It’s a secret to everybody.
I moved. Don’t tell anyone.
It’s a secret to everybody.
I moved. Don’t tell anyone.
I should probably put a picture of my lion that I always draw here, but I’m not going to. Yesterday Jinhui and I celebrated one year of being successfully married with a trip to the theater…to watch a musical. A musical called Lion King, or maybe it was The Lion King. Anyhow, I believe the last time I attended a musical was in middle school, and that time I was actually performing as opposed to simply being in the audience. Oh you didn’t know that? It’s true! In middle school I played a cop and a court stenographer in my school’s production of Hello Dolly! I even had a line. But I’m really off on a tangent here.
Back to the Lion King. I’m a rock guy so I can get away with, “This Band was awesome! They sounded like Billy Idol battling Louie Armstrong,” but somehow things like that don’t really work with musical theater. What does work is something like, “Lion King was totally awesome!” Even that doesn’t really convey how out of control the entire thing was.
Some of you out there might have seen this show in the US or China or even here in Korea, but for those of you that haven’t let me briefly describe it. They started with the plot of the cartoon, The Lion King. To that they added puppets, and dudes in elephant suits, and dancers, and some dudes in a mask that looked like some sort of alligator with ram horns that seriously popped up right in front of me when the show began. The entire thing was so over the top, I’m a little sad that photography was prohibited. But thanks to the internet there are a whole slew of pictures are up on Korea’s offical Lion King musical website.
The entire thing was nuts! I’ve seen Lion King probably 100 times at least, due to the fact that someone in my household (other than me) was obsessed with it in the early 90s (I’m not naming any names), but even still I was still totally stoked. I mean there were dudes in huge elephant costumes coming down the aisle next to me, and guys with birds on ropes that were swung out over the audience. It was outstanding! Also there were some child actors. Child actors normally bug the hell out of me, especially here. Every kid that gets put on a “drama” here in Korea sounds like a robot…even when they are playing characters other than robots, but these kids were different. They spoke like normal people, not that halting, “Hi. My. Name. Is. Simba. I. Swear. I. Am. Not. A. Robot…” kind of delivery that every other Korean child actor uses. Awesome!
And speaking of vocal deliveries, the way in which Mufasa and Scar were portrayed or perhaps just my interpretation of their portrayal seemed a little odd. Maybe I’ve lived here too long, maybe it was scripted that way in Korea, or maybe it was scripted that way everywhere, but those two dudes reminded me a lot of the actors in the various historical dramas that are always on TV here. It was also weird the way some of the lyrics were changed when translated to Korean. The song, “I Can’t Wait To Be King,” became, “멋진 왕 될거야!” (”I’ll Become An Awesome King”).
Even if you don’t understand Korean you should go check it out, since it just looks so awesome. The story is easy enough to follow especially if you’ve seen yourself some Lion King before. If you’ve never seen Lion King, rent the video but definately check out the musical. It was deluxe!
So after the show we went to a Chinese restaurant named Ho Lee Chow’s. Ho Lee Chow’s does American style Chinese food, so there’s General Tso’s Chicken but no 자장면. We ordered some set that came with two bowls of hot & sour soup, some spring rolls, Mongolian beef, a platter of fried rice, and some deal that was called Sichuan Special (it was meat, chicken, shrip, squid, and vegetables in some sort of sauce). This was allegedly a set designed to feed two people, but we ended up taking a lot home with us.
Following dinner we had wine and cheese and then called it a night. That about does it from here, I’m going to go now because I want to play the Lion King Super Nintendo game we had when I was a youth. Before I go, there’s one last thing: When we got off the bus near our apartment, we saw a girl with a hairstyle that looked just like a lion’s mane. Make of that what you will.
Ok I just needed to get that out of my system. Today I’m going to talk to you about TV in Korea, but not the fun kind. Or even the non-fun kind that middle-aged Japanese ladies seem to be all about. Nor am I going to talk about the TV shows that are pretty much Super Sloppy Double Dare only they have celebrities doing the assinine stunts instead of elementary school kids. Nope today I’m going to rap at you about the fantastic world of Korean reality television.
Oh I’m sorry, did I say “fantastic?” I intended to say “depressing.” Moving on!
I am completely aware that America has a big chunk of “reality” television, but the vast bulk of it is so over the top it’s not even real. I mean Fear Factor? What’s real about that? I for one have never encountered an event in which I had to eat cow’s hearts…oh wait I did! But still you get my point. The Real World?! Hot 20 year olds living in amazing houses rent free? Yeah that’s real! Anyhow America reality TV of all stripes from COPS to The Real World is largely successful because the characters on it are so over the top and insane, that whatever weird shit you have going on seems completely normal by comparison (”Hell I might not have gotten laid is three months, but at least I’m not nude and being taken to the pavement on COPS.”)
Korean reality television is a different beast entirely. Here the bulk of the reality television features total real people, but 9 out of 10 times these people are in the most depressing situations. They are either physically deformed, poor and living in some dwelling that barely qualifies as a house, or a woman with some sort of problem that requires her face be blurred out and her voice altered for the entire course of the television show.
Even seemingly innocent non-human based programs like TV동물농장 (TV Animal Farm) will fall into this mode and present a story about some dog with two legs, or a cat that a lady found in a mail box and now it has no fur and looks like a monster or a rat or some manner of monster rat.
But of all the depressing television programs that exist here, the absolute worst…or best if depression is your thing is the show called 아침마당 (Morning Yard). The premise of this show is pretty simple. First people come on and sing. Then they are judged by a pannel of experts…oh I’m sorry did I say experts, I meant “talent,” as well as call in votes from home. Sounds a little like the show American Idol doesn’t it? Well the singing and phone-in votes are where the similarities end.
Unlike American Idol, one does not even need to be able to carry a tune in order to win at 아침마당. What you need my friend is a sob story (save for special episodes around the holidays which feature foreigners, and even then a sob story helps). It works like this: contestant (usually a team of two people) come on stage and do some quick talent (usually dancing or copying some popular lines from a comedy show), and then the hosts ask them to tell their story. The story usually involves a parent suffering from some heinous disease (usually some sort of cancer), so they want to come on the show and win a trip to Jeju-do, since that’s what the winner gets, and as any doctor will tell you trips to Jeju-do cure cancer. So after this little story (bonus points if tears are shed), the people perform and the general public now calls in and votes.
I’ve seen this show countless times and can usually tell who’s going to win based on story alone. Sometimes if two people have particularly sad stories, singing ability sometimes comes into play, but usually not. Anyhow it’s probably the weirdest show I’ve ever seen in my life.
I know that back in the United States we have our share of people / animals with problems reality television, but in America these stories are more likely than not presented in an inspirational manner. “Sure I lost my eye sight when I was a child, but now I record piano based pop songs. If I can do it, so can you!” The shows here are more like, “Hey, this is my shitty life. Oh my hour’s up…thanks for coming,” and when they finish the viewer is depressed. Well, perhaps not all viewers, but I’m depressed, and since this is my website I’m the only one that matters.
But it’s not just these reality programs that are depressing. The “dramas” (soap operas) usually end in a depressing manner, as do a large percentage of Korean films, and songs and music videos. What’s the reason for all of this? My guess: Han.
MIKE: Hey there sports fans and welcome to Sports Talk This Week. I’m your host Mike Cutlery, and coming along for the ride as always is Former Athlete. How are you doing today Former?
FORMER: Not too bad, but my prostate’s been…
MIKE: Great as always! For those of you new to the show, we here on Sports Talk This Week talk about all the hottest issues that have may have come up during the week in the world of sports. Occassionally nothing important or terribly interesting comes up, so we have to talk about some complete and utter crap. I have a feel this is one of those days. Former, can you hit us up with today’s topic bigstyle?!
FORMER: Sure thing! Today we’re going to talk about the outstanding…oh wait that says outlandish team names in the R.O.K.!
MIKE: The R.O.K.? That means Korea! In the words of Motley Crue, “She’s got the looks that kill!”
FORMER: This isn’t a Saturday Night Live skit is it?
MIKE: No…the team is really named the Bears.
FORMER: That’s not very funny.
MIKE: I know, but their motto is “Hustle Doo.”
FORMER: Is that like the doo of Pete Rose or something?
MIKE: Moving on…
FORMER: The Savers? What is this a team of goalies or something?
MIKE: No, they are a basketball team. There name makes a little more sense when one realizes that they are owned by a bank.
FORMER: I still don’t get it…what does saving have to do with basketball?
MIKE: Apparently only one player on the team is a Cool Cat. The rest of the team suck harder than a sports athlete that doesn’t score many points.
FORMER: I couldn’t have heard what you said and more than I did. Additionally I invite any dude that proclaims unconditionally that, “Asian girls are hotter than non-Asian,” to find a single girl on this team that isn’t a brown bagger.
MIKE: Former Athlete bringing his knowledge of the game once again. Booyah! Big ups Former Athlete.
FORMER: It’s what I do…
MIKE: I don’t know what a Promy is…
FORMER: Me either. Let’s check the dictionary. Nothing! It’s not in there.
MIKE: Well from the look of their logo it appears to mean a large humanized hand.
FORMER: Could you use it in a sentence?
MIKE: The Hamburger Helper mascot, The Helping Hand is a promy.
FORMER: Sounds good to me!
FORMER: What the hell is a wyvern? Is it like a fern? Or is it like an ottoman?
MIKE: I think wyverns are an enemy from Dragon Warrior…kind of like Goldman.
MIKE: Yup…a Dragon Warrior enemy.
FORMER: That’s sad that you know that. Aren’t you suppose to be some sort of sports superfan or something? What are you doing having knowledge of fantasy role playing games in which you are the descendant of Edrick and are attempting to save the realm from the evil Dragon Lord? Sports Superfan my foot. Next you’ll be telling me that you just got your epic mount in Worlds of Warcraft…
MIKE: Sports Talk This Week will be back after a quick word from our sponsor.
MIKE: Welcome back to Sports Talk This Week! As always I’m your host Mike Cutlery.
FORMER: And I’m Former Athlete.
MIKE: If you’re just joining us today, we’re discussing some of the more outstanding radical names used by South Korean sports teams. Next up on our list is Phoebus.
FORMER: Wasn’t he that guy in The Matrix? Not Ted “Theodore” Logan…the other guy?
MIKE: I believe the character you are referencing was named Morpheus.
FORMER: Oh…so what’s a phoebus?
MIKE: Phoebus was a deity, more commonly known as Apollo.
FORMER: I like that the full name of the team is Phoebus Mobis…that rhymes. Rhymes are funny.
MIKE: That they are Former Athlete…that they are.
MIKE: Next up…THE SAKERS!
FORMER: I had sake once at this Japanese restaurant and then I got busy with one of the waitresses in the…
MIKE: That’s enough!
FORMER: So this is a team of drunks? They like Japanese alcohol? Is that their deal? What’s their arch rival’s name? The Beerers?
MIKE: Former could you remind me why exactly we are doing this?
FORMER: The easy paycheck Mike…the easy paycheck.
FORMER: Back in my day the only ethnic minority that had teams named after them were the Native Americans.
MIKE: This certainly wouldn’t fly in the Land of the Free or in the Home of the Brave, but forget that! Look at the spelling it’s not even “Slammer” it’s “Slamer.”
FORMER: So it is…
MIKE: The next team is known as Egis. Once again another completely made up word…
FORMER: Correct me if I’m wrong here Mike, but isn’t Egis an alternate spelling of the word Aegis, a word meaning protection, originally steming from Zeus’ shield in Homer’s Iliad?
MIKE: Um…why yes it is. How on earth did you know that?
