Daily Life in Korea 24

Korean kids spend a massive amount of time in school.  They learn a lot.

Korean kids even go to school on Saturday.  Well, they did.

But most Koreans in Korea still believe in strange superstitions like fan death and only South Korea has four seasons.  They also think Japan doesn’t own the Liancourt Rocks.  They also believe that eventually the North Korean government will collapse even though their government is actively sending aid which goes straight to the military and helps keep the government in power.  A student once told me he wanted America to help unify the Koreas.  I tried to explain to him that America has a very unhidden policy about trying to keep stability in the region – aka, balanced – aka, status quo – aka, nothing changing ever.

Here’s to you, South Korean education!

Did you know there are beds in the school for teachers to use?

Daily Life in Korea 22

A monkey's face in simple shapes.

I have seen two grown women wearing sweaters with this on them.  Yes, respectfully attired women in all other regards wearing a cartoonish monkey head that seems perfect for the baby-to-pre-school-age child.  I live in South Korea.  One of them works with me.  The other was on the street in the neighborhood I work in.

Other views of the monkey head image: Yes, this is the latest trend in South Korea.  I see it already starting.

A pretty similar monkey image was the design for the winter hats from Baskin Robbins last year.

Last summer it was Guess T-shirts.  You know, the kind that was popular in the 1990s in the greatest country in the world (hint-the one that made the shared modern world culture you are mostly likely enjoying right now).

I wouldn’t wear a GAP logo hoodie in the states, but they are a popular brand here.  You wouldn’t even find a GAP logo hoodie in women’s sizes in the stores in the states.  But GAP logo Ts and hoodies are the most popular item from the GAP store here.

Asian fashion is not reliable.  And not made for women who don’t need butt pads or padded bras and boob jobs.

Thankfully what comes quickly into style in this small country will go out of style quickly too.  I say, by summer there will be a new must-have clothing item for men, women, and children alike.  Maybe a penguin face or a farting chicken.

Grieving 4

Grief is loss.

Sometimes the sense of loss steals more than just joy and wholeness.

Sometimes it steals identity.

Grief over losing who you defined yourself as.  Grief over losing who you defined yourself with.

My friend R sent me this link.  R likes strange music, bicycles, and strong convictions.

The Division Of Gravity

The woman talks about strength.  Strength to value herself.

But there is still grief.

Daily Life in Korea 21

I can pay bills for gas or electricity at the bank.  I used to count my coins and pay in exact change with my bill to the teller.  Now I am emboldened to use the bank’s bill paying machine.  You know, when I can manage to figure out which it is.  So I paid my electricity bill today at the bank (isn’t it funny to think you used to pay utility companies directly and they would go to the banks themselves in America).  I inserted my Korean bank book.  I pressed the first button.  No, I couldn’t read it.  I pulled off the bottom part of my bill and put it on tray in the machine and it got sucked in.  I pressed the button that wasn’t cancel.  I entered my pin number.  I got a receipt and my bank book back.  I left the bank poorer.

Daily Life in Korea 20

Korean banks have bank books.  They don’t use Western style checks (and frankly after the 1960s, why would you?) in South Korea.  Instead they have debit cards, credit cards, mobile banking, online banking, and bank books.  The bank books are inserted into ATMs and bill paying machines.  With the ATM you will get a chance to record your latest transactions in your account to your book, deposit money, withdrawal money, or get some check-like money order something (obviously I haven’t used that strange function).


Obama in South Korea

Obama visited Seoul Korea for the Nuclear Security Summit.  I saw him on TV with the Korean President Lee while in Haeundae with my bicycle-loving friend and eating raw fish.  We ate flat fish and it was delicious.

Obama’s Visit

Me and Obama-both in South Korea right now.