Monday, May 31, 2010

What the... Rabbit Ears?!

I just wrote about having my car inspected last Thursday, but one detail I forgot to mention was about the television in the office at the inspection station.
While waiting for the inspection to conclude, I idly watched the usual gang of giggling idiots on some Korean game show go through the usual antics.
They'd dress up in weird costumes like men in skirts (nothing gay there), hanbok, etc.
Each humourous occurence would be run and rerun a half-dozen times, sometimes in slow motion, with accompanying sound effects, canned laughter, and subtitles, just so everybody watching understood that something funny had just happened.
The door to the office was swinging open, and every time it would close, the TV picture would go all fuzzy and the sound would turn to static.
What the kimchi?
I noticed the TV had... rabbit ears.
If you don't know what rabbit ears are, you're too young to be up this late. Go to bed!
Rabbit ears are aerials that you can adjust in order to pick up a signal that any station is broadcasting. I remember many times trying to make the picture clearer by waving them back and forth, shifting the TV around, and so on.
Nowadays, TVs usually have cables attached, and I had thought rabbit ears had gone the way of the dinosaurs. I had no idea that a person could still pick up TV signals the old way.
A lot of the TVs I've had in Korea have been pretty old fossilized pieces of shit, but none of them had rabbit ears.
I remember one con-apt I had there was no VCR. I was going to ask for one, and a friend suggested I get with the times and ask for a DVD player. I could rent Korean movies and watch them with English subtitles.
Well, I got the player, enraging the teacher who'd been there for months with a broken VCR that the wanjungnim kept forgetting to replace.
After a couple of years, I left that school and ended up in The Junkpile, with one of those fossilized pieces of shit I was talking about. It had no connections for the DVD player!
Checking on the Internet, I learned about a device called an RF modulator, which allows for a DVD player to be hooked up to one of those old style TVs.
I picked it up in a shop in Daegu with very little explanation to the guy needed. I just sort of pointed and grunted and showed him a diagram of what I wanted. He made a phone call and a deliveryman dropped it off 20 minutes later.
Nowadays I have a computer with which I download and watch all the TV a man could want or need. The screen on the 'puter is as big as most of the screens on the TVs I've had, so I'm not missing anything other than Korean Komedy Klassics with canned laughter, sound effects, subtitles, and jokes run and rerun a half dozen times just so everybody who's watching knows something funny has occured.

What the ... bras?!?!?

I was listening to the latest podcast on Morning Calm Chaos when they started discussing bras. It harkened me back to my time at Ivy Hell in YongAm-Dong.

One of the other teachers, a Canadian woman by the name of C, and I were showing the new teacher, G from Ireland, around the downtown area. We ended up at Carrefore to do some shopping.

C had asked about bras before and I had told her that most Korean bras are padded or push up. How I know ... well ... a gentleman never tells. ;) I don't think she believed me because she HAD to take G to the clothing section to look at bras. Maybe G didn't pack enough bras. I don't know, they didn't tell. Regardless we ended up in the bra section.

Both C and G were amazed. MOST of the bras had padding of some sort. C was laughing at the sizes because even her training bra was bigger. (C had ... an ample chest. G's wasn't bad either. ) It was kind of amusing to see the women giggling over bras.

Thanks for the mammaries. :)

And thanks to the Morning Calm Chaos crew for another great podcast.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What the ... delusion?!?!?

Some Koreans are denying the North sank the Cheonan. Instead they say either it was an accident and the South Korean government is using it to blame the North OR the South Korean government (or the US) BLEW UP THE SHIP themselves to frame the North. What the kimchi?!?!?

Talk about having your head in the ground, or up your arse. I know Koreans are always making excuses for North Koreas bad behaviour or just ignoring it but this takes it to a new level of stupidity. Having Korean friends drone on about how they are brothers and North Korea wouldn't attack because they are one blood while ignoring the facts of history is hard to swallow without telling them they are ricetards. A couple of my friends, and many adult students, were bleeting that days AFTER North Korean ships crossed into south Korean waters and attacked South Korean naval ships in 2002! When you point out incidents like that they either poo-poo it, try to diminish it (or blame it on the US), or ignore it. What the kimchi?!?!?

I know I have mentioned a Korean friend and the nuke issue before but it bears repeating. After North Korea admitted it had nukes one of my friends thought it was great. He actually said that. He went on to say that now the US couldn't push North Korea around. I asked if he wasn't worried that Little Kim up north wouldn't use them on the south. He parroted the party line about one blood one people. Then went on to say he was more concerned with the US having nukes than North Korea having them. Afterall the only country to ever use nukes was the US. I pointed out instances where the North did attack Korea but nothing got through. Now this friend isn't usually an idiot. He is well educated (PHD in Engineering) and well traveled which is why his attitude suprised me. If I was in Korea I would ask him what he thinks about the Cheonan. It wouldn't surprise me to hear him say it was the US or SK government framing the NorKs.

Korea Beat asked the question "Are your friends shrugging?" Most of my friends, when shown what some Koreans are saying, tend to ask "Are they fucking insane?"

I have a question now. What would the Korean response be if a US ship accidently rammed the Cheonan and sank it? Or a Japanese ship? There would be RIOTING in the streets. As Meyers mentions in his article, look at the response to the accidental death of the 2 middle school girls in 2002. Hell, look at the US Beef riots last year.

Where are the rallies? The riots? The indignation? Oh yeah, it ISN'T the US or Japan so why bother. Chinese fisherman illegally in Korean waters kill coastguard officers ... no problem. Mustn't anger China. North Korea sinks a ship murdering many of the crew ... no problem. We are one blood. They wouldn't attack us. Mustn't anger North Korea. Just keep burying your heads deeper in your collective arses.

