Monday, April 30, 2007

My bathroom is the dirtiest place in Korea

Up top is a video of students teaching me Korean in class. That seems to be their favorite game to play, although I don't think their parents would be thrilled with the idea. I gave a girl in the class the camera and she had decent camera control. As is pretty obvious the boys in the class want no part of the video and are basically all lame. The one girl who keeps saying 'Teacher you very kind and nice' she's just says that sort of stuff all the time and really I appreciate it even if she had no idea what she is talking about. The fat girl in the class, though, she kills me. Every 3 minutes, she says "Teacher!" then I say what, and she goes "No!" I would throw her out the window if I was strong enough to pick her up.

Now let me get out in front of this story before Bender distorts things. Friday was club night so we went through the usual 3 bottles of soju. Later on in the night, as we were walking to another club, a white guy handed Bender a bottle of rice wine. It was a huge bottle full of a milky-like white liquid. So it was only natural and actually completely unavoidable that I would take said bottle and hold it near a certain part of my body and then, well, make the rice wine shoot all over the place. Around the 50th time I did this, I aimed it right at Bender, who was sitting down next to a Korean guy. (The picture above is Bender offering a Korean girl some of the rice wine, she declined). Anyway, I shot the white stuff all over Bender's pants and actually I think the Korean guy got it even worse. Bender then told the Korean guy to kick my ass, and he probably should have, but he just got up fast and walked away. I had to wash Bender's pants yesterday and the stains actually came out, although that's probably not a good thing because now Bender will keep wearing them even though they have a huge hole in the ass part, which Bender thinks is OK.

Last night Bender got sick after we ate about 6 pounds of rice at this restaurant we go to every weekend. So I got to drink his gin and tonic and also the beer he won after he beat the bartender at darts. Once he left, Koreans started talking to me, which always follows the same pattern. A white guy sits next to Koreans at a bar, they will be very skeptical at first and if they speak English, they will give away no clues. But once they're deep into the $200 bottle of JD in front of them, they will start talking to you and from there, you are best friends. But there's always one or two people in their group who can't speak English so they will get pissed that their friends are now talking to the white guy, but hey, they should learn English. This is Korea. I was talking to one girl for a while who had a Canadian accent because she lived there for a few years and that was amusing for me. After we left the bar, that girl threw up all over the place, and that was not hot. The guy in that group kept trying to get me to come to a nightclub with him, but that wasn't going to happen.

We went to another soccer game today and Seoul lost 3-0. So that makes it three straight games where Seoul hasn't scored a damn goal. I'm pretty sure a team of 12-year-old girls with downs syndrome could beat Seoul at this point. Yeah I took a ton of pictures at school on Friday obviously. I still have five months left here, but I feel like I don't have enough photos of the students, who really are the reason I love it here. They are all still young enough to not have become an insular closed-off to foreigners hardcore Korean. You can really connect with the students, but every Korean over the age of 20, forget it. You can talk to them, most of them are friendly, but they all keep you at distance, which is sad, but it does make the kids that much better to be around everyday.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Golden Showers Bring May Flowers

My last blog was published in the Korea Times last week, which was a bit embarrassing in the sense that it wasn't really well-thought/I wrote it in 10 minutes. But I did send it in knowing it would make it into print simply because a foreigner wrote that Koreans weren't to blame for anything. So while I kind of wish I had done a better job with it, it's been great for my popularity at work. When the Korean teachers saw it, they went nuts and within a couple hours, the article was laminated and hanging near the entrance of the school. Really, I'm a whore for anything that will allow me to keep doing absolutely nothing at work besides watching TV and if it takes sending crap into a Korean newspaper, I am so not above that.

I'm not sure what's up with this Asian dust thing. I was expecting to walk outside and breathe in lots of delicious dust and it's just not happened. Apparently it's been really bad a few days this month, as in the Koreans won't leave their homes except to go outside to spit on each other. But I'm thinking white people can't see it or maybe are just not affected by it. My eyes have been bothering me more lately so maybe that is dust-related but more likely, it's because I was supposed to return to the eye doctor 2 months ago.

I was really going to make a solid effort to save some money here, but my spending trends are a bit out of control at this point. During the week, I usually only spend about $10 a day but I'm raping myself on Friday and Saturday nights. I am also eating terribly. KFC twice this weekend, McDonalds once, some ice cream, it all leads to me looking forward to getting back to work on Monday just so my body can get a four day break from awfulness.

