Thursday, 30 October 2008

Is your toilet running?

Another great find at Dont forget to read the comments.

I hope to have a few interesting photos that I took myself any day now.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Training with cartoons

On Monday I introduced my friend to my Hapkido master. When he heard that I competed in a competition over the weekend he exclaimed that he was looking for a Hapkido dojang. After making the introductions on Monday he decided to only look for the first session. Master had other ideas and asked him to join me with bamboo staff practice. He appeared completely lost, but I’m sure the same can be said of my first time. Now I just hit myself very hard one some body part whenever I start working on speed.

Yesterday we studied self defence. It was Eddy’s first experience with something like this, so he still needs to learn to relax. He was learning the basic moves for getting himself out of someone wrist grip. Essentially it is just stepping in to the person and thrusting your hand past said person. Before doing every movement, Eddy would tense up and start vibrating like a, an, er, a vibrator! His eyes started bulging and then SUDDENLY he would slowly step in to do something strange to get his wrist lose.

I dare YOU to try to keep from laughing when someone is acting like a mad cartoon character every time they practice their moves.

* Eddy is not his real name, but I still hope he doesn’t read my blog.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Fleshy Flesh

Look what serves up today.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Gone is the rice.

Last week was the big harvest week here in Two Thousand City. Great timing considering that the Rice Festival happened this past weekend. In the first picture we see to of the villains plotting to deprive the world of the golden view of ripe rice.

Here is only one view of the golden sea and this is not a particularly nice field.

This is what they reduced that lovely sight to.

Damn Koreans. The destroy everything.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

And it's aaaaaaaall right.

It felt good, even though I can’t remember anything specific. I know I nailed the three movements for he most part and I remember that the whole arena was watching me from the applause I got after each movement, but that is it. I am sure it was, possibly, good enough to get a medal, but I have no idea if it was worth the gold. Master Jo assures me I looked really good, but I think I got the audience vote (medal) and the photo opportunity vote(trophy).

While having lunch I was called to receive my medal. It is odd because it is mostly a take-your-medal-and-go kind of affair. There was more ceremony with the introductions of all the “important people”.

It was a similar thing with the trophy which was awarded for the overall winner of all the self-defence competitions.


At least I didn’t make an ass of myself :)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

How can you not love Gmail?

Google just keeps on adding new stuff. I with I received the kind of mail that would allow me to use this new feature.

On a more Korea note, I was told ten minutes after my class finished, ten minutes earlier than I expected, thus sending my plans down the drain, that the schedule has been changed. That NEVER happens to me, so I will forgive them this time.

Yesterday at Hapkido Master let me practice the defensive moves for the competition on him. Because he could feel what I was doing, he picked up quite a few things. It is amazing how changing small thing can make the whole move, well, dangerous. I have heard it said that you only really start learning about your martial art when you reach black belt, and that everything up to then is just preparation. I can see why they say that.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Safe Flying

I forgot I had this story saved and then saw it again while cleaning my bookmarks. Apparently Korean Air is very save.

When I was working for a local Airline in South Africa, one of our rules was "If you don't understand English then you don't sit next to ANY exit". The reason for this is because our emergency procedures are all in English and we study them in English. You don't have time to wonder what language you should speak when you only have five minutes to prepare for a possible crash lading. There is a crap load to do and you are already under tremendous stress. People lives, not just your own, are at stake.

When I flew with Qatar Airline there was no such rule. In an airline where passengers speak hundreds of languages, how am I expected to communicate with a passenger when the s*** hits the fan? The answer was: "You move the passengers during the emergency." Oh, THAT makes sense. I have to try an move a passenger who doesn't understand English, and I have to do it with everyone panicking. GREAT IDEA! I one tried to explain to a Portuguese women that I had to move her, while we were still boarding, and it took me almost 10 minutes. In the end there was a gentleman nice enough to give up his seat so that I can move her. The only problem was that he was also sitting next to an exit.

