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Dear Korea #122 - Never Stop Cheering

 

Yeah…This week’s strip probably isn’t exactly funny or all that significant, but what can I say? I’ve been watching too much World Cup 2014 to properly function as a human being during normal people hours.

Speaking of work, the situation depicted in this week’s strip is something my friends from all over the country witnessed when South Korea was playing against Russia. I don’t think there was a single professional setting that didn’t have the game playing that day. The situation probably would  have been the same when South Korea played against Algeria (which was an amazing game) if it hadn’t been on at such an odd hour. I guess it’s kind of a good thing that I don’t sleep normal hours to begin with.

Oh well, the sun’s out. Time for a nap. See you next week!


Archiving

Over the past couple of weeks I have been busy going through old photographs from travels long since finished and uploading the to my flickrpage.


Yangyang Traditional Market

Across Korea traditional markets are still a common feature. Taking place every five days in towns and even cities, the markets give a brief insight into an older part of Korea. For the most part these markets are straightforward occasions and possibly a bit like you could imagine in the so-called olden days, drawing in all the local populace for not only business but also social reasons.

Throughout you can see people meeting and doing business, while at the same time there is a good quantity of back slapping and hearty laughing by the stalls. There are rows and rows of people, mostly old women it has to be said, selling what is clearly the excess from their small gardens, and for them it seems to be as much a chance to get out and meet people, with the added benefit of actually making some money.


Letter from Korea, October 2013

Suwon, Korea
Ocotober, 2013

Dear Ireland,

It has been well over a month since myself, Herself, and +1 have been back in Korea, and what I expected would be my September letter got left by the wayside and is only being seen to now in October. You know you’ll get the usual excuses for not doing anything which isn’t vital to one’s survival, such as being busy with things which are vital to one’s own survival.

After two and a bit months in Ireland, returning to Korea for life, work, and more life, was less the shock we had thought it might be. A smaller home, no garden, no dog, less rain, and that view from all the way up at the top of our tower just seemed to be what was right at the time. There seems to be less culture shock the more we travel between Ireland and Korea.


The End of the Summer

It’s still hot in Korea. By hot I mean warm enough to prefer shorts to trousers but pleasant enough to consider the walk, wherever it is you’re going, enjoyable. Only this afternoon it started raining the kind of rain that smells of the heat that has warmed it. Like some kind of stagnant puddle water. And as it drops and hits the ground the water mixes with all the other smells walked into the street, then stewed up to create a black paste which seems to follow every foot’s step in the city. It’s a summer rain true, but not a high summer deluge.

When we returned to Korea from Ireland a little under two weeks ago we were told we had missed the worst of the summer. The breeze which we found chilly was a much welcomed breath of life into a country drained to exhaustion from the hottest of summers. We were grateful that we had chosen our flight dates well.


We Only Have So Long Before ‘So Long’

We Only Have So Long Before So Long


Korea’s EFL Education is Failing, But What Can Be Done About It?

Is Korea’s EFL teaching failing? This question was asked by Groove Magazine in its March issue. The article was a comprehensive account of the history of Korea’s attempt to make its population more competitive by making English language skills key to a child’s education. I thought that the answer was pretty straight forward. Yes. Korea’s EFL instruction programme is failing. But maybe it was an easy question.

Of course it’s important to set out from the beginning to establish the fact that you’re talking about the governments drive to instil native speaker capabilities among the populace. And it’s important to know that whenever you read an argument like this you have to remember that opinions have already been forged on the barstools of waegdom, so convincing any new comers to the discussion will allow for short work.


A Lesson in Perseverance

In 2008 I was on the brink of getting married, and I was busy contemplating what to do afterwards. There were plenty of options, easy and less easy, but none painted in any way a clear picture of the future.

At the time I was working in a relatively big language school on the south side of Seoul and I was nearing the end of my third year. I didn’t have any teaching qualifications, but much like today I talked a good fight and fancied my chances regardless of what happened.

Of course marriage was going to change everything. There was the obvious and easier option and then there was the riskier and more exciting option that you don’t hear of many newly-weds taking, at least not in Korea anyway.


Dear Korea #078 - Sorry for the Party Rocking

Dear Korea #078

Happy December everyone! As promised, here is a new comic to make up for the lack of one last week!

I don’t know if it’s just my old age catching up to me, but I just can’t seem to keep up with some of these work parties that I’m often invited to go out to. They actually do these parties in rounds, which I think is kind of funny. Round one will usually involve dinner, and round two can be anything from going to a bar to drink more to getting coffee. I can usually handle that, but it’s those nights that have four to five rounds that really get me.


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