Recent Blog Posts
Thursday starts out with another short selection at 12:30. This is followed by the queer film White Night at 14:30. Flight attendant Won-Gyu (Won Tae-Hee) left Korea 2 years ago with painful memories and now comes back. Won-Gyu meets Tae-Joon (Lee Yi-Kyung), who is a quick service delivery man and has a special night with him. Korean with English subtitles.
Next, we have 청포도 사탕 17년 전의 약속 (Green Grape Candies: A 17 Year Old Promise) at 17:00. Korean without subtitles.
Have you noticed the Mosquitos are already out! Here is a homemade trap to help keep you and the kiddos from being a blood donor!!!
HOMEMADE MOSQUITO TRAP:
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 gram of yeast
1 2-liter bottle
1. Cut the plastic bottle in half.
2. Mix brown sugar with hot water. Let cool. When cold, pour in the bottom half of the bottle.
3. Add the yeast. No need to mix. It creates carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes.
4. Place the funnel part, upside down, into the other half of the bottle, taping them together if desired.
5. Wrap the bottle with something black, leaving the top uncovered, and place it outside in an area away from your normal gathering area. (Mosquitoes are also drawn to the color black.)
THIS DOESN’T WORK! Here are two different (but similar) variations that also did not work for me. I have attracted no mosquitoes to their deathbeds WHATSOEVER. Time to get some nasty chemicals to divide, conquer, and repell…
About the girl
Thank you so much for visiting and reading.
Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, I’ve gotten super busy with social media marketing ever since my new post at Aclipse as International Marketing Assistant. Check out my blog posts here, and follow me on twitter at @arieldrosen for more Korea updates!
Anyway, Thursday was Korean Memorial Day, so everyone got off work! My friends and I decided to travel to Gyeongju to ride bikes and check out some historical sites. Gyeongju was the capital of Silla, an ancient Korean dynasty, (57 BC – 935 AD). There is also an amusement park there! But we’re saving that for another trip. It takes about an hour and half to drive there from Busan, but the drive was beautiful so no worries. Ok, here come the photos!
Well, I didn’t take any bike riding photos, I was too focused on biking, haha. But others did and they will probably pop up soon! Anyway, I love Gyeongju and cannot wait to go back again sometime. Hooray for holidays!
Miss you all!
I remember a passage in Plato’s Symposium, which I don’t have with me and which I don’t really have the patience to find, and it was a typically Platonic, gnostic sort of passage regarding levels of intelligence and wisdom: the lover of souls and minds is superior to the lover of bodies, probably because the soul is immortal, godlike, and perfect, while the body is made of temporary stuff, a Protean Ship of Theseus, constantly changing, impossible to define, and soon reduced to dirt “stopping up a bunghole.” One of my more sensuous friends complained about Plato’s disdain of the physical world and his seemingly Buddha-like adoration of the mystical and the unseen, but at least in the case of Socrates we can tell rather easily why it’s important to focus more on the mind than the body:
…once I caught [Socrates] when he was open like Silenus’ statues, and I had a glimpse of the figures he keeps hidden within: they were so godlike — so bright and beautiful, so utterly amazing — that I no longer had a choice: I just had to do whatever he told me.
(I lazily stole this quote from wikipedia)
Socrates, the notoriously ugly man, is the shining source of ancient Greek philosophy, God-The-Father in the hypostasis of Himself, Plato the Holy Spirit and transmitter of His Words, and the mutable Son, crucified on the rood of exile, the most human of them all, Aristotle. But to judge Socrates based on his looks, you would feel nothing but repulsion; this sickening Matroyoshka doll is full of infinite beauty.
