Sunday, December 28, 2008
What Public Holiday falls on October 3?
- National Foundation Day-0 (0%)
- Constitution Day-0 (0%)
- Liberation Day-2 (100%)
- Independence Movement Day-0 (0%)
- Memorial Day-0 (0%)
The answer is National Foundation Day. Constitution Day is July 17, which is the day that the ROK was founded in 1948. Liberation Day is August 15, which was the day that the Japanese surrendered to the Allies during World War II. Independence Movement Day is on March 1. This was the day in 1919 that the Koreans started protesting Japanese occupation. Memorial Day, June 6, is for the people who died serving their country.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Today, in another class, a student mentioned something about panties. I had to explain to them that boys wear undershorts and girls wear panties. They believed me more than the other class did. I also told them that the general term is underwear. I guess in Korea they are not taught that their are differences in names for men's and women's undergarments. Either that, or they do not make underwear designed for men.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
For this Halloween, I even got in on some pumpkin carving. There was a pumpkin sitting on the counter and our (now) former branch manager asked me if I knew how to carve pumpkins. I told him I did and he said he didn't so I had to help carve the pumpkin. The pumpkins was not like the ones that people normally carve in America. This one was very flat. It was a light orange and it did not have much of a stem to it. This pumpkin was one of the pumpkins that one can buy at the store throughout the year. It was a very thick pumpkin; there was no danger of scraping it so much that a hole would be scraped through. It was so flat, that after we carved a nose and two eyes in it, there was not enough room for a mouth. We had a candle that was about 3 inches tall, but it was too tall for this pumpkin. After we put it in the pumpkin, it was sticking out through the hole in the top. So then our office manager had to cut the candle in half so that it would be short enough to glow inside the pumpkin. Some of the kids thought that the carved pumpkin was pretty neat.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
After the meeting was over, we had lunch together. It was seafood. All of the other times when I have eaten with a big group like that we had beef or pork so this was quite a treat. It was communal eating, which is the manner in Korea. There were three stations that had a boiling pot of bean sprouts, mussels, shrimp, oysters, and a large crab. Then, as we were sitting down, somebody came and put a live animal in the pot. In one of the pots, the critter crawled out before it was dead! Eventually it died and we were able to cut it up with scissors, which is how all meat is cut when it is cooked at the table like that. After I had a piece of a leg I asked if it was octopus or squid. I was told that it was neither but it was a creature similar to an octopus or squid. I can't remember the Korean name for this beast.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
- Narita International Airport-0 (0%)
- Gimhae International Airport-1 (33%)
- Incheon International Airport-2 (66%)
- Gimpo International Airport-0 (0%)
The correct answer is Incheon International Airport. It is 52 km west of Seoul and is located on a little island. It was officially opened in March 2001. Gimpo International Airport, in Seoul, used to be the main international airport, but it could not keep up with the increasing number of international passengers after the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Gimhae International Airport is in Busan. Narita International Airport is in Tokyo.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I had been looking into different places in Korea for LASIK. Only one place in Korea had its website in English. I could have gone to a place in Pusan, but I would have had to take along a Korean speaker to translate for me, which I did not want to ask anybody to do. I even saw on thw website that one of the doctors had studied LASIK at Stanford and UCLA, so I knew for sure that he spoke English. I decided to spend my vacation time in Seoul so that if I did have the surgery, then it would not put a crimp in my plans. If I did not have the surgery, then I could sight see in Seoul.
I had an appointment for a consultation on Wednesday at 2:00. I had a little trouble getting there from the subway station but I called them and they told me how to get there. There were 24 tests that I had to go through. Some were to see if I was a good candidate and some were to see how much correction was necessary. After about an hour and a half to two hours, it was determined that I was a good candidate. I was given a choice between the Wavefront laser or the conventional laser. I chose the Wavefront laser because it is more precise. It would cost an additional 300,000 won. All in all, the surgery was going to cost 2, 300,000 won. They gave me a discount of 200,000 won and then would give me an additional discount of 100,000 won if I paid in cash. The day that that was quoted, the exchange rate was 1116 won to the dollar.
