Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Lucky 13..

Got to the PC Bang and got #13 for the second consecutive time..

Thought I'd get luckY and see OAF online, but we missed...

so I checked email and some Korean Nuclear thingie has three letters they want me to work on...

Which surely is lucky news. ..


So here's some pics and I'm out.. They are all clickable (if Blogger works right) for slightly better versions..









Monday, April 28, 2008


And, man.. it feels goooooood.....

In the course of writing an abstract I came up with the idea (and word) of "exterrogated." This is based on the idiotic idea that there should be "interrogated theory." And yet no malign, evil, betrayer of language has come up with my word (says Google). Until just now in a Soju-frenzy.

I rule evil!

I should get some kind of award. Like and axe through the middle of my head. Or 72 virgins.

Or, get my goddamed paper accepted. There should be some credit given to someone who can come up with a fresh assault on the English language.

Really. I'm begging here.

I've sent the abstract (due on the 30th, but I just heard of it) to BKF for his sage council.

til then I can only appall you all with the first paragraph...
Kim Yong‐Ik, a Korean by birth, English writer by trade, and Korean by death,
attempted to exterrogate questions of empire, orientalization, and theory by
declaring autonomy from any definition. Kim was avowedly anti‐political,
extra‐theoretical, and purposefully resistant to placement. His writings
however, antithetically to his confessed approach, obsessively concerned
themselves with issues attendant to empire: oppression, the state of the
outsider to the state, disconnection, diaspora, and the dream of coming to a
“home” that was not contested; a home of ancestors and not imperials.
Man..I am evil...

The haters spoke on Husker Du... Johhny Marr rewlzz! Rekanize!

Report to the Empire: Part II

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Fire it Up and Enjoy the Garrulosity!

Today was the day I went with Bike‐on John (Who looks like HYS in a spooky way - he's from Brownsville as well!) to the reservoir. He had a spare bicycle and I had a delusion that I was still 40 (which might be the most depressing thing I have ever typed!). So where would the reservoir be? Up above town, and for two good reasons.

First, if it wasn’t no one would be worried about what would happen if the dam breaks.

Second, this makes it much harder to get to.

So it was “up the road.” But Korea, so proud of its “Four Distinct Seasons” is much more shut‐mouthed about its “Four Distinct Ups.” It is unlike Koreans to be shy about the wonders of Korea and so I wonder if this is their secret shame? In any case, for anyone contemplating coming to Korea to get ‘up’ to something, I have included this convenient directional graphic indicating the four kinds of Korea up.

Then, of course, there was the distance. It was about three miles straight up, and then another three miles straight up. This was only interrupted by short stretches that were decidedly more up. It is kind of hard to explain in language that the kind of people who read this blog (and I love all three of you!) would understand, so once again I have provided a nifty visual aid.

The trip was complicated, for me, by the fact that my rear tire was rubbing against the frame. I would have preferred to have figured this out earlier than halfway back to downtown, but still, it did come as something like a gift to figure out, and John and I flipped the bike and fixed it, which made the last few miles much easier. I also (I think) got some cool pics, the reservoir was absolutely gorgeous and it was bizarre to go not so very far and be in a completely rural setting. We also walked up a very steep road and saw the famous (by which I mean no one besides us was in sight) “Standing Buddha” of whereverthehell.

Bike‐on John was also garrulous. This seems to be a rule. Waeguks can’t get together and just shut the hell up, they need to unload every damn thing they can think of. It is also fair to say that John had a rather remarkable story to share.

Starting with the crash that nearly killed him and did kill his wife and his realization that life is pretty finite and you might as well do something you enjoy while you can. So, he left a job at CBS and came to Korea to teach. So far he’s been hit by one car and had a appendectomy without anesthetic. John waited too long, his appendix burst, and then just as they were strapping him down for surgery, he got asthmatic and pulled out his inhaler and took some hits – the doctors were worried about interactions between that and the ether and, since John was dying in front of them, just whacked the blade in and tried to make the operation as quick as possible. John says it was the worst pain he’d ever felt in his life, but then he went into shock and says that it was great.

So.. that’s uh.. a hell of a year in town. But it gets better..

Some of us remember a story about a Hagwon tragedy in which a van driver ran over and killed a young girl. A tragedy. So of course John works at that Hagwon. And, unreported in the English press here, this has turned into a brawl between the family of the deceased girl and the Hagwon. The family wanders in and threatens students, throws shit around, and hits (Korean) employees. This has gone on since the event. The family also started sabotaging various things and stalking employees. John stopped his stalking by filming it. The police seem unconcerned and it is pretty funny that the family did get a stern talking to, and one that had effect, from the Electricity Company! The family pulled some fuses in John’s building and the manager was around to see it. He called the local PG&E and they stepped in and stopped that.

No wonder the cops here are rather looked down on.

Anyway, John’s garrulosity was, I believe, merely cover for his plan to kill me. A plot that now seems to be taking slow motion effect. My legs are certainly dead, my butt hurts in a way that defies metaphor and suggests a recent prison stay, I managed to get a sunburn, and my head is fogged (though that may be the result of the bottle of medicinal Soju that I have since applied).

It may be another night spent stretched out defenselessly on the Ondol floor.

God help me if the ravenous Kimchi‐Weasels come out!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Friday Follies

Friday’s class is the lovely Japanese Studies kids who are always a hoot as well as the most academically serious of my classes. That’s always a good way to end the week. TSR and I kicked it in the office for a couple of hours and traded stories. He showed me a variety of pictures of his house and apartment buildings in the Philippines and also told me the story of how he met his wife. He was in Israel(!) and planning to go to Thailand. He thought she was Thai and stopped her on the street to see if she would give him lessons. She wasn’t, she was a Philippina nurse in Israel and so not much came of it. Til fate, FATE I tell you(!) caused them to bump into one another again and it eventually led to marriage.

His pictures also included the volcano behind their house and a boatload of relatives. These relatives includes Violetta, his 33 year old sister in law(?) who is looking for a husband. The upside is she is quite attractive and will make a good wife in the traditional Philippina way. The downside is she has three kids. The middle-side is that her kids are all old enough to stay in the Philippines. And, she’s willing to marry someone of up to 55 years of age. This sounds horrible (I can hear the “Pucaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiie!” from here), but it is also pretty much traditional – TSR showed me a cam-site for Philippine women and if they think you are an even moderately wealthy (and their standard is quite low) American you will be swarmed like a bee-hive.