I wonder how they will reason away the next incident.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What the ... driving?!?!?

I was going to post this on my other blog but it makes more sense to put it here.

One of the things that always irks me is when the apologists and Koreanphiles make excuses for bad behaviour or try to diminish what others say and experience. One way they do that is by making comments about other countries. Case in point is when I (Stig, and others) have complained about the way Koreans drive and park. The idiots retort `There are bad drivers in Canada (or their country) too.` This is apologist bull shit for two reasons.

First, while it could be true I am talking about Korea and my experiences too. If, at the time, I was living in Canada I wouldn`t be talking about Korea. The fact bad behaviour happens in other countries DOESN`T excuse it in Korea.

Secondly, from what I have seen since returning home, it doesn`t happen here anywhere near the degree it does in Korea. I have been home 3 weeks and have done quite a bit of driving. I have spent a lot of time as a passenger too. I haven`t seen ANYTHING that comes close to the idiocy of drivers I saw daily in Cheongju. The WORST parking job I saw was someone who was partly in another spot, at the end of the parking lot, where there were a LOT of empty parking spaces. That`s it. What the kimchi?!?!? Where are all the bad drivers that the assholes swore were here?

Unlike many of the apologists I am still willing to concede there are a lot of bad drivers here even though I am not seeing them or hearing about them. I don`t delude myself into believing they aren`t around just because I am not encountering them. And when I see them I WILL complain about them.

What the... Asking Permission?!

I had kind of an up and down day on Thursday.
It was beautiful in Korea, a real sunshiney kind of day, clear and bright.
I was up early, because I had to get my car inspected and passed to drive on Korean streets.
The inspection went okay. There were a couple of things the mechanic pointed out as possibly needing attention further on down the road, but generally the car was in good running condition. I stopped in at my regular mechanic because James, my director's husband thought one of the tires was a little low. It turned out it wasn't that necessary a job, but it gave me the opportunity to get a photo of a typical Korean mechanic's garage.

Not much to look at, is it?
Anyway, the inspection was the 'up' part of the day. The 'down' part occurred when I was on my way home, and got clipped by some mook trying to cut me off. He started coming into my lane while I was still alongside of him. I sped up to get out of his way, but his right front slammed into my left rear.
I hate it when mooks try to slam into my rear!
I heard (via James) that the mook claimed I was trying to merge into his lane when the accident occurred.
Fucking mook.
The next day, James asked for my car key. He was going to look at my car. I wondered why he needed the key just to look at a scrape down the side of the vehicle, but I figured he wanted to see if it could still drive okay. It seemed all right to me, but another opinion is always welcome.
I was just about to go into my first class when he took my key, and it was about five hours later (just before my last class) that I was informed that my car was in the shop being repaired, and wouldn't be ready until Monday!
What the kimchi?!
I was kind of surprised, and I may have let my anger show at the presumption.
When James and his wife Sun (my director) told me I had to take a cab home, I asked ( a little tensely), "Who's going to pay for that?"
I mean, the insurance is going to pay for the paint job, and it'll help the resale value, but what the fuck ever happened to courtesy. Did it even occur to James that he might want to ask my permission before just going ahead and commiting my vehicle to four days in the shop?
James and Sun are a pretty good couple, and I enjoy working for them. I'm going to be sorry to leave theur employ. Good hagwons in Korea are rarer than hen's teeth. Just ask Flint.
But... jeez... can you ask first next time? Please?

Oksan Views

It was a beautiful day on Thursday. One of those days when you can see forever. These days aren't that rare, but I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go up on the roof of the kindergarten and take some pictures of the surrounding countryside.

The Hosanna Kindergarten where I work one day a week, is set on a hill, so it's commands quite a view.

Cheongju is off to the east, and some hills and countryside are to the west.
North and south is a kind of vally between mountain ranges. It's pretty from up there, and not too bad when you're down in it.

There're a lot of rice paddies around the town, and they're being flooded at this point in time, as the Kim Kadiddlehoppers get ready for planting.

Here's an aerial view of Oksan's main drag, leading off east to Cheongju.

As I've said in previous posts, it's not much more than a wide spot on the road, but it does have a few highlights.

Mook Of The Week

There are so many candidates that go unrecorded, because I see them while driving.

But here's one I saw on Thursday while taking some pictures around Oksan. It was a beautiful day, so I was on the roof of the kindergarten, which offers a good view of the srrounding countryside.
It's an ajumma, wheeling a baby carriage complete with baby down the main street in Oksan. This street gets pretty busy. Oksan is only a wide spot on the road, but as the road leads from here to there, a lot of traffic goes through.
Of course, there are sidewalks on both sides of the street, but why would she want to keep the kid safe from being run over? Does she have to get the kid used to being a mook as soon as possible? What's the training program a mook undergoes, anyway?
I bet this stupid bitch could tell us.
You, ma'am, are a mook.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Would you return?

Today my mom asked me if I would go back to South Korea in light of what is going on with North Korea now. I had to say yes, I would if I wanted to.

Based on what has happened in the past I doubt there will be any serious fallout. South Korea doesn't have the stones to do anything military. Why would I say that? Past reactions to North Korean attacks.

1999: North Korean ships entered Southern waters. When SK ships headed for them they opened fire. No real retaliation.

2002: The last day of the World Cup saw North Korean ships cross into Southern waters and attack ,the SK Navy. No real retaliation.

Hell a South Korean tourist was murdered by a NK soldier at Keumgang Mountain and nothing came of that. Why should a serious military reaction be expected this time?