I live in South Korea, a country where it is standard business practice to demand a photograph along with your resume every time you apply for a job, and where, at the moment, it seems my wife is the only Korean woman in her twenties who has not surgically lengthened her nose and enlarged her eyes to look as much as possible like the impossible Platonic ideal of Korean beauty (who herself looks as if one of her parents is a grey, and whose avatars, in the incarnate form of various celebrities, are plastered to every wall, window, and screen, in the country). This isn’t to say that plastic surgery or superficiality is unknown to America, my home, but in Maine and Massachusetts, where I spent most of my American life, I can’t remember ever seeing someone walking around with Joan Rivers’ botoxified face or Pamela Anderson’s cubical breasts. It always seemed like more of a West Coast thing, since in California people are prancing outside in the sunshine all the time where the whole world can see them, while four years ago in Maine I was holed up for two months straight before I got on the plane for Korea. I was only able to see the sun when this plane rose up above the clouds…
No company I’ve ever heard of in America asks for pictures along with résumés. That’s not to say people don’t discriminate based on appearance, but a person’s achievements are, at least ostensibly, considered more important; in Korea, too, a (K)Ivy League degree is what gets you your coveted Samsung-wage-slave-corporate-cubicle-cog-in-the-machine-I’m-so-happy-I-don’t-have-to-think-for-myself-anymore lifetime gig: not your fake nose. Still, superficiality really seems to reign supreme in this place: products are primarily sold by simply pairing them with the faces of celebrities: my son cannot go outside without being complimented (catcalled) by middle school girls and old ladies, probably the greatest victims of this anti-woman culture, people who sometimes make a point of telling my wife that my son is only beautiful because all mixed-race children are beautiful; it has nothing to do with our genes—as if our genes belong to us, rather than we to them.
I am also not immune in any way to being infected by this superficiality.
I was talking with a Chinese friend two days ago: he was bothered by the claim, made by some Koreans, that their country possesses a five thousand year-old civilization. The wikipedia page for the History of Korea was once Orwelled by one of these Korean patriots, who made a point of stating that Korean civilization was one of the oldest on Earth, but thankfully after much wrangling and wrestling this absurd line was finally removed. There were videos on youtube declaring that Koreans invented the airplane, and the very best, a Korean-made satire of these ridiculous claims, has found the true origins of pizza.
These different Asian countries, China, Korea, Japan, and others, are all proud and fiery and nationalistic, and yet it bothers them that numerous incredible technologies were first invented in America. Korea’s portfolio, at least according to the English wikipedia, is comparatively slim. And so historians and nationalists stretch their histories back as far as possible, since, superficially, that looks impressive—though if you were to ask King Gwanggaeto about his nationality: “Hey! Are you from Korea?”, he would say: “What’s Korea?”, since the idea of the nation-state is only about two centuries old, and before that people were loyal to leaders or faiths rather than flags and passports—and this historical superficiality is linked to the physical superficiality that forces women to spend millions of won, to risk their lives, in fact, to alter their faces: the dangerous and destructive and simplistic and un-Socratic belief that if a person looks beautiful, that person’s thoughts must also be beautiful.
This isn’t just tied to Samsung’s relentless pirating of Apple’s ideas, or China’s notorious intellectual theft of America’s military technology: it goes back to human evolution, as well: why human beings triumphed over their competitors in the primitive primordial savannah. Cheetahs are faster, lions are stronger, elephants are bigger, ants are more numerous: but humans are the smartest beasts of all, and their brains are what pushed them ahead of their competitors in the distant past, and their brains were still revolutionizing philosophical thought in the Athenian Golden Age, and their brains are still changing the world now, and so long as a country like Korea believes that physical appearance is important enough to warrant a photo stapled to every résumé, so long will it be destined to follow and copy those who recognize the Platonic importance of the mind over the shifting untrustworthy mirage of the body.
The star Korean slugger replied:
“The Lotte Giants’ Youman is the most difficult player to play against. His face is too black, so it is hard to bat because his white teeth and the ball confuses me when he smiles on the mound. So, I suffered a lot."
He then went on to add, “There’s no particularly difficult pitcher, but when I play against Youman, I screw up because of his white teeth.”
An eruption of negative comments ensued on Korean baseball forums as Korean netizens charged Kyun with making racist statements. The outpouring from fans caused both Kim and the Eagles to immediately issue personal apologies to Youman.
In an exclusive e-mail interview with Haps, Youman gives his take on the comments, the controversy and to baseball life for an African-American journeyman in Korea.
What was your reaction when you first heard Kim’s comments about you? Has there been any time when you felt your race or nationality played a role in how you were treated during your time playing here?
After hearing about Kim Tae-kyun from my translator initially I laughed, and said it was ok, not a problem, people make mistakes. After I thought about it for a bit, I became a little upset which is the initial reaction from someone who hears about something that's potentially racist towards them. No matter your ethnic background, you will either feel hurt, anger, or both when it comes to racism towards you.
