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?
안뇨 매기 는
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.

JYP's Latest Girl Band Steals from the Maury Povich Show

This is J.Y.P.'s new girl band Miss A. I kind of like the beats in the beginning. They don't sing great but they sound better than the Wonder Girls when they sing live. (Don't get me started on the Wonder Girls Live.)

Plagerism in the K-pop community pops up quite often. K-pop artists borrow baselines quite frequently, without paying for them.

But I can't forgive Miss A for stealing from America's troubled youthes. For nearly a decade America's out of controll teens have gone on day time talk shows to tell us one thing and one thing only; that we don't know them ******** you I had sex with all of them ********** you don't know me.

It makes me sad these troubled children can't even keep their own universal catch phrase.

On a different note. I often worry about raising children in Korea because the teachers beat students, and the traffic is incredibly frieghtening. When I worry about those things, I should just watch these clips, and worry about what kind of monsters I might spawn if I raise kids in America.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Real Tip for Something that you Should do Before Coming to Korea

Bring a fire alarm.

They are hard to find here, and there have been a few cases of English teachers who have died in fires.

The post "Ultimate Korea Survivor Guide," was kind of a joke based on something I read on another blog, but I'm serious here.

I don't make some kind of "All Koreans," statement where I condemn the entire society, but I have seen some a few outstanding cases of negligence in fire safety.

I should point out that most meat grilling places probably wouldn't fly in America because of both the raw meat and the burning charcoal (commie socialist country dominated by OSHA.) I over look these because 고기 집들 are always fun.

But I have lived in at least two dormitories in Korea were the front doors were chained closed with bicycle locks. Someone challenged the director of the dormitory at the university where I worked that in case of a fire, chaining the dormitory door shut is probably a stupid idea. The director's response was that since the doors were glass, somebody could just break the door down and everything will be hunky dory....

Then there is the other thing that I have noticed; smoke alarms are almost impossible to get here. I asked my wife where you can get a smoke alarm and she didn't know. We went to Top Mart and Homeplus in search of smoke alarms too. When asked why they didn't have smoke alarms the people who worked there said something about how most apartment buildings already have fire systems. That is "apartment buildings," not one or two room buildings, where many English teachers and working class Koreans live.

So if you want to come to Korea and want to do all that you can, to protect yourself from burning to death in a fire that is cause by some asshole throwing his cigarette but mindlessly to the ground, go to a Wall mart or something and pick up a smoke alarm. Hell, pick up twenty smoke alarms and try to sell them to other people.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mexican Food

Many folks in the blogging community seem to be excited about the new Taco Bell up in Seoul. If you are like me and enjoy Mexican food, but you live 3 and a half hours away from Seoul, here are some old posts on how to make homemade tortillas and taco meat. Hopefully this post can save you from feeling like a looser who spent up to 8 hours in a quest to eat at Taco Bell.

Korea Ultimate Survivor Guide

Ten tips for living in Korea.

1. The first thing that you want to do if you are an English teacher in Korea is get a place to live. Most of the time your employer will provide a place for you to live, but if they don't you might want to prepare some money (Anywhere from between 5 million won if you want to pay the security deposit and live in a small town one room, to ten billion won if you want to live somewhere in Gangnam.) If you don't want to shell out that kind of money, there are many mountaineering and camping stores where you can probably buy a tent and live in a mountain. One nice thing about living in Korea is the fact that sometimes rustic mountain areas are quite close to highly urban areas so you can pitch a tent in many different places and catch the bus to work every morning. If you live in a big city, you could try living in the many different subway stations, or if you live in a city with a river, you could probably find a bridge to live under. Note, I do not advocate taking a homeless lifestyle in Korea since 99.999% of the jobs provide housing and your co-workers will probably complain about your smell. (Well you could also establish a network of public baths to sleep in as well, that way you will at least get clean.)

2. The second best thing to do is to feed yourself regularly. Most people die if they don't eat. Korea has many restaurants and grocery stores throughout the country so you can take advantage of those. If you don't want to do that, Korea is also blessed with many kilometers of natural coast, so you could fish for your food. If you want to teach English yet subsist as a hunter gatherer, you might try finding a school near a coast or a river. Land is expensive in Korea so for many English teachers, farming or herding is out of the question, however if you do, the government offers many subsidiaries to those who choose that life style.

3. Don't walk too far north. There is a murderous criminal regime to the north of South Korea. Luckily the boarder is heavily armed with many soldiers so if you see a whole bunch of guys in camouflage with guns, and they start yelling and shooting at you, you might be wise to turn around. There is a northern sea line limit too. For all of my readers who engage in the hobby of sextant navigation, it might be a good idea to bring along a G.P.S.

4. Learn some Korean. Here are a few useful expressions: 고양이 젖 어디에 살수있입니까? (Where can I buy cat milk?) 너무 무서웠어. 섬뜨하던데. (It was really scary. It really gave me the creeps.) 안영 개새끼야 (Hello you son of a bitch [not a common expression])

5. Find out the requirements to get a Visa and get one. Most countries don't let you work internationally if you don't have Visa.

