Friday, 30 April 2010

What is his name?

I had my first full Beginner Adult Lesson for this year. Most of the students are quite good, one women is way better than she thinks and one women seems mostly useless. Wait, before I call her that or something worse, I have to admit that her English is not the greatest and the stress of having to come in to this class the first time can be really hard on someone.

We were doing a very basic exercise where you would point to a picture with a name and relationship written under it, and ask two questions: “What is his/her name?” and “Who is he/she?” These are pretty basic questions if I have to say so myself. So basic, in fact, that I can actually ask them in Korean.

One student, and I am really trying to credit this to the stress, was just not able to get that when someone asks “What is his name?” the answer should be “His name is…” Not everyone will always get what to do at first, but at one point I was not even sure she was able to read any English. (I refuse teach people that low in English. I cannot be expected to teach at that level when I can’t explain even basic concepts in Korean).

If you think that was frustrating, get this. I decide to mark in her book which part of the dialogue is A and which part is B. I pointed to myself and said “A”, pointed to her and said “B”, pointed to the picture and asked “What is his name?” Remember, the name is written under the picture and I actually pointed it out, again. All I got was a gargle and an eventual “What is his name?”

Again, I pointed out that the “question person” is A, me, and the “answer person” is B, her. Same result. This was when I decided to change tactics. I point to the picture again, say “OK, 여기, 이곳.” (OK, here, this.) and ask the question in Korea: “이름이 뭐예요?” (What name?). Amazingly, the looks at me and says “What is his name?” WOW!?

With what I am sure is a flabbergasted look on my face, I give the general “What/I don’t know” gesture and repeat while pointing “이름이 뭐예요?”. Even after other has explained it to her, in Korean, and actually GIVING HER THE COMPLETE ANSWER, I still don’t know what they name of the character in the picture was.

Forgive me, but I have special education students in my classes that are easier to get an answer out of. I will see what happens next week, when she has had time to relax and figure out what is going on his this class. Hopefully I can also figure out how to get through to her.

Monday, 26 April 2010

This Miserable Place

Twice within a short period of time I found myself defending Korea. Now that calls for a shot of soju!

We are two regular Waegoogs at my Hapkido gym and both of us have been in the country for a while. We’ve not hit the 10 years mark yet, we are not newbies any more. Both of us don’t really like our own countries and both of us can moan like old men about Korea and Koreans, and both of us really like Korea. It is for these reasons that no one should take our moaning seriously. When it comes to the push I’m sure Travis will defend Korea just as much as I would.

A week or so back I met a guy new to Korea. He’s very green and moans about the silliest thing, those things that become insignificant by the time you hit the one year mark. (Go back on this blog and see what stupid things I complained about.) I also met a guy this weekend that has been here for almost a year now and really does not like the country. I’m sure it’s mostly because he doesn’t get along with the people he works with, but still, he is not exactly positive about Korea.

These two men are not really that strange, but what I did find strange was how readily I defended “this miserable place”. Korea grows on you. The longer you stay and the more you understand why the people do what they do, the easier it is to love the country. Basically what I’m saying is, don’t crap on the whole country, and this goes for anywhere else, until you have tried to figure out what is really happening, and don’t blame the whole country because you picked the short stick and ended up with the bible bashing, “Dokdo” promoting, kimchi worshiping fool that makes all other Koreans look bad.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Shove and Push

When you open a guidebook to Korea, one of the first things you will read is that Koreans don’t like to show emotion or that Koreans are reserved. Not so!

Koreas are some of the most hot-headed people I have ever seen, especially when you observe the older people. Sure, Koreans have a relatively high tolerance for many things, as anyone would have living in one of the most highly populated countries in the world, but generally they have no problem showing their emotions. You must be blind not to see when they are happy, sad, upset, angry, or whatever emotion is worn on their sleeve at the time.

Why am I brining this up? Well, today was the opening ceremony for the Icheon Ceramic Festival. Somehow there were two altercations with men in suits pushing each other around. This is an opening ceremony, not Korean parliament. I have no idea what the fights were about, but since there were press cameras capturing every shove, I’m expecting a little something to appear in the news. I’m asking my contacts to have a look see if they can find out what happened.

Other than those incidents, the ceramic festival is basically the same things as last year, except for everything being toned down. This is because of the navy ship that was sunk a few weeks back. Apparently the “mourning session” will be held sometime soon, so that the whole country can feel the pain.

In a way I admire Koreans for feeling the pain of something like losing a navy ship to a possible attack so strongly. It is a sense of unity and loss to the whole. On the other hand I’m also thinking that people need to get on with it. Oh well, Koreans be Koreans and I be my inconsiderate “die if you want” self.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Almost Goal

My first local game. I still want to go watch a few other teams before I pick my fav.

This is a moment captured in time. A moment right before teh ball entered the goal.

That sounded much better in my head :(

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Uniform Cuteness

Here in Korea the Pre-School students, not the middle school or high school student, wear the best uniforms.

This little guy was waiting for the bus at our apartment complex. Love the shorts and socks/stockings/hose.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

GT it…

More school instant messages translated with Google Translate

학기초 폭주하는 업무로 정신없으시죠? 용케도 잘 움직여주시는 선생님들 감사합니다. 어리버리한 신참내기 교감이 첫번째 과제수행에 들어가겠습니다.
개끗한 환경을 위해 여러가지로 머리를 짜고 실행하고 있는데 ...
먼저 교무실 정리정돈부터 하고자 합니다.
넘치는 업무로 책상이 늘 비좁았던거 저도 다 겪어본 사람이지요.(치워도 금새 어질러지고..)
일단 책꽂이 위 개인 사물은 다 내려 놓으세요. 책꽂이와 서랍, 그리고 개인사물함(전 학교보다 수납공간이 넉넉하네요)을 활용하시고 늘 깨끗하게 관리해주세요. 부장님들께서 수시로 신경써주세요.
또 책상주변의 박스나 오랫동안 안쓰는 물건도 치워주세요.
좋은 시설에서 근무하는 것 감사하며 한번 해봅시다.
일하시다 어려운점이나 개선할 점 등은 늘 말씀해주세요. 전 그런거 좋아합니다.