FORMER: This one time when I was on the road I ate at a Greek restaurant called Aegis and I was getting busy with one of the waitresses in the bathroom and she explained it to me. It’s the damnedest thing…I can remember exactly what Aegis means, but I couldn’t remember her name or phone number. HA! HA! HA!
MIKE: Let’s just finish this so I can go home alone to my one room apartment and hang myself from the ceiling fan with my belt.
FORMER: Sounds good. I got some stuff to do tonight too if you know what I mean…
MIKE: You do realize this is a radio show and no one but me could see you doing that humping motion.
FORMER: I know buddy.
FORMER: The Unicorns?! Are you kidding.
MIKE: Yes, the Unicorns…from downtown!
FORMER: I’m sorry but aren’t team names supposed to strike fear into the hearts of the men on the opposing team? Names like Raiders…or Bears…or Bullets…or Jazz. I’m sorry the Unicorns?!
MIKE: Yes, they are the Unicorns, and what is so terrifying about jazz?
FORMER: Did you ever meet a jazz man? But that’s beside the point. Did the team owner have his six year old daughter name the team? “So sweety what should daddy name his baseball team?” Daughter looks at a Lisa Frank school bag and proclaims, “The Unicorns!” Seriously is that what happened?
MIKE: I honestly don’t know.
FORMER: Well it’s a weak name. Six year old girl weak! Dude what’s wrong with your neck?
MIKE: I’m shaking my head in disgust. Luckily we are totally out of time today! As always I want to acknowledge that Former Athlete was in the room with me.
FORMER: The pleasure’s all mine, Mike.
MIKE: That it is Former. Tune in next week when we’ll be discussing the use of performance enhancing drugs in the competitive world of chess! This has been Sports Talk This Week!
ANNOUNCER: The views expressed on Sports Talk This Week are not necessarily the views of 西洋오랑캐 or it’s parent company Totally Awesome Enterprises.
Robot mother helps South Koreans prepare for birth
SEOUL, Jan 4 (Reuters Life!) - With South Korea’s birth rate at its lowest ever, medical students are resorting to robots to practice bringing babies into the world.
Kyunghee University Medical Center in Seoul is the first institution in South Korea to use Noelle, a life-sized robot, and her “newborn” to give obstetric students experience.
“With this simulator training tool, we can conduct not only normal deliveries, but also complicated deliveries such as breech births, Caesarean deliveries,” Professor Jung Eui told Reuters Television. “Students can practice in a very realistic situation with this mannequin.”
Students regularly crowd around Noelle as she gives “birth.” They take turns at monitoring her vital signs and at pulling the “baby” out of her body.
The newborn, also a robot, is equipped with lights on its hands and cheeks to indicate its health — blue lights mean problems while pink lights signal all is ok.
Students say using Noelle is more useful than sitting in a classroom and taking notes.
“I think it’s more helpful to have delivery training on a life-like mannequin than studying with books or lectures before treating my first live patient,” said student Woon Jin-kwang.
Professor Jung said South Korea’s consistently decreasing birth-rate gave her students fewer chances to watch and practice delivering babies, making Noelle’s presence necessary.
South Korea currently has a population of just over 48 million and one of the lowest birth rates in the world — an average of 1.08 children per woman.
Noelle was purchased for $20,000 from Miami-based Gaumard Scientific Co. Inc. in the United States. She was manufactured in 2000 and over 400 units have been sold in the United States.
While pregnant robot mothers and their robotic offspring are interesting, I think the most important question is the one that this article elected to skate around. Since Reuter’s decided not to ask it, and since Maury Povich isn’t around to ask it, I’m going to ask the question everyone wants to ask: Who’s Noelle’s robot baby-daddy?
We’ve rounded up several bots Noelle may or may not have exchanged data with and have given them paternity tests. The results will becoming up at the end of the show. Noelle, do you have anything you want to say before we get started today?
I just hope we can find my baby’s daddy. It’s really hard being a single robot mother. It’s just so hard…RUN CRYING.EXE…
We’re going to do our best to try and help you find your baby’s daddy. Our first guest is none other than Detroit’s own robotic crime stopper, Robocop! Noelle claims that you stopped her while she was trying to buy some meth and in exchange for a quicky you let her go. Robocop, what do you have to say about these heavy allegations?
THESE ALLEGATIONS ARE UNFOUNDED AS I WAS IN AMERICA AT THE TIME OF CONCEPTION…ALSO I AM FROM THE FUTURE. NOW PLEASE STEP ASIDE THERE IS A ROBBERY IN PROGRESS!
Next up is Giant Robot Kim Jung Il. The case against Giant Robot Kim Jung Il is a little stronger due to geographic and chronological proximity. So let’s welcome, Giant Robot Kim Jung Il. Giant Robot Kim Jung Il, do you have anything to say about this situation?
I will turn this entire studio into a sea of fire. This accusation is merely a ploy by the evil Americans to undermine the will of the North Korean people and the principle of Juche! I will not stand for this!!!
Giant Robot Kim Jung Il seems a little angry at these claims. Let’s bring out the next robot…Jesus woman, how many dudes did you hook up with…oh did I say that aloud? Anyhow, let’s bring out the next robot, Taekwon V! Hey Taekwon, I see you have a posse with you today. What’s going on.
Listen I did hook up with that bitch, but I just got head…you can’t make no baby by gettin’ head. Anyhow it was just that one time and it was just head. Anyway me and my boys were on the road since that time…promoting our new joint out of Def Jam, and I ain’t been with Noelle since that night…and like I said, it was just head. And…
And you can’t make a baby getting head. I know, I know. And bringing out our last guest…Noelle claims that at a party after a night of drinking, and…partying…because that’s what you do at a party…you party, she and my next guest hooked up. Noelle thinks that he might be the father of her child. Please welcome C3-PO! Hi 3-PO. So you’ve heard Noelle’s claims, do you have anything to say for yourself?
I most certainly do. I could not possibly be this robot baby’s father.
And why not?
You see, I’m a robot, but Noelle does nothing for me. Sir, I’m a gay robot!
You’re gay homie?
Good god…just kill me now. This has gone on long enough. Oh yeah…we have some results. Let’s just get this over with. Robocop…you are not the father.
I KNEW THAT.
Giant Robot Kim Jung Il! Not the father!
The Americans can not crush our spirit with this baseless lies!
Taekwon V…not the father!
So that just leaves you C3-PO. Did you impregnate Noelle and create this beautiful robot baby, or not. The results say…you are not the father!
Oh thank my maker!
Well Noelle we were unable to find the father of your baby.
There were a couple more robots that I might have spent the night with…
I’m sorry we’re all out of time.
Yo what’s crackin’? This week I watched some movies and worked out at the gym and played Gameboy. None of these activities really warrant being written about at any length, so instead you can look at some awesome artwork I did while riding the subway a couple months ago. Ah what the hell…as a bonus I’ll give you one paragraph reviews of the films I saw this week.
누가 그녀와 잤을까?
I was kind of nervous when my wife rented this one, as Korean comedy movies often tends to be well…not particularly funny, but this one was. The story was kind of similar to the film 몽정기 2 in that the central plot revolved around a group of students that lust after a student teacher. Only in this case the students were male and the teacher female…which I guess would make this film more like 몽정기 1, but I digress. The movie was decently funny, and managed to avoid the random serious turn that most Korean comedy films seem to take in the third act (ala the pregnancy and abortion at the end of 색즉시공). If I were to give it a grade I’d say B+ if only due to the fact that the one dude got unwanted boners much like Spinner in that episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation. And as we all know, boners are funny!
The DaVinci Code
Oh my god…was the book this bad too? Seriously this movie was crap. It was like a Hardy Boys mystery with some sort of dumb ass conspiracy theory. It was terrible, boring, and long. Again, was the book this bad? And if it was, why did so many people read it?
When I was in third grade my friends and I did a moderization of the story of the Trojan War as a school project. This being the mid-1980s, our quest was to get a video game back from a rival elementary school. This film did not feature a copy of Zelda 2, but was none the less entertaining. Lots of good epic battles. Lots of Brad Pitt as Achilles being an ass and roughing up fools. Trojans a plenty! What wasn’t there to like?! Also, unlike the similarly lengthy DaVinci Code, this film didn’t seem like it was two and a half hours long.
Anyhow that’s it. I’ve got junk to do tomorrow and Sunday, so I might not be back until the New Year. If that’s the case, have a good one, and keep it safe.
Well, this evening for Christmas I’m heading off on a cruise and going on a trip into a wine tunnel (韓: 와인터널). No, I’m not sure what a wine tunnel actually is but to quote my wife, “I like wine, and tunnels are alright, so it should be okay.” So you probably will not hear from me until after the Christmas holiday. So I’m going to take this moment to just offer up seasonal greetings and wish all of you out there the best. I hope you all get what you want for Christmas…me? I’m going into a wine tunnel!
Anyhow this wine tunnel adventure appeared out of nowhere on really short notice, so I’m aborting the translation project I was working on for this Christmas season. Basically all you need to know about that is Christmas seals were brought to Korea by a Canadian chap named Sherwood Hall in 1932, and in 1940 the Japanese deported him from the country for being a spy. Anyhow here are the Korean Christmas seals from 1932 up through 1939…Merry Christmas!
Oh, and if you are a member of my family, don’t attempt calling me, since I won’t be home. I’ll give you cats a jingle upon my return.
*Bonus dorky 漢字 note: 保建 (보건) means “Health”
I saw the film 中天 (which for some reason got saddled with the English title “The Restless”) last night, and my immediate take on the film was that it was a lot like the hot girl in your high school. You know the girl. She knew she looked hot and this being high school she was well liked no matter what she said or did simply due to the fact that she was hot.
中天 was kind of like that hot girl. It was probably one of the most beautiful films I have seen in awhile in terms of scenery and other words that film school geeks like to toss around, but the film didn’t really have a lot to say…and sadly this isn’t high school anymore, so girls or movies can’t get by on looks alone. That being said the movie wasn’t a total dog.
The movie’s plot goes a little something like this…
A warrior named 이곽 (Lee Gwok) gets run out of town in a rain storm and takes shelter inside some shack in the woods with all manner of religious iconography. When he awakes he finds that he is no longer in said shack, but in 中天 (lit. “Middle Heaven”). He talks to some people that are all shocked to learn that he is not actually dead. Suddenly some enemies attack and Mr. Gwok saves a celestial being that used to be his wife or lover or girlfriend. This lady (named 소화 [Sohwa]) and Mr. Gwok hit the road and during the rest of the film run around from fantastic landscape to fantastic landscape and battle enemy forces…who as chance would have it were at one times Lee Gwok’s friends / co-workers. That’s pretty much the entire plot…
While the story might not have been that intense, there were some positive aspects to the film. Aside from the afore mentioned lush landscapes there were some pretty decent martial arts battles. Remember that movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Remember how pissed off you were that there was so little fighting? Yeah, the creators of this film must have heard your complaints since there were crazy fight scenes all over the place. I mean the movie starts off with the hero of the film dispatching some monsters that are menacing a girl tied to a stake. And the film continues with the battles up to the end of the film which kind of looked a lot like someone playing a Dynasty Warriors game (in that it was one man against an army). Also as a student of Korean history it was interesting for me to learn that at the end of the Shilla dynasty there were orcs that roamed the countryside.
Transitioning to something else smoothly…
Several of the reviews I have read of this film compare it to Lord of the Rings, which I personally didn’t get. Granted I may have missed some bits of dialogue due to my less than perfect understanding of the Korean language, and the fact that I was drinking beers, but here are all the similarities to the movie Lord of the Rings (as opposed to the book).
1. Massive use of CGI
2. Orc like monsters
3. Swords, Arrows, Spears
4. Enemy with magic and long white hair clad in robes
5. A large red eye over the final boss’ lair.
And that’s pretty much it…oh there were fights also. So since that seems to be enough to say it’s a lot like Lord of the Rings, I’m going to make my own proclaimation that it was more like Spiderman (again the movie as opposed to the book…er comic book) than it was like Lord of the Rings.
