Monday, December 31, 2007

Songs For Rodge

In college, Ryan and I developed the groundbreaking and now world famous "Songs For Rodge" music compilations. After college, they all seemed to disappear and, since I had most of them, they were all scratched anyways.

However, the moments that stemmed from those wild, carefree and amazing times will always live on and I will always cherish those songs. Each one takes me to a special place at a special time with friends that are always going to be there, even if I'm 2000 miles away...

This is one of my favorites from an earlier volume. His voice sounds just like Rodges...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Seoraksan



Vacation has started and we're off to the mountains!!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas at Wonderland



Happy bunch, huh? For some reason, Koreans (especially men and children) don't smile in pictures. I don't know why, but I might try to figure it out in an upcoming post.

We had a Christmas party and all that at school on Christmas Eve. I know, we had to work on Christmas Eve, but the day was still fun. In the morning, the kids had a caroling competition. Each of my classes sang one song. One class sang "Must Be Santa" and the other sang "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth". My "Must Be Santa" class won and they got a pizza party for it. Both classes were very cute.

We took pictures and opened presents. Most of the kids got Transformers or other currently popular toys and gadgets. Some kids got clothes and they were visibly devastated. The parents should have more sense than that though. Can't they save the sweaters for home and buy their kid something that kids like and can play with.

You know, like this...



I was thrilled to see guns in school again. Since Korea basically doesn't have guns and they have even less murder, this is not a shock.



That's Violet, one of my favorites, and Santa Dave. He looks a little like Chanukah Harry dressed at Santa. She looks thrilled, huh.



There they are with Santa Kaz . He's the world greatest British-Indian Santa.



She a little happier there. Why? Just look at that stache! Wouldn't you be happy to be that close to it?



And finally, Jennifer, Eric and my mustache.

The kids actually didn't want to take a picture with me. They wanted to take it with my mustache, but since I attached to my mustache, I was allowed to be in the picture.

How did that happen?

We had all planned to go caroling on Christmas Eve. The group was large at first, but as the hour approached it turned into five of us. Micah, Dave, Glen and I were singing and 고 was filming.

We had wanted to go to the huge apartment buildings that blanket Seoul and just sing "at" them. We were just going to be drunk and it didn't really matter to us. However, 고 suggested we go to a more high-traffic area and sing to them with a box for donations in front of us. We agreed. We drank a few beers and clad in our sweaters and Santa hats, we set up.

We didn't think we would make much money really. So, we started singing in front of Hyundai Department Store first.



We made some money there, but decided to set-up right in front of the exit at at Samsung station. We sang and sang. Large groups of people gathered around, some clapping, some singing, but mostly they were in the spirit of the season and donated money. We decided to give all the money to a Salvation Army guy that was ringing his bell nearby.



After awhile we just decided to sing next to the Salvation Army people and we made hundreds and hundreds for them.



A night of drunk caroling for fun turned into a night of drunk caroling for charity. How did that happen?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Google School of Medicine

I am a proud graduate of GSM. I worked hard and now every time I get sick, I use my vast knowledge of medicine to diagnose my illness. It's simple. All I do is type in one symptom into Google search, and just like that, I have diagnosed myself.

A few days ago, I had a bad headache, so I typed in headache and viola, I have a tumor. Wait...I have a sinus infection. No, it's an ear problem. Hmmm...

The tendency to self-diagnose myself is so great and the chance that I'm way off is even greater. I know GMS is a tier-three school, but I thought that they would at least be able to see me through a headache.

I wonder how common this is though. I bet millions and millions of people are doing this and, while they may not be directly physically hurting themselves, they are doing some serious damage to their psyche. I went to the doctor and found out all I needed was a sinus decongestant. However, my headache was so strong and lasted for so many days that I thought I had a real problem because of my unqualified medical Internet search.

I understand that people will do this no matter what and since there is limited time that we get when we actually do see the doctor, being prepared does not hurt, but there is a difference between self-diagnoses and preparation. It could also be helpful to search AFTER the appointment and AFTER you have the facts.

I'm not too sure why I thought about this, but I assume many of you have done the same thing many times. Be careful, I guess...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Stachedate


It's been three weeks since I started my stache and let's just say it been full of ups and downs. People tend treat you differently when they see you.

For instance, I was trying to catch a cab and the driver slowed down just enough to see my stache and then, with a squeal of his tires, he drove off yelling and cursing in korean. My students are finding it harder to pay attention to me and seem to only want to talk to my mustache. They direct their questions to it, leaving me bored and helpless. And just yesterday, I caught my mustache trying to peak at my unopened Christmas presents.

It's not all bad though. In the subway, some Korean guy was trying to give 고 the eye. She alerted me, so I turned my head towards him and exposed the stache. He left. Also, I get all my drinks for free too. If you remember Teen Wolf when Michael J. Fox needed "a keg of beer" and his eyes turned red, that's pretty much what it's like for me.

So, will I shave it on January 2nd?

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Montero

The Montero. Mom has had a Montero for like 15 years. It's always referred to as "the Montero", although I think of the red one more than the new green one.

Our family has had many trips, rides, pick-ups, drop-offs, fender benders and more in the Montero.

Since most of those times were in the 1990's, the music that was being (over)played in that car by Mom really defines the times (according to Mom) and the attitude of that car. Here are some big ones...







Home for the Holidays

I'm on my second Christmas away from home and I know it's easier for me than my family back at home. Maybe if I was at home and everyone else was away, then it would be more difficult, but being away for Christmas isn't that bad and I'm only referring to location.

This year, I'll be with 고 and friends in Korea. I have never been in Korea on Christmas. Of course, I can walk down the street and see very few things that remind me that it is Christmas time, but Christmas is a mindset anyways. Last year, I was in Cambodia. That was great!

All I'm saying is having a Christmas away is fun and different. I'm sure it would be just as amazing in France, Singapore, Panama, Sweden, South Africa, Jamaica, or any place (except Atlanta) as long as you are prepared to make it that way.

I'm tired of cold weather anyways. These guys have the right idea...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Barack Obama!!!

I got excited and wanted to share some of these videos with you...

Want the chills? Watch the this speech.





Here's a video!

Boston Globe

Well, I saw that Obama got the nod from the Globe, but I can't seem to find out anything else. 고 and I are getting super excited about this election and the upcoming primary season. Obama seems poised to win a handful of key primaries and that is sweet, sweet music to our ears (and all of the readers of this blog).

