Monday, November 24, 2008

The Wedding Dreams of Korean Girls

I have to wonder about them. In the minutes of spare time between cram school classes I have to wonder about the Cinderella weddings that these girls dream of. I wonder if it includes people stuffed into a room with friends and relatives talking in the back. I wonder if these kids lie in bed thinking about the magical moment when they can walk under the bladed arches of college girls dressed as drum majors wielding swords. What girl wouldn't dream of having the voice from the subway that announces the stops announce your nuptials at the conclusion of the ceremony?

This of course is the 15 minute ceremony that prefaces 30 minutes of photography including a photo of the woman chosen to be photographed catching the bouquet. What follows is a buffet lunch in the attached cafeteria. Here the bride can't expect to be not cut in line as an old man dives in front of her to fill his plate with limp spring rolls and steamed tater tots. Luckily this ordeal only last about two hours.

People are rushed out as the next wedding happens and the drum majors re assume their positions wearing their white gloves and lighting different candles on the top of the same prop cake from the wedding before. A mini skirt gestapo lurks around as well, picking up flower petals and escorting brides from photogenic faux love seats to somewhere else. Cinderella indeed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Conversation with woman in restaraunt

Oh hello there, yes I was just eating. I see that you can kind of speak English. You must think I want to talk to you. Oh really your daughter lives in Canada? You have a Canadian son in law? Wow we have two continents in common!!! Yes you are standing in front of me and I am not making any eye contact with you. I am eating my food quicker. You must be an expert in reading body language, I don't want to be left alone to enjoy my meal, I want you to keep asking me about how long I have lived in Korea and where I work. Yes the food here is delicious, and no I don't want to eat it, I want you to ask me where I live.

Oh what's that? Is that the "Watch tower?" You must be a Jehova's witness. No, I don't "know jehova's witness" those syllables just fell out of my mouth some how, I must have been speaking tounges. The bible? What in tarnation is that, I have never heard of that thing before, is that some kind of home financing scheme? Well thank you very much for these nice magazines, the articles look fantastic. I was just wondering if there were any pointers in this fine periodical about how to interupt other people's lunches. I want to return to my country and talk to Asians having lunch in a food court in Korean uninvited. I'm sure they will find that charming. Hey I did some karate like stuff when I was a kid, I'll make some knife hands and say wa cha cha cha. I'll notice how well they use forks and knives and comment on it.

Oh you are leaving now? I was having so much fun. Chal ga!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Conspiracy Regarding the Swedish Free Masons Who Control Popular Music

Well you heard it here first. I am very proud of my blog for this next post.

I stumbled upon an online only movie called "Zeitgeist" It can be watched through google videos. I have to say that the movie is thoroughly entertaining, if you are into conspiracy theories. The movie is about the new testament and how it is really about astrology. It is about how 911 was fabricated, and it is also about how the bank of the federal reserve is controlled by bankers who want to incite fear and make money off of wars.

Now, I don't put much stock into those claims, but the movie seemed to draw heavily from this guy named Jordan Maxwell. Jordan Maxwell is this guy who goes to various places and gives PowerPoint presentations on the Bavarian Illuminati, Free Masons, Astrotheology (stuff about how the new testament is about Babylonian astrology.) Jordan Maxwell also has some stuff on google videos. Also interesting stuff if you want to look busy at work.

I may have said this before, but I live in Korea. Part of my living in Korea makes me slightly aware of Korean popular culture. I am aware of the fact that Korean song bird Gwon Bo-ah is releasing her first single in the U.S. If you are in America right now and hear some dreadful song that bears the hook of "I'm gonna eat you up." You are probably listening to Boa. If she is successful in prosecuting a hit song in the United States, it could be a big thing for Asian Americans and Asian pop singers in general, since the billboard charts have been a bit of an unmovable object for people of Asian decent.

Now I have reason to think that she might be on to something, and it has nothing to do with her talent. Sure she can sing and dance, but I happen to believe that there are much more powerful forces governing the popular music industry than talent. And that powerful force is the secret society of Viking hit makers based out of Sweden.

