Warding off the cold with 'warm rocks'
By Jeff Chung
By Jeff Chung
It's the middle of winter in Korea, and the weather has been unpredictable, with warmer-than-usual days followed by extremely cold days.
Last year, the weather was weird, with warmer weather lingering well into October.
Al Gore is right, climate change is happening as we speak, and we all feel it.
While residents on the Mainland keep warm with space heaters and central heating, Koreans have their own system — on dol — and it's gaining popularity around the world. On dol means "warm rocks." Conventional American heating systems warm the air in the room. On dol, which dates back hundreds of years, heats the floors.
Before electricity, Korean homes were designed around on dol — an external heat source (wood fire, coals) would send hot air through a chamber underneath the house, heating a bed of rocks laid just beneath the structure's flooring.
In modern-day South Korea, the on dol technique is still used in many homes, apartments and even luxury condominiums. Heating pipes are laid beneath the flooring, but instead of hot air traveling through vents under the floor, boiler-heated water is the heat source.
On dol has many advantages: The heat lasts longer than with a conventional heating system, and it is more economical. Koreans believe that your feet should stay warm and your head should stay cool.
And most Koreans complain that air-heating systems are too dry, causing discomfort. Many hotels in South Korea have on dol floors.
In dramas, you will often see people sitting and sleeping on floors. At meals, people sit on the floor and eat from knee-high tables. As in many Hawai'i homes, Koreans take off their shoes before entering the home — the floor is considered very clean.
Jeff Chung is general manager of KBFD, which televises Korean dramas. If you have a K-drama question or comment, reach him at 521-8066 or email@example.com.
• • •
THIS WEEK’S K-DRAMA SYNOPSES
'INFAMOUS CHILL SISTERS'
Episodes 53 and 54
Tonight at 7: Myongja meets with Boknyeo, Seolchill's natural mother. Myongja gives her a picture of Seolchill, and Boknyeo begs to see Seolchill just once. Michill lies to Supyo, but her lie is exposed.
Tonight at 8: Seolchill tells Hanam she has to live with her parents even after she's married. The two run into Yangpal, and Seolchill tells him the truth about their relationship. Myongja tells Seolchill about her birth mother.
Episodes 11 and 12
Tomorrow at 7:50 p.m.: Yu-jin faints in San's car, and he rushes her to a hospital. Meanwhile, Kang-jae waits for Yu-jin at her house with a surprise. Sae-yeon invites Miju to a grand-opening party. Chairman Kang sees Miju at the party as Kang-jae's lifesaver, while his wife tells him she's their future daughter-in-law.
Tuesday at 7:50 p.m.: Sae-yeon leaves Yoon's home and checks into the same hotel as Kang-jae. Sae-yeon's mother calls Kang-jae and yells at him to leave her husband's side once and for all. Kang-jae and Miju run into each other and have lunch.
'QUEEN OF THE GAME'
Episodes 1 and 2
Wednesday at 7:50 p.m.: In this new drama, we meet Lee Sin-jeon, a successful businessman from New York. While vacationing in New Zealand, he runs into car trouble. A Korean woman, Eun-seol, just happens to be passing by, and Lee Sin-jeon asks her for help. However, scared of a stranger on a deserted road, she passes him by. Of course, the two find that they're both staying at the same ranch house.
Thursday at 7:50 p.m.: Sin-jeon prepares to take his revenge on Kang Jae-ho, Eun-seol's father, who is responsible for his father's suicide years ago. Unaware of Sin-jeon's true identity, Kang Jae-ho looks into his background as the new president of the investment company funding his hotel.
Episodes 19 and 20
Friday at 7:50 p.m.: Joong-won and Taoren run into thugs who attacked them. Joong-won asks for the name of the man who hired them and finds out SR Electronics was behind the attack. The DA's office reopens Chairman Oh's attempted murder case.
Saturday at 7:50 p.m.: Director Suh tells Joong-won he wasn't behind the attack. In the meantime, Hyun-tae visits Prosecutor Oh.