Monday, 30 November 2009

More than just Pop

I’m trying to get to know a bit more about the Korean music scene, and no, I’m not trying to get to know my students better. I’m just trying to get to know what is out there in this Gug.

What I found over the last week is that there is much more to Korean music than Mista and the Brown Eyed Girls…

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Children need to be entertained.

I went to Holly’s Coffee to study. As I was getting to the end of my session I noticed a boy looking at me, making elaborate moves to attract my attention. I ignored him.

There weren’t that many people in the coffee shop to distract him, so I stayed the focus of his attention. He moved closer and talked softly, but just loud enough for me to hear, for me to notice. I ignored him.

He moved back to his initial position and looked at me again. I glanced up; he saw me, smiled and ran. “Oh, no! I made eye contact. I’m going to be the foreigner for entertainment.”

A few seconds later he came back carrying two of those tiny plastic cones from the crackers you get here in Korea, the ones where you pull a sting at the bottom to have a spray of paper, along with a loud crack, happen to you. They were already used and he stood in his “talking spot”, banging them together to make soft plopping sounds. I knew we were past the point of no return, so I looked up at him.

He said something while extending his arms to show me the thing. I gestured him over to “see what it was”, and the last half hour of my studies were down the drain.

After showing them to me, and me pretending to be interested, he rushed of, stopping to wave at me, stopping to peek around the corner, and came right back with this little treat…


Believe it or not, he actually asked me if I was a foreigner. Seems he only saw me as someone to talk to and not as the “foreign entertainment”. That is him, peeking around the corner on one of his return trips to home base.


The Bored One himself.


Somehow we got on to the topic of my camera. He saw me change the lens for I can’t remember why, and was completely amazed by it. I showed him how to change a lens and let him hold the camera. A quick pointer on where to look and what button to press produced this shot, no cropped with colour processing.

I was just amazed that The Bored One managed to hold the camera up. The Sigma 30mm is a really heavy lens. I have held other prime lenses and few are as heavy for their sizes.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Notebook

“Oh, man, I like going on tours.”

“Yup, yup... I wonder what’s over there. I’m going.”

“OK. I’ll  wait over here at the back of this line of this line of 100 people so that I can get my lunch 30 minutes from now. Maybe I will see or experience something that I came on this trip for right here, in this line, of 100 people, waiting for food.”

I would love to know what the story was with this book. It was a rather nice notebook with only the first few pages used. The notes were in English, on English, and I didn’t see any Korean translations of anything. The handwriting was neat and clear and the notes did not seem to have been done by a female.

Why would someone want to burn a book like this? Was it the note taker who did this? Was it a bored teenage boy who found someone’s lost book and thought that it would be better to destroy it than leave it where it can be seen? What it an accident that was just taken to far?

Friday, 27 November 2009

What is under your nose?

120 people walking, and most of them carrying cameras to take photographs of, well, whatever. I saw almost everyone in the group walk across the gravel and not one looked down to the new sound under their feet. Instead they spend their time posing for their own photos at another blue pool or another interesting rock.

After all these years and many hours of wondering, I still don’t get why people would want to have themselves in their own picture. Are they afraid someone will not believe that they were where they said they were? Does it matter if people believe you?

Is it because they really care so little for the view that they have to block it from the camera? There is the possibility that they are so obsessed with themselves that looking in the mirror is just not enough and now they have to make everyone else look at them a little too.

Maybe it is that they are just so programmed to “Take a picture of me here!” that they can’t even imagine beauty without their own faces spoiling it. I can understand you wanting a picture or two of yourself to give to family, what I don’t get is why you need to be in every picture on your camera.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Must reads.

Along with Dokdo is Ours, @koreangov is a must read. Even if you know little about Korea, @koreangov will make you smile.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Super Duper English

I feel the need to direct you to another blog today. Read EVERYTHING. You might just miss one, and there are many…

Monday, 23 November 2009

Fine then. Don’t save the people.

Itaewon, in front of Dunkin Donuts, about 1pm, a Korean woman carrying pamphlets about what you need to do to have our sins forgiven and a white guy waiting for a friend…

Woman: (hands over a pamphlet) Do you believe in Jesus?

Man: No

Woman. Oh… OK… Bye.

Seriously? If they guy did believe in Jesus, then why would you want to give him the pamphlet. More than likely he knows all this and you are wasting your paper.

If the guy does not believe in Jesus then surely the point of the whole exercise was to help him along in that direction? Instead you leave him with a pamphlet that tells him how to have his sins forgiven by someone that he does not believe in, and you are wasting your paper.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Wrong place for Konglish.

Oh, no!

First, it only works in Internet Explorer, and when I open it in IE I see this? I can only imagine what the other languages might say.