After seeing Momma Mia, I don't think that anyone can deny their power. ABBA was one of the earliest examples of Swedish hit making potency. Years passed and the Swedes raised their heads again with Ace of Base. Before Brittany Spears's star shined, she went to Sweden in order to work with producers there.

And Ooops, guess what, they did it again. Indeed the Swedish producers Bloodshy and Avante are responsible for the hopes and dreams of Korean pop music in the west. If the world view of Jordan Maxwell is correct, then that could mean that the secret societies that decide the flow of capital may also decide the flow of expertly engineered pop tracks, well choreographed popping and locking, and record sales. Except it is my belief that the pop music secret society has a distinctively Swedish persuasion.

Sweden, Korea, Brittany Spears, ABBA, Boa, you decide. You all know where I stand.

End of Coffee event in Korea

In Korea. Autumn is festival season. Starting in October Jinju saw the Jinju floating lantern festival. This corresponded with the Jinju silk festival. Following that there was the Jinju drama festival. For a few more days we will have the Jinju chrysanthemum festival.

There is one festival, however, that has been going on for a few weeks and has been completely disappointing. All over Korea there is the Dunkin Donuts coffee festival. 7th prize is either a free donut or a free Italian soda. 6th prize is a coffee cup. 5th prize is a waste basket shaped like a cofee cup. 4th prize is a cushion shaped like a donut. 3rd prize is a packet of gift certificates totaling 100,000 won. 2nd prize is a delonghi espresso machine. Finally 1st prize is a golden nugget in the shape of a coffee bean.

I have been a loyal player of this festival for the past 3 years. 2 years ago I won around 7 coffee cups. These were high quality mugs, I somewhat regret giving the bulk of them away. Last year the quality of the mugs were remarkably worse. The had a cheap design and the print on them wore off when I washed them. This year I have only won one cup, and it doesn't have a handle. More frustrating is the fact that I have won about 20 bottles of Italian soda. I don't drink sodas of any kind anymore.

I realize that this is all my bad luck. Now one has to point that out to me. I have to say though, I have a real thirst for a third, second, or first prize. It will make the coffee taste that much sweeter.

A few years ago, I worked in a newsstand. One of the things that we sold were these manuals that printed numbers that the lotto was going to print. People would buy these things thinking that the numbers in these books were winning lotto numbers. Perhaps to redeem my bad luck for not winning a golden coffee bean I can print manuals that have the addresses of where the winning dunkin donuts cups will be sold. It's just a thought.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gyool are here

Ahh sweet candy of the late Autumn and early Winter. You are here!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Of Stress and Relaxation

When I was in 8th grade of middle school, my science teacher liked to lament about the fact that the American school system wasn' t like other contries'. He liked to talk about how in Finland, if students in middle school didn't keep their grades up then it was virtually impossible for them to go to college, because there were university track high schools and technical school track high schools. I'm guessing that his overall message was that we were lucky in America to have high school be like a clean slate, and that the possibility of college always loomed over us.

Well today in Korea I am celebrating "National College Entrance Exam Day." This is the one make or break day for Korean high school seniors. It is a kind of rite of passage. Indeed there really is no comparison to it in America. Sure there are the S.A.T.'s which can be taken repeatedly. In Michigan there is or was the MEAP test that merely gave you money if you went to college. (Thank you state of Michigan, you spent a lot of money on me, I'm sorry that I left you and that I couldn't stay to help you fix your problems.)

In Korea though, the National College Entrance Exam is just one day that can have either a wonderful or terrible impact on a person's future. The test started today around 9:00 a.m. and won't finish until around 5:00. I believe it is a cumulative test that one must study all of their text books in order to pass. Many parents spend around $500 per month, per kid, sending their kids to Math, English, Science, Art, or Music schools, just to help them pass this test. Other parents spend more money going to English schools themselves so they can help their kids study for the test. In all about 33% of the average Korean household's income goes towards educating their kids.