Double Hell, South Korea let's illegal Chinese fishermen run roughshod over their Coast Guard and does nothing. Coast Guardsmen have been murdered by the fishermen and SK refused to arm the Coast Guard so they can defend themselves. (Must not anger China after all.)

It would be nice to see them man up for a change but I don't expect to see it. (The NorK reaction would be interesting in this case ... after freaking out I wonder what they would do.)

Then you have the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper vow to put new sanctions in place against North Korea as a show of support for the South. That would be nice if Canada ACTUALLY TRADED WITH North Korea you fucking moron!

Lip service. Hollow threats. This is pretty much how South Korea and the US have traditionally responded to North Korean provocation. I doubt it will be any different this time. Odds are North Korea doesn't expect anything serious. And why should they?

Then you have China and to a degree Russia. Their protectors in the UN Security Council. What will they allow?

And while we are on the topic or Koreans dieing ... where the fuck are the Anti-North Korea protests and vigils? A US armoured vehicle accidently runs over 2 middle school girls and there are rallies everywhere. The mad cow scare had how many rallies and riots? NorKs DELIBERATELY torpedo a South Korean ship killing how many and there are no protests. What the kimchi?!?!?

Ok ... started rambling there. Yes, I would go back because I don't expect anything to come of it. As per usual.

The Memorable Ones.

Thanks for the kind words Stig. They brought to mind something I have always said about living in Korea.

I have met a lot of people during my time in Korea but only a few of them, for good or bad, are truly memorable. You are definitely one of the good.

When I think about those who helped me keep my sanity while in Korea the list is topped by you, Aussie, Trek-Boy (sometimes ;)), Arizona, and Patrick. Actually I have to add my last boss Sam to the list too. These are people that you KNOW will help you, no questions asked. You can trust them implicitly. They are hard to find anywhere in the world and I was lucky enough to meet them in Korea.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Farewell To Flint

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since Flint was thrown out of Korea, and I think I'm finally able to sit down and write about it.
I mean, everybody knows we foreigners are here in Korea only to molest children, rape women, and take drugs while on the job. That's a given. So it shouldn't have been a surprise when Flint was caught and unceremoniously dumped on the first plane out of Incheon.
But we were having such a good time together, I guess we lost sight of the inevitable doom that is hanging over all of us.
I've met a lot of people on my travels; some good and some bad. Sometimes you make some good friends, people that help you get through the weird and wonderful times.
It's a scary thing, coming to Korea. I've been here ten years, and I still remember the emotion I felt leaving Canada. I had to really hold myself together, or I would have broken down crying.
It was a long flight.
At the end of it, I was thrown together with a guy I had to share an apartment with. He turned out to be the saddest, angriest, the most depressed and paranoid person on the planet. We only shared the place for 30 days before he got his own con-apt, but it was the longest 30 days of my life.
I came this close to doing a runner, and returning to Canada with my tail between my legs.
But I stuck it, and it did get better. Some new teachers arrived at the school, and we formed a pretty good gang of people.
I was able to relax, and actually enjoy my time in Korea. So much so, that I have settled into a good long stay.
Along the way, I've made some good friends, but I don't think I could name a better one than Flint. I met him at one of those low points in my time here, and he helped get me through it.
I'd been lied to by my recruiter, and dumped off, not in Cheongju where he told me I was going, but in a small town 1/2 an hour north called Jungpyeong. I remember it as "The Junkpile," for reasons which should be obvious.
A middle school girl at the hagwon helped arrange a meeting between myself and someone I'll call Trek-Boy, who was the foreign teacher at her school. It was Trek-boy who introduced me to Flint. And it was Flint, more than anybody, who acquainted me with all the places to see and be seen in the 'ju.
It was Flint who orovided a place to go, a person to see, and a reason not to leave and never return. There were a lot of good times, and it made living in The Junkpile almost bearable.
I did get out of there, and found a good school and con-apt in the 'ju. It was good fortune smiling on me that put me close to where Flint lived, as well.
Over time, we settled into a pretty good routine. Friday nights Flint worked too late to go out, but we would meet for a few drinks and a cigar to welcome the weekend. Saturday would be dinner at the rib place or the pork place, followed by many drinks and another fine cigar.
Sunday'd be lunch at Popeye's and then to the patio at Dunkin', where we would have a ringside seat to laugh at the mooks and shamelessly ogle the Korean hotties.
Sadly, all that is over.
But I would just like to say one more thing to Flint, which is to repeat what I wrote to him on his flag.
Before I came here, all I knew of Korea was from the TV series M*A*S*H, and I'll always remember the words B.J. and Hawkeye used to say goodbye:
"... maybe we will see each other again, but just in case we don't, I want you to know how much you've meant to me. I'll never shake you." Whenever I see some bit of mookish behaviour, it's you I'll want to turn to and share the laughter. Whenever I have some great rum and a fine cigar, it's you I wish I was sharing it with. "I'll miss you. A LOT. I can't imagine what this place would have been like if I hadn't found you here." You helped keep me sane amid the madness.
Farewell, Flint.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Health Care Differences.

I have always liked how easy it is to see a doctor in Korea. No appointment needed. I have also been lucky enough to find some good doctors with decent English.

Before I left South Korea I picked up a case of cellulitis in both legs. It pretty much cleared up in the left leg but the right leg started getting bad again. It is MUCH easier to get treated in South Korea. Most doctors do x-rays, take blood, do IV's, etc right in their office or clinic.

Not so in Canada. To be properly treated I need an anti-biotic IV. In Canada this means I have to go to the local ER. On a bad day this could take 5+ hours. Luckily, today was a good day. I was in and out in 2 hours. In South Korea it would all be done in my doctors office.

