Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cool Video By an ESL Teacher in Korea

Eat it Facebook. Cool video. Props for getting it up on The Daily Beast's website.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home Alone

I've watched Home Alone about 20 times in the past two weeks. I think that it is a pretty great movie. Not many movies are like Home Alone anymore.

Home Alone uses a lot of short cuts and different perspectives to tell the story. Movies now days don't seem to do that so much, and they rely too much on special effects. I don't like how home alone uses the same gag a few times in the same movie. I don't like how the same gags are repeated throughout the sequels too.

Home Alone 2 was okay, but it was basically Home Alone 1 in New York. Home Alone 3 was okay too. Home Alone 4 sucked ass. I didn't even see 10 minutes of the movie and I can tell you that it sucked ass. It had French Stewart.

French Stewart was funny in a few episodes of third rock from the sun, but the guy is just annoying. He played the part of Marv in Home Alone 4. Why the hell would anyone get that Hack to play Marv?

Anyway I have a few ideas for more Home Alone Sequels:

Home Alone 5, successful family vacation.
In this Home Alone, the McCalisters manage to take a vacation together and they don't leave Kevin behind. The Family members are all nice to each other and everyone has a great time.

Home Alone 6, The Tale Of Kevin McCalister's Son Ollie
In this episode, a grown up McCauley Caulkin plays the role of Kevin McCalister as an adult. Kevin now works for a security firm that designs obstacle courses to train soldiers. He also sells security solutions to banks and diamond depositories. Kevin has a son named Ollie who he devotes all of his attention to. He is also sensitive to Ollie's needs and listens to any troubles that Ollie has. Unfortunately, Ollie isn't as creative or as capable as Kevin was when he was a kid, so when the McCalisters take a vacation to Germany, and Ollie gets on the wrong plane and ends up in Moscow, Ollie is easily captured by the Russian mafia after he accidentally shoots a low level mafioso in the face with an AK 47. Ollie is then sold to a Russian meat packing plant that is owned by Harry and Marv who were sentenced to Siberia after they were caught by the police in Home Alone 2. When Kevin finds out about this he tries to take a bullet train from Germany to Moscow that breaks down. Kevin is the rescued by some Russian tundra people who transport him to the meat packing plant via sleigh and reindeer. Meanwhile, Ollie finds that he has a knack for meat packing and begins to see Harry and Marve as benevolent grand dads. When Kevin arrives he rigs the meat packing plant full of elaborate booby traps that Harry and Marv fall into. When Ollie sees his elderly adoptive grandfathers get hit in the heads with paint cans, and sees Harry nearly fall into a giant boiler for rendering glue, he convinces his father to cease and desist the torture. Kevin, Harry, and Marv finally come to terms with the destructive relationship that they had, and unite to beat back a contingent of Russian Mafia members who storm the meat packing plant to collect a debt from Harry and Marv.

Home Alone 7: Angels with Filthy Souls.
Chuck Norris plays 1930's gangster "Johnny McCalister," Kevin McCalister's great grandfather. Johnny uses tricks and his Tommy Gun to get what he wants.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Public Service Post About The Weather

This post is a public service to new people in Korea about how to stay warm in the winter. I have lived in Korea for about five years. Even though I come from the state of Michigan, where winters can get well below zero, that is below zero Fahrenheit, which is different than below zero Celsius. Before I came to Korea, I didn't know how to deal with temperatures in the metric system, so here are some tips for staying warm.

1. Sleep under blankets. Blankets help you keep you warm by helping to retain body heat.
2. Turn on your heater
3. Wear clothes.
4. When you go outside wear a coat.
5. If you live outside, build a fire.
6. Eat cold soup. (I don't know why you should do that, but it sounds good.)
7. Go swimming in the ocean. When you get into the water it will feel really cold, stay in the water long enough to get used to the cold, but not long enough to die of hypothermia. After that go sit in a sauna somewhere or take a hot shower. Or just skip the swim and take a hot shower or go to a sauna.

I hope that other ESL instructors, from the Northern U.S. or Canada can find these tips helpful.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Geumsan Coffee Shop Review Fall Into Coffee


Trends in Korea tend to hit Seoul and Busan first and then filter their way down to the provinces. About five years ago I went to my first Starbucks in Korea, I think it was in Haeyundae or Gangnam or something like that. Seriously it doesn't matter Starbucks are usually all the same. Eventually Jinju got it's first Starbucks. Holly's coffee had been here as long as I can remember, but they only served espresso drinks.

If I wanted to get a brewed coffee I either had to go to McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts. The problem with Dunkin Donuts back then - and maybe now - is that they would pour a half cup of coffee and then water it down and add sugar, without asking. Also a long time ago McDonalds used to make some pretty great brewed coffee for only 1000 or 15
00 won a cup, but then they switched to that Lavazza shit and everything went downhill.

Then about three years ago, Jinju started getting coffee shops that would roast the coffee beans and make hand drip coffee. Those places were okay. The coffee tasted much better than Starbucks, not as good as Dunkin, - this is my opinion I really don't care what other people think - but at 4000 won a cup it usually wasn't worth the trouble.

Another problem that my school isn't in Jinju proper, it is in a suburb that has recently seen a small explosion in population due to farmers selling there rice fields to developers. The nicest thing about this place, Geumsan, is that it is quiet during school hours. I can go have lunch at a wide variety of places and be the only customer, or one of a sparse number of customers, so there had never really been a need for things like coffee or donut shops.

Last year a Lotteria opened, though. A long time ago there used to be a Lotteria in Geumsan, but that closed and became a G.S. 25. The place where the Lotteria opened used to be a soon dubu place. That place was good but it was dirty and the pluming in the bathroom was a bit suspicious in that the sink faucet was mounted with a pile of duct tape.

Lotteria provided me with passable cappuccinos, they weren't sweet and they tasted coffee like. Last month a donut shop opened. Ring Pang Donuts makes excellent Americanos, great cappuccinos, and I also purchased my favorite mug there. I bring that mug with me whenever I buy coffee there, and when I'm at home I drink beer and wine out of it.

Today or sometime last week saw the opening of "Fall into Coffee." This is the second proper coffee shop that I have seen in Geumsan. Before this place opened, there was another coffee shop that doubled as a dress shop. A student's mother also owned the place, and their house was above the coffee shop - they had an awesome house by Korean standards, it looked like an American house. I didn't want to go there for that reason.

Anyway fall into coffee reminds me of my coffee shops from my college days in Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo has the famous "Water Street Coffee Joint," which I would frequent throughout my college time, but the places that I went to to study and read newspapers were "The Space," and "Rocketstar Cafe."

The Space was opened by a collective of artists or - something like that - who would take turns volunteering to run the place. The coffee was great and they also had a stage for musical and dramatic performances. The place was pretty fucking awesome, but they had to close because they were next to a urology clinic that didn't appreciate the noise from the concerts. So the owners of the clinic bought the building and kicked "The Space," out. The Rocket Star was started by a guy who would occasionally work at the "The Space." This enterprising young man was also pretty big into the Kalamazoo moped scene and ran a moped sale and repair shop while running the Rocket Star. Unfortunately, the Rocket Star's building got condemned and they got kicked out, but that was after the original owner sold the shop and moved to a different town. Both The Space, and The Rocket Star had big windows and good coffee.

Geumsan's "Fall into Coffee," also has a nice view of Geumsan ro and some nice houses. The interior is cozy and feels like a great place to read a novel or chat with friends. The coffee was good as well. The owner definitely appreciates coffee. The process by which she made my coffee seemed a bit exhaustive.

I chose an Ethiopian Yrgachef coffee from a menu. She put some whole beans in a grinder and put the grounds into a melitta. The with the care of a tea maker warmed a tea cup with hot water from water heater. She then transfered some kind of special water that she had boiling in a small Gama Sot

She took this water and placed it in a brass teapot which she used to pour over the coffee grounds. The whole process took some time that they might find taxing in the future if they ever get super busy, but the resulting coffee satisfied my after lunch coffee jonesing. I don't know if I can frequent this place everyday, but I think I can divide my time between it and Ring Pang. Both places offer their advantages for when I where I want to eat lunch. Lunch at the Kimbab house can be serviced by a trip to Ring Pang while a hot bowl of pork soup or a plate of Chinese noodles can be followed by a fall into a coffee cup. I rate Fall into Coffee highly because it is the only place in Geumsan where I can get drip coffee. Also, in typical ajuma fashion the owner of fall into coffee gave me a second cup of coffee for free, and also offered me a free cappuccino, which I declined out of fear of a coffee stomachache.

Raw Fish

Had my first experience yesterday in going to a Hwe Jib. Usually when I go out for raw fish, the wife and I usually hit up some Japanese style place that serves bunches of side dishes first and then they throw in fillets of raw fish on gobs of vinegared rice (Cho Bab). After last Chuseok though, I started to develop a taste for the sour red pepper paste that Koreans serve with their sushi called cho jjang.