1. Again…massive use of CGI
2. Enemy that had metal tentacles coming out of his back.
3. Swinging from buildings
4. A man with super powers.
5. The man believing that with great power comes great responsibilty
6. Dude doing all sorts of crazy junk to get with the lady he loves.
So that’s one more. This movie is exactly like Spiderman! Actually it’s not like either, it’s like a wuxia film only with actors speaking Korean as opposed to speaking Mandarin or Cantonese. Is it worth checking out? If you like martial arts violence, guys that can fly, or pretty building and mountains than I’d say yes. If you dislike those three things I’d say no.
Some weeks back I mentioned a television taping I attended. On Sunday evening while my wife and I were assembling a puzzle and checking out MTV, the afore mentioned concert was broadcast and while a lot of junk that went down was edited out, my exchange with the lead singer of the group Veil was not, so I was on television.
The very next day was a Monday. As anyone that has lived in Korean can attest, the main form of advertising is not television commercials or print ads in the newspaper, but randomly taping fliers to people’s doors. So one such flier was taped to my door. This particular flier was for the hagwon that my wife and I at one time worked for. I stopped working there sometime in September…my wife somewhat later in November. Imagine my surprise when there we both were in various photos attached to this advertisement. While some of the photos I recall being taken there were several that I am under the impression were Photoshopped and one my wife and I are convinced was taken off her Cyworld page. Neither of us got any kind of compensation for this, but since this is Korean such unauthorized use doesn’t seem to be against the law here. So I guess it’s just one more thing I can add to my resume of awesomeness.
“Hi, I’m Wyatt…teacher / actor / model / awesome dude!”
On the third day of our trip to Jeju, I once again awoke at the asscrack of dawn. We showered, had a cup of coffee and watched some television while we waited for the tour bus to come and pick us up at our hotel. The television was slightly disappointing. Unlike America where a trip across state lines means exposure to some random regional television (commercials and local news stations in particular), a trip to different regions in Korea doesn’t really effect what one sees on television. TV is Jeju was exactly the same as TV in Busan which was exactly the same as TV in Seoul. It’s makes for bland domestic travel, but I seriously digress.
Around 8:30 in the morning, the bus picked us up and we headed off to adventure. The first stop was 용두암 (龍頭岩), which if the 漢字 were to be believed was a large rock shaped like a dragon’s head. As the bus roared along, Jinhui and I partook in some Jeju Milk, which in terms of taste was on par with Seoul Milk (and much better than Busan Milk).
While television might not be that different from place to place, brands of milk (to some extent), and the brands of soju avalible vary a great deal. The 진로 brand seems to be a brand avaliable from coast to coast, but each province seems to have it’s own local brand. In Seoul (and Gyeonggi province) we have 山소주. Busan has C1. In Jeonju I saw Hite brand soju, and in Jeju I saw 한라소주 (and some lower alcohol version which was in a clear bottle). Again I really went off on a tangent here. Back to the awesomeness at hand.
The bus picked up some other travelers and after a short ride we were at 용두암. I quickly learned that either people of yore had much better imaginations than I do, or the effects of weathering had taken their toll on the rock, because I could not for the life of me see a dragon’s head. Anyhow we saw a rock and then we were wisked off to a gift shop for an hour of shopping. At about this time I started to loathe the tour group. I didn’t know why we needed an hour of shopping in one store that had all the same stuff we’d seen everywhere else only like 20% more expensive.
So I was loathing the tour group, but my loathing ceased when we were taken to Elephant Land to see an elephant show. In my youth I had bore witness to an elephant show at the Catskill Game Farm (RIP homie) that featured twirling elephants. As these elephants twirled, they shat, and as they shat all the people in the first few rows screamed in terror. This event was so etched into the minds of my family and myself that it is still brought up in conversation to this day. That’s how awesome it was (we were not in the front row so it truly was awesome)! Anyhow this show was awesome too, though it did not feature a single shitting elephant. What it did feature were a bunch of elephants doing decidedly non-elephant like junk. They painted. They went bowling. They stood upon the asses of the audience members. They came into the audience to get bananas and cash…kind of like tusked strippers at a gentlemen’s club. And then there was the basketball game!
The b-ball game featured elephants slam dunkin’ the rock, drainin’ 3s, and (insert another early 90s basketball related slogan that probably appeared in the game NBA Jams here). So the elephants were basically being Jimmy Jump when suddenly one of the elephants went down to the ground. The music stopped and the announcer started talking to the boss of Elephant Land.
“What the shit’s going on here?” I thought to myself, “Is this for real?”
And then this happened…
After all that, we got our pictures taken with elephants, but that was not the end of our dealings with dirty animals…not by a long shot!
I read of a Korean saying that translated to something like, “If you have a son send him to Seoul. If you have a horse, send it to Jeju.” I don’t really know what that means, but a lot of dudes must have bought into the line since there were tons of horses in Jeju…and following the elephant show we were going to a dude ranch to ride some!
After a brief bus ride we were at the ranch, but we couldn’t just jump on some horses and start playing cowboys or Saratoga Race Course. No, first we had to but on some rediculous gear. The gear in question consisted of a hat that was more a Crocodile Dundee hat than a cowboy hat, a red vest, and some boots that looked a lot like the boots I had to wear during my wedding ceremony. Once geared up, it was time to ride.
I have some horseback riding experience from my teenage years, and the thing that stuck with me all this time was that horseback riding hurts one’s nuts. This second trip confirmed this preconcieved notion. That being said, aside from the painful nuts, horseback riding was really fun…oh except for when the horse Jinhui was riding decided that it would be totally awesome to have gas and then take a shit while my horse was right behind it. But other than that it was fun.
And then we had some lunch. Lunch was all you could eat 흑돼지 or black pig (aka “shit pig”) and 막걸리 (makkoli…a type of liquor). AWESOME!!! Free booze is always a plus. As for the 흑돼지 it didn’t taste all that different from regular pork. Though it did look like it could use a shave. Seriously that meat had a five o’clock shadow!
Following lunch we went to a cave. I had not been inside a cave or cavern or any manner of underground rock formation since my fourth grade class went on a field trip to Howe Caverns. This cave was about as intense as that (read as not very intense, but fairly awesome). Unlike Howe Caverns, this cave did not have any stalactites or stalagmites. Nor were there any bats. There was a Buddha statue. It was pretty okay. Also there was a park located around the cave that had cacti and palm trees. We took some pictures.
Then we went to a cliff where there was a lighthouse, a set from the television drama All In, the sea, and some seemingly ownerless horses. After some photos here and a quick stop at a seaside seafood restaurant it was back to the airport and farewell to Jeju.
The trip home was uneventful save for the fact that at security I got stopped and asked if I had a knife in my bag. I told them I didn’t and was asked to open a pocket in my bag where I was surprised to find that I did indeed have a knife in my bag. The knife, which had apparently been left in the bag the last time he went mountain climbing, had been in my bag the entire trip unknown to anyone (apparently including the security personel at Kimpo Airport). Anyhow the knife wasn’t a big issue. They took it away from me and I apologized and we continued on. The corkscrew in my wife’s bag was apparently less of a security threat than a knife with a three inch blade and was allowed through the baggage check without incident.
Otherwise the trip home was uneventful. We waited around for an hour or so before we got on the plane and went home. Oh wait! I forgot about the guy that was staggering drunk before boarding the plane. When he got on, I heard one of the stewardesses phone someone to alert then that “a seriously drunk man just got on,” and to “be advised.” Aside from reeking of booze as I walked past him the drunk guy caused no problems that I could see.
So an hour after take off we were back in Seoul, and then it was another hour before we were back home and in bed. In conclusion if you want to see pictures of day three of my trip to Jeju (complete with some captions), the check this link out. If you do not wish to see pictures than have a nice day, we’ll see you next time!
On the first full day in Jeju, I awoke at the crack of dawn…before even the alarm clock set for way too early in the morning was supposed to go off. I don’t know about all of you in TV land, but this is a normal thing for me both when traveling and on the eve of my travels. Once awake I got a shower going on and then prepared an outstanding breakfast of leftover Italian food and cup ramen…oh and coffee too, but actually Jinhui made the coffee, not me, and I guess technically I didn’t make the pizza either since I just heated it up, but I did so without an oven or microwave oven for that matter so that’s gotta count for something.
Moving on, starting on this day Jinhui and I were going to be traveling as part of a tour group. So at early o’clock in the morning the tour bus came to our hotel and picked us up. From this point on the entire trip became a lot like the Magical Mystery Tour, only I was the walrus and there were a lot more newlyweds. Once all these couples had been picked up we headed off on our adventure.
The first stop of the day was 신비의도로 (The Road of Mystery) or as my wife and countless other people on the tour referred to it, 도깨비도로 (Goblin Road). Technically we didn’t really even stop. The gimmick of this site is that it’s a hill that things roll up as opposed to down. So the bus driver turned off the engine, but the bus in neutral and we rolled up a hill. It was kind of weird, but not as awesome as if there had been actual goblins about. At the end of the Road of Mystery, the bus door opened and some middle aged lady jumped on and grabbed the microphone in the front.
At first this kind of freaked me out since I had no idea who she was, and up until this point the bus driver had been serving as the tour guide, but apparently this lady was the real guide and the other dude was just a driver who apparently was super knowledgeable about roads and goblins so he got to be the tour guide for that segment. With the real tour guide now on board we headed to some venue to see some kind of circus show at 10:00 in the morning. “A circus at 10? What the deuce?”
So anyhow we saw the most randomest circus ever. There were no animals, but a lot of acrobats and people swinging on stuff that was hanging from the ceiling. People swung on long red ribbons, and people swung on metal deals, and they swung on other people…it was out of control. There was also a lady that did hula hoop with many hula hoops! She had at least 8 hula hoops going at one time with various different parts of her body! It was a little bit amazing since I can barely do one hula hoop with my waist and here was this lady doing many hula hoops with various different parts of her body. The hula hoop lady and people swinging around and also the Chinese girls that should have been in school but instead were in Jeju doing tricks with paper lanterns were all pretty good, but the most excellent of excellent adventures were the motorcycle guys.
Yes, motorcycle guys. This event had not been introduced on the tour bus as a circus, but rather as a motorcycle show show show (the tour guide had repeated the word “show” three times when telling us about it), so when we arrived I half expected some guys on dirt bikes popping wheelies and doing things one might find in the game Excite Bike. Howdy was I wrong!
No wheelies were popped, but seven men on motorcycles got into a giant metal sphere and raced around like madmen…or maybe Mad Max. Anyhow the awesomeness is just too awesome for me to attempt to describe with either English or Korean or any language of the mortals. I guess it’s a lot like the concept of Tao in that there’s no way for normal people to talk about it. Or something…awesome! So instead of writing it was awesome a bunch of times, check it out yourself!
Now I’m well aware that there are fewer than seven mens inside the ball in the video, but the stunts they did when they were seven strong were not as amazing (though the fact that there were seven men and seven motorcycles in the ball was amazing on it’s own) as the moves they did when there were less than seven mens…so that’s the video I elected to post.
Anywho, after the motorcycle show we got on the bus again and drove again until we arrived at a park filled with minautre models of famous monuments. So in an hour I was able to take pictures infront of The Great Wall of China, The Effiel Tower, and the pyramids. It was kind of funny, but my wife said that there was a similar park in Seoul that had a better set up so it was easier to take more realistic looking photos. This park was good if you wanted to take pictures that made you look like some sort of Godzilla enemy, which is pretty much what I am! Also there were statues of cosmonauts and football players and the seven dwarves, so that was there too. At this park we were also given some manner of free lunch which was buffet style Korean food, meaning there was rice and kimchi and soup made of seaweed and some other stuff too.