At Cargo Friday night, one of the smaller dance clubs we go to a lot in Hongdae, I somehow ended up on the middle of the dance floor holding hands with a white guy and dancing around in a circle. Actually, the bartender was really hot so I said to Bender watch this, intending to fake grind with her I guess, which instead quickly turned into gay dancing event #485 for me. But to be fair to my remaining heterosexuality, the guy did grab my hand and kind of have his way with me. Later in the night I was holding hands with this guy again but this time he had a Korean girl on the other side of him, so um we were all jumping. But eventually the girl escaped so I had to break the sad news to the guy that I couldn't be doing that with just him. It was a tragic moment in gay history.

We went to a baseball game yesterday and while it was a cool experience, the action was painfully slow. We were there for two hours and during that time, 3 and a half innings completed. There was one black guy on one of the teams, which was enjoyable for me, because it means Koreans are being forced to share a locker room with a black guy. And really, that's gotta be a huge blow for the self esteem. We also sat in the retard section at the game, there was one guy in front of us decked out in a uniform, apparently thinking he was about to sub into the game. Two old guys next to us were a bit heavy on the male bonding, ie one guy had his arm around the other guy and his hand in his friend's coat pocket. Just hot. Soccer games are a lot more exciting, for me anyway, so next Sunday that'll be back on the agenda.

Alright, a 10 year old girl is trying to shove gross Korean food in my mouth and that cannot be allowed.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Culture of Death

The Korean student who shot dead 32 people on Monday spent his first eight years in an apartment about five minutes away from my current home. But where he was from makes absolutely no difference, it's just another excuse, another place to throw some misplaced blame. Blame the parents, blame the school, blame the teachers, blame the friends, blame whoever or whatever you want, and when you're finished, step back and take a look at the real problem. Guns are destroying America, stealing life, ruining families and all for what? So a bunch of middle-aged guys from Missouri with insecure grips on their manhood can stockpile killing machines in their closet?

Any death is tragic, whether a plane full of people crashes or a 90-year-old dies in their sleep, but what's so much more than tragic, what is damn near infuriating is when something so preventable occurs because of an entire country's fascination with piece of metal than can destroy a life in a split second.

Last year in England, where handguns are illegal, there were 56 homicides. In Richmond, Virginia, where I spent six years of my life, there were 81 shooting deaths. The population of England is 61 million. Richmond, 200,000. Do the math. More than 30,000 Americans wiped off this Earth every year by gunfire.

OK, so what? I can own a gun responsibly and I need it to protect my family. Hell, I'm an American, the right to bear arms is my constitutional right. It's what the founding fathers wanted and be damned if I'm going to give up any sort of freedom. It's a view that runs deep into the heart of American culture, but it's misguided to the point of lunacy.

The only reason people think they need a gun is because there are so many others out there with one, hell, if they have one, I better even-up the playing field. It's a terrible cycle. You buy a gun because you're afraid of what a bullet might someday do to you. It's so easy to get a gun in America that they might as well sell them in vending machines at the local supermarket.

In Virginia, if you have a pulse and driver's license, you can walk into almost any Wal-Mart and walk out a half hour later with a gun. A quick background check is about as much scrutiny as you'll get. Just had a big fight with your girlfriend, you're jacked up on coke, that bitch is going to get it. Well, hey, why not just give it to her now? You could be locked and loaded and back at her front door in an hour.

The right to free press, free speech, free assembly, those are freedoms I cherish, they are what make America such a great place. The right to carry a gun, that's not a freedom. Freedoms inspire people, freedoms bring people together, freedoms can spread joy. What they don't and what they shouldn't do is rip a country apart and spill blood all over its land. No thanks, I don't want that kind of freedom.

Sure, the Virginia Tech shooter, without access to guns, could very well have killed, anyway. There is nothing that is able to stop darkness and evil. So he snaps and grabs a knife, walks into that classroom, kills a student. Maybe even the professor. Then he's on the ground. There's only so much damage other weapons can do before people have time to react and stomp it out. A gun takes the flick of the finger and it can mow down a crowd in seconds. There's no excuse for allowing access to that kind of devastating power. Yes, someone made the decision to pull that trigger, but why did it have to be so easy to get to that point?

A lot of politicians will say now isn't the right time to pursue stricter guns laws, it reeks of political opportunism, turning a national tragedy into a circus. But America easily forgets. A couple weeks from now, what happened at Virginia Tech will fall off the front page, replaced by the next big story. If there was ever a time for a country to look inward, to really consider what it holds most dear, it is now. What is worth more? A gun or 30,000 lives?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Korea needs more Nappy-Headed Hos

I think part of my job description should have included dealing with Korean girls who think that because I'm a young guy, I will instinctively fall in love with them so they can have their own private native English whore to hangout with all the time. I went out to dinner with two such girls last night, although I think just one them actually has a desire to learn. After texting me for two weeks, I had to give in and engage in a slightly heterosexual activity. This was the same girl who interviewed me a few weeks ago after I finished eating at the pasta place. Apparently my answers were not good enough, she said her friend's foreign guy gave longer answers. Well, that guy can blow me.