6. Be nice to people. You probably won't make many friends if you try to punch as many people as you can in the face, but if you do, make sure that you knock them out so that others fear you.

7. If you get sick see a doctor or something. If you are from America, you will find that the Korean medical system is both cheap and convenient. If you are from the U.K. or any country that isn't America you might find it odd that you have to pay when you go to the doctor. Anyway seeing a doctor is usually a pretty good way of overcoming an illness, or at least helping to find what is wrong with you.

8. When you leave your house, tent, apartment, number 4 exit at the Apgujungdong station, mountain tree house, or underwater research facility, try to wear clothing. Korea is a conservative society that has little tolerance for nudist professionals.

9. Koreans do eat dogs, but it isn't like some big-dog-free for all. If a co-teacher invites you over to their house for dinner, use your emerald encrusted daggers to impress the children by teaching them how to carve hobo symbols, not by butchering their lhasa apso.

10. If you were hired as an English teacher, you should teach English. You might be a financial planner back in your own country, but even though people should start saving money when they are young, it might not be a good idea to use your class time to give kindergarten students advice on managing their 401ks. I know sometimes it is appropriate, like when the kids ask questions about asset allocation, but you should try not to get distracted from the topic of the day. If a lesson is about the past tense, there usually isn't any reason to start talking about appropriate ratios of bonds to stocks.

From the title of this post, I might get some traffic to this site, kind of pissed that I don't have adsense. Anyhoo happy Koreaing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Salad Is Pretty Awsome!!!

I guess the title pretty much says everything. Anyhoo, down in Jinju there is this new bakery called the 양우연 캐익 하우스. (Yang Woo Yeon Cake House) Cakes and breads there are pretty nice. I have even asked my wife to get me a cheesecake from there for my birthday. I have a long running tradition to eat cheesecake and pizzas on my birthday. If I have a litter of half Korean children, I hope that when I die, to commemorate my Jessa, they smear cheesecake and pizza on my headstone.

Anyhoo (2nd anyhoo) last week I picked up a baguette from there because of the spaghetti that I made that day or the next. After a few days of being out in the open the baguette has gotten a bit crusty.

No problem!

Saturday I cut a few pieces of the baguette into squares, applied some olive oil, onion powder, salt, pepper, and threw them in the toaster oven. Viola....croutons!!!!!

Saturday I made a nice salad for lunch with the croutons, and did the same for today's lunch. I have been trying to eat salads for lunch for the last few weeks in an attempt to trim up for my trip home. Let me tell you how nice salads are for lunch on hot days. They are really nice, because they are cold. No longer do I have to rely on 냉면 for a nice little cold lunch. I just have to bring a salad to school, throw it in the fridge, and bam, I've got a nice refreshing cold lunch.

This post brought to you by, "Holy shit, I don't have anything to do right now so I think I'll write about salads...

More next time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

After School EPIK Workshop

I'm becoming a bit of a connoisseur of EPIK workshops. Even though I enjoy getting out of school to go kill some time in the local education office, these events are usually tedious.

My first EPIK orientation featured a lady reading our contracts to us, and a panel of other EPIK people answering our questions with many "I don't knows" or "Ask your co-teacher when you meet them. "

It seems that being a regional director for EPIK is a terrible job since there have been four in the four years that I have worked here. Either that or it is a stepping stone job that leads to greater things in the world of Korean public school administration.

Yesterday the folks in Jinju were entreated to a new lady who gave us a nice power point presentation that featured some nice hints for having a successful time in Korea. Even though I understand where she is coming from, I'll share some of tips.

1. "You have to get used to the Korean work ethic. You know, you have sick days, but you know Korean teachers still come to school even when they are sick. Korean teachers only use sick days when they are really really sick that is our culture."
Ouch. Yeah that might be, but people in other countries don't skip school when they are sick because they are lazy, or that it's part of their culture, it is about trying not to spread disease.

2. "You know your Korean co-teachers are much more qualified than you are.
Nice way to make a guy feel welcome.

3. "You can save a lot of money here, some times Korean teachers wonder if you are worth all of the money that we pay you."
This quote was said with a picture of Scrooge McDuck jumping into his money bin. Now I'm not going to debate the fact that you can live a comfortable life in Korea or that you can come out of the EPIK program with more money than you had before, but 1st level ELT's only make about 1.9 million won a month. Converted to dollars that's about $1500, which is about what a manager of McDonalds makes in a month. Sure we don't pay rent, but it still isn't ALOT of money. She also made the claim that Korea pays more than other countries, that's not entirely true. These days EPIK's counter part JET pays 300,000 yen per month. With the strength of the yen that is considerably a lot more.

4. You have to participate in school events. Even though it isn't in your contract you are a part of the school family. You should go out for dinner with your coworkers.
That's a fair point.