Following lunch we boarded the bus and headed off to a tangerine farm. Jeju-do is pretty famous for citrus fruit, particularly tangerines, so apparently a trip to a tangerine farm is a must for every tour group to Jeju-do. I was a little less than enthralled since I don’t really care all that much about where fruit comes from and care about it even less when the tour becomes a sales pitch for some sort of oriental medicine. But this is life in a guided tour…so I held my tounge, ate free tangerines, and took some pictures in an orchard.
After the boring orchard we got back on a bus and drove to a park where we saw a waterfall. It was pretty nice, but I was more impressed with the presence of phonebooths shaped like 돌하르방. Actually I take that back the waterfall was more awesome than the phonebooths, but the phonebooths were pretty radical.
With our time at the waterfall behind us we got back on the bus and literally drove 300 meters before we were made to disembark and get on a boat. This boat was pretty similar to the boat that goes up and down the Han River in Seoul, only instead of going up and down a river it went out to sea. And instead of getting to see a lot of bridges and building we got to see a lot of small islands that were made out of volcanoes. The cruise was pretty decent, and the dude (he wasn’t a sea captain, but he had a sea captain uniform on) that told us what we were looking at was a hoot (and yes, I just used to phrase “a hoot” to describe a humorous person inspite of the fact that I was not born in the 1930s). So that happened.
Then we drove to some hotel where they filmed a scene in the movie 쉬리. There was also a beach there and some other junk like palm trees and an ice skating rink. Suddenly it was super dark so we couldn’t take good pictures anymore. At this point the tour was over for the day. We were planning on going to place called Love Land without the tour group, but it suddenly started raining like a mofo, so we went back to the hotel and ordered Chinese food and drank wine.
Here ends the adventures that transpired on the second day. If you want to see pictures, then click this link that is located here.
Korea has MTV. I’m not talking about M-net or KMTV…I’m talking straight up MTV, and the other day I went to their studios to see a concert. A concert that was filmed to be put on television. Also it was free and they gave me beer, but I’m really getting ahead of myself here now aren’t I? Let’s be backtracking…pistol packing and get it going on!
Last weekend I took Jinhui to her first rock concert which was kind of like My First Sony only not as red or as plastic. Inspite of the lack of red plastic, Jinhui really enjoyed the rock show and wanted to go rock out again. The group she most wanted to see? Jaurim! And as chance would have it, a meer five days later Jaurim was putting on a show at MTV Studio, and it was free, and since it was sponsored by Budweiser there was free beer as well. “Cool! Let’s rock it like a robot!” was pretty much my response.
And that’s just what we did! We got there early since it was free and there were a limited number of tickets. So we grabbed our tickets and then had dinner at Kimbab Nara (김밥나라) or Kimbab Cheonguk (김밥천국) and did word search puzzles. Finally it was time to go and rock out and get recorded doing so.
This was the first time I’d ever been to something being recorded for television save for that time that my journalism class in high school went to the local NBC station to see the news at noon get recorded, but that was very different. Before any rocking commenced a producer came out on the stage and gave us some rules. Photos were okay, but flashes were not since sometimes flashes cause people to make zombie faces which makes for poor television. We had to watch out for our personal belongs. And I think that was about it, but I wasn’t really paying attention since I just wanted to rock! Then it was time!
This was a band that prior to this event I’d never heard of. When they first hit the stage I noticed that there was a lack of a singer. “Ah…this must be due to the fact that this is being taped for television. The singer’s probably going to come out when they start filming,” I thought to myself. And I was right…kind of. The singer did come out when the filming began, only they weren’t one singer there were seven of them. That’s right ladies and gentlemen a group with seven singers that were not a boy or girl group. This group instead hijacked soul, funk, gospel, and from time to time hip-hop in an effort to get the party started. I had a couple problems with them though. First of all the one dude sounded like he was trying to be James Brown except when he sounded like Heavy D from Heavy D and the Boys. Everyone else sang as though there were a member of MC Hammer’s posse on the song, “Don’t Pass Me By.” Heritage, you might have had a live band and a girl with a head shaped like a lion, but you can’t fool me into thinking shoddy covers of “What’s Goin’ On” make you a real soul group!
진희曰: They were too confusing. There were so many singers I didn’t know where to look. Also I couldn’t tell who was singing what so I didn’t know who was a good singer and who was bad.
I thought that I’d never heard of this group either, but apparently in the spring of 2005 I included them in a rant about how bad braids look on white people and Asian people. At this point I would like to ammend said 2005 article by stating that Side-B may in fact have horrible hair but they sure know how to rock the party. Also I want to add that it’s really difficult to try and take pictures of rappers while they are performing. At least with a rock band they are attached to instruments that impede their ability to move quickly. These guys were like superballs…flying and jumping all over the place. Jesus God Damn it was difficult to take pictures! But that’s alright, I was rocking out anyway!
진희曰: They were out of control.
Veil was another group that I truly had never heard of, but apparently everyone else in attendance had since they were all weilding Veil hand towels (as a quick sidebar this seems to be a common item for Korean bands to sell. I have personally seen No Brain towels, Crying Nut towels, and now Veil towels, but never in my 23 years of dwelling in the US did I see any band selling towels. There are no Les Savy Fav or Pearl Jam towels). Anyhow I really rocked out on a tangent there. Veil were a pretty decent rock and roll combo. Basically there were the group Transfixion (aka pretty boy rockers) only they had a rapper also. It was the oddest form of rap-rock or rock-rap I’d ever heard in my life, but somehow it was a little bit awesome. Also during the show the singer that wasn’t a rapper attempted to explain what Veil stood for. It was apparently “Various Elements In Life,” or something akin to that which he said in English which sounded like he had marbles in his mouth. He than spotted me in the crowd and asked me if I could understand. I said I could…though in reality I couldn’t until the rapper (who I’m pretty sure either lived or studied) in an English speaking country explained it again. Luckily the cameramen all recorded this exchange increasing my chances of appearing on television about 48.2%. Radical!!!
We later discovered that the singers in Veil had a secret past which kind of explained their level of fame. The singing guy was apparently a former teen idol dance singing in the early 1990s (진희曰: 1992) and the rapper was a one time member of Koyote who apparently got into some drug related trouble and was sacked from the group. Anyhow that’s why they were famous, but we didn’t know it at the time.
진희曰: They are fun to watch. It was interesting: rap and rock…rap-rock! I’ve never seen that. I wish I got a stick or towel or something that they threw after the show. I almost got a sticker but someone took it. I was scared. (Wyatt 曰: There was some middle aged 아저씨 that was way to into Veil and would throw himself into the crowd of female fans to snag stickers. This was the guy that got the sticker 진희 attempted to grab.)
Apparently the members of Jaurim have rocking out gear, since they were all sporting the same gear that they had worn to the concert some 5 days before. Also I am now under the impression that Jaurim’s singer, Kim Yuna (김윤아) must be told that she is pretty before they can start rocking…at least that’s what the mens in the audience would leave me to believe. As soon as she come out it was all, “오~아! 예쁘다!” (Wo~ah! She’s beautiful!) In all honesty she’s good looking, but she doesn’t need to be told that. Pretty girls already know they’re pretty and telling them so only gives them a swelled head, like Peter Brady in that episode of the Brady Bunch where he saves some kid from getting crushed in a toy store and then gets a trampoline and assorted other junk…including a swelled head! What was I talking about? Oh yes, rock and roll!
So Jaurim played some rock and roll jams. Most of the tunes they played were off their latest album, which makes sense since this was a televised event and they probably wanted to use it to oh I dunno…promote the fact that they have a new album. Anyhow new songs sounded really good. That Kim Yuna sure knows how to sing and jump while wearing high heels! Also do you remember “Freebird?” Did you ever see Lyyard Skynyrd on VH1 behind the music? Remember the part where they talk about “Freebird” having a triple guitar attack? Yeah?! Well Jaurim at one point had a triple keyboard attack which was almost as bad ass.
진희曰: She had the same clothes and you (Wyatt) wanted to yell that, but I stopped you. That’s not a good move.
With Jaurim finished, so was the show. We exited the building and again were handed free Budweiser (thanks dudes!) and then headed home. Anyhow it was taped and will probably air sometime soon on MTV in Korea. If you happen upon the True Music Live show on MTV featuring any of the bands mentioned above, keep your eyes peeled. I’m the white guy in a yellow sweatshirt. And in the meantime if you want to look at pictures of rap rock and roll, check out these pictures here at this site. (link)
Previously on X-men…
Previously on this webpage I brought to your attention the Hyundai Comboy and it’s multitude of wonderful commercials. The advent of 16 bit graphics and more mighty video gaming systems was not a kiss of death for Hyundai’s foray into the world of video games. Hells no son! I give you SUPER COMBOY!!! Or at least I give you a pair of commercials that I’m sure caused some kids in this country to annoy the hell out of their parents. “엄마…슈퍼컴보이 사줘!!! 흑흑흑…” (Mom…buy me Super Comboy!!! Sob. Sob. Sob.)
This first spot features a couple of kids marveling over the sheer awesomeness of their new Super Comboy all while rocking out with some regional dialect.
The amount of royalties that Hyundai must have had to pay to make this commercial! I mean it features (in no particular order) characters from Dragon Ball, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tiny Toons, Street Fighter, and Mario. To clear the usage of all those characters with their respective creators must have cost a fortune…oh hello Disney Daycare what are you doing here? Anyhow if you like cartoon characters, songs, and copyright infringement check out this ad!
I discovered completely by accident this truly bizarre Hyundai product. What I am about to present to you is the Hyundai Comboy (현대컴보이), which looks suprisingly similar to the Nintendo Entertainment System. Now the very existance of this item raises some questions for me. First off this thing is clearly labeled as a Hyundai product, yet all the games are clearly Nintendo games. So was this some sort of actual business arrangement or was Hyundai totally ripping off Nintendo’s shit? If you have any information regarding the Hyundai Comboy please let me know as these kind of things keep me awake at night.
This commercial features an oddly shaped cartoon Mario showing a family that really likes the color white how much fun they can have with a Comboy. Bonus points for the tune.
In this commerical a young boy’s depression is cured by a cartoon Mario and the arrival of a Hyundai Comboy. The commercial also alerts us to the existance of a Mini-Comboy (aka Gameboy).
man is a costume ghoul of some sorts appears and tries to ruin a boy and girl’s Comboy based fun by chasing them through games like Super Mario Bros. 2 and The Legend of Zelda. Luckily there’s a cartoon Mario running about!
If you only watch one of these commercials, this is the one to see as it is clearly the most off the wall. Costume Koreans dance about and sing the virtues of a video game system.
On Wednesday November 29, 2006in the year of our lord Jinhui and I went to the zoo and saw all kinds of totally awesome animals. Additionally we saw some not so awesome animals too, but I didn’t take any pictures of them…only the awesome ones. These are the pictures of the awesome animals.
Of all the totally radical animals that we saw on this day (and did we see some radical animals believe you me) the two animals which were the most of them awesome were two animals that I had never heard of prior to this trip to the zoo. These animals were called: binturong and caracal respectively. Basically the existance of these two animals proved that there is something to the entire 음 and 양 (yin and yang for the rest of the world) concept. The binturong (this link was selected simply because the site is called Lioncrusher…which pretty much is totally awesome) was the most chillax animal that I have ever seen in my life. Basically the thing looks rediculous and was chilling out on some jungle gym deal, when I pointed at it and laughed and pretty much yelled, “You look redankulous binturong!” What did the binturong do? Get all pissed off and try to throw down on me? Hell no! The binturong jumped off his jungle gym and came up to the bars and was all like, “Check me out…I’m the fuckin’ binturong!” That was cool as him. His face was rediculous and he was a chill dude. I would have liked to have a brew with him, but I didn’t. Anyhow binturong is cool and relaxed and apparently smells like popcorn…but I don’t really know about that since I didn’t sniff him. Anyhow…
If the binturong was the chillest animal ever, the caracal was the ragin’-est. This dude would get totally pissed off about nothing. I didn’t laugh at his face or anything and he started screaming at me and junk. You don’t believe me? Check out this out of control footage!