Anyway, if any of you know a single man in the US who wants a pretty, quite, and dependable wife, boy TSR would like him to start an e-conversation. Considering all the losers independent thinkers I used to hang out with, I was boggled no names came to my mind. Surely there is some gnarled mountain-man up there in the high-hills?

Got home and the accumulated exercise of the week started to gang up on my old self. Turned on the ondol floor (damn the bills!) and just laid on my back, with the headphones on, for an hour. It’s the world’s best heating-pad. Got up and headed to the PC Bang, but no one was around online. Did a bit of research for the book review, then came home and read and wrote steadily for about 2 hours. It’s now up to about 1800 words and I can see I will have to hack great chunks away, since there are still 4 stories to discuss. Still, it is at a point that I can start on the little project that BKF and I will hammer out in the next couple of weeks, using “sayings” in language and cultural education.

Something based on similarities (What do the following proverbs say about risk?):

“A turtle travels only when it sticks its neck out”
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

And differences (which culture valorized farming and which valorized hunting?):

“Beating around the bush”
“Licking the outside of a watermelon

It should be a lark – and only over 750 words, so easy to bang out. Blah on about how it can be used as a writing prompt, how it can be used to make foreign cultures seem less intimidating and more familiar, and how it can be used to teach conversational FL.

Tomorrow I bicycle up to the reservoir to go fishing (tremendously shitty weather permitting).

That should be fun.

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Factual and Abstractual!

First draft of the abstract for Fukuoka... feel free to savage it...

International Tourism Opportunities in Korea:
Opportunities for Autocatalytic Emergence

The United Nations World Tourism Organization calculates that in 2003 International tourism accounted for roughly 6 per cent of exported international goods and services (as measured in U.S. Dollars). When focusing exclusively on service exports, this number jumps to an astounding 30 per cent.

The picture in Korea is not so rosy.

According to data from the Korea Tourism Organization, Korea’s tourism deficit not only continued to climb as Korea entered 2008, but it topped $10 billion (on an annual basis) in 2007. Korean travelers overseas spend $15.8 billion dollars while foreign visitors to Korea spent a mere $5.7 billion dollars. This problem is not a recent one, although its scope has dramatically increased (As recently as 2004, the deficit was a ‘mere’ $3.8 billion). Worse, Korea’s market share of Asian-Pacific tourism has been dropping. From 1990 to 2005 Korea was one of only three Asian Pacific countries to lose market share (Mongolia, which is statistically nonexistent, and Indonesia were the other states), going from 7.7% of the region to 4%.

This problem has not escaped the notice of Korean politicians, policy-makers, and those in the tourist-dependent industries. New Korean President Lee Myung-bak has promised, “We can no longer leave domestic tourism unattended. I will come up with measures to develop the tourism industry into a future growth engine of our economy.” These promises follow on several decades of similar promises that have been without successful issue.

This deficit is the result of a handful of historical and social realities. First and foremost, Korea has not forged an international brand. Attempts at branding have been inconsistent and ineffective, frequently having little or no impact on potential tourists. Part of the difficulty in effective branding stems from a deficit in, or perhaps a lack of, appropriate market research. Lacking understanding of what potential tourists desire, Koreans are consequently unable to develop campaigns, or even advertisements, that appeal to foreigners. The inconsistent nature of Korean branding has left Korea with no ‘image’ in the international community. In comparison to neighboring countries, Korea is an international unknown. Secondarily, Korea has not fully addressed its “paradox of globalization.” That is to say it has not fully reconciled its desire to extend itself to the entire globe with its sometimes contending desire to remain homogenous.
This paper will discuss some aspects of Korea’s historical inability to achieve appropriate international tourism results as well as the startling opportunities that this now leaves for Korea. With no existing international image, Korea finds itself in a rare position – it is first in line at its own palimpsest. Korea has an opportunity to create the initial conditions for the autocatalytic emergence of its own international tourist brand and success. Unusually, Korea has this opportunity at both the level of Gunn’s “organic” and “induced” images.

These opportunities are focused around 10 related initiatives that can be loosely grouped into three categories:


• Branding Korea.
• Defining Korea as a “new” or “trendy” destination.• Defining Korea as “different” but imaginable.
• Staying on single focus over time.
• Involving citizens of targeted countries in creating marketing materials.

Image Propagation

• Working with travel agents, travel magazines to take this message ‘home’ to overseas markets.
• Promoting Cultural Exchange at all levels of culture, not just the academic.
• Focusing on two kinds of tourists – Tour based tourists and ‘seekers’.


• Creating a comfortable experience for international tourists who do visit Korea.
• Understanding that driving tourism is not just advertising hotels or destinations but is making a culture attractive.

By analyzing other tourist destinations (e.g. Hawaii and Japan) that have been successful at creating linked organic and induced images internationally, and applying the lessons learned, it should be possible for Korea to reverse the unfortunate trend in it’s balance of tourism.

The Evil Plot - Revealed!

Today the whys and wherefore’s of the current classes’ plot to keep my Academic Writing Class small bubbled up. My two favorite students are attempting the near impossible.

They want to become elementary school teachers (maybe primary, I got the names confused all night). Sounds quite achievable, but that’s to Western ears. Tonight, with all the papers done, we had nothing to do so we sat and talked for the class. I told them I still didn’t have a complete idea what they wanted out of the next class and, slowly, they told me.

It started by telling me they want to be elementary teachers (maybe primary, I got the names confused all night). To be an elementary teacher you need to have a college degree (from any college) and pass the TEST. The TEST is a bear. It is a three level test and when you apply at the first level you have to tell the government what city you want to teach in. That test is a multiple choice one, and in one fell swoop it winnows thousands of applicants down to …… ……….30!

The top thirty scores advance, the rest are not thanked for playing but are sent home. After that it gets easy. The next test is an essay test – about 5 essays of 300-500 words each – and this cuts the field to 15. The final test is a teaching test and (for Daejeon) of the 15, 10 are chosen.

These tests are taken after you attain your BA or BS.

I asked why only 10 teachers were chosen as that seemed a ludicrous annual figure for a city as big as Daejon. The ringleader (who had diagrammed all this on the board) explained that the remaining positions are filled by “contract” teachers who have contracts of one-year maximum. Like being adjunct at the college level, but worse. They have to resign a contract each year and apparently don’t get benefits or regular raises.

