Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I will translate for you!

I know a lot of you don't speak Korean. I have been here for 8 months now, so I think I have picked up the intricacies of the language. Occasionally I will post signs from around Korea and translate them for you, so if you ever come here, you won't have any embarrassing moments!

Translation - 
Go Go Gadget 'Copter!

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Little Piggy Went to Market

This little piggy went home.
This little piggy had roast beef,
This little piggy had none.
And this little piggy had a fever, which is usually high (but unlike seasonal flu, is sometimes absent), cough, runny nose or stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue or tiredness, which can be extreme.


The swine flu paranoia has hit my school. Elementary school is shut down. Mothers are pulling their kids out of kindergarten. Everyone is wearing masks. We are sacrificing a boar tomorrow before dawn.

And there are a lot of strange politics at play. We can't really close down because we are a Hagwon, an after school program.. Maybe next month the mothers will not send their kids here. So we have to stay at school and call our students at home to see if they have done their homework. They don't do their homework when they are going to see me the next day. And we won't close the kindergarten down because that would look bad, too. It doesn't matter that this is a disease and  it doesn't reflect anything on the school itself.. I mean, the kids didn't get sick here, they got sick at the elementary school they go to in the morning. But that doesn't seem to matter.

It is an interesting thing. And I know it is a serious disease, and no one is more concerned than mothers are, but it is a very strange way to deal with it.

For Halloween I think I am going to get a pair of wings, a surgical mask and a pig snout. Swine Flew. 

The Inner Monologue of Kevin, a Seven-Year-Old in Orange Class from Monday, October 26th

Evanteacher always says, "Goooooood morning Orange class!!!!" as soon as he walks in the door. I will respond the loudest while pulling on his shirt to win his affection.

Well, I think my enthusiasm bought me about 10 minutes to do some sweet drawings of John Connor and a few Terminators. I have a goal of 25 Terminators per day, and let's be serious, I can't count on anyone else to draw them.

Ok. He is playing the piano again. He always plays the same songs. Then again, I always play the same songs. Song. The theme from Jaws. Everyone loves it.

I always interpret "Nobody touch the piano!!!" as "Nobody touch the piano, except for Kevin."

I really want to help Evanteacher with the snack today. He seems preoccupied with teaching. I will make him an origami frog as a gift and maybe he will let me carry the milk.

Does he have laser vision?!?! I set up both my books as a shield so he couldn't see what I was doing. 

We have communication phrases everyday. Can't he see that I know this stuff already? "Can I borrow your pencil?" Great. When will I need that? I want help with phrases that are useful! "Can I have a ride on your waterdragon?" or "Yes, I would like to travel back in time."


Math? I don't think so. More Terminators. This picture will feature a couple tanks, too. Man am I good at drawing tanks.

Ok, he left the room, time to get up and steal someone's eraser. The best part is that I speak English better than everyone, so I can talk my way out of it. Just lots of gesturing and saying "You, Me, Eraser, Me, Evanteacher, You, English, Thank You, Give, You, Me" and then adjust my glasses. It makes me look smart. 

Ahhh, lunch. Time to employ my "chipmunk method" of eating. Jam all the food into my cheeks and pour my soup on my lap.

Allllright.. Lets take a break. I am going to make one of my patented "Live Action Comics" for Evanteacher. First, draw a Terminator. Show Evanteacher the picture, draw a thought bubble above the Terminator's head, scream something in Korean and laugh. Make sure Evanteacher understands he should laugh now, too, even though he has no idea what I am saying. Keep his attention!! Don't let him help other students. Put the drawing in his lap and draw on his shirt!! Now, draw a thought bubble above the dragon, write some words in it and read it to Evanteacher, laugh again, draw lots of missiles from the dragon to the Terminator... thought bubbles above Superman and Optimus Prime... and.. and I think we are done. Another successful Live Action Comic. Nope.. this things needs more blood. Everywhere. Lots of blood.

Theme from Jaws.. I am so money...

Is it time to go already? Awesome. My little brother will be waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. I will hug my grandma while simultaneously slapping him in the chest.. he will never see this coming.

I can't wait to do this all again tomorrow...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

This weekend is Chusok, the Korean Thanksgiving. It is a holiday when families get together and remember their ancestors. It should be a few days off from work, also, but I only get one.. and no, I am not bitter at all., and yes, everyone I know gets at least two days off..

It is customary for the employer to buy gifts for the employees. 

Awesome! I like gifts. 

What is that? We get the, "traditional Chusok gift?" I bet that is something fun and Korean!

Ooooh! It looks like food. Maybe some traditional food. I mean, this is Thanksgiving right?

Hmm... a Korean spam set.. 

I like food. This is a great present.  Just maybe... unexpected.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Soap on a Stick

I wonder how you say "slightly unsanitary" in Korean..