He was all like “Heeeeest! Heeeeeest!” Asshole! Nah, I take that back. He was cool too, but in a totally different way. I’d like to drink some brews with binturong, but if I was in a street fight with weapons I would totally want caracal to have my back.
Anyhow this writing is getting less than awesome because I still have a stupid cast on my right hand. So I’m calling it quits now. Look at the pictures if you want to look at other awesome animals like elephants and tigers and white tigers and ostriches and stuff like that.
Married life is awesome. I always have someone to talk to. Housework is divided evenly and therefore takes much less time. The menu choices regarding home cooked meals increased ten-fold. But there was one thing I missed, and that was rock and roll shows. It wasn’t really so much that they were outlawed or declared off-limits, but with my marriage and subsequent move out of Seoul, I kind of stopped going to rock concerts. That all changed this past weekend when Jinhui and I trekked to Jamshil to bear witness to the 2006 Bud Rock Concert. This was the first concert we attended together and well…her first concert period so this time around instead of doing this thing old school I’m going to write up my take on the bands and then offer up some piece of information my wife proclaimed about each group. Since there were nine bands at this bad boy, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Let’s take it away!
First things first. We arrived at the Olympic Park (where this event was going down) and quickly encountered mobs of middle school girls. Apparently at another stadium in the park the Korean version of the MTV music awards were being held (the M-net Awards if you want me to get all technical and junk), and due to this gangs of middle school girls with different colored balloons had congregated to scream at the appropriate time…only they didn’t get to go into the arena because it was already filled with other girls…so they sat outside on the grass and screamed while watching the event on a big television on the side of a truck. I don’t really know why I am mentioning this let’s get on with the rocking and the rolling.
Crying Nut was the first band of the evening which I thought was pretty odd, since they were like the second or third biggest band performing that night in terms of popularity. But who am I to say what band should come out at what time? Anyhow they played a few songs off their new album (an album which I own yet didn’t listen to much) and then closed out there set with the two songs I knew they’d play: “밤이 깊었네” and “말달리자.” They were pretty outstanding if simply for the fact that the bass player was wearing a tuxedo. He totally looked like he was going to the prom after they finished their set…which might have been the reason they went on first…and were chugging Budweisers.
진희曰: They were really fun. (It should be noted that this was one of two bands she had actually heard prior to the event…and she actually knew several of their songs).
I’d never seen or heard of Transfixion prior to this concert and I know why. They are kind of a hair metal band…or visual kei or some other genre of rock music that basically boils down to pretty boys with way too much makeup with wailing vocals and guitars. Now I’m going to be honest and say they didn’t suck that much. The lead singer (who I thought was only partially Korea…though later investigation disproved my theory) had some decent rock dude moves. He had the Axl Rose spins down. He mastered Steven Tyler-esque mic stand twirling. And he even had that Jim Morrison / Kurt Cobain detached rock star thing where he never spoke and left introducing the songs to the bass player. So what else was there to say about these guys? Oh! They did a cover of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” And the bassist had an awesome fro. It was so rocking he could have easily joined At The Drive-In back in the day.
진희曰: The lead singer’s face was the only one they put on the screen. He looks like a clown / mime.
This was another band I’d never heard of, but about 30 seconds into their set I realized that they would have been the opening act had this show taken place in the United States. I couldn’t even begin to describe the weirdness that was Super Kidd. For starters they all came out in matching uniforms: cargo shorts and a blue t-shirt with a modified Superman logo (use your imagination as to how it was modified). They also had two singers or rappers or guys with a gym coach’s whistle and a megaphone. The drummer only played disco beats. They did syncronized dance moves. And the guitar players would randomly play Van Halen style wailing guitar solos. They were a total party band…kind of like the Beastie Boys before they learned that there was a place in the world called Tibet and got really old looking. Wow I did manage to describe them. They were awesome. I want to go see them again.
진희曰: I thought they were DJ Doc at first…then I thought maybe DJ Doc’s brothers. They were fun though.
It was kind of good that Nell came on after Super Kidd because my ears need to relax a little. Nell apparently released a new album in which they continued to get more mellow (or at least that’s what the tunes they elected to play would have me believe), which like I said was not a bad thing at the time. I for one miss the Nell that from time to time would rock out, but the world needs mellow rock jams as well.
진희曰: He sings really well, but they look like normal guys. Their clothes are not outstanding. Also that guy (bass player) talked too much about stupid things like the weather.
I’ve heard some Tacopy jams before since they show up on pretty much every punk compilation CD I own, but for whatever reason I never really got into them. Their tunes aren’t bad, but they aren’t really anything special either. Tacopy (or at least the Tacopy I’ve heard) rock out doing the same skate punk countless other bands do, and many other bands do better. Still after Nell slowed things down it was good to have someone rev it back up again.
진희曰: He (the guitarist) was good.
Deli Spice hit the stage and were all business. I seriously don’t think any of them talked at all. They just power slammed it through some indie pop jams and then were out of there. They played the songs everyone knew they would and that was good enough for the audience.
진희曰: They were ok.
Jaurim was next, and they were awesome. For starters the lead singer, 김유나 (Kim Yuna) was beautiful or at least she was according to various audience members of both sexes. Also the set was tight. With nine bands everyone was doing pretty truncated sets, so there wasn’t a lot of room to mess around. They rocked out and rocked it out hard. My wife did pogoing and threw up the rock hands during it. It was awesome!
진희曰: Jaurim was my favorite! (This was the other group she knew of, and in this case was a group she actually liked as opposed to just being familiar with.)
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this band now. Maybe four or five, and each time they’re awesome. Much like Nell, Peterpan Complex have a new album I am less than familiar with and on this night decided their whole set was going to be composed of songs off this new album. The tunes were rocking and I now must go purchase their new album…even though it is called I Am A Beautiful Man. A lot of critics, and probably me as well, compare Peterpan Complex to Radiohead which makes the next band that came on even more out of control. But first a word from my wife.
진희曰: They look so poor. Look at their clothes.
That’s right kids! Korean Radiohead was followed by Powerman 5000! Now I knew Powerman 5000 was going to perform at this event, but the entire time leading up to them taking the stage, I was confusing them with another band of that ilk: Static X, so when Powerman 5000 came out I was all like, “Oh…Powerman 5000!” Besides learning the true identity of Powerman 5000, I also learned that some Korean people need some pointers in how to deal with American rock musicians. So allow me to help.
First off if the singer is a male and you are a male, it’s best not to yell, “I love you (insert rock singer’s name here)!” Something like, “(Rock singer’s name)! You rock!” is probably a safer bet. Secondly it is devil horns not the American sign language sign for “I Love You” when dealing with heavy metal or hard rock bands. If these two symbols are too difficult to remember, a simple fist in the air is good enough. This concludes the how to rock lesson for the day.
This seems like as good a time as any to be completely and totally honest.
I’m not a Powerman 5000 fan. And unlike some of their other hipster credibility ruining late 90s nu-metal brethern I can say with 100% honest I have not even downloaded one of their songs. But. But when they hit the stage I was totally into it and somehow I knew like a good 50% of the songs they played. Again it was a case of, “Ah…Powerman 5000!” I was digging it. There was fire. The lead singer was ordering us to “Fuck it up!” The bass player was giving nods of approval in my general direction. And there was an explosion and streams came shooting out of the ceiling. It was unsane! And then it was over. Powerman 5000 exited the stage and we all began exiting the building.
진희曰: He has really good charisma. Even though he can’t speak Korean and many people here can’t speak English he made everyone enjoy the show.
Perhaps the most awesome thing about this show was the fact that because it was sponsored by Budweiser, we were handed a can of brew as we departed the venue. Kind of like those goody bags you used to get at birthday parties, but instead of having a pack of Batman trading cards and Jolly Rancher candies this goody bag was a can of beer
, and beer trumps even Jolly Ranchers and Batman. Anyhow that’s pretty much the end of this rock and roll adventure. If you want to see more pictures, you can click the link here and look at pictures of bands.
Taekwon V is a robot. A giant robot that is. When he’s not busy beating down Japanese sterotypes he stars in old school giant robot cartoons. Today we have the theme song to Taekwon V. Check it out yo!
The hand is still all broken and junk. For the time being regale me with tales of your most out of control 회식 (those mandatory dinners with the boss and co-workers). Did the boss take you to a “room salon?” Attempt to hook you up with another co-worker? Puke on you? Most off the wall story will be declared the 2006 회식 Disaster Champion and will get the championship belt!!!
This event is open to anyone working for a company that occassionally requires you to go get shitfaced with the rest of the staff, not just people who work at a 학원. Take it to the comments!
The following items are now avalible for sale by one Wyatt:
Sony Cyber-shot Camera (DSC-T1)
Assorted Board Games (Monopoly, Scrabble, Pictonary Jr.)
Voltage Coverter (Plug in any American, Canadian, or Japanese appliances!!!)
Email me at wdunn220&yahoo.com with your offer if you are interested in any of the items (replace & with @). Free delivery to people residing in Seoul or Bundang (aka I’ll ride a bus or subway and meet you in the venue of your choice).
Preoccupation, and not paying attention to the calendar prevented me from actually posting this when I wanted to (yesterday), but hell, it’s still Halloween in California and Hawaii right?
So it’s the 31st of October once again, which means that it’s Halloween. While Halloween isn’t exactly a big deal in Korea (aside from at hagwons and anywhere else foreigners congregate), ghosts are a big deal. Long time readers may recall my 100 level cursory look at the world of Korean supernatural beings. Today, in honor of the holiday, we are going to take a more in depth look at things that go bump in the night in Korea.
Anyone that has worked at, or attended school in Korea knows that Koreans like to rank things and are concerned (perhaps overly so) with levels and standing when compared to others. Perhaps this is why online games are so popular here, but I digress. Did you know that this love of ranking things extends to the supernatural as well? It’s true!
Taking it’s cue from the 한자능력시험, the ranking system for ghosts consists of seven levels, with one being the most mighty, and seven being the least mighty. These various spirits are called upon by mudang (무당) while performing their rituals. Anyhow enough talking, let’s take a look at a list!
This rank is reserved for only the weakest ghosts. In Korea, that means 저승사자 (see Fig. 1). The 저승사자 is pretty much the Korean equivalent to the western Grim Reaper in that it is his job to take people to the afterlife when it’s time for them to die. I, myself, am not sure why this ghost is ranked so lowly, since it is death itself, but that’s where my sources have it ranked…and who am I to argue with ghost experts.
This rank probably contains the highest number of creepy members. Among the ranks of level six are 처녀귀신 (Fig. 2) and 몽달귀신 (Fig. 3). For those of you scratching your head right now, the 처녀귀신 is a ghost of an unmarried female that always appears dressed in white (white is the color worn at funerals in Korea) with unkempt hair in her face, much like the ghost depicted in the film The Ring. 몽달귀신? That’s the male version. A bachelor’s ghost so to speak.
In addition, level six is the ranking given to all ghosts of western origin. Dracula? Level six. The mummy? He’s level six as well. Casper? You know that fool’s level six!
