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Absolutely Groundbreaking Backpacking Advice

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‘Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth’ – Mary Schmich

I’ve backpacked, worked, lounged about, volunteered, romanced, and generally fucked about in well over 30 countries. And during my time I’ve learnt a few things about moving from one place to another with a massive bag.

So here, in no particular order, is some earth-shaking guidance for the better backpacking:

Take shitloads of photos… but not too many.Photograph yourself, obviously, but make sure your shots are not just endless reams of selfies on the beach, or of gormless muppets smiling in front of monuments. Shot small things as well. Capture unstaged and natural moments when nothing much is happening, like waiting for a bus, eating dinner, or whatever.

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In the process of taking shitloads of photos

Seek out long, uncomfortable journeys on public transport. There’s no denying that long buses can be insufferable, but watching the countryside and people going about their lives from a window is like a beautiful, mega-HD documentary. Oh, and the elation of exiting a minibus after 12 cramped hours cannot be understated.

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Take taxis when that gets old. Once in a while you’ve gotta fuck frugality off.

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Get something stolen. Well, don’t actually. What I mean to say is don’t get too down if something does get lost or stolen. It’s bound to happen if you take too much stuff with you.

Grow a beard, if you can. 

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Jesus, I am sexy!

Do something with your hair! Grow it long. Shave it all off. Get dreads. Get it braided. Get a mohican. Get a fucking monk doo. If you’re gonna be gone a while, you might as well celebrate the fact by looking an absolute dickhead! (For dickhead, see above photo)

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Write a diary. Writing down your emotions, fears, thoughts, or describing a scene and reading it when you’re still on the road is great to see how much your experience has changed since you started.

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Write a diary! This is groundbreaking advice, is it?

Re-reading them years later is like travelling back in time to moments, emotions, feelings, fears, etc. you’d forgotten.

Don’t spend all your time with other travellers. Interacting with the locals, even if you don’t share a language, is far more fascinating than listening to some dickhead-with-dreads massacre Bob Marley on an acoustic guitar.

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Don’t try to out-backpacker other travellers

‘How long you been travelling, man?’

Two weeks

‘Ah yeah. That’s far too short. We’ve been on the road for about 6 months. You just can’t get a feel for a place in two weeks. Where did you stay in Laos?’

Luang Phrabang

‘Ah, it’s way too touristy there, man. We stayed in a small hut 10 miles out of town. It’s was great. We only paid a dollar a night. We got to see the real Laos.’

Great. We stayed in a hotel near…

‘How much did you pay for that?’

Erm… about fifteen dollars a night

‘Huh! That’s so expensive, man. Where you going next?’

Vang Vieng

‘What!? It’s too touristy there, man. You want to head Sam Nuea, it’s not in the Lonely Planet.

Don’t get involved in backpacker one-upmanship. At the end of the day, even backpackers are tourist scum. Explaining how frugal, or off the beaten path you are does not make you look cool. It makes you sound like an arrogant pisshead.

Spend all your money. Don’t be a tight-arse. Do stuff, visit places of historical significance, do day trips, get wasted, get out of your comfort zone. And if your tuk-tuk driver rips you off by a couple of quid, don’t worry about it.

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Deal with home when you get back. Don’t worry about what you’re going to do when you go back home. Stay in the moment and try to enjoy the trip.

Accept there will be times when you hate travelling. The madness of moving from one place to another like some sort of anthropomorphic virus, the touts and their ceaseless attempts to draw money from you for their fine array of tourist tat, the sheer inconvenience of living from a bag, the hostels and the absolute wankers who ferret through their bags at 6am. But hold on, it’ll pass.

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This guy has seen better days!

Go slow and don’t bother planning that much. Shit will happen that you cannot control, so be flexible. Know roughly where you want to go and see what happens.

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Don’t forget to bring a towel.

Eat! Don’t diet on the road. You’ll probably lose weight anyway. Don’t listen to the travelling platitudes of only eating local food. If you want to eat Maccies, then eat that shit. It’s what all food will become anyway.

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Fat-bastard time!

 

Trust strangers. Despite the shit mainstream media and its culture of fear force feeds us all, the world is not as full of murderers, rapist, paedos, terrorists, kidnappers, or extremists as they would like you to believe. In general, you’ll find that most people are bang-up do-good citizens. But obviously… keep your wits about ya!

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Despite the pissed off look on his face, the guy in the cool hat is not a murderer, a rapist, a paedo, a terrorist, a kidnapper, or an extremist. That elephant probably is though.