But anyway, the dinner was fine mainly because she was paying for it and she had already given me two pairs of socks when we first met up. Koreans think socks are the best gift in the world. But then we had to do the interview and I promised to try my best to speak for a long time. First question is What is your name and age? I respond accordingly and then just awkwardness. She started at me like she wanted me to elaborate on my freakin name. The awkwardness just continued as she'd ask a question and then shake her head like I gave the wrong answer. More likely, though, she just had no idea what I was talking about. I said New York City and Seoul were similar in that they are both big cities that also have a lot of stuff going on. She shook her head. Because she's been NYC before, right. After six minutes of torture, the camera came out. She made me put my arm around her. She had also asked me earlier "What kind of girl you like?" I said "Funny girls." So of course, after 40 pictures, she says OK lets do a funny picture. Then I took a few more pictures with her friend. I'm heading into dangerous territory here as she already said she'll come with me the next time I get my haircut so she can translate. After dinner as we went in different directions in the subway, I gave her this weird half high five half handshake. I'm not saying this girl is terrible, she's seems nice enough, but she's going to school to major in English, she wants to hangout with me for one reason only. And actually, if she was hot, I'd also want to hangout with her for a different one reason, but it's just always uncomfortable for me to deal with them.

We got on a random bus on Saturday afternoon because there's nothing great to see in this city so if you hop a bus, chances are you'll end up in a place that looks strikingly similar to every other area. Of course, somehow we ended up at this huge national park, but luckily it was getting dark, so I didn't have to fake illness or death if Bender had decided he wanted to go up any sort of steep incline. We went to another soccer game on Sunday, got there a little late because Bender refused to wake up on time, but hey, that's always an issue with him. Damn game ended 0-0. That should just not be allowed in sort of sport. They kick that freakin ball around for 90 minutes willing I have to deal with some guy waving giant nasty squid in front of me and no one can kick the stupid ball into the net, it's actually very frustrating to watch soccer. But it's a guarantee we'll be back at the next home game, because still we haven't seen a goal from Seoul and that's probably the exciting part of the game. Maybe.

We're in the process of planning an early July trip to Thailand, which if it actually does happen, is almost guaranteed to be the best week of my life just behind senior year Beach Week. That'll likely be the last trip out of Korea before I go home, which is fine, because I think I've seen enough, at least for someone as terrible and lazy as myself. If anyone has money to burn and wants to share a twin bed with two other guys, please come to Thailand with us.

I think I've been trading off excitement for comfort as the months have gone by here. Seoul isn't new or fresh any more. Dealing with crazy Koreans is just normal everyday fare at this point. But I feel at home here now, so much so that I have a pretty warped sense of America now. I know I lived there for the first 24 years of my life, but all of that seems so far in the past now. I've still got 6 more months here, but that day I get off that plane in New York next October, I picture it everyday. Not in the sense that I'm dying to get out of here, far from it, but I just know it's going to be a surreal experience. I'm happy here, but once you're away from America for long enough, you begin to see it for it really is, the best damn country in the world.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Soccer Balls and Soju

I'm beginning to get the sense that my school could close down any day. Since I got here, we've gone from 6 Korean teachers and 3 foreigners to 4 Koreans and 2 foreigners. It doesn't seem like we've lost many students so maybe the bosses are just trying to squeeze out more money for themselves, but I still always get worried whenever the Korean teachers have meetings with each other. Like today, the head teacher handed a piece of paper to the other three and then they sat there mostly in silence for like a half hour, with one of them chiming in with something every 5 minutes. I thought that was it. I should pack my bags now. There's also a lot of books being taken off the shelves in the office for some reason. I'm probably just paranoid, the big test will be whether or not I get my paycheck tomorrow. Really, I just wish I could be kept in the loop a little more. The Koreans don't seem to realize or they just don't care that in no way do I feel a part of the social atmosphere at work. They make no effort to inform me of anything going on or really ever speak English besides during class. In the end, I guess I didn't come here just to make friends with a bunch of terrible Korean woman, but still, it'd be nice to have a clue sometimes.