Since I was not going to have the surgery until Friday, I spent part of Thursday, looking for a Nonghyup Bank so that I could withdraw 2,000,000 won. I asked somebody at the front desk where there was one and he told me. I either did not follow his directions correctly or he told me wrong (or both). I did not find it. I remembered though that he told me Insadong street, so I went there and walked down the street. Eventually, I found one. I took a number and when it was my turn, I gave my passbook to the teller and wrote 2,000,000 on the back of my number. There was a slip that I had to fill out. I wrote down my account number and then he had some other customer who was leaving write something in Korean and then 2,000,000 won. After a few minutes of processing and him having another teller help him, he gave me the money in cash. Carrying that much money in cash is like carrying $2,000 in ten-dollar bills. I had to figure out how to get two bundles of money into my purse. I immediately went back to the hostel and put the money in a bag and put it in the freezer, since there was no safe for my jewels.
The next day, I had the surgery. I was a bit nervous. They had to redo some of the tests, but it was just the ones that determined the amount of correction. I had to put a gown on over my clothes and put on a hair net. They put several drops of anesthetic drops in my eyes. The surgery before mine had not started yet so I was able to watch one eye for that person done. Then I was taken into another room where somebody washed my face and put in more drops. Finally, it was my turn. I lay down on the operating table and then they covered my face. They did the right eye first and so they covered my left eye with gel so that it would not dry out. They taped my eyelashes down and then held my eye open. Then came the microkeratome, which is used to cut a flap in the cornea. Then the doctor lifted the flap and ablated the cornea with and laser. He then cleaned the cornea and put the flap down. He did the same with the left eye. Then "Congratulations" by Cliff Richard started playing. It was over. I rested a while in the recovery room. The doctor examined my eye with a slit lamp microscope again. I went back to the guesthouse where I stayed just for that night. My eyes were pretty sore so I just lay there with my eyes closed because they hurt less closed. Later, I went outside and was amazed by how well I could see. There were halos around lights, but that is normal while my eye is healing. I have three different kinds of drops that I have to use. My vision will improve for 1-4 days after the surgery and then will stabilize in 1-4 months. It's weird to be able to see.
The website for the clinic where I went is http://www.hellolasik.com/eng_site/index.asp.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
- stainless steel-0 (0%)
- plastic-1 (25%)
- wood-1 (25%)
- clay-2 (50%)
The answer is stainless steel. This tradition was started during the Joseon dynasty. The upper class people believed that using silver would warn of evil because silver would tarnish in the presence of evils. The lower classes practiced this belief as well, but they could not afford the silver and so they would use cheaper metals. Spoons are also stainless steel as well. Many restaurants use metal cups and bowls.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
- 52-2 (25%)
- 30-2 (25%)
- thousands-3 (37%)
- 24-1 (12%)
The correct answer is 24. Of course, when some of them are combined, they create new sounds, like when a and u or p and h are put together. There are 24 basic characters, 14 consonents and 10 vowels. The Korean alphabet is called hangul and it was invented by King Sejong. Prior to its invention and for many years after, people used Chinese characters for writing. King Sejong felt that since Korean was another language, it should have its own writing system. In addition, people could not get the proper meaning across when writing with Chinese characters. He invented the alphabet in such a way that illiterate people could read. The characters give you directions on how to pronouce the word. For example, some of them are shown the way that the tongue is suppose to move. When you see Korean, there are several characters that make up one syllable. All syllables have to have a consonent and a vowel. When the vowel is lying down, the consonent is over it and when the vowel is standing, the consonent is standing beside it. When there is a consonent at the end of the syllable, it goes under the other letters.