He's going to do it! It's also great because the GOP has no one to run. Their best canidates; Paul and McCain, aren't close and the Reps are getting excited about people like Huckabee. I mean Huckabee? Give me a break!

Does Obama play an instrument? I would love to see this again!



I couldn't find him on the Arsenio Hall Show though...

Korea Goes to the Polls...

It's election time here! Tomorrow they go to the polls and elect the new president of South Korea. This will be South Korea's fifth presidential campaign since adoption of the "democracy constitution" two decades ago and it is roaring to a controversial climax in which the outcome appears pre-ordained but the aftermath extremely cloudy.

Lee Myung-bak is a shoo-in when voters go to the polls tomorrow to get rid of ten years of liberal leadership. Don't worry, conservative here does not mean war and loss of civil rights.

They have presidential elections every five years, so this is going to be crucial for South Korea and both of the Korea's. From what I understand, North Korea is willing to deal with Lee Myung-bak. That's good...

Here he is...




and just like anywhere, he is involved with possible scandal (bad subtitles)...

Monday, December 17, 2007

An Outsider

It's very difficulty to understand the full scope of something like Korean unification. My opinion on the subject has changed time and time again. Each time I talk to someone about this subject, a new perspective is revealed to me. The issue I want to address today is the outsider perspective that the world has on North Korea.

When people discuss or think about North Korea, I can guarantee you that they don't see the potential of the country. They see a dark figure that has continued the stronghold that his father, Kim Il-Sung, kept on the country and its people. While Kim Jong-il is a problem, he is also a solution. Whether you like him or not, it does not matter. He does not care what the US thinks (Does anyone anymore? -thanks Bush). He inherited a country that was in ruins and did the only thing he could to keep it somewhat orderly. His methods for that were monsterous and maybe he will be held accountable for that one day in a war crimes hearing or maybe even Amnesty International would take the case, but that does not help the North Korean people now.

Since most people see North Korea as one man and a man that must be stopped, crushed, ousted, killed or whatever people say they want to do to him, they don't see the greater picture. They don't see what is STILL a very pressing and crucial issue on the Korean Peninsula. They know that the countries are technically still at war and that's probably about it. What they don't know is how much people want to unify. They don't see how many families have been separated for 50 years. They don't see that just 30km north of Seoul there are people just as worthy and intelligent and loyal to their family and a unified Korea as there are in the metropolis that is Seoul and all of South Korea.

My point is that when people outside of Korea speak of North Korea and how to handle the situation, they only address one aspect on the peninsula. They think that Kim Jong-il is the end of North Korea's problems, but that's so niave. The way to solve the problem is to support the two countries efforts in unification by backing off and playing a supportive role rather than a authoratative role.

Korea knows what it needs to do and they are doing it already. They are slowly but firmly establishing close economic ties with North Korea. They are opening trade and rail lines to and from the two nations and re-opening disputed fishing waters. The two governments are in closer talks on many issues and only after this foundation has been laid, can they continue on to more discussion on the state of the peninsula.

This solution is internal. It is diplomatic and econimical.

I titled the post "An Outsider" because I know how most of the world wants to handle this situation and I also know how Korea should handle this situation. The outsider simply does not understand.

The framework is being laid and in the next post I will talk about the economic ties that are coming together everyday on the peninsula.



That is President Roh Moo-hyun. That was the first time someone legally walked across the border since the war began. This was in October.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Unification




I don't have time to write in any detail about this topic, but I wanted to mention it so I wouldn't forget it. The image above is the flag or symbol of Korean unification. This is becoming more real everyday and I want to talk about it from an objective position.

It's a large topic, but I will take it in chunks starting this afternoon. North Korean people are great people that will offer the world a lot.

Apathy Revisited...

I want to talk about a previous post about our generations apathy. Sid, a loyal reader and one of the greatest guys ever, commented on it. He said,

"I definitely agree to an extent, but in the end, it is the decision of the people we put in office. There is no doubt that the majority of Americans want this war to end, but we are being ignored. It really frustrates me when democrats are too afraid to stand up to the president and cut off funding. I realize this isn't the ideal way to go, but when our president leaves no other options; someone has to take a stand. So far, the democrats are too afraid they will lose votes if they go that route. I guess the only thing we can do is hope that Americans want to end this war enough to vote for a democratic president."

I agree. It is the decision of the people WE put in office. Once there, it is basically out of our control. That's horrible to stomach, but really is the nature of our politics.

I would like to add a couple things though. Would we put these guys into office if we had not become so disenchanted with the whole process? If we had the fire and tenacity that this country used to have, would we just roll over our morals and re-elect such a man? I understand that this is a Republic and there is not much we can do when our elected officials sell us out (and boy, did Bush ever do that to his base), but our drive and focus should be on the front end.

The Dem's will do this country and the world a lot of good. I'm confident of that, but the root of our problems lie within us. We need to act like we care. We need to inconvenience ourselves to change the state of the union. And so, it's Christmas and we're having this "blog" discussion (or at least I am), but really, what have we done? Have we done all we could? Have I done all I could? We all know the answer.

The next year is crucial and potenially pivotal for America, Americans and the world. Next Christmas I would like to know that we all did all that we could to get get back on the right track.

John Lennon says it the best:

Here's to Kristin and the rest of you!!!

To a great sister who has been there for me so many times! You're the best, Da Goose!

Here is OUR whole Christmas classic:



3:50 is my favorite!!!








And this last one is something that we all need to work on. I have been guilty of making this more difficult, but please know that the holidays are sad for me. It's hard being away from family and hard being away from friends. Luckily I have 고, a Christmas tree and everything here and we can start our own traditions. Still, there is so better place in the world to be than in America at Christmas.



Merry Christmas!!!

Real quick!

Quick side note: If anyone (mom, dad, Kristin, Uncle John) has any good pics of Dad with his 20 year stache, I would love to have those. I'll never be near his, but maybe a tribute???

Mustache Update...

As we all know, I'm was not blessed with a hairy face. It's been about two weeks and my mustache is still not what I hoped it would be. Actually, it's just what I thought it would be... wimpy. I still have three weeks! I was happy to see that the stache is coming in black. Micah, my other hairless friend (besides Roger!!!), has a blonde stache, so I got that going for me.





I know, I know... I have a long way to go and did I have to have my shirt off? Well, yes!!! People with mustaches can do whatever they want to whoever they want. That is the beauty of the mustache. It's like being invisible or being able to walk through walls.