Perhaps I spoke too soon when I said that level six housed the most ghosts (not to be confused with ghosts with the most), since level five is the ranking assigned not only to 항아리귀신 (a ghost having something to do with the jars used for storing things such as kimchi and soy sauce), but also is the rank assigned to the spirits of deceased ancestors…then again since this only applies to the ancestors of Korean perhaps level six still is the largest since ancestral spirits of westerners would be ranked level six due to the fact that they are western in origin.
Begining with level four, we move out of the rank and file of nameless, generic ghosts, and into the named, upper-excheleon ghosts. The ghastly superstars if you will. Among the ghosts award the fourth level are 명성황후 (Fig. 4), Empress Myeongseong, the last empress of the Chosun dynasty who was killed by the Japanese, and the military figure 최영장군, General Choi Yeong (Fig. 5).
(Fig. 5 - 최영장군)
This is the rank given to 關羽 (Guan Yu), and other figures from the work 「三國志」. This custom of seeking aid from the spirits of famous Chinese generals seems to have arisen after the 1592 Japanese invasion of Korea (임진왜란) during which the Koreans recieved assistance from Chinese generals.
This rank houses the 산신 (mountain spirits), including the mountain spirit featured in the 금도끼와 은도끼 (Golden Axe & Silver Axe) legend. Additionally the 장승 (Fig. 6 at right) or spirits that are supposed to protect villages are found in this rank. These spirits are often depicted as wooden totem poles which would be located at the enterances to villages.
This is the top level, reserved only for the best of the best of the supernatural world. Who, or what exactly falls into this rank? Well 玉皇上帝 (옥황상제) (Fig. 7) for one. This figure (commonly refered to as the Jade Emperor) was the supreme deity in Taoism, and is involved in numerous myths and legends in the Chinese tradition, some of which became part of the Korean tradition as well.
Anyhow that about does it from here. I hope this trip into the realm of the supernatural has been both frightening and enlightening! Happy Halloween.
Unless you live in a cave or haven’t been born yet you probably know of North Korea’s claims that it successfully tested a nuclear weapon. I told you on several occassions that I don’t do politics, or current events here (unless it involves sex, animal attacks, pop singers, or some combination of the three), but once again I’m going to break with tradition, and not only talk about current events, but also editorialize. Humorous anecdotes about my life will return shortly.
Dear President Bush & Posse,
Hi, my name is Wyatt. You probably don’t know me, but I have some information that you might find crucial in the days to come. Before you rush into anything like a landed assault on North Korea as a result of their little chemistry experiment, I think you should check out the following video.
Dude did you see that? They strapped cement wheels to their face and got them smashed with sledge hammers. That means their faces are tough enough to withstand both have a cement wheel strapped to it and a sledge hammer blow. And the ninja stars?! Seriously let’s not fuck with these guys. In some ways this video footage scares the shit out of me more than the fact that they have might actually have nukes now. But it’s not my job to tell you how to do your job…I think that’s your job. So let me just leave it at this: Do you really want to have to brawl guys with cement wheels on their faces, and if you do, could you please approve my wife’s visa faster so I can get off this pennisula before you chose to do so?
Thanks a ton!
This is the Chuseok Redux, you’re sitting in a jazz club wearing a beret. Oh wait, that’s the Slow Jam Redux…the Chuseok holiday wrap up looks more like this:
Wednesday, the day before Chuseok, was spent making songpyeon (송편). The early stages of songpyeon construction are a lot like the early stages of bread making, only like 100 times stickier. That dough has the consistance of gum, and I now understand why people from the times of yore used a big ass hammer to make this shit. Anyhow we made an assortment of songpyeon in both green and white. I was personally in charge of the chestnut filled ones. We made the green ones first, and man were mine ugly. They were huge, cancerous behemoth looking pieces of crap, but I leveled up quickly, and by the time we made the white ones, mine were indistinguishable from the ones the seasoned veterans were making.
Other junk that happened on Wednesday involved me riding a bike around my immediate area attempting to score some sort of paper that was needed for ancestral memorial rites to no avail. Also my wife (along with my sister-in-law, and mother-in-law) cooked a lot of other non-songpyeon type food stuffs.
The following morning at way too early o’clock, I was roused from my slumber to clean up the house, and set the table so that Chuseok could commence. With such things taken care of, it was time for Chuseok related festivities, which were pretty much the same as Lunar New Year related festivities, only instead of eating rice cake soup we ate taro soup. Guests came to our house, chowed down on some food and drank some brews, and then they headed back from wence they came.
After quickly cleaning up our homestead we headed out to Jinhui’s grandfather’s house (her mother’s father), where since she was technically no longer part of the clan didn’t have to do any work. Me, being a man, only had to drink soju and eat food, so I did that. We then went with a totally awesome posse that included three random kindergarten students, some old Korean mens, me and my in-laws, and one of Jinhui’s cousins who totally looked like he could kick some ass (the dude was huge…like Hulk Hogan sized arms and junk). There we offered dried fish and poured one out for
our dead homies our deceased ancestors.
With that out of the way we headed home, where I promptly fell asleep. It was 5:00 in the evening. At 10:00 Jinhui (who apparently had fallen asleep in the living room), and I both woke up and for the next 4 hours watched a ton of really random junk on TV and ate some ice cream. All in all it was a decent day, but I’m glad for Jinhui’s sake that this was probably her last Chuseok. I really feel bad for women on these holidays. All day long they cook and clean, with few chances to rest. Quelle domage! Anyhow that’s pretty much the end of my poorly written Chuseok related rant. There’s not really much else to say. Oh, I wore a hanbok (한복) because I own one and figured Chuseok would be a good excuse to take it out of the closet. Really now, this is the end. There is nothing else for me to say that I can think of at this time. But probably if someone leaves a comment I will remember more anecdotes of the events of the day. So…I’m finished now.
This is a plea to all my Canadian readers (I know for a fact at least two of you exist). Will either you, or one of your countrymen (or women) please for the love of Christ write a walkthrough on how to go about dealing with your country’s government? I mean Street Fighter 2 had a walkthrough, and that game was a hell of a lot easier than Canadian government institutions.
For those of you just tuning in, I had a bone to pick with Canada about the way they do criminal background checks. It turns out that a great deal of this anger was misdirected and premature. It turns out that apparently one doesn’t have to go through the process of getting fingerprinted and waiting 150+ days in order to get a Canadian criminal report. Nope, it turns out that all one has to do is provide a name, address, and (in the case of my wife) passport number, to any of the local police forces and they will check out your national criminal record and ship out the results to you in anywhere from a week to 14 days depending on the police force you choose to use. We picked the guys in Winnipeg, mainly because they were the cheapest and also didn’t require fingerprints (which as I explained eariler was kind of a hassle to get here).
So here we are thinking we’re in the clear. Oh not quite. Like most things, this service does not come for free. Unfortunately, Canada, as I mentioned before, is a developing country, and therefore has no way to pay for this service online or by using a credit card. Additionally Canadian currancy frightens them, since they stated that they would not accept payments made in cash. No, they want a check. Unfortunately for us, we live in Korea, a country that has moved beyond (or perhaps never had) a checking system. Here everything is paid for either with cash, or a credit card. So we went in search of a money order.
The post office didn’t have any, but they insisted that you could get them with ease at the bank. The first bank we went to didn’t have them, but told us that you could score them at a bank that did international exchanges. The international exchange bank didn’t have them either, but told us that we could get money orders in American dollars at Citibank. This would have been fine, save for the fact that we were sending this shit to the provinces, and it stated that they only dealt in Canadian funds (unlike the central…federal? government who would gladly accept American dollars). Fuck!
So we headed home, dejected. What could we do? Flying to Canada to deal with this was out of the question for two reasons: 1) It was too expensive. 2) I probably would have punched a Mountie in the face for causing my wife and I such annoyance, and then would have been sent to Canadian jail (which if the Trailer Park Boys is to be believed, might not actually be that bad of a thing). So the only option that seemed to be open was to ship the documents to my family in the US (a country where one can get cashiers checks) and have them ship the documents and check to Canada.
So basically I don’t know who I’m pissed off at. I’m pissed off at Canada’s government for sucking ass six ways to Sunday. I am pissed off at Korea for not having the outdated method of payment required to do business with Canada. I’m pissed off at America for making the wife and I have to jump through such hoops to obtain a paper that says she didn’t do any crime during the one year that she lived in Canada. And, I’m pissed off at myself for getting pissed off about such stupid bullshit. I’ll be glad when we have a paper that says, “Jinhui, you didn’t do crime in Canada.”
On Sunday morning, the family and I piled into my father-in-law’s automobile and we drove off to family obligation part 2 (part 1 being Saturday’s trip to Daejeon). The second part of this past weekend’s family obligations was some sort of meet and greet luncheon in which my clan offically met my sister-in-law’s fiance’s clan (Cripes that was a mouthful…or since I am typing, a fistful).
Anywho, we were at a restaurant in Jamshil known as 龍水山 (용수산) when we met the fiance’s family. Now, I have no real problem with her fiance. I mean he’s a nice enough guy. Hell he gave be a case of Heineken for my birthday! But, if I were a woman, and not married, but still retained all my personality traits, I wouldn’t want to date / marry the dude. He’s a little boring. Having a conversation with him is kind of like pulling teeth.
And now I know why. The meeting took about three hours, and in that time I don’t think his father said a single word. His brother didn’t either. His sister talked a little bit, but it was usually under her breath, and kind of creepy…like a witch or that chick in The Exorcist. She scared me. His mom was alright; probably the most outgoing, but still on the quite side.
Prior to leaving that morning, I had recieved my marching orders like everyone else in our platoon, but I had a special top secret mission, and that was: “Don’t make an ass of yourself.” Sitting there in the opening
hours minutes, was pure torture. I wanted to jump up on the table and do the Charleston, or attempt to get the entire restaurant to join me in a musical number (hey it happens in musicals all the time), anything to destroy that dreadfully awkward silence.
You know that kind of silence that is unsettling? Yeah, we had that going on. Luckily my father-in-law has the gift of gab. He’ll talk up anyone about anything at anytime. Unfortunately there were a lot of one word responses, and even the most talkative person can’t do much with that…so he started talking to me. I shot my wife a look, “Is this okay? Can I respond to him?” I didn’t wait for her to wave me on to third. I saw an end to the dreadful silence and went for it.
Luckily at this point food arrived. And man did it arrive! I’ve lived in this country more than 3 years now, and at this particular restaurant I had eaten roughly 3 out of the countless plates of food we were served. For you see, this restaurant served us traditional palace cuisine. Hell yeah dudes, I ate like a king, and oh was it good! I’m not a real artsy guy, especially when it comes to food, so long as it tastes good, but this food not only tasted awesome, it looked fantastic as well.
I can’t really remember every single dish that was served and due to the nature of the event I didn’t really think it was appropriate to whip out a camera and be all like, “Dudes hold on a second! I wanna take a picture of this lotus flower wrapped sushi!” So I’m going to attempt to recall exactly what it was that I ate, from my memory alone…and my mind is not exactly like a steel trap.
I know there was 죽, and the aforementioned sushi that made use of lotus flowers. For me though, the standout dish was 신선로 (shinseolo) primarily due to the awesomeness of the dish in which it was served. Other foodstuffs served that day included rice with 팥 (sweet red beans) cooked in a lotus leaf, 구절판 (gujeolpan), 불고기 (bulgogi), and 잡채 (japchae). For dessert, we were served some 떡 (ddeok) as well as some 약과 (yakgwa) and a cup of 복분자차 (bokbunjacha / raspberry tea).
After the meal was completed, there was some more awkward silence and a period in which people attempted to set a wedding date, and from there we said our goodbyes. The fiance’s family departed first along with my sister-in-law. Then the rest of us got back in my father-in-law’s automobile and headed back whence we came.
