Thursday, October 8, 2009
A week before, a lady inside the subway station near where I work was handing out a newsletter in Korean and packages of tissues from her church, which was located at that subway station. The package of tissues had directions as to how to get to the church and the times for their services. After work, I was solicited by a group of Jehovah's Witnesses standing outside of E-Mart. They were handing out booklets about problems within families.
The Thursday before I was solicited by these other groups, I was walking home from other store and a young man who was Jehovah's Witness started talking to me. I kept walking, but since I did not ignore him when he was talking to me, he was walking with me and gave me one of the pamphlets that they give when they are looking for new members.
These were not the only times that I have been solicited to join a church here, but the other times were spread out. Because I live in a big city here, I've had more experience with religious zealots here than I had in America. All these people who have given me information or had a conversation with me about their religion were Koreans. Most of them assume that I speak English, but a couple of them have asked. Sometimes I feel tempted to pretend that I don't speak English. I once told my South African friend that he should pretend that he does not understand English and then start speaking Afrikaans.
One time, I was waiting for the subway to come and when it did, there was a Mormon missionary sitting in the train and he saw me and waved. Since I didn't want to appear rude, I waved back. Then, when I got on the train, I went to the other end of the train car to sit because I didn't want to sit by him. That is the most communication that I have had with any foreign missionaries. The other times that I have seen Mormons, either they chose to not talk to me or I made sure that they did not see me.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I first heard about the news of Kim's death from one of the Korean teachers who told me about his passing. Around 4:50, she told me during one of the breaks that Kim Dae-jung* had died and that he had had pneumonia. Later, when I went home, I took the subway and at the exit near my house, there was a stack of eight-page newspapers that was a special edition published after his death. On the front page, there was a large picture that took up over 3/4 of the page. The rest of it had some ads and quite a bit of information about his life. I picked up a similar paper after Roh Moo-hyun had died as well. It was interesting to me that people would be informed that way because although I never lived in a big city to know, I don't think that the death of a president would be announced by special newspaper anymore. Perhaps it is a holdover from the days when South Korea was not as technologically advanced as it is now, as most Koreans have access to the Internet (high-speed no less) and virtually everybody has a cell phone.
*Until today, I was did not know how to pronounce the second syllable to his name. I thought it was jung with a short u sound, but instead it is an oo sound. Jung is a possible spelling for the family name 정, which can be pronounced with a short u sound, a short o sound, or like 'jong' as in Kim Jong-Il (김정일). When Roh Moo-hyun died, I was not familiar with the family name 'Roh,' but when I saw his name in Hangeul (노무현), I knew the family name Noh. I find that although I read slower in Korean than in English, it easier to read Korean in Hangeul than it is with Roman letters due to different romanization methods and the lack of clear syllables.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The first thing one does is check-in and get a locker number. Then, one goes upstairs to where the shoe lockers are and puts the shoes inside and takes the key. Then, one goes through the entrance and gets a uniform and towels. The women's uniforms are faded olive green shorts and a maroon t-shirt and the men's uniforms are very burnt orange shorts and a tan t-shirt. Then, one goes into the locker rooms and gets changed. After that, one goes out to where the rooms and outdoor foot baths are. The water was around 40 degrees Celsius. Some of the rooms are very hot, around 60 degrees Celsius. These hot rooms are called jjimjilbang (찜질방). There is a relaxation room and on the third floor, there is a room full of recliners and televisions. The speakers were in the head rests and it was impossible to hear the televisions of anybody else. The spa also has a restaurant, business center, nail salon, hair salon, and massage room. When one if ready to leave, it is time to take a bath. The public baths are entered from the locker rooms. One has to wash before getting into the public baths. The baths are not too different from a hot tub, except that everybody is naked. There is also an outdoor hotsprings. After one gets dressed, one checks out and gets one's shoes.
I was a bit nervous about going into the public baths for the first time because I'm not an exhibitionist, but then everything was okay. I was the only Westerner in the locker rooms. Unlike in many locker rooms in the Western world, nobody went out of her way to cover up in front of everybody, and there weren't really any private showers. The public baths is an experience that is not so bad after experiencing it; however, I would not want to go to a public bath in America.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
There were a few events that were attention-getting. One of the batters got hit hard in the arm. Another player broke the bat and the part that he was not holding flew to first base. The biggest excitement was that #10 Lee Dae Ho (이대호) hit a home run and one of the students from the academy where I teach caught that ball. I did not see it, but apparently he brought it into the school. It was not one of my students; I taught this student for only a month last summer.
Because of the fear of swine flu, I have to take some precautions. I am prohibited from going into work. I have to take my temperature at 10:00 a.m. and 5 p.m. and then send the readings to the manager so she can send them to the headquarters in Pusan and then onto Seoul. I'm supposed to stay at home and if I do go out in public, then I have to wear a mask. There is a fear that foreigners will pass it around and in addition, it is believed that foreigners do not have as good an immune system as the Koreans because a lot of new teachers get sick when they first come to Korea. I cannot leave Pusan.
