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Weekly Blog Roundup

Your weekly links, while I recover from a tequila hangover and wait for Rachel to bring me a sandwich from Paris Baguette. In other words, this might be a work in progress, but I wanted to get something up before we are on to another week. Check back for more links.

– First off, Michigan State lost pretty bad to Memphis. I thought we had a chance but, as he’s been doing all season long, Neitzilla fell apart at the most unideal moment. Last year I thought he could play in the big league…now…not so sure. 6 foot streak shooters with few other skills rarely make the league. You have to be able to do at least 1 thing really well, and he didn’t do the 1 thing he’s good at that well this past season. Moving on…

– Seoul Steve throws out some opportunities to volunteer. I’m surprised “” hasn’t already covered ‘volunteering’ as a topic, but I suppose that they eventually will. (sidenote: while I’m not the only person to think that “” isn’t funny…I’m definitely in a pretty small minority…apparently, saying that white people like ‘t-shirts’ and ‘st. patty’s day’ is considered genius.)

– A Geek in Korea talks about the virtues of sleep. This is as good a time as ever to relate this anecdote Rachel told me about high school. She went to a special school for foreign languages. She had ten separate classes she had to study for, none of which included English. She told me that she would routinely study till 1 in the morning and wake up at 6 to get ready for school. She says she did this every night and that was hardly alone.

– Not Korea related, but pretty cool. You know those pictures that are taken at just the right time that wouldn’t be good if they were taken at any other moment? He’s a good collection of them. Photoshop or not?

– I forgot about this happening. Kind of old, but interesting none the less.

– Continuing the ongoing saga of North vs. South Korea. South Korea has started a job training program for North Korean defectors.

– Speaking of North vs. South. The rhetoric and actions are heating up with North Korea expelling South Korean officials from a joint venture industrial park. A day later North Korea tests some short range missiles. Doesn’t it feel like a lifetime ago, we were all so excited over the Royal Philharmonic playing in North Korea?

– Students are punished for having different hair. If you look at older picture of Korean classrooms you’ll find that it was a requirement for all girls to have exactly shoulder length hair or that it should be French braided. This is an observation confirmed by many of the co-teachers in my school.

– Seouls tag of “Most Wired City in the World” is becoming more and more ominous with each passing day. Yes, there are lots of wires…but no wireless…and an outdated encryption system that keeps Koreans from joining global computer trends and foreigners from buying things online.


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Weekly Blog Roundup

– First things first, the NCAA tournament is going on. If you want to check out the games you can do that at Not only can you watch the games streaming but you can watch the recordings of every game so far. My recommendations: Mayo vs. Beasley (otherwise known as USC vs. Kansas State); the Kevin Love “welcome to the NBA lottery” block party against Texas A&M; and of course Michigan State making it’s 7th Sweet Sixteen in the past 11 years.

– In other online television related news check out the new season of South Park at You can also watch every South Park episode ever made here.

– I’m going to continue linking to this until I’m confident everybody has clicked on it. It’s that cool.

– Big Bang is once again ruining my life. First they dropped this gem on me. Then they ruined Maroon 5 (not like it was that hard). And now I find myself singing this song in between classes and creeping out my co-teachers. Damn you Big Bang and your catchy English lyrics!

– Chan Ho Park and a small hoard of Koreans almost start an international incident.

– After a tough week in the Asian financial markets, that saw the dollar = 1,000 won for the first time since like 2002, finally some Good Friday Calm. Despite all South Korea never really seems to take that big of a hit.

– Rising Chinese labor costs are causing a mild exodus of South Korean businesses away from our Olympic hosts.

– Speaking of China, will we even get to the Olympics in one piece? The violence is becoming overwhelming. Too much to ignore.

– You know, I eat these things. One more reason to hate China.

– An informative look at foreigners in Korea and crime rates.

– President Lee calls Kim Jong-Il his bitch. Kind of.

– This picture is just silly.

– A riddle wrapped in a question and blanketed with an enigma and deeply shrouded in mystery…such is Korean English Education.

– This weeks award for “alienating everybody you’ve ever known for negligible impact.” Nothing to do with Korea but…yah.

– Then finally, not a link but interesting none the less. I was talking to Rachel the other day and the subject of dentistry came up. She commented that she is glad her brother is studying to become a dentist because they make a ton of cash. Apparently insurance doesn’t cover lots of dental work. Last winter Rachel went in for a routine check up/cleaning. Guess how much it cost. Did you guess 600,000 won? Then you were correct. That’s right, 600 dollars for a check up.

A filling cost somewhere around 2,000 dollars, otherwise known as 95 percent of my pay check. Her mom chipped some teeth when she was younger and now has to pay 15,000 dollars every ten years to get them updated.

If I was a dentist here I would set up shop and simply charge like a hundred dollars less than the competition. Apparently the dentists associations pay off the government in order to keep the prices high.

In other news, I really like eating chocolate. Damn.


