Saturday, November 28, 2009
I got back on my bike. The a few minutes later I saw a guy standing off of his bike and looking towards the road. I looked too and saw a car accident. There was a red matiz up on the side walk and there was a guy on the phone. I looked closer and saw smoke coming from the matiz and didn't see anyone inside, and then I saw a lady laying in the street. I didn't stick around because there were already other people there on phones helping out, and there wasn't anything I could do, but on the way back I saw that pretty much everything was cleaned up. The lady in the street looked like she was in pain, but she was moving around a bit. Once again nothing I could do so I just left.
With that in the back of my mind I pressed on and the pink concrete turned to grey gravel beneath me, and about a half hour later I reached the end and took a picture of the Nam river.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I forwent the noodles, and had some Dol Seot Bibimbab. For 5000 won I was treated to a bowl of dwenjjang soup, two pieces of tofu, some seaweed stuff, some fried tofu stuff, and two brown pots of Kimchi, and oh yeah a piping hot stone bowl of bibimbab. It was all very surprisingly delicious.
The location of 섬 village is right nearby the main Geumsan bus stop across the street from G.S. 25. Perhaps due to it's location, I probably overlooked it for the past two years, but I am happy to have found it. Who knows, I might stop by for some seashell noodles some time (해물 칼국수, not my favorite meal.) All in all, a successful lunch.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
It was some time in October or November in the year 2002. I worked as a clerk in a news stand to subsidize the beers that helped my state subsidized studies. We all got the tickets to the State theatre that week. Barbarito Tores the Cuban lute player from the Beuna Vista Social club was giving a free concert with a band that he brought up from Havana to Kalamazoo.
Three guitars strummed with two drummers, a striking Cubano on Bass accompanied, the female vocalist who salsa'd and wailed that "This was a night for lovers and if you are person who is in love then you are a special person and this is a special night." I wasn't in love but I wanted to be.
I lived with seven other people in a house that was at one time a sorority house and under archaic Michigan laws, could be considered a bordello, since there were three single women living there at the time, but they couldn't understand, how could they? They thought that Robin Williams first said Chris Rock's Joke about Micheal Jackson being a poor black man from Indiana growing up to be a rich white woman. Lovely people but culturally not on the same page, or chapter or book as I was.
Up on my feet I tried to salsa to catch the eye of anyone watching the sad solo college student who had come to a free Afro Cuban Jazz concert all by himself, and just wanted a pretty face an sympathetic ear to hear the running monologue he had by himself in his car or when people weren't looking.
This was a hunger. A hunger for wanting to share these moments of extreme beauty. To sit silently and know that the other was enjoying the moment as he was. A hunger I miss, but fill during my lunch breaks from my job of trying to get middle school students to speak my native tongue.
I cherish solitude, but in moments of solitude I crave company. This makes me a frequenter of places. Places like coffee shops, or the Kimbab house. After every meal at the Kimbab house I feel grateful for having chosen to have had lunch at the kimbab house. It doesn't matter what I eat. I exit the door heading north and always say to myself, "Damn that was good."
Sunday my wife took a business trip for a week. She is a Guns and Rose's fan, and thinking of November rain, I think back to my serenade at the Kalamazoo State theater. The night I wanted to feel special by being in love. I remember the hunger that I had then and the hunger I feel now in missing her. I remember my bike's tires hissing the gentle shh, crushing wet leaves beneath them. The wind chilled my back through the wool of my pea coat. I wanted to put into words my feelings about what I had just seen. But no ears in my house could know the meaning of what I would say if given the chance, and no one could care.
But next Sunday when she returns I know my life long hunger will once again be quenched as if I had a million Kimbab house lunches.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Companies have always found interesting ways to hawk their wares. Way back in the day the Hasbro company brought us the great cartoon show, "Transformers," in order to sell their toys. These days in Korea, phone companies are using pop bands to sell phones. I think the first one was called the Samsung Anyband, and it featured prominent K-pop stars singing about and using the Samsung Anyphone. After that Samsung came out with the Amoled phone and took girl band "Afterschool," added Son Dam Bi to form the voltron head and created the Amoled band.