Keep this in mind next time you fly Korean Airlines and happen to sit at the over wing exit. If something goes wrong and they have to tell you what to do (if they themselves get injured), will they be able to do it and will you get off the possibly burning aircraft? I hear the Korean Air cabin crew are not so hot on the Island Language.

I LOOOVE Ice Hockey

Roboseyo posted this clip yesterday. I followed the links to other related clip and somehow got to Ice Hockey fights. It is amazing how these guys fight. Rugby is arguably a much rougher sport with the possibility for tempers to flare around every corner, yet there are rarely actually flights. Sure, they push and shove and call each other names, but the fists stay down.

Here is a compilation of hockey fights. I love how the referees just stand there with their arms folded. They are bigger spectators than the actual spectators. At other times it looks like they are actually trying to referee the fight. After watching for a while I saw that there was method to the madness. They stand and watch, and as soon as the two players go down, then jump and pile on them. You just can’t swing an arm when someone is piling on you.


The second clip is great because of the scale of the whole thing. I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving it all away. I will say that the game commentators sound like they have done a few boxing matches before.


For a Canadese person reading this, do these guys get suspended after the game or is the penalty box the final punishment?

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Fast and Deadly

In one of my adult classes we are reading a book called Cry Freedom. Originally a film, it was converted to a book for the Oxford Bookworm Library. It tells the story of Steve Biko, a key man in anti-Apartheid Activism in South Africa. Being South African myself, I am able to explain a lot of the things in the book that most people will just miss completely. I showed the students a photo on the Internet to explain what a Black Taxi is. Taxies in South Africa, and I expect the rest of Africa, are a menace on the road. If you take them out of the statistics then the road safety in South Africa will be very impressive. Keeping that in mind, have a look at this photo that I found:


*Doom, by the way, is an a insecticide/insect spray.

Friday, 17 October 2008

It's all about the looks.

Will this have any effect in Korea? Somehow I think it will just be water of a ducks butt.


Today, when we had a little competition in class, quite a few students said "You are handsome", instead of "Thank you", when I gave them hints. I generally don't take compliments well and this seems even emptier than most, like they are saying it just to make me feel good, not to observe on something they might actually think.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Training, till the floor is wet :(

You would not believe how confusing it is to remember three flashy little self defence techniques. OK, maybe it is not THAT bad, but I am new and EVERYTHING is confusing to me. I keep on getting my footwork wrong. I get confused between the endings of two of the moves and the more tired I get the more I forget what’s what. I think at the moment I look something like this:

(My throat is raw from all the screaming yesterday, so today I sounded exactly like this)

Just for fun I include these nimrods:

Practising this is quite tiring. I am sweating like a pig by the end of the session *EEW!* The exhaustion was compounded today by the school picnic which saw at cross the biggest mountain in the city. I have a question. Do some of my students have no other clothes than their school clothes? Does some of my student think it is normal to hike a mountain in sandals? Are girls completely unable to stop talking?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Last week Skattebol helped me buy a Scooter. After much discussion we decided to get a brand new second hand 50cc. The previous owner bought it, put about one kilometre on the thing and decided he didn’t want it any more.

It is a Daelim Bonita. Mine is a deep maroon/wine red, but this is what it looks like:

Cute, isn’t it. It was all I could do from acting like a Korean male and getting a pink one and a pink helmet.

The day after I got it, Skattebol decided that it should be named 자유(Jayu). Jayu is Korean for Freedom and freedom is exactly what the scooter gives me. I don’t have to wait around for a bus any more. A trip to E-Mart, including dinner, costs me only one hour and not two and a half hours anymore. I can even go to a nice quiet little coffee shop where a cappuccino costs only 2800 won. I’m often the only one sitting there as most people get their coffee from the express window outside.

I love quiet coffee shops.

My own silly/interesting Korean name is 자유인, the 인 part meaning person. Since my actual name is Francois, which means Free Man (ala Frank, to be Frank), I thought I should find some kind of Korean equivalent. Most Koreans say it is indeed weird, but it makes sense once they know why I chose that. So, 자유인 will be driving 자유 around Two Thousand City.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

I'm a minority, AGAIN!

