Kimchi and rice are the two staples of the Korean diet. While rice, of course, is eaten throughout Asia, kimchi is pretty Korean-specific. Koreans, rightly so, are quite proud of kimchi and I've heard claims that it prevents bird flu, cures cancer, slows aging, etc. Well, now it's been named one of the five healiest foods in the world. I realy like this quote from the article. It's 100% true: "natives say “kimchi” instead of “cheese” when getting their pictures taken".



Here are a few pictures from Bucheon, the area where Yunha lives. It's a suburban area just outside of Seoul.

We went to a big mall with the intention of seeing a movie, but there was only one English movie playing and it didn't seem interesting.

So, we wandered around the mall so I could take pictures.

We ran across these two people dressed up as cartoon characters. Scenes like this are quite common in Korea. I really can't explain how strange this place seems sometimes. I stopped these guys and got some pictures with them and Yunha, but she'd rather I didn't put her picture on the internet.

A shot inside the mall. The woman in the picture was putting her hands over her face because she saw me with the camera.

This picture was taken just outside the entrance to the mall.

I didn't take many pictures because I always feel a bit uncomfortable taking pictures in public. Koreans stare at foreigners enough already and if you take out a camera you get a lot of looks. This is pretty surprising since Koreans, like the Asian stereotype, love to take pictures, though mostly they take them of themselves. I suppose they find it a little strange to take pics of mundane things like movie signs and grown men dressed as cartoon chickens.


This photo of a Japanese toy was also taken at the mall, so I decided to throw it in the mix.



I know it's wrong to mock young children who are learning a second language, but sometimes the things that come across my desk make me laugh out loud.

This is not so bad, but with the proper frame of mind can be misinterpreted.

There are times when what a student means to say come out all wrong.

Sometimes spaces are very important.

Other times, students just give up.

And of course there are the times that no matter how hard you try you just can't understand what they are trying to say.

But, simple spelling mistakes are always the funniest.



Before I moved to Korea one of the things I found most useful and most intriguing was looking at photos of Seoul on the internet. Not only did I have no idea what I was getting myself into, but I also have an impossible time making decisions. Had I not been able to get a view of my future home I'm not sure I would have had the guts to get on that first flight.

So, I took some picture near my home and hopefully they will show my friends and family where I live and also provide some insight for people interested in coming overseas to teach.

This is the street I live on. If you look closely, you can just make out my apartment. It's the fourth building on the right, on the top floor. It kind of looks like a sunroom if you look near the center of the photo.

This is a street perpendicular to mine. Notice the building on the right draped in what appears to be hundreds of blankets. This building has been under construction since I moved in and I'm certain, by the looks of the workers, it will collapse upon completion.

Here is a shot from outside of my school. It is not much to look at since my school is on a quiet street, but I love that green banner. My Korean is not perfect, but from my interpretation it says either "Big Love School" or "Big Love Church". Though I think it is the latter. Is it any wonder why Asian cultures constantly promote products and programs like "Super Happy Fun Time!"

In this photo I simply turned 180 degrees from the previous picture. I do not have much to say here except I buy a lot of cigarettes and ramyeon at the Family Mart (think 7-11) on the corner there. What a healthy lifestyle I lead.

Now we move to the rooftop of my school. I was forced to relocate here for smoking after students discovered our secret alleyway and shouted "Teacher! Smoking!" repeatedly. This picture shows the two sides of this great city. IN the foreground you see the old thatched (is that what it is called?) roof style buildings and in the background the omnipresent high-rise apartment buildings that litter Seoul, and all of Korea, like a cancer.

Notice the massive Samsung sign. That's where I bought the camera this picture was taken with.

This picture is interesting because of the buildings that tower in the background. I've said before that the area I live in is quite posh, and though these photos might not illustrate that, I've been told that those buildings are the most expensive place to live in Seoul. That is saying a lot considering Seoul has one of the highest real estate markets in the world.

I mentioned the buildings in the last picture only to point out the contrast with this. Witness Eunma Apart (Koreans call apartments 'apart' which always makes me think of the old Stephen Wright joke "Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?"). This place is an eye-sore and many people call for it to be demolished. However, as a poor man living amongst wealth, I tend to side with the less fortunate. Viva Eunma Apart!

This picture, again, illustrates the omnipresent high-rise apartments in Korea. No photograph can do this phenomenon justice. These are everywhere and most Koreans live in one.

I posted some pictures of my apartment before, but since it is on-topic I thought I'd update them. Though it is the biggest apartment I have had in Korea it is arguably in the worst condition. The first year or so living abroad squalid conditions are expected and even a little appreciated. However, things have hit their stride and Korea no longer feels like a place I am visiting, but a place where I live. For this reason I've put a little effort into making my home more comfortable this year. It is certainly not a palace, but I'm proud of what I have done with it.

Someone somewhere said something about geniuses stealing everything. Well, maybe I'm not a genius, but almost everything here is a stolen idea. The hanging ratan picture hanger came from Jennifer and the wine bottle candle-holder came from Ciaran. I still really like the way it looks.

The only thing even remotely interesting I have to say about this picture is that I never see this view of my apartment anymore. I turn on my TV maybe once a month. However, this isn't meant to sound elitist or arrogant because most of the time I'm on my computer reading stupid shit.



I've had problems with my digital camera for a long time now, so I finally broke down and bought a new one. I went out with my friends Benjie and Ciaran to Gangnam on Saturday and took some pictures.

Here's Ciaran about to enjoy some beer.

And Benjie waiting for the night to begin.

We started out in this place called Crazy Hook. It's not a great photo of the place, but they have great fajitas. Mexican food is very hard to find in Korea.

We wandered around for awhile trying to find a new place to go. We ended up in a very mellow bar, much more suited for a date than three guys looking to drink.

A shot of Gangnam at night.

We ended up at Uncle 29, a favorite bar of ours. A great thing about Korea is you can go to a bar and order a bottle of alcohol. As you can see here, we bought a bottle of Jim Beam. It's cheaper than buying drinks and if you don't finish the bottle the bar will store it for your next visit.

Alex came to join us.

Lots of beer and whiskey were consumed.

On our way out Ciaran and I posed for a typical Korean 'couple' shot. Notice how our arms form a heart shape. This is a very common pose for Korean couples in photos.

We looked for a bar Alex knew of, but we never found it. I got this shot at one of the places we thought might be the bar.

Finally we ended up at Harlem, a hip-hop club.

Alex and I posing at Harlem.

Harlem was fun, but it was time to go home. Over all we had a great night.