Not to be out done, LG decided to give me all kinds of queasy and uncomfortable feelings by dolling up 소녀시대 (Girls Generation) in all kinds of different outfits to sing about the new LG chocolate phone.
A few years ago, back when I was working in a box factory, in between stints in Korea, I remember how Verizon wireless was advertising the Chocolate phone. The chocolate phone was simply the free phone that came with the Verizon service. The commercial was in no way interesting, it was just a guy saying that when you sign up for the service you can get blah blah blah minutes free and take advantage of their 3g nation wide service, "Can you hear me now."
I can't help but wonder how the 30 second spot of the above chocolate commercial would go down back in some parts of the states. I would play this commercial mostly on CNN, FOX news, or MSNBC. Most of the commercials on those channels are for erectile dysfunction drugs, when they aren't commercials for other programs on their own channels. (Damn you CNN, I love watching 50 seconds of Anderson Cooper 360 then watching 10 commercials, one of which is a commercial for Anderson Cooper 360, eight other are for other shows on C.N.N, and then the only commercial that C.N.N. makes any money off of is for Cialis, great job guys.)
At any rate, the iphone is slow to come to Korea, and the Korea times has already started its doomsday predictions about how it won't be popular in Korea. For all of the fear of foreign competition I think that Korea should just boost its domestic cell phone ads in other countries in order to increase sales. Either one of two things could happen, people would buy more chocolate phones, or more people would associate their phone with sex and slink off into a locked closet every time someone calls them.
Actually I think the worst thing is that, I kind of like this song. The beats are kind of cool.
Monday, November 2, 2009
At any rate the meal was very interesting because this was a different Kimbab chungook than the one that I reviewed before. Last time I ordered a tuna kimbab, a salad kimbab and some kimchi mandu. Last time I wanted some fried mandu, but it wasn't on their menu. Curiously, though, there was fried mandu at the kimbab chungook that I went to today.
Today I once again had a tuna kimbab as well as a bowl of 육게장 Yook kae jang. The service today was a bit late but that had only to do with the place being swamped during lunch hour, and there was only one lady cooking. (The other place had a lady making kimbab and the other making kitchen items.) It was quite a novelty to see this lady in her pink rubber boots slamming together lines of kimbab faster than the wink of an eye, and seeing her friend brow beat her husband the delivery man for being too slow and for answering the phone with a mere grunt rather than saying anyong hassaeyo kimab chungook imnida.
Slow as it was though, I was treated to a four sided plate of banchan. Present were some blanched potatoes, some kimchi, some kind of dwenjang and vinegar green thing which was quite delicious and some candied fish which I didn't touch. Eventually my kimbab came. I was pleased to find that the rice was a little warm. There existed some differences in the tuna from the last time though. Last week the kimbab's tuna went straight from can to roll, while the tuna today seemed to have some kind of tangy sauce mixed in it. Perhaps a miracle whip or something. This pate of tuna and special sauce fit nicely with the gentle sour of the 단부지. This is not to say that one is better than the other they are just different. Strangely different since 김밥천국 is a franchise, one would think that there would be some consistency in the recipes.
I polished of the kimbab in a few minutes before the soup came with a fresh plate of banchan and a bowl of rice. There isn't much to report about the soup. I wonder how they make it. I doubt that an instant place like Kimbab heaven would put time into boiling beef parts in order to make broth, so I wonder if the broth is from some kind of can or something. I enjoyed the soup, salty could describe it best. Surprised was the face of a customer who inquired to the lady about what I was eating. Other than that the soup didn't have much to offer.
Now I would like to introduce my rating system of ajoshis. Highest rating is the five ajoshi, which is the kind uncle who gives you money on holidays. Number four ajoshi is the guy who converses with you on the bus or subway and has interesting things to say. This could also be a taxi driver who takes you quickly to your destination and helps you practice Korean. Three ajoshi is the guy who gives you a nod and leaves you alone. Two ajoshi pees in the street. And the lowest rating of number one ajoshi is any drunk man who yells threats at locked up convenience stores trying to buy cigarettes at four in the morning.
The Kimbab Chungook next the D.C. Mart, and the Kimbab chungook on the other side of the mountain and next to morning glory paper supplies both receive three ajoshi.