So what am I doing today? I get a day off. Yes, as the resident "native speaker," at my school I cannot be trusted to help proctor the test since my Korean skills are so low that I couldn't attend the seminar before the test that explained all of the various methods of cheating. Yes cheating, in years past student's teachers have gotten advance copies of the test and text messaged their students the answers. Who knows how students may try to cheat this year? One thing is for sure though. I am happy not to be a part of the whole process. Sometimes Koreans tell me that I act very Korean, or that I am a lot like a Korean. Let me tell you something. I am very happy not to be Korean. If someone offered me Korean citizenship I would not hesitate to turn them down. This is not to say that I don't like Korea, but it is more to say that America has its own insanity that people must participate in so taking on the insanity of another country would be the wrong choice. And with that said I am also very content in retrospect with my own education. Seeing the things that people from my high school have achieved without going to cram schools, and seeing the jobs that fellow WMU alums have via face book, makes me very proud that I didn't come from a culture that was "Harvard or nothing." In Korea that attitude seems to be "Seoul National University, Yonsei University, and Korea University or nothing."
So to anyone in rural America who might be reading this who is a middle or high school student, I know that school can seem terrible and boring, but I can guarantee you this, it could be a lot worse. Also to my 8th grade science teacher. I don't know if you envied other countries' education systems or were trying to scare us into studying harder, let me tell you that there isn't much difference between kids here and there. There are some kids here who try hard, and others who have just seemed to have given up. The ones who gave up get beaten up by their teachers on a near weekly basis. Teachers here carry sticks that they fashion in their own styles. These sticks are used to swat students' wrists or palms as a means of encouragement. This doesn't make those kids any smarter it just kind of pisses them off and makes them less likely to listen to the teachers.

So with that said. I'm just going to enjoy my day off. I'm thinking of redeeming all of these coins that I have and go to buy a suit. Look forward to pictures of my purchase.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dong Yang Magic

I am dedicating this post to one of my best friends. I am dedicating this post to my friend the Dong Yang Magic EON-C2035 electric oven. I bought this oven about a year ago when I first took my middleschool job in Jinju. Now I work in the public school system in the EPIK program in Korea. As a part of that job, the government furnishes me an apartment on a budget. On my own budget I bought this oven out of a sheer desire to cook roasts and pies. I am completly happy with the purchase because I own this wonderful piece of equipment that I can take with me whenever it is that I leave this job.

Let me tell you about how wonderful it is. Tonight, I cooked a chicken. The chicken was partially frozen, but that didn't matter. I threw some oil and some seasoning on it.

Then I selected number 17 on the oven. 17 is the Tongdak (roast chicken) button.

After 45 minutes of washing dishes and mashing potatoes I have this crispy, juicy, fully cooked, fall off the bone tender, roast chicken.

Now I understand how this may appear burned. That is my fault. I added onion powder to the outside for flavor and it is the onion powder that burned, kind of the way a beer can chicken rub gets burned. Part of the magic about the oven is that when it cooks chicken, it partially steams it, so the inside is just wonderfully tender, yet it makes the outside succulently crispy. Also for only 45 minutes, you can seriously save money whenever you get that chicken urge.
I'm sorry that this post is a bit of a shill for an apliance company. I would also like to apoligize to anyone comming to this site to hear some awsome Korea stories about getting into sword fights or about cool Asian looking things. I promise those to come in the future, but at any rate I hope you liked my story about 21st century chicken cooking technology.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is my new blog. I live in Jinju South Korea. I'm going to post stuff related to living in Jinju, and well whatever I want. Mostly I will probably just take pictures of things that I cooked or ate and then talk about it. I also might just post some complete nonsense. I hope one day to get a video camera and start making films. I really like Korean cold noodles or 냉면. I want to make a film about that some time. I don't think that it that will be likely though. Digital video cameras are pretty expensive.