I enjoy the stuff immensely now. So yesterday in a fit of raw cuttlefish craving, we struck out all over town in search of a fix.

We didn't find a cuttlefish place. What we did find though was a place that had a 10,000 won lunch special.

And special it was. We were treated to a first small little plate of raw cuttle fish, some steamed flounder, some vegetables in red sauce, some vegetables in yellow sauce, some smoked duck, and some smoked duck. The lady then later brought out a little shrimp pancake with terriyakki sauce on it. Then came a plate of halibut filets, and some halibut on rice, then a plate of chap chae.

After that came the last course of soup and rice. The soup was a bit too salty but the rice was good. A freaking huge meal for two for just 20,000 won. I have been here for years and the amount of food you can get for super cheap still surprises me.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

TaeKyon


Once I wanted to be the greatest........greatest Taekwondo practitioner in Michigan. So in 2004 I went to Korea and trained with some high school kids for six weeks. When I went back to Michigan I found that what I did in Korea didn't really matter, so I decided to go back to Korea to make my Anthropology degree work for me by becoming an ESL teacher.

A few months before I went back I met the guy who would become my replacement. He was an 8th degree black belt in Taekwondo. He was also a Taekyon master. He eventually ended up stealing some money from our Taekwondo school and he made off with a dining room table that I let him borrow. He also teamed up with an American idiot to go start another school in a different town. He ended up stealing about twenty thousand dollars from that idiot. The idiot wiped out his kid's college fund to go do that. The Taekwondo and Taekyon master eventually bolted off to Canada.

While in Korea I started training Kumdo. Kumdo is pretty fun, but I never lost the urge to kick stuff. Unfortunately whenever I tried to go to a local Taekwondo school for training, I always found myself practicing with little kids.

Luckily, a week ago I was walking around my beloved Geumsan Myeon, when I saw a yellow van that had the phone number of a Taekyon Dojang on it. I had my #1 super wife call up the number. The next week (Last week as of the writing of this) I started doing Taekyon. After three lessons, I have found myself extremely satisfied.

The instructor is very patient and kind. The school is new so I have gotten private lessons with no kids. The martial art is also very gentle yet it provides a good work out in the places where I need a workout.

Taekyon focuses on intricate foot work and stepping patterns that force people to bend their knees and extend their abdomens. The foot work eventually builds power and adds a little extra umph to each kick. Youtube videos of people doing Taekyon show very fluid motions and people getting knocked to the ground with very simple techniques.

Korean Martial arts like Taekyon and Hapkido focus a lot of energy on a part of the body called the "Tanjeon" area. The "Tanjeon," area is located a few inches under the belly button and is supposed to be a place where a person's internal energy or "ki" collects. That may or may not be true, but if you spend twenty minutes or so doing some Taekyon hot stepping where you bend your knees and extend your stomach out over and over again, the next day you develop a nice sit up tummy ache.

So once again, I'm going to try to become the greatest.
Make my fists of solid rock, or at least I can have something else to get me out of the house.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Test Results

Okay, I hid this blog for a while. I'm not sure why. November has been an interesting month for me.

November is a stressful month for Korean high school seniors. They have to take the college entrance exam. This all-day-test somewhat determines their fates. I say somewhat because I'm sure that there are a lot of kids out there who get bad grades on the test and turn out fine, maybe they start their own businesses or figure out that trade school they went to is good enough to get them a job somewhere and they can start making money while their colleagues are in college.

I had a few of my own tests. First was my Kumdo 1 dan test. I messed up one part of that test, but managed to pass. That test was overshadowed by something else though.

The Kumdo test was on a Saturday. The Thursday before the test my wife told me something. Back in August we found out that we were pregnant. The week of the Kumdo test, my wife had one of her check ups with an ultrasound, and the combined screening/blood test. They found that there was a high possibility that our kid might have downs syndrome.

The week after that we went back to the hospital for an amniocentesis, after that we spent the next three weeks worrying about the results.

In that time I looked on the internet for information about down syndrome. I saw some pictures of kids with down syndrome. In doing so I came to realize that having a kid with down syndrome isn't bad at all. I got myself ready to smack the shit out of anybody who would call my kid a retard. Lastly I read a bunch of cool stuff on the internet about things that people with down syndrome have done.

There were still times when the anxiety of waiting got to me though. Just that feeling in the stomach of, "What the hell am I going to do?" But there were other comforting things. A student in our school has some kind of problem like that. I don't know what her problem is but, nonetheless she is a lovely young lady who likes to stick her tongue out at me and call me a pig in Korean as she giggles. A daughter like that would be pretty awesome to have.

We got the test results back and they were negative for downs syndrome. It seems our baby will be perfectly healthy. My wife called me with the news as I left for lunch today. I couldn't tell if her tone of voice on the phone was happy distraught. It turned out that she was happy. I was relieved as well. I don't know if I was relieved that it was good news or relieved that it was news at all and that I could stop worrying. But then I realized that we were having a baby, this was probably just the first of many other worries. I was also more optimistic about the prospects of having a kid.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Korea Times Greatness

There is an article in the Korea times about American police departments wanting to use Jindo dogs as police dogs.

Jindos are pretty cool dogs. They are well mannered, smart, and the puppies are cute.

A family that owned a monk fish restaurant across the street from my apartment building had a Jindo puppy for for a while. It was a super cute puppy. My wife nicknamed it 아구 (ahgoo - monkfish)

Somebody stole that dog.

Anyway it would be interesting to see how well the dogs can do. But this sentence at the end of the article summed everything up nicely:

“If the Jindo becomes one of the official American police dogs, it will be a great opportunity to promote it and Korea simultaneously to the world,” a group spokesman said.

WTF? Nobody said anything about the breed becoming the official American police dog. There isn't such a title for any breed? The police don't really care about where the dog came from, they just care about finding drugs.

What about Korean police? What kind of dogs to Korean police use? It wouldn't be surprising that Korean police already use Jindos, but why does something have to be exported to America before it becomes special. (Side note: Koreans do highly revere Jindo dogs) And why do dogs even have to become international ambassadors of good will? Why does everything from Korea have to represent Korea?

There might be two or three people who might be moved to come to Korea because of the Jindo dogs, but there are already too many people who associate Korea with dog soup.

Any way, I wish the best to the dogs who get selected. I hope that they can help to fight crime. I also hope that they don't get too stressed out by having to represent Korea, in addition to storming meth labs. Maybe Kim Yeon Ah can drop by the dog training place to offer some moral support.

Another NY Times link

I really enjoyed this article by Maureen Dowd last Wednesday. It's about how there is a segment of America that basks in being ignorant. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hell Yeah!

Just googled "Ring Pang Donuts"

Fun Times in South East Korea has the third hit for "Ring Pang Donuts."

Thank you google for once again proving that "Fun Times in South East Korea" is the most important food blog in the Korean expat bloggosphere about fine dining in Jinju's Geumsan Myun.

An Americano For the Ages

Fun Times in South East Korea, the Korean expat bloggosphere's #1 authority on fine dining in Jinju's Geumsan Myun.

Thursday, lunchtime.

I made my way over to Ring Pang Donuts. They seemed to be in the process of opening. I asked the guy if they were doing business. He said that they weren't selling doughnuts yet, but I could get a coffee.

Score!

I tried to get a double espresso but the lady talked me into a strong Americano. They had a tray of doughnuts sitting out and they offered me one for free.

Double score!!

They gave me the coffee and I left.

I ate the doughnut on my way back to school. It was just a soft chocolate ring doughnut. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't impressive either.

The Americano had a nice strong coffee smell, and it tasted a lot like a fairly strong brewed coffee. It was by far the best Americano that I had had in a long time. At 2,900 won I think I can use Ring Pang as a good substitute for Cafe Bene (Cafe Bene, good coffee, but you gotta take out a loan to go there.)

I'll be interested to see if the Geumsan branch starts to carry sandwiches as well. The website has info on their doughnuts. They have a fritter looking thing that they call a sweet cinnamon.

As they say in Korea. Ring Pang doughnuts, I expect.

Han Il Restaurant

Fun Times in South East Korea. The Korea Blogosphere's most important blog about fine dining in Jinju's Geumsan Myun

I took a vacation to the lake lands back in August. When I came back all I wanted to do was eat Kimchi Jjigae. My wife told me about a place that her dad goes to called Han deul restaurant. We went there a few times and I loved it. Eventually the the Kimchi Jjigae jones died off.

Last Monday, I checked out a Jjigae place in Geumsan called the Han Il shick dang.

It was okay. They were a bit heavy on the black pepper but the Jjigae was decent.

I really like how old Kimchi can make good pork really sing. The best part of the Jjigae at both Han-deul, and Han-Il restaurants was the tender and buttery bits of pork. I'd take that over 3gyupsal any day.