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Great Beer Experiment™

One night a couple of weeks ago, my friend Ben and I were lost. Not lost in the physical sense, but in the mental/emotional sense. We needed a purpose. We needed a challenge. We needed to drink more beer.

These three things came together in what I will call The Great Beer Experiment™. This was a test of wits and endurance to categorize the wide range of Korean beer.

Some of you may scoff that we considered ourselves qualified to spearhead such an important study. Please allow me shed some light on our qualifications. 

Evan - 

1) Graduated in only five years with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance 
2) Was once a judge for Bozeman Idol
3) Cannot really smell anything unless it is very strong

Ben - 
1) Is Korean-American. He probably has genes that can detect the nuances put in place by the Korean Brewmasters
2) Claims to have consumed lots of beer
3) Often looks like this:
and anyone who gets a shirt, tie, pocket protector and Harry Potter glasses painted onto his body must be smart.

Our experiment consisted of the following:

Ritz-like crackers -  to cleanse the palate - saltines were unavailable
Water - also to cleanse the palate
Imitation Crab - to be consumed post-experiment, for nothing more than the elation that is experienced when one eats imitation crab

And the beer, followed by its catch phrase

Hite - "Cool & Fresh"
Cass - "Fresh" or "Sound of Vitality"
OB Blue - "The Original Quality Beer"
Max - "Delicious Idea"

We started out by tasting each beer and writing down our description. We didn't look at the other's description so as to not be swayed. No editing was done, all descriptions taken directly from the experiment's notes.

Hite - "Cool & Fresh"

Ben - Strong, but not overwhelming alcohol taste. With a "flowery" taste
Evan - Goes down smooth, very little aftertaste. Doesn't necessarily taste "Fresh" though, and "Cool" is based on your own refrigeration techniques. Taste = Old.

Cass - "Fresh" or "Sound of Vitality"

Ben - Mild tasting compared to Hite, on its own, it has a slight stale taste.
Evan - I will describe Cass as having a "heavier" taste. It lingers a little longer, but not in a negative way. Like a friend more than an acquaintance. 

OB Blue - "The Original Quality Beer"

Ben - Stronger aftertaste that takes a moment to be sharp. Has milder "flowery" taste than hite.
Evan - Hello St. Peter! My tongue just died and went to heaven! I would call OB Blue "Full" and "Robust" slightly "Sweet" but still tastes like "Beer."

Max - "Delicious Idea"

Ben - Maltier taste than the first three. Not so much crisp as a taste that sits on the palate. Okay on flavor overall.
Evan - Max Beer: Specially brewed in your grandma's basement. It could be good if they marketed it as such, but with a name like "Max" it is like your Driver's Ed teacher telling you how "...Everclear (the band) totally rocks!!!" in an effort to look cool amongst 14 year olds. 

We did two separate taste tests where one member poured the beer into numbered cups while the other played games on my iPhone. 

So what were our results? Ben correctly identified half of the beers. Four out of eight tastes he got correct. I identified one. Just one out of eight. I had such high opinions of the beer, also. I hated Max.. but it turns out that I really don't know what I hate. Well, Max is the one I got right, so I guess I can pick that one out. But I really liked OB Blue and I couldn't differentiate that from the other two. Despite our obvious lack of skill in identifying the individual tastes, we both decided that OB Blue is the best. And Max is the worst. 

I also felt the individual tastes of the beer became muddled once they got warm. We didn't plan ahead and have the beer on ice and the tasting took a good hour and a half. And Hite's claim of being "Fresh & Cool" certainly didn't stand up.

Most foreigners here have their own names for the beer: Shite, Ass, BO.. and Max.. I guess.. nothing really funny can be derived from Max.

Maxasshite - My attempt at logo humor

The bright side of the story is that a couple nights ago I found a brewery that imports beer from Canada. Real beer. Real delicious beer. For when Max, Cass, Hite, OB and soju just can't cut it.

And the imitation crab was delicious. 
As it always is.



Insadong is a touristy, traditional section of the Seoul. It is a nice artsy section of town where you can get fans, incense, candles and brushes that will help you remember Korea. I chose to get a stamp.

I am normally not too big on buying souvenirs. I usually end up losing them or forgetting why I considered them important in the first place. I figured a stamp would be different. It would last forever as long as I don't lose it.. And I can use it when I get home. To stamp checks or parking tickets. Or friends who fall asleep.

The booth I went to had a couple guys taking orders and then scratching out the requests into pre-cut stone. I got a little assistance from a woman standing next to me with spelling my name in Hangul (though I was 95% correct) and handed them 30,000 won.

에 - Eh
ㅂ - B
ㅏ- Ah
ㄴ - N

This is as close as it gets, since there isn't a "v" sound. Ehbahn. I think it was money well spent. And now I have a way to sign my posts that isn't cheesy... I hope...