As far as being here in Korea, I've never felt that my race, or nationality has played a role in how I've been treated. Then again, I'd never know, cause I don't speak Korean (lol).
Korean netizens were very vocal in your defense, calling Kyun’s comments “racist”. What is your feeling on their response to Kyun’s remarks about facing you from the batter’s box?
Knowing that fans, and friends here have been very vocal in defending me is very appreciated. However, after more pondering, I really feel that he made a big mistake, perhaps trying to be funny not thinking about the consequences of his words.
Read the rest of the article at BusanHaps.com
|Check out BusanHaps.com for Busan|
- How Martha Stewart you are
- Who you will be working for
If you are the type that is fine with coming into your new digs, dropping your bags and getting on with the whole thing then you won't need much. Just some money to get some food and cleaning supplies. Apartments generally contain all the necessities for living. Some often have left overs from prior teachers as well. I have a Magic Bullet-like blender from a previous teacher. That's all I needed to bring a smile to my face! If you packed well, you shouldn't really need a whole lot more than food and cleaning supplies to get you by.
If you are someone who likes to make your place feel more homey then you can plan to bring a few extra bucks. It doesn't take much though. There is an Asian super-chain here called Daiso. It's a dollar store that will have everything you could imagine for setting up your place to feel comfy and warm. Your home away from home. Trust me, Daiso will quickly become your best friend for living in Korea.
If you are working with EPIK you will receive a "settle-in allowance" of about $300. That is in addition to everything else - they don't take it out of your pay. Nice, right? Go crazy. If you are coming through any other institution, you will need to find out if they give you anything for getting settled. It all depends on the employer. If they don't provide anything, you can bring a little extra.
I brought $1,500. This is essentially due to the fact that I am a paranoid type-A person. Nearly all of it ended up going into the bank since the settle-in money got me by. In EPIK and most private institutions you will get paid monthly. So the money you bring will just need to get you by for the first 30 days and then it's clear sailing. Do NOT bring $1,500.
Looking back, I believe I could have safely gotten by with $500 of my own money, and the $300 from EPIK.
If you are coming through another employer I think $500 would still suffice, but you'll probably feel a whole lot better with a little more. Maybe between $800-1,000.
A message to everyone wondering and worrying...it's all going to be OK! The mystery of the unknown is all part of the adventure. Don't fall into "analysis paralysis" too much. Just let it flow....
Oh, you'll need an umbrella when you get here. $5.
See My Videos on Youtube!
WhoQ is just another version of Grindr or JackD, but with lower resolution and less streamlined design. Don't know what Grindr is? Basically, it is a location based website that shows you nearby users so you can chat, exchange pics, and meet up. It looks like it is less patrolled for naughty pics, as there were a lot of naked pictures and 자지s on the main screen. So much so that I felt a bit guilty having the app and deleted it pretty quickly. I'm sure my boyfriend doesn't mind when I look at porn, but he wouldn't want me looking at naked bois on a gay app. This is definitely an app to find a hookup (hence the name...) It looks to have more users than Korean Grindr users, but less than Korean JackD users.
If you want to download the app, visit their website, search for 후크 in your app store, or take a picture of the QR Code below.
This is followed by Facing Mirrors at 14:30. Rana has chosen a path in order to support her family, while Adineh (Eddie) has fled his home and city to escape his complicated situation as a transsexual man prevented from living as his true self by his family. They find themselves on the same journey and caused to know each other in a better way. Farsi with English and Korean subtitles.
At 17:00, you can see Keep the Lights On. It's 1997 and New York City is in a state of intense flux when documentary filmmaker Erik Rothman (Thure Lindhardt) first meets Paul Lucy (Zachary Booth), a handsome but closeted lawyer in the publishing field. What begins as a highly charged first encounter soon becomes something much more, and a relationship quickly develops. As the two men start building a home and life together, each continues to privately battle their own compulsions and addictions. A film about sex, friendship, intimacy and most of all, love, Keep the Lights On takes an honest look at the nature of relationships in our times. (IMDB) English with Korean subtitles
The last film is J. Edgar at 19:30. Biopic of J. Edgar Hoover told by Hoover as he recalls his career for a biography. Early in his career, Hoover fixated on Communists, anarchists and any other revolutionary taking action against the U.S. government. He slowly builds the agency's reputation, becoming the sole arbiter of who gets hired and fired. One of his hires is Clyde Tolson who is quickly promoted to Assistant Director and would be Hoover's confidant and companion for the rest of Hoover's life. Hoover's memories have him playing a greater role in the many high profile cases the FBI was involved in - the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the arrest of bank robbers like John Dillinger - and also show him to be quite adept at manipulating the various politicians he's worked with over his career, thanks in large part to his secret files. (IMDB) English with Korean subtitles.
