Sunday, 27 June 2010

TOPIK here I come.

I’ve decided that in order for me to advance in my Korean studies, which stagnated just beyond the point of ordering kimbab, I have to get something to work towards. That something will be the TOPIK, or Test of Proficiency in Korean. As a kind of a public note book I created a new blog which updates on to Facebook for everyone to admire or laugh at my progress.

Friday, 25 June 2010

How un K-Pop. Me likes.

Was it always this corny?

As always, the high bandwidth internet here in Korea allows me to rediscover all kinds of old TV programs, like this one...

<br><a href="">He-Man: Diamond Ray Of Disappearance</a>

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

What a joke.

Copied from the Korea Times:

By Kim Hyun-cheol
Staff reporter

In the start of a new epic for its football history, South Korea made it to the round of 16 at the 2010 World Cup, for the first time in an overseas tournament.

Clumsy, and “In the start?”

Lee Jung-soo scored in the first half and Park Chu-young netted a second after halftime, as Huh Jung-moo’s squad managed a 2-2 tie with Nigeria in its last group stage match in Durban, Tuesday.

He managed to score AFTER half time. That is amazing, and illegal.

The result could have been not enough for a seat in the top 16, but the East Asians outplayed Nigeria and Greece in their Group B competition as Argentina beat Greece 2-0 in Polokwane. South Korea placed second in the group with four points, ahead of Greece with three points and Nigeria with one.

Where do I start? They have a seat? They played Greece and Nigeria at the same time, three teams in on once pitch? They outplayed Nigeria by drawing?

South Korea, which returns to the knockout stage in eight years, takes on Group A leader Uruguay Saturday at Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth, where the team got off to a flying start for its World Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory over Greece on June 12.

Did you even try to make that sentence longer? What am I going to read for the next 8 years, while I wait for Korea to return to the Last 16.

South Korea outplayed Nigeria in attacks with 16 shots, eight of them on target, compared to Nigeria’s 11 shots including three on goal. Some critical mistakes in defense, however, gave up two goals to the Africans, which kept the Taeguk Warriors from claiming a victory they could have deserved.

They could have deserved. That is funny. They could have not deserved it. They also could have many other things.

It was Nigeria who took an initial lead. In the 12th minute, Kalu Uche converted a Chidj Odiah cross from the right to a sharp drive in the center of the box that hit the deep right of the net. Cha Du-ri was standing right behind the Nigerian midfielder, but failed to mark him on time.

However, South Korea leveled it in the 38th in a virtual repetition of the first goal against Greece, which led to Lee’s second goal of the tournament.

And this lonely “however”  sentence? I’m already tired of this commenting. You can read the rest of this clumsy article here. I’m not being paid to write decent English, so I al allowed to write the rubbish that I do, but is a news paper that English speaking people read and worse, Koreans use it to improve their English.

Coffee in a jiffy

On Saturday I was in the mood for a cup of coffee. Nothing special, just a normal drip coffee. No Cappuccino. No Latte. Not even an Americano.

“But,” you might say, “an Americano IS a normal cup of coffee.” Not so, my halfwit friend. Many people think the Americano means American, but Americano and American is not the same thing. A “normal” cup of coffee, as we in English speaking countries tend to think of it, comes from a pot and is brewed by dripping water through the coffee grind. Americano, on the other hand, is an Espresso toped up with hot water.

“So,” you say, “why should I worry about that?” Normal coffee is made from light or medium-roasted beans. Espresso, and by extension Americano, is made from dark-roasted beans. Darker roasts produce that very strong, quite bitter taste, while the lighter the roasts give the less bitter, more mild tastes. Lighter roasts also have the more distinctive the taste of the particular bean.

Back to Saturday. You see, it is not easy to find a brewed pot of coffee in Korea. Not one Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, or anywhere in between, had a pot on hand. The solution is to turn in to any one of your general 24-hour shops.

Just enter your local By The Way and head on over to the microwave and boiler. Next to them you should see a selection of coffees and hot chocolates nicely displayed and wrapped in take-out cups. Many, if not all of these coffees will come with an individual tea bag of grind, a packet of sugar and stir stick and that right there, my friends, is not that far of from a normal brewed cup of coffee. Best of all, one of these gems rarely costs you more than a single little Cheon Won.