Just look at this guy. He's got a stache and look what he does.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mallipo Beach

KoThere was a huge oil spill in Korea this weekend. It's about 2 hours south of Seoul. I've been here and it was a gorgeous part of Seoul.


http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/12/09/skorea.spill.ap/index.html

Of course, the biggest problem is the envirnomental damage done by these things, but the thing that gets me going is how no one admits responsibily and when they do (after an investigation) and apology is rarely issued.

We are the problem. Remember, this is not ours. It belongs to them...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Remember When...

It all seemed to be much easier then, didn't it?

Don Henley did some great stuff after he left The Eagles.

Different, but the same...

You know, if you look on Youtube for anti-war songs you can find thousands. And of those thousands, most of them are slideshows of war images set to different songs. They are moving. They are sad. They are gruesome. They are everything that is war. I know how Iraq is being depicted, but I wonder how Vietnam would have been depicted. That war was so destructive. Some people estimate that close to 5 million people died in that war (that inlcudes the French occupation to military advisors all the way Tet and the close of the war). Of course, that set Cambodia up for Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot to sweep in and kill over a million.

Back to the focus, Americans lost over 75,000 soldiers in that war. Even Winnie's brother was killed in Vietnam. It was all over the place. The question that I'm posing here is since we have media outlets like youtube, blogs, social networking sites and tons of other cyber applications, are we getting lazy? Do you think that the public forced Vietnam to come to a close by posting video slideshows?

I know this war will come to an end and hopefully it will be sooner than later, but what does it say about the power that the American publc has? Are we strong enough stand up or are we just going to change our facebook status to "liberal" and leave it at that. This worries me. Our generation is still motivated, but what about the next one and the next one?

Does this help?




No, and this is what most people leave it at. I can't say that I've done a lot more. I did go to many anti-war marches in college and even in Cincinnati, where we were spit on by people close to our age.

Do you think that would have happened here?



This seemed to work. It did because people of all ages got on board. They all bonded together. The were mad. They wanted it to end and they fought.


I know that my whole family and all of my friends are against this war and most of them have been since it started. However, who has done something about it? I barely did and that's it.

Is this what it takes? Do we have to see this again to get people moving? I hope not.



I understand that it was a different time for America. The idea of youthful dissent was rather new then and luckily it spilled into other generations, but it seems that we have so much more power to do that now and yet it is just not happening like it was then.

We are trying though...



So, maybe it takes time. Maybe we can do it, but we need to motivate the young and keep the master's of war out of power.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Soundtrack to Our Lives...

Musicians inspire all sorts of people to do all sorts of things. That's nothing new. However, some musicians go further than that. I'm not talking about Bono or Manson or any of those douches. They inspire, but what they sing about is not moving in my opinion.

I prefer people that paint a little picture of the world for us. They frame it and most of the time these songs are not their hits. That's why there good though. No thought of sales was put into the song, only emotion.

I'm not a huge Elvis fan, but this one got me and from now on I will post and write about a song that strikes me in that way.



"Do we simply turn our heads and look the other way?"

Well said, Elvis...

We all have to take care of each other.

Early Mornings

Every morning, 고 leaves for Chinese class very early. Sometimes I get up with her and sometimes I don't. We do live in one room, so I feel bad if she has to sneak around the apartment in the dark. She gets up and leaves before the sun sets and never makes it home before 8pm.

This limits our fun time, but I try to get as much of her as I can when I can. So, when she leaves I pop my head out the window and watch her walk up the street and fade into the dawn. Sometimes, she knows I'm watching and turns and mouths "I Love You". Othertimes, the tasks of the day are weighing in on her beautiful mind and she just walks.

I see so much grace in her when she walks. I love watching her move. I love knowing that she has so much going on and yet she still manages to turn and watch me watching her.

There's something mystical about 김고운 and have my whole life to figure out just what that might be.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

And we all have happy days...

The wonderful part of human emotions is that we all need to have blue days. It's these days that make us realize how great it is to have happy days. Sure, you feel bad and you really want the pain and sorrow to fade, but we need these days to check ourselves.

Sadness makes me feel human. Fear makes me feel human. And happiness makes me love being a human.

Cheers to happiness!

Friday, November 30, 2007

We all have blue days...

Nothing more to say...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dogs...

I was reading a Yahoo News article yesterday and it really bothered me. It was listing the "Corniest Songs" of all time and topping the list was a personal favorite, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. While I can admit that it's a "corny" song, I think this writer was trying to belittle not only the lyrics and vocals of Steve Perry, but Journey in general. I was upset and, like many people do when in this situation, wanted to read some more of this guy's stuff to further fuel my fire.
Then I found it.

This low-class piece of trash was mocking dog movies. He mocked Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, My Dog Skip, Eight Below and he even mocked "Two Socks" from "Dances With Wolves". I was irate. Why not make fun of the scores of stupid dog movies like Air Bud, Lassie and Bengie? Dogs are so great and that relationship is one that humans can not have with each other and, if you don't have a dog, one that you will never understand.

In my mind this writer is a single douche-bag living in New York who loves KISS and has two cats that sleep with him every night.

You can imagine what follows:



Love your dog!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chinese and Korean

고 has signed up for Chinese classes again and will start studying in the morning before work. I take Korean classes on Saturday. Funny, huh? She has no time and manages to take 5 classes a week and I have all the time and I take 1 class. Awesome!

She's getting geared up for our planned move to Singapore and really she wants to be super marketable when we move home to the US and she starts working. I figured a young, attractive, Asian woman with Chinese, Korean, English, French and a working knowledge of three others (Spanish, Russian and Japanese) on top of her experience in multiple international markets will look good.

She's working so hard and really wants to be the best around!!!

K-Pop

Korean music is interesting. I like it for the same reasons I like some 80's music. It's kind of catchy and some songs are great, but overall it's a bit silly. If you like love ballads (not monster ballads) and pop music then this is perfect for you. If you like band music (like me) then stick with your Ipod.

As you know from Colbert, Rain is a popular Korean pop star. However, he's not that big in Korea anymore. He appeals more to an international audience. The recent countdown that I saw featured 10 of the most popular songs on the charts. I remember number 2 and 3. A major difference here is that 8 year olds like the same thing the 28 year olds like. That generation gap makes no difference.

I liked this song the first time I heard it because it sounded like mediocre American 1990s pop (which is great). This song is by Big Bang and it's played all over the place. It's called 거짓말 or Lies.



