Here’s a collection of random thoughts for your Korean Memorial Day.
Item the First
The day we think of as Memorial/ Remembrance Day in Canada is called Peppero Day in Korea because the 11/11 looks like four sticks of Pocky. If you’re new to Korea and are one of those “I wuv ouwa twoops” types, relax if you encounter this. When was the last time you put on a poppy (Canadian thing) on June sixth? And anyway this is the least offensive thing you’ll encounter here and if that bugs you you might as well check out now.
Unless you live in Newfoundland. Then Memorial Day and Canada Day are the same day. Because Newfies only became Canadians after a long internal struggle and I think they’re being ironic.
Item the Second
Yesterday I got back my fourth roll of film shot here in Gunsan. It’s pretty uninspiring.
I’m starting on month four here in Korea, and I’ve been doing a lot of self-examination (“I bet you are. Har! Har! That’s a masturbation joke! Geddit?”) about why I’ve been so uninspired here. It’s easy to blame it on the small nature of Gunsan, and the lack of attractive landscape outside of it. But my general feeling of “Meh” was present each time I visited larger cities here as well.
I think it’s because I returned to Korea out of necessity instead of wanting to. Sure, I had some curiosity about how things may have changed in my time away, but that curiosity has been sated. Right now every morning is an exercise in me going, “I wonder how late I can sleep-in before missing work? Can I sleep the rest of this year away and still get paid?”
Item the Third
Five reasons why living Korea is better than all the other options:
The smog overhead protects you from harmful UV rays. No more need for sunscreen.
Dodging bad drivers who must have missed the class where they’re taught what the red light means as you legally cross the street at the crossing improves your reflexes.
Getting insulted as a form of motivation teaches you the true value of a stiff drink
You get good at telling famous people with the same plastic surgery apart. The secret is in the hair. Like a how a bad comic artist changes the haircuts so you can tell their characters apart. In bands you tell by who does the rap break and who doesn’t. I’m still working on telling the difference between the bands though. I think it might have to do with the number of bottled blondes.
Gochujang is the best condiment ever which is why it goes on everything you eat from noodles to rice to meat to sandwiches to snacks. Why would you need to put anything else on your food? Why they haven’t made the logical jump to just sucking on a mechanical teat of the stuff is beyond me.
Item the Fourth
I’m gonna stop my Sunday Singalong posts. Because no one reads them. And I’m not going to keep trying to force good taste in music upon you. Enjoy your 2NE1, you monsters.
They were busy noshing away on their kimchi jjigae and my entering their diner seemed like an intrusion. Despite being the only restaurant aside from the Lotteria open, both ajumma would have been more than happy to see me leave.
These gimbap places are akin to the North American greasy spoon. Cheap, filling food. Making up in tastiness what it’s lacking in healthfulness. I haven’t been to…
Looking at the pageviews for the first month of this blog, I shouldn’t be too surprised that my dismissal of anyone attributing the Sewol disaster to Confucianism is far more read than everything else. One of the main things about blogging in Korea is that you simply mustpontificate write authoritatively about the issue of the hour.
Not only does it give you the much desired image of the Wise…
Yup. Japan is a year in my rear-view mirror today.
I had shut the door to no-longer-my apartment the week previous to that and headed to Tokyo to enjoy what I assumed was my last hurrah there. Turned out that the constant pain in my chest that forced me to head home for English language medical help was just a Hiatal Hernia. Could have been worse.
There’s a not-so-heated-because-it’s-not-on-ESL Cafe discussion going on in the super-secret Korea Bloggers group on FaceBook about the causes of the Sewol ferry disaster*. This post seems to have set off a lot of it.You can kind of see who is in love with Korea, and who barely tolerates the place, in the positions that get taken. Confucianism keeps coming up in both the expat blogs and even in…
How many times in the weeks since I’ve gotten a bicycle have I uttered, or though, the words, “Nice turn signal, yah fucking asshole!”? No idea, but if we assume it has happened at least one time when I’ve sat my ass down on my me-powered mobile, we’re somewhere in the range of three or four cartons of eggs. Fragile, easily smashed eggs. Much like my bones should I not see them in time as I’m…
In the time between leaving and returning to Korea, I was living in this little place called “Nihon”. The kewl kids called “Nippon” but I don’t because it sounds a lot like “nipple” and I look far too much like a sitcom landlord to risk those sorts of wacky hijinks.
If you’re a lifer in Korea, you’re already preparing your rebuttals to anything I may say along to lines of, “It’s a lot better…
Korea… Some things have changed about the place since I was last here. Many things haven’t. The most obvious are the visa requirements. They came in to effect after a child rapist was caught. He was teaching in South Korea at the time. He never attacked any of his students as far as we know. He committed his evil in South East Asia.
He would still be eligible for a visa under the rules designed…