Also in the lucky category I only needed the IV today. If they decided I needed the IV every day for a while I would have to go to the ER and wait EVERY day.

While I do like health care in Canada I miss the easy access in South Korea

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What the .... poor English ability?!?!?

I made it onto Korean Sentry and not just being referred to as Lousy Koreas Bitch. :) Man some of the people there REALLY aren't good at reading and comprehending English. I probably should have taken their level of maturity and intellect into account when writing what I did ... and dumbed it down.

I said:

"He (he being a Grand Wizard of the kleagle by the name of MidwestInsahm82) is also taking great pleasure in the fact Lousy Korea's site was shut down. It was shut down because pieces of shit like him made death threats to peoples kids."

The Klavern thinks that means I am accusing him of sending threats. Wow. And these people grew up in English speaking countries. Their level of comprehension is shockingly low.

MidwestInsahm82 if you are reading, and hey I know you are, it means that racist assholes like you made the threats. People who can't handle anyone having a different opinion or being different made the threats. The way they THINK, or rather don't think, reminds me of ... you. Why do I feel this way? I have read a lot of the shit you post on your KKK site.

Here is a sampling of comments he has made.

Talking about Korean women who marry non-Koreans"

"Little do these stupid yellowcab sellouts know that dating or worse, marrying a white or non-Korean male leads to marriage problems in the future, and even identity crisis for their kids.

I'm all for Korean-only marriage. I know this may sound off topic, but this is why horses that participate in races are PURE bred. Nobody wants to buy a cheap mixed-breed horse. Same with racial purity."

Talking about foreigners who complain about Korea.

"At least you're not like that n-ggah blackboon mike in Korea blogger who whines and gripes about "scrimination and shiet" 24-7 on his defunct blog. Or that youseok aborigine who plays the race card and poses and pretends that he's a black guy, because a lot of abrogines of australia look like black people. I find most of the hardcore anti-Korean racist to be black foreigners living in Korea. They try to bring white-guilt and their victimhood to Korea and the rest of Asia and also want to be treated like king"kong" and queens. LOL!"

Talking about foreigners in America.

"LOL! Armenians remind me of those messicans. They tend to be arrogant, pushy and cocky. A lot of them have dark brown skin and look like hispanic people. I didn't know that a lot of them are on welfare, though.

Exactly. This kind of shit happens to us Koreans and many other fellow Asians living in the US and other western countries. Yet, we don't act childish and immature by going online and starting blogs calling people racial slurs, or posting news articles that badmouth your host country."

THIS by the fucktard that started up a blog that was shut down because of racist comments and who makes them on the KKK site he so loves.

Then, talking about Black Mike's blog.

"His blos is titled "blackchild in kimchi kountry". Shows that he didn't finish elementary school because he cannot spell country correctly.

Man, these bloggers have no life."

Dude. You can't spell BLOG, what the fuck does that say about your education? And it is Mexicans not messicans you racist piece of shit.

Then there is the standard slur against Westerners.

"I hope that Korea and the rest of Asia realize that many of these western guys (hardly females!) who travel to Asia to teach English go there with the real intent of only hooking up with girls, molesting children, raping women, etc. "

followed by this

"Look, I'm not saying all the white westerners who teach ESl or English language in S Korea are bad people. But the majority of them go there to party, have sex with under-aged girls, molest children, etc. "

I am not saying all of them are bad but the majority are. What the kimchi? Oh yeah, almost forgot. The words of a fucking moron.

Anyway, I could go on and on and on. People like MidwestInsahm82 are a big part of the problem when it comes to racism. Unfortunately the rot is probably too deep in his brain for him to ever change. The powers that be on the site let him, and others, continue with their drivel which makes them just as bad.

To MidwestInsahm82 and the rest of the kleagle ... I have something to say ...

Go fuck yourselves.

Year 1 - Winding down


It has been a while, hasn't it?

When we aren't being baked by the intense heat of summer in Korea it seems like nature is trying to drown us. Although rainy season ended a week or so ago Korea is being deluged with rain of almost biblical proportions. There has been a LOT of flooding.

The rain started Tuesday and has been coming down in torrents since. It is supposed to continue like this until Friday. Here is an article on the weather, and the flooding. and

Work has been very busy, with 10-12 hour days. It is "summer camp" for kids. The school itself isn't doing too well, and even summer class enrollment is down. However, there were a lot of hours to be had.

Rather than trying to find out what is really wrong, and why things are going downhill, our director has decided it is the fault of the foreign teachers. Things have been very tense off and on, usually on, for the last few months. Her attempts at making things better always seem to backfire because she doesn't really have a clue how to fix things. Part of this is because she spent too much time away from the school, and is out of touch. Now that she is back, she is making things worse.

Our school has a bad reputation. Unfortunately for the director, it isn't because of the foreign teachers. It is because of her religon. She is a Mormon, and the other Christian churches here HATE the Mormons. Hell, most non-Mormons hate them here because they tend to proselityze all the time, and are always trying to convert people. Think Jehovah's Witness, and Mormon door-to-door activities in North America and you will get the picture. Our school has a reputation of being a Mormon/Religious school.

Now this could have just been bad mouthing by people from other churches. That type of bad name is easy to dispell. Unfortunately for Mary people get to see religon when they enter the school. Mormon missionaries pop in a lot and spend hours in the lobby chatting with the receptionists, using our computers, and surprise surprise talking religon. It is nothing to come in during the morning or early afternoon and to hear the receptionists singing hymns. One of the Korean teachers was using the bible in class as a teaching tool for grammar of all things. Rightly or wrongly, the school has the reputation, and it isn't going to go away by blaming the foreign teachers. Of course, it is easier to blame someone else than to look at what might really be wrong.

