Sometimes I get jealous of Asians ….

I see women with cute poses and amazing photographs.  And the worst by far are the unbelievably beautiful wedding photos which make the average couple look like they belong in their very own movie.

When I see that, I am sad.  I’ll never have that.

But then I remember that most (I believe it’s actually all) Asian men cheat on their wives, they don’t consider soliciting prostitution cheating, husbands don’t buy their wives gifts, and mainly Asian culture is morally an EPIC FAIL.


I can do better than a 3-day photo shoot and a fake brand-name bag.

Daily Life in Korea 64

I got to teach 3rd grade mostly by myself today.  Actually, it was pretty easy because them babies got themselves a routine going and they run through all the lessons in the same order and in the same way.  It’s pretty easy to know what to do even if you don’t know what your lovely white teacher is saying exactly.

Also, 3rd graders scare easy when you shout.  You shout, they shut up.  Or in the case of my second class, you can just wait them out.  Apparently that age is young enough to want approval, delights in playing “adult” and enforcing rules with their peers, and will easier conform and shape up instead of just being jaded and apathetic.  So, my cuties would call out to be quiet to each other and about a minute of me not doing anything would get most of them hushed.  Aww, love my little 3rd graders.  Also, they can’t talk back yet.

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Daily Life in Korea 63

South Korea has a lot of second-hand smoke.  You always see men smoking at the table or outside.  After being in a bar, you probably will still smell like smoke.  California doesn’t let you smoke in restaurants.  It has been that way for like a decade I think.

I’m just saying! ^.~

Daily Life in Korea 61

King 2 Hearts is a really funny drama.  It has action, romance, lots of melodrama and a ton of Korean propaganda.

The latest episodes (13/14) involved Koreans interacting with lots of foreigners.  As a note of relevance, I don’t speak Korean.  But I know the languages are VASTLY different and often things that make sense in Korean really don’t translate into English.  And things that Korean people think Americans or foreigners say in English aren’t really normal phrases.  Biggest example from these episodes was “Let’s get along.”  Another interesting thing was a foreigner  presumably from Britain not having a British accident.

Also, the Korean prejudices/idiosyncrasies were rampant in these episodes.  Korean sittings at a table, talking about who they want to compete against so loudly the speaker stops talking to look at them … really, would that really happen?  Hopefully not, but it shows Koreans being incredibly rude.  Then they shouted out the country names during the drawing process.  It was incredibly painful to watch, because here is a team we are supposed to believe can win and they can’t even sit still in their seats.  Instead of being underdogs or heroes, the Korean team just comes off as childish and immature with no place in an international competition.  And that is before the fisticuffs incident.

Of course the North Korean had to fight the Americans before the competition.  It was a bit silly … North Korean can’t hold his anger and only speaks in Korean.  Americans say stuff in English and pat the guy’s head.  Do American’s pat each other’s heads?  Not really.  But it’s taboo in Korea so let’s go with it.  Then the Korean team leader hits the soldier who hit the Americans for fighting.  That was probably not really ironic at all.

Finally there has to be an apology and honestly, it doesn’t really translate well.  I mean, I understand because I am acquainted with Korean culture but I think that apology (given completely in English) wouldn’t have made any sense to a Western audience.  Sigh … Honestly, the writers seem to be oblivious to the fact that Asian customs aren’t global customs.  And the North Korean’s apology only came because of  his guilt if the King lost face by publicly apologizing.   Of course, the Americans quickly apologized too … because of the misunderstanding … but honestly … does that even make any sense?  While an American might say something similar to sorry when accepting a friend’s apology, the American soldiers didn’t do anything wrong so it seems unlikely they would apologize, except if they were being extraordinarily generous on their part towards the Korean team.