And this next one is just horrible. I don't know the appeal, but people like it!!!
It's the Wonder Girls singing Tell Me.



By the way, all these pop "stars" are under 21 and the youngest is 15.

World Cup

The World Cup isn't until 2010, but the draw was held this week. Some teams have an easy group and some teams don't. England has to play Croatia who recently beat them and dashed their hopes in the 2008 Euro Cup. USA will be playing Cuban, who we just beat in the World Baseball Series for the first time in 23 years!!! We should win.

I'm not a huge soccer fan, but I did watch most of the 2006 World Cup with all my soccer playing friends at home before coming to Korea. While here, I have watched a lot of soccer and have a lot of British friends who love the game, so here I am.

South Korea drew North Korea in the first round. This is interesting to me. They have played 11 times and South Korea has won 8, lost 2 and tied 1 (I think). During the Olympics, both Korea's play as one team, but the World Cup is more prestigious.

North Korea has never had too much glory in the sport, but in 1966 they surprised the world by upsetting Italy.

It's in Chinese, but here's a clip. Some call it the biggest World Cup upset yet.



So, who will win the match? This is how they decide things in Korea...

(This is the DMZ -the most heavily fortified border in the world.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

To come...

I have a few that will be up in about 12 hours or so. Look for Arm Wrestling, K-Pop, World Cup, Risk, Chinese, Korean and a couple more.

Sorry for the delay, but this week has been hectic...

Over the Top

고 and I went to a Food Exhibition at COEX (a huge mall, convention center, etc...) and while we were tasting food and drink from all around Korea and the world, we stumbled upon an arm-wrestling competition. I had to watch it, so I convinced her to stay and watch it with me.

There were six guys on stage wearing tight jackets that showed off their size. They guys were huge. Kind of like this...

So, 고 and I chose which guy we thought would win. My guy had huge arms, but came in last place. 고's guy got second. The guy who won looked like a normal guy just trying to make a living as a trucker...

Or maybe that's the theme to...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Splish Splash

I know many people love to take baths and I do too, but since I have not had a bathtub is over a year I've gotten over that. The weather is getting cold though and it would be nice to relax in the tub from time to time. I know 고 would too!

Our bathroom, however, is pretty much a shower/sink/toilet combo and when you bathe the whole bathroom gets soaked. It's not bad, except when you go to the bathroom after a shower and before the floor has dried.

I have yet to post pics of our new place. So, I'll do that tomorrow.

Until then!

Cold Rain

It is so cold and rainy today. There's really nothing worse! Of course, this morning it was not wet at all so I didn't leave with an umbrella and neither did 고. We have done this so many times that we have accumulated over seven umbrellas. Today, I'm going to pick her up with an umbrella.

It's Joel's brithday tonight and we're going for dinner. He's back from UMASS (where he is studying) to visit his fiance. He's thirty and soon I'll have to fight the cold rain and snow. Great!

Here's a classic one from my catalog:



It makes me feel so good to hear them. It's been awhile.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Which one am I??

I've been told that I look like a lot of people and soon I'll post about that, but today I was told a new one.

Guess which guy I look like?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Early Night's with Miami Sound Machine

고 and I went to bed early last night. We were both sleeping by 9:45. It was great. She was tired from her late nights and I'm pretty sure I can fall asleep at any moment if I try.

When it gets cold we turn the heat on like anywhere else. However, the heat comes from water pipes in the floor. This is because it is very normal to sleep on the floor in Korea (even preferred). So, 고 and I slept on the floor last night. It was very comfortable and quiet warm. We have a nice Korean-style mattress and warm blankets, so it was just like a bed. Of course, heat rises and around six this morning we got a little cold, but nothing big.

We woke up at seven to another snow. This one was better than the one before because the ground was so cold. I'm hoping that it's a cold and snowy winter, but I doubt that.

So, in my dream I was teaching, but I was not teaching english. I was teaching that Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine song, "Conga". I was teaching my 10 year old class that can speak very well. However, that did not matter really. It was so strange because I had to teach the dance moves and the lyrics. And if you recall, I can't sing and my dancing, while not horrible, is not geared towards this Cuban sound. It was amusing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Christmas Movie Favorites

I'm not sure what your favorite happens to be, but I know mine and I want to share a few favorites...







That's my favorite. Here are some of yours...













I know that was a lot, but those are my favorites! Enjoy!!!

"It's never too early"

"It's never too early" is the reply that I've gotten for years when commenting on the seemingly early introduction of Christmas music to the family CD player. It would still be warm and we would be listening to Andy, Bing and Robert sing about Santa.

I STILL think that it's too early. However, since it is nearly Thanksgiving, I think that's it's about time. We're putting up our tree next week. We'll have friends over to help decorate while we drink and watch Christmas movies. I'm not sure what to watch, but we'll figure it out. Also, I think we're going to do stockings this year as well. Hmmm...

Here's one from an album that gets played all the time!!!

All I Want For Christmas is my...MUSTACHE!

That's right. This year, we're all taking a vacation from ourselves and growing our mustaches. All the male teachers at school start the staches on December 1st. It's going to be amazing! I'll post pics!

On Christmas Day, we'll all gather with sweaters, presents, egg-nog and MUSTACHES!!!

It'll be quite the sight. Here's to the stache!!!

First Snow...

Last night we had our first snow of the season! Of course, it's not as fun as waiting to watch the Snowbird report to see if school is closed, but it still gives us that youthful feeling of fun and innocence. It was a heavy snow, but when we woke up it was mostly ice and sludge.

It's nice though and made us realize what a great time of the year it is!!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

No chance...

As winter closes in on Korea again (it's 16 degrees today), I felt it necessary to buy a real winter coat. I knew what I wanted, so 고 and I went out to a shopping district of Seoul and looked.

I saw some that I liked and many, many more that I was embarrassed to try on, but did only because of the over-the-top cajoling from the salesmen. I would try one on and they would say how great I looked in it, but when I saw myself in a mirror I had a different opinion.

After a couple hours, we gave up and now, I do not have a decent coat and it's cold outside!!!


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wedding Tease...

Last Sunday, 고, her mom and I all went to check out the place where we want to have the wedding. I loved it. We reserved it today and it's official! I'm so excited!

The place is called Korea House. It's in the middle of Seoul with tall buildings rising in the background, but the wedding site seems like it is from centuries ago. The whole ceremony is quite interesting and just what we wanted.

Here are some shots...