There are other problems too. Some caused by foreign teachers, others by the Director. Some of the teachers aren't that good. There are the South African's, well only one now. Her pronounciation isn't the greatest, nor is her grasp of English. Probably because Afrikaans is her mother tongue not English. She treats the highest level students as if they were begineers, and is alsways leaving the classes for sundry stupid reasons. Students don't like taking classes with her. One of the other teachers has problems as well, some of them similar, treating students in a condescending way. The rest of us don't seem to have any of these problems. These are things the Director can and should blame on us, and deal with.

There are problems with the desk staff. At times there is a war between some of them and the English and Korean teachers. The office manager is in way over her head but doesn't want to admit it. She screws up a lot, but covers it up well, and the Director trusts her blindly. Church buddies don't lie to each other, or so they say. They can't keep good people working at the desk because of the Office Manager.

So even though I talk a lot about how much I love it here, all is not skittles and beer. Luckily, I tend to just ignore the bullshit, do my job, and have fun. When I need to I wade in and out. There are a lot of good things about being here so I try not wasting my time focusing on the negative all the time.

One of our Directors wacky ideas to improve things here was our great move on August 3rd. She decided, without any consultation, that we all needed to move into a new building. Hilda and I were in 1 building, on different floors. The other 3 shared a building, and a floor. Hilda and I had NO problems with our neighbors. They were usually at each others throats, and doing things (like REALLY loud music) just to annoy each other. Yeah, moving us all into one building will REALLY make us one big happy family. Add to that the fact that the day she picked to force us to move was during the busiest time of the year, summer camp, when we are pushing 10-12 hour days, and the saturday we move on is a fricking working day. Move in the AM work in the afternoon. Instead of living 1-2 minutes away from work we are now a 15 minute hike, which in the heat of summer feels more like 30 minutes. We get to work soaked in sweat. As you can imagine we did bond a bit over the move, but not in the way she would have liked.

That said, the new apartments are sweet! My apartment is larger than my old one, and is set up in a nice way. My little kitchen-foyer is separated from my main room. I have a small storage balcony. The room is also pretty soundproof, so neighbors aren't that annoying. Hilda and I share one floor, along with 2 rooms of Koreans. The rest are on the floor below us, still being pissy with each other. It is also brand new. All in all a nice place.

The weekend before my birthday was party time. We partied every night, Friday to Monday. :) Saturday some friends came in from Seoul, and we met with some other friends and had a great time at a bar called Albatross. More about Albatross later. Monday night was just a small party with my best friends here; Eun Young, Hilda, and BumSuk. Eun Young left her car home so she could drink with us. We started out with dinner and soju at Jae Yu Boen. From there we went to Albatross for the rest of the night. They had bought a blueberry cake for me, it was lush. We drank, sang, and partied until about 1:30 AM. (Had to be up at 5:30 for work. ;)) Hilda brought her digital camera, and BumSuk had fun playing with it, dunno if I want to post the candid pics he took though. ;) It was a fantastic night.

Which brings me back to The Albatross. It is almost like a little slice of the maritimes in Korea! The bar is patterned after being inside an old sailing ship. Hardwood everywhere. An old wooden ships steering wheel is hanging from the ceiling. You are greeted at the door by a life size statue of a pirate with a hooked hand. They play pretty good music, and not at the deafening level of most western bars here. Then again most western style bard look the same here. The Albatross has atmosphere.

The owner/bartender is pretty cool and lets you select music to play. There is a pretty good selection of music from the 70's to now. One of the bartenders tends to get too mellow at times, and that can drag the mood down, but that rarely happens. BumSuk burned it for me. They play it for us. In fact, a few times we have walked in the bar and they were already playing it! It was so cool to walk in and hear Great Big Sea playing, or Stan Roger's singing Barret's Privateers! It is almost like being at Maxwell's, or Jamieson's. The Albatross has a Maritime atmosphere. :)

Life has its ups and downs, just like it does everywhere. Luckily, there are more ups than downs. As Great Big Sea sings it:

"And I say way hey hey, its just an ordinary day and its all your state of mind! At the end of the day you just got to say its all right."

Take Care,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Year 1 - Dog Day Afternoon


Not much new to talk about. I am moving August 3rd. For some reason our director is making us all move to new apartments further away. Ours is not to reason why. Typically, she asked us if we wanted to leave our apartments. We are spread out between 3 buildings. None of us wanted to. Next she wanted us to look at a building and see if we would like it. We still didn't want to move. Next she tells us we are moving. To a building a 20 minute walk away. During the hottest days of summer.

Yesterday was the middle of the "dog days of summer" as we call it in the west. In Korea it is the second of 3 days to eat dog. The first day was 2 weeks ago, 2nd yesterday, the third is at the end of the hottest days of summer in 2-3 weeks. So, I ate some dog.

The dish is called Boshintang. Basically, dog soup. I went with 3 other westerners and 2 Koreans. Hilda, Dave, and John had planned on doing this for 2 weeks. BumSuk and a friend of his chose the place and were taking them there. My plans with Eun Young got cancelled due to her hangover so I figured what the hell.

It was disappointing. I had expected it to taste as good as other dishes I had. However, it was kind of bland, and a little fatty. Some of the fatty meat was skin. As spicy dishes go it was medium, and had WAY to much green onion in it. Dog meat tastes kind of like goat and is a bit gamey. It was very tender though. We also got some boiled dog that gets dipped in a spicy sauce. The boshingtang could have been spicier. While it wasn't the worst tasting dish I have ever had, it isn't something I would go out of my way to get. It was average and the taste doesn't warrant it.