Coffee in the making

Ready for the water

Go ahead. Run to the GS24 and get us a couple. I’ll wait for you.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

They swore Chitty Chitty Bang Bang made sense.

I was giggling at this song, but my adult students swore that Miss Sexy references the original meaning. I don’t see it. Maybe you can.

I even read the plot on Wikipedia and I would love to watch the film now. Did you know there is a Academy Award winning song by the same name.

Here is a translation of the lyrics:

All my ladies and gents
Here comes the new Hyori!
Are you ready to rumble?!

Your words are laughable
Your words are laughable
Your words are laughable
It’s just a, just a big joke

Please don’t butt into my affairs
Don’t say the same exact thing
These are mine; it’s my world.
From now on don’t look for me

You’re doing your best
I don’t need to be worried
I’m a loner either way
You’re only wasting your breath
Just ignore it and walk away

(Blah blah) I’m running nonstop
(Blah blah) Don’t be afraid, just follow me
(Blah blah) Fly a little higher
I can make you want me so (I can make you want me so)
(Blah blah) Everyone trusts me more than anyone else
(Blah blah) Just pretend that I can’t be beaten and join me
Gonna be the one that I want
Chitty chitty bang bang
Chitty chitty bang bang

Your words are laughable
Your words are laughable
Your words are laughable
It’s just a, just a big joke

I’ve gotten this far alone
Where were you when I wanted to help?
These are mine; it’s my world
Just watch me
Face it, you know who I’m
You’re afraid of my stage
Acting like you’re care and worry about me
Rather than doing that, just keep on walking.

(Blah blah) I’m running nonstop
(Blah blah) Don’t be afraid, just follow me
(Blah blah) Fly a little higher
I can make you want me so (I can make you want me so)
(Blah blah) Everyone trusts me more than anyone else (you trust me)
(Blah blah) Just pretend that I can’t be beaten and join me
Gonna be the one that I want
Chitty chitty bang bang
Chitty chitty bang bang

Chitty chitty bang bang
You’re no competition
Rather then butting in, why don’t you just walk away?
My explosive performance will make you crazy
Just listen to me before something big happens
Your words are a joke
Keep it up and you’ll get it
When I make an entrance all my lady is going down
It’s just that you’re the only one that doesn’t know

Did you expect to control me?
Did I ever ask you to return what I wanted?
Please get a grip,
Everybody attention,
That’s all, I can make it right

(Blah blah) I’m running nonstop
(Blah blah) Don’t be afraid, just follow me
(Blah blah) Fly a little higher
I can make you want me so (I can make you want me so)
(Blah blah) Everyone trusts me more than anyone else (you trust me)
(Blah blah) Just pretend that I can’t be beaten and join me (hurry up and join)
Gonna be the one that I want
Chitty chitty bang bang
Chitty chitty bang bang

Your words are laughable
Your words are laughable
Your words are laughable
It’s just a, just a big joke

Monday, 21 June 2010

A title, erm, escapes me?


I am not able to give the photo a title, or to do it justice with a nice description. All I can say is that they were walking just in front of me in Hannam. I wish I had a chance to be in front of them with a zoom lens.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Roofers' Pool

Roofers' Pool

This is a shot of the pool table at Roofers in Itaewon. I was wondering what it would look like with the bright light from the window and the darker objects inside, so I took a few shots from where I was sitting. It’s not a great shot, and nothing to write home about, but I like it.



The SeoulPodcast recorded it’s 100th episode, live, at Roofers in Itaewon. It was interesting, strange, and a bit groupie-geeky.

Ginko Drops

Ginko Drops

Today, Saturday, was a relatively busy day for me. I was “roped in” to be a judge at the English Speech Contest at my school. Not strange, but it is Saturday and I am under no obligation to work on Saturdays. I had nothing happening this morning, so I didn’t mind helping. I wonder why the school is so afraid of asking me to help on weekends. Just don’t make a habit of doing it the day before, because I am not going to change two week old plans to help put, you know what I mean?

Just before I left the house for school, I noticed these nice little drops on the Ginko tress outside my balcony. I had to try and photograph the drops. The results were not what I had hoped for, but it is still OK. Hopefully I will get another chance soon.

Back Side Sunset

Back Side Sunset

With summer here there are changes in the sunset for this part of the world. Conveniently, the sun sets in a more visible position, but more importantly, it sets much later and with the summer cloud cover. These things translate in to me seeing spectacular views from the top floor of my apartment building.