We decided to make a trip to Geoje Island which is in the South of Korea. We got up bright and early, even earlier than I usually get up for school, and headed to Sasang to get a bus. Having missed one we managed to sneak in a cheeky McDonald's breakfast while we waited, one of my guilty pleasures!
The bus took about an hour and a half to get there, and the irritating loose screw which allowed the whole curtain rail to vibrate noisily right by my ear was made up for by the amazing fews as we got closer to the island.
As soon as we stepped off the bus, there was a curious bus driver, taking a cigarette break who instantly started talking to us a mile a minute in Korean. He was so happy to help us!
Nick had done his research and we decided to go to Oedo island when we arrived at Geoje. Oedo is an island about 30 minutes boat ride from Geoje. It's a private island that was owned by a couple that turned it into a botanical gardens for the public. The friendly bus driver pointed us in the right direction and off we went.
I loved that they made the boat ride to the island a trip in itself, taking us around the other small islands and driving into coves. Unfortunately Nick and i ruined a lot of Kodak moments by standing on the deck of the boat, when the snap happy Koreans had opted to sit inside, meaning they must have got lots of lovely pictures of our legs! Ooops!
The tour guide seemed to be chanting and singing as we made our way to the island, and they started a little auction of frozen water bottles and dried squid. We decided to pass on the snacks as I tried not to get too annoyed at a couple of kids who literally wouldn't stop staring!! It's a common thing to be stared at, but it's so much more awkward when you're in a small space and you can't move away!!
It was an amazingly beautiful sunny day, perfect for the island. As soon as we got there it felt like we were somewhere tropical. It was green and luscious and there were fountains all around.
It's divided into several sections including a cactus garden, a bamboo road and some other interestingly named places which made me feel as though I was in Oz. Fancy climbing the Stairway to Heaven? Or strolling around the Hope of the World garden?
The only downside to the Island is that you're only given an hour and a half before you have to catch the boat back. By the time we'd had a mini picnic and I'd messed around with my camera, we had to whizz through the last few parts and not even give the art gallery a second glance.
I felt really sad to leave, I imagined the Tyrell grandma from Game of Thrones to be sat in a corner of the garden somewhere watching us all milling around.
Once we were back on Geoje, we decided to head to the beach, grabbing ice creams enroute. Typically as soon as we got there the sun ducked behind a cloud, but it didn't stop me from having a beach nap in my bikini!
By 5 we joined the queues of cars in the rush hour traffic and headed home. Sleepy but satisfied we got back to Busan and had dinner. I felt so much better about Friday, the day with my biggest class sizes, having had so much fun the day before! Take me back!
I have recently discovered a cheap delicious treat called Rice Burger (밥버거). It’s shaped like a burger, but uses rice as its bun, and it is eaten with a spoon. There are three simple instructions.
1. Decide what you want. Prices range from 1,500 won ($1.33 USD) to 3,000 won ($2.65 USD). I like the kimchi bulgogi or darc-galbi. I think the mayo or cheese selections are kind of gross.
It’s pretty cute when it arrives, but don’t eat it just yet.
2. Unwrap a bit and… smash burger.
3. Unwrap fully, and eat with a spoon!
Simple, fast, and cheap. Just add it as another reason I enjoy living in South Korea. You’ll find these everywhere, but especially near universities. Seems like a staple for college diets here!
Yes. And, thanks!
Also, is there just one Anonymous running rampant asking questions and making funny comments? I wish people would leave some sort of tag so we could distinguish Anonymous A from Anonymous B. Could y’all create some sort of unique anonymous moniker for yourself? Or does that defeat the purpose? :-/
Take for example the translation tasks. This shit started about six months ago, when I passed my first TOPIK exam and my coworkers started to clock on to just how good my Korean actually is. In they started to trip, with pages of Korean text for God knows what personal purpose -- at times, writing exam essay examples for their classes (fair enough), and at others, somebody's fucking TEE essay that they're too cunting lazy to actually write in English, and which has nothing to do with my job or my students and everything to do with their personal credentials.