On Friday afternoon, Jinhui and I had to go to the violent crimes division of our local police station so she could get fingerprints taken. This is what happened…if movies like 살인의 추억 and countless other Korean cop movies are to be believed.
As you may or not know, my wife and I are in the process of getting out of Korea and heading back to the US of A. As part of the process we are required to prove that my wife is not a criminal or a threat to the peaceful society that is America. So we have to present her criminal records. To obtain this in Korea all we had to do was walk into the police station hand over her ID card and wait 40 minutes. Case closed!
But due to the fact that my wife lived in Canada for a year, we must also produce a Canadian criminal report. This is proving to be slightly more difficult so please bear with me as I go off on a rant. If you are Canadian with Canadian flags all over everything you own and are easily offend by people bad mouthing your country, or if you are an American that seems to think Canada is the greatest land ever and don’t want that illusion tarnished, turn back now before it’s too late.
Ok all the sensitive people are gone now? Good. The follow rant was directed at my brother who happened to be on AIM requesting Wesley Willis Fiasco tunes from me.
ME: can i get a “Fuck canada!”
MY BROTHER: oh yeah i heard about that
MY BROTHER: are they being bitches?
ME: yeah they are indeed.
ME: at least 150 days for them to look up my wife’s name and print out a copy of a blank criminal record.
MY BROTHER: shit
MY BROTHER: thats like half a year
ME: yup…about half a year
ME: and the direct quote was that it would take, “in excess of 150 days”
ME: when you get up to the hundreds when talking about number of days switch to months assholes.
ME: if I see 5 months I’m going to get less pissed off then if I see 150 days
ME: even though I know in my heart of hearts that they are exactly the same
MY BROTHER: yeah
ME: i think canadian police force know that they suck ass as well, since there’s some thing on their webpage about how they will not respond to any emails that include profanity.
ME: oh and also they don’t have a way to download the form I need…so I have to email them requesting they mail me the form.
MY BROTHER: wow
ME: but also they did not have the email address I needed to request the form so i had to write an email to some third party requesting an email address so I could send the email to request a form that most 1st World countries would have on their offical website.
ME: stupid developing country canada!
MY BROTHER: yeah
ME: they seriously are pissing me off
And that was pretty much the end of the rant. Tune in tomorrow if you want to hear about a trip I took to some mountain.
I once heard that an army travels on its stomach. This apparently holds true for me as well. As yesterday Jinhui and I traveled to Jeonju for the sole purpose of eating Jeonju bibimbab (전주비빔밥). “Wyatt, can’t you get bibimbab anywhere?” Think of it like this, can you get Korean food in New York? Yes. On the average is it going to be as good as the Korean food you can get in Korea? Probably not. It’s the same theory at work here. Jeonju invented bibimbab, and therefore in theory can do it better than anyone else in the game. So anyhow we went to Jeonju because we were hungry.
Like most of our trips it began on bus. This time instead of heading to the airport, the bus headed south quite uneventfully and roughly two and a half hours later we were in Jeonju. Jeonju actually reminded me a lot of Albany, NY (from which I hail). There weren’t a lot of extremely tall building, limited public transportation, and it was possible for one to get most places on foot, but Jeonju had a lot of stuff that does not exist in Albany…namely bibimbab.
From the bus terminal we headed downtown (or possibly uptown I’m not really sure) in order to get our eat on. We ended up doing lunch at a restaurant named 가족회관 (and as a quick aside there are a lot more restaurants in Jeonju that use the word 회관 than exist in Seoul). Lunch was amazing! For starters while most restaurants in Seoul will hook you up with a side dish or three, the restaurant we chowed down in nearly broke the table they placed so much food on it. And then there was the main course. I have probably consumed over a hundred bowls of bibimbab during my stay in Korea, and this was hands down the best bowl of bibimbab I’ve ever had. The gochujang tasted a little different than the standard issue gochujang one might pick up in the supermarket, and that made a lot of difference. Guts full, we decided instead of simply heading back to Seoul…or Gyeonggido more exactly, we would make the most of our time in Jeonju and act like tourists.
So we decided to head to the 한옥마을 (Hanok Village). This place is a village of approximately 700 houses built in the traditional Korean style. Sounded like a decent place to visit, but the road to the Hanok village was paved with outstanding historical monuments and tourist photo opportunities. For starters we had 전동교회 (Jeondong Church), a Catholic church built on the grounds of some martyr inducing executions.
Following or inspection of the grounds, we went across the street and checked out Gyeonggijeon Shrine. This shrine contains pictures of various Chosun kings, and holds a special place for King Taejo, the founder of the Chosun dynasty. Taejo, wasn’t always called Taejo and he wasn’t always the king. There was a time period when he was known as Lee Song-gye. Now as you may or may not know, there are countless Lees, Yis, Rhees, Ris, 이s, and 李s in Korea. They do not all share a common ancestry however, and people trace their families to different clans.
My wife is a member of the Jeonju Lee clan…which happens to be the same one that begot Taejo. So there you go, my wife is related to the kings of the Chosun period. I know in reality she is probably about as related to them as John Goodman was to the King of England in the movie King Ralph, but it was still kind of odd. In addition to checking out Gyeonggijeon, we visited the adjacent grounds (the name of which escapes me at the moment). This area had a lot of buildings there were apparently used to house visiting dignitaries and supplies for various rituals.
After paying our respects to our ancestors we headed out towards the Hanok Village, but we were briefly waylaid by the fact that there was some sort of festival going on. So we checked out some performances, watched some kids ride a cow, and saw a photo exposition about life in North Korea…you know all the normal festival stuff.
Finally we made it to the Hanok Village. The Hanok Village as I mentioned before contained 700 houses all in the traditional style. The area itself was kind of odd, since some of the houses were actual homes, and others were clearly for tourists. So I felt a little weird when we would walk into random yards. “This one’s for tourists right?” “Yeah.” “Alright, just checking.”
Among the sites we visited were place were paper was made (Jeonju has a long history of paper making…a fact I learned at a paper museum) and an alcohol museum…that gave out free alcohol. HELL YEAH! That’s my kind of museum. Seriously the museum was awesome. It was not too big: just a couple rooms with alcohol related historical artifacts, and then out in the yard a couple ladies with free alcohol. The brews I sampled were as follows: 모주 (some regional brew I’d never had before that tasted like cinnamon), 국화주 ([菊花 not 國花] a brew made from flowers…this brew I had consumed once before and it tastes like 백세주 a little bit), and 송화주 (another flower based alcohol that had a really hot aftertaste). The brews were decent…made all the more awesome due to the fact that they were free.
We also visited a house that depicted life in traditional house during the Chosun period. Apparently I was supposed to be allowed to play traditional percussion instruments there, but no one was about to instruct us. There were goats though. Oh I’m sorry, they weren’t goats, they were 산양 (mountain sheep), but they looked just like goats to me.
After our time in the Hanok Village, we headed up a hill to an area named 오목교, which as far as I could tell was a place were a historical figure once hung out so the powers that be decided it was important. Anyhow from there we were able to take decent pictures of the village below. And then we went to 풍남문, which was the only surviving gate from original city walls. With that stuff all check off our touristy stuff to do check list we decided to grab some dinner.
Dinner was 돌솥밥. The food wasn’t that bad, but the service was pretty lousy, and you know how that can taint one’s dining experience. The only other thing worth mentioning about dinner was the fact that I purchased a 청국장 ice cream sandwich there. For those of you that don’t know what 청국장 is, it’s a kind of fermented bean paste that stinks to high hell. A lot of Koreans even think it’s too gross to consume. I enjoy it myself, but the stuff does stink, and it’s one of those things that doesn’t really lend itself to ice cream. It’s like pizza and ice cream. I like both of those items as well, but I don’t want to eat them together. The ice cream didn’t really smell or taste anything like 청국장, but it didn’t really taste good either.
Our time was running out (we had 9:00 bus tickets), so we decided to check out 객사 and then head back to the bus terminal. At 객사 we caught the tail end of some women’s rights group having a demonstration to put an end to prostitution, and from there it was back to the bus station. Some two and a half hours later we were back in Gyeonggido and our adventures in Jeonju were over.
Additional photos can be seen here if you’re into pictures of food and junk like that.
This is a true story of my youth that took place in upstate New York sometime at either the end of the 20th century or begining of the 21st century.
I’ve been reading some Korean history books / books on Korean culture as of late, so primarily due to the fact that I want to work on some simple translating, and secondarily because I want to occassionally provide some insightful information about Korean culture outside of the realm of indie rock and 1980’s ice cream commercials you are going to occassionally be subjected to poorly translated passages about various aspects of traditional Korean culture.
Today you are getting a passage from 김경훈’s book 「뜻밖의 한국사.」 I translated another passage from this book many moons ago, and I’m electing to do so again primarily because it deals more with strange and unusal aspects of history (particularly daily life) as opposed to simply bellowing about dates, politics, and battles. Today we are going to take a look at the origin of 연지곤지 (from this point on known as yeonjigonji), the red dot make-up traditionally used by brides.
“Today I Can’t Be Of Service To The King”
Yeonji is a kind of make-up that is used to give red color to the lips and cheeks. If this make-up was applied to the forhead that dot was known as gonji. It is clear that yeonjigonji didn’t mix well with ancient Koreans’ traditionally simple tastes and style, as the color is very vivid and the shape is very pronounced. So why did they use this make-up?
There are several theories, and among them, the most interesting theory is that yeonjigonji was originally used to indicate that a woman was having her period. Middle class women most likely would not have needed to indicate this, but women of the royal court would use yeonji on their cheek to indicate, “Today I can’t be of service to the king.”
Since these women could not boldly declare, “Sorry, but today I’m having me period,” to a strict king they would use yeonji as an indication of that very thing. That way, the king could look upon the woman’s face with dignity and be reminded of a period simply be seeing the red mark on her face. This practice of applying yeonjigongi to the face spread to the middle class where it became all the rage. It is likely that if these middle class women knew of the fact that yeonji make-up was used to represent a period, they did not believe it.
Ruddy Cheeks: The Symbol Of Youth And Virginity
We have all seen countless traditional weddings in historical dramas broadcast on TV in which the bride sits quietly with yeonjigonji applied. Interestingly enough, in this old custom, women who were remarrying were not allowed to paint their cheeks or forehead. Accordingly due to the differences in first in second marriage customs we seem to be able to find the original meaning of yeonjigonji. If this is the case, then isn’t yeonjigonji a manifestation of virginity?
Young virgins’ cheeks would appear red without make-up. Furthermore, a little shame would also cause cheeks to become ruddy. Therefore ruddy cheeks are a symbol of the freshness and youth of a virgin. It is unknown if yeonjigonji was applied to the cheeks and forehead due to this association.
The Korean people traditionally prefered clean, white faces. It is recorded in the Song Chinese text, “Goryeodogyeong 高麗圖經” that noblewomen of the Goryeo royal court did not often apply yeonji, yet it was standard for them to apply facial powder. It wasn’t dark make-up, but rather faint make-up with a light tone that these women liked to use. Due to the opposition towards dark make-up, there was resistance towards applying this kind of facial make-up. Therefore yeonji was a special make-up that was only used on special occassions, namely weddings when people needed to give a symbol of their youth. Yeonji make-up began to be used in earnest during the Shilla dynasty. It is therefore the case that yeonji is a Shilla invention.
If we look to ancient records we will find that there were two methods by which yeonji was produced. One method utilized a natural dye while the other method made use of a chemically produced material. The natural dye used was the safflower. The petals of a 1-2 year old safflower, originally yellow would turn slightly red. These safflowers if ground up and soaked in water would have the yellow pigment melt away and only the red pigment would remain. If this red pigment was further treated, red yeonji would be formed. On the other hand, chemically produced yeonji was created using cinnabar. With mercury as the primary ingredient of cinnabar, yeonji was created by mixing an egg yolk with the cinnabar in a boiling cauldron. Cinnabar yeonji was both redder and glossier that safflower yeonji. However much like the current problem with overdosing on some types of make-up, people that used this cinnabar yeonji for extended periods of time ended up suffering from mercury poisoning. But instead of being sensibile, place ladies and kisaeng used cinnabar yeonji frequently.