Here's how it works. Traditionally, the wedding took place at the bride's house, but not anymore. First part of the wedding is the "Presentation of Wild Geese". The geese symbolize harmonious love between the bride and groom. During the procession, the best man holds a single wooden wild goose. He then hands it to the groom after a series of bows. Here's a below average picture of that.



From here I walk to the brides "house" and place the goose on a table. After bowing twice to my future mother-in-law, she takes the goose inside the house.




Then the bride comes out. This is my favorite part. The bride is wearing some very traditonal clothes. I can't wait to see 고 in it. She's going to look stunning!
She's under there I promise!



After she walks out, then we can finally see each other. Our hands are washed, which of course symbolizes cleanliness. We bow to each other twice and then kneel down facing each other.



Then we drink special rice wine from separate half gourds. The two gourds together make us whole. Then we join together and bow three times to our parents, ancenstors and guests.

Look at her outfit! It's amazing! Notice the dots on her face!



It's going to be amazing!!!! See you there?!!

I'm so excited to be taking part in this very special aspect of Korean culture. Not many Koreans do this anymore and even fewer foreigners get the chance! I can't wait.

I could only find one song that fit and it doesn't even fit that well. Enjoy!

Honeymoon...

Now that the wedding date is set for May 4th, 2008, it's time to start planning, among many things, the honeymoon.

Luckily, we are already in Asia which has perfect honeymoon destinations, but I thought some input might be fun. Just suggest a place without any consideration of money. Of course, that is a HUGE consideration, but if you exclude something because of that and it turns out that the island or country right next it is affordable, then we would be missing out.

Here's something to inspire...



And no, Kokomo is not an option, but what song could be better?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Damn gym guy...

You know, I go to the gym as much as possible these days. I like it. However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays I go on my lunch break and every time there is this guy that only works out his "lats" and I want to use that damn machine too. The guy's shoulders are huge and the rest of his body is tiny, so why doesn't he do anything else? Every time I'm on a machine or lifting something, I'm keeping a watchful eye on him and hoping to time it just right so I can swoop in a steal the machine. This might sounds immature, but a confrontation would be silly and neither one of us would understand beyond a series a points and nods.

Today I was all geared up for it. He went to get water and I finished my set quickly and walked over. I swear he saw me in the mirror, dropped his water and ran over to that machine. This guy kills me! I'll get him though. I'm going to tie his shoes laces together so he trips and has to watch me use his machine.

That would be great!

Here's to my archenemy at the gym: the "lat" guy!

It's not the original, but the orginal had way too many men in speedos and I figured you had enough with "Relax". This more of a parody. Right up my alley!

My face hurts...

I woke up today feeling like someone had punched me in the face several times before I went to sleep. The left side of my face is so sore. It turns out that I have a pretty intense sinus infectiion. Maybe not, but I'll going to the doctor today, so we'll see.

Luckily, I have been smoke-free for over nine weeks. That's including when I'm drinking, which also has subsided severely. All my friends still go out and stay out until 6am. (Even if they have wives, fiances or girlfriends at home!) I'm just not seeing the point or draw to that anymore. It's fine for them, but I'm happy going home early.

Tuesday is my easy day. I'm hoping to work more next month though. They told me they would try. I do like the free time that I have, but I'd rather be working. Besides, I could work until 6 or 7 and still get home before 고! Poor, 고! She's doing great though. I'll find out her recent project website and post it on here soon!

I have been filling my time with this though...



고 and I love this...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Relax...

I did nothing all day today and it was great. I ate Subway, watched Arrested Development, worked out and studied Korean all at home and with no plans. 고 had her company hiking trip all day, so I had the day. It was relaxing.

Tonight, we're going bowling. It's been years for me, so I figured it'd be fun.

We went to Ganghwa-do a couple of weeks ago. It was fun. We got to see North Korea. It was nice. Ganghwa Island has a great history that you should check out on wikipedia. Here are some pics...





That's North Korea across the water. It's barren, but beautiful.



This is at the top of Mount Mani.

It was fun and really pretty!

So, here's to my day of relaxation. (The video is a little weird)


Early Mornings

These days I've been waking up so early. 고운 gets up well before seven and, of course, once she is up I can't stay asleep because our apartment is not that big and I'm not going to complain.

It's okay though. I wake up, check out some news and the Fantasy Basketball league that I have joined and then I make her breakfast. Don't get too excited. All I do is take some lunch from school and heat it up. Lunch for breakfast does not sound great, but in Korea, they typically eat the same thing for every meal. There is some variety, but rice, soup and some meat is usually involved.

I'm up now and it's 7:30am. I woke up early because 고 has a work hiking event at Muido Island in the Yellow Sea. It's about an hour away. She's not looking forward to it too much, but Korean companies require a lot of you.

I played Monopoly last night. It was fun. I played with Micah, Glen and Greg. I won. I usually try to corner the yellows and greens. It works most of the time.

So, Steve Colbert got denied permission to run on the SC Democratic ballot. I'm not surprised though. I don't know if he would have made a good President, but at least it will give him some good material for his show. I like the guy and I know that he would not have been that bad. Plus, he would have been so funny in the debates.





It's so funny! It's classic. I love seeing Colbert pretend to defend his fictious views. Watch Russert try to be serious.

I started thinking about Australia yesterday. I think it would be a neat place to live. Hmmm...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween is still fun!

We had the task of making a scary haunted house for the students. Last year, we were not as successful, but this time we hard some new ideas. The kids were all terrified and most of the cried through the morning. We even scared the older kids!

The teachers worked hard this year and dressed the part.



Can you find me?

I would put up some pics of crying kids, but I figured that might be a little mean.

It was fun, but the day has past. It's not like the days of walking around in the old neighborhood in Nashville, but it's the most fun I can have as a 25 year old.

Last night we had a little party. Beer, soju and games seem to be the norm. Nothing too wild, but then again I'm not really doing much on the wild side these days.

I've been doing well with the gym these days. I went today in between classes. It was odd. There was no one in the gym. The music was on, the lights were on and the door was open, but no one was there. The employees weren't even there. I worked out for about forty minutes and went on my way. I'm going back tonight with 고 when she gets off. It will be a light one though.

고 is working so hard as well. She's been working at home too! It's so cute! I'm very proud of her dedication to this job!

I gave up on my beard. I tried and it was just not fully connecting the sideburns to the stache and chin. It was close though. I'll try again...maybe.

Here you go, as promised...