While the food was disappointing the experience wasn't. When I get the pictures from BumSuk I will show you some of them. I was the first to dig into my meal. Hilda and Dave just kind of watched at first before trying it. Dave was pretty queasy. Once they had some, and the faces were finished, they were able to joke about it. Before that they didn't want to hear ANY jokes. We had a few bottles of soju with the meal.

The Koreans at the restaurant treated us like Celebrities at first. All the staff was greeting us, and they all said goodbye. They don't get many westerners there, and wanted to show their appreciation at us at least trying boshingtang before condemning it, or them, like a lot of people do. They made us feel comfortable. We were told that Older Koreans, and some of the younger generation, believe that eating dog boosts your stamina. I also ran into some new friends, friends of Eun Young, that I met the night before. Like I said, the experience was better than the meal.

I wonder if the dogs will look at me differently when I go back to Canada in 3 months. :)

Take care,


The reason for the move was the director had an argument with one of the apartment owners and didn't want to be giving him money anymore. It was a damn inconvenience.

Eating dog ... I lost a supposed friend back home because I ate dog. I guess they weren't actually a friend just an acquaintance.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Romeo & Juliet Churchill

I always wanted to try a Churchill cigar. Romeo & Juliet were the main suppliers of Sir Winston Churchill's cigars. He had a walk in humidor with around 3000 cigars in it. R&J named their flagship cigar in his honour.

The Churchill is handmade and measures 7" x 47 (178 x 18.65 mm). It is also classified as Julieta No. 2, Churchill. It weighs in at an average of 15.07 grams.

The aroma of the cigar pre-lighting was intoxicating. It was rich with the hint of cedar and a little spice. I was already drooling in anticipation. The 1st third of it was rich and kind of spicy. The 2nd third had a deep rich flavour to it. The final third was stronger but not overpowering. It maintained it's smoothness until the end. The end being a tiny nub.

Total smoking time varied between 60-90 minutes depending on the burn. using the Churchill method (poking a hole in the end with a wooden match in lieu of cutting the cigar saw it burn the longest and best.)

In Korea I can get one of these at Maskas for 34,000 won. It became my main cigar. It is worth the price.

I brought 2 home to Canada with me. For my brother and I to smoke together. I taught him the match stick method and he became a fan.

The Churchill is a fantastic smoke.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What the ... delivery?

God damn I miss the delivery service you find in Korea.

I went to buy a new pair of sneakers at Sports Expert Friday. I have big, wide feet. They didn't have my size in stock but a store about an hour away has them.

"Great! Can you have them sent here?" I asked.

"No problem." says the clerk.

We go to the front cash and he gets my information. Then he informs me that they should be here the following WEDNESDAY!!! What the kimchi?!?!?

I ordered stuff in Korea from Seoul, which is further away, and had it the NEXT day! Hell, the boxes I mailed home arrived 5-6 days after I mailed them from Korea!

FIVE DAYS to get a bloody pair of sneakers 100km. I knew I would miss the speedy delivery in Korea but this is beyond pathetic.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mook(s) of the Week

Sorry for the lateness of this one. I am going to blame it on the trip home. :)

While I liked Airport City near Incheon airport there did seem to be an unseemly number of mooks driving and parking there. It was hard to pick just one mook. There was a veritable cornucopia of mookishness around us. We are only dealing with the drivers here. The pedestrians would require a post of there own. SO many mooks walking down the middle of roads while sidewalks are empty. But I digress.

Stig and I found a nice patio to enjoy an after-dinner cigar and scotch. You couldn't help but notice the way the mooks parked. Blocking cross walks and streets.

As the night wore on it would get worse.

Idiots like this would double park and start blocking the main road. Then came the tour bus.

The bus dropped off a load of mooks all dressed a like. They went to a restaurant for dinner. The hour plus they were gone the bus just sat there blocking the one of the two lanes on the road. Other mooks would see him there, like the white car above, and just park behind him. They really Koreaned people using that road.

I haven's seen so much mookishness when it comes to parking in one day before. A new high, or low depending on your point of view, for Koreans.

To all of those poor drivers and parkers. They take garden variety mookishness and raise it to new levels. You sir(s) are mooks of the 1st Order.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What The... Chemical Warfare III?!

You may remember from my previous post about the giant fans stationed outside of Oksan, spraying some kind of chemical disinfectant on every vehicle entering or leaving the town.

I always button up my car real tight, as who the fuck knows what this shit is. It's been installed to halt the spread of hoof and mouth disease in cattle, but it kind of reminds me of the hand sanitizer liquid that became popular here during the swine flu scare (following the mad cow scare).
But I've seen mook after mook on bicycles and motorcycles drive through the spray without even a helmet on, much less a mask or any other protection.
I just know that in the coming zombie apocalypse, these mooks are going to be the first ones in line to try and chow down on my brain.
Mmmmmmmmmmm brain.
Anyway, coming back from dropping Flint off in Incheon (of which more later), I passed through the toll gate to come into Incheon, and damned if there aren't more of these things set up. It was a different kind of device, though. They looked like speed bumps, and the chemicals were sprayed upwards, mostly on to the bottom of vehicles, but high enough in the air to cover the roof and windows.
I was a bit taken by surprise, and had to slow down in order to make sure my windows were rolled up. Sure enough, some impatient mook behind me beeps at me to hurry the fuck up. I let him know he was number one, and then finished rolling up.
But that's not the end of the story. I came into Cheongju at the main interchange, but every day on the way to work I pass by the west interchange. I keep expecting to see chemical sprays set up there, too, but nothing so far.
A-ha! A hole in the net! All you hoof and mouth spreaders out there, I've found the chink in the armour!
Good job, Korea!
What the kimchi.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Good Bye South Korea

Howdy Folks

Well, I did it. I actually left Korea with no plans on returning. I won't say never again because it is impossible to say what the future holds.