Are they THAT proud that they can’t ask someone check the Naver Translate results? Don’t they have ANY English speaking friends at all? There are many Koreans who can do a much better job than this. I am sure all of our English teachers here would have given them perfect English within a few seconds.

As far as I understand it is supposed to help foreigners register with sites in Korea.

Thanks to Brian for letting me on to this one.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Birthday Songs

it was the birthday of one of my adult students yesterday, so I sang her a few birthday songs. I started with “happy birthday to you”, flowed in to “생일축하 합니다” and ended it of with “Veels geluk liewe maatjie.”

They told me the Afrikaans song reminded them of a children’s birthday song. Rightly so, because it is a children’s song.

the song they say it reminded them of was:

왜 태어났니? 왜 태어났니?
얼굴도 못 생겼는데
왜 태어났나?

Translation is something like this:

Why were you born? Why were you born?
Your face is so ugly.
Why were you born?

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Pepero Day, Everyone!

Pepero are chocolate covered pretzel sticks make by the Korean company Lotte. As far as I can tell Lotte is the biggest producer of sweets in Korea and with a marketing strategy like this it is easy to see why.

As you can see from the sticks in front, they are long and straight, like the number one. Put them next to each other and you will get 1111, or rather 11/11.

Yes, that's right, 11th of November. Pepero Day. It isn't exactly a holiday, but it seems to be one sometimes. The whole day today we will see people walking around with Pepero in their hands. Some people even buy boxes pasted together in large hart shapes or arranged in Pepero Bouquets.

Basically, Lotte has pulled of a new Valentine’s Day based solely on THEIR product. WOW.


*** Update ***

I found this nice photo and I’m posting it with stuckinseoul’s permition.

We might not do much for Christmas here in Korea, but damned if we are not going to make serious money on Pepero Day.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Stupid Flickr.

This fixing the broken photos from older post is really irritating.

I have to to go through each post, one post at a time, to see what is broken. Then I have to click on each broken image to open the Flickr page because that is where the URL for imbedding is located. Then I have to open the source code for each post, replace that URL with the new one from Flickr and finally save everything.

The bad thing is I’m still not sure what causes this. Hopefully I will figure this out in the next few days. At least you can still see the photo when you click on the broken image.

Monday, 09 November 2009

Seoul Subway Revelations

Someone asked me a question about the new Line 9 that I was unable to answer. I my search for an answer I found some other bits of information that I personally found interesting.

This tread has old maps, as well as a map of  proposed lines and extension.

Also, this is the first privately owned line and it is not owned by a Korean company, but by a multi national French company names Veolia Transport.

Saturday, 07 November 2009

So Korean

I found this the other day. Even before I saw the Korean writing I knew it was made by a Korean. The apartment is just SO Korean.

Friday, 06 November 2009

It went well up to now, no?

Oops. Something happened and I have no idea what. It seems I might have to go through the posts and reconnect all the photos.

I’m so not in the mood to do this. I really want to be doing other things. The good news however, is that you can still click on the image to link to the Flickr page containing the image.

Thursday, 05 November 2009

Water Under the Bridge

I finally made it back to Dongjak Bridge. I lost my previous photos of said bridge in The Accident.

Wednesday, 04 November 2009

Not so scary, is it?

I was looking for Korean Emoticons to use in a lesson and found this:


()()() ()()()



A gang of rabbits! how cool is that?



Monday, 02 November 2009

Disclaimer version 2.0.1

I admit that my earlier posts were very often critical of Korea, but as time goes on I’m getting less and less critical. I am not saying Korean is getting better though. Like every other country Korea is what it is and I am learning to understand it. I have never had any illusions about this process. Korea is not the problem. I am. No matter where I go in the world I will have to get used to the place and understand it, and the more I understand it the more likely I am to fall in love with it.

Having said that, I will still use my blog as a way of expressing my current experiences in and thoughts about the country, and as ever those thoughts will basically be from a White Boertjie slash Western perspective.

If anything offends you so much that you feel you need to come punch me in the face, feel free to leave a comment. I will respond and if I feel what you say is justified, I will try my best to correct the situation.

Sunday, 01 November 2009


It was the week before Halloween and I was thinking that it would be fun to carve pumpkins for the Extra English Class. Fun is relative, because it was MY first time to carve a pumpkin and as an added benefit I was going to photograph the results. It is quite possible that I enjoyed the whole event more than any of the students.


The Final products. I have a closet type area in my classroom that no one knew about. It is nice because it is pitch black inside when the door is closed. I found a piece of cloth, improvised to drape it, set up my camera on a tri-pod with a remote shutter release and started. I sommer took the chance to teach some of my students how to handle a camera.


With these two particular pumpkins you can see the Eastern Asian propensity to making everything look cute. It us Halloween! Not Power Puff Girls Day! Sheeeeeeez. ^.^