Here's to Michael Jackson!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ice

Yesterday I was playing a game called, "Bum". It sounds a little odd, but it's a fun game. All you do is stand in a circle and kick the soccer ball when it comes to you. The only rule is that you have to make an effort if it's close to you and you must return it so it's playable. I have no soccer skills, but luckily I did play a lot of hackey-sack in high school, so the motion is one that I'm used to. Besides, a three year old could play this game.

Like in "HORSE", if you mess up in "BUM" you get a letter. Once you spell BUM then you must stand against the wall with your back facing the group and brace yourself because the other players are now trying to kick the ball at you or your bum, hence the name of the game.

I play with my British friends and one American friend and, of course, they all love and play soccer. Getting kicked by them is not fun. It's stings a bit. I mean, they can really kick a ball. I can barely make solid contact let alone try to aim at anything. So, I want to avoid getting any letters and therefore avoid getting hit.

Yesterday, we were playing and the ball bounced reasonably close to me. So, I made a valiant effort to kick the ball. I ran and extended my leg as far as it would go. Unfortunatelky, it was too far and now I walk with a very cool urban limp. I'm not sure what I did to my knee, but I'm going to give it a day and see how it heals and then I'll go from there. I did not have to go up on the wall though and I will continue to play BUM.

So, I guess the lesson is don't play any games with Brits. Ha!

Post Script:
I have a workshop tonight. I have to leave the city and stay with ALL the teachers. I'm not too thrilled for a few reasons. One, I have to sleep on the floor. Two, I can't stay up too late anymore and three, I won't be with 고. That's the biggest reason. This will be the first Friday ever and the first night away from her in 6 months. I miss her already, but I'll can always talk to her.

Also, I plan on updating you on 고's job this weekend. For now, she loves it and I'm so proud and happy for her.

So, while I'm icing my leg here's a little something for you...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Today I Became a 주부

Only a few of you might know at this point and even fewer check this blog since I have not been active in five months, but 고 started her job today. I will know more about it tonight when she gets home.

However, the inspiration for the post is not her job. No, that will come later, but this is about my new career as a 주부, or housewife. Of course I still work and make good money, but I finish the day so early. I start at 945 and finish at 430. Poor 고 doesn't finish until 7 at the earliest. This leaves me about 3 hours of relaxation, right? Nope!

The task of maintaining a clean and productive household is quite daunting. In fact, I even made a list tonight of all the things I need to do in order to have some down time with 고.

* Dishes
* Sweep and vacuum
* Laundry
* Water the plants
* Cook or plan dinner if possible, but since it's only the first day I might be in over my head
* Water the plants
* Dust
* Straighten up

...and about thirty other things that I was always appreciative that 고 did, but never realized the scope of the task.

So, what am I doing writing this post you ask? Ha! I want to change the style of this blog from the earlier stages of large and in depth observations and experiences, to small and little jabs at my day.

So, I'm a house fiance I guess. I'm fine with that. I can do this stuff and I'm happy to do it so 고 doesn't have to come home to a dirty house and me sitting in the middle of it.

Now to my day...

Work was work as usual. I teach English so there are not many surprises. I am getting a bit puzzled by my school though. They seem to be changing their name, but none of the teachers have really been told why or what we're going to be called. It's odd, but I'm getting used to being left in the dark when it comes to management. Also, I had an open class the other day and, without notice, they inform me that I have another one tomorrow. It'll be fine, but sometimes it would be nice to know what is going on and when.

고 will be home in an hour and then we go eat and then we go to the gym. Our time is severely limited during the weekdays, but that is normal I guess. We've been very lucky that we could spend so much time together during the week and, well, all the time.

Also, I'd like to leave you guys with a video of a song each post. You don't have to watch them, but they always are nice and I'm sure you guys have not heard most of these tunes in awhile.

Here's to 고's new job. She's going to do so well!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Final Countdown

We leave tomorrow morning. I have one more day of work left. I'll miss the kids. I'll miss the teachers. I'll miss Korea.

We're so excited and can't wait to see everyone and relax. Life is great.

Here's a little something...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Two Weeks...

I was just looking back and reading my post "One Month Update". Ha! Classic...

So, it's been a year. A fast year. A slow year. A wild year. An unusual year. It's been full of too many nights of singing rooms and binge drinking. Very public urination. Korean beer. Drawing on Dave. Making excuses not to learn Korean. Too many nights of fried pork and soju. Cambodian grass. Thai ladyboys. Woodstock. Beverage Lab. Wild Rhett. Mike's a Jap. Tin is a fag. Joel hates Korea. Han River. Family Mart. "This sucks!". Dirty Pants Aaron. She's Like the Wind. Mr. Shin. Lee. Open class. Yellow Necktie. Carne Station. "Going to the gym". Hofs. Hofs. Hofs. And of course, the highlight, 김고운 !!


Luckily, 고 has helped ween me off the bottle and brought a bit more clarity to my world. I would not be able to truly appreciate that clarity had I not had so many years of smoke filled haze and wild boozing.

Are those nights past me? I think not, but they are limited and never last quite as long as they used to.

So, we have two weeks until America. Soon the question is going to be what will I miss about Korea. Hmmm...

Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm Short...

I have finally come to terms with this. I guess it took walking past numerous Korean teenagers for me to realize the grim truth: I'm short!


Now, I always knew that I was taller than some people. Even in my pre-pubescent days I managed to "tower" over a few of the other unfortunate kids, but now it's a glaring fact that I am simply shorter than most.


고 and I have been discussing my height recently. Anyone who knows me knows that I always claim to be 5'9. I am!!!


Well, today I have learned different. I recall one bleak winter day in college when my friends and I decided that we would measure ourselves. I was sure that my "claimed height" would be affirmed. I was wrong. A different height was discovered that day. It was a height that was not near what I always pretended to be.


I remember when I was younger, the doctor always told me that I was in the tenth percentile for height (and weight). He even said that I would only be 5'8. Mom always blew it off though. She would claim,"My father was over six feet tall." That was the mantra I got used to. I started believing it.

My drivers licence has said I was 5'9 since I was 15. That was a lie and apparently it still is.

So, how tall am I???

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Do They Ever Work?

While American TV is polluted with reality shows, crime shows and 24 hour garbage like Fox News, Korea is doing their own thing. They have the kind of shows that people imagine when they think of Asian television. Something with the title of "Happy Smile Super Challenge Family Wish Show" or maybe the "Super Terrific Happy Time Hour" comes into mind.

