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  • Brick & Mortar


    No comic this week, but here’s a little treat that may make up for it? What you see here is my anniversary gift to my guy. We’ve been together for nine years today, and I thought it would be a good idea to make a mock movie poster of our buddy cop personas instead of buying him expensive and practical things.

    To any gun nuts out there, I do apologize for the lack of accuracy with the weapons. I’m quite terrible at drawing guns.

    I think I made us look like mall cops instead of awesome, bad ass cops. I think this somehow makes the whole thing better.

    Happy Anniversary Wil! You smell funny!

  • Translation: "I Prevented Suicide" ... Hong Seok-cheon confesses a case where he counseled a homosexual "자살 막았다"…홍석천, 동성애자 상담 사례 고백

    [TV리포트=홍의석 기자] 홍석천이 상담으로 자살을 막은 사실을 고백했다.

    [TV Report: Hong Eui-seok] Hong Seok-cheon confessed that his counseling led to a preventing a suicide.

  • Why did you come to Korea?

    After "What's your name?", "How old are you?", "Do you have a boyfriend?", "Why not?" and "Do you know Dokdo?", one of the most common and weirdly challenging to answer questions I get in Korea is "Why did you come to Korea?" Why Korea, and not some other country? Why would you fly halfway across the world, leave everything familiar, and take a job here?

    Well? Good question.

    Before I came to Korea, I'd been considering both Japan and Korea as possible destinations. Thanks to a dumb mistake on my JET application (postmarked by and received by are VERY different, kids), Japan fell out of the running pretty early. However, that doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of reasons why Korea felt like a good choice.

     1. Food

  • The Red Dragon Diaries and JPD Does ROK Do Live Octopus

    Oh, memories.

    Pop over to Tom Gates’ “The Red Dragon Diaries” where he has posted the video of our first (and last?) taste of “San-nak-ji,” or live octopus, a popular raw seafood treat for soju-swilling diners in Busan, South Korea.

    Footnote: after we’d finished filming, a group of middle-aged folks sat behind Tom and ordered some food, including their own plate of live octopus, which they gleefully began to tear into without much hesitation. Hey, someone’s enjoying it!

  • Jeokcheonsa Temple – 적천사 (Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do)


     The view of the main hall and temple courtyard at Jeokcheonsa Temple in Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

  • Top 10 Attractions at Everland Theme Park

    Everland is, without a doubt, Korea's best amusement park. Modeled after Disney World- albeit on a much smaller scale- the theme park consists of plenty of fun attractions that draw in more than 7 million visitors a year. With those attendance numbers, one can only imagine what the weekend crowds are like, particularly at peak times, such as summer vacation.

    Which is why I was happy to learn on on my most recent visit with my blogger buddy Ken that the park is actually delightful during the week. In fact, we weren't even bothered by the scorching summer temps, as there were practically no lines for the rides. This allowed us to see a lot of the park comfortably and at our own pace. Additionally, the shuttle bus we booked with Funko made getting there easy as pie.

  • Ganjeolgot Cape Beauty

  • Don’t Make These 10 Mistakes When Visiting Korea

    Back when we were elementary school students, our teachers always encouraged us to make mistakes. After all, mistakes are how we learn, right? And who is to say that a duck can’t be purple?

    Even though we aren’t little kids anymore, it’s still okay to make mistakes. However, now that we’re a little older and wiser, it’s better if we can avoid them. This goes doubly for embarrassing cultural mistakes. Best to know what to do in advance!

    Korea has certain customs, traditions, and rules that have developed over the years, and many of them are different than what occurs in most other countries. While Koreans are generally accepting of any cultural faux pas that visitors make, it’s much better to be informed so you can make the best impression possible. Not only will you honor the group, but you’ll also increase your chances of being invited out again.

  • Learn a new Korean idiom, plus get the GO! Billy Android app!

    This week's episode covers another Korean idiom. Learn about the meaning of the phrase "발 디딜 틈도 없다," and also how to use it.

    Also, check out the brand new GO! Billy Korean app for Android devices!

    It's an app for getting GO! Billy updates, plus a handy word-of-the-day widget to take along with you. Each vocabulary word has its own unique sentence attached to it, created by yours truly.

    It's still new, so please report any bugs you find so they can be fixed. New updates will be added in the future as well.

    And of course, it's absolutely free, and free of ads. You can download it by clicking here.