The letters must be written a particular way. There is a right way and there is a wrong way. You can't just go about writing the lines in any way that you want. There is a particular order that you have to follow. You have to draw from left to right and from up to down. I see this translated into the way that the kids write. Whearas most of us dot our 'i's and cross our 't's last, they do the dotting and the crossing first. On Friday, I was informed that I write my capital Hs wrong. I had the middle section sticking out on either side. A student showed me the proper way to write an H.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Later, I wanted to have the transactions printed in my passbook. They still use passbooks for accounts here instead of people writing the transactions in a check register. You put the book in a machine, but not the same one used to pay bills. The machine then prints all the transactions that have not been printed yet. I could not figure out how to use the machine because it was in only Korean. I was able to use this machine to get money out with my ATM card because it could be used in English. I went up to one of the tellers and pointed to the page in the passbook. It took her a second to figure out what I wanted. I felt retarded not saying anything and just pointing. In the end, I did get the transactions printed.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Next week, I'll have a different schedule from what I have now. I'll be teaching six classes everyday and will have ten groups of students. Right now, I have eight groups of students. This term I taught the lower levels, which can be harder to teach because the students are younger and they don't understand as much English as the other kids. It's also easy to sound like a broken record. Next term, I'll have more upper-level classes.
The one lower-level class that I will teach next term, if all goes according to plan, is one that I'm teaching right now. It's our lowest level course, but there is more freedom with the methodology because the class is unique to Pusan. Sometimes, it can be hard to keep the kids' attention. Today, we played hangman at the end of class and the kids seemed to like it. The kids did not know how to play so at first it was a bit hard getting them to guess letters. After they got the hang (no pun intended) of it, they were all yelling out letters and wanted to play hangman with another word.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
- 8, 32-0 (0%)
- 7,30-1 (33%)
- 8, 31-0 (0%)
- 7, 31-0 (0%)
- 7, 29-2 (66%)
The correct answer is 8, 31. In Korea, everybody gets a year older at the start of a new year, not on the birthday. The only way that a person's Korean age matches his/her Western age is when he/she was born on January 1. Here in Korea, I am 23, even though I am 22 in the United States. When I ask the students their ages, they tell me their Korean ages. So, if a student tells me he is 10, then I have to remember that he is nine if his birthday has passed and eight if his birthday has not passed.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The results are as follows:
- Kim, Park, Chow 0 (0%)
- Park, Honda, Lee 0 (0%)
- Kim, Lee, Park 3 (60%)
- Lee, Park, Chen 0 (0%)
- Kim, Park, Cho 2 (40%)
- Shin, Lee, Kim 0 (0%)
The correct answer is Kim, Lee, Park. Chow and Chen are Chinese and Honda is Japanese. This information comes from Tongku Lee in his book Yes, You Can Learn Korean Language Structure in 40 Minutes! Kim is the most common family name in Korea. In fact, in one of my classes, there are 12 students and six of them are Kim. In Korean, the family name comes first. A person's name can be two, three, or four syllables, but most are three. The first syllable is the family name and the last two are the given name. It is impolite to call a person by just his/her given name unless that person is younger than you or is a child. You call a person by his/her full name or by his/her title and family name. Women do not change their names when they get married. The children have their father's family name.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
The results are as follows:
- Daeseong 1 (33%)
- Panmunjom 2 (66%)
- Gijeong 0 (0%)
- Chuncheon 0 (0%)
The correct answer is Panmunjom. Daeseong and Gijeong are both villages within the DMZ. Chuncheon is just a city in South Korea. Thank you to everybody who voted.
Daeseong is located in South Korea. It is known as Freedom Village. The people who live there are from families who lived there before the Korean Conflict. Its residents do not have to pay taxes and men living there are except from the two-year military obligation. Farmers in Daeseong have about 17 acres of farmland, whereas farmers in the south have about 4 acres. Women can marry into the village but men cannot because it would exempt them from the military service. Farmers in Daeseong make about $82,000 tax-free. The residents have an 11:00 curfew.
Gijeong is in North Korea and is known as Propaganda Village. There are no residents there, only maintenance staff. It is Propaganda Village because for six to twelve hours a day, propaganda about Kim Il-Sung and Kim Jong-Il is played to anybody around, with the hopes that they will defect to North Korea.