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Weekly Blog Roundup

  • I’m not sure if this is an example of “genius and insanity occupying a space so thin a paper couldn’t fit through,” or if this is simply “bending towards the will of convention.” Either way, Shaq is traded to Phoenix. The guys from FreeDarko wallow in sorrow.
  • How much does joining the South Korean army suck? Via Deadspin. They did an article on South Korean soccer players busting their shoulders to get out of military service. In the comments section below, I found this gem:

One of my instructors at the Defense Language Institute was in the South Korean Army before immigrating to the US and joining the US Army.
One day in training he and his company had to ride a zipline off a cliff, which was painted in red, green and red sections. The drill instructors told him that if fell off in the first red section, he would fall to his death. If he let go in the green, he would hit the net, and if he waited until the last red segment, he would hit the other cliff wall and die. He was not ashamed to admit that opted instead to curl up on the ground and cry while the instructors beat him with sticks.

Of course, the source is a Deadspin commenter. Not the most reputable, but still entertaining, none the less.

  • EFL Geek wonders how much appearance matters in Native English speaking. Finds out by taking a survey of a bunch of Korean mothers.
  • Kind of old, but South Korea is planning a Robot City. Strange, when The Matrix is on Tv at least twice a week.
  • Foreign teacher saves child from Korean teacher! Stop the presses. Corporal punishment is nothing new to Korea, but I think everybody agrees this is taking it too far. My co-teacher and I agreed that simply making the student stand in the hallway would be sufficient as it’s cold as hell there too.
  • The rate of illegal drug use rises in Korea. Surprisingly, it’s not completely the foreigners fault, although you wouldn’t be able to tell by the tone of the article. My Mcdonalds napkin math tells me that although foreigners are a VERY small part of the problem, our rate of usage is still higher than our presence in the country. Foreigners make up 1 percent of the population, yet contribute to 3 percent of the drug arrests. Racial profiling? Maybe.

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Your Daily Shot of Soju: Required Reading

“Your Daily Shot of Soju” is my daily format for sharing random cultural thoughts, pictures and basically anything I want to in an easy to digest and read format. Expect to be updated Monday-Thursday, and probably once on the weekend.

What do I think my teaching role is in the Korean school system?:

Scroll to the very bottom of this post to see the answer to this question.

Making the reading list:

A few blogs and posts that I read on a regular basis regarding Korea. These are a must for any daily reading of South Korea.

The Marmot’s Hole – Seemingly the grand daddy of Korea blogs. It is written by Robert Koehler, an Ex-pat magazine editor who has been living in Seoul for a number of years. Usually a good source for news stories, especially those that affect westerners. Check the comments for the best in pretentious banter regarding politics and society. These are conversations that go absolutely nowhere. A place where I comment almost daily.

Zen Kimchi– A solid, daily round up of some of the bigger South Korean blogs (notably, not mine…yet). Check the bottom for his takes on food. This is important as he contributes food articles to the Ex-Pat living section of the Korean Herald.

Amanda Takes Off – A foreign teacher talks about her daily life. Uses anecdotal evidence in a creative format. Introduced the phrase ‘Klogic’ to me (Korean Logic).

PopSeoul – A guide to everything Pop Culture related in Seoul. I guess it’s like the Ex-pat version of Perezhilton…but you know, if PerezHilton didn’t have Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears to use as fodder.

EFL Geek – A good place for intelligent discussion regarding teaching in Seoul. Seems to be the only one doing his own statistical research instead of relying on outside news sources. This means I am a fan.

SeoulSteves – A guide to everything and everything in Seoul. Especially important for it’s events section.

There are a number of other blogs out there but these have been the most notable to me so far.

So where do I fit in to all of this? I guess I’m still finding that out. Does filling in the cracks count?

Visual Stimuli:


Piece of Pop Culture I’m Diggin on Today:

The Lunar New Year.

You know how New Years is always a solid party and everybody gets really excited for it? You know how the one that happens on January 1st, no matter how cool it was kind of seems like a let down?

How bout a do over? Yah, I get one tomorrow night…not sure what I’m doing yet and I expect to not remember what I did the following night.

Piece of Pop Culture I’m Missing Today:

I missed the Super Bowl. Not just any super bowl mind you, but maybe the best one ever.

I hate Eli Manning. On the day he was drafted I secretly wished that he would trip over the last step, fall off the stage and land on an old woman eating peanuts (in my fantasy, Eli Manning is allergic to peanuts). That said, I hate Tom Brady and the Patriots more. I despise everything Boston sports related. The Patriots…Hate them. The Celtics…hate them (but KG is still cool). The red sox…would give my last testicle if it meant they never won another championship and I could see Bill Simmons weeping over a bowl of Special K (in my fantasy he’s allergic to Special K).

The Bruins…who?

Sadly, none of my kids knew what the Super Bowl was and I was forced to revel in the Patriots loss on my own, watching ESPN’s game cast online.

The answer to the question:




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