Monthly Archives: September 2007

Just some random thoughts:

I’ve legitimately wondered this. With the male domination of women in this society here in Seoul, would it be socially acceptable for me to beat up some guy who was walking with a girl, and steal his girl? Would the girl be forced to come with me?

Additionally, if the guy who I beat up burst into my apartment later in the night to beat me up and steal back his girl, would he have to take his shoes off before entering my apartment?

Speaking of apartments. Nobody here refers to apartments as apartments; they refer to them as houses. For someone trying to learn the basic language, this is incredibly confusing for me. Apparently I do not live in a studio apartment…I live in a one room house.

Slices of bread are thicker here, and pizza is cooked with kernels of corn. Grapes taste amazing, but have seeds, and you aren’t supposed to eat the peeling.

Nobody can walk in a straight line here. I find myself constantly being blocked on a sidewalk by an old woman walking in curved fish pattern, girls texting on cell phones, or guys playing PSP.


Word Association Test: Match each statement to a letter below.

1. Legs are to Korean people what _____ are to Americans.

2. Small waists are to Koreans what _______are to Americans.

3. The chest is to Koreans what ________ are to Americans.

4. The ass is to Koreans what ________ is to Americans.

A. Legs

B. Dr. Pepper

C. Breasts

D. Hands


(Answer key: 1-C, 2-A, 3-D, 4-B)


There are no trash cans anywhere on the street. Koreans think it makes their street look dirty. Instead, they just pile bags of trash and other assorted garbage around telephone poles and the corners of walls…I think I’ve missed some key element to this line of thinking.

I really wish I had a couch.

If you really want to compliment a Korean girl here tell them they have a small face. This implies that they have large eyes/nose/mouth. I am not joking.

It seems like every single girl here does the Peace sign when they have a picture taken of them. Somewhere Sarah Michelle Gellar is making out with a woman and doing blow out of a cross necklace.

The Mullet is still cool here.


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More Korean MTV!!!

Here is another Music Video update. I have this weird addiction to terrible pop music, and here it is only amplified by the lack of new music I can listen to and the fact that some of these songs actually contain English lyrics. Sorry, these are just too much for me to ignore. Hope you enjoy.

Also, if you find yourself watching the dancing and thinking to yourself “Wow, this dancing really kind of sucks.” You are not alone.

The Wonder Girls – Tell me

The plot of this video? An underage and Asian Wonder Woman saves four girls from bullys, boys and naked men in trench coats. In the process she turns the four girls into drooling lesbians (maybe I’m off on that last assumption). Also, these girls look rather young to me, but I see girls like this everyday who turn out to be 30 year old mothers of 2. This is confusing.

Super Junior – Don’t Don <———I did not misspell the 2nd Don’t, it really is called “Don’t Don”

This is the super boy band group. I guess this group is like what would have happened if N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys formed together and then were managed by Puff Daddy. Also, I think I hear some Linkin Park in there somewhere. Themes of this video include: big fire balls; running from ominous lights; black leather clothing with sequins; and dyed haircuts…and oh yeah NO GIRLS!

This is a recurring theme with many music videos. Also, skip ahead to the 2 minute mark to see the hardest core violin solo you have ever seen.

Minwoo – The M Style

This guy was on my first MTV video post with the prison dance scene. But unlike the last video I actually kind of like this song, and the girl in it is kind of hot. I guess he’s like the Justin Timberlake over here. And since I have nothing else, Yes I am referring to pretty much all of these artists by who they remind me of back home in America…do not expect me to stop doing this.

WheeSung 5 – Love is Delicious

The song sucks, the name sucks, the dancing sucks…but there is a moment of transcendental bliss around the 2:40 mark when he starts to beat box. Everything is really just working up to that point.

Stony Skunk – Ragamuffin

I actually kind of like this guy. It’s a Korean Reggae singer…kind of Damien Marleyish (this isn’t really the song I like of his, but I can’t find it on Youtube).

Piranha – The Grace

The Korean Britney Spears…with bad dancing included. This video does contain the hottest girls so far, though.

