Thursday, May 31, 2012

Some pics from a wandering in Seoul

Since I didn't have to work on Tuesday, I decided to go for a long walk near Daehakno/Mia area. I was trying to find another way to get from Jongno to Suyu, but just ended up hiking up a bunch of hills and slowly being re-directed to the subway. Regardless of my failed attempts to discover something new, I enjoyed seeing some of these neighborhoods (and constantly reminded how I'd probably be happy living in any neighborhood of Seoul). I might be living around here next year, but hopefully not at the top of one of the MANY hills in northern Seoul.

Slightly north of Hyehwa

I loved the construct of this building

Lots of huge apartment complexes

Sprinkled with some cute villas and green spaces

Who doesn't like random graffiti?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This video is making rounds with the foreign community in Korea right now. It is ridiculous xenophobia at its worst. Note, this is on MBC, which is one of the big networks in Korea.

So many baseless assumptions and false claims in this video that I can't even begin to talk about it in an effective manner. I know other more well-spoken bloggers will be writing about this ridiculous piece of yellow journalism, so I'll try to link to their articles when they are available.

Weekend in Busan

I had a five-day weekend, so I spent three of those days with some great Suyu friends in Busan. This was my second time to the city, and as such, a little more relaxing. More fun in the sun, less running around to do sightseeing.

Gwanganri Beach

The always handsome Julian
With my flaxen features, it wouldn't be good to spend the whole time in the sun. So there was a bit of seeing the city, including going to Busan tower (with a bunch of lanterns up for Buddha's birthday) and walking around the PIFF (Pusan International Film Festival) neighborhood. Oh, and no trip to Busan is complete without visiting their epic fish market. Delicious. 

Gotta love the lanterns

Catie being sweet

Selca at the fish market

Food, just a bit late

Here is last week's smorgasbord of dishes. Yum.

Cake for teacher's day... blueberry. Surprisingly delicious

Soju cocktail. Too sweet. In Itaewon

Can't go a week without mulnaengmyeon

Best meal of the week, probably. Various grilled seafood with a delicious array of banchan

A decent cheeseburger, but with a ridiculously small amount of fries

In hindsight, this looked like a pretty sad culinary week; being on a diet makes me sad, since I only go out to eat on the weekends. Then again, my love handles are receding...

Monday, May 28, 2012

MV Monday: Baek Ji Young's Good Boy

Baek Ji Young, one of Korea's older pop stars, has a new single. It wouldn't have popped up in my radar but it has caused a little bit of controversy because of the lyrics.

Man of Korea, a rights group for, you guessed it, men, has filed a lawsuit saying that the song is degrading to the male species. Baek Ji Young is apparently comparing men to dogs, and that they need to be tamed.This quote is from an AllKPop article:

Young men that listen to them obediently as well as dogs may be the fantasy of old women out there who dream of zooerastia, but normal, healthy men feel absolutely offended by songs like these. Even during a time where men ruled the world, men never treated women like dogs.”

Seriously? When men ruled the world, they never treated women like dogs? They just treated them like maids, vacuum cleaners, chefs, nannies, baby makers, but never like dogs. Yes, I could see how the references to this song could be a little degrading to men. But when you look at every other societal factor, men seem to still have the power here in Korea (and most places in the world). I think the lyrics are pretty much just saying that if she treats you well and you don't respond in kind, then you don't deserve her sweet touch. Makes sense to me.