We went to a Korean league soccer game yesterday at World Cup Stadium. It was rough getting there because of the early start, 3pm, but Bender forced me out of bed. It was pretty awesome, though, weather was great and by the end of the game, I was feeling almost as maniacal as the 60,000 Koreans in the stands. Sadly, Seoul didn't score a goal and lost 1-0 so I think we missed out on the place really going crazy. But it was 8 bucks for a ticket, so we'll probably be going again. Also, every kid under the age of 14 at the stadium brought a soccer ball to the game, so during halftime, it was a madhouse outside by the concession stands. Balls were flying everywhere. One of them, in fact, almost eliminated any chance for me to have children. The second the horn rang to signal the end of intermission, every one of the Korean kids sprinted up the stairs yelling "Second Half!" It was quite a scene.

Friday night was solid, pounded soju, took pictures with another thing that looks like a penis and then went to bar/club place where two Korean girls talked to us for a while so they could practice English. I offended a big white guy by doing something. That white guy left but his arab friend stayed. I pretended to hump the chair where the white guy had been sitting, arab guy was not happy. These things happen. Saturday continued the glorious routine of sleeping until 2pm. I (definitely not Bender) popped the Saturday celebration xanax, which every time, means I am going to sleep from about 7pm - 10pm. But man, what a glorious sleep that is. Soju war and finally ended up at the Show Bar, which is the best bar in soju. It's new but it's owned by four guys who all have giant pictures of themselves painted up on the wall. One guy, Terry, has been absolutely tanked both times we've been in there. I'm pretty sure the other guys don't even let Terry work behind the bar. We thought this guy Joy was the sober one who actually made sure Terry didn't set the place on fire but something happened. Joy was fine, but then he went outside for 10 minutes, and when he came back, he couldn't stand up. Basically, the place is great. Another guy Tops gave us free nachos and then I beat his and Bender's ass in darts. I'm much better than Bender now. Hopefully we remain the only white guys who go to this place, because if the slime that usually hangs out at DragonBar moves down the strip a little bit, it could ruin everything. Oh, I also forgot to bring out my key card to get back into my apartment building on Saturday night. So we sat outside the door for a good half hour eating McDonalds (see picture) and I think Bender also kicked me a bunch of times.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Asian Dust gets me so HOT

Pretty weak on the blog lately. I think I've hit the 6 month Korean wall. I feel like I've already been here for three years and even though I like it here, making it through another 6 months could be a struggle. I miss being able to speak English at a normal speed. I'm going to have the speaking ability of a 5 year old when I get home because I have to dumb everything down, not only for the kids, but for everyone in this country. For example, people don't use or just don't understand how to use the word "a lot". Teacher, don't give us many homework. I ate many many food last night. I love many computer many many games. Now I mix that stuff all the time and every time I do, I want to kill a Korean.

Bender isn't going to have convince me to keep the horse head at home this weekend. There were no gross girls or flashing last weekend, more like just 10 korean guys and a lot of water. When I did break out the horse head at the chinese restaurant in hongdae Friday night, I got a little excited and Bender recorded what may just be the worst video of all time. It's even too inappropriate to post on my blog. Let's just say I repeat "I'm going to some bitches tonight" over and over. I don't remember saying any of that so I cannot be held liable for those comments, but I am an ass. It was club night so we could go to anyone of like 15 clubs. Naturally, we went to the same two we go to everytime. The horse danced a lot at the first one. Um, the other one, was wet. A bunch of white people warned us that'd we'd get soaked, but at the time, I don't think I knew what water was. We walked right into the ocean. Within 30 seconds of getting into this portion of the club, the three of us (a former Korean teacher from my school was there) were wetter than Bender's vagina. We then continued to get soaked from the overhead drenching machines every couple of minutes. I used the horse head as a makeshift umbrella but all that did was attract fat Korean guys who took advantage of my lack of visibility and got a bit frisky. I think I danced with a bunch of people, each time I hoped it might be a girl, but then I'd take the head off, and I'd be surrounded by a pack of Korean college boys. The cab ride home that night was the most uncomfortable experience of my life.

I woke up at 3pm on Saturday. Bender woke up at 11am. I don't know what is wrong with him. That night checked out a few new places, got fed by a Korean guy, ordered a Big Mac at 5am and that was that. It was a good weekend, and exciting things clearly still do happen here pretty much everyday, but I could just as easily hop on a plane and go someplace else. I'll stay because I do usually enjoy the job, I can write this blog at work, and mainly, I can save a lot of money. Plus if I went home, I'd be high and surrounded by a pile of Gordita wrappers in about 30 minutes. And that would be awesome. Hmm....