As far as I know the O blood type is the most common type in the West, with Positive and Negative being about equal. Apparently here in Korea it is very rare, so much so that a call had to go out on the K-blogosphere for someone with O- blood. I have it, but the requested person is on the other side of the country, so I can’t help.

This is the first time that I have ever had to worry about where I will get blood if something happens to me. It is not a nice feeling.

I'm a minority, AGAIN! Demmit!


Interestingly, I have noticed that not only do Koreans not know the O type that well, but they also have no idea what I mean when I say Negative. Even when I write it down they still don’t seem to know that blood types come in a positive and negative.

Monday, 13 October 2008

I'm going to compete. HA!

I think I might have agreed to enter a Hapkido competition in little over a week from now. I initially thought I said “Yes” to go to a local competition to watch, but then the Master said we will be practicing this week, him and I, and then I realised I was being entered I felt bad about saying “No”. At least it doesn’t really matter if I screw it up. I am only a yellow belt (second belt, white being first) and by the time of the competition I will have been doing Hapkido for only about two and a half months. You can’t really expect too much from me, can you?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Scary AntiVirus

* For some reason this post didn’t go through on Friday, so I am posting it again.

A teacher friend here in Korea sent me this today. This is something that is so common in East Asia that we usually don’t even notice it. This is what is wrote in the email:

You just gotta love this country for its cute use of illustrations (AntiVirus software on my office PC)

Look at how the capsule "crushes" the computer viruses and you can clearly see that they've died by the use of halos - funny considering they have demon-like horns! I like how the virus in front extends out its hand releasing its last dying breath!!!!

Thursday, 09 October 2008


If you use Google then I am sure you have noticed that they change the logo image quite often. There is usually some theme and when you click on the image you will get search results related to that theme.

My Google defaults to Google Korea, as in "", not ".com". Today the site had this interesting image...

Apparently today is Hangeul Day. Take it from me and many other over here, Hangeul is easy. It is much easier than English. If you are already in Korea but can't read it yet, or you are thinking of coming here, please take 30 minutes and learn this. It will make your like so much easier in many ways. Having to read Korean in the Romanised versions is downright confusing.

*Unfortunately the new spelling of the logo will come to Googelle, or something of that sort.

Wednesday, 08 October 2008

Only in the movies?

And you thought this only happened in the movies...

Tuesday, 07 October 2008

But is it really cheating?

I downloaded a few (almost) random films to keep me busy during the mid term exams. One film was called “Bigger. Stronger. Faster.” It deals with the use of steroids. It was actually much more interesting than I expected and gave me a bit to think about.

At one point the narrator mentioned Rosie Ruiz. The women won the Boston Marathon by getting on a bus to gain first place. From the clips it was quite obvious that her plan wasn’t going to get her very far, but she will go down in history as one of the stupidest, if not one of the funniest cheats in history.

On a different note, I found an interesting History Channel Program on what will happen when all humans suddenly disappeared.

Monday, 06 October 2008


Roboseyo, sometimes know as Rob, had a K-Blog that is one of the weirdest things I read on the Internet. It is not freaky weird, but silly, fun weird. It is not all fun and games, however. There are more serious posts as well, but those are not the posts that bring me back.

If you are looking for K-Blogs covering the news, or the problems and stupidity of Korea, then a 30 seconds search will do it for you. You can do that for any country in the world. If you are looking for a blog that make you see the other side of things, a non-critical, make-up-your-own-mind kind of blog, a blog that will make you say “WTF!” before you burst out laughing, a blog that will make you wonder if this man even has a job to have time to find stuff like this, then look no further. (We are busy with exams and that is why I am able to post at 10am. Now stop pointing fingers at me)

Today he managed to get a hyena being mauled by wild dogs mixed up with a PopIdols type clip.

Thursday, 02 October 2008

Neck Break Stuff

Yesterday was gymnastics day at Hapkido. I just don't see the point of doing this. The risk of injury is high and it will do nothing for self defence or fighting ability. OK, maybe it will, but I don't see how. If you plan to join a demo team or become an action film star, then maybe.