Well… most of that was rather banal. But maybe one day, someone out there in the vast emptiness of the worldwide web will find some of my advice useful. What is your advice for backpacking? Let me know in the comments below… Alternatively tell me how much I suck on a Reddit forum. 

The post Absolutely Groundbreaking Backpacking Advice appeared first on Monkeyboy Goes.



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Um..

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In all honesty, as fun as it is to think that I’ve been going through some sort of early midlife crisis, the lack of comics has actually been due to two factors. The first is that I’ve been insanely busy, especially since my schedule has been getting switched up on me quite often. I guess that’s the price you pay when working odd jobs, especially during the season where everyone else is going on vacation.

The second reason? Well…let’s just say I’ve been struggling a bit. I fear I may be reaching a point where I’ve been in Korea too long. Ideas are getting stale, and I’m left feeling like I have no excuse to play the wide-eyed, confused foreigner card. It’s very possible that I’m just being too rough on myself, but it doesn’t make the creative process any easier. Maybe I just miss working on personal projects?

Either way, I’m officially a year older, and not that much wiser. As weird as it may be to level up in age, being surrounded by so many amazing people makes it a lot easier. To any of you who may still check on this comic, thank you for your wonderful support. Here’s hoping I can get those gears cranking again soon!


Jen Lee's Dear Korea

This is Jen Lee. She likes to draw.
She also likes green tea.

Got any questions, comments, or maybe even some delicious cookies you want to send through the internet? Feel free to contact us at dearkoreacomic at gmail dot com.

You can also leave comments on the comic’s Facebook Page!

 


New Release: One Night Only

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Kim Jho Gwang Su and Kim Tae-yong's new omnibus film is now playing in theaters in Korea. I haven't seen any showings with English subtitles, but it my viewers are interested in seeing the film, they can check out Naver Movie's page with showtimes and theaters (Korean). If your Korean isn't good enough to get through the website but you still want to try to make a showing, write a comment below telling me what city you live in in Korea or what neighborhood in Seoul and I can find the closest theater and showtimes.

 
The omnibus film consists of two stories. The first short, "One Night", is about three men in their twenties who meet the night of Korea's SAT test (수능시험). The second, "Night Bug", tells the story of Han-jae who pretends to be gay and through nightly discussions on a internet chatting site, arranges a meeting with the owner of the red-light district bar and rips off the guests. He is popular with the men who think he is cute and pretends to be Hun's lover; in the process, he works hard to ignore Hun's feelings.
 


Since moving back to Busan, I had to find a new dentist, because...

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Since moving back to Busan, I had to find a new dentist, because Chicago Dental in Gwangan is gone. I’m happy to report that I had a good experience with Dr. Kwon in Yeonsan-dong.

Some of the staff speaks English, but drop-ins and scheduling in-person is not a problem. Monday and Tuesday seem to be their busiest days, so I would go another day of the week if possible. They are open Monday to Saturday, starting at 9:30 am and then closed 12:30pm-2pm for lunch. Prices were explained upfront and very reasonable if you can pay in cash.

Dr. Kwon’s English is great and his demeanor is very gentle. He took special time to explain what my treatment and care would be, and even sent text messages to my phone to check on me. I plan to go there every 6 months for preventative and orthodontic care.

Directions: Yeonsan Subway Station, exit 16. You will walk forward for 10 minutes, and find Dr. Kwon’s located on the 2nd floor of the Samik Building. 


About the girl

Hi, I'm Stacy. I am from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living and teaching ESL in Busan, South Korea. Busy getting into lots of adventures, challenging myself, and loving people. Something more than an ethereal will-o-wisp.

Thank you so much for visiting and reading.

Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, LastfmFlickr, and FacebookAsk me anything

 


Tim Tam SLAM!

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We take on the Tim Tam Slam Challenge! Strange and delicious.

The post Tim Tam SLAM! appeared first on Evan and Rachel.


 

 


When is the Right Time to Leave Korea?

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I’ve been teaching in Korea for three years as I write this. I’m living what many people look forward to or can only dream about.

So many look for adventure after college and find Korea to be a great destination. Others, like myself, have decided to take a detour in life and live abroad while we still have the chance.

All of us, all of you, before coming to Korea or sitting at home as you read this looked at all the blogs and colorful HD pictures in them.

We watched the YouTube video adventures.

We looked at things that were related to what we were interested in, whether it be K-pop culture or things that would support our vision of what Korea is in our minds.

Living and teaching in Korea IS like what we see online. It IS how we imagined things before setting foot here. At the same time, however, it also IS NOT.

