Kimchi Making, Marine Corps Birthday and the Seoul Lantern Festival

Hello everyone.  Robyn, Grigsby and I continue to be busy exploring all Korea has to offer.  Grigsby, in particular, gets so much attention when he’s out in Seoul that he wants to go out for walks all the time.  As for me, I attended the 2014 Seoul Kimchi Making & Sharing Festival on Friday.  After a nice luncheon with Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, I was fortunate enough to learn from kimchi master Kim Soon-ja.  She was seated next to me in traditional clothing and told me the history of kimchi and the proper way to make it.  I was incredibly impressed not only by Master Kim Soon-ja’s culinary skills, but also her business acumen.  I learned a great deal from Master Kim.    

With Kimchi Master Kim Soon-ja

Since I love spicy food, it was all I could do not to eat the kimchi while we were preparing it!  In general, there were many enthusiastic people having a fun time there. I made some new friends, including actor Kim Ho-jin and actress Kim Ji-young.

 My new friends from the 2014 Seoul Kimchi Making & Sharing Festival

Friday evening, I changed out of my kimchi making clothes and into a tux for the Marine Ball.  The United States Marine Corps Birthday is celebrated every November, with a traditional ball and cake-cutting ceremony.  I have great respect for the Marine Corps, having served closely with them when I was an officer in the U.S. Navy.  As Ambassador, I know that diplomats worldwide would be unable to perform their duties without the Marines who protect them.  Marine security guards are currently posted at embassies and consulates in 137 countries – many in the roughest neighborhoods in the world.  Here in Korea, there has been amazing collaboration between the U.S. Marines and their ROK Marine brothers.  This has grown and developed over the years and further deepened the connection between our two countries.  Naturally, the other nice part of the evening was enjoying an elegant night with my wife, Robyn.

 Had a wonderful time with the Marines!

I knew when coming here that one of the best parts of the job was going to be the food, as I had eaten Korean food many times before coming to Seoul – most recently in Annandale, Virginia (right outside of Washington D.C.) as part of Korean language studies.  I have made a commitment to try as many different Korean foods as I can.  This means that I also need to keep working out so that I don’t end up gaining too much extra weight.   (The good news is that I joined a local gym here and had an excellent workout on Sunday afternoon – lifting weights!)  It is so interesting to me in Seoul, the fusion that goes on with Korean food.  Korean food is influencing other foods regionally and globally.  At the same time, although the traditional foods remain in place, new creative dishes are being created with outside influences here also, making for delicious results.

Finally, yesterday Robyn and I had a chance to visit the Seoul Lantern Festival.  It was amazing to see Changdeok Palace’s Injeongjeon Hall, Korean traditional musical instruments, and Admiral Yi’s turtle ship rendered in Korean traditional paper and lit up on the Cheonggyecheon.  If you stop by the festival, please check out our Embassy’s Statue of Liberty lantern!

A visit to the Lantern Festival

I was delighted that many of you made comments on my previous blog, and I look forward to responding soon.  I’m studying Korean as much as my schedule allows and reading your posts is good practice for me.  Thank you for your suggestions.  Robyn, Grigsby and I look forward to more interaction and insights from you. 


  1. It was a pleasure meeting you last Friday at the Marine Ball. You made an impression on everyone who met you that you will be a very outgoing and popular ambassador. We were really all stoked when you photo bombed our friends who were having their photo taken with the flag display. Your big smile and engaging way of meeting people is going to make the Koreans love you. You already have fans in the expat community.

    1. We are so happy to receive the brilliant Ambassador striving to understand Korean culture with warm-hearted mind. May God bless and protect Ambassador Lippert and his family while serving in Korea . May I make your Korean name if you don't mind? I would like to suggest your Korean name : "리파도"
      리파도 대사님 . my facebook page: Tel: 010 2480 0937

    2. James, thanks for the very kind sentiment. I also enjoyed meeting you and others at the Marine Ball. I had a great time - I appreciate you posting this on the blog.

    3. And Lionstar, thank you for your kind words and the suggestion about my Korean name!

  2. Wonderful event! It seems like you guys had loads of fun over there. You know I have also been to Korea several times but never attended such Korean party. Well very soon I am going to throw a Korean styled party and I’ll hire a Korean event planner for the arrangements.


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