I'm still not able to do a front flip, but at least I can feel my landing improving and I suspect the Master is also starting to support my in air turning less. I just need to find the time to work on it alone and focus on what I do wrong. With me you have to start slow. Later I will keep up with the blistering pace, but you have to start slow.

We did back flips as well. I am still far from doing that one, but all in good time. I'm not 16 any more and I only just finished my second month. What did scare me was when Master moved the mats to the wall and preceded to demonstrate that action film favourite of running to the wall, taking two steps against it and flipping back. What the...?! I'm suppose to do that? I did it, with a lot of assistance. I'm starting to get the hang of what things are suppose to feel like. Call it body awareness, if you will. At least I haven't broken my neck yet.

Not breaking anything, yet, is not good enough for my girls friend. She is in Korea for two weeks. It has been three months since she has been home. I thought of skipping Hapkido this week, but I know that if I start skipping classed then I will get lazy again and we all know what happens when you give in to laziness in training, so Girlfriend must spend an hour with me in the Dojang. Girlfriend did not like the gymnastics AT ALL. The HATED the wall running and said she NEVER wants to watch me do that again. I don't blame her.

One BIG problem with the gymnastics is that it puts a lot of strain on the ligaments around your ankles. Maybe I should start wearing my ankle support every time we do stuff like this. There is just no point getting injured for something like this.

Oh, I must mention this. We did spinning/jumping kicks yesterday. I didn't fall once and I reached the highest when we had to do a straight up jump kick. I was a sprinter in school. Most sprinters can jump fairly well, just like most long jumper are normally quite fast.

At least once a week I think to myself: "Sweet! I'm doing Hapkido IN KOREA!"

Wednesday, 01 October 2008

It's all the same, but al least I feel better.

This was a post from Friday is about events that happened little more than a week ago. I have not been re-illusioned, but over the weekend I have had time away from school and a chance to sit down and think about how I am going to handle the situation.

First think I came to terms with was my co-teacher. She is normally very helpful, so I was never all that angry with her. I was upset with her, but not angry. Apart from not helping me with my request to keep students of my back with their stupid Lancourt Rocks crap (Koreans call it an island, Dokdo), she did not go against me in any other way that I know of. The Lancourt crap however, leads to other things that were expressed in extremely rude ways by the students. That was what upset me the most. Since I walked out of that class, I have had almost no students randomly come in to my class to do nothing but make noise, and I have had no one write rubbish on the boards either.. Since EVERYTHING in Korea is politics, the office being the worse of them, I know that often she is just doing the best not just for her, but sometimes for me as well and that is why she tried to sweep the Lancourt thing under the rug.

I also realised that I can’t make myself not care at all, just like you can’t make people who don’t care at all care more than a little bit. I am, however, sticking to my policy of, if you do don’t try then I don’t care, but I will create my lessons as if everyone wants to be there. When I give the lessons, I will just observe and take the time from the bad apple and give it to the good peaches. That way the situation will turn out just peachy! (Ho-ho. Otto play word games. Otto Funny… Otto stop now.)

The third thing I realised was that there are people out there who read my blog. I started it, like most people seem to, as my letters home. For the most part it is still just that. There are people with more knowledge and better writing skills than mine to do the heavy stuff. I write it in English because I have friends who don’t speak Afrikaans. I write what I want and my friends and family know me for that. Before this week I thought I had about 10 people reading my blog, but it turns out it is more like 20 (ignoring random hits through search engines)

The last this I realised was that there are people out there who have gone thought this already and want to help, even though I they don’t know me at all. I received responses from people I have never heard of before, both on the blog and via email. I was given helpful advice and a book was recommended to me, with reasons why it might help my teaching. I am going to give it a try and see how it goes. My mission for the next month is to read that book, try a few lessons using the technique and see how it goes.

Something good that has come from this is that I am more relaxed in class. I don’t feel any pressure to teach the bad apples and it makes me happy to see the good ones participate. I leave class feeling that I am doing some good again.