The ringleader stepped back from drawing all this on the board and pointed to the circle on the board that said ‘first test.’ She said, “that is our job.” She jabbed the marker into the middle of the circle that said ‘second test’ and said, “and that is your job!” Her attitude was somewhere between passing along information and a threat. The ajumma is strong in this one!

After this was clear we talked about ways this could work in the class if there were “strangers” with competing agendas. That seemed an issue of scheduling properly, so we worked on that for a bit.

Then I asked, rather rudely I suppose, if either student had a fallback plan and they basically said they can’t have one.

They are still living with their parents two years out of college and the ringleader has already failed the test twice, her partner in crime once. I delicately (for me) asked how the families were taking this (knowing a little bit about the ‘schedule’ for college, career, marriage, and babies that they ‘should’ be on) and they both said the families were taking it pretty terribly.

This makes sense, at 24-6 your Korean daughter isn’t supposed to be hanging around at a shabby Uni explaining to the Waeguk what she needs to learn to pass the nearly impassable test. This also brought clarity to some things these two had resisted. I talked again and again about how small EFL mistakes (articles, prepositions, single/plural) weren’t important because they can always be caught in second-party editing, or at leisure when the writing is done. I also talked about global restructuring and all the good shite I do when I’m sitting at home writing.

They were hearing “blah, blah, blah.” Because at the test, they will have to write their grammar correctly as they go and they will not be globally restructuring anything, because they will be writing mini-essays.

So we have a scheme for next session, which is good. I’ll actually write a syllabus for this one and away we go. Also, this helped me understand that the sense I had that they wanted something (undefined) more was real, and know I knew what it was.

I told them that if I were to be replaced, they needed to tell this to the new teacher on the very first day so he wouldn’t have to poke around to find it out.

At this point Ms. Ringleader, just seated from her lecture to me on the structure of Korean education, hiring, and my role in helping her get a job, giggled and claimed, “I’m shy!”

Man, you gotta love Korean women.

The other tragicomic thing I learned was that the “other” level of education (primary or secondary, as I said, I still have them confused) is accessible if you take a 4-year degree from one of 12 particular colleges. Ms. Ringleader had been accepted to one of these colleges (and would be teaching today) but her high-school teacher told her that she should go the other route and that it would be “easy.” She said she hated him.

When I also learned that this path meant that both women had studied in college (the average Korean college experience is one big party and then marriage hookup) the tragedy took on Belushian (oh, wait, that might be comic) proportions. Still, they are both determined to make it work (though surely doomed?) and I’ll do as much in the classroom as I can figure out.

My prediction is that in 3 years these two are going to be in the United States (or Australia, etc.) going some version of the BKF & JAE route, because they will have slowly wandered out of their own demographic and Korea won’t know what to do with them.

They be un-homogenized.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rocks in they Chinese Heads, Marbles in they Mouths..

Play along.. you'll like it!

It is "midterm" time. Midterm time is the only chance we have to grade our students on how good their English is. We do this by sitting down, one-on-one with each student, and asking them between 4 and 8 questions.

Which I do to my class of Chinese students. This is a bit complicated in this class, as I have 36 Chinese, one Korean, and one Vietnamese student in this class. I am told that makes 38, in total. And I have 180 minutes to test them all. Which is slightly less than 5 minutes per student. So I extend my class hours (undoubtedly against the rules) and fit them all in and await the kind of communication nightmares that will ensue.

In the event, I discover that most of them speak quite decent English. They are Sophmores, so they've had a year of college-level English, and many of them also had some quite good training back in China. I had some startling conversations (and suspect the Guoanbu is now after me) and all this makes me ask myself the question, why won't the Tibet-Oppressing, girl-baby exposing, commie abortionists talk in class?

I need to ponder on this, since I'm sure this kind of issue will pop up again...

oh well.. for now it's off to find the copy boy....

Project Updates…

As I noted before, the scriptwriting has gone the way of dear old biological dad – dead at the hand of its ongoing author. My new scheme is to write 10 pages a month, in whatever section of the month seems appropriate.

After an unseemly period of dithering I got back to the review of “Land of Exile” (which I have linked here despite the fact that my accretive writing frequently makes my stuff seem nonsensical until completion – oftentimes after that as well) and am now pushing 1500 words. As the goal is 2000 and it is due on the 15th of next month, I feel comfortable with this. Anyone who wants to comment on this can feel free, but it really won’t be in any readable form for a week..

The abstract for my conference proposal in Fukuoka is still in the hands of the PHUD and I’m wondering why I haven’t heard back? I suppose I’ll keep working on it myself, since it needs to be in by the 10th of next month. If I ever do go for my own Ph.D. this will be the paper, so I might as well push on with it.

The last bit of work that came shuddering down from above was from the BKF who sent me a 15 page trifle with a semi‐frantic email about how the time‐frame was NOW and that we’d need to be in constant conversation about the piece. So I slapped out an edit/annotation and whipped it back to him. That would be about 10 hours ago and I haven’t heard a peep back. I keep forgetting that as time is relative, and by virtue of my being the godfather of BKF’s son I am a relative, we are all therefore composed of nothing but time.

Relatively speaking.

Poking around the moodle I note that after this weekend I have two consecutive three‐day weekends upcoming.

Man… the tragic schedule of the allegademic!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Korea Beta Prime

Cue it up. Play it. Read. Think!

My close anthropological analysis of this country and its heathen occupants begins to produce fruit.

And a warning for the whole of Earth!!

It’s like an exploding pineapple.

This afternoon I passed a Korean man in purple down-booties and a full sweatshirt. It was about 23 degrees Celsius, which is above 70 in the civilized method of measurement.

This man was briskly rubbing his hands and then wrapping his arms around himself to keep warm.

At which point it came to me.

Koreans are foreigners!

It would explain a lot.

a) What they eat (Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you…. Kimchi!)
b) The importance of the “homogenous race” concept
c) Ajummas
d) Museums dedicated to roof-tiles (some of you think I jest here. I do not)
e) Did I mention Kimchi?

But ‘foreigners’ doesn’t fully capture it. Pondering, I looked deep into the smoky air, past the piles of garbage on the sidewalk, and my eye settled on some construction across the street: Construction occurring on a “foundation” of dirt; Garbage containing contamination that would kill most human; Polluted air that not only poisons humans, but traps EVEN MORE HEAT.

Then, I knew.