Brown Eyed Girls – Deceived

Another song I actually kind of like. The base line is kind of addicting to me. Also a CULTURAL TIDBIT: around the 1:00 minute mark, when the girl and guy do a shot, the girl should have looked away from the guy when doing the shot. It’s a sign of respect…perhaps it was her way of claiming her independence.

There is one more video I want to share with you, but right now it’s just too much. It really deserves it’s own post.

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Filed under Culture, Korean MTV, Videos

Links, Links and some problems with erections…

The long Chuseok weekend was good, lots to talk about. But for now, I am tired, so only links.

By the year 2009 Seoul intends to do away with all street newstands, as well as other vendors. Street vendors are everywhere in this city and are those who come from poor backgrounds. I wonder what the city plans to do with all those people who make their living off these stands?

1 out every 10 Korean students is obese. Keep in mind that obese here in South Korea is still relatively small compared to American Standards. It’s easy to imagine why too, as children are merciless to students whose body is not thin (by their standards). The other day I was teaching a 4th grade lesson where I asked students “who is he/she” and when I came to a girl, who seemed to me to be of a perfectly normal body shape, a bunch of students answered “She is pig.” They began to make oinking sounds as the girl just half smiled. Their normal Korean teacher (who was sitting right next to them) did nothing to stop them and I was left to use the little Korean I knew to make them shut the hell up. This is not a good place to be a girl who is over a size 4 or 5.

– Actually, I’m surprised at the lack of overweight people here since I have never met as many people in my life who spend as much time eating and drinking too much as some of the people I have met here. I have been out to multiple meals that probably involved a single pound of meat per each person who was at the table, and then they ordered noodles afterwards; ridiculous. I will say however, that none of the meats included any fats or were cooked with any oils…maybe that’s the secret.

– This is a good time to exchange the millions of won I am making for dollars. (normal exchange rate is 1000 won to 1 dollar)

South Korea and North Korea may be discussing an official peace treaty to end the Korean War during the summit scheduled for this October. Much to the worry of officials in Washington who fear if the treaty does go through it will probably necessitate the removal of most, if not all of the American troops stationed here in South Korea. Most Native Koreans I have asked about the subject think it has to do with the upcoming election this December, as an official end to a long dormant war would definitely given the Incumbent President Roh Moo-hyun a boost in the polls.

– Finally, my favorite quote so far (and doubtful it will be topped) “Teacher, English makes me hard.”

yes it does Billy…yes it does

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Out for Chuseok

Chuseok is one of the biggest holidays in Korea. It would be the rough equivalent of Thanksgiving back home…but instead of celebrating the rape and pillage of hundreds of cultures across a vast continent they honor dead family members. But there is a big dinner; no turkey. Also they have a week off school, instead of only 3 days.

You can read all about Chuseok here, and here.

Long story short, I will be out at some Korean guys beach house for the week drinking with some peoples and seeing something other then concrete and skyscrapers for the first time in 3 weeks. I probably won’t have internet…so sorry if you find yourself wandering around aimlessly, wishing for an update.

I promise you will get one when I get back.


Filed under Culture

Western Dating in an Eastern World

She just sent me a text message on the phone she bought me and I am refusing to text her back. Welcome to the Western version of dating.

One thing I have always hated about dating in America is the games we play. We refuse to show someone how we truly feel because I believe, that deep down, we want people to prove to us that they love us and if we show them how we feel they won’t work for our affection. Here, in Seoul, this has not proven to be the case. She likes me, I know this, she tells me every day…she also brings me coffee and cakes at work to keep me happy.

Perhaps it has to do with the mindset that comes with speaking a language that assumes politeness and a mutual respect/affection, or perhaps it has to do with centuries of male domination…but it seems that girls here assume that if they hang out with you, then they like you. There are no games. They won’t tell you they like you, they just show you and assume that if you aren’t screwing someone other then them then you must feel the same way.

As a man, we are in control.

She told me that when we walked together she worried that because I just draped my arm around her shoulder rather than grab onto her arm and hold her tightly that I didn’t care about her that much. She told me that Korean guys do that.