Han-Il restaurant, an alright place for Jjigae, Han-deul restaurant a freaking awesome place. Long live Jjigae.

Milyang Dweji Gook Bab

Fun Times in South East Korea. The Korea Blogosphere's most important blog about fine dining in Jinju's Geumsan Myun.

A few weeks ago I was walking around Geumsan Myun. It seemed that Geumsan Elementary school was having some kind of festival. I wanted to go to Lotteria, but the place was packed with kids and their parents. I tried to go to Mom's touch, but that was full too. I walked down the road to Jin Oodong, but alas my luck was running out.

I got all of the way down the street to Geumsan Gook Soo, but even that place seemed infested with townies. I was really hungry. While I was standing across the street from Geumsan Gook Soo, I happened to look up and notice Milyang Dweji Gook Bab.

All I can say is, holy shit that was good.

The pork in the soup was super tender. The side dishes were plentiful, and the soup was yummy.

A week later I stopped by again and had Soo Yook Baek Ban. 8,000 won bought me a bowl of rice, a big plate full of Kimchi, a smaller dish with moo kimchi, some Korean chives, a bowl of rice, a bowl of soup broth and a big ass plate of boiled pork. Again the pork met the tooth like a goddamn piece of sponge cake. Good stuff.

If you ever make it over to Geumsan for some mountain climbing or for stalking famous actors or popstars doing their military service over at the air force base; Milyang Dweji Gook Bab puts the heart in hearty.

Ring Pang Donuts

Has anyone been to Ring Pang Donuts? Jinju's Geumsan Myun is getting a Ring Pang Doughnuts, and I am super stoked. I have never had a Ring Pang doughnut, but I'm excited because this will be a place for me to go and have coffee during lunches. These days I get my day coffee fix from Lotteria.

I love the ladies at the Lotteria in Geumsan. Some real boisterous ajumas who seem to get their jollies from seeing me everyday. The problem is that the only good coffee that you can get there is the Lotteria cappuccino.

I'm not a cappuccino man, but the Lotteria cappuccinos are far superior to the Lotteria Americanos. I hate Americanos. I much prefer brewed coffee.

Although this Ring Pang place seems to be only an espresso drink joint, they seem to have straight espresso on the menu. In a pinch, two or three shots of straight espresso is a good enough replacement for proper coffee.

I'm also hoping that this Ring Pang place has fresh doughnuts. I love Dunkin, because the coffee is good. If a Dunkin came to Geumsan, that'd be my dream come true, but Dunkin Donuts aren't that fresh, they get shipped in from a factory on the outside of town. It'd be an innapropriate dream if a Misdo came to Geumsan. Krispe Kreme would be okay too, but their coffee is shit.

I'll keep you all posted for updates on this Ring Pang place.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Salt Water!!!

I read this New York Times piece about gargling salt water to help with cold symptoms in the winter.

So low and behold, after a night of beer and wine, Saturday morning I woke up with a sore throat. It was about 4:00 in the morning. I stumbled in to the kitchen to fix myself a saline high ball and gargled it.

I had never done this before, and the salt made me gag, but holy shit it worked well. It is by far the best thing I had ever done for a sore throat.

Give it a try.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lizards!!!!

When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was a book by Daniel Pinkwater, called Lizard Music. Lizard Music was about a boy who went on a journey to some strange land where giant lizards played instruments and had a kind of band.

Last week was exam week at the school where I work. I had to make a few lesson plans during that time, but I also had a lot of free time. I spent some of that time by filming a few of the many lizards that live on the mountain where our school is.

Also last week, I found this totally awesome Korean indie band called "Gukkasten." I put their music in the back ground. I figured it made for some good lizard music.

Lizard in Korean is 도마뱀.

Here is the video:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Last Night of the Jinju Namgang Lantern, Drama, Arts, and Sports Festival

So I was riding my bike to go pick up a Paris Baguette brownie, and a coffee from Dunkin.

Then I heard some awesome wailing from across the river. I looked over the bridge and saw some fire.

The music sounded a bit like the now split up group "At the Drive in."

When I got to the show I was treated to about ten minutes of kick ass.

It was a four piece band, guitar/vocalist, back up guitar, bass, and drums. It was kick ass.

The band had a small group of teenagers and college students hand-banging (I know that sounds dirty, they had their right hands up and were pointing in a swaying motion as if they were head banging.)

A mother and two toddlers were off to the right. The lead singer took a moment from rocking his balls off to let one of the toddlers take a few riffs on his axe. He then shared with the big kids.

A serendipitous moment where I couldn't stop grinning the whole time. I only got to see about three songs before their set ended, so I asked the sound guys the name of the band.

국카스탠, Guckasten. Here's a sample:


Some college girls passed me and said, "너무 멋지서." (That fucking rocked...well it means "that was cool," but I knew what they meant.)

Update:
I learned that Guckkasten is German for Zograscope, according to "Last F.M." A Zograscope is a device that you use to gain depth perception on paintings. Fucking baddass. A band with a German name for something that heightens perception.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Degree Debacle

About 3 years ago, when I first took my job at my current school. I had a small debacle with my degree.

Like I had before when I was working at a university I sent my degree out. This time it wasn't to the direct place of employment, but rather to some recruiter.

My degree is pretty large so I stuffed it in a large plastic folder and shipped it in a package with a small book that housed my TESOL certificates.

About a month later when I finally got all my papers back, some idiot had taken my degree out of the original large folder, folded it, and stuffed it into the small TESOL book.

I was pretty pissed to get my degree back with a giant crease down the middle and I complained about it. I got an apology, but I didn't know who did it.

Three years later, I got back to my home town for the second time. I went back to my university and ordered a new diploma. It was only about $35 or something like that.

Just yesterday the new diploma came.

Now this makes me think. Why the fudge do does Korean immigration need to see the actual diploma? They already ask for the sealed transcript, that should be proof enough. In my case my diploma was only important enough to the somebody so that that they could take a quick look and then deface the damn thing.

I wanted to get a new one because the next idiot would probably take a look at the original and think the thing fake, because it was folded. But once again though, the only thing that I did to replace the original was fill out a form and pay a fee, the University said that they don't even print the degrees, they ship them out to a third party - probably something like the Herf Jones company - and the third party prints them. So really, why is showing the diploma so important here?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Drum Performance at Jinju's Art's Festival

Took a bike ride down to the riverside last night to look at lanterns. The arts festival happens at the same time as the lantern festival in the same place. Anyway, there was this traditional drum performance with some break dancing towards the end. I was lucky enough to have my video camera with me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Why Chickens are Awesome

Last Wednesday I went to the Geumsan "Hanaro Mart," and bought a whole chicken. The chicken wasn't very big, but at around 6000 a head I thought the thing expensive. No matter.

I brought the thing home an threw it in my "Dong Yang Magic," oven - setting number 17. I threw some salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme on the outside. 45 minutes later I had a beautifully cooked chicken.

These days the wife isn't eating meat. I think the baby inside of her is some kind of vegetarian or something. Anyway, we had that with some salad and some garlic cheese mashed potatoes.

After dinner I threw the carcass into a pot and boiled the thing for a while. I went to Kumdo, while the wife made Jook.
I'm no photographer, and i realize that this picture looks a bit like vomit, but it tastes really good. This was the third night of eating jook.

To make chicken jook all you need to do is cook rice and vegetables in chicken broth. Season with Joseon Gan Jjang (The stuff mothers in law make) wait until it gets squishy and then eat.

Anyway from Wednesday until Sunday 4 meals involved the chicken that I threw in the old "Dong Yang Magic." (Actually 5 I had a chicken sandwich for lunch one day.) That's how chicken can be awesome.

Tonight I had some Jook with a glass of Kiwi wine. It was good. I don't know if the things "matched," or not, but the Jook tasted goo, and the wine tasted good, and that's good enough for me.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Korean Kiwi Wine


It's festival season in Jinju. From Yesterday until the 12th of this month, Jinju will be saturated with people looking at floating lanterns, or people competing in sporting events.

The wife an I took a stroll down to the Drama/Lantern festival today. It was raining so we didn't cover the full distance. We stopped at a booth that was promoting local products.

Part of my wife's job is that she helps train Korean kiwi farmers. Her company takes people down to New Zealand to learn all about Kiwis.

In the past she told me about this Kiwi wine product. I had never tried it before, but it is for sale in the Jinju Galleria department store.

This product is called "Da Lrae." 다래, is the Korean name for the species of Kiwi that is used in this wine. This particular wine comes from the city just south of Jinju called Sacheon.

Most of the time when you think of Korean wines, you think of rice wines like makeoli, dong dong ju, or bub joo. I like all of those things. Korea also produces bok boon ja, and maeshil. I enjoy maeshil, because it is nice and tangy. Bok boon ja is a bit too sweet.

Then there is the disaster known as Jinro house wine. I'm pretty sure that stuff is just soju with grape drink poured into it.