Since this blog is about Korea and life there I started a new one called Flint's Follies which I will use to talk about life now that I am home, and anything else I want to talk about. I will still keep workin on What the kimchi??? with Stig. Lots of mook's of the weeks left to post. Plus lots of tales of the early years. Plus Stig will have to start posting more. ;)

I have no regrets about the 9 years I spent in South Korea, nor about returning home. It was a great experience with the usual ups and downs that life throws at us. It was hard to leave, especially saying good bye to my friends and students.

I will write more about leaving Korea later. With pictures.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Betwixt and between.

I find myself wanting to use a phrase I found my adult students overused in the past, mixed emotions. So I decided to go with betwixt and between. I find myself in the strange position of going home, potentially for good, on Monday but not being entirely happy about it.

When I first left home for Korea it was hard. I was leaving my family, friends, and life for the unknown. Now I find myself in a similar position. 9 years is a lot of time to invest in a place. I have actually lived in the same place in Korea for the last 9 years. I have worked for the same boss for the last 4 years plus. While there have been ups and downs the last 4 years it has been a great time. I find myself having to leave behind friends, work, people who have become a surrogate family to me, students and a life I enjoy to go home. It is strange how things have a way of turning around.

It gets even stranger. While I am looking forward to seeing my family I am not that excited about leaving. Probably because of a lot of the issues of the unknown I first faced coming to Korea in 2001.

Yesterday was my last day teaching. It was rough. I almost lost it a few times as did some of my students. Ok, I did lose it and so did some of them. I have just been lucky to have so many great kids. There isn't one I would say I didn't like.

It is like there is a void in me now. For the first time in about 14 years I find myself with no job and having to start looking again when I get home. It is kind of scary when you dwell on it. And I do like to dwell. :)

Oh well. Time to enjoy my last couple of days in Korea.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blood Money

The idea of blood money has been around in one form or another for a long time. In the west we know it best as Danegild or Weregild. In Korea today it is called hapuigeum.

In the west it was originally used as a way of preventing blood feuds when someone was killed. Today, in most countries you find it being used, it is still used to compensate for the death of a loved one. However, in Korea it is paid by the offender to the victim (whether real or perceived) of a crime to either prevent charges or have them reduced. It is a common practice in Korea and is often brokered by the police. Often the police will try and cajole people into accepting the blood money.

According to a friend (Korean) blood money is only supposed to be used to handle cases where there are no witnesses. He gave the example of 2 people getting into a fight or 2 cars crashing with no witnesses. Also, he told me the police usually push people to settle this way so they don't have to file the paperwork and see it through.

One of the flaws in this system is that the courts here see the most injured person as the aggrieved party even if it was their fault. Which can lead to sleazy assholes causing trouble to get hurt or faking they were more injured than they are just to get money.

My friend was of the naive view that this is the only way it was used. Fights. Accidents. His shock seemed genuine when I showed him articles about the South African woman who was raped and what happened.

There is not a lot of information about blood money in Korea, in English, on the net. Most of what I learned came from personal experience and talking with Koreans. What is on the net in English mainly concerns the case of a South African woman who was raped last year and the rapist offered her blood money.

Well, there is more to it than just that. The rapist stalked her for a while. Then raped her. Then she was basically raped by the system. I say that because of how blood money affects the sentencing process.

The piece of shit offered her around 5 million won and told her to leave his country. She refused it. Before it went to court he upped the amount to around 18 million won. She still refused it. She wanted him tried, convicted, and punished to the full extent of the law. Which ended up not being very far.

Unfortunately in Korea, even if blood money is offered but not accepted, it affects your sentence. The Korean legal system considers the OFFER of blood money to be a sign of remorse, which will see your sentence lowered. If it is accepted your sentence will be reduced even more.

Then you have some of the cases involving people I know. In one case, which I mentioned in another post, a friend/co-worker was repeatedly attacked by a guy. When the guy finally came at him with a bottle he took the guy down with a kick to the nuts and a pop to the head. The guy was KNOWN by the police to go after blood money from people. Yet they pushed his case for the money and it was paid. When I related this story to my friend (Korean) when we were talking about blood money he seemed to think the guy deserved money because he never hit my friend with the bottle. I guess I looked at him like he was an idiot because he started trying to justify things.

He actually gave me a bit of insight to the stupid amount of posturing Koreans do when they fight. In an interesting twist of reality he actually said the guy MIGHT not have hit my friend/co-worker so he didn't have to defend himself. But I retorted the guy might have swung fully and he would have been hit. To which he replied that then my friend would be the one receiving the blood money. Pretty fucking twisted logic. Let someone smack you upside the head with a bottle instead of defending yourself because he may not swing it fully at you. When Koreans do this posturing they are hoping the other guy will hit first. That way they can sleaze some money out of them.

Then you have Dong-Chim from my assault posts. The MAIN reason he went after the attackers was to save face for losing the fight and get blood money. A year or so after Dong-Chim was in a car accident. He actually got a doctor (maybe through bribery) to keep him in the hospital a week longer to prove how wrong the other guy was ... and get more blood money. What a fucking weasel.

Blood money was a concept that came out of medieval times. From my experience in Korea it is part of what is wrong with the legal system here. It basically institutionalizes bribery and blackmail. It allows the police to not have to do their job. Some of the Koreans I talked to, unless they were lieing, have no clue about how the system really works. It isn't a practice I would expect to see in a modern civillized country.

What the ... door stop?!?!?