So, what is it like to teach English in Korea?  After three years I think I can sum it up in one brief sentence:

Teaching English in Korea is life.

That’s it. You’re doing life as you would anywhere, but in the R.O.K.

You get up in the morning and drink a cup of coffee. Take a shower. Get ready and go to work. Teach. Eat lunch. Go home. Chat online all day. Grab a workout. Eat. Go to bed. Start the next day.

It’s been a fantastic experience for me on so many levels. I’ve realized a new direction in life with teaching ESL. I’ve experienced Korea first hand. I started this blog and my YouTube channel that helped me interact with many people around the world. And it’s given me a hope for things to come whether it’s here in Korea, in another country, or even back home.

Therein lies the rub.

When is it the right time to move on to those next phases?

I’ve been doing some ongoing chats through video with Steve Miller (aka QiRanger) called “KAM Chats”. It’s an acronym for “Korea And More”. Steve has been in Korea for five or six years now and seems to have come to a crossroad where he feels it’s time to decide what direction to take in his life with regards to teaching.

This KAM Chat has also brought to mind the same question for myself. When is it time to move on and what are the next steps?

This type of move begs many questions and depends on many variables. It’s important to look at the situation from both the outside as well as your own perspective. You have to ask yourself where you want to live and do life, as I mentioned earlier. What role does money play in the equation and how much do you require to feel secure?

Did you go and get married while living abroad?  This is a separate subject in and of itself. Some guys really look forward to meeting that woman of their dreams to settle down with, but it opens a whole new can of worms. I’m grateful at this time that I didn’t take that plunge here in Korea.

My current contract ends in February of 2015 which will mark three and a half years.  I’m looking forward to finding out what my options are in the next six months. Where will I be after I’ve decided to move on?

The post When is the Right Time to Leave Korea? appeared first on The Red Dragon Diaries.


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Julio Mexican Cuisine in Gangnam, Seoul has the best Mexican...

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Julio Mexican Cuisine in Gangnam, Seoul has the best Mexican food in Korea. I would argue that it’s some of the best Mexican food I’ve had anywhere. Every time I’ve gone, they’ve been really busy, and I usually have to wait at least ten minutes to be seated —but it’s so worth it.  The food is just amazing, and the service is on point. The tacos are definitely my favorite.

I have been told that there are two more restaurants, one in Hongdae and another in Jongno, but I have never been there.

Directions: Gangnam Subway Station, Exit 11. Take a right at the Papa John’s sign. Keep walking and the restaurant will be on your right.

Address: 강남구 역삼동 619-1 강남역본점
Phone: 02-568-5324


Book Review – 한시와 한문이야기 – 이권재

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Hanshiwa Hanmun Iyagi

한시와 한문이야기
Classical Chinese Poetry and Prose Stories

Bibliographic Summary

  • Title: 한시와 한문이야기 (Classical Chinese Poetry and Prose Stories)
  • Authors: Yi Gweonjae (李權宰, 이권재), Professor at Korea University
  • Publisher: Korean Studies Information (한국학술정보)
  • ISBN: 978-89-268-3943-0
  • Price: 15,000 Won
  • Language: Korean and Classical Chinese original text
  • Pages: 362

Introduction

I have never received any formal education in Classical Chinese (漢文, 한문). Although I had some help from a few of my relatives that had some exposure, I learned the language largely by myself from various Korean books. I first started learning Chinese characters in elementary school in Korea through rote memorization, copying one character every morning one hundred times. Sometime later, after having moved to America, I decided that I would go a step further, and began to Rosetta Stone my way through Classical Chinese by reading Confucian classics with parallel original text and Korean translation and attempting to deduce the language’s grammar from the translation. (I do not recommend this.) Until a few years ago, I had no clue that Classical Chinese was still taught in middle and high schools in Korea as an elective or that it has been one of the “secondary foreign languages” that students could take on the Korean College Scholastic Ability Test (修能, 수능) since 2005. I was curious at what textbooks and materials Korean students used, and obtained Hanshiwa Hanmun Iyagi (한시와 한문이야기), or in English Classical Chinese Poetry and Prose Stories, to get a glimpse of Classical Chinese education in Korea.

Contents

The book contains materials from 10 different Classical Chinese textbooks. There are 210 lessons or excerpts in the book that are divided into two sections. The first section has 80 lessons on poetry. The second section has 130 lessons on prose.

