Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Chicken Art Museum

I bought some new motorcycle gear... jacket, pants, gloves. Everything has armor. The pants are really stylin'... they have built-in knee, shin, and butt guards. They're so nicely made though, that you can hardly tell the pads are there. The jacket is waterproof and also has elbow, forearm, and spine guards. Total price $200. A total bargain. Most places sell the jacket alone for $200. But because the products are locally made, they are tons cheaper.

I also found the only juggling shop in Korea (at least I'm pretty sure it is). So I made a few purchases there as well. I have missed juggling. I bought weighted juggling balls for improving strength, 6 stage juggling balls, and some juggling scarves in case I need to teach someone how to juggle. I also couldn't resist a really nice hacky sack. I suppose I consider all of these purchases early birthday and Christmas presents for myself (selfish me).

Included below are some pictures from a walk I took today: a magical door, a lonely chair, a broken light, locks and doorhandles... Oh yeah, and I went to a chicken art museum. I was the only one there... and I had my own English speaking tour guide. What a weird job. Unfortunately, I couldn't take any photos inside the museum. I did feel a bit awkward when they had to turn the lights and heat on for me (hey, the sign said "open")... and when the guide followed me around. I mean, she's probably seen those things a million times and the exhibit consists of only two rooms. I tried to ask intelligent questions to help her out and put her at ease, but... I mean... we're talking about chickens here, what is there to say?

Things I learned:
-if a chicken lives 1000 years it becomes a phoenix like creature
-chickens are messengers from heaven
-wooden carved chickens used to be very important during Korean funerals, but have been replaced by the "modern" funeral
-it's best to just smile and pretend you don't understand Korean when the two older women at the chicken museum say you're cute, so as to avoid embarrassing the college girl giving the tour.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Sassy Girl update

I just learned that this movie is apparently based on a true story. That just makes it cooler. And apparently there is an american remake. Here's the info on wikipedia...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Sassy Girl

I've started to watch a lot of Korean movies... to become more familiar with the language and also to get a feel for the culture. I watch them with the subtitles.

The last one I watched was called "My Sassy Girl". I was a bit dubious at first, but decided to wait it out in the name of science and cultural anthropology. And the movie was actually pretty good. It's a love story... but not your typical kind.

The girl is mourning the loss of her love, and the boy is a college student with no goals or ambitions. They meet when he prevents her from being hit by the subway. She is drunk, which disgusts him, but other passengers force him to carry her off the subway. He decides to help her get over her grief. They hang out and he does absolutely anything she says... he orders coke, she tells him to order coffee, at one point she says her high heels are hurting so he should switch shoes with her. He argues, but eventually switches shoes. She smacks him around, makes outrageous demands, and beats him in all forms of competition. She leaves for weeks without a word and then shows up as if nothing happened. He sticks through it all. She asks him to write her a letter; she writes one as well. Then they put them in a time capsule and bury it under a tree. She says, "We'll meet back here in two years and read the letters." He returns in two years and she doesn't show. After three years, she comes to the tree, but he isn't there. An old man sitting at the tree asks if anything looks different. She says no. He tells her that the tree is not the same one. That the old one had been hit by lightning, but a young man had replaced it with one that looked the same... he says he read her letters, he gives her some sage advice. she calls the boy's phone, but it is no longer in service, she looks for him but can't find him. She gets on the subway where she first met him, and as the door closes he runs up... however, she doesn't see him... more awesome stuff happens...

The ending was great. There are not a lot of movies that have good endings. This one definitely had a good one that gently caught me by surprise (which is hard to do, I'm well known for my movie predicting abilities).

I would recommend this movie, but after thinking about it... there might be a lot of cultural things that wouldn't make sense. Small details... for example the 100 day dating anniversary, the mandatory military service for young men, several of the subway scenes, his meeting and interaction with her parents, how he mentions his age and tells her not to talk down to him, the hitting (Koreans do a lot of hitting and punching)...

