Humor

Korean Students Write the Darndest Things

Part of my job as a high school English teacher in South Korea involved giving out, and then correcting, weekly creative writing assignments. It quickly became one of my favorite parts of the experience, as it allowed my students to apply the language with more freedom and personality. It also helped me to get to know them in a more private way. From unintentionally funny remarks, to profound realizations, their writing was a joy to read.

Below is a small collection of some of my favorite excerpts. I’ve also taken the liberty of underscoring their messages with related images. Perhaps this could have been made into some sort of class project… Enjoy!


South Korea’s CARS Epidemic Enters Fourth Decade

A Yangpa News Special Report

SEOUL – The OECD has announced that 5,869 South Koreans died of CARS in 2014, which marks the 30th consecutive year that the number of fatalities from the epidemic has topped the 5,000 mark.


A Surprise Mother’s Day Visitor

It’s the kind of thing you have to see to believe: waking up to the sound of a mysterious knock on your door; turning over in bed because you assume someone has the wrong apartment; hearing the knock again and begrudgingly rolling out of bed; opening the door ready to give some random Korean person a piece your mind, when suddenly… you see your mom standing right in front of you.

Crazy right?! And on Mother’s Day weekend of all times! I was shocked and overjoyed, to say the least! If I were someone just reading this post I wouldn’t believe it either. So while my mom and I were out making the most of our short weekend together in Korea, I took pictures every step of the way as proof of all the fun things we did together! Below are the highlights. Hover over or click on each picture for details!


Occidental Hero, or, How I Screwed Up and Inspired the Development of a Global City

 

When Typhoon Sanba slammed into Busan in 2012 I had my face pressed to the window of my 10th floor apartment in 


TREEt Others The Way You Want to Be TREEted

Not Just A TreeIt’s the classic golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. But in the East, it’s more like: treat elders and higher ranking officials the way you’d want to be treated if you were in their position, whatever it takes.

Whether it’s a matter of age or authority, hierarchy is of the utmost importance in Korea. At all times, younger or lower ranking people make concious efforts to show their superiors the proper amount of respect they deserve; from the way they introduce themselves to higher ranking people, to the way they acknowledge or address them, to the way they eat and drink with them–as well as…how they plant trees for them.


Work Hard, Play Hard, Sleep Hard

As an American expat in Korea, some things, like eating piles of meat from a grill, are pretty easy to get used to. Other things, like sitting on the eatingonfloorfloor for the hour it takes to eat it, are quite a bit harder. My American education prepared me for a lot of things, but spending scads of time on the floor was not one of them.


Korea Through the Eyes of Foreigners (through the Eyes of Koreans)

My latest over at Sweet Pickles and Corn: Sometimes the things that foreigners like about Korea are the simplest (OK, except maybe for ddeok).

Korea Through the Eyes of Foreigners (through the Eyes of Koreans).

via Korea Through the Eyes of Foreigners (through the Eyes of Koreans).



Trial and Hair-er – Getting A Haircut In Korea

Getting a haircut is usually a rather mundane part of everyday life. But when you’re an expat living in another country and you don’t speak the local language, it suddenly becomes a much more exciting and emotional experience. Every snip of the scissors and buzz of the clippers sends a rush of trepidation down your spine; because beyond uttering a few broken words of Konglish and showing the barber a picture of your desired style, there’s really not much you can do but sit back and watch in a state of helpless paralysis as he begins to sculpt your scalp. We all like to think “it’s only hair, it will grow back if I don’t like it,” but when we’re suddenly faced with having to practice what we preach and live with the consequences, our thinking drastically changes.


The Long Road to Kratie

by Chris Tharp

(The following is an excerpt from my recently-published book, The Worst Motorcycle in Laos: Rough Travels in Asia, available now via Amazon and other fine booksellers. Enjoy.)


The Sounds of the Jimjilbang

I recently mustered up enough courage for my first trip to a Korean spa, locally known as a jimjilbang. Lots of public nakedness was had by all, and I left feeling relaxed and squeaky clean. While parts of it might be a tad exaggerated for comedic purposes, this song I made pretty well captures the experience, which was great but also slightly scarring. Apologies in advance for my mediocre singing voice, ‘guess I need to hit the norebang more often. Enjoy!

The Sounds of the Jimjilbang

 


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