1. Classical Chinese Poetry

Hanshiwa Hanmun Iyagi - Poem

The first ten pages or so give a very high overview of the rules of Recent Style Poetry (近體詩, 근체시), summarizing the tonal meters (平仄譜, 평측보) and rimes (韻, 운). The rest of the section are lessons on a wide selection of poetry. Each lesson has the original text with Korean grammatical markers called Hyeonto (懸吐, 현토), a Korean translation, annotations about some of the words used in the original text, biographical information about the poet, and historical context.

All the poems are pentasyllabic (五言, 오언) or heptasyllabic (七言, 칠언), either of the Recent Style or Archaic Style (古體詩, 고체시). Approximately three-fourths are from Korean poets, most of whom are from the Chosun Dynasty period (朝鮮, 조선, 1392-1905), but a few from the Three Kingdoms Period (三國時代, 삼국시대, 57BC-668AD) and Goryeo Dynasty (高麗, 고려, 918-1392), and even some from the Japanese colonial era (日帝强占期, 일제강점기, 1905-1945). Although most of the poets were — not surprisingly — learned Yangban (兩班, 양반) men, many were women, either from courtesans (妓生, 기생) or noblewomen, and commoners (委巷, 위항). As for Chinese poets, almost all are from the Tang Dynasty (唐, 당, 618-907), including the famous Li Bai (李白, 이백, 701-762), Du Fu (杜甫, 두보, 712-770), Bai Juyi (白居易, 백거이, 772-846) and Wang Wei (王維, 왕유, 699-759).

2. Classical Chinese Prose

Hanshiwa Hanmun Iyagi - Prose

The Classical Chinese prose section is in the same format as the poetry section. Roughly seven-eighths of the passages are from Korean authors, the majority of which are from the Chosun Dynasty but a few from the Goryeo Dynasty period and Japanese colonial era. The prose were from a wide variety of subjects. Here is a listing of a few of them:

  • Histories: Samguk Sagi (三國史記, 삼국사기), Samguk Yusa (三國遺史, 삼국유사), Balhaego (渤海考, 발해고), and Dongguk Tonggam (東國通鑑, 동국통감).
  • Children’s texts: Dongmong Seonseup (童蒙先習, 동몽선습), Gyeokmong Yogyeol (擊夢要訣, 격몽요결), Haedong Sohak (海東小學, 해동소학), Monghak Hanmun Chogye (蒙學漢文初階, 몽학한문초계), and Sohak Hanmun Dokbon (小學漢文讀本, 소학한문독본).
  • Novels: Geum’o Shinhwa (金鰲新話, 금오신화), Heosaengjeon (許生傳, 허생전), and Hanmun Chunhyangjeon (漢文春香傳, 한문춘향전).

There were also a number of works from Chinese sources, the majority of which were philosophical texts or histories. The following is a list of some of the texts excerpted:

  • Philosophical texts: Analects (論語, 논어), Mencius (孟子, 맹자), Xunzi (荀子, 순자), Hanfeizi (韓非子, 한비자), Zhuangzi (莊子, 장자), Liezi (列子, 열자), and Elementary Learning (小學, 소학).
  • Histories: Records of the Grand Historian (史記, 사기), Records of the Three Kingdoms (三國志, 삼국지), Book of Later Han (後漢書, 후한서), Lü’s Annals of Spring and Autumn (呂氏春秋, 여씨춘추), and Eighteen Concise Histories (十八史略, 십팔사략).

Review

As someone who learned the Classical Chinese through Korean but outside the Korean education system, I am not too familiar on all the details of Classical Chinese education back in Korea. I do hope this that this book review gave some insight. Assuming that this book is representative of how students learn the language, I do have a few comments. It is understandable that the vast majority of the works cited are from Korean sources, because it is after all Korea. It was quite delightful to see early modern era sources. The other resources I have often cite Korean sources, but not to this degree; they vary anywhere between almost none to two-thirds roughly. For the poetry section, conspicuously missing are poems that are not either heptasyllabic or pentasyllabic. It might be more beneficial to have a few Chu Songs (楚辭, 초사) or quadsyllabic poems (四言, 사언) in the style of the Classic of Poetry (詩經, 시경). Another beneficial addition would be to have more grammar lessons. An understanding of grammar is not only standard for learning any language, but necessary for its quick comprehension.



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Korea Q&A 3: Planning, Gaming, & World Cup!

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The third episode of Korea Q&A! Enjoy! Leave questions for us in the comments!

The post Korea Q&A 3: Planning, Gaming, & World Cup! appeared first on Evan and Rachel.


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