5. You have to get used to the frequent schedule changes and appreciate how flexible your Korean coworkers can be when schedules change at the last minute.
Well this has worked out to my advantage in the past. I do appreciate how flexible people can be, but still it is a fair complaint to make.

To be fair the local guy in charge of foreigners in Jinju is a good guy. We have had two so far that can't speak English, but both of them seemed to be pretty good people people, which is probably the best attribute for the job. I really think that people in high positions in Korea could benefit from reading "How to make friends and Influence People." I've mentioned this before, but it get's kind of tiring to hear lectures about professionalism, then five minutes later hear a Korean history lecture that starts out with a guy saying, "Why do Korean people seem to hate Japanese people, but act so friendly towards tourists?"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Geumsan Restaurant Review 태우 만두

It has been a while since I have posted a restaurant review on this blog. I tend to only review restaurants in Geumsan Myeon in Jinju, because I work in the region. This Geumsan is not to be confused with Geumsan county in Choong Choong do (possibly Jeon-buk) that is famous for ginseng. This Geumsan just happens to be a newly developed region in Jinju that boasts breathtaking vistas of Wol ah san, and a small lake called Geumho Ji.

Anyway, Geumsan is known in Jinju as being famous for duck meat. I have never been to the famous duck restaurant out here, but I do eat lunch at many of the different places to have lunch. Today I went to 태우 만두 (Tay-oo man-du)

This spot only blipped up on my radar a few months ago while I was teaching some horrendous night classes. One rainy night I decided that having a nice and greasy order of fried mandu sounded good so I tried to go to a local Jja Jjang myun place. It turned out that that place was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays so I walked down the street a pace. Right in front of the main bus stop in town the Mandu place jumped out at me.

Recently the place changed its facade and started serving mandu. In times past they served Ggojji and corn dogs with french fries sticking to them. I think that the owners stayed the same and just started making mandu. Interestingly enough, their new sign reads 30년 정통, despite the sign being brand new and anyone who has lived or worked in Geumsan knows that that place hasn't been there for 30 years.

All of that aside, the mandu is delicious. I think the difference in good and merely palatable mandu is if it is home made or not. Most Chinese delivery places or Naeng myun places that serve mandu just plop a bag of frozen mandu into a vat of hot oil or hot water and serve that, but home made mandu is really something special.

For myself I have ordered four different kinds of mandu in my history of dealing with Tay Oo mandu.

왕만두 King Mandu I was able to eat this after few times of going there. They only have this one sometimes. The time that I did have it, it was alright, but I'm not a big fan of "King Mandu." However, if you go to Mister Donut franchises in Japan, the king mandu, or big gyoza that you get there are fantastic.

김치 만두 Once again, not always available but always pretty good. The outer noodle is nice and tender and the Kimchi barf inside is nicely seasoned. Served with 단무지 (yellow pickled radish) this meal is a winner.

군 만두 My only disappointment with the deep fried mandu from Tay-oo mandu is that I can't get the things "to go," so that I can take them home to eat them while drinking a beer in front of the television in my underwear. I suppose that I could, but i live a good 25 minute bus ride from Geumsan and part of what makes this mandu so nice is that it is fresh. If I took them home they would probably get all cold and greasy, also put me off of eating mandu. My wife would also yell at me for being so gross. But a good hand made fried mandu is nice and tender in the middle and crispy on the outside.

비빔 만두 This bibim mandu is simply the fried mandu with pepper paste and vegetables on the top. It is pretty good compared to other versions of bibim mandu where places just take the mandu skins, deep fry them, and then put some vegetables and pepper paste next to the Mandu skins.

Service The lady who seems to be the owner of the place, doesn't seem to be the happiest person in the world, but she fills the orders quickly and is responsive to problems that might occur. I had some Kimchi mandu today that was a bit cold in the middle, so I complained about it and she fixed the problem right a way. Also not a place for people who can't read Korean.

Next time you are in Geumsan and want a nice snack, stop by Tay Oo mandu. I would recommend any of their fine mandus with a nice cold hite or what ever Korean beer they sell there.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Adendum to Murphy's Law

Got to school early today, rushed through a few oral tests. It turned out that the first hour class was canceled. My computer is on some kind of fix so that it always prints things backwards and I just have to select something so that it doesn't do that. Any how, I got the thing all worked out. the Addendum to Murphy's Law in this case is that I usually get a piece of luck, like a class being canceled.

Murphy's Law of Trying to Get Work Done

I usually get stuff done at school, but the universe also tends to try to c.f. me at the last second.

In the last semester I have lost two U.S.B.'s, and have had to rely on emailing myself documents in order print them.

Why do I have to e-mail myself documents to print them? Because the computer that I use at school just likes to mess with me like that. It likes to suddenly decide not to print things. Last week it decided to start printing things backwards. I got that fixed today, but then after that all of the printers just decided not to print things.

No worries I'll just e-mail the stuff home and use the home office. Oh yeah, out of ink at home. On top of all of that I have to get to work early tomorrow so that I can do some oral tests before the first class.

I should just get an old timey typewriter.