To express the spirit of the beginning of work, is it? Oh, well thank you kick the city teachers.Sympathy rookie in the fire will enter the first task was performed.
For a variety of environments gaekkeuthan run and putting his head in there ...
From the office to reduce the first order.
As a desk full of business all the time I've ever worked with people 이지요 bijopatdeongeo. (Take a look on is messing up ..)
Once a bookshelf above it and put a personal thing. Bookshelves and drawers, and personal lockers (all schools would be better than the storage space haneyo) are taking advantage of managing hasigo always clean. Sir aids are often your care.
The desk of the box or even remove it for a long time things are horrible.
Thank you and good facilities will work at it, let's go.
Points, etc. Let's work hard to improve and always let us know. 그런거 I love it.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Pubic Baths be fun.

The public baths slash Jimjilbangs are interesting places with people running around naked and generally doing strange things in front of everyone. In general us western types don’t like walking around naked with everyone staring at our hanging bits and we also don’t really like having other people’s hanging bits displayed to us either. In a Jimjilbang you don’t have much choice though, so you get used to ignoring the people around you. Sometimes, however, it is not all that easy to ignore what is happening.

I was in the unenviable situation where I had to sleep in Central Spa to take the first bus out (just to arrive at my house at 8:00, shave, brush my teeth again, get dressed and leave the house to be at school by 8:30). It was at this particular visit I saw a few things that I feel I need to share.

First, the Blackburn vs. Man Utd game was on, so there were men sitting around staring at their darling Korean football player, Bak Ji-Sung. Did you know that Korean broadcasting considers, for the purposes of highlight packages, Bak Ji-Sung running on to the field a significant event? This event is so significant that his, make sure you get this, running on to the field, needs to be shown before attempts on goal, or fouls, or whatever. Just in case you didn’t read it the first time, he ran on to the field. That’s it. Nothing else.

Also, did you know that, like children, Korean men think that every time BJS touched the ball there is an opportunity for a goal, and that when he doesn’t score from am non-chance, then there is reason to complain? (To be fair, it was a small minority, but it is more fun to say that everyone was like that.)

The second thing that was just off was when a guy was standing in plain sight, blow drying his gonads for two minutes, and if this was not bad enough, when he finished doing that, he proceeded to blow dry his arse for about 60 seconds.

The third thing was very off was waking up in my bunk at about 2am because the guy next to me is getting in to his bunk is the noisiest way ever, just to assaulted with the sight of his forest of a small bush that hides his jingly jangle. Apparently he did not receive clothes when he checked in. This same guy was making strange sounds throughout the night which naturally makes me turn my head, just to see him sleeping on his side with his little brush in my direction.

I suppose I should mention that the bunk beds in a jimjilbang are all connected with about 20 or so in one row and only a little wooden “fence” separating the people.

As I was cleaning up to go home I had my forth weird experience. There was a guy in the very hot pool, squatting with a very wide stance so that his leathery pouch and arse hole was just touching the water. Why didn’t he just start polishing the wiener right there?

Thursday, 01 April 2010

Korean Auto Shows and the men who “Love Cars”

The “Seoul” Auto Show was this past weekend. I say “Seoul” because it was actually held at KINTEX in Goyang, 45 minutes or so on the subway out of Seoul. (Why can’t we hold the Seoul Motor Show in Icheon? We are only one hour away by bus.)

Last time I was there with my Super Zoom camera. Super Zoom cameras get that Super because of their small sensors. Small sensors are not good for the light conditions inside a building. This time I was all excited about having the better low light performance of a DSLR’s sensor which translated in to better photos of the glossy cars and edited girls. The only way this could have gotten better was if I had a Canon 5D Mark II or some other amazing camera in hand.

Apart from not having the greatest camera, the biggest problem was that more than half the show was car parts and those travel/caravan/car things. Most of the rest was made up of static racing cars.

I freely admit that I was hoping to get a photo or two of a racing model. These girls make it so easy to photograph them. They actually make an effort to look straight at every camera around them, often striking those special East Asian Cute/Sexy poses. I’m not a professional photographer. I don’t get to take photos with model often. Problem was that I saw a total of four, yes, four models, and they were only released at short bursts.

The first sight I had of these elusive creatures was when I was looking for angles on a single seater racing car. I saw the two girls in the background, not doing much, but hey, the car was interesting enough. While taking the photos, the two girls suddenly walked up to the car and struck their poses. Men…wend…mad!

Men with huge cameras and monster lenses as if by magic. Within seconds they were crowding to get shots of the scantily clad, surgically enhanced, make up covered girls. Sure, I would have likes to take a few photos, but I was not going to fight for a shot of a girl. I’m not that desperate for a model, or a glimpse of a girl. I did get one shot, however, because I accidently found myself in a good position while looking for angles on the car.

Just as I was leaving the hall, I first heard the buss and clicking and then saw men crowding like vultures on a carcass. Apparently the models had been released again.

I decided to provide a link to my Facebook Album instead of posting a bunch of large photos here. If you are having trouble with viewing it, please let me know.