Koreans are aliens. Aliens terraforming earth so that it will support their hideous Insectoid masters (by which I think I mean their spoiled children?).

Koreans make no long-term plans for human habitation. What they do build is in hideous clusters of hive-buildings. They pour pollutants into the air that they can currently barely breathe (vide their constant hacking up of it onto the street). Carbon Dioxide levels increase, the climate changes (Global Warming anyone?), and their electronics (containing only God knows what chips and programming from the Hive-world) have become (in their hideous chirped and glottalized language) “ubiquitious.”

I expect, now that I have discovered their plot, they will come for me as I sleep (In Catholic school-girl uniforms, if they really want to ‘convert’ me). By tomorrow I will be speaking Korean, running kids down in intersections, and spitting promiscuously. I will have been “joined” into the hive. I don’t have time to purchase enough tinfoil to protect myself!

Tonight I send out a call to the civilized world,

Resist NOW!

Wear shoes inside the house
Buy American
Drink your coffee black
Refrain from spitting and ignoring traffic rules....

And somehow, someway, resist these monsters from outer space!


Off to the noraebang and then, probably, some Gimbap, soju, and then bed…


Aah.. I might drop an email off to the BKF as well….

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Another Reason to Move to Seoul

Cocktails in a Bag!

At Ewha, no less..


<----- a long exposure shot from last night..

Today was about wandering up to the Uam Park. It is named for some.. well... variously named Korean guy who I can't seem to find on the intarwebs. Still, it is a pretty little park, will certainly be a cool place to picnick when the OAF arrives, and behind it a series of trails lace the mountains. They all seem to lead back into Daejeon, which means that getting truly lost is pretty impossible as you're never more than a mile from the bottom of a hill, a road, and therefore a taxi.

There is also a nice looking little restaurant up behind the park - tucked into a little hollow with some trees overhanging. Another likely place to hang out when the full heat (and humidity of summer) is on me.

The Ajumma and Ajeossi were out in full force on the trails and it always boggles me the amount of clothing they can wear in some pretty decent heat. I would have been dead from heat-stroke in very few minutes, but except for one wussy-dude, they all made it to the top.

Finally, I am blessedly free of the hangover TSR gave me yesterday. The son of a bitch made world-class chili-con-carne, provided good conversation, and left the bottle of mandarin-infused soju in front of me.

I practically had to drink it, as I had accidentally (well, on purpose, but without knowing what it meant) drunk a glass of Korean wine. Some truly nasty tipple. I've been known to drink most anything, but that bottle of wine sat, forlornly on the table, unfinished. In fact, not a second glass was poured. It tasted like children's medicine, sweet, sickly, and chemical.

The wife (Korean) of the third guy there had purchased it and by the time we had all tasted it he had virutally dislocated his entire ego in apology. The wife had also purchased us a cake, so that was ok. But, man,..... you live in Korea... It gets hot and humid ... it freezes solid.. it has brief periods of temperance... how in the world did anyone think a wine grape could be grown in this climate?

If this is South Korea's version of juche, let it rot!

Anyway, the pics here are all of today's ramble, and, as usual, I have no idea what the bird included here is... other than, as HYS notes, it undoubtedly would taste like chicken. ;-)

When I got home the front door was open and there were some puddles of water on the tiles. This is not so unusual, as BPU pays an Ajumma to come by and clean the common areas of our apartment. She's pretty thorough, and the mop is her main weapon. So I expected to see her as I came around the corner. Instead I found Adam on a rickety stepladder, with a hose, attempting to siphon off the water flooding out of the boiler for the apartment on the bottom level. For some reason or other, the emergency (safety) overflow valve had tripped and water was pouring out the bottom of the thing. In the picture below that thing on the left that looks like a clear pipe is actually water pouring out.

The good folks at BPU were on the scene pretty quickly, and by the time I was back out of my apartment to come to the PC Bang, only a few traces of water remained on the floor and the front door was still open to let the drying continue.

Too bad, really.

I like other people's tragedies to be dramatic.


Anyway, the pic is here...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Be a Global Friend, Make a Global Friend!

Today I was a global friend. I participated in the “Green City Daejeon Project with Global Friends.” Which is just a way to say we went to a community tree-planting event. Adam, who lives below me, had a call from Mr. 째 (“Che” as closely as I can translate it from the local patois) that they needed waegukin for the opening of a new park on the ever-expanding edge of Daejeon.

So at about 1:00 this afternoon, Adam came down and we walked off to the designated meeting point beyond Daejeon station. We got there about 1:40, but the bus, scheduled to leave at 1:45, had already left.

We think.

Later events might support the argument that we had been instructed to get on a city bus. Who knows?
Anyway, if it had left early, as Adam sagely noted, it would be the first Korean bus, EVAR, to leave early.
Anyway, we called the man and after a bunch of dithering, decided to grab a cab and head over to the park. Cabs are one of the really great things about Korea – they (wait for it) are (here it comes….) ubiquitious and inexpensive. On the other hand, Korea has essentially no system of addressing places, so you can’t tell a cabbie to go to a certain address. Instead you have to
a) hope he knows the location to which you refer
b) come up with some local landmark he does know
c) give up, beat him with a stick, take his money and buy soju

Worse, Korean cities are built on the same planning principles that fleeing chimpanzees use when deciding to defecate – random expulsions and extrusions.

As it turns out, our cabbie had no idea where we were trying to go. This probably flowed directly from the fact that we had no idea where we were trying to go. Calls to Mr. Che were difficult, because he was also the guy on the mike at the event. Finally, by random walking around, we found the place. It was 45 minutes later and we were drenched in sweat, but it was a good thing we made it because we were about 15% of the “Global Friends.” In typical Korean style, the waegukin were asked to stand up and introduce ourselves. Thank God I have a bit of Korean (and none of it, yet, includes swear words).
Then it was on with gloves, up with the shovels, and grab a tree and clamber up the hill. There were enough attendees that it was one to three people per tree, and thus the actual tree installation was a negligible effort. I snapped some pictures to bring back for BPU and after we were done Adam and I played cultural ambassador with some local Koreans, including the high-school aged girl who was dragged over to us by her dad. Her eyes widened in obvious terror and shock every time I talked to her, but her dad wasn’t letting her lose this key chance to speak English.
After a few more photo ops, it was back onto the bus and a ride back to my 15-pyong Love Pad. More walking than I had anticipated, but it was a good way to work off the headache I earned last night at the TSR’s joint. He makes a mean chili con carne, but staying up til 1AM and blabbering like high-school girls (while drinking mandarin-infused soju) is a bad thing.
Not as bad as Korean wine, but that is a topic for another day.
The weather around here has just begun to get spectacular and today I took the camera out for a spin. Tomorrow is “Plant a Tree” Day in Daejon and I will be dragging the camera, and presumably the shovel, out for that one as well.

