Tag Archives: Korea

I’m also really good at giving directions to taxi drivers

Barely glancing the take out menu in my hand, I automatically dial the number I have so often dialed before.

This time it’s a man’s voice on the line. Sometimes a woman picks up, but today it’s some guy whose voice I also recognize.

Without my even saying anything he recites the address I am currently at.

Without my even thinking I say “재육덮밥 하나 주세요”

Without any response the man on the other end hangs up. I don’t mind. I know that soon someone will bring food directly to my office and I will pay him and he will leave and I will eat and place the dishes outside of my building and in an hour or so he, or someone else will come get them. The circle of lunch.

A Korean co-worker overhears my order and remarks “your Korean is improving”

“Well, it’s just my lunch order”

“Yes, but I can tell your intonation is very good”

This makes me laugh, “well, I order the same 3 or 4 things every day so I hope I’m good at it by now”

“So many foreigners don’t know how to order their own food, but you are very good”

“Thanks” I say, and we part ways to our respective work spaces.

In about 10 or 15 minutes someone will bring me food. He probably thinks I am fluent in Korean.

In the land of foreigners who often refuse to learn basic language skills to get by the foreigner who can order lunch is king.


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Filed under city life, Culture, Narratives, The foreigner experience, Uncategorized


Not that anybody would have, but if you would have asked me 10 years ago to name the least likely things I would expect to be up my rear I might have listed ‘the fingers of a Korean child’ somewhere near the top of my list.

Yet, here we are.

(If you don’t get this, read the description of the ddong chim game played in Korea, or for the urban dictionary definition click here.)

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Filed under Culture, The foreigner experience


Just above my apartment, for the past few months, lives an elderly gentleman. Every time I am sitting outside my apartment, he seems to come outside at the same time. I have never spoken to him and he has never spoken to me. We always glance at each other, never acknowledge each other in any way, and eventually we both go back inside.

I sometimes wonder if that is my future, and does he conversely consider me as his past.

On the walkway next to my building there is a structure of garbage, and an elderly Korean man who continuously sorts it. Occasionally he takes a large bundle away, leaving the walkway to my house clear for a moment. He wears green camouflage cargo pants, a red t-shirt, and a black baseball cap…everyday. On cold days he wears a jacket, and occasionally he is a drinking. During the previous winter I considered bringing him one of my extra jackets that I no longer wear but didn’t. He might have felt obliged to speak to me the next time we see each other, and we see each other almost every day.

Across the slender alley from my apartment there is a pretty girl, seemingly in her mid-20s, who lives on the ground floor. I often see her enter her apartment later at night, around 12. Sometimes she is alone, sometimes she is accompanied by what I assume is her boyfriend. I’ve never really looked at him, but I think it’s the same guy.

Sometimes on the weekend there are children playing in front of my apartment in the alley way. They have taken the liberty of becoming my sporadic Saturday alarm clock; and if I hear them playing I can assume it is a nice day outside. One time I helped one of the smaller boys carry his bike up the stairs leading to his apartment. Mostly though I try to avoid the children on my way out.

Civility in a city is allowing people to live their lives without recognition, and without forcing upon them the requirement of having to recognize others.

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Filed under city life, Culture, Narratives

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