Anyway back to the Kiwi stuff. This stuff is pretty good. It has a real dry wine essence. It actually tastes like wine, but it kind of leaves you wanting to taste some grape in the flavor. It doesn't matter though because it is satisfying without the grape.

It has a really fresh and clean taste to it, and the color is like any chardonnay.

Long story short. If you want to send something home to the folks, friends, or if you live in Seoul and you have some Korean co-workers who you want to impress after you take a visit down to the south coast, get them this stuff. It's pretty delicious. This is a myung poom item to the max.

I don't know if you can get it in other parts of Korea, but it is for sale at Jinju's Galleria department store. They also have a booth with the Bio 21 center at Jinju's drama fest. It was 20,000 per bottle.

All the more reason to get ur asses down here for the Jinju festivals.

Jinju Festivals Re-post

First there is the Jinju floating lantern Festival. Or the 진주남강유등축제. It will be from October first and will conclude on October tenth. It is always fun to go down by the river to look at the lanterns, and to play the games that they have. The lantern festival commemorates the first battle of Jinju during the Imjin war. Citizens put lanterns in the river to confuse the Japanese. It would look as though they were approaching the city, and then blam, they weren't approaching the city, it would just be a bunch of lanterns in the water.

Then there is the 91st sports festival. 제 91회 전국체육대회 I'll be interested in watching some of these events. I may have said before that in a past life I was quite the Taekwondo aficionado. Anyway the city of Jinju built a big stadium and a swimming facility just for this event. It will be from October 6th until the 12th.

My first brush with Korea was at the second international Hwarangdo festival in Jin Cheon county. The town went all ape shit to host us. I liked being a part of a large raffle where the prize ranged from bicycles to body wash. The organizers of the raffle yelled out the raffle ticket numbers in Korean, and when nobody would claim any prizes they would just say: Aw hell just give it to a foreigner. People from many different countries took place in that event.

Gacheon arts festival: They usually run this at the same time as the floating lantern festival. It can be hard to tell where the lantern festival ends and the art festival begins. But from the website it looks like there are some performing arts. It might be a good chance to see the "Jinju Sword Dance," which is something that I have never seen but have always wanted to.

The silk exhibition: 진주 실크 박람 회. I'll have to find out more info on this one. Usually it is at the same time as all of the other festivals. Jinju silk vendors set up shop in the city hall and then sell their silk products. Two years ago they set up a tent next to the river, near by where all of the other festival stuff was going on.

The Jinju Drama Festival: Also goes from October first to the twelfth. It looks like there will be an awards banquet. A famous Korean orchestra and famous Korean singers and actors will take part in an original sound track concert from Korean dramas. This will be at the Gyeongnam arts center on Sunday October 3rd at 2:00 P.M. On October 4th, it looks like there will be some talent scouts at the Gyeongnam arts festival. It looks like they will do a kind of American Idol type thing. That will be from 7:00-9:00 P.M. There are other events that seem to be going on here too. If you are into K-pop or K-dramas, this might be a good place to go. On the 2nd there will be a red carpet event at six in the evening. In years past, the late Andre Kim, has used the Drama festival as a platform to show off his new Hanbok collections. He always make a point to buy Jinju silk for his hanbok.

I hope you all can make it out to Jinju to see the festivals

So get ur asses out to Jinju.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Vegetable Soup

I don't think that I have ever posted this video of my making vegetable soup. It has been a while since I have done a cooking post. I'm also giving a link to my most famous video on this blog "Taco Loco."

This particular soup was made last year around this time. After I got married my wife and I bought a cow rib fro making Galbi Jjim. Some meat was left so I made vegetable soup with it.

I edited this video using adobe premier which is why the video quality is a little bit better than normal. But Adobe premier is pretty difficult to use so I've been sticking with window's movie maker recently. Kind of a bummer because I can't edit anything that is HD.

Movie Time

I decided to post this over here too, because....well I was bored. Here is "Dorkin on a Mountain."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Another Another K-pop Post

This 2 Ne 1 song is okay. I don't really enjoy watching girls get beat up though. It kind of ruins the song. It's like you are just sitting there jammin, and then that shit has to happen.

On Monday night, my wife and I were just chillin and watching "Law and Order SVU," when I heard some noises coming from the outside.

Sometimes interesting things happen when I hear noises from the outside. The first time I saw some dude beating his lady, so I yelled at them. This gave the girl an opportunity for a counter attack. I watched a few more minutes and then went inside.

Another time a guy was killing a dog with a hammer.

Then for a while I think a group of ajumas were operating a gambling den in their house. The cops got called there a few times before those folks disappeared.

These days there is a small gang of middle school aged boys who are causing problems in the hood.

Monday night was their reckoning. I got to witness a lady beating some kid with her shoe as his buddies watched. Some useless ajoshis were just standing around watching, one guy picked up a metal pipe, but another guy told him to put it down. They were making phone calls.

Later a taxi pulled up and a lady got out. She was pissed. She fought through everybody. She landed a good side kick on one of the men before picking up the afore mentioned shoe kid by the hair and started to knee him in the sides. She then threw the kid to the ground, jumped on top of him, and started punching him in the face.

The others picked her off of him and she still was kicking at him. I think she was his mom. My wife could hear the conversation and was telling me that one of the kids had stolen something from someone's house. I kind of wish I had filmed the beat down. I had my camera in my hand, but I wasn't sure if they knew I was watching. This particular instance was kind of funny but also brutal.

This little ajuma could really kick ass, she beat the shit out of her son who was twice her size...he didn't really fight back, I think the men would have killed him if he tried. I'm mostly disappointed that no one called the cops on the lot of them. I'm getting pretty sick of how folks can make so much noise and commotion for so long without getting any kind of repercussion. A shotgun with salt charges would have been perfect for this situation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another K-pop Post

I actually kind of like this song. The guys who sing it really get into it when they do live performances. I just think it's funny how ambiguously homoerotic it is. Check out the video, there are a lot of torso scenes, and the hot girl doesn't even show up until 1:58.



Once again the live performances are powerful and charismatic, but seriously, it is two dudes singing a love duet. (Well the song is about breaking up with a woman and putting on a brave face.)



It kind of reminds me of "Blades of Glory."



Still I kind of like the song.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Video of me Climbing Mountains and Kicking Stuff

Posted over at my martial arts blog. It was how I spent part of my Chuseok holiday. My wife called me "Wancta," because of this video. "Wancta," kind of means looser in Korean. I can't really see how she is wrong on this one. I did ride my bike about three miles to go climb some mountains and film myself playing ninja on them, I'm not going to win any cool-guy prizes for that. Anyway, you can checkout some hot Korean psychedelic rock from the 70's on the videos.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Restaurant Review. Geumsan Gook Su 금산국수

A post from Korea's most important expat blog about fine dinning in Jinju's Geumsan Myeon.

Today I stopped by Geumsan Gook Su for lunch. I had 콩국수. Coang Gook Soo, is a soup that has noodles in a soy milk sauce. It is usually served cold with slices of cucumber in it.

Geumsan Gook Su is one of my favorite kinds of restaurants. There are only four tables and a kitchen. The interior was by no means impressive. The menu was written on brown paper on the wall. It really didn't look like anybody put that much thought into the interior. Most of the business seems to be from the delivery service. The place seems to be a husband and wife operation with the wife in the kitchen and the husband manning the phone and delivering noodles. An elderly woman was the other customer in the place, she ordered the "Jan Chi Gook Soo, 잔치국수 aka 물국수 (Mool Gook Soo) Some of her friends saw her in the place from the outside and stopped by for a visit.

The woman told the others how delicious the food was there and that they should have some. It seemed that the others had just finished lunch and were just stopping by to say hey. Anyway, my noodles were pretty good. I really wanted to have some Coang Gook Soo that day and it lived up to my expectations. This particular bowl had some toasted sesame seeds in it. I believe I have had their Mool Gook Soo before. This place is just at the foot of the big hill that my middle school sits on, and I believe that the summer vacation lunches come from here.

Like most places in Geumsan, I recommend it for lunch. The coang gook soo was good but at 5000 won a bowl it was a bit pricey. I'll try the Mool Gook Soo next time since it is only 3,500.

Thanks Miss-A



I may have lambasted Miss A in a previous post, for stealing the catch phrase "You don't know me," from crazy teenagers on the Maury Povich show, but I have realized a great benefit of this song when dealing with annoying kids on the street saying "hi," in Korea.

Y.B.M. Miss A practice dialogue:

Kid on the street: Hi, where are you from, what's your name, I'm fine thank you and you?

Me: You don't know me, so shut up.

Thanks Miss A

Jiri San Adventure



I've lived in Jinju for well over four years now. I have always heard about how I should make it up to Jiri mountain. Well on Sunday I finally did just that with my friend and English man and his father. Now the Englishman and I are both foreigners who are married to Korean women. While on the mountain, I came to the realization that mountain climbing in Korea is poor man's golf. It's an activity to get you out of the house.