Korea doesn't have these type of shows, however they do have shows staring out-of-work or under-worked actors, actresses, comedians and singers participate in these sometimes funny and oftentimes repetitive and overly simplistic concept shows. One is called 무한도전 ("Infinity Challenge").

무한도전 consists of six males who are always on there and the occasional famous cameo (Thierry Henry, Fedor Emelianenko, Maria Sharapova, and Michelle Wie). Each week these guys do 70 minutes of nothing and people love it. Some absurd challenges range from racing in a foot pedalled swan boat against a motor boat, to appearing live on stage at a public fashion show. It's funny, but the question to me is what the hell do they guys do? This is not work. Even Mr. Bean made a living by being silly and socially awkward in movies and TV, but these guys don't have anything special short of being good sports.

I must admit though, I like it from time to time. The host, 유재석 (Yu Jae-seok), made his television debut in 1991 singing a cover of the song Step by Step by New Kids on the Block.



And here's a little Christmas cheer...




I know you couldn't understand any of that (I couldn't either), but you get the point. I guess I wondering why these shows are so successful in Asia? I know China, Thailand and Japan also sport these kinds of shows. Why? Why are Asian viewers so interested in this? What are these guys going to do for work in three to five years?

In the end, I can kind of understand why they watch this. It's stress free fun. That is something that is not enjoyed by that many in Asia. Between academies, stress from school and fourteen hour work days, stress in all too common. It's a break.

I know this is a non sequitur, but the real question is why do Americans obsess over CSI and Fox News? Do we have nothing better to do than watch this false reality?


I think I trust the people who laugh at silliness more than those who get entertained by crime and lies...

Ha! Sorry for the rant...

P.S. Romney, Guiliani and Thompson can kiss my ass!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Night Wisdom...Teeth


고운 had been experiencing pain for the past couple of weeks. It turned out to be her bottom left wisdom tooth. When we first met, she had noticed that my mouth was small and that I didn't appear to have the same number of teeth that most people have. Ha! I don't actually. I was blessed with a small mouth that only allows 24 teeth. I've gotten eight permanent teeth pulled in my day. Between that and my other dental "opportunities", we can all agree that I'm not a fan of much that goes on at the dentist.



고 and I would tease each other about teeth and I would obviously lose because I only have 24 teeth and she had 31. (She had already had one removed.) I went to work this morning and she had mentioned getting it removed today, but I wasn't sure what she would do. About 30 minutes into the day she called and told me that she was on the subway and on her way to get it out. She was nervous about the shot mostly, but was really not anticipating much besides a simple extraction.



I wished her luck and expected to hear back from her in about twenty minutes or so. Over an hour later I got a text message.



"Just finished. It was surgery."



She was still in high spirits, but I could tell it wasn't that great for her. I remember when I had mine removed I got to go home and be waited on. Poor 고 had to get on a subway and go to an empty apartment. I felt horrible for not being with her. I came home on my break and she told me the story.



The dentist had taken X-Rays and concluded that it would be no problem. That, of course, calmed her down. They gave her the unpleasant shot and started the extraction. They pulled and pulled, but nothing. That tooth would not budge. 고운 heard the tooth cracking and loosening, but nothing. After several failed attempts the dentist was becoming noticeably agitated. He called in four more nurses. Two to help him and the other two to hold 고운 's hands.



The dentist started vocalizing his frustration. He kept trying a scooping method that was just not working and with each failed scoop he verbalized it more and more. Finally, they brought out the drill and started drilling away at her stubborn tooth. Still nothing.



They had to get out the knife, cut back the gums and surgically remove that thing. They never put her to sleep though. She was up through the whole thing! What a brave girl! I'm so proud of her!!



She has been recovering well though. She's far from how bad Kristin was, but she did not have it as easy as me. Here's some of her favorite moments.






Sleeping 고고...





They gave her some weak medication that did not seem to do anything, so she took some Tylenol and seems to be feeling less pain.

The bad part about all of this is that she has an exam tomorrow and this, obviously, has hampered any attempt to get in any beneficial studying. She'll do fine though.

I'll let you know how she's feeling as the weekend progresses...

By the way, it was only 22 dollars...

Some additions...

I've added a few things to the site. On the right, you'll see some videos from youtube.com, some news from my favorite sources and some links to some sites that I like. I'll explain each to you now.

The videos are not actually selected by me. Rather, I entered in catergories that I like and they chose random videos that were related to those. I added Obama, Colbert and one of my favorite bands, Umphreys Mcgee. If you have any categories that I should add, feel free to let me know!

The news is nice as well. Headlines, stories and opinion from cnn, bbc, atimes, nytimes, seoultimes, latimes, npr and theonion are in there. However, today it seems that odd Korean news sources are showing up. Is that the case with you? Let me know so I can fix it.

The link are my favorites! Click on The Yangpa. It's a satirical look at Korean society, news and culture from the viepoint of foreigners. I don't agree with all of it, but it can be so funny. The Onion is a satirical look at all news. It's great as well. Asia Times gives news from all over the world and Asia, but the difference is clear: it is not geared toward Western readers. I love it. Then there is Talk Left which is a liberal blog that I check daily. It's wonderful and full of rich insight. Finally, there is Jambase. That is for the music people.

고 and I are trying to get this thing in shape again because we are going to be using it more and more to let everybody know what's going on with us and our world. I'm also going to try and give you guys more of a taste of everday life in Korea.

Also, poor 고 got her wisdom teeth out today. She was told they were not impacted, but when they began they discovered they were. She had to have surgery. I feel horrible for having to be at work when I should be taking care of her. She's so brave and is going to try and study until this evening. I'll take care of her all night tonight!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Korean Corporate Ladder

Let me start this post with something that is such a common sight here.






This is a video that one of my friends took. Notice the suit and tie. Notice the hai and the nice shoes. And now notice how drunk he is. This guy studied hard his whole life to get a good job. He worked and worked, but that only got him in the door. If he wants to climb the Korean Corporate Ladder, he has to show his face and make a name for himself in front of the boss... with the bottle.

That bottle is a drink that we will be bringing to some of you on our upcoming trip. It is called 소주 or Soju. I have written about many times, but still...




http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soju



If you have a moment, I challenge you to look back at one of my earlier posts titled,"A Rainy Arrival". At the end of the second to last paragragh I mention seeing a well-dressed drunk man passed out face-down on the street. I had no idea what his story was, but now I can take a guess. He was on his way to being a CEO!!

