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Journals from Spring and Fall, 2012 South Korea

2012-05-12 Akaraka!

The past few days have been quite a big deal here at Yonsei. Yonsei University doesn’t really have that many events during the year, but when they do have an event, it is quite grand! Akaraka is the event that happens in the Spring. It is a three-day event that ends with a massive concert on Friday night. So beginning on Wednesday there were a series of events that happened throughout the day. This is the time when clubs are able to fundraise and really be able to celebrate the things they did for that semester. Like many festivals, Akaraka had about 5 stages where there were performances ranging from singing, dancing, and tae kwon do. Also on the upper level of the campus there were foods from around the world hosted by the students or student-run clubs. Tents lined the main road that were designated by different clubs that had blankets and tables (made from beer boxes) that represented the drinking locations. Street foods during these events are allowed to be on campus to help feed the thousands of people that participate in this event. On Wednesday I watched a singing contest that featured international students singing K-pop songs. It was a very intense competition as the grand prize was 500,000 won which is a little under 500 dollars. On Thursday there was a firework show (it is not illegal to do fireworks during the year in Korea). Then the big event on Friday which contained about 6 hours of yonsei chants/cheers. Korean cheers are much more intensive and are like a mini workout. Many of the cheers are actually American songs that have been revamped with Korean words celebrating Yonsei or denigrating Korea University (Yonsei’s rival). There were about 10,000 students crowding the outdoor amphitheater. Akaraka is famous for hosting many Korean celebrities. In the past they have had bands like Big Bang turn out for the concert. This year there were 5 artists, I believe. I was only able to recognize one group, which happened to be 3 members of Girls Generation. Even though the entire event is in Korea, it was still a spectacular experience that shows how much school pride Yonsei students have.
Every year thousands of students miss out on this opportunity because of the lack of tickets. Students from universities around Seoul all try to acquire these tickets. Although they are sold for only 10,000 won (about 10 dollars), people can resell their tickets and mark up the prices as much as 10 times as high because of the high demand for a seat.
Akaraka is an event that you can’t miss if you come to Korea during the spring!

Dana Hellie

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