This particular sunset is nothing special, but during the coming months I hope to get at least one shots shot to do those sunsets justice.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The New Look

It’s time to freshen up the look of this blog. Why? Because now Blogger has a brand new Template Designer and I wanted to play with it.

Over the next few weeks there will be a few changes as I try out new things. Sorry for the five people who come here to read and look at at my stuff. I’ll buy you a Maijoo.

Tuesday, 08 June 2010

Korea Legend and all that.

Upon opening my closet this morning, I discovered that I didn’t have a single clean shirt to wear to work today. Out of eight possible shirts, eight were at the cleaners. How on earth did this happen?

I would love to transcribe the mental gymnastics I had to perform to explain to myself how I could be so stupid, but I firmly believe the solution is much more interesting.

Last year, at the North Korea vs.. South Korea match I bought a red “KOREA LEGEND. begin to 2010.” t –shirt, the same shirt that you can now get at E-Mart. It was clean and ready to wear, so my reasoning went something like this…

The ESPN podcast I am listening to right now says the World Cup starts on Friday…

World Cup on Friday, hmmm…


So they think Korea will do OK?

Oh, MAN!

I will just have to wear a gold shirt today…

World Cup…red shirt…clean…World Cup…reasonable excuse…maybe…NO SHIRTS…

“Yes, I know the World Cup starts on Friday and that Korea plays on Saturday. Why do you think I decided to come to school wearing this shirt today?”

The Games People Play

The Games People Play

My students pulled me in to a game the other day. It took me a few turns to get used to t, but it is dead easy and like many koreans games, perfect for the sadist who likes to punish his or her friends.

Everyone starts with their fists closed and thumbs down. One person call out a number and everyone must immediately lift none, one both their thumbs. The idea is for the lifted thumbs to not total the number called. If they do equal the call, then the caller wins the round and gets to punish everyone, plus they get another turn until they call wrong.

The punishment depends on the call. If you call, say, three, and three thumbs are lifted, then you get to slap everyone else's hands. The losers place their palms together as if they want to pray, fingers pointing forward. The winner then slap their hand together over the loser's hands using moderate power. In this case they will slap three times, finished off with one hard slap to a side of the winner's choice.

Monday, 07 June 2010

No, I don't know De Klerk.

Today, on my way to the embassy to pick up my new passport, I was stopped by an oldish man who wanted to talk. Not to much of a problem, in fact, he seemed one of those people who are genuinely interested in other countries and how they work. He a’so had right decent English to boot.

He started the conversation off with “Where in the states do you hail from.” Tee-hee. Hail from! I told him I was South African and almost immediately he mentioned Mandela, how he was a great man and how he won the Nobel Prize.

Mandela deserves respect. The way he behaved as president is enough for me to give him my respect and people who have met him says he is an amazing man. Still, unless you are a South African, don’t ever come to me and tell me how great Mandela is and then be completely oblivious that someone named F.W. de Klerk exists.

What takes more courage, to do what is right and fight for something you don’t have, or to do what is right and give up what you have knowing you will face the scorn of your people? Sure, to a certain extent those decisions were forced on him, but he still had the power to resist and let things linger a bit longer. (Do take note though, the country was rapidly changing long before the new government took over.)

Even considering this, Mandela did not sign his own release papers, the ANC did not unban themselves and South Africa did not go from a perceived completely racist white ruled country to a completely free black ruled country on one election. Thing happened before that that was not just dependent on non-white people in South Africa.

Lastly, in fairness to everyone, Mandela was also not the only one imprisoned for his believes AND ACTIONS. There were others there with him, because despite what people believe, one man rarely changes the world alone.

So, please do me a favour and google “F.W de Klerk” and see who the man was who shared the stage with Mandela in receiving the Nobel Prize.

Wednesday, 02 June 2010

Dongbu Express’ (동부익스프레스) Dangers?

I was sitting on my bus in the terminal, bound for Seoul, waiting for the driver to arrive and noticed this on the bus next to us. I don’t know about you, but with summer here and the rainy season just around the corner, I don’t not like seeing tires as smooth as those on the busses I am suppose to use.

Looking at the other tires it does not look like this is normal, but still, someone should maybe tell them that lives are at stake? I tried to find an email address for Dongbu Express (동부익스프레스), but amazingly they don’t have one on their website. Not kosher at all.