The system is chaning though. As more women are slowly entering the corporate workforce, this norm will change. Uncle John sent me this article...

June 10, 2007
Corporate Korea Corks the Bottle as Women Rise

By NORIMITSU ONISHI

SEOUL, South Korea — In a time-honored practice in South Korea’s corporate
culture, the 38-year-old manager at an online game company took his 10-person team on twice-weekly after-work drinking bouts. He exhorted his subordinates to drink, including a 29-year-old graphic designer who protested that her limit was two glasses of beer.

“Either you drink or you get it from me tomorrow,” the boss told her one
evening.

She drank, fearing that refusing to do so would hurt her career. But
eventually, unable to take the drinking any longer, she quit and sued.

In May, in the first ruling of its kind, the Seoul High Court said that
forcing a subordinate to drink alcohol was illegal, and it pronounced the manager guilty of a “violation of human dignity.” The court awarded the woman $32,000 in damages for the incidents, which occurred in 2004.

The ruling was as much a testament to women’s growing presence in corporate
life here as a confirmation of changes already under way. As an increasing number of women
have joined companies as professionals in the past half decade, corporate South Korea has struggled to change the country’s thoroughly male-centered corporate culture, starting with alcohol.

An evening out with colleagues here follows a predictable, alcohol-centered
pattern: dinner, usually some grilled pork, washed down with soju, Korea’s national vodkalike drink; then a second round at a beer hall; then whiskey and singing at a “norae bang,” a Korean karaoke club. Exhorted by their bosses to drink, the corporate warriors bond, literally, so that the sight of dark-suited men holding hands, leaning on one another, staggering toward taxis, is part of this city’s nighttime streetscape. The next morning, back at the office, they are ready to fight, with reaffirmed unity, for more markets at home and abroad.

Many professional women manage to avoid much of the drinking by adopting well-known strategies. They slip away while their male colleagues indulge in a second or third round
of drinking. They pour the drinks into potted plants. They rely on male colleagues, called “knights in shining armor,” to take their turns in drinking games.

Companies, too, have begun to respond. Since 2005, Posco, the steel manufacturer, has limited company outings to two hours at its mill in South Korea’s southwest. Employees
can raise a red card if they do not want to drink or a yellow card if they want to go home early. At Woori Bank, one of South Korea’s largest, an alarm rings at 10 p.m. to encourage workers to stop drinking and go home using public transportation, which stops running before midnight.

“My boss used to be all about, ‘Let’s drink till we die!’ ” said Wi Su-jung, a 31-year-old woman
employed at a small shipping company.

Ms. Wi, who was out enjoying the sun in downtown Seoul, said the atmosphere
began changing as more women joined her company in the past couple of years. “The women got together and complained about the drinking and the pressure to drink,” she said. “So things changed last year. Now we sometimes go to musicals or movies instead.

Kim Chil-jong, who was taking a walk on his lunch hour, said he owned a nine-person publishing company. In the last couple of years, he hired two women for the first time.

“We drink less because of their presence,” Mr. Kim, 47, said. “Before, I’d
encourage my workers to drink whenever we went out, but I don’t do that anymore.

Still, at least 90 percent of company outings — called “hoishik,” or coming together to eat — still center on alcohol, according to the Korean Alcohol Research Foundation. The
percentage of women who drink has increased over all as they have joined companies.

Over all, South Koreans consume less alcohol than, say, most Europeans, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a research organization financed by industrialized nations.

But Cho Sung-gie, the alcohol foundation’s research director, estimates that South Koreans rank first in binge drinking: the goal is to drink as much as possible, as quickly as
possible, so that co-workers loosen up.

Companies have awakened to the potential dangers of bingeing: health threats,
decreased productivity and, with more women working, the risk of sexual harassment.

The foundation, though financed largely by the alcohol industry, is considered
the authority on the country’s drinking culture. It runs programs on responsible drinking and
abstinence, and assists companies to organize outings not centered on alcohol. Chang Kih-wung, a manager in the education team, has even joined company outings to the movies.

“Usually, a company decides to do something about drinking after a guest, often a foreigner, visits and makes a comment like, ‘Man, people drink like crazy here!’ ” Mr. Chang said.
“So they’ll invite me for a lecture or organize a single activity — then they forget about it and go back to drinking.

Traditionally, this corporate culture often began at the job interview itself. Asked whether they liked to drink, applicants knew that there was only one correct answer.

“If they said they didn’t drink, we’d think that we couldn’t work closely
together,” said Lee Jai-ho, 40, an engineer at a paper mill that was bought by Norske Skog of Sweden in the late 1990s.

Mr. Lee said he was asked whether he was a good drinker during his job interview in 1992, and he asked the same question of job candidates later. The company’s hard-drinking
culture changed, however, after it changed to foreign ownership.

It is this fear of not being accepted as full members of the team that has led
many women to drink to excess. A 31-year-old lawyer for a telecommunications company, who asked that her name not be used, blacked out during a company outing shortly after she became the first Korean woman to serve as a lawyer in the legal division three years ago. “During my studies, I always competed against men,” she said. “So I didn’t want to lose to men at hoishik.

She drank so much during dinner at a Chinese restaurant that she remembered
nothing past 9 p.m., though the outing lasted until 1 a.m.

However, as more women have joined her division, she said, the emphasis on
alcohol has decreased.

“Before it was always grilled pork with soju followed by mixed drinks,” she
said. “Now, I can suggest that we go to a Thai or Italian restaurant.

Not all men were so flexible, though. In the case of the 29-year-old graphic
designer, when she was interviewed at the 240-employee online game company in 2004, she was also forced to submit to an “alcohol interview,” according to the court ruling. She could drink only two glasses of beer and no soju at all, she said.

Her boss, though, liked to go out with his 10-person marketing team — six men
and four women — at least twice a week until the predawn hours and brooked no excuses.

One time, he told her that if she called upon a “knight in shining armor,” she would have to kiss him. So she drank two glasses of soju. Another time, after she slipped away early, he
called her at home and ordered her to come back. She refused.

At the trial, the boss said he was so intent on having his subordinates bond
that he sometimes used his own money to take them out drinking. He called the woman a weirdo and said of the lawsuit, “I’m the victim.


We all know that laws will not change a thing. The ones who go out and drink with the boss will move up faster than those who chose to go home. They might not be fired, but they will not see much mobility. Time will tell...

I will say though, it is funny to see a couple of old suits stumbling down the street hand in hand three sheets to the wind.