This was by far the highest mountain I have ever climbed. If you live anywhere in Korea and are fit in physicality and can tolerate heights, I recommend giving Jiri a climb. I must warn any potential mountain adventurers that when you climb Jiri you go up for four hours. You should also bring plenty of water, a few extra shirts, and a flashlight.

We started up the mountain yesterday about 11:00 or 11:30 in the afternoon. We reached the top at 3:30.

I have to say that the whole mountain is a place of striking beauty. There are trees, wild flowers rocks, birds, rocks, waterfalls, rocks, and a mountain stream that runs through more rocks.

The top of the mountain has a lot of huge jagged rocks that shoot up through the tree line. It's possible to take a brief siesta at the top on one jagged rock that is about the same surface area as a Korean one room apartment. We all stopped to drink some canned Makeoli and eat some apples, then it was time to go down.

One thing striking about the top of that mountain was how we were in and above some of the clouds. Once again, if you are afraid of heights, it might be a bit disconcerting to be breathing cloud.

We made our decent next to a small river that afforded us views of waterfalls and the jagged landscape. The only problem was, was that it started to get dark.

Jiri is a pretty difficult hike. The ground is littered with rocks and tree roots. As twilight turned to night, the only things visible on the ground were the white rocks. Stepping onto a dark patch could have meant stepping off of the ridge and onto a certain broken leg or death. Stupidly we didn't pack flashlights or headlamps so going was tough, but after a while we were wise enough to light the path with our cell phone screens.

As the cell phone batteries died we switched to the displays on our cameras, to save the small bits of juice in our phones in case we needed to call for a rescuing.

We struggled along in the dark for a few hours. Finally we were rescued by a middle aged couple who were wise enough to have a flashlight and a head lamp. They walked with us lighting our path. By 8:00 at night we emerged onto the paved road that lead to my friend's car.

Jirisan is a beautiful beautiful place, if you ever go there, try to begin your hike at first light, don't mess around in the dark. I saw some amazing breath taking things on our journey. I also learned to appreciate things we take for granted like daylight and flat surfaces. I also highly recommend the adventure.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Communist Ass Bullshit

I've been trying to upload a video onto my other blog for the past two days. I also tried to go to youtube and upload it. Now of course you can't upload on youtube if you go to Korea youtube, so I selected worldwide, and Australia. Still I'm getting blocked.

Korea won't let users comment on youtube, or upload videos unless you prove what your real name is. They have to verify your real name by leaving your national I.D. number. To leave comments it's possible to sign on with "Worldwide," which I have been doing to upload, but the video gets about 30% uploaded, and then the thing just says that an unexpected error occurred.

Seriously. What the fuck?

Last week Mike Breen had a piece in the Korea times about a guy who went to North Korea for a vacation. The South Korean government told him not to. When he came back the South Korean storm troopers swooped in and took him off to jail.

Breen's point in writing the article was that by having the SK storm troopers run in and cart the guy off to jail at the boarder, the S.K. government gave a propaganda gift to the North Koreans. All anyone had to do was take a video camera to film the event. North Korean T.V. could play the video at night and say, "Hey look, they aren't that much better than us."

This real name verification is another example of that. You can't upload videos on to the internet unless you prove who you are. What? When did the south turn into the north? What was that whole war for 60 years ago? If South Korea tries to press to the U.N. about human rights, all the North has to do point to this bullshit and say, hey there's no free speech there either.

If you are from a different country, and want to make a tourism video about Korea using the latest and newest technology, how can you do that?

And what is the whole reasoning behind this? Last year a few famous people committed suicide because people left some mean comments on the internet. Hey you famous fucks, grow some thicker skin will you. You are famous, and there are loosers talking shit about you. They are called haters. If you have haters, it means you are successful, so bask in their hate and brush it off of your shoulders. Go on television and say, "so the fuck what." Challenge the mother fuckers to meet you face to face at a given destination, and when they don't show, tell the world what shallow cowards they are.

But in the mean time, this is no reason for you all to try to block what I'm doing. I just wanted to post a video of me climbing mountains, to show the world the beautiful things that you can see in Korea. Instead, I heard that Gyungbukgyung has a roach problem. I think that Myung Bak should give everybody in Seoul a sledgehammer to kill the roaches in the country's number one national treasure.

Update

I used a different computer and was able to upload my stuff!!!! Still that real name verification kind of sucks.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thing's That I'd Like the Judges of Super Star K to Say

There is no Simon Cowell in Korea to put people properly in their place. So after watching today's Super Star K, and not understanding what the judges were saying, here are a few things that I wish they were saying.

1. I was moved to tears by your song. Not because it was good, but because I was embarrassed for you.

2. I'm sorry you lost. It wasn't just my poor judge's score that made you loose, the whole country voted against you. You are the worst person in Korea.

3. I know that when you loose, you are going to apologize to your parents for failing. If I were them, I wouldn't let you back into our house.

4. Come on, even the Wonder Girls sing better than that. I mean The Wonder Girls. I used to work at a chicken slaughterhouse, and I've heard better harmonizing from chickens being murdered, and you can't even match the Wonder Girls. Here's the address to the Ha-Rim chicken farms, go learn how to sing.

5. Don't waste your money on singing lessons. Auto-tune me.

Race Class and Inequality in Places that Serve Noodles in Korea

No not really. I just wonder why a plate of spaghetti can fetch up to 15000 won a person while freshly made noodles from Korean and Chinese disciplines of cooking top out at around 8,000.

Seriously, we went to an Italian pasta shack where my wife had some kind of spicy seafood spaghetti. It was 17,000 won. It was good, but it was basically Jjam Bbong with tomatoes in it.

Down the road from that place is a Naeng Myun restaurant that was featured in the famous Korean food comic book called Shic Gaek. The noodles there are always fresh, and the lady makes naengmyeon broth from a combination of beef and quail. The price 6000 a bowl.

There are a lot of Chinese joints that have dudes stretching and throwing big strings of noodle dough around, that usually charge like 3000-4000 for some Jja Jjang Myun or Jjam Bbong. Also whenever you go to a noodle specialty restaurant and here a noise that is something like a food mixer engine running, that's usually the cook running noodle dough through a noodle maker. That means you aren't eating no pasta barrilla.

Eat it and appreciate the labor going into your meal.

I Don't know About this Trend

Okay so this year was Chuseok. The first Chuseok I spent in Korea I remember some Korean people bringing me some flavorless rice snacks. I tried one or two, and then just let them sit in my room for a few months until I threw them away. This year my wife has been wanting to eat these snacks called "Han gwa."

At my school there is a math teacher whose parents just happen to own a Han Gwa store. I bought a big box of Han Gwa from him to take back to my wife. For the past few days I have been eating and enjoying these things that taste a bit like flavorless Rice Krispie treats.

Another disturbing trend that I have noticed, is how I'm starting to like Mool Gook Soo, and Bibibm Gook soo. Mool Gook Soo is a bowl of noodles in lukewarm anchovy broth. Bibimb Gook Soo is the same noodles with pepper paste and vegetables.

Mool Gook Soo smells rather terrible if you order it, and a delivery man brings it into a teacher's office. It is the meal of choice for teachers teaching night classes. To me it was the taste of extracurricular imprisonment, but much to my surprise, I ordered it twice last summer.

Bibim Gook Soo, to the uninitiated, is a frightening juxtaposition of flavors. It's hot, it's sour, it's served cold. When you sit on the floor it's hard to eat. Last Saturday I went to a noodle shop and ordered a bowl and slurped it down like it was lobster thermidor.

A good tip for saving money in Korea: learn to enjoy the noodle dishes. Mool Gook Soo usually runs a good 3500 won in restaurants. Bibim can be cheap as well. In the summer time try Kong Gook Soo, which is noodles in soy milk - I learned to like this a while back, it's yummy. Also try Naengmyun, and Mach Gook Su, those won't save you much money, bowls run from 5000 to 7000.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chuseok

I celebrated Chuseok today with my wife's family. I always enjoy Jeasa food. My wife's family generally prepares all of the Jeon, but what is special about the meal is the rice and soup. Chuseok, and Seollal food in my wife's family is usually served with "bibimbab," that has no pepper paste in it, and a nice soup called "Tang Gook."

Tang-gook, is some real special stuff. It is beef and octopus broth with radish, tofu, and shellfish. The flavor is just a nice and mild soup that is made salty with home made soy sauce. I usually eat two or three bowls of the stuff.