Yesterday was Saturday and like all good Korean residents I kicked off the day by working. After a brief period of educating people, I met up with my wife and we headed to 신촌 to grab some lunch. Sometime during the summer we saw a restaurant that offered 냉까스 (cold donkatsu) on one of those cooking shows on television…only they never explicitly told which restaurant it was. After much internet searching we discovered that it was a restaurant known as 家門의 우동 in 신촌. So yesterday we headed out there to check it out.
The food was decent. The 냉까스 in particular was really refreshing. The prices weren’t that bad either, though the portions were a little small. If you’re a big eater, you probably wouldn’t be satified ordering just one dish. Since it was lunch time, and neither of us are people who could pound a Hungry Man dinner and still want more, we were good to go.
After lunch we decided to go check out the sex museum in 신촌, but it either closed, moved, or we had horrible sense of direction and could not locate it. We did locate the Ralph Lauren tour bus where some girl with way too much eye makeup took our photo in exchange for my wife trying on some sort of Ralph Lauren perfume (see the picture to the right). With the sex museum a bust we decided to go ride in a plastic duck on the Han River.
The Han River was nice, but not nearly as action packed as the Han River depicted in the film 괴물. Anyhow Jinhui and I forked over 10,000 won and jumped into a boat shaped like a duck and paddled around in the Han River. The duck boat was actually really fun. There was a cool breeze and the river didn’t stink too badly so it was kind of awesome. Though it would have been more awesome if we could have traveled outside of the little fenced off duck boat area. Anyway we took some pictures, so if you want to see some pictures of me inside a plastic duck riding down a river, check this link.
Following the insanity that was riding around in a boat shaped like a duck we met Jinhui’s friend in 강남 and had some dinner and then some brews. The dinner was standard issue (삼겹살), but the brews were awesome. Since I never really hung out at all in 강남, I am probably like the last person in Korea to know about this place, but the venue known as The Beer Factory is awesome! They have all manner of microbrewed beers. I partook in a brew known as Morphine 8.4, which boasted 8.4% alcohol content. This was slightly less impressive than it sounds because it was served in a cup about half the size of the normal 4 point something brews. Anyhow brews were consumed and it was awesome.
That’s all I’ve got to say. Please go about your business.
A long time ago in the dark ages when this website was known as Kimchi & Me and was hosted by the fine people at blogger (or whatever conglomerate owns said name), I ran a three day educational series known as Hanjapalooza where I revealed awesome knowledge such as the fact that in Korea (and if the comments were to be believed elsewhere in Asia) people use 正 to tally junk up.
Much like Perry Farrell in the 2000s, I too have decided that Hanjapalooza still has some viability and vitality, so like Jean Grey in the X-men it’s rising from the ashes, and in the words of Rage Against The Machine,”It’s comming back around again!” The 漢字 to kick this whole thing off is going to be:
“Peach trees?! You brought us all the way out here to rap at us about peaches?!”
Well, yes and no. If you give me a moment to explain myself you’ll see that there is something outstanding about this particular 漢字. But to start, 桃 does mean “peach,” and as such is used in the following words.
천도 (天桃) - 천도 peaches are a type of fruit consumed by the gods, which I suppose makes them something like manna. However, unlike manna, these peaches are also readily avalible in most fruit markets.
백도 (白桃) - “White peaches.” Unlike 천도 these peaches are throughly non-magical…but they do come in a can which I guess is kind of magic.
황도 (黃桃) - “Yellow peaches.” Another variety of canned, non-magical peaches.
도화 (桃花) - Peach flowers.
도화색 (桃花色) - “Peach flower color.” This word is used to refer to something (like cheeks) that English speakers would call “rosey.”
“Enough with the peaches already!”
Alright homie! Thanks for bearing with me as long as you did. Now here’s the payoff! In addition to meaning “peach,” 桃 has a second, more awesomer meaning as well…particularly when combined with 色 (빛 색 color). When these two characters rock out together (without 花) they mean something like lewd, obscene, sexy, or pornographic. Yeah I heard you yell, “AWESOME!” at the top of your lungs. Let’s check out some sleazy vocab!
도색문학 (桃色文學) - pornography
도색영화 (桃色映畵) - a porno flick
도색잡지 (桃色雜誌) - a pornographic magazine
도색본 (桃色本) - a sex book
Well that about does it here. If you know any other lewd phrases using 桃 let me know. Additionally, to the speakers of Chinese and Japanese out there, is 桃 just as raunchy in your languages or was that a purely Korean use? Peace out my babies!
I always kind of thought that the clip show was the biggest cop out, same thing goes for the live album. Yeah sure someone is going to watch it / buy it, but it’s never as awesome as if you had just come up with something new. So it is with a heavy heart that I bring you these “Lost Writings Of Wyatt Dunn.”
To say that I have post things about my actual life with any regularity since the end of December would be a complete lie (a fact that is even more obvious when you realize that I began writing this post in April). Basically since my sister arrived here, this webpage has been dominated by randomness, Korean music video and television commercials, and crudely drawn pictures I made using Microsoft Paintbrush. Anyhow, in an effort to get things back on track I’ve put up some old adventures that happened during my lost months. Since I have a degree in history, and things like proper chronological order matter to me, I have dated all of this old adventures with the date they actually went down (or as close to that date as I can remember). Some of you newbies here might have already read these if you went back and read the archives, and some of these tales even veterns will be familiar with…only now there are shiny pictures and junk! Oh and as an added bonus, I’ve posted two articles written for a different webpage in my pre-Korea days. Check them out if you want to see a non-worldy and immature Wyatt Dunn in action.
March 06, 2006: 3-1 運動 (Now With 100% More Photos!!!)
March 03, 2006: Khan You Blood Sucker! (Photo Remix)
January 13, 2006: Embassy Wedding
January 06, 2006: gksrnr wjswod. (Now with 56% more photographic evidence)
January 04, 2006: Smile On His Face…Axe In His Back…He’s Leatherman LEAHTER MAN!!! (Look at these god diggit pictures!!!)
January 03, 2006: We Went To An Island…Let Me Tell You About It. (Pretty Pictures)
January 02, 2006: These Pants Are Plaid (There Now Be Pictures)
January 01, 2006: 丙戌年이다! KICK OUT THE JAMZ!!!! (Photo Remix)
February 24, 2002: Gospel According To Wyatt #19
December 23, 2001: Gospel According To Wyatt #13
So that about does it…I really am sorry for making you think I have written something new, when essentially I have really done is copied and pasted some links to old junk I’ve written and added an intro and this poorly written sentence. Blah!
I sometimes wish that this webpage was more popular, but I have no idea how go about obtaining this higher level of popularity on my own. So I decided to simply blindly follow trends that seem to be working elsewhere and hope they work for me. Quick question that only people interested in the Korean blog scene will be able to answer: What’s the most popular Korea related blog? Probably the Marmot’s Hole. And what do they write about there? Well Korean related news of course. In the world of media what topic is continually the highest seller? Sex of course! So here today, thanks to the good peoples at Reuters and Yahoo News, we have this nice story about Korea, a Sex Expo, and people being denied visas! Like Hungry, Hungry Hippos, it’s fun, fun, fun by the ton, ton, ton!
SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean sex trade show promised foreign women in steamy underwear, striptease acts and sex seminars but had to cancel the performances after losing its lingerie models to immigration laws, organizers said on Thursday.
The 2006 Seoul Sex Education Expo, dubbed Sexpo, opened on Thursday, however, with plenty of sex toys, lotions and audiovisual material.
“Immigration officials warned us if the models performed without having obtained the appropriate visa, they could be subject to deportation,” a Sexpo official said.
An immigration official said models from places such as Australia were planning to enter the country on tourist visas, but they needed performance visas.
The event, which runs through Sunday, had been heavily advertised.
Several male visitors were angry about seeing so many inflatable plastic women on display and no real ones.
“I came here for a show and all I have is this leaflet about sex toys. What’s going on here?” said one man in his mid-60s who asked not to be identified.
Sexpo has been held in other parts of Asia but civic groups in South Korea had pressed authorities to close the show on the grounds that it was offensive.
South Korea, however, already has a large and vibrant sex industry.
Wow! A Sexpo! Here in Korea! But there are no models to walk about scantily clad? How about some local girls? Or if they needed white women (since apparently Korean’s think that walking around in one’s underwear is a lot like teaching English, and even the worst white person is clearly more outstanding than a Korean person), why didn’t they simply look at the home shopping channel? Everytime I turn that channel on there are gangs of Russian women modeling underwear. I’m sure some of them would be willing to work at Sexpo doing esentially the same thing. Anyhow this was my attempt at popularity. If it happens to fail I’m going to go back to writing about ketchup ads from the 1970s, and North Korean cartoons (that only look like they were from the 1970s).
This past week I had to do something very difficult. My wife and I began the process of obtaining a visa so she could immigrate to the land of Big Macs, Starbucks, and Oprah.
For those of you who have never immigrated or brought anyone to America following the letter of the law, have no idea how much work it is.
The first step involved me filling out a bunch of papers that had the same information again and again. Time consuming? Yes. Overly difficult? Aside from attempting to write out akwardly arranged Korean address in an American format (and Roman letters) no, it wasn’t difficult at all.
The next stemp was the tricky one. I had to schedule an appointment to hand in my reams of paper (which in my understanding were only kind of a pre-application). Now the only way one can schedule such an appointment is to send them an email…send an email to an email address ending in dhs.gov (dhs = Department of Homeland Security). This is the US government, not Real Player or some random message board, so I therefore had to use the real email address. Sorry Mr. Harder, no aliases this time.
Additionally I think that I tend to be a tad sarcastic when I sit down and start typing, which is definately not something I wanted to be when dealing with my good friends at DHS. So, I seriously sat and stared at my monitor for like ten minutes before I was able to to write:
Dear Madam or Sir,
I am an American citizen married to a Korean national. I would to like to schedule an appointment in order to file form I-130 and begin the visa process for my wife. If it is possible, I would like to schedule this appointment sometime next week. I thank you for your time.
Nothing rude. Nothing that might be taken as a threat. No water. Just a totally boring email.
The next day there was a response in my mailbox informing me that my appointment had been scheduled at the US Embassy for Monday, August 14th at 9:30 am. Talk about prompt…and accomodating.
So on the morning of the 14th, Jinhui and I trekked to the embassy in Seoul. God I hate riding the red (in reality orange) bus at rush hour! But for the wife, I’m willing to suffer through it. And in reality, the bus ride was the most difficult part of the day. We arrived a little after 9:00, and after a short wait, our papers were being processed.
But before that, I just want to holler about how miserable a lot of Americans look and act. Most of the Koreans there just looked nervous, but the majority of the Americans accompanying them looked so pissed off. Yes, beaucracy is a pain in the ass, but pouting and / or yelling at your wife isn’t going to make it easier. And also to the dude that got pissed off for getting to the counter and not having the right papers filled out: don’t get pissed off at other people and start swearing and making a scene…next time read the damn instructions they give you when you schedule an appointment, or read them online.
Anyhow, aside from having a family registry deemed too old (a problem solved with a quick trip to the district office…and a PC Bang so a translation could be typed up) out first step towards leaving Korea seems to have been successful. The people took all our paperwork, and our money and told us that they would email Jinhui with further instructions in 4 to 6 weeks. Hooray!!!
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