There is a lot of competition between the two Koreas. South Korea built a flagpole near the Military Demarcation Line. That flagpole is 100 meters tall. North Korea decided to build a bigger one. That flagpole is 160 meters tall and is the biggest and tallest flagpole in the world. The South Korean flagpole looks puny by that North Korean flagpole. When Seoul hosted the 1988 Olympics, the Olympics Committee gave South Korea an Olympic flag. The Republic of Korea gave it to Daeseong to show off to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea since they decided not to participate in the Olympics that year.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Wednesday, I had to get up early and go to Camp Kim in Seoul because the bus was leaving at 7:30 a.m. I had to follow a dress code and anybody who did not follow the dress code was not allowed on the tour. On the way to Camp Bonifas, our tour guide told us about the fence that was along the river. This river started in North Korea and it had a fence along it in South Korea because North Koreans would use their marine skills to get into the South. There were also white stones in the fence. The stones would fall if anybody tampered with the fence. There were also watchtowers along the river with soldiers in them.
As we got closer, there was a bridge that we had to get military clearance to pass. There were blocks set up every few meters on alternating sides of the road. We had to weave around these blocks. We we got to Camp Bonifas, a US Army soldier had to check everybody's ID. We later had to switch buses and get onto an ROK Army secured bus. We went to Ballinger Hall where we were given a briefing about the Korean War, the history of the DMZ since the war, what we must not do, and the requirements to be a soldier stationed at the DMZ. Right now, there are about 600 soldiers there. About 40 are American soldiers and the rest are ROK. All South Korean men have to serve in the military for at least two years. Most South Korean men there are fulfilling their military obligation.
ROK and US soldiers at the DMZ have to have spotless civilian and military records. US soldiers have to have above average height, size, and aptitude. ROK soldiers have to be taller and bigger than the average ROK soldier. They must also have basic fluency in written and spoken English and they must have a black belt in Taekwondo or Judo.
We went to Reunion Hall, which is right on Conference Row. The building was built so that families separted by the DMZ could reunite; however, because the DPRK will not allow its people to go there, the hall has not been used for that purpose. There are six buildings on Conference Row, each side has three and the buildings are divided in half by the Military Demarcation Line. We went into one of these buildings and I stepped onto the side that is in North Korea. There is a door there and the door is guarded by an ROK soldier and anybody who tries to go past him will be stopped.
I'll tell more about the JSA and the two villages within the DMZ after I reveal the answer to this week's question. To do so beforehand would give away the answer.
Our last stop of the day was to the Third Infiltration Tunnel. This tunnel was discovered in 1973 after a North Korean defector who had worked on it had tipped off the ROK. The entrance into the tunnel is very steep. Before going in, the tour guide told us not to go if we had asthma, heart problems, claustrophobia, arthritis, etc. The tunnel was very short. We all had to wear hard hats. There were a few places where there was some metal-pipe canopies. I hit my head a couple of times. They said that the tunnel was two meters deep, but I do not think that it was that much. The tunnel is big enough that 30,000 North Korean soldiers could march into South Korea within an hour.
The tour guide on my bus said that the PAK soldiers were the short, skinny, brown-skinned soldiers. The other tour guide said that the tunnel is so small because it was made for North Koreans. His two kids are taller than he, just like all of us. The South Koreans have better nutrition than the North Koreans and this is why. I have seen several South Korean men who are over six feet tall. Their nutrition while they were growing helped them to get that tall. I have seen adults in other countries who did not grow to their full potential because of poor diet.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, I decided to take a walk. I hiked up Dalmaji Hill. I live at the bottom of it. I heard that there was a good view from it. When I got to the top, I could not see much of the city because there were trees in the way. About halfway up (and down) I got a really good view of the bay. I could see all of Haeundae Beach, and the bridge by another beach. It was bit dark so maybe I'll take another walk up it when it is light.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I mention this because the staff at our school went out to a restaurant tonight. It was a buffet. It was like any other buffet that you could have gone to, except in this one, we were able to barbecue meat at the table. Each table had a barbecue station and we were able to cook pork and beef at the table. Nine of the ten employees at the school were there and we had our one little room. Since it was a buffet, we obviously did not get doggie bags, but people here do not usually get doggie bags anyway--they just leave the food at the restaurant. One may think that is very wasteful, but not really if you know what they then do with the food.