I also like the alcohol, 법주. Bub Joo is a rice wine that tastes a little like Sake. Great stuff, I wonder why Koreans drink so much soju, when there are better and more traditional things to drink like Bub Joo, and Makeoli. Sure soju get's you krunk, but it tastes like a goddamn chemistry set.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Site Stats



I was looking at the stats for this site. It turns out that the most page views this week have been for this post about my desire to rip out Nick Kun's femurs. While I still bear a bit of a grudge against him. I'm a bit jealous of how well he can speak Korean. I bet that after I ripped out his femurs, he wouldn't want to give me any private Korean lessons. That might not be a bad idea though. If you have your femurs ripped out, you probably have to spend a lot of time in a wheelchair, which means that he wouldn't be going anywhere. Hmm, new plan for ripping out Nick Kun's femurs.


1. Kidnap Nick Kun

2. Stockholm syndrome

3. Rip out his femurs.

4. Keep him in house while he heals. (Since the last post my girlfriend has become my wife, and we have a baby on the way. A femurless and recovering Nik Kun, could come in handy for childcare.)

5. Learn Korean from Nik Kun.

Great plan!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Here's a Reason to be Thankful you have a Job in Korea

Apparently the recession, in America, has affected some people so badly that they have taken to stealing bricks. I've heard of scrapping metal, but folks are burning down houses just so that the fire department can come and knock the mortar out of brick walls with the fire hoses. Then thieves come and steal the left over bricks and sell them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Towards New Things do with Your Hand's in the Air

Musicians for over the past thirty years have been instructing audiences to throw "Throw their hands in the air, and wave them like you don't care."

I feel that world events don't afford us with so many opportunities for apathy for what we do with our hands in the air. So I'm trying to think of new things to do with your hand in the air.

So everybody one time, throw your hands up in the air and:

1. make like you're pealing a pear.
2. touch a stranger's hair.
3. pretend it wasn't you with the au pair.
4. do disgusting things with your taxi fare.
5. throw your money everywhere.
6. poke a homeless man on a dare.
7. fopishly say "I do declare."

I'm getting tired of this.

Hite D

It was a few years ago since the good people at Hit came out with Hite Max. Now they have an all new product called Hite D. Hite D is certainly something to drink, and it does indeed taste different to the original Hite. I still don't know if it is better or not. My original impression was that it kind of tasted like Heineken, but I'm sure if I came out full on and said that, people would jump all over my shit. Hite D boasts a "dry finish." It lives up to it's promise. There isn't much in the way of an after taste.

I think that the folks at Hite were trying to come up with a type of beer that lets you drink all you want and doesn't make you smell all beery when you come home to your family. Besides that it boasts a robust 5% alcohol rate. So you can be completely krunk off your rockers and your family will just think that you have gone crazy since you don't smell like beer.

The dry finish might also better take mixing with soju for some good ole poktang joo. Notice to foreigners...If you are foreigner in Korea and you drink soju by choice, you probably have a problem. If you drink poktang ju...get yourself some help. I know that Hite is by no means a great beer, but nobody has to ruin it further by mixing Soju. That's what Cass red is for.

Anyway, go out and try some Hite D. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tribute to Grand Master Sun Hwan Chung

Post on my martial arts blog about my Tae Kwon Do instructor.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Music Bank

Okay so I was watching music bank today. Music Bank is one of three weekend kpop concert shows.

Normally Kpop can be described as sexy communism with a beat. Many of the artists are talented, many can't sing for shit. Many can dance well, but most of them are just hot teenagers who got picked and groomed by a talent agency.

I'm actually not that sour on K-pop. I like to participate in it because I find the teenage fandom somewhat fascinating. It's also good to know about pop stars because it is something that kids like to talk about.

So it was quite a shock to see this band on KBS's music bank today.



These guys are called Galaxy Express. They are hailed as Korea's loudest band. It was a shock, but it was also a relief. I mean these guys were pretty awesome. The clip here isn't from the show, it's just something I searched for on youtube when the show was over. All I can say is...well that I'm impressed. Long live rock.

Update:
Here is the Music Bank performance:


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I wish K-pop Was More Like this These Days

This is Kim Choo Ja. She was famous back in the sixties and seventies. Great stuff for movie sound tracks.

Learning

The New York Times had an interesting piece on learning a few days ago. It's worth a read.

Random Musing

I have found out recently that my wife is pregnant. People have been congratulating me. I think that it is a bit early in the game to receive all of the adulation. I haven't really done anything that special yet. Give me pat on the shoulder when the kid has graduated from college without a drug problem.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stuff I Have Been Watching

I'm doing a post in the style of Mr. Wonderful. That is I'm going to talk about T.V. show's I've been watching. On Monday, I did a Brian in Jeollanamdo type post where I talked about festivals in Jinju. Today I'm copying another Korea expat blogosphere legend.

After you get married, there really isn't that much to do other than watch T.V. and eat stuff. Also you can spend time wanting to win the Lottery or just figuring out other ways of not living in Korea. Don't get me wrong, I like living in Korea, I just don't want to do so for the rest of my life, but everyday it looks more and more like I'm stuck here for the long haul.

Things to watch:

1. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia I literally fell out of my chair watching this.
2. Mad Men I resisted watching this for a while, but finally caved after reading so many Frank Rich columns in the New York Times that compared something from our times to the early sixties when Mad Men was taking place. The best thing I like about it - the Suits- I started wearing suits and ties after I moved to Korea. It's nice to not look like shit all of the time.
3. Breaking Bad Kind of in the formula of Weeds where a person in need starts to sell drugs. It's a formula that works. Besides it is kind of cool to see a Chemistry teacher do bad things.

Korean Shows
생생정보통
This is one of those documentary type shows where they take a camera crew to different restaurants all over Korea. It's about the only kind of Korean show I can stand. When it was on I really liked High Kick.

I'm not really a fan of those reality type challenge shows. Infinity Challenge can be interesting some times, but One Night and Two Days can be a bit grating after they go in to a forest somewhere and play rock paper scissors for the hundredth time.

That kind of monotony is becoming common all over the world though. When I went home, I watched a show on the discovery network called, "American Pickers," that had two guys who just drive around the American Midwest picking through piles of junk and then buying random shit from the people who own the piles of junk. The suspense comes when the guys negotiate the price. After that show is another show that is basically the same except it takes place in a pawn shop.

Those shows made me want to produce my own show for Discovery called, "American Number Sayers." Here is a preview:

Announcer: Tonight we go all the way to Reno to say some numbers with some kitten ranch whores.

Jake: One hundred.

Kitten Ranch Whore
Two hundred

Jake: One twenty five

KRW: One Fifty

Jake: I'm gonna have to call Murphy on that. (Cuts away to Jake in a confessional) My friend Murphy has a lot of experience negotiating with whores. (Cuts back to Jake and whore)

Okay I called my friend Murphy, and he says that One Fifty is a good number.

Announcer: And then we join Melissa in Spokan as she randomly shouts some more numbers out the window of a Ford Fusion. Build Ford Tough.

I'll post more shows after the fall seasons start.

Korea's Most Important Expat Blog Focusing on Fine Dining In Jinju's Geumsan Myeon

Yeah, I have to play around with google a little bit more. I googled my name, James Kruska, or Jim Kruska, under the images section today and didn't like what I saw. I'm also trying to get google to recognize this blog as "Korea's most important Expat Blog, about restaurants in Jinju's Geumsan Myeon.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Restaurant Review The Geumsan Mom's Touch

Fun Times in South East Korea. Korea's most important expat blog reviewing restaurants in Jinju's Geumsan Myeon. (Jim Kruska is awesome...why do I say these things...just google my name I'm not who pops up.)

There is a phenomenon sweeping Jinju. It's called Mom's Touch. Korean chain restaurants and coffee shops seem to take over places like army ants. If one franchise opens up, sooner or later five or ten more open within three or four months. Jinju has two such places like that now. One is the impossibly expensive coffee vendor, Cafe Bene, the other is the fried chicken sandwich joint called Mom's Touch.

I'm not proud to admit my times spent at Cafe Bene, where more than once I have paid up to 7,000 won on cups of brewed coffee. However, I will stand behind the blissful occasions I have had at Mom's Touch, where time has stopped for me to graze through that lovely combination of grease and carbohydrates, all washed down with the Hite of liquid refreshment.

I find the name "Mom's Touch," to be a bit of an oddity in Korea. Who is this Korean mother, who is making fried chicken sandwiches for her kids? "Honey, you home from school, I'm going to fire up the broaster, you want light meat or dark meat?"

This week a new Mom's Touch opened in Geumsan in the place that once was Tae-woo mandu. (I wonder if the place was named for Korean former president No Tae-Woo.) Now I don't think that I can do justice to the place in a review today. I feel very strongly that Mom's Touch should be enjoyed with beer. Sometimes I see students milling around outside of school grounds when I have my lunches, so I don't really want to get caught by a bunch of kids seeing me krunk it up during work hours. Secondly, I had a bulgogi burger.

