the members of the Korea Cartoonist Association and Japanese artists.

Korean traditional comic artist Lee Doo-ho and renowned Japanese manga artist Iwami Seiji are among 60 artists who joined the exhibition to celebrate the new year.

Image of a drawing by artist Kim Jin (Korea Manhwa Contents Agency) Image of a drawing by artist Kim Jin (Korea Manhwa Contents Agency)

Participating artists shared that they have featured the dynamic and lively characteristics of the rabbit, wishing visitors an amazing new year.

The exhibition will take place at Korea Manhwa Museum in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province.

After about a 3- to 4-minute walk from Samsan Gymnasium Station Exit No. 5 on Subway Line No. 7, cartoon lovers can easily spot the wide open square of Korea Manhwa Museum.

Artwork drawn by Japanese artist Takashi Honjo (Korea Manhwa Contents Agency) Artwork drawn by Japanese artist Takashi Honjo (Korea Manhwa Contents Agency)

Interesting hands-on activities -- including a rabbit-mask making program, a tteok (Korean rice cake) making experience and writing new year’s wishes -- are prepared at the museum’s lobby as well.

The admission fee is 5,000 won per person.

The Korean Manhwa Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with doors closing at 5 p.m. Don’t forget that the museum is closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day and the Seollal (Lunar New Year) holiday.

The exhibition, which started on Dec. 27, is scheduled to run through Feb. 26, 2023.

Com Com Play (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald) Com Com Play (Hwang Dong-hee/The Korea Herald)

Retro games at Com Com Play

Coming out of Exit 4 of Jongno 3-ga Station, up the streets of Ikseon-dong Hanok Village, you will come across a two-story building at the end of an alleyway.

A large red sign that reads “World best Korean style game center” will catch your attention, inviting you to a retro arcade center with games that people used to play in front of local stationery stores in the 1990s.

The arcade is famous as a filming location for drama series such as the recent hit series “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” the tvN series “True Beauty” (2020) starring Cha Eun-woo and Moon Ga-young and the KBS series “When the Camellia Blooms” (2019) starring Gong Hyo-jin and Kang Ha-neul.

Visitors play games at Com Com Play. (Com Com Play's Instagram) Visitors play games at Com Com Play. (Com Com Play's Instagram)

The first floor of the renovated hanok is full of games to play with a group of friends. A bout of games with “Pump It Up,” a music video game played on a dance pad; “Razing Storm,” a gun rail shooting game; or “Hidden Catch 5,” which Woo Young-woo played in the series, will have you completely immersed.

The second floor holds more stick-based video games. You can enjoy “Puzzle Bobble,” a tile-matching puzzle arcade game; “Tetris,” a puzzle video game; “Snow Bros,” a video game to defeat enemies by throwing snowballs at them; and many more.

There are also punch machines, darts and claw cranes to enjoy.

One game costs 500 won or 1,000 won. You can exchange bills for coins at the center.

The arcade is open 24 hours. Aside from the Ikseon-dong branch in Jongno-gu, Com Com Play runs five other branches around Seoul, including Haebangchon in Yongsan-gu and Yeonnam-dong in Mapo-gu.

 

Dessert cafe The Spot Fabulous (Park Ga-young/The Korea Herald) Dessert cafe The Spot Fabulous (Park Ga-young/The Korea Herald)

Cafe in a historic building

Right across from the Chinese Embassy in Myeong-dong, a tourist district that was bustling with foreign tourists before the COVID-19 pandemic is a historic building that was built in the 1950s. It used to house the embassy of Taiwan as evidenced by the white sun emblem, which still is shown on the top of the gate.

Since August 1992, when diplomatic relations between South Korea and Tawian were broken off as the former established a diplomatic relationship with China, the building has been used for various purposes after almost two decades of vacancy. In the 2010s, it has been commercially utilized as a restaurant or a photo studio for tourists.

In 2019, the interior of the building was transformed into a spacious dessert cafe with high ceilings and numerous mirrors called The Spot Fabulous. Through tall windows, visitors can get a cozy view of the city center and the Chinese Embassy.

As South Korea and most of the world slowly return to pre-pandemic normlacy, Myeong-dong might soon be crowded with overseas tourists as well. However, at present it’s a comfortable spot for those seeking to alleviate their sweet tooth and enjoy a unique ambiance. It’s also perfect for those who are looking for Instagrammable moments.

One downside for this weekend as we enter 2023 is that it might get really crowded, as the neighborhood is not far from Jonggak, where the New Year bell-ringing ceremony will return for the first time in three years. Also nearby is Shinsegae Department Store, which offers a media facade that covers a whole wall of the building.