This time of year the plants bloom astonishingly fast and some of them also wither back away astonishingly fast. I wanted to take pictures of the bizarre tree that grew one set of flowers that looked like cherry blossoms and then another set of enormous flowers that looked like iris’ or something. Alas, when I got to those trees today, they had shed all of their blossoms and looked entirely quotidian. Maybe the will bloom again this spring, or even in the fall, after the rains have drenched the place.

Even without the schizo tree, I poked around campus a bit and too some pictures of the awesome reddish-purple flowers that are everywhere and some of the dark-read trees that are similarly omnipresent. There are also some pink flowers, and some green trees.

As you can tell by my descriptions, I am still a few units short of the old horticultural degree. It got up to about 27 degrees, so there were moments when I wished for a delicious icy beer, but as I am in Korea there is no such thing as a “delicious” beer (well, maybe in a bar somewhere in Seoul).

Then it was into the bat-office (where I snapped the lovely photo of my office that you see here) and the futile wait for Martin, The Scottish Reprobate (TSR). He didn’t show up by about quarter after noon and since I hadn’t eaten, I headed up to the restaurant that serves US food. Had a delicious grilled chicken sammich and some real coffee (black, as testosterone demands it) while I waited for TSR. He never showed there either, so with about 15 minutes before class, I headed up to the BPUni. I snapped photos along the way and spotted a gaggle of my students hanging out in front of the main building. Of course a couple of girls had to pose, and of course they had to flash peace signs. Peace signs and shouted “hello”s are, as we say around here, ubiquitous. We chatted amiably, and with almost complete shared incomprehension, for a bit and then I headed up and found that TSR was also not in his classroom yet. Headed back out and saw him, unshaven, struggling up the 103 steps we have to surmount to get to our building. He was sweating and untidy and said, “I was in my flat, hanging around in my underwear, and I realized it had become 12:30.” I noted that I had wrecked that particular car myself, and went in to the classroom to do the midterms. Had a couple of struggling students today, but nothing horrible. As soon as the test was done the kids wanted their results, so I let them have a quick look. No one seemed upset.

My best student (his lowest mark was a 4.75 out of 5) wanted to know what he had missed. We talked about articles and prepositions (the conversation was much snappier than that sounds) and I asked him why he was in the Japanese Studies program. He said he wanted to be a bartender and you’d better work in a bar that serves Americans and Japanese if you are going to be one. I wondered if he was referring to tips, but didn’t ask. He’s a keen student of language, and I also wondered why he “just” wanted to be a bartender, but, hey, not my business and a bit judgmental as well. Not to mention how stupid it would have been for me to persuade an apt lad to desert the one job that has done me the most service over the last 30 years! One of my other students, also an excellent speaker, says his “dream is to be a policeman.” Considering the low esteem in which cops are held in Korea, I also wonder about that. This is the same kid who ran in the water-race and I get the sense he is one of the most popular kids in the class; Something like the class captain, but I don’t know if Japanese Studies formally assigns them. I also have a woman who wants to be a tour guide, and another who wants to be a stewardess. Anyway, with the pressure off after the midterm, some of the JS students posed for me in the hallway outside the class.

Then, it was back outside to snap some lovely pictures that I stitched into a panorama. Watched some kids play soccer-volleyball for a while and then headed back to my office. On the way down I saw this semi-alarming sight – two doughty Korean lads walking down the street with what were, to all appearances, riifles. That has to be wrong, since I think Korea has pretty strong gun controls (Next step socialized medicine and mandatory abortions of non-homosexual fetuses!). I escaped the little assassins and came down to my office, where I sit typing this. On the way I saw the machine that spins all the wires in the sky. Something about appeasing the the "sky-gods" who bring death from above. I dunno, it makes no sense to me, but little does.

I’m waiting for TSR to show, but he might well head back to his pad for a shower. Also missed the OAF twice on IM today, so watching to see if she pops back up. She had an alarming story of cockroaches that I would like to hear more of.

This afternoon should be a bit more photography and then the inevitable cool slide into Sojuiced oblivion. I did run for 31 minutes today and that’s the kind of middling achievement that always seems to give me license to do evil things to my liver. I am busy preparing a list of of demands requests for a care package and high on that list will be something like diet powdered Hi-C. There are no diet drinks other than Coke Zero (even at the Costco) and while I do like juice, I don’t want to drink four bottles of it a day.

The OAF did arrive online and it looks like she will land in Korea in three weeks or so. I forgot to follow up the cockroach story L but will take another shot at it tomorrow morning. The sun is setting, in the Land of the Morning Calm, so I am off to Martin’s pad to try his chili and meet a man named Steven King.
(Cue eerie music….)

And that thing at the bottom is the worst stitched together panorama of Daejon, EVAR!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008



ScriptFrenzy certainly hasn't been working... I've been on page 10 since day two. ;-)

On the positive side I can now count to 19 in Korea and know several words for body parts (clean ones, at least).

Also, the review for the next Acta Koreana is creeping up to about 1,000 words and I have the whole scheme for it in my head.

I met with a tourism professor yesterday about my presentation for Fukuoka.. I logicked that if I had a Ph.D. co-author it might seem more attractive. So I let him see my work in very early process and I'll be surprised if that nightmare doesn't send him screaming away. ;-)

Making plans to go to Gwangju next month to take pictures of the 5.18 Memorial - a big date in Korean history when sections of Gwangju went toe to toe with dictator General Chun Doo-hwan and did ok ...... for about 4 days. Koreans, as they people do, have romanticised it a bit, but it was a pretty bad show...

Other than that, just kicking it Daejeon style (Soju!SOJU! SOJU!!!!)

Twice a Week Wonders

My writing class continues to be the best thing ever. All three women were there tonight with nearly final drafts of their papers. These were 4 pages, 5 pages and nearly 7. The seven page paper came from the student who had never written anything longer than two pages! Last week we had to go over plagiarism because of her writing (well, re-typing), and she actually came up after class and apologized for “letting me down.” I was flabbergasted and said, “no, no, no, this is exactly what this class is for – you didn’t let me down, you gave me a chance to teach.” Then she didn’t show up for the next class and I thought, “way to go idjit, you chased a good student out!”