I entertained the ones that had to do with my kids. I put the ones that didn't into the trashcan under my desk and shifted befuddled through papers on my desk with the asker returned to retrieve their free translation. I just don't know where it could have gotten to.
Today, a contract teacher comes in with two pages of example answers she's written out for her students in Korean, asking me to translate the answers into English.
By the way, I spent the weekend at the emergency room in the hospital with a severely high fever and a monster case of tonsillitis, being fed steroids and antibiotics via IV. Which this coworker knows. It's Tuesday. The fact that I'm even at work at all is a miracle. One would expect that maybe a decent person could hold off asking personal favors for at least a week, while I struggle to just get through my daily classes.
But no. Not my coworkers. And it doesn't end there.
I took the paper initially to pretend to look over it and consider doing the translation, but I had no intention of actually doing it. I'm sick. It's hot. I taught five classes today. I have neither the energy nor the inclination to do somebody else's work for them, yet again. But I'll pretend. For the sake of peace.
She came back this afternoon to pick it up. I told her I must still be woozy from my fucking trip to the fucking emergency room three days ago and maybe it's all of the medication I'm on, since I'm so incredibly fucking sick, but the Korean is just too difficult for me. Her English is so much better than my Korean, so if she could just take a moment to rewrite the answers in English herself, I would be happy to edit them for her.
This bitch looks me straight in the face, does some poncey little shy smile gesture shit, and says, "Actually I'm really busy at the moment..." Giggle giggle.
Oh, are you? I'm sorry. Am I asking you to do me a favor? You're really busy at the moment? Well, gee, I apologize. I didn't mean to put you out by presuming to ask you to do your own fucking work when you're really busy.
Even so, my head hurts so much and I'm so sick so I really don't think I can translate this -- it's so difficult. But again, I will be so happy to do you the kind favor of editing it for you when you're finished translating it yourself.
Well, yes, but I have an open class on Friday so giggle giggle.
Well giggle giggle I'll be sure to edit the English version for you as quickly as possible.
She frowns. She takes a seat at the desk across from me and sighs loudly for about five minutes, at the end of which she stands up and leans over my cubicle. As she waves the paper in my face, I can see that during those five minutes she has written absolutely nothing down on the paper -- "What about just doing numbers 3, 4, 5 and 6?"
"I'm sorry. I'm really busy. But I'll be happy to edit them for you when you're finished."
Finally. she huffed out.
Getting furious because your foreign teacher won't translate your Korean for you. And on the other hand, I've got people cooing in my face about reading a syllable in Hangul out loud. Unbelievable.
But I'll tell you one thing -- I'm proud of how far this job has caused me to come in my ability to stand up for myself and be able to hold my ground when I know someone is wrong. Part of it, I'm sure, is that I'm getting older. I'm not 22 anymore and there's no reason for me to behave like I am when it comes to coworkers. But also I've never, ever had my boundaries pushed in such severe ways as I have in this job. The civil servant work culture here especially still relies heavily on job roles being determined by whatever older people do or do not feel like doing. And a lot of that goes horizontally as well, as I've come to find out, when you have shitty coworkers. Shifting shit around is part of the deal here, and shit is not as clearly defined as it is back home, which leaves a lot of room for lazy people to take advantage, if they have the balls.
And the only solution is to get your own pair in order, so that at the very least, you cannot be made to feel as though you're asking someone to do you a favor by declining to do one for them. Again. And by figuring out that there will be no end to it with some people unless you find a way to be slightly more infuriating and stubborn in these interactions than they are.
I wish I didn't have to have these types of conflicts at least twice a fucking week, but this is what this job is now. No exaggeration -- on average, two or three times a week, I have to stand my ground about something. Have one of these ridiculous pretend polite conversations. Negotiate my way out of doing something that is not my job. It's exhausting. But it is what it is. Ho hum. Six more weeks until vacation.
|I'm No Picasso|
This is a tale of the seaports where chance brings the traveler: he clambers a hillside and such things come to pass.
|In Imminent Danger|
Bits and pieces about Korean literature and translation philosophy