As a result of this, I have to write letters to all the students and parents. It will take a while because I have so many students. Luckily, this is a paid mandatory vacation. At first it looked like nobody was getting anything for this week off, but I will. I don't want to stay at home all this time, but the advantage to that is that I don't have to wear a mask.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Shinsegae Centum City is not the only fancy thing in Centum City. It is next to a small Lotte Department store and BEXCO (Busan Exhibition and Convention Center). Centum City is an urban development project in Pusan. (Pusan is the old Romanization of 부산 and Busan is the new Romanization.) There are many fancy apartment buildings there. There is a Trump Towers and Centum Park is a very fancy apartment complex. Centum City is located in the Haeundae district of Pusan. Haeundae New Town is a beachfront community.
Shinsegae Centum City is very close to where I live and work. Above is a map of the Busan Subway. My subway stop is Jung-dong on the green line. Three subways stops away, Busan Museum of Modern Art, is where I work and one stop from that, Centum City, is where the store is located. All three stops are located in Haeundae. Before Shinsegae opened, I would have to ride the subway for a half an hour or longer if I wanted to go to a nice department store. The closest one that I know of is the main Lotte store in Pusan, which is located at Seomyeon station, which is on the green and orange lines. That store has only 10 floors above ground and two or three basement floors. Before Shinsegae, I thought Lotte was big as it had a grocery store, movie theater, travel agency, wedding coordinator, ophthalmologist's office and the typical department store items. Shinsegae puts Lotte to shame.
The department stores are popular places in South Korea because people have more money than what they did in years past and they want to spend it on nice things. Women typically wear nice dresses, skirts, or pants with high-heels. Many of them carry designer purses such as Louis Vuitton or Prada. Men who work in an office typically wear at the very least dress pants, shoes, and a dress shirt; however, most wear a suit. They also carry a bag, unlike American men, who will not because it is too similar to carrying a purse.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Big Bang is a popular boy band in Korea. Their song Haru Haru is about a boy and a girl. The girl has cancer but does not want to tell the boy and so she pretends to be in a relationship with his friend so that he'll hate her so that it won't be so hard on him when she dies. The boy's friends are all in on this lie. When the girl goes in for surgery, one of his friends calls from the hospital to tell him and then the boy finds out that she really did love him, but she is already dead when she is wheeled out of the operating room. The girl is Min Young. The pretend boyfriend is T.O.P. and the real boyfriend is G-Dragon. The music video for Haru Haru is below.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The answer is Hanja (한자). Sanskrit is Indian and Hieroglyphics are Egyptian. Hangeul (한글) is the Korean script. Hanja is not used much anymore. Many people in the younger generation cannot read Hanja. Middle-aged people can read it because it was used so much during their younger days. Older people can read it well and can speak Japanese as well, due to the Japanese colonization of Korea. Hangeul was not used much until after World War II, and then only in North Korea. This was because the elitists did not want the general public to be able to read, which was the intention behind the invention of the alphabet. During the 1990s, Hangeul came into widespread use in South Korea. Here in Pusan, the subway signs are written in Hangeul, Hanja, and English (for most stops the Romanization of Hangeul). Many of the road signs have all three written forms. Perhaps, the next generation will not be able to read it because children typically do not learn hanja in school until middle school. The newspapers used to be written in Hanja, but now people do not have to know Hanja to be able to know what is going on in the world.
Korean computers have a toggle on them so that one can type in Hanja. One has to type each syllable in Hangeul, then press the Hanja button. Then, there are a few choices for that syllable. Each Hanja character is one syllable. One has to know Korean to first to know what to put for each syllable because there is a definition by each Hanja character. 大 (대) is the first syllable in Daegu, Daeyeon, and Daejeon. It is seen on the signs at the bus station and in the subway stations. My subway station is 中洞 in Hanja, 중동 in Hangeul, and Jung-dong (joong-doang) in English.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Today, I went to the Busan Aquarium, home to 50,000 critters. It is about a 15-minute walk from where I live. It is located at Haeundae Beach, the most famous beach in South Korea. I did not take any pictures but I some neat things. There are penguins and an otter family. There were lots of different fish there as well. I chose not to, but there was the option to go in a boat in the tank where they keep the sharks. There were a lot of young families at the aquarium today.
It will be interesting to see how things will be at work after we get back from the vacation. One of the Korean teachers quit after a month because she is moving to Dubai to become a flight attendant for Emirates Airlines. In addition, we will have a new manager because our old manager no longer works for our academy. This next one will be the third manager that I will have worked under since starting June 30. It will be exciting to meet the new manager.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
- annyeong haseyo (안녕 하세요)-3
- annyeong-hi gaseyo (안녕히 가세요)-0
- gamsa hamnida (감사 합니다)-0
- annyeong-hi gyeseyo (안녕히 계세요)-0
The correct answer is annyeong haseyo (아녕 하세요). Annyeong-hi gaseyo (안녕히 가세요) is a goodbye spoken to the person who is leaving. Gamsa hamnida (감사 합니다) means thank you. Annyeong-hi gyeseyo (안녕히 계세요) is a goodbye spoken to the person who is staying.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Thursday, January 1, 2009
The most important theory for this series of events is Critical Theory of Commnication in Organizations. The change of one person and that person's style has completely changed the working environment. My communication classes have also helped me to know about Asian society, since Asian and Western cultures have different communication styles.