I'm just about ready to give up on bulgogi burgers. I don't find them satisfying. If I ever find myself really needing bulgogi burger, I'll have a lotteria han-woo bulgogi burger. Even at Lotteria though, the bulgogi burger isn't my first choice. Anyway, Mom's Touch tends to go all out on somethings, and on others, you kind of wish they would have just stayed inside. The bulgogi burger, and the oven chicken sandwich are items that don't merit my ordering a second time. I also had the displeasure of eating cold fries at the Geumsan branch.

I'll order something else later and then finish this review. For now I'll refrain from getting touched by any mothers.

Festivals in Jinju

First there is the Jinju floating lantern Festival. Or the 진주남강유등축제. It will be from October first and will conclude on October tenth. It is always fun to go down by the river to look at the lanterns, and to play the games that they have. The lantern festival commemorates the first battle of Jinju during the Imjin war. Citizens put lanterns in the river to confuse the Japanese. It would look as though they were approaching the city, and then blam, they weren't approaching the city, it would just be a bunch of lanterns in the water.

Then there is the 91st sports festival. 제 91회 전국체육대회 I'll be interested in watching some of these events. I may have said before that in a past life I was quite the Taekwondo aficionado. Anyway the city of Jinju built a big stadium and a swimming facility just for this event. It will be from October 6th until the 12th.

My first brush with Korea was at the second international Hwarangdo festival in Jin Cheon county. The town went all ape shit to host us. I liked being a part of a large raffle where the prize ranged from bicycles to body wash. The organizers of the raffle yelled out the raffle ticket numbers in Korean, and when nobody would claim any prizes they would just say: Aw hell just give it to a foreigner. People from many different countries took place in that event.

Gacheon arts festival: They usually run this at the same time as the floating lantern festival. It can be hard to tell where the lantern festival ends and the art festival begins. But from the website it looks like there are some performing arts. It might be a good chance to see the "Jinju Sword Dance," which is something that I have never seen but have always wanted to.

The silk exhibition: 진주 실크 박람 회. I'll have to find out more info on this one. Usually it is at the same time as all of the other festivals. Jinju silk vendors set up shop in the city hall and then sell their silk products. Two years ago they set up a tent next to the river, near by where all of the other festival stuff was going on.

The Jinju Drama Festival: Also goes from October first to the twelfth. It looks like there will be an awards banquet. A famous Korean orchestra and famous Korean singers and actors will take part in an original sound track concert from Korean dramas. This will be at the Gyeongnam arts center on Sunday October 3rd at 2:00 P.M. On October 4th, it looks like there will be some talent scouts at the Gyeongnam arts festival. It looks like they will do a kind of American Idol type thing. That will be from 7:00-9:00 P.M. There are other events that seem to be going on here too. If you are into K-pop or K-dramas, this might be a good place to go. On the 2nd there will be a red carpet event at six in the evening. In years past, the late Andre Kim, has used the Drama festival as a platform to show off his new Hanbok collections. He always make a point to buy Jinju silk for his hanbok.

I hope you all can make it out to Jinju to see the festivals.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Top Traffic Scares in One Week Comming Back to Korea

So I was gone for two weeks to the lake-lands, as I said before. I experienced many of the things that people commonly bitch about Korea when I was there.

My parents and I took drive back into the deep forests of the Sand Lakes-Kirkland Warbler Quiet Area. (Kirkland Warblers are endangered birds that nest in the forests of northern Michigan.)

One thing that I and others tend to complain about Koreans, is how they throw garbage everywhere. Well, I was reminded that rednecks also do that. I saw a few empty beer bottles and other assorted garbage in that particular wildlife refuge. The Eagles didn't seem to mind though.

I also happened to have been driving behind some pick up truck hillbilly piece of shit who was throwing his McDonald's lunch garbage out the window as he was driving down the road. It made me equally as angry as when I took my seat on a bus behind some bitch in Korea who threw a paper cup out of her window while the bus was parked at a bus stop.

Now the prospect of riding shot gun in Korea is usually a terrifying event, since laws of traffic or physics are often neglected on the Korean roadway, but I had a similarly terrifying experience driving from the coast of Lake Michigan last Thursday, while trailing some moronic college or high-school kid who was stoned out of his mind.

Nonetheless, in the short week that I have been back I have pulled out and have been tempted to pull out my middle finger at people's disregard for the fact that the public roadways carry large and dangerous machines.

1. Tuesday morning: Saw a taxi driver drive on the sidewalk to avoid stopping at a stoplight.
2. Tuesday morning: Flipped off a guy in large blue truck for making a left turn at the exact same time our car was in front of him. It seemed that he was thinking he could pull in front of us if he just went fast enough.
3. Tuesday morning 30 seconds later: Moronic woman changes lanes in front of us without signaling, tries to use car to cut in the car line in front of her. There was a right and a left lane. The right lane was for turning onto a bridge. She pulled over into the right lane and then straddled the dividing line as she tried to pull into the left lane. I flipped her off.
4. Wednesday afternoon: Took a ride with a guy who missed two red lights within 200 meters of each other.
5. Thursday night: Rode down a road with my wife. Cars were parked on both sides of the road. In one instance, cars were parked on both sides of the road and a truck was double parking them in, meaning two lanes of traffic were taken up on a two lane road.
6. Thursday night, on two different occasions cars game speeding out of cross streets and then skidded to stops with their cars hanging in the middle of the road, after they finally looked to the left side and saw that there was cross traffic coming.
7. Later Thursday night: Teenage girl on a bicycle was riding in the middle of the road while talking on a phone.
8. Friday morning: Had to restrain my self from yelling at elementary student for walking across a very dangerous three way intersection diagonally. I figured it wouldn't make any difference because I lack the Korean to talk any sense into the kid, but I think sense left the building when his parents let him walk around busy streets by himself. (He looked to be about six or seven.)

Well that's enough whinging for one day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Geumsan Restaurant Review 진우동

"Fun Times in South East Korea. Korea's most respected expat blog about restaurants in Jinju's Geumsan Myeon."

The last place I reviewed went belly up and is now going to become a Mom's Touch. I feel this is kind of a loss for Geumsan. 태우 만두 was pretty good, but so is Mom's Touch. I don't know if I'll eat at Mom's Touch though. I like to eat in Geumsan, only when I'm having lunch, and I feel that Mom's touch requires beer. I don't think that it is a very good idea for me to be having work beers between classes.

A few weeks ago a new 분식 chain restaurant opened up in Geumsan. It is called "Jin Oodong." I've been there three times this week, and one time before I went home.

The first time I went there I had the Oodong. Oodon, is usually too salty or not salty enough, or too fishy. This Oodong was passable. I don't really remember it too much.

Last Tuesday I had some Bi bim Mandu. A lot of small places like this do Bi Bim Mandu by frying empty skins and then leaving the vegetables to be filled. This place simply uses fried mandu with the vegetable medley. I think that I like the later version better.

Yesterday I had some Kimchi Chiggae and Kimbab. This wasn't a very memorable meal. The Kimchi in the Chigae was a bit bland. It got points for having some big chunks of pork in it though. The Kimbab tasted a little off, but it was okay.

Today I had hot Bi Bim Bab in a stone bowl. I have to say that this was pretty good.

The highlight of Jin Oodong though is the 반찬. The 반찬 is pretty fresh and numerous. One could get full simply by eating the side dishes. The 계란 말이 (Korean omelet thingy) is flavorful combining a saltiness with a strong onion influence. The other side dishes aren't bad either.

I recommend this place for a good business lunch with friends. Deliveries are also available.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back from the Lakelands

Visited Michigan two weeks ago. It was a nice trip, I saw my family and looked at lakes. Minnesota boasts of having 10,000 lakes. Michigan has something like 12,000.

I flew from Detroit to Kalamazoo, and then from Kalamazoo to Detroit. When you fly over Michigan in the twilight, it kind of looks like a driveway that had been rained on.

I kind of wish I could live there, except there is an unemployment rate of about 14% there, and I'm pretty sure that if I were to find work there I could only make a pretty terrible salary only after searching for for a job for three or for months.

Random Musing

There is a kid who goes to my school whose name in Korean sounds like "Tea Country." That is kind of a pleasant name. Whenever you say that kid's name you kind of think of pleasant thoughts like, "Hmmm, I want to go for a drive in "Tea Country." Kind of like visiting the wine country in California.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Example of Korean Awesomeness II

The in-laws.

It might sound strange, but I really like my in-laws. These people are pretty sweet. Today was my birthday, and my mother-in-law made a pretty large, and delicious, meal for me and the rest of the family. Not only that but they also gave me some pretty nice birthday gifts as well.

That is pretty much standard for birthdays in general, but despite the language barrier, they do make me feel welcome. Last week my wife was away on a business trip, so her niece sent me a text message about going to a river valley for a picnic with everybody. So not having anything else to do, and not wanting to seem like a party pooper, I went with them all without much reservation or hesitation to the picnic. Once again a good time with great food. I wish they wouldn't fawn over how they think that I'm not having a good time, because I was having a good time. I'm just shy.

