“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.
Something for you to read:
So I’m back after a few days off to update the site and collect my sanity. Expect the “Daily Shot” to return, from here on out, to it’s regular schedule of Monday-Thursday.
It snowed the other day. One thing I have been impressed with lately is the lack of snow. The latitude of Seoul is similar to that of Mid-Michigan, where I grew up, yet there is almost no snow here where as there is tons of snow in Michigan. It might snow for a bit, but not much, and the amount that does fall is gone in a day or so. Right now I’m blaming it on the city’s air pollution and the heat that comes with 13 million or so people crammed in such a small space.
I’ve never been a huge fan of snow. It’s really too cold. But here it’s so sporadic and actually warm enough that I enjoy it when it comes.
So, imagine my delight when I walked out of my house (read: apartment) on Monday to see snow falling.
During my winter camp we usually give the kids a ten minute break in the middle. 3 hours of learning anything is difficult. I can imagine that learning a foreign language, taught by someone who only speaks the basics of your native language, when you’re a 9 year old boy, is especially difficult. So we give them a break.
On Monday I decided to give them a longer break so that they could go outside and play. On their way out some of the kids asked me to promise that I would come out eventually and play with them. They even made me pinky promise. They didn’t need to though, I was already planning my attack the moment I first saw the snow.
So after the children leave I waited for 5 minutes. I grabbed my coat. I forgot my gloves. I headed out the back door of the school. I collected a barrage of snow balls and I wished that I remembered my gloves. I turn the corner. I am pelted by 20 snow balls by students who were already waiting for me…lil bastards.
Luckily I’m really good at intercepting snow balls in mid flight and throwing them back at those who originally threw them. After the initial barrage of snow balls I took control. I’m faster, I’m smarter and I have better aim. Also I was now determined to make up for being the one caught off guard.
I left the kids wishing that I only gave them the regular ten minutes of break time…suckers.
Groups of students play outside in the snow. Little do they know the fury of snow balls that later awaits them.
More Visual Stimulation:
Think that’s a playground here in a park? Think again. Koreans will work out anywhere and outside facilities are found in the most random of places. I took this photo while walking through a park dedicated to outside sculptures.
Piece of pop culture I’m diggin on today:
The soduko game on my phone. Whip out a sudoku, anywhere and everywhere. Stuck on the sub for 30 minutes? That’s about one hard level and one medium level game. Ten minutes to kill between class? One medium level game and an easy one.
I pull this out all the time. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve started to run into people while I walk. I now understand how people are constantly running into me when I’m standing still in a completely open area or why they never walk in straight lines.
Piece of pop culture I miss today:
Being able to call a sandwich a sandwich. The Korean language has come to include the word sandwich, however the definition of sandwich is limited to club type sandwiches. In order to be a sandwich is has to have vegetables, meats, cheeses and fruit (which is actually really good). However, this leaves out some of my favorite sandwiches such as tuna fish and simple ham and cheese. They don’t even recognize Peanut Butter and Jelly as a sandwich. Instead, if I were to tell someone I ate a PB&J I would have to describe the sandwich as two separate pieces of bread, spread with peanut butter on one side and jam on another and then placed together facing each other. Just call it a SANDWICH damnit. Much easier.
I tried to make the argument that anything between two pieces of bread constituted a sandwich, but was told “Not here in Korea” by the Konglish speaking store clerk at the local ‘Buy the Way.’ To this I replied that the sandwich is an invention of the west and that Korea didn’t even have bread until they came into contact with Europe, therefore our definition should hold true. They were having none of it.
Regardless, I continued to argue until they finally said “Fine, call it whatever you want!”
I consider this a victory for all foreigners living in Seoul.
How bout a nice walk along the river…and a bench press or two:
Walking along a river trail, bench presses and stationary bikes hug the sidewalk.
Your Korean News of the Day:
North Korea suspends international talks with South Korea. The article cites how the President-Elect is planning on being more stern with the north, even going so far as to with hold aide unless they comply with nuclear compliance demands.
Along the same lines, an interesting article discussing the feelings of moderates in South Korean politics about the new, conservative regime. Where as previous regimes catered to North Korean interests, avoid human rights issues in discussions, to gain ground on Nuclear weapon talks, Lee (The President-Elect) is so far talking tough…it remains to be seen if he can walk the walk, or even if he should.
“And never tell him what to do…” This is advice from the master:
A school for teaching traditional Korean values to young women in preparation for finding a husband. While women have made tremendous gains many still view them/themselves as second place in the marriage contract.
Another fun piece of advice: ” For example, saying, ‘on the way home, go to the supermarket and buy this, this and this, and don’t foget’ – you mustn’t do this…this is giving an order.”