But she emailed me yesterday and showed up today with her epic paper

As I looked over her paper and switched from the printed out to the page she had written on lined paper I became suspicious she had slid back on the plagiarism thing. I raised the issue gently.

She said, “oh no, I used the ‘close the book’ and write the ideas trick that we discussed last week.”

I reread her work and it just flowed, and in really nice structure and high-level vocabulary; a sneaking suspicion came over me. I told her it seemed she wrote better away from the computer and that I thought her handwriting was good enough that she could do that til the final version.

She said she had looked at her writing and noticed the same thing. With her left hand she described a line from her head, past her shoulder and down to her right hand. She said, “It flows when I write.”

So not only have we solved the plagiarism problem, but I think we’ve got the way she should write. I remember when I used to do that, legal pad, double-spaced, edit in the blank lines and then to the computer. I’d try that now, but my handwriting has deteriorated so badly that it would not be possible. Aaah.. deterioration.. the ongoing story of my life. ;-)

Anyway, all three students were beaming (and rightly so) by the end of the class and the ringleader said (pointing to another student), “Last week we talked after class, we would like to take this class again if you are teaching it again.” She paused.

I allowed as how it looked like it would be me.

She hunched over a little like she was pulling up a shawl, “Well, what we thought was, if there were no…..” Here she paused and made a gesture like she was shooing dogs or unruly children away, “strangers in the class, we could talk more.”

I laughed inside, because that was pretty Korean. The new students would be “strangers” and would only intrude. I said I had a plan for a split-level class, but that if there were a lot of new students they would have to be taught just as well. I puzzled over what “talking more” meant - it could be more high-level conversational practice (since the conversational classes tend to be very low level) or it could mean talking more about the topics before we write. Or it could mean something else I didn’t think of. I said, “Ok, that will be your last assignment next week, write me a description of what you would like to do if there were a second semester Academic Writing class.”

So if I get these ladies back, at least they will have done the class outline for me. ;-)

LSD baby… LSD!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's a Good Day When

1) You forget what day it is and you plan out the next TWO days of classes.

2) The Linksys network in one building of BPU is fully on and you file your income taxes E-lectronically

3) You also Limewire down about 15 new songs.

4) Full updates of system, iPod, and Adobe through the same network..

If there had only been more time I'd be up to my (insert body part here - so to speak) in gnarly porn.

As it is, I'll take it.

And tonight I meet with the Tourism Ph.D. who may want to work with me on the conference.

so far, so good...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lack of Pressure..

Teaching English in Korea is a pretty pressureless gig if you know English. Seems to be ok for some people who don’t know English at all. In some ways it is the clown car redux. The important difference being that you know you aren’t intended to be taken seriously.

Consequently, no pressure.

A condition that suits me.

This is a conclusion I come to after cobbling together a little numerical rubric I call the “Charles Montgomery Ratio of Head Bobbing, Hip-Shaking, and Rocking till our Cocks are Out to the Number of Songs that Play on His iPod Coefficient

I’m not entirely happy with the name of that. I like that it starts with my name and it does include “cock”. Also, “coefficient” sounds pretty scientific. But I know that I need to do some work on the name.

Anyway.. my number on that scale is now higher, and not just because I’ve moved from a Fahrenheit country to a Celsius one (which, I think, would have lowered my number?).

Still, as I sit here under the largely quieted (a story I must shortly tell) Thumper McMastodon and his amazing feets of stone? Music (I guess I mean songs) makes me unreasonably happy again. Sure, it all means nothing. Sure, I’m probably gonna die under the wheels of a Korean tax-cab. Sure this all dust in the wind (man, there’s one song that gets my trousers completely buttoned back up – what WAS wrong with those boys?). But man… every now and then?

I don’t much like using French words other than the traditional ones – “Surrender” – “Toast” – “Fries.”

But I believe “frisson” is the word and..

.. I’d write more, but I just said a French word. So I need a shower.

Or a mistress..

Then I’d still need a shower..

And a bagel… screw croissants… I’m all Dreyfuss up in around here baby…

There Must Be Something Wrong With His Camera

Cause his picture of this lovely house is all scratched and tore up...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Long day yestiddy..

Woke up early and decided to go running. This despite the fact that I ran the day before that. Before this sounds like an exercise schedule, or anything, I should note that my entire week of running added up to 7 miles. So that would be one mile, or “one large” as I call it when overestimating my effort, per day.


Then it was back home and off to the office to work on my school website. That and a long conversation with the OAF who is, as usual, worrying by making things up in her mind. She has constructed an enormous slave-narrative in her head about how work in a Hagwon will be. At the same time she has a narrative in which she is stranded, alone and without direction, in a cold universe of people who don’t’ care how English is taught. That these narratives are reasonably mutually exclusive means nothing.

At least I cleaned my desk as this psychodrama played out.

At home, I tried to learn me some Korean (I have purchased me a tutor, and this should help_.

Then it was off to the store to drop some money on THE social event of the season – the BPU Wayguk potluck/BBQ. Which actually turned out to be grand. Other than the fact that I dropped 10K Won on two ‘enormous’ baskets of spicy fried chicken bits that turned out to be largely basket.

Two baskets, really. The one basket which contained everything and the artificial (and much smaller) basket suspended within that was built out of aluminum foil. Let’s just say I was taken.
The social event, however, was grand if a bit cold (outdoors). Tons of food, tables of booze (including Tequila, Jaegermeister, Soju and other hard liquors that I stayed miles away from), and lots of folks.

I ate more than I usually do and drank more as well. Didn’t really pig out though, or get any more than buzzed. I’m still puzzling over this thing. In Korea, for a reason I can’t even begin to figure, I don’t overdo things. I miss drinking to oblivion!

My provisional theory is that I hate the United States. This is an unfortunate theory, however, as I plan to return. I suppose I’ll have to narrow it down a bit more.

These here pictures are of some birds that cavort outside my deck. I expect the owl-eyed, sparrow-chested, ellow-bellied sap-suckers who chase innocent birdies can help me with identification?

A Thing I Never Knew

Possessing a thoroughly US sense of geography, I had no idea that Russia actually shares a border with Korea. That's a weird looking little set of territorial ithsmusses (sp?).