You’re a good boy who listens to me well
You do everything that I ask you to do
But when you cause trouble, you’re a bad boy
When I compliment you, you become cockier
So after I started to treat you well
Who do you think you are to try to play me?
Oh oh oh oh oh mama
If you try to scheme, it’s over for you
Love is cruel, I’ve always been cruel
If you think girls are easy, you’ll get hurt
I’ve been saying yes to you, I’ve been complimenting you
And you really think it’s for real
Crazy in love, hurt by you
An obvious conclusion to love
Your words got rougher (what are you, a tough guy?)
Everything you say is a lie (your face doesn’t even change)
But you play on the palm of my hands
Who are you trying to deceive? (Stop being a child)
So after I started to treat you well
Who do you think you are to try to play me?
Oh oh oh oh oh mama
If you try to scheme, it’s over for you
Love is cruel, I’ve always been cruel
If you think girls are easy, you’ll get hurt
I’ve been saying yes to you, I’ve been complimenting you
And you really think it’s for real
You hold me and let me go, however you want
I’m not yo mama, this damn drama
You hold me and let me go, however you want
I’m not yo mama, this damn drama
I hate this love game
I treat you like a queen
But since when did you become my master?
It’s always ok for you but not for me
I’m always being pushed and you always push
Stop saying that I’m young, the things you do are so childish
What you say blah blah blah blah
Oh mama oh mama boy
I’m just a piece in your well cut out puzzle
(Aren’t you past puberty? This is so immature. Stop blabbering)
You’re like a piece of ice under my feet, I’m getting tired of this now
(Huh… I treat you well and this is how you repay your master?)
Love is cruel, I’ve always been cruel
If you think girls are easy, you’ll get hurt
I’ve been saying yes to you, I’ve been complimenting you
And you really think it’s for real
You’re the same, and I’m pretty frustrating too
I’m more pathetic for trusting and giving my heart to a guy like you
I’ve been saying yes to you, I’ve been complimenting you
And you really think it’s for real
You hold me and let me go, however you want
I’m not yo mama, this damn drama
You hold me and let me go, however you want
I’m not yo mama, this damn drama

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rooftop View

The weather is getting nicer, which makes us teachers want to get out of our classroom and outside. Seoul is not the best place for that, since there aren't too many parks and not many benches in the street. Rooftops, however, are all over the place. Mine, unfortunately, is locked. We did find this great rooftop nearby, however, which had a great view of my apartment.

I like being up in high places! As you can see, my roof looks fantastic, but as I mentioned it is  locked up. There are trees and benches up there! It would be great to have a summer roof party...

K-Town TV Show

So, here is something really trashy:

They are marketing it as so crazy no television network would pick it up. I'm glad that they can have some Asian American trashy television, but it doesn't mean that I want to watch it. I'm just curious if the Chosun Ilbo will talk about this show; they love to talk about any kyopo (Korean born abroad) or Korean adoptee that does anything famous abroad. I'd love to see them write about the Jersey Shore of Korea Town. Ha.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Muuido Island Weekend!

와! I finally had a chance to go to Muuido out near Incheon airport. My friends had gone back in 2009, but I never had the chance. Some of the Suyu crew had arranged an outing and I tagged along. What a weekend!

Here we come!
 The island was a blast, even if the beach was a bit dirty. There were a lot of foreigners staying in huts on the beach, which were pretty cheap (only 30,000 for the night in a room that could comfortably fit 3 or 4 people). Since there wasn't much swimming, it was more of a day of chatting with friends and laying in the sun. Sound good to me!

Catie and her beer buried in the sand
One of the best parts of the beach was how fast and how far the tide went out. We walked out a good 200 meters when the tide was low; there were lots of crabs and shells and other great things. Cameron was even able to walk on water.

Cameron is walking on water

The landscape of the island was beautiful. Cameron pointed out that if this island was two hours from New York, it would be full of time shares. I asked some of the teachers at my school if they had been to Muuido, and only a couple have made the trip.

Dried dogfish

The food, beach, and accommodation were all pretty cheap. The only problem was that it was quite a hike to get out there... first, you had to take the subway to Incheon airport, go up to the third floor bus station, take bus 222 to the ferry, the ferry to the island, and then a bus to the beach. We took bus 302 toward the ferry, which added a little bit of a walk. No problem, it was worth the two and a half hour trip.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The week in food

God, I love food. These were the dishes I had this past week (plus some that I didn't take pictures of before gobbling down).