So I'm gonna tell you the ending... don't read if you plan to watch it...
Eventually the girl returns from studying in England. At this point we have learned that at the start of the movie she was mourning because her love had died. She goes and visits the mother of the boy who died. The mother says she has been trying to introduce her to her nephew because she thought it would help her heal... the nephew walks in and it is none other than our boy hero... throughout the entire movie the boy's mother keeps telling him to visit his aunt because she wants to hook him up with some girl... he always manages to avoid it. The aunt is shocked that they somehow know each other. The girl talks about how she "met him in the future" (she liked to write and would always force the boy to read her screen plays. they were always about time traveling heroines). So they have had this long relationship together, but now it is as though they are meeting for the first time.

This story was about loss, letting go, loving again, and the kind of love that sticks it out, even when the person does things that aren't lovable. I think I also liked this movie because the characters weren't your classic perfect stereotypes. But had many obvious flaws throughout the movie.

oh man, I just realized how hard this is to describe. there are so many details. I'm not doing it justice... anyway, I enjoyed it.

Koreans love the sad ending style... yet I've found many of the sad endings are bittersweet... somehow containing both sadness and joy. That's how this one ended.

The following pics are in no way related to the movie. They are pictures of the amazing tiger cape my student wore to school today... with matching tiger gloves.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jet trails, cake syrup, and some pictures of stuff

Pictures from around.
Look for...
-the best cookie I have found in Korea... $5 for 8 individually wrapped cookies... Totally worth it.
-cake syrup, aka pancake syrup (it took me forever to find this stuff)
-a face saying "Oh!"
-a note written on the board by my student Jihan. He finished his work first, so after checking his papers, I then instructed other students to "check your paper with Jihan's"... apparently their requests were too aggressive, so Jihan threatened violence if they didn't stop "shouting" at him.
-my next memorization project
-jet trails
-some junk on the side of the road that for some reason I took a picture of.

Kids do weird stuff.
Today, Sally got a paper cut. She said it hurt. Albert told her to put spit on it. She told him she had already done that. We all decided there was nothing we could do for her. She just had to tough it out.

Then Albert proceeded to push back his sleeves, lick his fingers, rub the spit on his arms, and then blow on it. "I like this," he said. "Is very cold, but smell very bad."

I couldn't help it... I started laughing. I mean, how weird is that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Wedding in GuangJu (광주)

This wedding was for one of the secretaries from my previous school. We used to tease each other a lot. She was super shy and didn't speak a lot of English, but we eventually became friends.

The bus ride there and back was an adventure. I drove my motorcycle to Sadang station and caught the 7000 bus to Suwon. In Suwon, I met some other friends and we all took a small school bus to the wedding. It was about a 5 hour drive there and a 5 hour drive back. Koreans have a million and one games to play that usually involve numbers, concentration, and hand motions. And the loser always gets smacked on the arm or the back. Needless to say, the trip was exciting and full of hitting (and some talking too, mixed in there somewhere).

Things to look for in these pictures...
-me in a yellow bus, in a window reflection
-the married couple doing some intense bowing to the parents
-sad face Ryan, because I was too slow and missed my chance to marry her
-weird machines in a truck that I took a picture of from out of the bus window
-geometry in everyday life
-coca-cola, because it's always there for you... birth, marriage, and death.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I'm off to eat a Thanksgiving dinner. I'm super excited. I haven't had turkey in forever. I'm praying that there is pumpkin pie...

Tomorrow I'm going to a wedding. It's for one of the Korean secretaries from the last school I worked at. It's five hours away though. I hope to have some good pictures of the trip and the wedding.

Oh yeah, it snowed the other day. Today, however, was nothing but clear skies and cool breezes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Skeletal Dodecahedron

In previous posts I've talked about how I enjoy origami. It's relaxing, fun, and hey... basically free toys and prizes for the kids.

I decided to make one of the "difficult" ones. Took me a good 3 hours I'd guess. It's not even that hard... it's just... big. The final product is composed of thirty pieces. And yes, I had to cheat a little with some tape, because one piece would fall out while I was attaching another piece.

I don't think I'll be giving many of these away as prizes, since it took me forever to make just one.

This is a list of my most common folds:
-jumping frog
-ninja star
-morphing star (It can change it's shape. This is one of my favorite. I learned it by taking apart one that was given to me.)
-water bomb, aka box, aka balloon
-triangle jewelry box
-tetrahedron gift box
-and a few others

And now, a guide to making the "Skeletal Dodecahedron" (said with a loud booming voice).