Looks like a border war just waiting to happen.

Friday, April 11, 2008


UPGRADE #1 - The OAF has received a contract offer from an Hagwon here in South-Central. If she decides to visit the hood, she will be making a princely 2.3 mil (a direct result of the stupid immigration laws that Korea implemented but, hey, we'll take it!). Some details need to be figured out, but it looks likely that she will reverse that trip her ancestors made, yo so many years ago, across the land bridge (historical evidence indicates they were essentially kicked out). And land here. Excellent!

UPGRADE #2 - It seems likely (possible?) that I will get kicked up to a partly administrative gig here. There are a couple of organizational positions coming open and they need someone who has

a) A Masters (and this excludes more people than you would think)
b) Decent people skills (eye-contact while speaking, ability to control drool, excuses self to go to the bathroom)
c) Decent verbal skills (you'd think that any "English Instructor" would have these. Not so.)

The jobs would only get about a 10% raise, but they would also look oh so nifty on my resume when I return.

So.. it looks like this. If I get one of these jobs I will stay in Daejeon for that second year. If I don't, I will either return to the US (unlikely at this moment) or move up to Seoul for my second year.

I'm comfortable with any of these options right now.. so the next thing to do is get the OAF settled in and then see how the rest of this stuff plays out.

Next week midterms begin.. and since they mean brief chats with each student, they include no preparation. It's like another vacation!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

In Sleep What Dreams?

Wednesday off because of the parliamentary elections and last night Thumper and I had a chat and maybe worked out some of the noise issues. He was certainly much more quiet. He agreed to a real effort after 10 at night and I discovered that the early AM thing is something like PTSD caused bad dreams. He outlined a little bit of the bad luck he’s had, including the ‘gruesome’ death of his first wife. So, not much we can do about that, and I agreed that I’d just have to put up with it. I’m still going to try to get into that smaller, but better deal apartment up the hill, but this might help me get through the next 4 months to that point.

Then, of course, I couldn’t go to sleep til after midnight! Still, it was a good night of sleep and I was perky enough this morning to ignore the impending rain and go running. Went for 24 minutes and felt I could go more. But this was already 6 minutes more than my target, and as a fragile old man (and jelly-filled fat fuck) I don’t want to break something down, so I returned home to my frugal English instructor’s breakfast of a carrot and ramen. Delicious! Toss a vitamin in there to make up for all the nutrition that is lacking and I was ready to get on to my first bottle of Soju – I may not be able to vote, but goddamit I will celebrate democracy in Korea, even if it does cost me my liver!

Also, I got the galleys of my photo-article for Education About Asia. You can see it here (In PDF form) and I must say that JAE had never looked more beautiful nor BFK more handsome. I was unable to use the pic in which BFK looked like Bogie, but I think you get the idea. He should get married more often. In fact, we should all get married more often!

Or not.

The rest of the day should be the three w’s: Wreading, Writing, and Wrist-bending. The OAF has several phone interviews today (her ‘ethnicity’ already has popped up as a small problem) and if they go well I will be that much closer to losing my blessed hermit status. ;-)

Maybe she’ll get a quiet pad and I’ll spend all my time over there.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Got my copy of “Land of Exile” today from Acta Korean and I am about halfway plowed through it. The title gives the contents away, though I would also say that if this book were to get a subtitle it would be “And Collaboration.”

The “exiles” are all internal in the sense that no one is being sent to Japan or Manchuria (so far) and, in fact, some of the characters have created their own exilic states whilst still firmly planted in their traditional homes. The collaborations are also various, but so far there is at least one collaborator in each short story (and one brilliantly realized ‘career’ collaborator in Chun Kangyong’s Kapitan Ri). The stories also largely share the Korean fictional love of cycles.

But as I read the book, and the cover claims it is “the” anthology of Korean translated stories, I began to wonder if anyone in Korea could write a story that wasn’t about exile and/or collaboration? I quickly realized how idiotic/backwards that question was – “hey, over here! The white guy wants a different kind of story!” The question I should have asked myself was “how freaking big has the Japanese occupation, the civil war, and the split of the country (and the essentially dual occupation that followed) been to have had this enduring effect?”

I’m trying to think of anything comparable in a European state and coming up blank.

You probably need a small country and you probably need homogenous people. But you most certainly need something that has an impact that (quite literally) sweeps back and forth across an entire country and tears every physical and social structure to pieces. The Civil War in the US? Not so much. You could pretty much avoid that out in the Northwest and in the end the country still was what the country had been. The plague in Europe? Arguable for size of impact, maybe, but not physical destruction and psychic tearing, I think – If anyone knows of something suggesting the plague had long-term destructive effects on the socio-political layout of any European country

This gets to many thing . The “rudeness” towards strangers is beyond Confucian – but it is a sensible way to act when anyone you don’t know could be a collaborator. The relative xenophobia of Korea is also an obvious result. Even the local building style – without any pretense of permanence – seems a logical outcome of such a shattering history. I wonder how far this analysis could be pressed?

It’s like if the 49ers had ever lost a Super Bowl, but like.. almost twice that big!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I Return To Favor with the Godz of Trash...

For two weeks now (maybe more) I have stalked the trash-piles of Daejeon with no success. Today I was at the office and idly contemplating the picture that you see to the right. I had picked this up some time ago and since I was on the way to work, I had taken it there and left it.

It hit me in a flash! By not taking this thing home and hanging it on the wall, I had offended the mighty God of Urban Recycling (by which I mean trash-pile-diving). So I brought it home, pulled out one of the home photos (one still remains there on the lower left) and hung it on an existing screw in my wall. This was about noon.

Then I headed off to the PC Bang to contact the lovely OAF. Shockorama, she was actually online and so we chatted for an hour or two.

As I left the PC Bang I found that my analysis had been correct. The mighty God of Urban Recycling had been punishing me for lack of appreciation. And that punishment has been lifted. I walked out the door and the solution to my desktop clutter was just sitting there on the curb. It has a lovely drawer at the bottom and a felt-lined space on the top. Ideal! It looks lovely next to my 80 cents worth of folders in my $1.60 folder-holder.

Since I have also purchased 2 plants, at the rather steep cost of $4.40 for both, my household expenditures are now spiking somewhere near the $30 range (the big money was for the broom and the "dryer").