Making bibimbap at school

Sweet-and-sour mushroom stir fry with spinach and banana smoothie

Baking potatoes on our grill


쭉 (rice porridge) A little bland, but delicious

By the time the duck was eaten, these potatoes were ready

Saturday breakfast... you can imagine my Friday night

Clam soup in Muuido

Clam ramyeon for breakfast

Bibimbap with seafood

Pizza from Pizza Maru (with a green tea dough)

MV Monday: Bounce

JJ Project just debuted with Bounce, which kind of has this nice mixture of hip-hop, rap, some rock, electronic and, probably my least favorite genre right now, dub-step.

I'm not that impressed with the song, but I do kind of like that the chorus is all in English... I feel like this would be a great song to use in elementary school to teach some commands; students could dance and sing along. 'I want to make your body move,' 'Baby, let your body groove,' and 'bounce,' seem innocent enough.

Duck at 회식

I love going out to dinner with my school (회식 in Korean), even if they do tend to invite me at the very last minute, which means I often have to leave early because I have other plans. This Friday, we went to 우이동, which is about twenty minutes west of Suyu, and enjoyed some quality duck at the foot of the mountains.

My office head and me

BBQing our duck

With some mashed potatoes

The duck!

We ate a huge amount of duck, and had some beer as well. Dinner was followed by some rice porridge, which was also quite tasty.

This are of Seoul, 우이동, is beautiful. It is right near the mountain and feels like you are far from the hustle and bustle that is downtown Seoul. It is close to a university, so apparently a lot of students go here for membership training. I would love to come back with some friends and spend the night, even if it is ridiculously close to my actual home. A bunch of buses go from Suyu to 우이동 including 153.

Who says Seoul doesn't have green spaces?

Selcas at a baseball game

I'm not the biggest fan of baseball games, but I do love hanging out with friends, drinking and, apparently, taking selcas (self-camera shots). Here's the best from this past Thursday.

Margaret and I

Love Magaly's lips

Blurry, but cute. Yay Catie!

Oh, yeah. There was a baseball game too

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mark's Marketing: Opening Day

I don't normally talk about my work, but I am a little happy with my reward system this semester. I gave out fake American dollars and students really got competitive trying to get a couple of bucks from me in class. They never knew what they could buy with them, but my school ordered a bunch of supplies for me to use in my market. Although they would probably be more happy with a piece of candy, they still were crowding around my desk when I opened Mark's market for the first day.

I'm so bad at art

It might not be the most exciting thing in the world, but I think it is pretty cute. Every once in a while, I'll bring in some other products with a higher price tag... I'm thinking maybe cheap stuffed animals and cup ramyeon.

Monday, May 14, 2012

MT (Memership Training)

I was invited to join my Korean class for membership training (NT) north of Seoul this past weekend. I was really confused about what this would entail, mostly because we don't have membership training in the states, and certainly don't call it MT. Konglish can be confusing sometimes...

The house we stayed at up in northern Gyeonggi Province

Apparently, it is just an excuse to get together, play games, and drink. I like all three of these things. Combine that with getting out of the big city and into some fresh air ... 나이스.  I was a little nervous since I didn't know anyone that well in the group, but it really was a good way to bond and meet new people (both foreigners and Koreans). We started out with some silly relay games and a scavenger hunt (I won a piggy bank) then continued with preparing dinner. It took WAY too long to cook dinner, but I guess it really made us appreciate the meal once we had finished it. We made some dumplings by hand and our group was in charge of the curry (Korean style).

Peeling a potato
Dinner gave us all bigger smiles
 The evening was then spent in a very Korean-style night of drinking and drinking games. I had played a few Korean drinking games before, but nothing to the extent of what was going on on Saturday night. One great thing about Korean drinking games is they always seem to have an opening song/dance, which you can see in this video.  If you look at our table, you can see how much beer and soju was being consumed...

We played may 20 different games that night, including the ever popular nunchi game and the fun, but infuriating, 3-6-9 game. My favorite game was definitely Bunny Bunny.

Note: That's not me or anyone I know... just random people playing the best game ever.

So after a night of drinking we all crashed on the floor of the pension. I'm sure I snored, but I got a pretty good night's sleep. I would love to do MT again or just rent a pension somewhere in the countryside and spend a weekend with some good friends, good food, and good games. ^^

Goodbye cute pension!