Ok anyone who has been in Korea knows what it is like exiting an elevator. Those wanting in will be crowding in front of the door and trying to get in while you get out. I got to see another take on it ... and oblivious selfishness today.

The first incident was sadly funny. I was waiting for the elevator when an adjusshi and a grandmother show up. Her is slurping on an ice cream cone with his mouth open. Ice cream and cone remnants flying everywhere. When the door opens he slowly walks in. The grandmother follows but because he was so slow ... the door starts shutting on her. What does he do? Chuckle, grunt, and stare. I grabbed the doors to get her loose and then hopped in myself. Was I thanked for helping her? Of course not.

The HILARIOUS incident happened later. I had left on my break. When I was coming back, waiting for the elevator, it finally reached the ground floor. Some slack jawed yopkel was inside. As he stepped out he noticed me. So he had to stop, in the doorway, gasp "Waegukin!" and stare at me. And the door slammed shut in his sides. To which he started screaming "Aigo!" As I was laughing my ass off, pointing at him and saying "Pabo! Mungchunge!!!" He didn't seem as in good spirits as me as he hobbled away.

Fucking mooks. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Youseok is back.

After a brief absence Youseok re-opened his blog.

Typical of many sites Wordpress never asked for his side of the story. They suspended his account with no notice. No discussion. According to him he could only contact them through a form letter.

That is one of the things about Youtube that used to piss me off. They never actually looked into complaints. They just suspended or removed people. No chance to defend yourself or even find out the full reason for their action. It is one of the reasons why I stopped using Youtube. Another reason is that I COULDN'T leave comments on my own videos or page because I am in Korea.

I can understand a site may need to quickly suspend someone but they should at least give a reason and allow for discussion.

Good luck at the new address.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mook of the Week

Welcome to the latest installment of The Mook of the Week. This time I show you a commonly seen mook, yet a mook with a purpose.

I don't know where South Korea would be without the cardboard collecting mooks. As Lousy often pointed out the garbage pickers and collectors are everywhere in Korea. Considering the amount of waste we see (Can you say over-packaging? I knew you could.) in South Korea someone needs to help with the excess. I would say that these mooks DO help control the amount of garbage out there. Mind you they cause problems too with their oblivious selfishness.

Even when there are EMPTY and/or LARGE sidewalks around these folks still insist on walking down the middle of the road blocking all in their way.

In this case, he was walking down what should have been a 2 lane but because of assholes parking illegally is now a one lane road. Across a bridge. I was lucky enough to have missed the impending cluster fuck by parking and watching from the sidewalk.

Thanks to being on a scooter I was able to find a quicker route around the ... cluster fuck and look at it from the other end. (Keep in mind just because you are watching a mook messing things up does not preclude another mook entering the fray. Such as the stupid bitch that, even though the sidewalks are almost empty, decides to walk down the street and add to the cluster fuck caused by the cardboard collector.

But I digress. With the sidewalks pretty much empty the cardboard collector blocked the road. Forced cars to back up. And then sauntered down the road oblivious to the problems he caused. Obliviously selfish.

Then he has to park out of the way, for a change, and look upon the BS he has caused. Odds are he still doesn;t understand what happend and just how mookish he is. That is to be expected of the mook.

And you sir ... are a Mook!

P.S. Lousy Korea seemed to be channeling through me. I felt obliged to throw some cardboard for this guy to collect.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Fall of Youseok's Blog.

Another K-Blogger has vanished. YouSeok's blog is gone. This time the fall of a K-blog was not due to some piece of Korean Kimchi Kommando shit threatening to kill people's children. You could say Youseok was the master of his own demise.

In his desire to get at the KKKunts of the net he crossed the line and acted like one of them. This took the shape of him posting the name, phone number, and personal email of the head of the Kleagle, Consoleman.

Herr Consoleman filed a complaint with WordPress. com and they either archived or suspended Youseok's blog. It is a shame because he did some good with his site. However, posting the information was wrong. It is what we complain about the Korean netnazi's doing. It is the kind of thing that even the KKKunts under Herr Consoleman aren't stupid enough to do. Although they have talked about hoping the Korean netizens read their site, find out about people like Lousy and Youseok, and go after them. That way they feel their hands will be cleaner.

One of their Grand Wizards MidWestInsahm82, one of their more racist pieces of shit in the Kleagle, is already crowing about it. He is also taking great pleasure in the fact Lousy Korea's site was shut down. It was shut down because pieces of shit like him made death threats to peoples kids. Really something to be proud of eh? Can't say it surprises me to hear him being happy about that.

Lousy made me laugh a lot of the times. But she did cross the line sometimes, such as with the monkey comments. Youseok you were doing well until you crossed the line posting Herr Consoleman's information. I hope you get your site back up in one form or another.

What the ... dating etiquette?

What the kimchi is up with people dating in Korea?!?!? They seem to ignore each other when out. Why date someone if you are just going to ignore them?

Case in point a couple that had dinner in the same restaurant as Stig and I Saturday night. He was watching TV on his phone. She was talking on her phone and when finished sat there looking bored while he watched TV. The TV went off when the food came. Until that point they pretty much ignored each other.

This brought to mind the many times I have seen this kind of thing happen. It isn't just Korean-Korean couples either. One of my friends from the US complained a lot about how his gf would answer a call, or even make one, and be on the phone 15-20 minutes while on a date. What the kimchi?!?!?

If I was on a date with someone and they ended up on the phone for a non-emergency phone call for 15+ minutes I would walk out on them. Hell I would be tempted at 5 minutes if it wasn't an important call. Let alone if my date started watching their TV/Phone. If they are that bored they could just piss off.