  • Longer Ways To Go

    IMG_20140413_170613It is a rain-filled Thursday and my last day of teaching at this school. We are doing a K-Pop quiz – the students have to guess which K-Pop song the English lyrics are from, and then I play part of the song. They get nearly ALL of them right, and then sing and dance along. Where they find the time to memorise so much I don’t know. But then, after three days I am humming and nodding along, so maybe it’s not too surprising… It’s not bad this K-Pop stuff.

    I will miss these girls – their grins and shrieks, their uniqueness and the long black hair that sheds daily all over the floor. Their giggled hellos; their thoughtfulness and sense of duty. It has been wonderful to be part of their lives for a while.

    I have started saying goodbye, to people and also to places. Goodbye to this town, this little neighborhood of mine – the flat green roofs and hidden temples, painted brightly in browns and reds and turquoise. The looming, mist-covered mountain and the narrow back streets that night time fills with the hum of cicadas and distant dogs barking their territory.

    The homesickness that grabbed me a few weeks back has passed. Now I am too busy to be anything other than busy. The days that are not wet are hot, and the mountain paths grow with leafy abundance. The cascades of small rocks, dry all winter, have become streams again, and as you trek along damp earth, underneath a green ceiling, you can hear water trickle somewhere in the undergrowth. Dragonflies are back in full force, playing dodge the humans back and forth over the red river-side paths. People carry umbrellas in sunshine and collect herbs from grassy banks.

    It is very kind this country. Kind and peaceful. I didn’t expect to love it here, but I do, very much. And I’m sure a new kind of homesickness is coming – the kind that sends me to London’s Korea town in search of Bibimbap, the background murmur of Korean conversation and maybe someone who has heard of Yangsan, or singing lampposts, or both.


  • “I’m Not White and Korea Won’t Hire Me!

    This is a touchy subject. At the same time though, it’s just reality.

    In the Korean ESL job market for private academies, or hagwons, there’s a lot of negative press. And for good reason. You don’t have to look far to hear of the countless horror stories of bright-eyed, hopeful teachers excited to go to Korea being mistreated in many ways. It serves no purpose getting into the details as I’m sure you’ve heard the same stories that I have.

    In addition to the working conditions of some of these schools post-hiring, the recruiting process has left multitudes of people stunned and offended.

    There are numerous recruiters and private academies who make distinctions based on ethnicity.

    This also is not a new concept. It’s a very unfortunate aspect of job acquisition in South Korea, and it won’t be changing any time in the foreseeable future.

  • Xenophobia in the ESL?

    Let me give you a direct link to Adam R Carr‘s blog.

    This is my little addition to his work.

    The School Directors.

    One step beyond the recruiters are the Hagwon owners. Hagwon owners are ultimately the ones that have this decision, and thus culpability, on their shoulders. If anyone is refusing non-white teachers, it has to be them, right?

    As it turns out, this is where it gets a little murky. For some perspective on this point of view, I sat down with English speaking Hagwon owner and blogger Wangjangnim to gain some insight into possible origins of these hiring ‘preferences’.

  • World Cup Identity


    by Pablo Harris


    Doesn’t take long, living here in the ROK, before you get used to the same mundane questions from the natives. Before you just tune them out altogether. At least my first year, years ago out in the sticks, many brief interrogations/conversations went something like this:

     “Ah, nice to meet you. Where you from?”


     “Ooohhhh! But you have dark hair, dark eye?”

  • 13 Surprising Facts About Korea

    Who here has been to, or is planning to go to Korea? If so, raise your hands!

    Not long ago, Korea was a small, developing nation closed off to much of the world. However, these days that is rapidly changing.

    Korea has definitely been getting an increasing amount of publicity around the world. In Asia, it’s a lot about K-pop, cosmetics, and Korean dramas. In the West, we often hear news about their neighbors up North. People all around the world hear about Korea’s love for plastic surgery. All of these factors have led to a greater interest in Korea, and also studying the Korean language. Besides the reasons for Korea’s fame, there are a lot of unique and interesting facts that you don’t hear about until you are actually experiencing everyday life here. Below are 13 facts about Korea that may surprise you!

  • Some lovely things

    Being enough of an idealist to want to instil a sense of empowerment in my students, along with ownership of their own learning, I’ve been carrying out periodic learning reviews during this semester. These have basically asked students to reflect on their learning and my teaching and the results - whilst undoubtedly valuable - have also been apt to bring me down a peg or six at times. There was the kid who just scrawled TOO DIFFICULT all over his paper, or (worse) the one that wrote ‘I’m so sad I can’t speak to my friends in your class, because your class is too hard to me ㅠㅠ’. ‘ㅠㅠ’ are characters in the Korean alphabet used to represent crying eyes, and in this particular instance they initiated the appropriate response in me.

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