To me that shows the guys are afraid the girls are going to run away but to her it is a sign of affection. Perhaps this arm thing is just a different form of a game but compared to what I have gone through back home this is nothing. And the fact that she told me to hold her tighter or she’d feel under appreciated blows any notions of games out of the proverbial duck soup…American girls would never say something like that unless the relationship was really serious (and the people were very needy…maybe she’s just very needy…but I doubt it…she’s too confident for that).

When I asked her if she wanted to go to dinner she asked “this is my choice?”

Um, yes…you are an adult and can make your own decisions, if you don’t want to go out, or have other plans, then you don’t have to go…apparently I was supposed to tell her that we were going out to dinner…what time and where

The hell? I only know like 3 restaurants in the entire city and they all involve the words pizza, Mcdonalds and tacos. “I may need your input on this decision,” I told her.

There are no games, I am in control…but if you know me then you know I hate this. Although I hate the American/Western games we play, this does not tell the entire story. I hate dating games the way Keith Richards hates heroin. In other words, I am not stopping them anytime soon, and in fact need a new transfusion of drama every six months in order to maintain my sanity, just how Richards needs new blood every six months in order to stay alive.

(I know the Keith Richards story is false…but it’s still a damn good story)

I demand drama, I crave questions, I thrive off the game and the chase and convincing some girl who is otherwise insane that I am someone special. Here, I am not special…I am a male and that makes me the one in charge; but I am still just one other dominating male out of 8 million others.

So welcome to the games I play. Back home I am one of the best. Here? I am not so sure…hopefully this works…maybe I’ll wait an hour and then text her back…


Filed under Culture, Narratives

I will probably die…

“I live on the fourth floor,” I said to her, rather unaware. Instantly her face became gravely amused. It seemed she was about to give me some rather poor news, and seemed rather excited about it.

“That is a very unlucky number in Korea…it means death.”


Apparently, living on the fourth floor in Korea is the equivalent to living on the 13th floor in the United States. The words for four (sa) sound very similar to the word for death. Like most American buildings that go up that high and just “skip” that floor, most buildings in Korea do likewise. Usually they replace the 4 with an F or something. For whatever reason though, my building did not.

I live on the “Death” floor.

There are similar fears in China and Japan where four also means death. There’s even a name for this fear, it’s called “Tetraphobia.”


As she moved past her fears of the number four and entered my apartment she again gasped. I had walked in ahead of her and turned to see her mouth agape and her body slowly inching out into the hall.

“You leave your air conditioner on with the windows closed?” She asked, this time in a not-amused grave way.

“Um yah…I also sleep with it like this, with a fan blowing,” I responded, “the noise helps me fall asleep.”

“But you could die!”


Apparently there’s another urban legend in Korea that I have been unaware of, and that is fan death. Basically the thought is that if you leave a fan on during the night it will replace all the oxygen with carbon dioxide and you will die; or it will send the sleeper into hypothermia; or if there is a fan blowing directly onto someone (something I do nightly) it will push all the air away from them, creating a vacuum.

She would not enter my apartment because she was legitimately afraid that she would be walking into a room filled with dioxide. I was leading her into a death trap on the death floor. She would only enter when I turned off the air conditioner and had opened all the windows for at least 3 minutes.

god…there is no way I’m making it out of this country alive…

If you stop hearing from me on April, 4th…just assume some Korean ring lady jumped out of my television and froze me to death with my box fan

Oh yeah, also I can’t use red ink to write student’s names or they will cry…apparently when I did that Monday it was the equivalent to me wishing death on all of them



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Britney…nuff said

Even halfway around the world this is hilarious. You have to think that MTV knew this would bomb from the beginning…as much as I hate them they really have the whole “intentional, unintentional comedy” thing down. The thing I like most is the camera shots of celebrities in the audience, especially 50’s. He has the look of someone very grateful to have been given a giftbag to be there…and then realizing that it contains an hour long DVD of bonus Britney rehearsal bloopers.

Also, at the very end, there are two more celebrity shots…is one of them Mugsy Bogues?

To think, this used to be the hottest girl on the planet

I’ll post this video for nostalgic purposes…but really, can we even watch it the same way anymore? (on a side note, i realize any artistic credibility this blog may have had is quickly going the way of Gred Oden’s career…sue me)

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