Also, it bothered me that some point was made about the Korean team needing to lose on purpose to the American team for the Korean-American alliance.   I guess Koreans might think like that but America is so big … that competition won’t even be a big headline news in America no matter how many times the American team wins.  Honestly, the American people and the American government could care less.  Koreans care when their athletes win competitions.  Koreans care when racially Korean people (and half-Korean people) who are citizens in other countries are famous or successful.  My point is that your ego, Korea, doesn’t apply to my country.  The entire country doesn’t stop when an American and a British athlete compete at the Olympics (also, because that is fairly common).  The entire country doesn’t know the scores of the American soccer team during the World Cup.  Americans aren’t as patriot as Koreans.  So, only some stupid Korean would worry about endangering their alliance by winning a competition against their friend.  Because in real life in Korea, that kind of situation could be stressful (friends like the same girl/boy-friendly co-workers going after the same promotion).  In America, people can talk about their differences, resolve misunderstandings and disagreements, and move on because their sense of worth is more individually cultivated.  UGH!  But you would have to go outside of Korea and make friends with the scary people of another race to understand that.

And of course, the part that annoyed me most was that no one guarded the boat from the match.  So, when the American competition team gets the two keys for the boat, they can’t find the boat.  And of course, any civilian American knows that American soldiers would have secured the boat and their headquarters.  Sigh, but the message of the show is teamwork between Koreans so the strategic discipline of American soldiers has to be sacrificed.

Also, the American team had no Asian soldiers (too confusing for the Korean audience probably) and the Americans had to make racist statements about thinking Asian human bodies don’t work the same way as white or black ones.  I watched the movie Saving Face once and the racism of a Chinese character towards other races in that movie made sense.  There was an older Asian woman who had little exposure to other cultures and races even while living in America and was therefore prejudiced and said hateful/stupid things.  Assuming that Americans would think like that is pretty much a reflection of Korean thinking rather than American thinking.  Even in American media, the presence of Asian-Americans is fairly strong-especially in the last decade.

Sigh, seriously Korea~ why you got to embarrass yourself like that?

Daily Life in Korea 60

Traveling to Mungyeong for the Tea Bowl Festival there with my friends, I took the train at 7am.

It was a gorgeous, warm spring morning with birds chirping, sun shining, and wind gently blowing the leaves on the trees.  Looking at the beautiful mountains surrounding Mulgeum Station and the rustic scenery around the tracks, I really felt I would miss Asia when I left.  There is a nostalgic romanticism about riding the train and watching the countryside pass by through the window.  Definitely not the same feeling in America and you definitely can’t take a train trip to go on a day trip in America.

Daily Life in Korea 59

Sometimes I wish I had a personal space bubble.  Close enough to touch is too close!

But I don’t say anything, because I am ‘Asian’.  It is like when you see little kids get knocked over by someone and they just walk away, no apology or words necessary.  They know it is their fault because they are younger.  I, on the other hand, silently fume.

Daily Life in Korea 58

May 5th is Children’s Day and when students say what they want to do that day, they say things like see a movie, eat in a restaurant, go to play games at a PC room, and sleep.  Those seem like such normal weekend activities (yes, this is the first year they had two-day weekends-before every other Saturday was a half-day at school).  But I suppose it is normal, except they could be doing those things with their parents.  But they also told me they want to receive money and gifts so now I know what the magic of Children’s Day is really all about: spend some time with the old folks and get some monetary compensation.  It’s kind of like Christmas.  Actually, Korean kids have birthdays, Christmas, Seollal or Chinese New Year, and Children’s Day-spoiled little bastards.

Daily Life in Korea 57

I went to the National Pension Office to receive a payment of my Korean pension which I suppose I should be treating like American Social Security.  But I probably won’t invest it or put it into a 401K when I finally do receive it.  It’ll probably go towards paying bills.

However, I want to point out that all the Koreans there were very old.  And I was a young, although sickly, foreigner who had a coughing fit.

And the lady helping me misplaced her copies so she tried to take my airplane ticket print-out away.  But I kept it and she gave me a quizzical look.  But it was mine and I was very understanding about her making the necessary copies, but it wasn’t my fault she hadn’t removed them from the copier.  But it might have caused her to lose face if I said that in my direct English.  So, I just pulled back my papers SEVERAL times.  She finally figured it out.

I wonder what the elderly people thought of all of this.