Now that I am back on the good side of the only important God, I expect that my little flat will be fully furnished in less than two months..
Trash, wont pick it up
Take them lights away
Trash, wont pick it up
Dont take your life away
Trash, dont try to take my life away

And please dontcha ask me if I love you
If you dont know what I'm doin (whatcha know is)
Smoggy day here in Daejeon – I haven’t checked to see if it is yellow dust or just good old smog. This is mainly because I don’t want to know. But I can barely even see the northern mountains, which is never a good sign.

Makes me glad I took my hill-hopping expedition yesterday when it was much more clear. I walked up behind BPU and caught a trail that runs up into the hills that separate BPU from a more prestigious college on the other side. A brief walk up past terraced gardens and then up to a low saddle intersected by a ridge trail that I followed both ways. To the right is a hillside cemetery. Although calling it that is a bit wrong, since it is really just a collection of mounds and tombs scattered on the hillsides. I’m not sure how the ownership of these funeral mounds goes? I have read, on other blogs, that redevelopment sometimes forces ‘owners’ to move them, but that’s about as much as I know.

One bad thing about BPU is that its Language Institute structure effectively walls of Korean and White employees, so I don’t yet have someone local to ask these questions of. The English instructors, meanwhile, could really care less and when I ask questions like this they look at me like I am mildly retarded (yeah, I know). In any case, I came down the hill sort of hot and definitely dusty.

Anyway, the tombs, some lovely flowers (this photo does not do justice as I had my white balance all messed up) and the path surely taken.

Today’s walk will be less strenuous - flat and towards the old market. I’m going to try to find the DICC because I hear there are some interesting web-based publication opportunities associated with it. But first, off to the PC Bang to post this tripe.

What Can't Cheonggukjang (and its mucous) Cure?

Get you bad self cured!

poly-gamma-glutamic acid (PGA), a major ingredient of mucous materials in the dish, was effective in treating xerophthalmia and corneal wound in animal tests.
Because I care, with a lovely pic of said mucous. Perched tantalizingly on a spoon:

Saturday, April 05, 2008

"F Korean Police (An I Said It With Authority!)"


The police looked as this video (check out how tough the little girl is) and didn't investigate.

Fortunately neighbors got busy (what you can't tell in that video is that the second clip is ajummas coming to the rescue through the stairwell and that the third clip is the shithead escaping out the elevator) and it raised such a stink that President Lee came down to the Police Station to bust some heads.

Good explantion of the whole thing over here at Occidentalism.


I forgot to add one of my favorite things from yesterday - the dude in the mask, to protect himself from pollution, who kept pulling the mask down to take a big old pull on cigarette after cigarette.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday becomes Freeday

It was a lovely day in Daejeon. I had gone to bed a bit late last night –Social Club Night- but Thumper was there as well, so he didn’t wake up quite as early as normal, nor did he do his “midnight confessions.” I was a bit shaggy when I woke up. I only had three beers at the SC, but they were 500cc which are, I think, bigger than pints?

But I wandered up to work and quickly Questia’d a bit more of the book I will be reviewing. I now have about .25 of the short stories (three to read tonight) and since I also figured out how to use the English floor of the BPU Library, I have “Traditional Korea A Cultural History.” It should be a good reading weekend. I went up to a restaurant where all the partiers from last night were going. Good thing I left early as it turned into a soju-shot party. I’m too old for that, I’m afraid. Still, shot the shit with a bunch of instructors and had a US quality grilled cheese sammich and US quality coffee. This cafe was opened by the wife of an instructor and I think she might make a mint. No other Korean has noticed that there are about 100 rich (relatively speaking) foreigners all trapped in one building. This is classically Korean. Most Koreans could no more imagine the inside of the head of a non-Korea than they could turn themselves inside out and crap gold bricks. They don’t see potential markets because, well, to be honest, since nothing is better than Kimchi, why serve anything else? It is a version of the general Korean marketing problem – inability to understand that others might have other things they like.. The proprietress has figured this out and the place has some hours where it does gangbuster business. It also makes some very western cakes and cookies and that seems to have caught on with students (she is two blocks down the main road from the University Gate). I predict success. She’ll see me at least two times a week just because she has real coffee.

After that, I thought I’d head up to the Uni. My classes had been cancelled for some kind of Freshman Athletic Event and I thought I’d see if my Japanese Studies students were on the field, winning glory (The pics you see here are from that event). I’d run in the morning, so my legs were a bit creaky, but I found the students and spent the next three hours watching bizarre Korean team-building exercises. In the “race with a bowl of water” the Japanese Studies team busted out in the early stages. One of the guys in my class, Wolf, ran like.. well a wolf and handed the JS team the “come from behind” lead in the second stage. Sadly, he then handed off to some guy who promptly surrendered the lead and then.. it was unclear.. handed off to another runner (a woman in my class) and the two either got tangled up, or she just plain corkscrewed in. She got up and finished her lap, but the spill meant the team finished second to last. Still, not last, so although it was sad that an accident occurred, some other team became the nerds.

The “track” was just chalk lines on one of those malignant dirt-n-spit soccer pitches and although the woman tried to walk off the abrasion on her arm, the team leader just about screamed the scratched woman’s head off. There was no way the team leader was letting the abrasion lay untreated and the non-fallen comrade was dragged off to the medical tent for some thorough cleaning, spraying with life-icide, and a rather impressive bandage. Can’t have the tuition paying kiddies expiring in their first terms!

Then there was a soccer game. It was a mind-numbing nil-nil tie at the half, but the All-Whites woke up in the second half and scored twice directly after halftime. Then it went all mind-numbing again. I don’t think I’ll ever completely enjoy watching soccer unless they legalize flamethrowers and ninja stars. I’ll also be needing completely nude cheerleaders.

Wandered back down home, where I sit with a delicious Soju cocktail (yeah, it’s past 5) contemplating a trip to the PC Bang to post this thing and do some preliminary sucking up to Education in Asia about possible photo opportunities in the future.

The other thing that happened last night, was I saw the flat I want next term. My Scotts friend is leaving and he had me up to take a look at his room. It is just up the road. It is top floor(!) and in the back. And it has three times the storage this joint has. Even better? All utilities are assessed at 60K won per month. The place is smaller (one bedroom as opposed to living room and bedroom) and only has the electric cooking top, but everything else is golden. The bed is also a nice double so if OAF ever shows up she won’t have to sleep on the floor. I have to figure out how to make sure I get this place. There’s some knob-polishing in my future, that’s for sure. ;-)