Other things are pretty cool about them too. They really like to try to keep to tradition. They I went with them out to the country one time to celebrate something called Shisa. This is a kind of celebration to honor ancestors. Also the MIL (Mother-in-law) is like Mcguyver in the kitchen. She makes all the sauces like pepper paste, and soy sauce.

So big ups to the in-laws. Whenever I start to fret about people in Korea, I just remember my family and I remember that everyone is just a person.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Examples of Korean Awesomeness

This is a new series that I'm starting to try to counter all of the whinging that goes on by a lot of foreigners. I'm going to try to share stories of things that have happened to me or people that I know to try to show a different picture than what normally gets covered in the blogosphere.

My first story happened last October. I got married last October, and so my family flew out to Korea for a visit. My family found many favorable things about Korea. They enjoyed the food, they liked the scenery, and were pretty much overwhelmed by a lot of things. I went to the Hwagae market in Hadong with my folks, and it was pretty much a "Oh look at that," "Hey Jim, what's this?" festival. Then later that week, my sister, and brother in law were taken aback by how cosmopolitan Busan was.

But a pretty interesting thing happened the night before the wedding. My mother and father in law, wanted to have a meal together with my parents, so we all went out for Galbi. We went to a place called Gaya Galbi in Jinju's Sangpyeongdong, nearby the Hanil hospital. In times since eating there I have realized how great the food is there. I didn't quite notice that night since it was quite an eventful evening, however when the meal was over my family needed to get back to the hotel that they were staying in -Jinju's Asia Lakeside Hotel- which was on the other side of the city.

Anyway, the owner of the freaking restaurant had a big van, so he just drove us all there. This was a distance of about 9 miles and the guy was like, okay get in. How awesome is that? On top of that, we had a meal that fed about 10 people and it only came out to 250,000 won. It's not like we brought him a whole bunch of business or anything, 250,000 won is a drop in the bucket, and you don't tip here.

Every time that I have wanted Galbi since then, we have gone there. It is seriously some good Galbi. The side dishes are plentiful and not too salty, and they make this thing with baby cabbage, green onions and red sauce that is pretty wonderful. I recommend this place if you are ever in Jinju, well shoot me an e-mail if you come to Jinju and want to go there, it is kinda hard to find, and not really nearby anything important.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sorry

Haven't been inspired lately. I wrote some other shit down on my other blog "Three Stripes of Meat in Teotihuacan." It might be a bit amusing. That is my auxiliary blog about what it might be like to be a Native English teacher with Korea experience who was sent back in time to native English teach ancient Aztecs. That blog doesn't get updated much, because I rarely feel creative when I'm by a computer.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Roots

Man the Roots rule. This post has nothing to do with Korea. Just the Roots man, they rule.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

세로운 시리스 내 한국어 씨

A long time ago, when I was in college. I would try to pick up women by going to coffee shops and reading liberal news magazines to myself. It was my way of being deep.

Jinju doesn't have many good independant poet's cafes where people can look important by reading important looking things, but people can do that in the new cafe benes that have opened all over the place.

It was at the 진주 산업 대학교 cafe bene where I composed this:

때뜨로 생각......
....나는 새......
어떤 새?
가마귀?
매기?
안뇨 매기 는
생선입니다......
한잔 더 하래?

(Look I know there are mistakes in the Korean, leave a comment correcting it, or don't, I don't care.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another I love Jinju Post Comming Soon

I rode my bike to work today.

My ride was possible because Jinju has an Awswome bike path that stretches the length of the town.

The bike road runs next to the river.

A lot of people bitch about how they can't see much nature in Korea. They Bitch about how you can't see many animals or birds.

I used to do that too.

But these days whenever ride my bike next to the river, I always see herons, and eagles.

Today I saw a flock of some kind of white sea birds with yellow heads. They looked like some kind of heron but they were smaller.

If I see them again I'll take a picture and put it up.

In the meantime here is another post on another blog about the bike path.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Taco Bell in Seoul to Destablize Region

Seoul, South Korea

"Yeah, I'm a vegan, but come on it's taco bell. I haven't seen one of these things in like four months, that's how long I have lived in Korea." Kimmie Swain said this as she was entering the new Taco Bell in Seoul's Itaewan district.

The new Taco Bell has been met with a sense of bliss among many in the Korea expat community. Brian Jorgansen, a New Hampshire native had this to say, "Yeah I like worked at a hagwon for two years, but I went home because for western food in Seoul there was just you know McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Kraze Burger, Dominoes, a lot of little places where you could spaghetti, Quiznos, Starbucks, KFC, Popeye's, Mom's touch, but no Taco Bell. After I heard about Taco Bell I went on Dave's and found a job at an academy outside of Itewon. Working in Korea is going to rule now."

Taco Bell doesn't just have expats excited though, a Korean who just went by the name Lee mentioned his excitement too. "Finally, I can eat spicy food that isn't Korea. Do you know that Korea's food is the spiciest in the world? I used to think that other country's foods weren't as spicy as Korea, but then I had food at Taco Bell and now my palate is happy. I can now eat spicy food from other countries during the summer. I like to eat hot and spicy food during the summer because one time I ate an ice cream cone when I was hot and I ended up spending a month in the hospital. Then the next summer I had a bowl of cold noodles and after that I just didn't want to eat anything for four hours. It was obvious that I had lost my appetite from eating something cold. But with Taco bell, I can eat hot food in the summer so that I don't get sick.

Not everyone is happy about the new Taco Bell, though. North Korean leader Kim Jeong Ill was reported to have gone completely bananas over the announcement of the new Taco Bell. The KCNA in Japan has reported that Kim Jeong Ill has once again vowed to "wash the faces of South Koreans in their own blood and tears."

Lee Myung Bak, in an announcement to parliament outlined the programming for the speakers that will be placed at the boarder, "Yeah we pretty much decided on playing Detroit's 94.7 WSCX, twenty four hours of classic rock is WSCX sexy!! Hell yeah, those mother f*ckers in the north are gonna get a double even triple doses of fog hat and the Nuge. Let freedom ring bitches. Kim Jeong Ill, an avid fan of classic rock from the 60s,70s, and even today expressed his dismay over the Taco Bell ads that start with that bell sound, and end with those guys singing that annoying song about making a run for the boarder.

Kim Jeong Ill was quoted from his underwater AIDS research center in Beaktu San. "I mean this is complete bullshit. The only people that can leave this country are my kidnapped Japanese chefs who I am going to send to taco bell to pick up some chalupas. I cannot believe this, now the puppet regime to the south is now broadcasting this shit on the boarder. Down town Seoul will burn in flames so hot that the ghosts will burn. And get this fucking Naengmyeon out of my face, It's July asshole. Don't you know that if you eat cold food in the summer you get syphilis? Bring me some Teoboki in a piping hot Ddookbaegi that is being heated over an open flame, also close the windows and bring me a sweater."

Later when we caught up with Kimmie Swain, she seemed somewhat disappointed. "Yeah, back home I never really went to Taco Bell, I pretty much forgot how gross it was. I mean I remember my friend telling me that the meat that they serve at taco bell is a grade below what they use for dog food. I totally forgot about that and now I have a stomachache, probably not as bad as the stomachache that I would have gotten if I drank a glass of cold water, but a stomachache nonetheless."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tips for Surviving the Rainy Season

The Korean media and expat blogosphere have been abuzz with many ways of beating the heat in the summer. I would like to remind my readers though that Korean summers aren't just massive heatwaves, there is also the monsoon part of the Korean summer that is happening just about now. So as a service to many newbies to Korea who have probably never experienced rain before, I would like to provide some pointers on how to stay dry.

1. Don't go outside.
2. If you are inside and you are nearby an open window and it is raining, close it.
3. If you do go outside take an umbrella.
4. They have these things called rain coats that help keep you dry as well.
5. If you want to go somewhere, don't walk, take a car.
6. If you don't have a raincoat or umbrella, just go naked. One of the worst parts of being in the rain is getting your clothes wet.
7. If you do happen to get wet, change your clothes and use towel when you get home.
8. Eat Samgyupsal.
9. Drink Maggeoli and eat Pajun.
10. If you don't have any Samgyupsal, Maggeoli, or pajun, just eat something greasy like pizza, fried chicken, or Chinese food. You can have either of those things delivered making the poor bastard who has to deliver those things get wet. (Poor bastard also has to refuse tips.)
11. If you are in love with some woman who doesn't care about you, or who has chosen to be with someone else, get dressed up in a suit and stand in the rain while crying. Your eyes cannot produce enough tears to fully display your misery so sometimes you need mother nature's help.
12. If you are in love with some woman who thinks that you are a humorless uptight prat, show her that you are nothing of the sort by going out into the rain without an umbrella to show her your "down to earth side."
13. If you are an environmentalist who wants to show the dangers of acid rain; wear a paper outfit and allow the rain to dissolve it away.
14. If you are outside, go inside.
15. Get under something.