In my first week here I was told this and I confirmed it tonight. The leftover restaurant food goes to the pigs. That is why pork is so cheap here. In the McDonald's here, there are two trash receptacles, one for the wrappers and one for the food. Perhaps if there were something like that, not necessarily pigs, in the United States, then maybe they would not have been complaints about people wasting food because people bought the Happy Meal just for the Teenie Beenie Baby and then threw away the food. Restaurants here do not have take-out containers. If you order out some food, then it comes in the restaurant's dishes and then when you are done eating, you just put the dishes outside the door, uneaten food included.
Instead of choosing the stupidest possible way to get dog food, the South Koreans have found a way to feed the pigs and use the food that would have gone in the garbage anyway. I wonder if they feed pork to the pigs as well.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
What do all these numbers mean?
- Power Distance is the extent to which members in a group who are not in a powerful position to expect the power to be distributed inequally. In South Korea, less powerful people are less likely to expect equal power.
- Individualism is the opposite of collectivism. People in individualistic cultures are more likely to believe in every man for himself; whereas people from collectivistic cultures are more likely to think about the groups' welfare. The United States is very individualistic, but South Korea is very collectivistic.
- Masculinity of a culture does not refer to whether everybody is very masculine or feminine. The masculine pole means assertive, but the feminine pole means modesty. What this means is that the women in South Korea are not nearly as assertive and competitive as the the women in the United States.
- The Uncertainty Avoidance Index measures a culture's tolerance for ambiguity. The South Koreans have a much lower tolerance for uncertainty than Americans have.
- Long-term orientation is the opposite of short term orientation. Values associated with Long-term orientation are thrift and perserverance, but values that go with Short-term orientation are respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations, and protecting 'face.' Both poles of this dimension are from Confucius.
If reading this post has not bored you to death, you can go to http://www.geert-hofstede.com/ for more information about the five cultural dimensions. I first heard about these dimensions in a Spanish class in college.
I've decided that for the poll, after this one is over, that I will instead have trivia questions about South Korea. When the poll is over, I'll put the results in a post as well as the answer and a little bit about it. For example, if the question were "Where is South Korea?," I'd give a few choices, only one of which would be the correct answer. The post about the poll would look like this:
- South America-0
South Korea is located in Asia, on the Korea Penisula. It is south of North Korea, east of China, and west of Japan.
I live in the 10th floor. Luckily there is an elevator. My building is two blocks from the nearest subway station. It's the second stop on the line and so when I get on the subway there are always seats. If I open the window and stick my head against the screen and look a certain way, I can see part of Haeundae Beach, the most famous beach in South Korea. It is about a 15-minute walk from my apartment. I live down the street from the beach. The best time to go there right now is at night. I went there on a Saturday afternoon and there were so many people there. It is a swimming beach. Even at high tide, there are not many waves so surfing is not feasible. They have life guards going back and forth on jet skis and motorized life rafts. During the day, there are so many umbrellas set up that one can rent for 5,000 won (about $5).
You have to step up to get into the apartment after you come in past the door. The living space is hardwood floor, but there is linoleum by the door. In South Korea, when you go into somebody's home, you take off your shoes. That area is there so that you can leave your shoes at the door. Whereas most doors to homes and apartments open in in American homes and apartments, the doors apartments here open out. The bathroom is also a step down. My bathroom is bigger than what I expected. There is actually a separate space for the shower, but it drains into a hole by the sink. You have to get the floor wet to take a shower here. During training, some of the people who had already been in South Korea, and saw their apartment said that there was not a separate space for the shower. If you were lazy, you could sit on the toilet while you take a shower.